This is why I shouldn’t play MMOs.

So, Sony sent out one of their little year-end gaming summary emails.

In short, I should not play MMOs.

 

…especially as this doesn’t count the hours I clocked in the Mac client, which were numerous.

A CHARITABLE estimate is that, including those hours, I “only” put in the equivalent of 25 weeks of a full-time job.

 

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Baud Attitude’s Games of the Decade, Part 3 (Final)

Welcome to part 3 of the Baud Attitude Games of the Decade list, which honestly is two parts too many.  Still, I must share my incredibly accurate and insightful opinions with the world, or at least the few of you who actually read this thing.

10. Doki Doki Literature Club (Team Salvato, 2017)

Yes, a short and free visual novel is in my top ten games of the decade, but explaining more would run the risk of spoiling it. It opens with a disturbing content warning that leads into a high school romance story that is so sickly-sweet that you may manage to forget about the warning by the times things start to go… badly.

09. The Last Guardian (Team ICO, 2016)

Do you like the idea of trying to solve puzzles while relying on a giant cat/bird thing with entirely too much of its own personality? Can you completely surpress your fears of heights and falling and falling from heights? Can you deal with the crushing sadness of clambering over the decaying ruins of a once-great civilization with only the vaguest hope of a happy outcome before you?

The Last Guardian is one of those games that seemed doomed to never actually come out and didn’t actually sell all that well when it finally did, seven years after its original announcement. So, you may not have played it. You should do something about that.

08. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (Ubisoft, 2014)

I love me some Assassin’s Creed, and picking the absolute best game in the series is dead easy to do. Unfortunately, Assassin’s Creed II came out in 2009 and is ineligible for this list, so let’s go with the runner-up.

Rogue is… well, even for a series that makes a habit out of slapping a new coat of paint and a new cast of characters onto the previous entry and hoping you don’t notice, it’s a pretty blatant example. It’s Black Flag, just set in the northern Atlantic with better naval combat and with a more-likable main character.

Oh, and the cities are better.  Black Flag had a lot of tiny villages to it, which is a shame in a series where climbing tall things and jumping off them is one of the selling points.

It even sticks in some story beats that retroactively make Assassin’s Creed III less awful, and I would not have thought that possible.

After all that, it gets bonus points for exploring the Templar/Assassin relationship from the Other Side and pointing out that, hey, a bunch of people that call themselves Assassins and go around stabbing people aren’t ALWAYS the good guys. Shock!

07. Nioh (Team Ninja, 2017)

What if you made a Souls game, but with fast combat and mission-based rather than open world, and what if it was set right around 1600 in Japan when things were starting to really pop off?

Oh, and throw in loot drops. Lots of random loot drops, exploding out of downed enemies like so much sparkly joy.

Then you take all of your loot to a blacksmith and mash it together to make slightly shinier weapons and take those new shiny weapons back to take another crack at the mission that just wrecked you and probably die anyway but you got a little closer to the end this time and then you repeat that until you are watching end credits. Bonus points for having massive bosses stolen from a particularly dark season of GeGeGe no Kitaro.

That’s Nioh.  Admittedly, it’s not for everyone.  It opens with a rather tedious level set in the Tower of London, and getting through the game’s first two “real” bosses is an experience rather like having your face held to a belt sander until it starts to feel good.  I’m not going to fault anyone who decides that they can spend their time better doing literally anything else.

I played it on the normal difficulty, played it AGAIN on the hard difficulty, and went back for another pass at the difficulty above that. I don’t DO that kind of thing.

06. Super Mario 3D World (Nintendo, 2014)

I’m not a big Mario fan. I have problems with judging distance and relative velocity, and the Mario series is all about correctly judging distance and relative velocity in order to not fall to your death while you are trying to rescue Peach from Bowser YET AGAIN.

I bought the version of the Switch that came with Mario Odyssey, enjoyed it a lot, and went back to play the WiiU entry in the series, which I turned out to absolutely love.

Oh, and you’re not rescuing Peach. She’s actually fine. There’s kidnapped fairies or something? But most importantly Mario can turn into a cat.

Hopefully it gets a Switch release at some point.

05. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo, 2017)

Honestly I AM NOT A BIG MARIO FAN and this list was not sponsored by Nintendo. I bought Mario Kart 8 Deluxe because I was going to have a few people over for food and videogames and Mario Kart is consistently recommended as a good game to have a few people over for. I had virtually no preconceived notions as to what I was getting into when I did so, and the sheer quantity of tracks and imagination put into this game blew me away. I wound up spending enough time with Mario Kart 8 to grind through all of the races in the game’s first three difficulty levels and even now occasionally go back to play online against people who are WAY better than I am.

04. Splatoon (Nintendo, 2015)

Not. Sponsored. By. Nintendo. Really.

I’ve already mentioned that I’m not a big fan of online multiplayer PVP games, and yet this is the second one in this list. I will take being willing to try new genres as a sign of growing as a person as I get older.

Splatoon, at least, is a game where killing The Other Guys isn’t really the point of the game. I mean, sure, knock yourself out if you feel like knocking them out, but the game is going to give the win to the team that can stick to the objective of making sure that the map is covered in paint of YOUR glorious color and not the color of the opposing team. It’s cute, the matches are short enough that you can’t get ground down too much even if you’re on the losing side, and the way that the paint mechanic ties into reloading and stealth and movement is just a joy.

There’s a Switch sequel. I didn’t get into it as much. I should probably give it another try.

03. Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerilla Games, 2017)

Not. Sponsored. By… oh, good, we’re moving on from Nintendo-published games. That’s a relief. Was starting to feel a bit of a corporate shill.

So. Horizon Zero Dawn, another take on the Ubisoft open-world formula but with GIANT CHROME ROBOT DINOSAURS and a really good sci-fi story that I thought I had entirely figured out about five hours into the game and was completely wrong about and absolutely the best villain of the last I don’t know how long. My game of the year for 2017, and that was a year full of amazing games.

One of the best things about Horizon is that it didn’t NEED to be anything more than “here’s your bow, there’s some giant chrome robot dinosaurs, how about you kill some of them?” but they spent so much time filling the game with background lore explanations that, by the end of it, the giant chrome robot dinosaurs make perfect sense.

Unlike many of the games I have raved about so far, Horizon sold over ten million copies so you have probably already played it. If you haven’t, it’s in the Greatest Hits lineup so you should be able to pick up a copy for roughly the price of a meal for two at McDonald’s.

02. Bloodborne (FROM Software, 2014)

If you look back at my comments on Dark Souls II and how there weren’t any other Souls games on the list, you may be raising an eyebrow at this point. Technically Bloodborne is NOT a Souls game and I did not lie to you.

Much like Nioh, Bloodborne is Souls-But-Faster, discourages blocking in favor of just getting out of the way of attacks, and gets away from the generic knights-in-plate-armor fantasy setting in favor of something a little more interesting – in this case, a sort of Lovecraftian Victorian England thing, with occasional trips into complete freaking nightmare.

I loved it enough to get the Platinum trophy, which involves finishing the base game three times and spending hours beating my head against “optional” challenge dungeons, some of which were just seriously unfair. A SPECIAL shout-out to the ones you have to play through with your health cut in half and where a single hit from any of the bosses is almost always enough to kill you.

I WOULD DO IT AGAIN.

01. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda, 2011)

Hey, you. You’re finally at the end of the list. And you’re probably disappointed. This isn’t a super-obscure cult favorite or anything, it’s a game that everyone played to death years ago, but that Bethesda keeps porting to new platforms instead of making an Elder Scrolls VI.

So, sue me. This is my list and I’m sticking with it.

I originally got Skyrim for free from a stranger on the internet who decided to raffle off a copy and… well, really didn’t care for it at all. I don’t think I even made it out of the tutorial. It was kinda ugly, especially the character models, and the combat was meh and it just did not stick.

Then I read an article about all the different sorts of mods people were making for it, and discovered that I could swap out the Lore Appropriate But Ugly character models for Hot Babes With Perfect Skin and I gave it another go.

Some time passed…

…and then, after I finished my second play-through, my beloved and eternally-suffering wife suggested that if I started a third pass she was going to do horrible things to me and to my gaming PC and that was about the point where I figured I should call it good and get on to the important task of waiting for the next game in the series.

Still. Waiting.

Skyrim is one of those games, like Just Cause 2, where there IS a main story that you are occasionally reminded about, but the world you are wandering through is just so perfectly designed to distract you away from it that you can be forgiven for completely ignoring it. You’ll be walking down a path and notice that there are some flowers just off the path that you can pick to make potions out of, and while you’re over there you get a little indicator on your HUD that there’s a cave nearby that you can check out if you go just a little further, and you clear out the undead critters in that cave and find a dead man’s belongings with a letter in them that leads you to something else, and suddenly you are half the world away from that initial path and the whole Saving The World From the Draconic Scourge thing has completely slipped your mind.

11/10, would mod in hot chicks in bikini armor and save the world for a third time.

That’s it! 2020 awaits, with new consoles and new titles to anticipate.

I hope you’ve enjoyed … actually, let me set my expectations a little differently.  I hope you FINISHED reading.  I had some fun going through the last ten years of backlog progress and picking out my favorites, and I am going to try not to think too hard on how much I could have gotten done with my life if I hadn’t spent so much of it with controller in hand.

Remember, if I left off your favorite game, I probably had a dumb reason for leaving it out or simply didn’t manage to finish it.  Feel free to print out my list and write over it with a sharpie or something.

 

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Baud Attitude’s Games of the Decade, Part 2

Continued from Part 1, here’s games 20-11 of the Baud Attitude Games of the Decade list, starting with a “Don’t play this in the dark” game that I am still rather proud of finishing.

I even played some of it in the dark.

20. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games, 2010)

I like horror games, but Amnesia: The Dark Descent nearly broke me.

You wake up in a creepy castle with no memory of how you got there – this is not a spoiler, it’s literally the title of the game – and then you spend your time being chased around and frequently killed by enemies that you can’t look at because they can see you better when you’re looking at them. It gets double marks for making you manually open doors and having all of the doors open TOWARDS you, generally meaning that you are backing towards something that is chasing you while you are trying to escape it.

It’s not the most visually-amazing game, but the sound design… eeesh.  Whoever is responsible gets my firm admiration.

19. Sakura Dungeon (Winged Cloud, 2016)

If I was making a list of “most influential games”, 2014’s Sakura Spirit would be on this list. It wasn’t a particularly good visual novel, and you only got about two hours of reading for your ten bucks, but it caught the eye of just about everyone when it hit and lead to a flood of cheap and naughty video games, most of them visual novels or match-3s where your efforts were rewarded with lewd anime illustrations.

Sakura Dungeon stands out in the crowd because it took a visual novel engine and turned it into a competent first-person dungeon crawler, naturally one where you were rewarded with lewd anime illustrations.  It wasn’t completely original – it was basically a revamp of 2013’s Demon Master Chris – but that earlier game was limited in its audience by being confined to Mangagamer and similar sites.  The Sakura series was proudly on Steam.

Also the main character is a hero who wakes up a demon lord with the intent of killing them but then one thing leads to another and you wind up besties and team up to repel alien invaders to save the world. 10/10 would fight lewd anime girl monsters for 20 hours again.

18. Batman: Arkham Origins (WB Games Montréal, 2013)

Picking a single “best Arkham” game is a regular Sophie’s Choice scenario.  I can rule out Arkham Asylum because it was published in 2009, but after that?

All of them are games  based around letting you live the fantasy of being a billionaire playboy who beats the hell out of the disadvantaged criminal element, and honestly that’s the sort of escapism I can get behind at times.

Anyway, I have no complaints to register with either Arkham City or Arkham Knight, but I went with Origins solely because it had the best boss fights.  It was also the first where I actually got the knack of the combat system.

Yes, I managed to finish the two games before it without knowing how to do a simple combo. They’re not exactly hard games.

Sophie’s choice all sorted out, then.

17. Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Ubisoft, 2017)

I love the Rabbids. I know that kind of ruins any sort of credibility I might ever have aspired to, but I cannot help laughing at their particular brand of dumb.

Taking the Rabbids, mashing them together with Mario characters, and making an X-Com knockoff with them? It shouldn’t have worked. It worked brilliantly. Rabbid Peach was a particular highlight, which is probably why they built an expansion around her.

16. Gravity Rush (Team Gravity, 2012)

It’s a game about a girl named Kat, with a cat named Dusty, who solves small problems for people and also saves the universe.

Despite suffering from memory loss and living in a sewer tunnel, Kat’s main superpowers are sheer optimism and cheerfulness and a willingness to drop everything to help people and also she can redefine gravity in her immediate vicinity and suddenly “up” becomes “down” or possibly “left” and she is falling into the air At Speed, generally flailing quite a bit and occasionally killing completely innocent bystanders who never get mentioned again by anyone who doesn’t want to personally discover how the last guys died.

Originally a Vita exclusive – so nobody bought it – it got a PS4 release that also nobody bought. I finished it on both and it’s one of my few Platinum trophies. Wasn’t a big fan of the sequel, but the original is top-notch.

15. Overwatch (Blizzard, 2016)

I’m not one for multiplayer-only PVP games, but I AM a sucker for giant stompy robots. So I bought Titanfall when it was heavily discounted in, like, 2015?

Titanfall has very little to do with Overwatch, but it taught me that I could enjoy entirely-multiplayer games as long as I got positive feedback in the form of filling up progress bars at the end of every match and as long as mecha were involved. And Overwatch has a girl that rides around inside a mech and another girl that IS a stompy robot, and there’s a progress bar that occasionally fills up and goes PING and then you get to open a loot box full of cosmetic items for every character you DO NOT play.

Seriously, I would like to start a brand new Overwatch account at some point, play 20 or 30 matches as a single character, and then drop like a hundred bucks on loot boxes. I suspect the fountain of loot that came out of those boxes would be distributed to every character except the one I’d played those matches on in a way that would defy any reasonable statistical distribution. But I digress.

Anyway, that complaint aside, Overwatch has become one of my “I need something to distract myself for like half an hour while I work out” games and was largely responsible for me going to my doctor and having her say “Huh, your blood pressure is where I want to see it”, so it deserves a spot here.

14. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017)

Most of my attempts at playing Zelda games before Breath of the Wild ended shortly after finishing the tutorial, at which point I would breathe a sigh of relief, put the controller down and promise to get back to the actual game part at some point. I never actually got back to the games, and I figured I would just never GET the whole Zelda thing.

Then came BOTW, and it turns out that taking a mix of Ubisoft tower-climbing and map-unlocking and Bethesda-style running around and completely ignoring the main quest and slapping a Zelda skin on the whole thing made for a Zelda game I could actually have fun with. Bonus points for not having a terrible tutorial and for hiding the frustrating mandatory stealth missions far enough into the game that I was too invested to quit by the time I reached them.

13. Nier: Automata (SquareEnix, 2017)

In general, I HATE games with multiple endings, and Nier: Automata has over twenty endings, at least five of which are mandatory if you want to see the whole story.

Fortunately, most of the rest are silly “bad” endings.

For example, one mission starts by being ordered to go and help another character.  If you simply choose to go the other way instead, abandoning them to their fate, you get a Game Over and the end credits roll.  You can get a second by eating bad fish and dying.  I got a few of these naturally through play, decided the process of getting the rest would be too tedious, and watched them on YouTube.

Even setting those aside, it took a fair amount of effort to keep playing through the game’s “B” and “C” routes to get through the story endings.

On the other hand, it has hot robot girls, massive bosses, Platinum-style melee combat, bullet-hell shooting, weird abstract wireframe puzzle-solving, MOOSE RIDING, and a story that beats you over the head with increasingly-depressing endings before you finally get to a spark of hope. Also, it later inspired a really enjoyable raid in Final Fantasy XIV, which brings me to…

12. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (SquareEnix, 2019)

…Yes, it’s another MMORPG expansion. And, believe it or not, it didn’t wind up in this position just because I wanted to take advantage of the segue opportunity from talking about Nier.

I got back into FFXIV earlier this year, which was probably a bad move if I’m honest. MMOs are a genre for people with WAY too much free time on their hands, or at least for people who can set a lower priority on almost every other aspect of their lives. You know, like school and work and basic social interactions.

Still, FFXIV kind of discourages the grind mentality through a number of daily and weekly lockouts and has a solid single-player story. It’s worth playing as a Final Fantasy game, not just an MMO, and the Shadowbringers expansion may just be the best Final Fantasy I’ve ever played.

Full disclosure: I’ve really only played I, VII, X and a little bit of II and VIII. AHEM.

It has the best villain, anyway, and I would recommend anyone interested in a really good Final Fantasy game with a really good villain plan to set aside three or four hundred hours of their lives to start the game from scratch and grind through the base game and the previous two expansions so you can play Shadowbringers and see for yourself.

You can play through the Nier raid once you’re done with that. It will be fun!

Side note: I really didn’t play many games released in 2019 this year, so let’s just go ahead and save me writing a separate Baud Attitude Game of the Year post and say this is it.

11. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (FROM, 2014)

Spoiler: This is the only Dark Souls game in this list. If you’ve gotten to this entry and said “Well, at least he’s putting Dark Souls II down here at number 11 where it belongs”, you may be disappointed. I genuinely like Dark Souls II the most of the trilogy, despite the world not making any sense in places and the whole Adaptability stat mess.

Look, I’d have Demon’s Souls on here if it was from this decade. Does that make it any better?

Anyway. Dark Souls II was my third Souls game, and the first where I really got into the multiplayer aspects of the series – in fact, I quite believe that the game is designed around encouraging multiplayer in a way that the other entries were not. Coming from the first Dark Souls, the opening to II is brutal – you have very little direction in which way to go, you have limited healing options, and the early zones LOVE to swarm you with pain-in-the-ass ambushes.

Then you get to the Cardinal Tower Bonfire, probably your first Bonfire after leaving the game’s hub town, and there’s a friendly merchant right there and the ground is CARPETED in summon signs, every one of them another player offering to help you push further into the world. It’s like, we’ve all stuck it out to get this far, let’s go together from here.

The Fume Knight from the DSII expansions is also has my favorite boss of the series, or at least the one that was most satisfying to finally take down.

Part three tomorrow! What incredibly brave and unusual choice will I make for the ULTIMATE GAME OF THE DECADE?

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Baud Attitude’s Games of the Decade, Part 1

2019 is nearly over, and though I’m pretty sure the actual last year of the decade isn’t until NEXT year, that sort of pedantry won’t make me any friends at parties.

If I were ever invited to parties.

So, what the hell. Let’s go with the notion that 2019 is the final year of the decade and that is is, therefore, time for BEST GAMES OF THE DECADE lists.

So I wrote one. I had to leave out a lot of games, either because I decided to restrict myself to 25 entries or because I realized that they may have been localized in the correct decade they hadn’t actually come OUT in the 2010-2019 range (Song of Saya) or were a remastered version of a game from the previous decade (Valkyria Chronicles) or because simply being able to fly around in a Y-Wing was NOT actually reason for inclusion (Battlefront II) and so on and so forth.

Still, I am pretty happy with the list I came up with. If your favorite game is not on here, it’s probably because I didn’t play it or couldn’t finish it. So, if you’re wondering where The Last of Us, Sekiro, God of War, and so on are… they’re on that other list, over there, written by the guy or gal who played and (maybe) finished them.

Oh, and try not to take the exact placement of any game too seriously. Any game in the top five could easily substitute for any other game in the top five.

After I was done, I split it into three parts because it was ridiculously long. Part 1 today, 2 and 3 to follow.

Before I get started, however, some honorable mentions:

God Damn, That’s Some Good Yuri Award: Arnice and Lilysee, Nights of Azure (Gust, 2015)

 

Most Unlikely Retro Re-Release: Super Real Mahjong PV for the Nintendo Switch (Mighty Craft Co, 2019)

 

Best Anime Souls-Inspired Game I Checked Out From the Local Library And Couldn’t Finish Before Returning It: Code Vein (Bandai-Namco, 2019)

Best No Really, It’s Not What You Think, It’s A Rock/Paper/Scissors Game: Fist Of Love (2018)

 

Best Character Designed To Piss Off Sweden for Banning a Previous Game in the Series: Marie Rose: Dead Or Alive 5 Last Round, Dead or Alive 6, Warriors All Stars (Team Ninja/Omega Force, various)

 

Best Game Featuring Pirates, Who I Am Just Totally Sick Of As Story Devices But They Keep Making Video Games About Pirates: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. (Naughty Dog, 2016)

Best Male Butt In Video Games And You Can’t Convince Me That’s Not What the Title is About: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. (Naughty Dog, 2016)

Best Magical Girls: Blue Reflection (Gust, 2017)

 

Best Hundreds Of Dollars I Dropped On Plastic Toys Only To Be Let Down By Disney When It Was Abruptly Canceled I’m Not Bitter: Disney Infinity (Various Studios, Various Years)

 

Best Pettanko: Mirai (Senran Kagura Series, Marvelous, Various)

 

Best Hidden Object Game Featuring a Ditzy Genie With Glasses: Persian Nights: Sands of Wonder (Sodigital, 2017)

 

On to the list!

25. Fantasy Defense (Playbean, 2011)

So, just to get it out of the way, the first entry in this list is a free-to-play iOS tower defense game published by a company that seems to have gone out of business in 2013. The only way you’re playing this is if you happen to have an iPad of that vintage around and happened to download it while it was available.

Like most Tower Defense games, it’s a puzzle with some real time elements, where you set up your defenders – all of them fantasy-themed units, like Ice Mages and archers and knights and the like, and then watch hordes of monsters try to get through them and destroy the base.  As you cleared levels, you earned money that could be used to buy more powerful units, and you also had one “hero” unit per level that tended to be crazy overpowered and could absolutely turn the tide if put in just the right spot.

It’s on here because I was absolutely addicted to it and it convinced me that iPads were decent devices for gaming. Also, it could be completed without spending a single penny in the in-game store, which may be why the company isn’t around now. I actually tossed the developers five bucks worth of iAP after completing the campaign. Hopefully they bought themselves a nice coffee with it.

Who am I kidding? They were probably fired five minutes after the game shipped.  Still, it was great.  Trust me!

24. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Atlus, 2015)

I do not hide my weebishness on this blog, and I have enjoyed many a hardcore weeb game. That said, a game where you have to save the world through putting on fabulous concerts may just be peak weeb. Pushed out the door to die on the WiiU, it’s getting a new release on the Switch soon.  It would be the perfect opportunity for the new and more permissive Nintendo to undo some of the more ham-fisted changes made for the localization, but instead they are – checks notes – actually porting the cuts and bizarre censorship decisions BACK to the Japanese version of the game, resulting in some degree of outcry and Nintendo actually allowing people to refund their digital purchases.

Still, a good game. Ignore my kvetching.

23. Just Cause 2 (Avalanche, 2010)

Just Cause 2 was one of my first exposures to the Open World game style, and it gives you a wonderful sandbox to play around in. There’s a story…sort of? I can’t really remember much about it other than you needing to take down some sort of corrupt military regime, but the real joy to be had in this game happens immediately after chapter 3, when it sets you free on a beautiful tropical island and tells you to blow stuff up and cause as much chaos as you can. I spent a fair amount of my vacation to Panau stealing jet airliners and trying to pull off fancy flying tricks with them, generally crashing in the process.

Also it let you grapple from helicopter to helicopter in mid-air, throwing out the hapless pilot of your new ride in the process, and I would feel bad about that if it didn’t make me giggle when I did it.

It took me a long time before I got bored of this and actually finished the game.

22. Lara Croft Go (Square Enix Montreal, 2015)

I loved both 2013’s Tomb Raider and then Rise of the Tomb Raider a couple of years later, but this is Lara’s only appearance in this list.  There was a lot of competition!

It’s not even the only Tomb Raider spinoff I enjoyed.  Both Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris came out in the last decade and both were lots of fun.  I wound up picking the “Go” game to represent the Tomb Raider series as a whole primarily because I loved its style.

Similarly to Hitman Go, it’s a low-poly turn-based puzzle game reimagining of an action series. You raid tombs, try not to get eaten by lizard people or killed by massive saw blades, occasionally there are really-well-hidden treasures to find. It was responsible for a lot of dead phone batteries before I managed to finish it and find everything, and I’m sad that the series died with their next release, Deus Ex Go.

21. Everquest: Call of the Forsaken (Daybreak, 2013)

An MMO expansion? In MY top 25 list? It’s more likely than you’d think! Also this will not be the only one, spoilers in advance.

Call of the Forsaken was Everquest’s 20th expansion, and came with the usual assortment of new areas and new people to murder for their loot. That’s not particularly notable, though they did a fine job of mining the past for nostalgia when creating the new areas. What is notable, however, is the way it revitalized the community aspect.

EQ’s players can be a bit… antisocial. It’s a game where serious players are generally controlling multiple characters at once, and adding another human to the mix introduces chaos and competition for loot. Call of the Forsaken, however, broke a lot of people out of their shells by introducing “Heroic Adventures” that were little half-hour affairs that weren’t terribly difficult and that didn’t require strict group makeups. You could leave your bot army at home, grab any few random people, burn through a couple of these instances, get some currency from them that you could then spend on gear, and generally have a relaxing time of things while still advancing your character. It got people talking to each other again, which is probably why they ditched the concept almost entirely for the next expansion.

Part two tomorrow!

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How’s that again?

I’ve been playing Love Live! School Idol Project for a couple of years now.  It’s pretty much the only mobile game I play, and honestly I don’t really PLAY it that often.  I open it most days to get the daily bonus and occasionally I play through a few songs if there’s an event going on or if I’m stuck in a waiting room.

Two years of getting the daily bonus most days means that I have a godawful amount of every kind of currency the game offers, as an aside.  It is a really generous game for a mobile gacha monstrosity and a MUCH better Love Live! game than the Vita games that were like 50 bucks each.

Anyway, when you open the app, one of your collected idols will pop up and say something funny or motivational or just plain weird.

Today is Christmas so Kotori is saying… well, file this under things Kotori can say to you but that you should not say back to Kotori.

SHE IS TOO PURE.  DO NOT LEWD.

A few days ago, this one popped up.

Which is like, a chick says this to you, you should probably make sure she isn’t building a (Shiny!) human-sized cage in her basement.

Anyway. Low-effort post today.  Have been working on a “TOP TWENTY-FIVE GAMES OF THE DECADE” post in my free time since that is the sort of post you are supposed to put up when you are a Serious Gaming Blog.

Maybe it will be up before January?

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In which, I review Star Wars: Episode IX: There’s Something About Skywalkers

Went to see the new Star Wars movie this afternoon.  Managed to misread the time on my ticket by an hour, which gave me plenty of time to wander around the local mall and reflect on how SIMPLY HAVING A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TIME is like the absolute worst lyric to get stuck in your head ever and now it’s in your head too.

But I digress.

I have made absolutely no secret of my firmly-held belief that the BTL A4 Y-Wing Assault Starfighter/Bomber (Thank you, Wookieepedia) is the absolute coolest starfighter to ever grace the screen, and TROS is Wall-to-Freaking-WALL Y-wings.  I’m not sure who looked at my Christmas list (Item 1: Can there be lots of Y-wings in the next Star Wars movie?) and sent it to JJ Abrams, but whoever you are you are my new favorite person.

It has a Y-wing basically soloing a Star Destroyer, for crying out loud.  SO BROKEN.  MORE PLEASE.

Also it gave me this piece of merch.  Well, not literally GAVE.  I had to exchange currency for it.

Like nearly 50 bucks on sale.  I think that is the most I’ve spent on Lego in decades.  I am totally going to put this thing together and proudly display it somewhere and cry when I find that one of the cats has decided that it should be on the floor in pieces.

Also there was some stuff with Rey and Finn and Poe?  I think?  It was pretty good filler for between the bits with Y-wings anyway.

10/10, would talk anyone’s ear off about how cool Y-wings are again.  Except for the bit in A New Hope where they just fly down a trench and get blown up.  That’s not really all that cool.

 

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His Name Was Cros Treewind

 

Way back in the Everquest days, I had a particular dislike of an NPC named Cros Treewind.  Cros was a high level druid, and he really really liked bears and wolves, and he roamed one of the Everquest newbie zones full of bears and wolves and would instantly kill any low level character he saw fighting a bear or a wolf.

Oh, and bears and wolves were both aggressive to most characters, so you didn’t even have to start the fight.

I was killed by Cros several times before I even knew what he looked like, by the way, because the only thing I typically saw was a single “Cros Treewind begins to cast a spell” followed by “You have been slain by Cros Treewind”.

Oh, and if you got high enough level to come back and take your revenge?  Well, technically he was a good guy so suddenly the local guards would try to kill you on sight and local merchants wouldn’t sell to you and basically he was a colossal dick that you just had to avoid.

So I never took out my frustration on Cros.

He got removed from the game eventually, and very few MMOs have anything even half as player-unfriendly.  Sure, there are Korean grinders and all-PvP-all-the-time MMOs and the like, but I don’t think any other MMO has ever had a friendly NPC who would kill you just for being attacked by a bear.

…except.

FFXIV has these things called “Hunt Mobs”, who are rare spawns that are high level and aggressive and hang out in zones far below their level and who… well, who generally are very large and easy to see from a distance and easy to avoid.  So they’re not really that bad.

But then there’s Marberry.

Marberry is a level 50 Hunt Mob who likes to hang out in little hidden corners of what is otherwise a level 25ish zone and basically jump out at any lowbie who comes too close to whatever little hidden corner he is in today.  When I was originally playing FFXIV a few years back, he killed me a LOT.

I have several jobs at max level now.  And the PVP queues are a little slow, so I have time between matches.

So I have been just sort of casually hopping back to Marberry’s home zone while I sit in queue, and checking each and every one of his spawn points – trust me, I know them all by now – and murdering the hell out of him on a regular basis.

Eventually I will probably get tired of this, but this poor punching bag of a mob is serving to get out YEARS of delayed revenge against not only himself but also a druid from a 20-year-old MMO that he has absolutely no connection to.

It’s good fun.

 

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