Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Gaming Update

Unfortunately Pathfinder: Kingmaker is on hold for the time being. I don't know what the cause was, whether it was a patch or the GOG Galaxy client, but my saved game was erased. I do have a couple of autosaves from the very beginning of the game, but I lost almost two hours of gameplay. Out of frustration and fear of losing more time, I'll just wait a bit because there are a couple of other games right now that have my attention.

Of course I'm talking about Diablo 3. Season 15 started almost two weeks ago and I've been having a blast. For the most part. I have been primarily playing a Whirlwind barbarian this season because I enjoy the playstyle. One great thing this season is I've pushed to a higher Greater Rift difficulty than I've done in the past. That has also caused me some frustration because a WW barb is fun, but starts to lack damage and survivability in the higher rifts. I have tried a Hammer of the Ancients, or HOTA, build which is pretty dang strong and is almost as equally fun to play. The HOTA build I've been using lacks the movement speed of the WW barb, but in general my barbarian no matter the build is lacking in toughness. I've max leveled a Monk and Demon Hunter, with Monk being the least fun thus far. I am tempted to do a Necromancer because I absolutely loved leveling one last season.

The other game I'll be playing is Wildstar. So Wildstar is closing down and going offline at the end of November. I was never interested in Wildstar when it released, I did try it a few hours when it switched to a f2p model but didn't care much for it at the time. I actually installed Wildstar a few weeks before the news broke that it will be closing down because I've been on a MMO kick lately. I've been installing random f2p MMO's just to see if they are any good. For me, Wildstar became enjoyable when I found the mouse lock option which turns the game more into an action MMO like Tera or Black Desert Online. My goal with Wildstar is to level at least one character to max level before the game shuts down. With the XP bonus event running till the end of the game I expect that I'll get to level 50 rather easily. My thoughts on Wildstar right now? It's a fun game with a bit of a learning curve.

That's the updates for today, I don't really see me playing much else for the foreseeable future, but you never know.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pathfinder: Kingmaker 1 Hour Initial Impression

When it comes to Pathfinder, I am a novice. I know nothing about the world, the ruleset, nothing other than it's a fairly popular pen and paper rpg. When I saw the videos for Pathfinder: Kingmaker, it instantly reminded me of the older Baldur's Gate games or more recently the Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny games by Obsidian.

I am a big fan of computer rpg video games, and I have a special fondness for the isometric style made popular with the original Baldur's Gate. So naturally I was very intrigued by Pathfinder. So much so that I decided to take the plunge and purchase the game.

So what are my thoughts after just over an hour of playtime? Well I'm glad you asked. I like it so far. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is just familiar enough in look and feel of past isometric rpg games that fans of the past Pillar's or BG games should find enjoyment with Pathfinder.

The ruleset for the Pathfinder pen and paper which Kingmaker is based off of is very reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons. For those like me that have never played the Pathfinder game but have played anything based on the D&D rules, I think, will be comfortable with Kingmaker which should keep the learning curve to a minimum. I remember the first time I played the first Neverwinter Nights and absolutely hating the game because it had feats and abilities, this stuff that wasn't in the first Baldur's Gate. That honestly ruined that game for me for the longest time. These days that kind of stuff is very common in rpg's so when I went back to play Neverwinter again I had a great time.

So what is bad about Pathfinder: Kingmaker? I'm still in the tutorial, but I would say that there is nothing bad about the game thus far, but there are some things I wish were different. Recent crpg's have spoiled me with some of their quality of life options. Things like movement speed toggle between slow, normal and fast, or a show interactive object toggle. A few things I don't like is the shared inventory weight, really just inventory weight in general as it slows character movement which is already slow to begin with. I also am not a fan of character movement during combat, your front line fighters take an awfully long time to walk up to the enemy.

One area I do need to spend more time learning about is spellcasting. According to the tutorial, spells that are cast cannot be used again until the spellcaster has rested. It's a mechanic found in the older infinity engine games, Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale, something I've not been a fan of ever. I created a fighter for simplicity sake to learn the game, but very early on you will get a bard, sorcerer and cleric in your party, all of which can cast spells.

So far I am enjoying Pathfinder: Kingmaker. I have purchased very few PC games this year, but I love isometric crpg's so I was actually excited for this game because I know nothing about the Pathfinder IP and I thought this would be a great introduction to that world. I hope to share more thoughts about Kingmaker as I make my way through the game.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Champions Online 9th Anniversary!

Happy anniversary Champions Online! It's hard to believe you are 9 yrs old and you're the longest and only active superhero MMO today! You are also a slightly unbalanced and generic MMO with uninspired questing, a terrible cash shop and f2p restrictions.

9 years ago I was fortunate enough be given a copy of CO to review for a site named Gamesquad, an opportunity I am grateful for. Unfortunately the website doesn't exist anymore so I'll have to dig up a copy of the review to see what I thought of the game at launch. I have spent quite a bit of time with CO the past three weeks, I hit level 38 which is a couple short of max so I might write-up a re-review just for the heck of it.

What I will say about Champions Online right now is the questing is bland and generic. CO is highly reliant on gear which makes the early levels really tough. If you don't have a gold account or lifetime sub you are limited to pre-made archetypes, some of which from what I've read online are plain bad. Did I mention the questing is generic? There is very little in Champions Online that makes you feel like you are a superhero in a comic. Replace the superhero gimmick with a fantasy setting, or a sci-fi setting, or anything that comes out of Korea and the game would be the same. It's so generic that at times I struggled to get excited to login and play.

So yes, Champions Online is 9 years old this year, it is a time capsule of MMO game design from almost a decade ago.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Weekend Recap 2/2-4

The Weekend Recap is a post where I recap my gaming and other various happenings from the weekend. I don't know about you but I always consider Friday evening as part of the weekend!

Holy smokes, I totally forgot to post my recap for gaming this past weekend! It's a short week for me as I have Friday off, but it has felt like a long week because of how tired I've been due to staying up late playing the only game I played not only this past weekend, but this whole week as well!

The Division - That's right, I've been playing the heck our of The Division. After doing quite a bit of solo play I decided to try using some pick up groups for the daily missions, and it has been very enjoyable. I was finally able to try out the Survival mode DLC, and it's probably the most fun I've had in the game since I came back.

The premise is simple - you have to survive and the weather, starvation, thirst, people that want to kill you on site and extract with the anti-virals before you die from an infection cause when the helicopter you are in crashes. The weather is the first big obstacle that you will face. You start off with clothing that has very minimal protection from the snow storm that is pelting the city. You can get warmer clothing by crafting or loot from enemies and containers around the city.

While doing that you also need to find food and drink. While you will never die from thirst or starvation, food and water are important because food affects your ability to regenerate health and thirst will help you spot loot containers while traversing the snow covered streets. Being able to see loot better is actually important because the weather effects and lighting can actually make things on the screen difficult to see.

So you've got food and water, getting some clothing to keep you warm, now you must find meds to help slow down the infection. While you can actually die if you let the infection progress too far, it's pretty easy to find around the city. I have yet to die due to infection. There are two types of medications - pain killers and syringes with syringes being the stronger of the two. The thing is, the more of the medication you take, the less effective it will become as you gain a resistance to the medication. If you were to not take any medication at all, you have exactly an hour of real time to extract before death. The one time I did extract it took me also an hour and forty minutes, so medication does work.

In order to extract you have to craft a signal flare and get the anti-virals. The anti-virals are located in the Dark Zone. To get to the DZ you have to craft a contamination filter, but in order to do that you need to look crafting materials from around the city. Once you've done all of that and you've used the signal flare, you then have to take down what's called a Hunter, and these things are no joke. I've run into Hunters a few times by myself doing the Underground  DLC and each time I got my face crushed. I got really lucky in the Survival that I did manage to extract from because I accidentally shot his grenade in his hand which caused a whole heap of damage. After that it was about trying to kill him before he healed to full health, which he did on a few occasions. Was a frustrating fight, but boy did it feel good once I boarded that helicopter for extraction.

Survival mode is a really slow way to grind for reward caches, so if you're looking to grind for gear there are way better ways to do such. I will, however, be trying more Survival at some point. There is a bit of RNG because of the random start locations and of course the loot, but the feeling of satisfaction from completing an extraction was awesome.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Obligatory "What Are You Playing This Weekend" Post

Normally I would post this on Friday, but since I am working today I figured I'd give myself something to do and write this up today. While this weekend will only have the fraction of things to do like last weekend I still will find myself with not a ton of time to game due to work today and the Super Bowl tomorrow.

This post won't be very long because I already know what I'll be spending most my time with - The Division on PC. It's going to be all Division all the time! I have always enjoyed The Division, it combines the rpg loot-fest of an arpg like Diablo with tactical third person combat. Such a great combination. It's also a game the can really get under my skin and frustrate the hell out of me. The field of view is kind of restrictive, the cover system isn't very consistent at times, and some of the AI enemies just charge at you for no reason negating the point of using cover.

All that said, I am really enjoying the game as it's been the only thing I've played this week. I normally like playing solo because I hate people, but I did try some daily missions with a random group and it was a ton of fun. Because of that I'm going to try to do some more group missions this weekend.

Today is my buddy Jim's birthday, and he has requested my presence on Xbox for some gaming tonight. Who knows what we'll end up playing. It boils down to a group of us spending a massive amount of time trying to figure out a game that we all own to play, last year it was Titanfall. This year I'm not sure what it'll be, but that will be on the docket for tonight.

I do know that I'll be doing a small bit of Hitman again as I want to make sure I complete the current Elusive Contract before it expires. Elusive Contracts were one time events that IOI ran I think a couple of years ago and I missed all of them. When the GOTY edition of Hitman was released in November last year IOI restarted the elusive contracts, but this time we get a week to complete the contract.

Well that's going to be it, I hope everyone has a great weekend. And if you are watching the Super Bowl, let's all hope it's at least competitive.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

NXT Takeover: Philadelphia Recap & Reaction

As is normal with these big PPV weekends, it's a story of two shows and how Takeover continues to out perform it's main roster sibling.

NXT Takeover Philadelphia Results:

Fish & O'Reilly (c) def. Authors Of Pain: While the result was what I expected with the Tag Champs defeating AOP, I had no idea exactly how this match was going to play out. I was quite pleased with this match, AOP looked the best I've seen since they debuted. There was some good back and forth between both teams with AOP looking like the giant meat bags that they are, and the champs being the resourceful heels that they are. Some great selling by all, especially Akam who suffered a knee injury that was exploited by the champs, giving them the eventual win. This match was very good, both teams looked great and I'm actually interested in seeing how AOP perform when they on the main roster, which should be very soon.

Velveteen Dream def. Kassius Ohno: The Dream had a great match against Aleister Black at Takeover Brooklyn and continued to impress here in Philadelphia with Ohno. Velveteen oozes charisma both in the ring and with his promos, and his entrance is fantastic. This was a hard hitting back and forth entertaining match that saw Velveteen pick up the win, a result that was expected. It should be noted that Velveteen was extremely over here. The crowd even started counting to 30 when the match started due to Velveteen saying he would knockout Ohno in the first 30 seconds.

Ember Moon (c) def. Shayna Baszler: I really enjoyed the storytelling in this match from start to finish. It was a slow, methotical match that firmly cemented Moon as the #1 baby face and Baszler the #1 heel in NXT's women division. The build-up of Baszler as an imposing bully has been fantastic. The story of this match is Moon selling an arm injury after Baszler put her in an extended submission sequence that Moon was eventually able to fight out of. Moon would eventually hit Baszler the Eclipse but was unable make the pin due to her injured arm. Baszler would put Moon back into an arm bar with Moon eventually rolling Baszler for the win. The end result was expect, what I didn't expect was just how good this match was going to be. I personally think it made both women look strong. Baszler choking out Moon after the match outside of the ring was great as well.

Aleister Black def. Adam Cole - Extreme Rules Match: The Philly crowd as very much into this match from the start. Black and Cole delivered on of the hardest hitting and brutal extreme rules matches I've personally ever seen. There were chair shots, Cole being tossed onto a latter, Black falling through two tables, Cole sustaining an injured hand that bled like crazy, Black with cuts on his back, Black delivering a double knee shot to Cole through an announce table, and probably the worst spot ever where Black delivered a Death Valley Driver to Cole onto two chairs that were sitting back to back. This match was awesome, the crowd was super hot for it, but hopefully we never ever see that double chair spot ever again. As much as I liked Alpha vs Omega at Wrestle Kingdom, I thought Black vs Cole better. That's just my opinion. The surprising thing about this match was Aleister Black picking up the victory. The insider opinion says the victory for Black means a program for the NXT Title against Cien Almas.

Andrade "Cien" Almas (c) def. Johnny Gargano: Whoa nelly, this match was amazing! There may not be another match in all of WWE for the rest of the year that will be able to touch this match, that's how good it was. There was some great back and forth, plenty of near falls, excellent selling by both men, this match was as perfect of a match that two people can have. There was a great spot where Zelina Vega, Cien's "manager", went to attack Gargano on the outside of the ring when Candice LeRae hopped the ringside barricade to chase off Vega. It was timed so well, and so perfectly with the crowd chanting Thank You Candice. I loved this match, it had everything I want from a wrestling match - great wrestling, great work and great storytelling in the ring. I was so into this match that at one point I actually thought Gargano was going to win, but he didn't. The ending sequence with Almas giving Gargano his signature double knee shot against the ring post on the outside ring apron then giving Gargano a draping hammerlock DDT from the top rope gave Almas the victory.

I have yet to be disappointed by a NXT Takeover, and this Takeover was no different. They continue to be the best PPV's that WWE puts  with this Takeover probably the best PPV in years. With a Takeover being this good, certainly Royal Rumble will be just as good, right? Not really.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Weekend Recap 1/26-28

The Weekend Recap is a post where I recap my gaming and other various happenings from the weekend. I don't know about you but I always consider Friday evening as part of the weekend!

Talk about planning a busy weekend. I had a chiropractor appointment, possible birthday party to take my son to, the NHL Skills Competition and All-Star game, UFC on Fox, NXT Takeover: Philadelphia and the big Royal Rumble on Sunday. All of that and trying to game as well!

Max Payne - I love all three of the Max Payne games, in my top 5 games all three would probably be on that list. After finishing Quantum Break I had a real hankering for a game with great storytelling and decent gunplay, so I thought of Max Payne. I didn't play much on Friday, but I just love this game. Every so often I'll dust off Max Payne because I love the story, they way it's told, the atmosphere and the awesome gunplay. Max Payne was came out at a time when developers used to program cheats into their games, and thank goodness because this game can be brutally difficult at times if you play on a hard setting. I will definitely be finishing this game for the umpteenth time and probably playing Max Payne 2 afterwards, a game that I think is even better than the first!

The Division - Since I knew that I wasn't going to have tons of time playing games, I didn't want to start one of the plethora of games that I have so for whatever reason I just fired up The Division on Friday. This became the only game I played the rest of the weekend, I just had a blast with it. In December I bought the Season Pass so I spent the weekend trying out the Underground DLC and messing around in the I guess revamped Dark Zone. I've always like The Division, but there seems to be this sentiment that it was broken or incomplete when the game launched. I honestly have no idea why there is this thought, other than the Dark Zone being crap I had a lot of fun playing through The Division.

So that was the weekend, I figure there'll be quite a bit of The Division this week with some Max Payne mixed in!