The State of the Game #15

It’s Tuesday already? Where does the time go?

This week I spent more time playing MOBAs than anything else, although I did delve further into Doom 3, in an effort to complete the game and free up some room on my hard drive. I did give the ax to Battlefield 3; I must have scratched that itch well enough. I still am feeling the ever increasing urge to play an MMO… but I’m still resisting at this point. Until I can afford a new machine, there really isn’t any point. I’d also feel more comfortable paying a monthly, only because I don’t want to be limited in anything I do. It is really tempting to jump into the free to play version of EQ2 or LOTRO, but then again, I’d prefer seeing the newest content, so I’m not rehashing more of the same. A new machine is necessary for any of the upcoming releases (ESO, Wildstar, EQN), or even Neverwinter or Rift (I’ve already tried to play the latter two, and it wasn’t pretty, or smooth). So perhaps I am just writing down my inner monologue, but now it’s more officially known that I really want to play an MMO again. With that aside, on to the week’s updates!

Doom 3 is a mixed bag. I really enjoyed playing through the original Doom and Doom 2, as I knew what to expect. Dated graphics and controls aside, they are still action packed, difficult and fun games to play. Doom 3 on the other hand is a mixed experience, in that the controls are more modern (though there’s still no down-the-sights aiming), the graphics are better than the originals’ but still semi-ugly, and the game is slower paced. There really isn’t much of a story line, at least not when it comes to cut scenes and dialogue. You seemingly never speak, and only run into others occasionally who do, though they give minor updates to the story. The bulk of the intrigue comes from the PDAs scattered about the game. These PDAs come with audio logs and emails, both of which add depth and character to the storyline, even if the parts you actually play through do not. There are very tense moments when demons are spawning all around you, and when their compositions become more varied, it is harder to counter them all as easy as you would think. I also started the game on the hardest (available) difficulty. I understand that Nightmare mode doesn’t open until after you have completed Veteran (my current setting) but I don’t think I’ll be playing through again. One of the best emails I’ve come across so far, I had to write down. It reminds me so much of spam that we received on a daily basis:

From: Martianbuddy.com

New Clone Porn movies posted daily! Is this the new taboo? Come and see what everyone is talking about. See gorgeous identical clones in action.

Only 15 credits per month!

I mean, come on, you haven’t gotten terrible spam emails like this? They “sci-fi-ed” it up with the clone part, but it’s still just a cut and paste from my bulk email folder. All in all, the game is still a lot of fun, it’s just not what you would expect from the Doom franchise. It plays at a slower methodical pace, and is almost like a survival horror/mystery game. These are things that I enjoy though, so I guess what I’m trying to say is if you like Doom, don’t expect this to be much like it, outside of name and style. Expect a different but still good experience. With that said, I have progressed through the Alpha Labs, and the Enpro plant as of last night. This included a battle with the first boss, the Vagary, who was fairly challenging.

I really didn’t make any noteworthy progress in League of Legends. I have swapped back and forth between modes and I believe I’ve opened a couple of the Lunar Revel summoner icons, but otherwise it’s more of the same.

In Awesomenauts, I am almost max level, and I have jumped considerably on the leaderboards, yet again. It is seemingly easier after getting past that hump I was stuck on. I broke into the top 1000, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to near the top altogether, very soon. If nothing else, I’ve come to the top of my friend’s list! Here’s the obligatory screenshot:

Oh yeah, top 1000!
Oh yeah, top 1000!

Today we get Metro: Last Light on Playstation Plus. It received an 80 on Metacritic, and from reviews I read it is a “sleeper hit”, a survival-horror first person shooter. This is up my alley for sure, description wise. Not sure if I’ll be firing this up tonight, or if I’m going to try and run through Doom 3 completely beforehand. The difficult decision… I still have half a game plus two expansions waiting for me in the BFG edition… or I can get sucked into something completely new. I’ll probably have to at least try it out, but we will see. Until next time, happy gaming!

The State of the Game #14

This week was more of the same, with some added splashes of new/old games thrown into the mix. As usual, I played quite a bit of my usual MOBAs, but I also ran through a new game, and fired up an old friend that’s been sitting on my hard drive for over a year. I also hit a milestone this week, but more on that in a bit. The playlist this week was Awesomenauts, League of Legends, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Battlefield 3, and Doom 3 BFG.

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote my last post relating to my PSN trophy level. I have gone over how achievements/trophies/whatever-you-want-to-call-them are less of a priority for me than they once were, but I still like seeing the numbers change and how my trophy collection stacks up to my friends. I don’t have hundreds of friends on PSN, so I am only taking a small sample size of the community, but of the friends I do have, there are only a couple of them that are truly obsessed with trophy gathering. One in particular has nearly  100 platinum trophies, a number which I would never even hope to attain. I’ve probably played over 100 games on my PS3, but not all of them had platinum trophies, and those that did were sometimes ridiculously hard to earn, or the game just wasn’t fun enough to warrant all that play time. I’ve earned 8, and have a few games that are within reach of the platinum, but I’m in no hurry to earn more. Still, my last post on the subject had me sitting close to 1500 trophies, and almost to level 14, and I have now hit level 15 during the course of the week. I’m almost to 2,000 trophies as I write this as well. It took a year to earn a level, and that goes to show how much I’ve slowed down with achievement-based gaming. Part of what got me to the next level was my play through of Brothers, and I’ve already dedicated a full post to that, so no more commentary is needed. Here’s what has happened with the other games on the list:

Awesomenauts:
I believe I have made it over “the hump”. In last week’s column, I mentioned that I was nearing 16k rating and had broken into the top 1600 rank-range, but that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to get my numbers to go up/down (up in the case of rating, down in the case of rank). This week I saw a considerable jump on both ends, and I didn’t really play any more games than usual. I’m now sitting at rank 1361, and have a rating of 16216. Getting over the hump into the 16k rating-range has made it that much easier to go up in rank, as I went from 1600~ to 1300~ in a matter of a couple of days. I also prestiged for the the final time, and am about halfway to max level. Once that happens, there really won’t be any other form of progression outside of climbing the leaderboards, but that has been fulfilling in itself. Here’s the proof:

WP_20140126_001

 

My roommate is rather upset, because at some point (back when we were in the 3000~ rank-range) he was rated higher than me, and after I passed him up he’s never come close. I think he is rank 2900 or so, which isn’t to say he’s bad, perhaps he’s just had worse luck. Or maybe he’s just bad 🙂

League of Legends:
My Brother-in-law mentioned that he got his little brother playing League, and he was seemingly picking it up rather quickly. At some point he had made a “smurf” account (new account that starts at level 1 and has to be leveled, but you have the higher level gameplay experience, usually giving you an advantage when playing against those with a low MMR), and was using it to play with his brother. I thought it sounded like a good idea, because if I played with them on my main account, I would probably suffer a loss of MMR because of their lower skill level. So I made my own smurf account. I have yet to play with them, but I did play a bot match with the new account, and forgot how truly bad people are when they first start playing the game. Hard to believe I too was that bad at one point, and I’m not even that good now.

Outside of the smurfing, I started playing more classic again, as I reunited with an old friend in the game, and we have been tearing it up. Every game I have played with him has ended in a win, despite some of the games seeming like they would be a loss. We have a similar play style though, so our synergy elevates the rest of the team. I have mostly played Support, and because I hadn’t really played much classic since the new season started (or throughout preseason for that matter) I realized that I needed to tweak my builds and my runes/masteries. I was finding that the runes I was using to add gold per 5 aren’t really as necessary anymore, as the new gp5 items and masteries really made a difference. I was having an over abundance of gold, but was noticing that my AP ratios were lacking. As such, I have shifted the focus of my rune page from gp5 to ability power. Here’s the new page:

newsupportrunes

 

Keep in mind, this is a work in progress because I didn’t have the marks I decided I wanted to use. I am now using flat AP quints (+15 AP), AP/level glyphs (+28 AP @ lvl18), Flat Armor seals (+12~ armor), and Hybrid penetration marks (will give armor and magic penetration). I’m not sure on how it will work 100%, because I was using armor marks previously, and only have two of the hybrid pen marks as of right now. So I’m a little tankier and have a little less penetration for the time being. The justification for these runes is that the extra ability power really helps early game skirmishes, the armor is protection from the opposing AD, and from the auto attacks that the opposing support will throw at you. The hybrid penetration will help you do more damage with your own auto attacks, and will also help with spell damage. This is an aggressive set up, but you should always be trying to poke as the support, especially if you are ranged. I used this build with Sona and it seems to work out better, mainly because you still have manageable gold amounts, but also hit a little harder in early game lane trades. Supports no longer have to be a heal bot, they can actually do some damage.

The Others:
I played more Battlefield 3 here and there. It’s still going strong from what I can tell, no matter what time of the day I get on, there are always multiple full servers. Perhaps some people never moved on to #4, or maybe because of its buggy launch they went back to 3 for a while. Either way, it’s nice to see that it hasn’t be completely abandoned. I really want to like the rush mode or the domination mode, but there’s something wonky about the vehicle controls that throw me off. The first time I piloted a jet I crashed before anyone knew I was in the air. I somehow managed to put a helicopter on it’s side and still move for quite some distance. The tanks aren’t as bad, but I still got lit up by the opposition. For now, playing the good ol’ infantry-based deathmatch is the most fun to me. I even fired up the single player campaign just to see if there was some missions that would teach me how to properly control the vehicles, but I haven’t played one yet. More on this later.

Finally, I returned to Doom 3 BFG. I pre-ordered this game, and played it a bit upon release. I played it a little here and there. At one point I decided it was best to play through Doom 1 & 2 first before playing through 3, and I beat the old games, just to let the title collect dust again. I was looking at it the other day and said “why not?”, so I picked up where I left off, basically at the very beginning of the game. I only played one night, but I made a fair bit of progress. I believe I’ve made my way farther than I have ever been, as I had played the game a time or two before on different platforms, but have not beaten it anywhere. The game still looks pretty good, but is showing some of its age, particularly in the area of aiming. I get frustrated playing games where you don’t have the option to look down the cross hairs of your gun. But it’s still got enough spunk to keep it fun. I was still jumping every time they threw something crazy and unexpected at me, and that damn flashlight still doesn’t stay charged long enough!

Normally I’d go into what’s ahead at this point, but I really don’t know. I have been in one of those moods where I bounce around a bunch. Still having the craving to play an MMO again, but I’m unsure where I might do so. Guess we will have to wait until next week to find out what I decide. Until then.