State of the Game: All Over the Place

Another week down, and the month is coming to a close. I think I may have written more blog posts this month than any other month in my “career.” I’d say the NBI has a lot to do with that. Sadly, the event comes to a close today, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop playing games and being a community. It just means the sanctioned events are coming to an end. From here on out, it’s up to us to keep blogging, keep creating content, and keep the movement strong. I know I’ve been doing my part, you should be too.

I strayed away from my current MMO of choice, partly because none of the people I had mentioned playing with have been playing all that much, but also because I’ve been involved in playing a number of games with the NBI crew (more on this is a bit). So really the only progress I made during the course of the week was two levels on my Cleric, and a couple of levels on my Rogue. Free players are only allowed two character slots, so at least I can’t be tempted to make any more alts. The levels on my Rogue came from straight PvP, I don’t think I’m going to do any traditional questing on that character. As it is, I’m kind of doing the same thing on the Cleric, as I have seriously gotten bored with themepark questing in MMOs. I do a few quests here and there still (particularly carnage or body drop quests/major event stuff). Sadly, the kill ten rats variety is still more fun that some of the “innovative” quests that some developers try to throw at us. Speaking of which, there’s a world event going on, and it’s called Unicornalia or some such nonsense. I could give a rat’s ass about having a unicorn mount. As the MMO Troll made mention of in his latest Massive Failure podcast, Unicorns don’t belong in the world of Rift. I agree with his sentiments. However, the event had some repeatable quests (used to grind for a special currency to buy the mounts) that gave massive amounts of xp and some decent coin. As such, I spent a portion of my time doing those, along with instant adventures, a couple dungeon runs, and some PvP. The best part of the event was having to close a special rift, which was actually semi involved. Rescuing unicorns, closing fire rifts, and then killing a raid-like boss. He died far too quickly for me to get the update the first couple times I tried to get him, but eventually I took him out.

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My session-based gaming obsession continues, with the typical MOBA, CCG and Rogue-like titles filling in spaces between my more time consuming games (and real life). I spent time with Awesomenauts, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Broforce, Binding of Issac, Nuclear Throne, Wizard Wars and even Rogue Legacy.

I had a pretty awesome game in Awesomenauts the other day (several actually), and still believe that Ayla is the coolest character the title has to offer. In this particular game, I think I got the most kills in a single match I’ve ever done, along with having nearly a 4.0 KDA. Some of you PvP friendly NBI peeps need to get your hands on this game. It’s $18 to get the base game plus expansion. Think about it.

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Riot never fails to keep coming up with reasons for me to play League of Legends. They’re also pretty good at making me enjoy the lore. The fictional band, “Pentakill” whose T-shirt I wear regularly, isn’t so fictional anymore. Seriously, this music rocks. I was impressed. Another featured game mode was released this week as well: One For All: Mirror Mode. You may recall I played the original One For All, and I wasn’t a fan. This time around, I love it. There are some key differences. First, the old version was played on Summoner’s Rift. The new version is on Howling Abyss. Next, the old version made each team pick one champion for all five of its members to play. This made you have to take into account each role typically played on SR, and pick a champ that was flexible enough to do it all. The new version plays just like ARAM, but now there’s only one choice of champion period. Meaning ten of the same champ in one lane. Chaos incarnate. A hell of a lot of fun. The only flaw I’ve seen is the fact that it’s a lotto pick, based on who nominates who. Meaning if I nominate Teemo and so do the other four players on my team, there’s a 50% chance in favor of that champ being selected. However, the other five champions that were picked have a 10% chance to still be the lotto winner. I saw this happen twice last night, where a champion that had three or more nominations lost out to one that had only one nomination. That’s dumb to me. And resulted in a game where we played ten Tarics. I fucking hate Taric. Here’s one of the more memorable rounds:

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In Hearthstone it’s been more of the same: doing dailies to get dat gold to do arenas. It felt like it took forever to amass 400 dust, but I finally did and made myself a Preparation for my Rogue deck. It’s a bursty miracle design, mostly copied from the internet somewhere. I’ve had a hell of a time getting much success with it. In fact, I haven’t won a game yet. I want an Edwin and another Preparation. Here’s to the endless dust grind. In case you’re wondering what the deck looks like:

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Magika: Wizard Wars went into open beta this week. It appeared to be a fun little PvP MOBA, minus the item buying and traditional lane scheme. It ended up being less that I expected. I had a little bit of fun with it, but I can see where the cash shop is instantly pay to win. I don’t normal care about psuedo advantages, like buying packs of cards in Hearthstone or exp potions in other games. I do care when you can buy items that affect your in game performance (gear) for real cash, and the barrier to entry for someone not willing to open their wallet is extreme. Hawken was like that. You don’t see me playing that game anymore either do you? I have to much to do to have to grind in another game. Scratch this one from the list.

Broforce had an update this week, adding a couple new Bros to the force, along with a ride-able bad guy machine. I got to see that bit first hand, because the level I had left off on had one in it. It’s basically a mech with jet boots and a couple of missile launchers, but it still was pretty cool, and makes the game feel more like a Metal Slug now. However, it runs out of gas fairly quickly, and landing too hard on the ground means burying yourself, never to get out. So they’re only useful for a couple minutes. I finally opened up Ellen Ripbro (the sole female character for now), which was the last character I needed to open before this new update added two more. So I’ll comment on the new guys when I get to them.

I acquired that copy of Nuclear Throne, just like I said I would last week. I’ve spent a couple of hours with it, definitely not enough time to have beaten the game just yet, but it’s been a great time waster, and is more in line with Binding of Issac than some of the slower paced dungeon crawling ones. It’s faster paced than even BoI though. And there’s guns. And explosions. Awesome. I found out about challenges that the steam community has been running, and as a result I had to try the newest one: The Passive Challenge. The rules were simple, don’t use your character’s special ability (basically no right clicking) and you have to turn the HUD off. It sounds easy, but is harder than it sounds. Some of the active abilities are pretty damn useful, and not knowing if you’re low on health or bullets makes things tricky. I recorded a video of one of my runs:

In the other Rogue-likes (Binding of Issac, Rogue Legacy), I just played a few minutes here and there, nothing much to report, besides I still love these games and the genre.

Finally, last weekend J3w3l started up a Terraria server for the NBI, and we have had some cool adventures thus far. I only played a little bit last weekend, but yesterday I had a binge day and played for around six hours. I think the bug has bitten me, as I’m starting to understand the mechanics and systems a bit more and am hungry for more exploration. I’m sure there’s still a lot I don’t know though, so we’ll just say that I have a basic understanding and am enjoying the game. Here’s some shots from the game:

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Super Mario art by Jeromai of Why I Game
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The tippy top of the massive treehouse by Talarian of Gamer By Design
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Fighting the Eye of Cthulu with J3w3l and Doone
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My underground “Cavernous Heart” (in progress)

It’s been another crazy week. Next weekend will be here soon enough, and I’ll have more for ya then.

#stateofthegame #roundup #gaming #multigaming

Changes to IGC, Starting June

It has been announced that a change is coming next month for the Playstation Plus service. The Instant Game Collection, which started approximately two years ago is changing its format. I was predicting a change to a large portion of the line-up for last month (or at the latest this month), because that’s what happened around this time last year, on the anniversary of the IGC’s introduction. However, Sony has decided to change the way the whole system works. Instead of only one PS4 title and a handful of titles for the PS3 and Vita systems, there’s now going to be an even two titles for each console. The balance makes sense, but I was really hoping for a handful of new titles to play all at once. Speaking of all at once, that’s another change to the program: all of the titles are available instantly on the first Tuesday of the month, and will only rotate once per month. So in a way this is pretty cool, and in another way it kind of sucks. We no longer have a reason to be excited every Tuesday (although some Tuesdays are lackluster, I’ll admit). But we don’t have to wait til the end of the month to get the title we really want. Anyway, on with the video:

The games for the PS4 are Trine 2: Complete Story, and Pixeljunk Shooter Ultimate. Seeing as how both of these games were previously available on PS3, these aren’t really new titles. Trine 2 was free for PS3 Plus members over a year ago, and it was a cool game, but there’s no real replay value there. I’ve never experienced any of the Pixeljunk games, but I’ve read positive feedback, and there’s more than one title in the series so they must be somewhat successful. These will just go in my queue and be added to my ever growing backlog of PS4 games.

For PS3, we’re getting NBA2k14, and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. Last month it was a Soccer game, this month a Basketball game. Why couldn’t it have been Madden? Maybe next month? C’mon man, Football is the best! Yeah so I didn’t even add the Soccer game to my download list, as it’s something I would never play, and I pretty much feel the same about this title. Madden I’d play though. There was one of the Sly Cooper titles that was on Plus quite some time ago that I have access to. I believe it was one of the PS2 ports, and it was okay as far as platformers go, but this is a pretty weak month for me. That’s ok, I have a big enough backlog as it is.

On the Vita, Terraria and Mutant Mudds Deluxe (also the Sly Cooper title is cross-buy and I’d be more likely to play it on the Vita tbh). Having purchased Terraria for the PS3 and receiving a copy as a gift through Steam (thanks j3w3l!) I’ll now own the game on 3 platforms. Yay. Or something. The latter game I know nothing about, but it’s another bit that I can try on that fateful day when I buy a PSVita. Maybe next year. Maybe never. Who knows.

#playstation #playstationplus #IGC #instantgamecollection

State of the Game: Revival

Here were are again, we have come full circle. I started a weekly column called ‘The State of the Game” last fall because as a long term blogger, I had hit some road blocks. Over the course of the years I had periods of inactivity but I was never willing to let this blog die. This column was a tool I used to get me on track, having a set day every week where I would do a round-up post of the games I’d be playing among other various updates. It served its purpose, in that it got me back to writing regularly, and I even started posting more than just that once a week that I held myself to. After several months, my blog was back to life and I felt that I didn’t need the weekly round up anymore. Part of this reasoning was due to the fact that I was posting several times a week; as a result the round-up posts felt like I was rehashing the same content. I didn’t want to let go of round-up posts, but I didn’t want to be struggling to fill them. I thought it would be better to drop the scheduled column and just write round-up posts when they made sense (as filler between more dedicated posts). Bullet time was born of this though process, but I think because I no longer had a schedule to adhere to, it was easily forgotten. Also, I chose to use a bullet list format, and that is somewhat limiting. As such, I am reviving The State of the Game, though this time around I’m dropping “the” off of the title. I’ll probably keep to the numbered order, or I might do individual titles like this one. I am also going to aim for posting the round up on the weekend, as that makes more sense. Due to the fact that I felt the need to do this introduction, and because I haven’t done a round-up since the beginning of this month, be aware that this post will be lengthy. I’ll try to keep it concise.

May has been a crazy month. With the Newbie Blogger Initiative in full swing, many different gaming opportunities have arisen, along with writing challenges as well. Here’s a small recap of things you may have missed:

You’d think I wouldn’t have time for much else, but in fact there are quite a few gaming experiences that I haven’t blogged about, for whatever reason. Recently a new game called Transistor released, from the same developer as the game Bastion. No, I didn’t get a copy of Transistor (yet) but I did end up with a copy of Bastion via my brother-in-law. He got it through a Humble Bundle purchase a while back, and I had tried to run it on my laptop a few months ago, and it didn’t run all that great. Yes, that laptop is a piece of shit. Seeing as how I’ve had access to a better computer for a couple of months, and because Transistor released, I was reminded that I wanted to play Bastion. It runs great on this computer, and I am pleased to say that it’s a great game! I’m not sure how long it is, but I’ve already gone through quite a few levels. Reportedly Transistor is a short game, so I’m not expecting Bastion to last much longer. Still, I love the graphical style, I was pleased to see that the game has full controller support, and as action RPGs go it’s one of the best. The story line is a little skimpy, but intriguing enough. The combat is fun and twitchy which I enjoy, and the narration is hilarious. I’m smashing crates looking for loot, and the voice is like “Kid just rages for a bit.” Seriously, everything you do is narrated, and it’s very entertaining. I’m sure I’ll blow through this one quickly enough, and I look forward to getting Transistor in the future.

Another new game in my library is The Binding of Issac. Another Rogue-like; I can’t seem to get enough of this genre. I love the way that you can simply play for a few minutes or a few hours and though you might die many a time, the game is still fun. The thought of never really having to finish these types of games to get your money’s worth is awesome, and I’m drawn more and more to this genre and arcade style games. Not only do they remind me of my childhood, but also of a simpler time where you played a game and didn’t necessarily complete it. I was gifted this game a while ago when it and its expansion were on sale for $1.50. BoI is different from other Rogue-likes that I’ve played recently because it plays more like The Legend of Zelda. The graphical style is cartoon-y, and disturbing. The story-line is anti-religious, and that also sits well with me, being a non-religious person. Also, instead of being turn based, it is action packed. You “shoot” your tears at the enemies, and there are various power ups you’ll pick up along the way that make you more powerful. I actually have a longer Rogue-like post in the works, so I won’t go any further into this one.

The ever amazing J3w3l has been running another ongoing event for the NBI, a series of games on Kongregate. High scores determined the winners each week, and though it doesn’t look like I’ll be the best at any of them, I’ve still tried. Flash games are not something I usually play, but some of these that she picked were pretty fun time-wasters. The first week’s game was “Pixel Purge,” and that game was right up my alley. A simplistic space shooter with upgrades, I thought I did pretty well with my very first attempt:

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That score was trumped almost immediately. I played it a few more times but never came close. The second week of the event, the game wasn’t one that I was fond of. I don’t remember the name off hand, but it had to do with collecting music notes and meh. Just meh. This week we’ve been playing in the “Dojo of Death,” and man I love this game. I thought for sure I was going to win this one, but I have since given up on the idea. My first high score was in the 60k range. My next was around 80k. Finally, I got to this level:

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That seemed amazing, until someone more than doubled it. I was spent. I still play it here and there but I doubt I’ll be able to top the 300k mark. I’m looking forward to seeing what next week’s game will be.

I’ve been playing my usual standbys just about as much. Hearthstone has become a little tedious, and I’m basically letting dailies pile up and then doing them all at once. From there, playing arena matches. For a time the arena was driving me nuts, I simply couldn’t get more than a win or two. I seem to have cracked that code though, as my last several runs have been 5+ wins, which really ramps up the reward. When I completed a new personal best run of 9 wins, the reward was a pack + 270 gold. Needless to say, if you do well enough, you can skip the normal/ranked play and just do arena runs, which also count towards your quests. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last week, although I’m down to no gold again, and haven’t gotten past 9 wins either.

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My interest in League of Legends has been renewed since the NBI event, and I’ve been playing more ARAM mostly. I’ve also taken J3w3l under my wing and had several matches with her, my brother-in-law, and other NBI peeps. I’m hoping that I can keep them interested so we can continue to play semi-regularly. Everything is more fun with friends. My bro picked up the newest champion, Braum, and is loving him. We hadn’t played together in months, but he participated in my NBI event, and has come back to the game. I introduced him to the Team Builder mode (it was also my first time with it since it was in beta), and it was nice to be able to choose to lane together. He was always my support when I played nothing but ADCs, and so naturally he wanted to try out his new character (who also happens to be a support). The game was epic. We actually should have lost because our mid laner decided to afk for about half the match, but we dominated our lane and so did our top laner, so by the time mid came back, we were well ahead. The surrender came before we actually finished the match. I am currently sitting on a pile of IP that I’m not sure what I’m going to do with. I usually main support when playing Classic, so I’m thinking of just waiting til I have 6300 to get Braum. We’ll see.

I’ve had a bit of time off from Civilization V, although I still have a game in progress. I had started a new game as Japan, and I have grown my empire to encompass most of the island that I started on. I’m nearing modern times, and of course I’m going on the world conquering path, because I love combat. It’s been a while since I played that game, but here’s what my empire looks like right now:

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Those pesky Ottomans in the bottom right corner have got to go.

I’ve been itching to try the multiplayer aspect of the game for a while now, and talk of that went around the NBI forums with little results. One day I caught Doone on Steam and we gave it a go. Another blogger, Maligma (who was also part of my LoL night) joined in. Doone set up the game and made the decision to use a turn timer, along with a limit of 100 turns, so the game was short and sweet, but it left much to be desired. We advanced along typical paths, but no wars were started, we didn’t do any diplomatic stuff, really it was kind of a waste of time. But, it was a great way to test out multiplayer. We all agreed that having a timer was a bad idea because towards the end of the game we weren’t able to properly control all of our units. It was also decided that future games wouldn’t have a turn limit. I can see where it can be a great multi-session game, and I look forward to getting into it again soon. Here’s what the map looked like just prior to turn 100:

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I was Germany (grey) and I don’t remember who Maligma was, but she was the red area. We never saw Doone, he was presumably somewhere to the south. The blue bits are Napoleon, who was spreading like a disease, and who ended up winning in the end. Fuck that short bastard.

On the Playstation side of things, I haven’t done a whole lot. I have been playing Awesomenauts here and there with my roommate (along with playing solo on Steam, having only played enough to check out the newer champions that have been released recently). Otherwise, just checking out free stuff that has come from Playstation Plus. Skullgirls is a 2-D fighting game that’s a fun little time waster. I’d compare it to Street Fighter in terms of controls, but it’s more like Darkstalkers in character design. It’s probably something women would be irritated by, as the women are mostly busty and scantily clad, but there’s only one male character I’ve seen so far, so perhaps that’s a nice offset. It’s fun but nothing overly innovative. This week the new game was Puppeteer, which I had read good things about, but it’s kind of meh. Graphically it reminds me of Little Big Planet, but aside from being a platformer it doesn’t play much like LBP. The gist is you are a boy turned into a puppet and the game plays as if you are on a stage in a puppet show. There’s a whole whimsical tale about it, but it’s still just a platformer when it comes down to it. Castle of Illusion is better, in my mind. Still, these are jump in and waste some time kinds of games, so in that respect they have their place.

Finally, on the Horizon: I started my play-through of Shadowrun Returns and I intend to see that to its end. The 4th episode of The Wolf Among Us releases on Tuesday, so I’ll promptly blow through that and make the obligatory post. I intend to gain access to Nuclear Throne within the next week, because it’s a Rogue-like from a company whose games I already enjoy (Vlambeer). I’ve been watching videos of the game and it really looks like a blast. I will also be continuing to play Rift, as it is my MMO of choice for the time being. Last but not least, J3w3l has hosted a Terraria server and was nice enough to gift me a copy of the game, as she had a spare copy on hand (presumably from a 4-pack steam deal). I had mentioned playing it in the past on my PS3, but from the little I’ve looked at it, it appears to be another case of the PC version of the game is better. I never really got anywhere on the PS3 version because it was kind of boring to play solo, and none of my friends had the game. Via the NBI group, it appears that problem will be solved this weekend.

Sorry for the length of this post, but there was a lot to cover. Further editions of State of the Game will be back to their usual length. See you next weekend!

#roundup #stateofthegame #multigaming

My Top Ten Games of 2013

I played too many games to mention this year. The ones that made the best impression were the ones I’ve already spoken of. There were many games that I played that didn’t release this year, so despite loving some of them, they won’t be on this list as they aren’t “current.” I also wasn’t playing any MMOs this year (at least not seriously) so there aren’t any of those on this list. Finally, these are mostly niche games, because I haven’t been buying mainstream games as they release, as much of the AAA titles on offer this year weren’t ones I was interested in, or couldn’t afford when they released. When I say “couldn’t afford” I really mean I’m a cheap ass gamer these days. So with all that said, on to the list (in no particular order):

The Last of Us:
This is one of the only two AAA titles I played this year, though it still wasn’t upon release. I picked up my copy of The Last of Us a few months later on sale. This was a game I couldn’t pass up, not only because I have loved nearly everything Naughty Dog has ever done, but also because it’s a survival horror game which is right up my alley. I only played through the game once, but the story was amazing and the game play equally fun. Multiplayer was more of the same, but was still enjoyable at times. I will probably go back and play this one again some day, as it really was a great experience.

Ni No Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch:
I spent less time with this game than I would have liked, but still have strong feelings about it. I can’t say that I beat it or even got all of that far through the game, but what I did play was amazing and I will be revisiting it soon. Another AAA title that I got on sale, it was most definitely worth the $20 I paid. There are so many different systems from different JRPGs present here, that it feels like a mix of most of the RPGs I loved playing as a kid, on through my adulthood. I love all RPGs, but there is something to be said about the addictive nature of ones from Japan.

Dragon’s Crown:
This is the only game I couldn’t wait to have this year. I bought it shortly after release for full price. Granted, it was less money than a boxed $60 game, but still, this needs to be notated. I have recently posted about this game so I won’t go into reasons why it’s on my top ten again, but if you are a fan of side-scrolling beat-em-ups with RPG elements, this game will suit you.

Path of Exile:
PoE is the true successor to Diablo II. I say this without having played Diablo III, but I know enough about it to make that statement. Everything about it screams “Diablo II with slightly different systems and holy fuck look at that skill tree!” This game has been playable for more than just this year, but was officially released in 2013, so it makes my list. One of the best 3/4 view action RPGs of the year.

Rogue Legacy:
One of the two Rogue-likes that made this list (FTL would have too if it would have been released this year), Rogue Legacy is an awesome 2-D platformer that redefines death. Death means you will get new powers and possibly new disabilities, all of which are random along with the levels. I have progress pretty far into the game, and I would recommend it to anyone that owns a PC, and a controller. Controls are weak without one, and that’s my only disappointment.

Sword of the Stars: The Pit:
This is my other Rogue-like pick, and it is vastly different from the aforementioned title, but still good in almost every way. Permadeath is definitely a pro and a con, in that it is great to have to take responsibility for your actions, but it really sucks to get further into the dungeon than ever, just to die and have to start over. Still, I have had much fun with the game and have written about it multiple times. Grinding recipes is about the only part of the game that is overly frustrating, because some characters simply cannot hack machines for the messages needed. All in all a must-play.

Terraria:
Terraria released this year on PS3 (though I believe other versions were last year?). I haven’t made much headway with the game, and it is disappointing that there isn’t a way to connect with people that aren’t on your friend’s list. Aside from that, I have had fun exploring and taking part in gameplay that is far from traditional. I have explained my lack of experience with sandbox games, and this was the game that opened the door for me. If you like Minecraft, I’m sure you’ll like Terraria. Just make sure you have friends with the game, as multiplayer makes it more fun.

Dragon Fantasy Book 2:
Dragon Fantasy Book 2 is the sequel to (you guessed it) Book 1. Where Book 1 was an 8-bit adventure reminiscent of Dragon Warrior, Book 2 mixes elements from the 16-bit era, with combat like Secret of Mana or Chrono Trigger, a Pokemon-like pet collection system, and other goodies that remind me of being a kid. In the “good ol days.” I haven’t finished it, but it is on my to-do list and it recommended for old school JRPG nuts. Looking forward to seeing the next iteration, that is supposed to support an engine using 32-bit graphics. FF7 clone here we come 🙂

The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1:
This was a recent release, so this goes without commentary. If you scroll down, the dedicated post should still be on the main page. Must-have for those of you who were fans of the first season. I just wish it wasn’t so short, and hope that future episodes make up for this lack of length.

League of Legends: All Random All Mid:
In the MMO world, people will select expansions in their “best of” posts, and as League is the closest thing to a Massive game that I’m playing, I’m going to consider this an “expansion” for all intents and purposes. ARAM was released this year, and became a dedicated game mode, like Dominion and Twisted Treeline before it. ARAM most likely consumed more of my game time than any other game this year. I played my share of other modes in LoL, but I think ARAM took the cake for hours played. The game mode is my favorite way to just unwind, without the pressure of having to win, as there is no leaderboard. I love League, and will most likely keep it in my rotation for a long time to come.

I read a post over on The Cynic Dialogues about 2013 being the worst year in (PC) gaming, and I was about to argue against that fact (except the author has comments disabled), but after delving through my posts, trophy lists and memories, it was difficult for me to put together this list of ten. I am now more inclined to agree with them, despite knowing that if I had a slightly better computer I would have been playing some games that I can’t run now. Also, being rich would help to buy some of the games that I didn’t touch this year, so my list might be a little skewed from where it could be. Still, here’s hoping that 2014 blows us away. I hope to get a PS4 and a new computer next year, so maybe I’ll have more options available to me and next year’s list will be easier to pull off.

Lastly, if you are anal like me, you can verify release dates for any of the above listed games here. Just so you know I didn’t cheat ;P

The State of the Game: Open Worlds

This week I spent time in a variety of games, not all of which were open worlds, but there are two games on the list that were, and I spent most of my play time there. The play list this week consisted of: Terraria, Defiance, God Mode, Grid 2, Sword of the Stars: The Pit, and Rogue Legacy.

Terraria:
I’ve already expressed my opinions on Terraria. Having played the game quite a bit more, I have still been enjoying it, although I wouldn’t say that I’ve made a whole lot of progress. I did some odd things just to earn a few of the trophies (and in turn, explore) like building a “ladder” straight up to the top of the world. Gravity actually starts to lessen as you get higher up and dunking on that professional size basketball hoop seems doable. Falling to your death from such a height is pretty humorous as well. Later, I built another ladder looking for a floating island that the trophy speaks of, and found one. On it was a building made of gold bricks. That’s right, gold effing bricks! Inside was a gold chest that I couldn’t open… so while I consulted the wiki (and found out you need a golden key that I didn’t posess) the building was surrounded by Harpies. Lots of them. I thought to myself, what the hell, it’s just a couple harpies NBD, and was promptly flattened by them. I’ll tackle that island again later. Deciding that I needed to upgrade my crappy wood armor to something more, well, metal, I headed off to mine some ores and metals. I am still in the process of doing so, so that I can take on harder monsters, dig deeper and try to hunt down some of the prerequisites to summon the bosses.

Defiance:
Wait what? I thought you didn’t play MMOs anymore?! Yeah that’s what I thought too. And then this game went on sale for $2.50 and how could I say no? Be that as it may, Defiance is classified as an MMO, but really it plays like Borderlands with more people populating the world. Instead of 4 player co-op, there are many players. But that hasn’t stopped me from treating it as a single player game, and playing by myself. More on this later. So I started up the game not really knowing what to expect, as I had read many mixed reviews on the interwebs. After getting through the tutorial and figuring out the buttons and various menus, it really isn’t any harder to understand than Borderlands. A good entry-level MMO, and there isn’t an unattainable cap, though it seems that there really isn’t an end game outside of playing PVP. But I really don’t know, I’m not there yet. I rolled up an Irathien Male Survivalist, but this game doesn’t have any sort of classes, nor racial advantages. So this just boils down to appearance and starting weaponry. My choice boiled down to the Survivalist coming with a Sniper rifle, which I felt would be advantageous. After playing through the story to a point where I have a vehicle and can really go exploring, being a sniper can be a good and bad thing. It really sucks only having a pistol as a side arm, so once I picked up a SMG I felt better about things. Playing solo is dangerous, and if there isn’t anyone playing in the immediate area you can get swarmed quick. If you have ample cover it’s cool to snipe, but when cleavers are running up to your face it’s sidearm time, and the SMG handles things nicely. So far I’m enjoying the solo aspect, but it requires certain EGO levels before you are allowed to participate in the co-op missions and the PVP. Those come complete with matchmaking though, so knowing people to play with isn’t required, which is a plus. I have yet to participate in an Arkfall yet, which is an open world event, or the open world PVP Shadow War. So there will be more on this game as I get into it further.

The Others:
God Mode – I’m level 10. I fully upgraded the SMG (starting weapon), and upgraded to the plasma pistol as my sidearm. Also picked up the healing special power, which is far superior to the shield and works when you’re running some oaths (thing negative boosters like in Uncharted, or a negative attribute. I have beaten all  of the levels solo on Bronze difficulty,  and have since moved up to Silver and did one level solo. Might try out gold, as one of the trophies requires beating all levels on the hardest difficulty. There still isn’t much of a player base online, so I guess the sale I took part in wasn’t very popular.

Grid 2 – I only played a couple of races thus far, and the game seems cool, but the controls are kind of wonky. But I remember feeling that way when I first played Gran Turismo 5, and I think I had to make adjustments. I’m not sure, I don’t play racing games all that much but they are usually fun. The game plays somewhere in between Gran Turismo (simulation) and Need for Speed (arcade-y).

SotS: The Pit – I started another play through, for the 2nd time I chose a Ranger. Currently on Level 9. I’m on floor 10. I started this game on normal difficulty, and used the option to skip to level 5 and utilize banked experience from my previous Ranger play through. Picked up a fair bit of gear, though haven’t made much recipe progress.

Rogue Legacy – I’ve played sporadically. Had many more deaths, many more heirs. I have started locking the castle as I have now explored all of the castle, and have moved onto clearing out the forest. I will probably continue to lock it now as I progress through the game. Currently level 30 or so (though I’m too lazy to look right now).

On the Horizon:
This week’s Playstation Plus offering was Borderlands 2. Knowing that the player base will get a kick in the pants is getting me really itching to go back and play through the DLC that I have owned since release and haven’t played (bought the season pass, but only played through the first DLC). I had friends playing the game when it first came out, but I don’t see them playing anymore, and convincing someone who has quit a game to come back isn’t all that easy. So I’m thinking of playing and letting anyone join my game, which I have never done before. I have a headset now, so maybe this is the thing to do. I’ve been missing having the multiplayer element and it seems like everyone I used to play games with is off doing their own thing. Maybe I’ll get some new online buddies this way.