State of the Game: Some Old, Some New

This week I fell back on old habits. I’ve spent more time playing MOBAs and the like, doing dailies and such, along with spending time with one in-depth single player game. This seems to be the best way for me to slowly clear out my backlog, since each time I beat one of those in-depth single player games, I replace it with another. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes get bored with whatever that game may be and switch it out prematurely, but I still have beaten quite a few games over the course of the year. My Pops was nice and gifted me a few games this week as well, but thankfully they’re games that don’t really add to the backlog, as they are games without a lengthy campaign mode or in the case of one it’s still in early access. For my regular readers, you’ll know that the in-depth game I’ve been playing is Skyrim, or more specifically the DLCs for the game. For those of you who are new here, or maybe missed those posts, here’s the recap for the week:

I started the playthrough of the Dragonborn DLC.
Then went through a smattering of side quests.

I already have enough screens to do another post from some playtime yesterday, but that will be saved for a further post. In other news, there have been patches for Awesomenauts and League of Legends that brought some changes and that gave me reason to play the hell out of those games. In Hearthstone I’ve just been doing dailies when I listen to podcasts. What podcasts do I listen to? If you guessed the ones from my partners over at TGEN, you’d be correct. Don’t know what TGEN is? Check out my side bar for links. Anyway, I had amassed something like 1300 gold and because I wasn’t in the mood for doing Arena runs, I decided to just buy a bunch of packs. That didn’t play out as well as I would have liked though. Out of the 13 packs I bought, I didn’t get a single legendary. From all the people I play against that have every damn legendary in their decks, I don’t see how I haven’t gotten more, but it is what it is. I did get a few rares, including a 2nd Molten Giant and that Paladin sword that gives +1/+1 to each summoned minion. I’d still prefer some more orange cards.

As I said, Awesomenauts saw a new patch (2.7) that brought me back into the fray after having been away from the game for a while. In it was a new playable ‘naut named Scoop, balance tweaks, and a new menu system. Over the course of the past couple patches they also redid the stats system and added a new map that I finally got to try out.

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The new menu is pretty clean. Scoop is an interesting support character that has a snaring hammer throw and a self heal that damages nearby enemies. I really tried to do well with him but just couldn’t. I have seen opposing team Scoops do rather well, and have had a couple on my team that got the job done. I think I’m too aggressive in Awesomenauts to play a support class, as I don’t really like any of them. As I said they redid the stats system, so all old stats were relegated to a separate page, and as you’ll see in this shot, they said they will be removed at some point so here’s a screen for posterity:


I wish I could add in all my stats from the PS3 version, as I know I still have more hours invested in that. Plus it would pad my numbers all around. Anyway, the day the patch went live the balance tweaks that they put in felt way out of line. Scoop felt weak, and ‘nauts like Raelynn felt over-buffed. So obviously I played Raelynn a bunch after that and wrecked face. I managed to get two games in a row without a single death, and that’s something brag-worthy in my opinion. I’m not at the top of the leaderboards, but I am in league 3, which is still filled with some challenging players. Here’s my 9-0 and 10-0 games:

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In League of Legends, The Harrowing has come around once again, so that means new skins (WuKong and LeBlanc), new summoner icons (1 in store for 1500 IP, one earned from game mode, others bought/earned with gifting), legacy skins (all the old Harrowing skins from previous years including bundles) and a new featured game mode. The mode is Hexakill, and though that isn’t exactly new, instead of being on Summoner’s Rift, they’ve decided to put it on Twisted Treeline. 12 players on a map designed for 6 is pure chaos. I’ve been having a blast with it, as I have with most of the featured game modes because they break up the monotony of the usual play. I’ve had the most success with Caitlyn on the map, including a game where I had a ridiculous 7.1 KDA but still somehow lost the game. That was frustrating but I was proud of my performance. Here’s a spread of the games I’ve played the past couple of nights:


One at the bottom was cut off where I played Sona, that was a victory as well. Really the only reason that I’ve had any defeats is because of players going AFK or a poor team comp due to idiots not realizing that we need a tank or a carry or something. For instance, in the game where I was twitch, not a single person but me bought any MR items, when we were fighting a stacked AP team. I mean, come on people, FUNDAMENTALS. For fuck’s sake. Anyway, here’s a closer look at that beastly Cait game that I almost single-handedly won, but one of our teammate’s toaster was on the fritz and they kept putting us down a man.

That’s what a 7.1 KDA looks like

On to the new games. One that was on my wishlist and that I was really excited to get my hands on was Ziggurat. It just recently came out of Early Access and I actually only heard of it a couple of days before it was gifted to me. You know I have a penchant for Rogue-likes and this game is an example of what makes and excellent one. It’s as if Heretic/Hexen, Delver and The Binding of Issac had a threeway (fourway?). It’s in first person, it’s fantasy based (you play a mage), it has level design much like Issac, and it reminds me of Hexen in that it’s got bullet hell with fantasy mobs. Of course Hexen was more like Doom in that it had a story and was linear, but they speak the same visual language. Here’s a look:


I love the graphical style, it’s somewhat stylized but still semi-realistic. The UI reads well, with health and mana levels promptly displayed, exp bar on the bottom, alternate mana bars on the right. The “Minions” bar up top gives you an indicator of how many more mobs you need to kill before clearing the room. The map system looks like TBoI, where you have various rooms that are randomly filled with monsters or events like danger rooms (filled with traps), rooms where you can make offerings to the Gods, the mystery box room, and then a room where you find the “portal key” which will open the portal in the boss room.

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I’ve played several times, as there is permadeath, and since every game is random, I’ve had more success on some runs than others. Each time you start the game you’ll have your basic wand and then get a random starting weapon/spell. There are 4 item slots, one for your wand and three that take one of the other mana sources. Blue is for spells (like fire/ice), Green is for staves (with varying abilities) and Orange is for alchemy, which is usually grenades but there’s also a pretty cool pistol weapon. Bosses seem to be random too, as I’ve only made it as far as the 4th floor, yet I’ve seen different bosses on the first floor many times. Here’s some of the baddies I’ve seen:

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Most of them were pretty easy to beat once you figured out their gimmick, but they do a lot more damage that the normal mobs and I died to a few of them, though I’ve beaten them all at least once. Leveling comes with perks that you can pick in the form of cards. Each card has an advantage, or a mix of advantage/disadvantage. Completing certain objectives also opens up new characters with which to play through the game. I’ve only opened one so far, but he has better skill with the basic wand at the expense of less mana for the other pools. This can be countered with perks though, so he feels stronger overall. You can also find perk cards randomly in the dungeon, so sometimes you’ll get extra. At the end of each run your score is applied to a pool (I’m guessing) and you earn various rewards, including new spells/items that will randomly spawn on your next run. That’s how you end up with grenades and differing spells for your arsenal, so there is an overall progression that isn’t seen until you start over again. I’m not sure how many levels there are but as of now the 4th is the furthest I’ve made it, and here’s my high score (along with some perks):

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The other two games I was gifted I haven’t spent as much time with. The first is called “Yet Another Zombie Defense” and it’s an arcade-y zombie shooter. It’s 3/4 perspective, and rather simple. You can play solo or with a small group and basically you have some fences you can place, and some weapons you can buy, and you kill zombies. There really isn’t anything else to it (what do you want for a $2 game?). It’s still rather fun but does get old after a while. Definitely more fun with more people. I got into a multiplayer game last night, but it was with a Russian group so the communication was a bit lacking. I didn’t take any screens but you can easily look it up on Steam. If anyone has it and wants to get a game going let me know.

Lastly, I was also gifted “Fight the Dragon.” It’s been labeled as “Diablo meets Little Big Planet.” I would say that’s a little overboard, as in Little Big Planet you could actually go as far as to recreate other games inside of that game. This game is more of “Diablo with a level editor.” However, the game is still in Alpha, so there’s still plenty to be added I’m sure. Graphically the game is sort of blocky, but not pixellated. The characters feel like Lego men, and the scenery is distinctly square:


Combat is kind of limited. You have a basic attack and a special attack. There’s dodge, sprint and block buttons as well. It appears later on you’ll get more skills but to start it’s just that. There’s a few missions that were created by the devs, but they equate to a tutorial. Apparently there are over 2k player-created “adventures” which I’m guessing are just one-off dungeons. Watching a video of the editor, it appears pretty powerful and the newest patch notes state that campaigns are now available, in that you can string together individual adventures. It’s looking like the devs have created the tools so that the community can build the game for themselves. That’s cool and all, but I’ve found that usually means wading through a lot of shit to find the good stuff. As you can probably tell I haven’t spent much time with the game so far, so I’ll get back to you once I do. I’m intrigued, but as with most Early Access games, I’m hesitant to spend too much time with it because of all the changes that will come in the months between now and release. I do want to try out the editor though. More on this later.

Ok, we’re over 2k words now, so I’m gonna wrap this up. Until next week, happy gaming!

#stateofthegame #roundup #mobas