Its a marathon not a sprint

Often when I play a game its sprint to the finish. Mostly I stick to one game at a time, however due to a current influx in consoles, games and a massive back log its turned in to a marathon of switching between multiple games and finishing them when i can.

Even now I have multiple games on the go; some would call me a bit of a player, jks… please help me.

Currently I’m working through Witcher 3 including all add-ons, FF14, Zelda: Breath of the wild and occasionally a game of Overwatch. My back log, includes Mass Effect Andromeda, Warhammer Total War, Mario Kart, Arms, Splatoon, Draksouls 3 and Dishonoured 2.

Most open world games can drag you in for 100 hours, and some I’m choosing to slow down such as BOTW a game I just don’t want to end. Of cause MMO never end but in this regard i set myself a goal and once its achieved – I quit. Unless its WoW which is basically crack to me.

Its proving more difficult to keep up with gaming the older i get. I think its time to change my mindset and just play what I’m feeling and eventually I’ll work my way through it. And if a game comes out i just want to smash my way through, then thats what I’ll do.

This post was bought to you by: First World Problem.

Direct link to this post.

Pokemon Go – A Casual Player’s Reaction

If you haven’t heard of this small mobile game that has taken over the world by now I’m pretty sure you’re either living in a cave, or you cut yourself off from all popular culture deliberately as you find yourself above such plebeian pleasures – either of which would make it very unlikely for you to be reading this very blog (although with the second one I still find it hard to believe you wouldn’t have even *heard* of it), so let’s forgo the basic description and get right down to it.

Pokemon Go is a phenomenal success – never in their wildest dreams did Nintendo predict it becoming as popular as it has done. Children run around with their parents, adults who grew up with the original Red and Blue run around with mixed feelings of excitement and nostalgia, hardcore gamers mingling with us casuals and even those who don’t generally play anything more complicated than Candy Crush – all running to parks and public venues to battle gyms/collect items and catch Pokemon.

I think one of the things I have loved about this game is that you see people playing it *everywhere*. Last night the future-husband and I were in the car driving to where we believed a Bulbasaur spawn nest was located, and not only did we see kids running around looking for it, we saw people our own age (and older) in their cars with passengers bathed in the electronic glow of multiple phones. I then went on Facebook and my friend had posted that she had spent her date night with her husband on the hunt for elusive ‘mons. It’s EVERYWHERE.

People have posted time and again how important this game has been in helping people connect, and although I could happily join in I realise I would just be repeating things better said elsewhere, so I will try to limit the gushing. What I will say is something that the FH (see I’m abbreviating it now) said to me when we started playing this together:

“I love that I’m part of something mainstream again.”

We geeks do love and embrace our identity, but sometimes I think we forget how fun it is to be able to engage with something we enjoy with literally anyone. The FH has managed to go out and started to recognise familiar faces on Poke-Hunts, and then start up conversations about what they have caught and if anything good is nearby. I don’t think he realises it, but the quote I shared (probably paraphrased by my terribly memory) is something he has started to regularly say when we talk about the game, or when we’re out together hunting (HA! Never thought there would be an innocent and environmentally way to talk about hunting did you?!), so I know how much he’s enjoying that feeling.

pokemon go loading screen

I will say this though – the game isn’t perfect. Because they didn’t predict the kind of global reaction this game has received, the servers are nowhere near stable and glitch all the goddamn time. And don’t even get me started on my issue with the sensitivity of throwing a bloody pokeball (my depth perception with this isn’t the best either, so I piss through pokeballs which irritates me no end). My last bugbear is the tracking, which is broken to all hell. In fact it is so bad I’m pretty sure that’s why Pokevision has become so popular (although I don’t really believe that, people will do anything to get a legendary).

But I forgive all of these. If the game kicks you out, you just wait and try to get back in when you can. Pokevision is a good alternative to tracking whilst its still broken, and has resorted in some pretty spectacular sights (the FH went out to catch a Snorlax at a school nearby, he arrived at the same time as a bunch of cars, and then proceeded to watch a stream of people break into school grounds and run across to catch this one guy. I would like to point out at this time he did not join in, instead he came back to tell me about it)

The positives definitely outweigh the bugs that come with Nintendo quickly learning how to wrestle this epic beast they have created. They have persuaded people to run around outside, and socialise in groups they wouldn’t otherwise. All whilst playing the most hated of gaming platforms – the free-to-play mobile phone game. I tip my hat to them all.

It also means I can fulfill my dream to become the Joey Rattata of Psyducks. Top percentage of Psyducks here I come!

Marina's_Psyduck

Direct link to this post.

PUG’s

PUGs or Pick up groups originated from MMO’s. It’s a group of people who have been put together by the server or by a lonely person looking to progress in the game but having no friend to help them. Normally used in a negative way; PUGs have become a staple of not only MMO’s but also FPS.

Although people have been throwing themselves into Team Death matches, etc with unknowns for a while its only recently been used to describe computer generated groups in FPS’s. And I think thats the point, the server puts people together; you don’t pick a server or a team. It’s completely random. Exactly like a group finder in WoW.

So what can we do to curve the stigma around this often negative term. Well for a start stop blaming everyone on your team for being “NOOBs”. At the end of the day its a team thing. You will find players that look at a teams loosing as the fault of everyone else other than them, and when that happens your chats going to fill up with abuse.

Most people are just hear to kill something. They might only play 5-10 hours a week (if not less), they probably have a family and this is just something to kill time. Then you have people who are here because no one else will play with them and thats the person shouting abuse at you in the chat window.

Apart from when I was at university most of my group experiences in games have fallen down to playing with PUGs and you get to learn a little bit about the types of groups that will win and the types of groups which will loose. Or the types of groups who will kill the raid boss; and the types of groups who get crushed in to elf paste.

Despite what 80% of PUG players think, people are not psychic talking about what your going to do, or what your team needs; is essential. Start the dialogue early. Outline what your group is missing, highlight what you group doesn’t need. Talk about tactics and ask if everyone is okay with the up and coming boss fight. If you get the chat flowing early people will be clear on what they need to do.

In order to keep it positive shut down negativity. It’s okay to get annoyed 10 mins into a game because everyones face planting a heavy-medic combo in TF2. Or your team has 3 Blackwidows in Overwatch. Provide constructive criticism, help people see the issue.

The types of people you want to shutdown are the ones who 2 mins into the game are shouting in caps and calling everyone a “noob” because they went off on their own and died.

So block, mute, kick, stab these people. They do nothing but shit on the game.

It’s okay to loose. Yep its fine. Someone has to loose its just ensuring everyone had fun getting their.

If you do loose a game drop in a “GG”, fuck the haters it was still a good game. I watched my team get shot in the head continuously by a sniper. Despite this we gave it a good go but in the end we couldn’t break through the last checkpoint. So at the end of the game I told the sniper he did a good job and he thanked me. The next game I didn’t get shot in the head once.

Its okay to disagree with someone on your team. Sometimes you might learn something. I had an issue with someone telling me what class to play. So I questioned why it was an issue. They then highlighted that Zenyatta was actually quite a weak hero and would require a decent buff before he could be usable as a support class. This was not that new to me but we did a a little test and Mercy performed much better.

WoW introduced PUG Raids about a year ago. The the role of a PUG Raid was to get people who only play part times through the end game content. After all they still pay the same as a hardcore gamer but they normally miss out on half the content. Normally a Raid is led by a tank, so if you have no interest in speaking to anyone I suggest you avoid this role.

Its rare but sometimes you will drop into a game, say nothing and steam role the opposition/Raid. It can happen. Sometimes you loose 20 games in a row. When this happens go watch a film your in no fit mental state to handle another lose.

Finally – you will never beat a pre-made group with a PUG.

Keep it positive.

Direct link to this post.

Playing support

The Medic is the most important class in Team fortress 2 (Let the rage begin), if you have one on your team and the other team doesn’t it can significantly increase your chances of winning the game. A half decent medic can drag a pretty useless team to a win, it might take a little longer, but he will get you there.

This post isn’t all about the Medic from TF2, instead its about the mindset of the guy choosing to play the medic and how this type of player can significantly increase your teams chance of winning by never really showing up on the score board.

He/she is not likely to be going for the flag or capturing points: this player is support, this player chooses to defend, this player chooses to fix and maintain. This player does all the jobs that your average FPS/MMO player wont play. So what am i talking about, am i just acting old, do i not understand the young folk – well yes and no.

The following roles are important and should be considered by any player when they see 4 snipers, 6 light weight players or 0 engineers.

Medic, game TF2 – The medic will increase the score everyone on the team and help to push past a sentry nest, or simply clear the field with an uber. If you walk into a game and see a chat log full of “Your mother..” pick up the medic and turn it around.

Heavy, engineer, game Tribes – The class in this instance isn’t overly important. A heavy can be used to grief an enemies reactor and an medium class can be used for pretty much anything. But you need someone to maintain your defences and to protect the reactor. Its not likely to stop every attempt at your flag but it will make it more difficult.

Defending points, most games but specifically WOW PVP – Back in vanilla WOW where only the most dedicated (well geared) players really had a chance of being successful in PVP no one defended points or the flag. You received no bonus  for sitting on a point or scouting out. They have since introduced a buff for holding a point which is nice.

Playing support, game DOTA – Support is a critical part of helping your team make it to the end, of course some support is better than others.

Playing the Healer, most MMO’s – Lets be honest with out a healer in your Raid your fucked, but when was the last time anyone said – “Good job Healers”.

So why play this type of roles? Simply put I want to win the game and I know that plying one of these roles (when no one else has) will server to increase the chance of winning the game. I also like playing support.

I have played support for so long it’s easier for me to play than the attacking roles, but its important to remember that these roles have their own skill sets. It is possible to be bad at support, not healing people when they need it, not prioritising your tank over your DPS, not setting up your sentry in the correct place.

So next time your king of the kills take a look at the top healers or most flags defended and throw a – “Good Game Support” in to the chat window.

“We do it because we care” – Support

Direct link to this post.

Another day, another MMO: Guild Wars 2

I was always on the edge with Guild Wars never entirely sure if I could cough up £25 on another MMO which would turn out to be another WoW clone but with a slight twist, so with the announcement that Guild Wars has gone F2P I felt now was the time to give it  a try… you know.. because its free.

(To start my adventure in Tyria I went and rolled a Norn Warrior – I then went on to level the class up to 20. This post will cover my experiences with the game for the first 20 levels.)

I tend to have a soft spot for a good MMO but over time have found myself having less time to play, meaning that the monthly subscription model doesn’t really fit in with my current life cycle (future lives may have more time). Luckily Guild Wars has a one off cost – but thats not 100% true. They also have an in game store, but that in itself is nothing new. With the one off cost I feel GW deserves an in game store, something to keep the money pumping in after the initial buying spree at the start of the expansion.

With Heart of Thrones just around the corner (October 23rd) the game has gone full ‘sales’ and pushes the new expansion at every given opportunity, to the point where certain aspects of the game are off limits. I can feel that, from a sales perspective – but would have liked the opportunity to have used the LFG finder, and to participate in the auction house. With this in mind its going to be difficult to talk about the PVE aspect of the game, but with world-events I have some experience.

When someone casts a spell on screen it feels like a supernova has gone off in your face, and with weapon enchants it looks like a thunderstorm is coming out of the players hands.

The game itself is visually what you would expect from an MMO, not brilliant in the graphics department but just enough that I have yet to eject my eyes with a spoon. The character animation are also standard MMO – When someone casts a spell on screen it feels like a supernova has gone off in your face, and with weapon enchants it looks like a thunderstorm is coming out of the players hands. All the high level characters look like glorious gods whilst you walk around in armor you found in a bin. As you slowly level up the weapons generally change stats but overall stay the same visually.

screen-min

Your move set in GW changes depending on the weapon you have equipped (only had chance to play warrior, just about to role a magic thrower) when you change weapon your core moves change, whilst the ones you can assign later on stay the same. Part of me likes this variety, but part of me finds it annoying that every-time i get hold of a better weapon my move lists changes entirly. The thing is they all follow a familiar patter, you have your ranged weapon moves, your special and your standard spam move, but they all move around when you change weapon. I am getting use to this so i’m sure this complaint will be moot in a few more levels.

With a smaller move set than your standard MMO i managed to map everything easily to the buttons around ‘AWSD’ which means the game allows me to move more and generally feels a bit more action based than turn based. The added bonouce to this is that your character can dodge, meaning moving out the way of AOE is entirely on the character, at times it does require a fast response even at this early stage. Overall I don’t feel like i’m playing your standard, stale MMO set up, things feel very fluid.

GW does not have a standard class set up, this means: no Tank and no Healer. Instead they go for a kind of ‘Handle your own shit’ approach, this translate to the following three mechanics: Damage/control/support. It seems to work out quite well and when it came to global group ‘Fuck-shit-up’ sessions everyone seemed to handle there own shit quite well. You do have support specific classes and moves, for example: my character has weapon switching which allows him to have his main ‘face-smash’ set up and his group – ‘Hey im helping’, set up.  With the group aspect he has a horn in one hand which allows him to rally everyone – increasing the group stats and another move which allows him to increase everyone’s movement speed. I have yet to experience this set up in an end game scenario, but at my current level it seems to work quite well.

The free-trial has sparked my interest enough in the game that I will likely be picking up the expansion pack – in this case expect a follow up blog post which will hopefully expand on what small amounts of the game I have already played.

None Game Thoughts

I would like to point out that Guild Wars has one of the easiest to use websites in the MMO gaming space, Blizzard also do an `ok` job but you do need a 20+ MB internet connection to download the home page. FF14 has by far the worst web experience I have ever had to molest with my mouse – seriously, sort it. I cant bring myself to play FF14 again until they sort out that abortion of a site.

If you could stop downloading updates every 5 seconds and locking me out of my account when the IP changes that would be super.. Thanks

Direct link to this post.