Landscapes #NBI2015Safari

Murf’s NBI Screenshot Safari is running all month, and there are several categories to choose from, so I’m sure I’ll be adding at least another one of these types of posts before May is over. The first selection I made was the Landscapes category, as it seemed the most self-explanatory. However, I was unable to pick just one, as I have a handful of really great shots here, some of which you will have seen before, but most have probably faded from memory.

I started with a pretty sunset shot from H1Z1. It almost makes you forget the zombie apocalypse is happen just around the bend.

2015-02-14_00002

Next up, one of the many vistas from Guild Wars 2. I still love the art style of that game.

Lastly, a gallery of shots from Tamriel, aka the Elder Scrolls Online. Such a beautiful place.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I really don’t have much commentary to add. Pictures are worth thousands of words, after all.

#NBI2015safari #screenshots #landscapes

State of the Game: Humble Edition

sotg

The line up this week has been mostly the same stuff I’ve been talking about lately, however I did try out some of the other games that came in the last Humble Bundle I picked up, which included Shadow Warrior. I haven’t actually touched that game since I wrote up the beginning of my play through for it, but I intend to get through that game rather quickly, so be on the look out for more on that later. The other games that came in the bundle that I touched on this week were Outlast, Super Splatters, Mirror Moon EP and La-Mulana. I also played more ESO, Titanfall and League of Legends.

In League, I’ve just been playing Ultra Rapid Fire exclusively. I have continuously had great games with Hecarim, but other champions are hit or miss, and Hecarim gets banned out quite often. The game mode is only running for one more day, so after that I plan to do some more practicing and then getting back into Ranked play. There’s still plenty of season left and I still want to get the hell out of Bronze. Speaking of this season, I’ve also been keeping up with the pro scene: The Spring Split is just about finished up, with Cloud 9 winning their semi-final series yesterday, and TSM picking up the win today. They are set to face each other next weekend to be crowned the king of spring, though there’s still the Summer Split to go. I have no doubt both of these teams will head to Worlds again, but who knows if they manage to make it very far from that point (they haven’t in previous years, but maybe it’s NA’s time).

Titanfall is more of the same, though with ranks earned you do start to open up some better options for building your solider/titan. This tends to elevate your game a bit, along with practice, of course. I’m rank 15 or so at this point and steadily climbing, I’ve had some pretty good games here and there. I’ve found the most success running around with the smart pistol and the rocket launcher, but there are times when sniping has been fun as well. Overall, great game and I’d recommend it to those looking for a lobby shooter that isn’t CoD/Battlefield.

In ESO, I’ve been prepping my new Nightblade for action. As I mentioned previously, I joined the guild Obsidian, and we’ve started new Daggerfall faction Nightblades to do some PvPing with. Level 10 is the minimum for PvP, and as it stands now I think there’s only a couple members who are there now, I know I still need a couple of levels to hit that mark. I’ve found that I enjoy running the bow, and I’ve started to put points into the syphoning tree just to have more ranged DPS, a little cc and a self heal. I’ve been cruising through though, it’s only been a handful of hours that I’ve put into the new toon.

2015-04-10_00004

He still looks like a noob, but has been effective so far. Here’s a couple other landscape shots for good measure:

2015-04-10_00003 2015-04-10_00007

Most of the other games in the humble bundle were sort of “meh.” Mirror Moon EP is one of those first person exploration games, aka a “walking simulator.” I guess there’s some puzzling aspects, but all I managed to do was walk around in circles before saying “no thank you” to more. If you like games like Proteus, then you’ll probably dig this one. I did not. The same goes for La-Mulana, though it’s more of a platformer, maybe even a Metroidvania. Just really ugly, with clunky controls and I just couldn’t be bothered with it. So both of those games are on card-farm status before being deleted.

I spent more time with Super Splatters, which is a physics based puzzle game. Basically you’re a blob of “juice” who can perform various stunts to bring your body into contact with mines. The mines will explode when enough juice has touched them, and you must clear all of them from each level before progressing. It amounts to the same sort of game play as say Angry Birds, just delivered in a different way. I enjoy it as a stupid little time waster, but it’s nothing to really write home about.

Now despite also being a Metroidvania, UnEpic ended up being a game I can get behind. The whole story revolves around your main character playing D&D with friends, taking a bio break and being transported into a D&D world. The dungeon the game takes place in seems to be rather large, and there are a number of interesting mechanics in play. It has platforming elements, tons of weapons (spells too, though I haven’t figured out any at this point), differing enemies, voice acting and most importantly, gamepad support. Platformers don’t feel right with keyboard and mouse. Overall though, it’s a pretty straightforward and simplistic game, but I still enjoyed the time spent with it. He’s a screen so you get a general feel for the game:

2015-04-11_00002

The last game I spent a chunk of time with was Outlast. I mentioned this in my State of the Tweet column, and I haven’t played it since, because holy hell it’s a legitimately scary game. Jump scares galore. I didn’t manage to get any screen shots of the scary stuff, but you can feel the tension in this picture:

2015-04-09_00008

Nothing like night vision on the camera as your only field of view. This was only 5 minutes into the game, as it basically starts throwing nerve-wracking shit at you from the get-go. I will play more of this because of my love for the horror genre, I just don’t think it will be at 3 am in the dark with headphones again.

That’s all I have for this week. Til next time.

#stateofthegame #roundup

State of the Tweet

SotT

I’m starting a new feature/column (whatever you want to call it) here on the site, for weeks like this one, where I spent more time playing video games or doing real life stuff and didn’t post anything for a few days. I always have something to say, but sometimes it’s not enough to put into a post. I suppose if I made a post every time I had a small thought, I’d have more posts written, but it’s my preference to write a bit more each time I’m going to post something (or there needs to be some pretty pictures to break things up). Twitter is the king of short posts, limiting you to 140 characters, and so there are periods of time that I don’t post as much here on the site, but I’m still usually tweeting. As such, there are times when I’ll throw out tidbits about what I’m doing, share something entertaining, or just get into debates of opinion on various topics on Twitter, and the blog will stagnate. I’m sure you’ve seen posts in the past where I have embedded something that I previously posted on Twitter, and this post will be no different, though it will be focusing on that completely, as a round-up of sorts, as to what I’ve been doing instead of blogging. I guess this also gives me a space to vent smaller ideas without devoting a whole post to them. Let’s notate now that this feature won’t be a weekly event, it won’t have any set publish time. I’m reserving this column for weeks like this one only, so if you notice I haven’t done any posts for a while, rest assured there will be updates like this coming. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

I’ve been playing a shitload of Ultra Rapid Fire mode in League. It’s so much fun playing extremely broken champions. Anyone can feel like the hero of the game, and not any one champ is broken — they all are. I’ve played Hecarim mostly, and as you can see above, I’ve had some success. There’s a couple other games that went like that, but I have lost with him once, and lost many times with other champions. The tanky/bursty champions seem to work the best, but I’ve seen some carries wreck faces as well.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned Psychostick on this blog before, but they’re a “humorcore” band that I’ve enjoyed for a few years now. Humorcore would best be described as metal music laced with jokes and humorous lyrics. It had been a few years since their last album came out, and they recently had a crowdfunding campaign to create this album, which is actually not as good as some of their previous work. I was kind of disappointed with the album as a whole, however there are some gems on it, this song in particular.

I was on a metal kick that day, and ended up on MetalSucks (see link on sidebar) and went down the YouTube rabbit hole. I was never a huge fan of the show friends, but if you were alive in the 90’s you’d have to try pretty damn hard to avoid knowing the show, it’s theme song, or the names of most of the actors involved. Hearing this metal version of the theme song cracked me up.

I hadn’t mentioned it to this point, but you may have noticed the new button-link on my sidebar. I added it in last night, and now’s as good a time as any to let you know about that addition, and what it is. Scree, of The Cynic Dialogues, formed this guild called Obsidian in anticipation of the release of Crowfall. He wrote a whole series on his blog about it, and I have since joined up. To get some practice in and to coordinate our tactics, he’s decided that we should play some ESO PvP in the meantime. Luckily, I just started playing ESO. I did have to roll a new Nightblade in the process, but this time of a different faction. I’m also rolling with the bow this time around, but will add in some dual wielding after hitting level 15. More on this as it develops.

It’s almost May, and that means the NBI 2015 is going to be starting soon. I have already volunteered my services that I provided last year, and we’re hoping to have another great turn out this year. More on this will be talked about in the near future.

I bit the bullet on one of the recent Humble Bundles, and Outlast was one of the games included. I technically already owned it, but it was via Playstation Plus and I believe it was for PS4, so I haven’t ever actually played the game. I tried it out the other night and it really is fucking creepy. More jump scares in short periods of time than I’ve seen in a long time. Wish I would have played this sooner, it would have been included in my list of favorite horror games.

Also part of the bundle, the remake of Shadow Warrior was a game that flew under my radar completely. I was a fan of the original Duke Nukem games from way back in the 90’s, but that was about the only thing I ever played that 3D Realms made. I do remember seeing the original Shadow Warrior back in the late 90’s, but I never actually played it. Missed the news about the remake, but when I saw this I knew I had to have it. Such a good looking game, the mechanics, the story, the humor, it’s right up my alley. As I mentioned in the tweet, I’m going to write about my playthrough of the game, will probably be a multi-part series. Look for the first part of that shortly.

That’s it for this edition. Let me know what you think about this post idea, and if you’d like to see more like it in the future.

#stateofthetweet #gaming #roundup

State of the Game: Multi-Genre

sotg

Apologies for missing the column last week, but when most of the week you’re spending time with family, there isn’t as much time for gaming, and I didn’t feel I had enough to say to make the post. This week is a different story.

So what have I been playing? The list for this edition of State of the Game includes: Elder Scrolls Online, Sid Meier’s Starships, The Forest, Titanfall, League of Legends and the Halo Master Chief Collection. 

I haven’t played as much ESO as I would have liked. The problem I’m having is that I want to play it, but know that it takes a significant chunk of game time, so I have to wait until certain parts of the day to dive in. By then, sometimes I’m not in the mood, so I’ve been averaging a couple of hours every other day. But once I actually get logged in, I love what I’ve seen; I get sucked in and end up playing for a couple hours. The only other problem was my incessant need to try out every class before settling on one to play. In games like EQ2 (with 16 or so classes) it becomes a nightmare. Thankfully ESO only has the 4 archetypes, and though I realize there’s pretty infinite customization for each, I still feel the base class gives you enough of an idea of their playstyles. Previously when I spoke of the game, I had created a Khajiit Nightblade and a Dunmer Sorcerer. I have since made an Orsimer Templar, and a Nord Dragonknight. I’ve stuck with somewhat traditional RPG builds for each class, with the Nightblade going dual wield and stealthy, the Sorcerer with a destruction staff and pets, the Templar having sword/board and some healing, and the Dragonknight utilizing a 2-hander. Here’s the newbies (super new in the case of the DK):

2015-04-05_00001 2015-04-05_00002

Who knows how each with progress. For now, I’ve found that I enjoy the Sorcerer the most, and I have played it more than the others, though level 8 isn’t a huge accomplishment. My review of ESO to this point would be favorable, in that I see plenty of players, I enjoy the quests and story, it’s the best looking MMO I’ve played, and I love the lore and feeling of being in Tamriel. However, I haven’t hit any of the walls and issues people had with the game to this point, because I haven’t tried to group with anyone, and haven’t hit the level cap either. Still, I am going to keep plugging away at it. I love the buy to play aspect, as I did with GW2 (which is a game I still should put more time into) in that I don’t feel guilty about not playing, but can still play whenever I want. I see this as being my favorite pay model to date. I’ll leave it at that. Here’s a nice landscape shot:

2015-03-25_00003

The reason I haven’t been able to stick to just ESO is because I’ve had a few other additions to the library that have been vying for my attention, along with the old standby, League of Legends. This past week they re-introduced Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) mode for April Fool’s, though the joke was that it was going to be called NURF and have cooldowns increased and the gameplay slowed down. Then some of the LCS pros decided to fry the game servers (with sliced ham, no less) and it turned back into URF, which is super fast, low cooldowns and mana costs. I actually missed out on this the last time it happened (must have been during a LoL break) so this time around I made sure to get in on it. It’s surprisingly addicting, and there’s a lot less pressure to perform because it’s far from balanced and it’s not a ranked queue. I’ve had modest success, though I believe my win/loss ratio is sitting right on 50%. My best game came when I played a tanky Hecarim, and went 7/1 /6 and carried my team. It’s definitely a fun game mode to break things up, and honestly I’d be ok with it being a permanent queue type. The meta is different in that there’s no jungler, which reminds me of how we used to play back when I first started the game. Some really weird team comps have popped up and did well too, so it’s rather unpredictable, and keeps things fresh. I feel as good about it as I did when I first discovered custom ARAM matches. Check it out before it disappears.

Another game that has had my attention of late is Titanfall. Yeah, I know, it’s one of those Xbox games that got ported to the PC, and yes, I know it’s only available through Origin, which as a whole is a huge pile of shit. I actually played the game (and I believe I mentioned it before) at my friend’s house who owns an Xbox One, and I loved it. It’s a great game, and works very well (as well as looking very nice) on the console. PC ports of console games have a reputation for being rather shitty though, so I was hesitant to make the purchase until I saw that the game was on sale AND you get the season pass for free. Let’s see, pay about $15 for a game or spend hundreds on an Xbone? Yeah, obvious choice there. So I picked it up and have been playing it a bit here and there. It’s just as fun and I don’t really see any differences between it and the console version, but my friend who owns it there swears that the Xbone version has “more stuff in it” – his words not mine. The major issue I see is that I have a key bound for screenshots, and either it’s not working or I can’t find the screenshot folder. As such I don’t have any cool pics to share, but I did snap my stat sheet with my phone for your viewing pleasure.

WP_20150404_001

At that same friends house on the same Xbone, we’ve been playing through the Halo Master Chief Collection. Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before or not, but the only Halo game I had ever played to that point was Halo 2, and I had only played the multiplayer (LAN parties back in the day mostly). I wasn’t a big fan. So I wasn’t really going into this with excitement, though my friend assured me that the co-op campaign was fun. I was skeptical but went along with it, and I have mixed feelings having completed Halo 1 the other day. First, the story line isn’t engaging whatsoever, and the voice acting and animations are garbage. Yes, I realize this is an old game and what not, but this is an HD update and it still looks shitty. The game design was simple and repetitive to the point where everything starts to look the same. It has very dated combat, most guns lack ironsights/zoom and a cover system is basically non-existent. I’m not a fan of the first game, and don’t think I would have been when it released either (especially because there is a button you can press in game that shows you exactly how bad the game used to look before the update). Soon we shall move onto Halo 2, which I now think will be an improvement on the original game. Apparently #3 is where it really starts to shine, from what my friend says. We shall see, all 4 games are in this package, and Halo 5 is on the horizon, and I’m sure I’ll get suckered into playing through that one with him as well. The major upside I can give the game is that playing it on the hardest difficulty (which we have been doing) presents a real challenge. There were checkpoints that took us quite a while to get through. All I know is I’m ready for the combat to evolve.

2015-04-05_00001

I’ve been playing Starships a bit here and there as well, and I really don’t have a lot to say about it. I’d recommend it to 4x newbies, or to 4x veterans who want something that isn’t so time consuming. It’s really a 4x lite, and that’s ok. I enjoy it in short bursts, and have already started amassing an empire while meeting the other AI counterparts. The strategy is a bit limited, but it’s a fun experience for when you want to jump in and jump out.

Lastly, I started up a co-op game in The Forest with my sister. It’s been out a while, and I believe I mentioned that the multiplayer is now integrated into Steam as well, so invites are a piece of cake now. There was a day when I started up a public server and played for about an hour but no one joined, and to this point anyone I knew who had the game wasn’t playing it so I had no one to invite. Well, during my sister’s visit I had to go somewhere for a couple of hours and set her up playing The Forest on my computer. She ended up playing it the whole time I was gone and was hooked. She bought her own copy of the game when she got home. Here’s where the funny part comes in. See, when I play The Forest single player, it runs fantastically. I mean there’s a little pop-in here and there or something that might be buggy (it’s still Alpha after all) but overall it runs great. As soon as you add one person to the mix, it bogs down like crazy. I’m not sure how that puts such a load on my system, but it surely did. And it didn’t matter if she was the host or I was, it happened. We still played for a while but the optimization was disappointing. However, the developers have recently stated that they are upgrading the engine to Unity 5, so it’s supposed to have better graphics and performance soon. I’m hoping that helps the multiplayer in particular.

2015-04-04_00001

It’s interesting that the voice chat is directly linked to these walkie talkies, and the amount of detail they put into them is awesome. If you start swimming, you can’t hear or speak via the WT. If you put it down to carry something, same effect. Your voices actually kind of sound like they’re going over WT’s as well, which is a nice touch. I missed that in the patch notes somewhere, and yes, I realize I haven’t posted a couple of the patches, but I hadn’t really been playing the game. So anyway, I noticed that the game ran smoother the further away we were from each other, though it did seem to normalize when we had a big rock to our backs and set up our base camp. Perhaps it was something to do with the time of day (peak hours) or our distance from each other. Not sure, but I hope it improves soon.

2015-04-04_00002

That’s all for this week. Until next time.

#stateofthegame #roundup

State of the Game: The Short Edition

sotg

Late again, but I was debating just calling this post off for the week because I didn’t want to get into too much detail when talking about any of the following games. However, I think I’ve piled up enough smaller experiences that I can just do a small summation of what’s been going on. This is mainly due to the fact that my sister is coming out this week to visit for a few days, so I know I won’t be posting much if at all, so this is what you get til after she leaves!

League ELO hell continues. The story thus far: Started Bronze I after provisional matches. Dropped to Bronze III. Rose to Bronze I. Dropped to Bronze II. Stayed for a month. Dropped to Bronze III. Got into promo series to go back to Bronze II, lost. Stuck in Bronze III. I guess I suck. Sort of taking a break from taking it so seriously. Maybe I’ll luck out and get back to Silver before the season ends.

Helldivers: Progressed through several missions, and then finally tried out the co-op multiplayer, which is a lot of fun. Since it’s made by the same guys who made Magicka, you can “accidentally” kill your buddies. Tons of fun. Haven’t had a problem with population thus far, but I feel like I should devote some significant time to this one before populations eventually die out.

Hotline Miami 2: Progressed through Act I. Feels more difficult than the first game, but mechanics, atomsphere, graphics, gameplay are all the same. Perhaps I’m just wrong in thinking that the first one was easy.

More sales got the best of me. I picked up Banished for $5, and Starships for some odd discount as well. I was bummed that I later saw a package where Starships and Beyond Earth were both really cheap, but that’s how it goes. Banished is a fun city builder that I’m surprised to be enjoying as much as I have. I usually get bored with these types of games. I actually was looking into getting Cities: Skylines because it’s been all the rage, but again, I usually get bored with these types of games. So I figured I’d skip it, but I’ve had my eye on Banished for a long time, and $5 is a steal, so I went for it instead. I have enjoyed trying to get everything in working order to the point where you can speed things up and it’s on autopilot.

Starships is a 4x-lite. It’s a game designed for the mobile market, and as such many people said it wasn’t worth your time. I am normally one of those types of people as well, but it just looked like a great way to get some strategy gaming in, without the time committment. Having read some reviews and commentary, it seems that was the conclusion most people who were happy with the game came to. Having tried it out, I can tell that I was going about things all wrong in my first game, so I have a better idea of what I want to do in the next go-round. I think it’s fun, but I’ll get more into it at a later time.

During that same sale I was also tempted by Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, and ended up getting it as well. I would have preferred to get it for the PS3 because I have the first two games there as well, but it wasn’t on sale over on PSN, so I couldn’t pass up the deal. However, having purchased Borderlands 2 back when it came out (and the season pass) I know that it’s one of those money sinks, so getting the bundle all at once was helpful, and still cheaper than just the base game would have been on PS3. I never did finish the last couple of DLC packs for BL2, so that was reinstalled on my Playstation to get tackled before jumping into TPS.

Lastly, my Dad gifted me a copy of Tamriel Unlimited. I wasn’t expecting that, and had suspicions that it might not run on this system, but I’m happy to report it runs great. Having played a Khajiit stealthy character in Skyrim, I obviously had to roll a Khajiit Nightblade in ESO. I started out doing all the quests I could find, and then ended up taking a boat to another zone and doing more quests. It feels just like Skyrim, though I see other people doing the same things as me. It’s weird, but cool, and I rather like it. Coming back for another session, I decided to roll a Dark Elf Sorcerer, and I was instantly hooked, and now I’m wanting to try the other classes. I have a full post ready to write about this game that will probably hit next weekend.

Here’s some screens of some of the aforementioned games.

2015-03-22_000012015-03-24_000062015-03-24_000022015-03-19_00007

#stateofthegame #roundup