The State of the Game #18

The biggest story for me this week was the one I described in my last post, formatting my computer and attempting to get back into an MMO. I won’t go into that again, but there may have been a temporary solution found, more on that later. Despite spending a bunch of time with that project, I still squeezed in some gaming when I had down time. This week the playlist was as follows: Hearthstone, Remember Me, Awesomenauts, and League of Legends. I also have a couple other games to touch on.

I have been playing the game pretty steadily, completing quests seems to come easy these days, and the gold has been flowing. I feel like I’m winning more games than I’m losing, no matter what deck I am playing, at least in normal mode. The great thing about the quest system is that it forces you to play some of the decks you maybe didn’t like all that much to begin with. But in being forced to play them, you may learn to love them. Every deck has its strengths and weaknesses; though some may cater more to your natural playstyle, you can find bits you enjoy throughout. My major weakness has been exposed in The Arena. When I have to randomly choose cards, I’m all about picking the one that seems the best out of the 3 you choose from. That leaves me with unbalanced decks most of the time, and it’s driving me crazy. It doesn’t matter how much I focus and try to get some synergy going, I still cannot get very far. At this point I believe I’ve entered the arena about 6-10 times, and the best I’ve done is 2 wins. That was good enough for a pack and 60g, which got me back into The Arena fairly quickly, just to lose 3 in a row. And I swear, despite a random champ select, EVERYONE is a Paladin. I hate Paladins. That is all.

League of Legends:
I really didn’t play League much at all, but there was a big change that I wanted to touch on. Vel’koz has been teased incessantly, yet I still haven’t seen him for purchase in the store, so no that isn’t the big deal. Heimerdinger is getting a visual rework, but no that isn’t it either. The big deal, is the next featured game mode went live. It was actually teased a while back but for one reason or another I didn’t get around to making any commentary. Now I’ve actually played it, and wow what a difference a single person makes. The first round that I played, I wasn’t really sure what the meta would play out as, so I just called support and ran Sona. Seemed like a relatively safe choice for me. The rest of my team made their picks, and when all was said and done we ended up with a duo top lane, duo bottom, solo mid, and jungle, and the enemy team went solo top and duo mid but otherwise the same. Not only that, but we didn’t have a marksman, so my lane was damned from the start. Sona and Cho’Gath bot for the win! Needless to say it started out ugly and didn’t get much better from there. We did hold on for quite some time, but it was basically over at champ select. The next game went a bit better, I said I didn’t care what lane I went to, but that I was going to be Teemo. Cause, Teemo. There was a Teemo every match I played. I was bot with a Tristana, and we had better lane setups this time. Our top lane was Leona and Aatrox, and holy hell they decimated. Leona had the most kills by end of game. I had an average score, mostly assists because of poison/shrooms. It was crazy as we could send 4 people bot to push and have a duo split push elsewhere, it really changes the dynamic of the game. Too bad it’s only for a limited time.

I played Awesomenauts a few times. I was actually going to retire that game and remove it from my system but my roommate still plays it fairly regularly so I got suckered in a few times. I have maxed my level though, so aside from jumping around on the Leaderboards I don’t really feel like I’m accomplishing anything. I did make a couple of new friends in the game, so perhaps I’ll keep it around for a while longer.

Remember Me:
So last week’s free game via PSPlus was Remember Me. If you recall, I mentioned that I had heard the name, but didn’t really know a thing about the game, and that persisted until I decided to give it a whirl. I never looked anything up, I just blindly gave it a try. Wow. This game combined so many different things from different games, all of which were features that I found appealing in their various forms. The game is the stereotypical over the shoulder 3rd person game, the protagonist is female (and sexy, as is also required), there’s a complex fighting system, there’s lots of adventure, a whole ‘nother world to explore (albeit very linear), and even an Inception-like memory-within-a-memory final sequence. It’s really so many things from so many other parts of popular culture that it doesn’t have a genre. It doesn’t have a niche. It’s really not even itself, it’s a combination of many other selves. Despite this lack of identity, it managed to pull me in right from the get-go, and noticing all the similarities between it and other games I’ve loved actually enhanced my experience. Maybe you would be irritated by one or more parts of this game, but they are some of the coolest features from other games that somehow work when slammed altogether with a Sci-Fi twist.

Parts of the game remind me of the Resident Evil Series (QTEs anyone?). Others of Uncharted (climbing around, cutscene integration). The combo fighting system felt like many of beat-em-ups I’ve played over the years. Maybe it was the story, maybe it was the fighting and cool special effects. I’m not really sure but I loved this game, it’s definitely worth a playthrough. I won’t spoil anything for you.

On The Horizon:
Because of Hearthstone, I’ve had a renewed interest in CCGs. I don’t have hundreds to throw around on trying to get into a physical game, nor do I know anyone who plays any. However, I did purchase another electronic version of a CCG a couple years ago. Magic Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013. For one reason or another I never really played it, removed it from my hard drive, and forgot I owned it. I remembered at some point this week, and downloaded it a couple of nights ago. I have yet to play it, so no further commentary at this time, but that’s something I intend to dive into. Apparently the 2014 edition dropped last year, so a 2015 edition theoretically is on its way. If I really get into the one I already have, perhaps those will make it into the rotation as well.

The free game this week is for the Vita (the collection I can’t play grows!), so I’ll fall back into playing Skyrim along with the session based games above. I splurged a little today with the PSN sale that started, I picked up The Wolf Among us season pass, and The Walking Dead season 2 season pass. The first one was a steal at $9 and two episodes are already out. With TWD, I bought only the first episode previously @ $5, so getting the pass for $10 still gives me a $10 discount overall on the remaining episodes (where’s episode 2 anyway?). So I’ll probably run through TWA’s 2 episodes this week as well.

The State of the Game #17

I’ve already covered most of what I’ve been playing this week, but I do have some updates for those games and some commentary on a couple of things I haven’t yet mentioned. Primarily I spent my time with Skyrim and Hearthstone, so I’ll start with those games:

In Skyrim I had mentioned finding the bug with the Moth Priest. That bastard would attack me anytime we entered another zone. When in Fort Dawnguard, he would go aggro, but while in his “surrender” stance, he would run through the dialogue, but not mention being weary from the reading, which is what needed to happen for the quest to continue. I tried a bunch of fixes that I found on the web, but it came down to me having to reload an old save, which put me back an hour or so. I had to do the recruiting quest all over again, and then start up the Prophet quest again. This time when I entered the prison area, I killed off everything before opening the field, and was still attacked by the Priest. However, this time when he went down, he actually stood up (which is what I read you are looking for, because if he stays down he will remain aggro) and spoke afterwards. I was still skeptical, but he didn’t attack when I returned to Fort Dawnguard, and this time his animation was correct when running through his dialogue regarding the Elder Scroll:

A little less ornery.
A little less ornery.

I was able to complete the quest and go about my business, which in this case was to find the other two Elder Scrolls. I’ve ran through quite a bit more of the DLC but I’ll save that for my next post.

In Hearthstone, per J3w3l’s advice, I saved up gold from dailies and entered the arena again. I was presented with random options for which champion (deck) I would play, and picked the Priest. I built the random deck to the best of my ability, but you have to make somewhat hasty decisions because you don’t know what’s going to come up next. Each round you pick 1 out of 3 cards, and sometimes you’ll end up with doubles, but not always. Forget having any sort of theme, it’s not going to happen. The only cool part is that I got to use some cards that I don’t yet own, so that was nice to see how they might work in-game. I was thinking that you only had one “life”, in that you could only lose once before you were kicked out of the arena, but it turns out you get three “lives”. I was disappointed when I lost my first game to a Paladin, I had the early advantage but ended up tanking at the end. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I can actually lose three games before being “out”. The second game went in my favor, I utterly destroyed the Warlock I was up against. I don’t even think I was missing any health because I healed myself up before winning. After that, I went 0/2 against another Paladin and a Rogue. If I had my Priest deck it would have been a different story I think, but that’s besides the point. It was a good experience, and I agree with J3w3l that it is gold better spent as opposed to just buying a pack. The 1 measly win netted me a pack and 35 gold, so I got part of my investment back. Hopefully next time I’ll do better overall. Otherwise I’ve just been keeping up with dailies.

Last week’s free Plus game was Payday 2. I played its predecessor, and I wasn’t really overly impressed, but I explained that before. I decide to give the sequel a try, and I can honestly say I enjoyed it more than the first. Not only is there more of a feel that this is a world, rather than just a multiplayer lobby (the safehouse portion of the game helps with this), but there is more variety than in the first game. Outside of bank robberies, there are all sorts of other heists. I chose to play as Wolf, who is a pretty straight forward assault type, and chose to go with the perk that allows you to drop ammo for your buddies to start with. The first operation I was on had my group on a city block littered with retail outlets (reminded me of Beverly Hills) that we had free reign to rob. The goal was to collect a certain dollar amount, and it was in cash registers and safes primarily. Getting drills onto the safes is probably the most annoying thing I’ve encountered, as they take forever to allow you to open the safe, and are constantly jamming. Teamwork is key because the police will show up shortly after  you start causing a ruckus, and you need someone watching your back while you reset those drills and whatnot. It appears that options will crop up later, like using C4 or being able to pick locks, but these options weren’t available to me just yet. I completed my first mission solo with AI, but chose to help rob a bank with some random online people afterwards. They were already in the thick of it so I’m not sure exactly how the operation was supposed to go, but it was good fun shooting up everything and carrying fat bags of cash. I’m not sure how this will fit in my rotation, but it was fun. Trying to convince my roommate to play it as well.

On the horizon is more of the above, but also the new free Plus game, Remember Me. Until next time.