State of the Game – Playing Catch Up

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Yeah, it’s been about a month since I’ve done one of my signature round-up posts, but with NBI planning and execution coupled with less time at the computer, I didn’t really have the material to pull one of these posts together. Because it’s been a month and I haven’t talked about much in the way of what I’ve been playing, there’s plenty of material for this post. The games at hand this week are: Titanfall, League of Legends, Diablo III, Shadow Warrior, Hearthstone, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

I have touched on all of these games over the course of the past month, be it in a random post talking about one or the other, my Tweet round up post, or during one of the various NBI writing prompts. Titanfall has been in my regular rotation for this past month, and as a result I’m almost max level (sitting at rank 45 currently) and I’ve also had some success in the ranked play. I mentioned this in my last screen shot post for the #NBI2015Safari so I won’t delve into it any further. It’s still a blast to play, and with the jump-in, jump-out nature of the game, it’s right up my alley.

I’ve also been playing League of Legends regularly, but I have slacked off on ranked matched. I did promo back to Bronze II, and have been bouncing up and down ever since. I did manage to pile up enough IP to get another champion though, and picked up Jinx whom I’m planning to practice heavily for use in ranked matches. In the last patch, 5.8 there were some improvements to the visuals of The Howling Abyss map, along with a new summoner spell that works just like the snow balls in the Poro King game mode that was out this past winter. They also added in a new way to use up those tiny amounts of RP you might have on your account, with a skin boost. For 95 RP, you unlock a random skin for each champion on your team, and everyone gets an IP boost as well. When I bought one, the boost was 200 IP, and when one was purchased for me, the boost was 100 IP. Either way, it’s nice to be able to use the small amounts you sometimes end up with.

The newest patch, 5.9 introduced a rework for Ashe, some balance tweaks and new skins. There was also a teaser for the next new champion released recently:

We now know his name is Ekko, and he looks primed to be a top/jungler but I could see him fitting into other roles as well. Here’s what he’ll look like in game:

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You can check out his full kit on his champion reveal page.

The Diablo III event that I was running this past Saturday basically didn’t happen, but that didn’t stop me from rolling a new hardcore Witch Doctor for Season 3 which started recently.

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One thing I didn’t realize, was that there was an anniversary event going on as well, where each new zone that you enter had a chance to become a cow level. Yep, just like back in Diablo II. I didn’t think we’d ever see this, as Whimsyvale was supposed to be the replacement for the cow level, and there is even some dialogue at some point that says “there is no cow level.” That has changed though, and when I entered a rift with my Witch Doctor, I ended up being accosted by bipedal cows. Horrifying.

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The rift guardian too, was a huge bovine, which an even bigger axe. He was taken down though, and throughout the rift I ended up with some pretty decent gear. My Witch Doctor ended up at level 25 before I decided I was done for the evening. She looks pretty fierce, doesn’t she?

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I’ve also been playing through Shadow Warrior still, usually just a chapter or two at a time. Despite my write up sitting at Chapter 6, I’m actually on chapter 13. It’s been a great game so far, and I really do recommend it to FPS fans. I won’t go into too much detail, as more of that write up will be coming soon. But here’s a shot of the next big baddy I had to take down:

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I mentioned it on the last episode of the podcast, but I’ve been playing Hearthstone again here and there, but not on my PC, no. My friend picked up a new iPad the other day, and since then the past couple of times I’ve seen her I ended up playing Hearthstone on it. I suggested she download it just so I could check it out, and she ended up getting hooked on it as well. Legend of Grimrock, another game I own on the PC was also available on the iPad, and I told her it was a good game as well, so she has been playing that too. Both games don’t require any sort of twitch skills though, and I think that’s why they run so well on the touch-screen device. Playing Hearthstone again reminded me that the new adventures came out, but I didn’t have enough gold on my account to pick one up. I’d have to do dailies for a while to get them, and while I’d like to, I also ended remembering why Hearthstone started to get on my nerves: fuckin RNGesus. Everything have random effects and it gets to a point where sometimes it feels like everything is out of your control, and that’s not something I really want in my card game. So who knows if I’ll ever actually get around to playing it anymore. Probably just when I’m visiting my friend.

Lastly, despite having ESO, GW2 and H1Z1 sitting on my hard drive ready to play whenever I want, I went and downloaded more games. First it was Marvel Heroes. I ended up hearing that some of my qualms with the game had been changed up, so I checked it out again. I still don’t like it. I’d just rather play Diablo, to be honest. Next, I downloaded Neverwinter again, mainly because I wanted to check out the dungeon creator stuff that we talked about on the podcast recently. Neverwinter just doesn’t sit well with me, or my computer for that matter. Something looked off and no matter how much I messed with the graphics settings it still looked funny. Which is weird considering the above mentioned MMOs run great and I believe they are all newer. So last night I downloaded Star Wars: The Old Republic. A bunch of people in the blogosphere seem to be playing it right now, and I remember enjoying what I played of it back when I first checked it out a year or so ago. Hearing about that XP bonus for story missions means avoiding all the sidequests and I think that might make it even more enjoyable, because I remember the story being the best part. I think I’m going to check out a different class though, because I remember the bounty hunter was getting sort of stale before.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Til next time.

#stateofthegame #roundup #gaming

State of the Game: The Steam Holiday Sale

I didn’t write my round-up post last week because of things going on around here that were keeping me busy, causing a lack of gaming. This week hasn’t been much different, I am still very much involved in doing a bunch of stuff around the house, along with needing to get out and take care of errands as well, and things seem to keep piling on. But I’m making progress in the right directions all around, so it’s feeling pretty good. I did manage to get more playing time in this week, though I am still playing less hours than I had been per week in previous months. I had a couple of days where I had longer sessions, but some days where I barely touched the computer. My longest play session occurred on Xmas day, mainly because I had new games to play, part of the Holiday sale going on over on Steam.

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Yes, unless you’ve been living under a rock for a number of years, the Steam Winter Sale happens every year. They’ll change the name here and there, they might have little gimmicks (like that weird gem auction thing this year), but we all know that we’re gonna get huge savings at this time of year. My funds were pretty much non-existent though, so I didn’t partake in the sale save for buying myself one small title that was super cheap. More on that later. I was gifted a couple of games though, one from my Dad on Xmas day, and another from my friend and fellow blogger Simcha, who was in the gifting spirit. Aside from the games scored in the sale, I finally got into the Alpha for Heroes of the Storm, and played that a bit. I’m not going to talk about my disappointment with that game today though, I have an impressions post coming for that later. So first up, we’ll talk about the gift from my Dad: Divinity: Original Sin.

I’ve been wanting to pick up the game since it released back in the summer, but sure enough it never went on sale until this month. He basically told me that I could choose any game I wanted for $40 or less, and of the games I have on my Steam wishlist, that title was at the top. I also made an Origin account just to get Dragon Age Inquisition, but thought better of it. I’ll probably get that game on the console, since I have the previous two games there already. Anyway, I picked out Divinity, and got started checking it out. There are a number of class choices you can go with for the main characters, and I really had no idea what I would want or need for a solid team, but upon further research it turns out the classes are flexible and you get followers that can flesh out your party. So I stuck with the Cleric/Knight combo I started with. Both have melee attacks and heals, so I would be relatively safe to start off.

The game plays like the old Bioware/Black Isle titles such as Baldur’s Gate, except when it comes to combat. In combat the game goes turn based, rather than real time with a pause, and I actually prefer this to the old system. Less mistakes to be made. Graphically it’s far superior, the game is beautiful zoomed out, but you can also zoom in and check out the characters and scenery up close. Both are very nice looking.

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There are bosses, along with more text dialogue than voice over dialogue. Quests are plentiful, but there is no quest helper, no clickable shiny bits, and no glowy trails. This is old school RPGaming at its finest.

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Rather than having blind luck rolls for important dialogue options (such as intimidate or logic) there is a neat little mini game of rock paper scissors that you play with the NPC.

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As I said, eventually you get followers, so you will round out your party to four. I ended up with an archer and a mage class for my group, but I haven’t really tested their mettle in battle yet. I’ve spent most of my time so far running around in the town doing various things and figuring stuff out.

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Overall I really like this game and I can’t wait to get further along. Of course there were other distractions. Simcha gifted me a copy of Legend of Grimrock, which is basically a new age version of the classic Dungeon Master game. I used to play that back on my Dad’s Atari ST, and have seen various iterations of the game since. This is definitely up-to-date graphically, and the gameplay is basically the same though it does feel like the systems are more polished. It has various puzzles.

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Plenty of combat, in a first person style, though you only get the spell effects or action lines of your weapons while the monsters are fully animated.

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That’s a big ass spider. Yeah so I managed to make it to the 4th floor before finally taking a break. I decided to roll with the default party because I wanted to get a feel for the game, and really, that’s all there is to it. It’s been fun.

Lastly, I picked up this game called Deep Dungeons of Doom today for a paltry $2.50. It’s a port of a mobile game, yet it still feels pretty deep. Yeah, it’s not going to win any awards and I can see where eventually it would get old but for a quick dungeon crawling experience it’s pretty fun.

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This is what you look at most of the time. You have your stats/equipment up top, and your character and whatever you’re fighting down bottom. It’s basically like a rogue-like in that you clear a room and then move on. You attack and block or use your items, but there’s a rhythm to it that gets pretty hypnotic. You have to time your attacks to hit weak spots or get past blocks, and also time your blocks against their attacks. That’s really it, but it’s actually a lot of fun. I’ll report more on this as I have more time with it.

That’s all for this week. How did you do in the Holiday Sale?

#steam #stateofthegame #roundup