It’s Summer! Games Must Be on Sale


The Steam Summer Sale and all it’s goodness are upon us again. Honestly, I thought I’d be more excited. Now I’m not one of those people who were all up in arms about the removal of the daily deals of years past. They were nice to find new games I wouldn’t have found otherwise but they weren’t all that enticing usually. 

This year, there isn’t all that many games that I want and the games I do want are the price I was expecting them to be at. My mustbuys for this sale are Grim Dawn, Elite:Dangerous, and Cities Skylines. I’ve been waiting until I had a computer that could run them to play these. Also, my friends are all getting Killing Floor 2 so I’ll be picking that up too.

Everything else is up in the air. What I did last year was look through my wish list and put everything that looked fun into my cart. Then I waited for a few days, removed things that didn’t seem as appealing anymore and checked out. It worked out well last year and I didn’t end up spending that much so that’s my strategy for this year. But I lready know what I want for the most part so I’ll probably only end up getting one or two extra games.

A Newbie in Norrath

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I learned last week that Everquest 2 is launching their 2nd Time Locked Expansion Server Fallen Gate next week and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never played EQ2 or Everquest for that matter so why would I be excited to play an 13 year old game? Well it’s mostly because I’m just so curious.

I just don’t know all that much about Everquest 2. Every once in a while I’ll read something about it but if it wasn’t for me randomly finding it on steam a few years ago I probably would have never known it existed. I’ve had this fascination with the concept of progression servers since Everquest announced their’s a few years ago. I like the idea of taking an old game with so much content and rolling it back to the beginning and slowly working it back up. So I’m both curious to see what EQ2 has to offer and starting fresh on a progression server.

Fallen Gate will be a different TLE Server than the previous Stormhold and Deathtoll servers. The first wave of progression servers had the player base vote on whether or not the next expansion should be unlocked and Fallen gate will unlock each expansion every 12 weeks.

The past week or so I’ve been playing around on a free to play account on the current live servers trying to decide if I like the game enough to pay a sub for it. From what I’ve experienced so far I can see myself playing this. I like how many different races and classes there are and I can be a frog, I don’t know if I’ve ever played a game where I can play as a frog. Even better I can play as a magic frog and have my own little frog clone to follow me around.

I’ve been fooling around with a handful of classes that look interesting. With the free to play account I only get 2 character slots so I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of characters. I’ve tried playing some of the more familiar classes like ranger, beserker, and wizard but the less cookie cutter classes look like fun too. So far I’m really digging the Dirge with it’s buffs as well as it’s debuffs and melee skills. The illusionist has also been fun to play around for a few levels with and they get their own clone pet as well. The more frogloks the better. I still want to try out the Coercer for a few levels before I make my decision on what class to play I just love the name of the class.

Something that took me by surprise was that there was voice acting in the beginning area. Not all of the NPC’ have voiced dialogue but a good amount of them do. It’s just not something I was expecting to see. I don’t know how much more of the game is voice acted outside of the beginning area but it’s a nice touch. Also the graphics aren’t terrible. They don’t look as dated as I thought they would and don’t detract from the game.

I know I’ll be in the extreme minority on this new progression server as someone whose never played the game before but I’m looking forward to learning and playing a new to me game. I’m hoping that with this server I’ll be playing the old content in a meaningful way instead of rushing through it on the live server. I think this is what excites me most about it getting a fuller experience of what EQ2 was and is. Plus, the nice thing about the All Access Day Break subscription is that I can try their other games as a member if EQ2 doesn’t end up being my cup of tea.

 

Oh Tyria, I’m Home!

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Returning to Guild Wars 2 this weekend has been a little more complicated than I thought it would be. I’ve created and deleted so many characters this week trying to decide on a class to play. I’ve gone through a ranger, a necromancer, a thief, and a warrior, and elementalist. In the end decided to stick with the Asura elementalist. There’s just so many buttons to push.

Previously I had leveled a Guardian to 80 and an engineer to 59 so I didn’t want to reroll as those classes. Every class i tried there was always something around level 10 or 11 that i didn’t like. I didn’t like the weapon skills for most of the ranger and thief weapons and I didn’t like the utility skills for the necromancer. Both classes were promising in the beginning but by level 10 just didn’t look like they would play the way I wanted them too. I’m sure I’ll give them a second chance when I inevitably create more characters but for now none they just didn’t suit my tastes.

The warrior I would have stuck with but being a human seemed kind of boring and the Asura were calling to me. I was so excited when Guild Wars 2 was announced to play as an Asura and even though I already had an Asura Engineer, I made another one!

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One of the benefits of creating and deleting so many characters has been the chance to visit all of the starting areas. Out of all of them, Rata Sum is still my favorite city with Hoelbrek coming in at a close second. I’ve been enjoying finding all of the Points of Interest and Vistas just as much as completing the hearts. I haven’t had this much fun exploring in a long time and this game is just a gold mine for screenshots.

They must have updated the new player experience since I’ve last played. Weapon skills unlock based on level and not how much you use the weapon and I also remember their being access to the utility skills before level 10 but I could be wrong. Overall I like the change. Instead of giving you a bunch of skills at the start it eases you into them one by one. Even the elementalist who has a ton of weapon skills has been pretty easy to learn.

It’s weird because I’ve played this game before and I’ve leveled up to 80 before but the game feels brand new this time around. I think part of that is the better computer and the other part is I’m not trying to race to 80 to play with my friends. We never did end up playing together…

This time around I’m taking it slow, enjoying the world, and enjoying the personal stories I’ve done so far. The Norn one was just starting to get good when I got rid of the necro but I have a feeling I’ll be seeing the elementalist all the way through.

 

Backlogged: The Division- How We Saved New York

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Last night I saved New York from a mad man with a helicopter. Me and Jay have been making our way through The Division’s story off and on for the last year and a half? Has it really been that long?

We geared up for the last mission a few weeks ago and then proceeded not to play it at all. Part of me didn’t want it to be over. The games cover mechanics and Diablo like loot drops made for a great time taking on all of the street thugs, pyromaniacs, and rouge agents through out almost-post-apocalyptic New York. But last night we decided it was time and walked into the UN armed to the teeth.

For most of the last mission everything felt anti-climactic. We were completing the same objectives and fighting the save wave patterns of enemies that we had been the whole game. Nothing about it felt especially epic or exciting. I mean, having a shoot out in the General Assembly of the UN was a nice touch, how many times do you get to do that?

Regardless of whether things felt mostly the same or not, we died a lot. The Division’s missions all seem to have a spot where we get stuck and almost feel like giving up and it’s always at or near the end. We beat most of the missions just because we didn’t feel like losing a half hour of time by quitting for the night and retrying later. But in this last encounter, we didn’t hit anything like that. Either we had gotten better or our gear was very powerful. Probably a mix of both.

But the end of the mission, that’s an entirely different story. Thus far we had been fighting guys with guns, bigger guys with guns, and occasionally a couple big guys with guns at the same time. The final boss however, was a big guy with a giant helicopter.

Luckily we could turn on some turrets to help us take it down which required us to run around the stage like mad men dodging the helicopters mounted guns. Once we turned on most of the turrets, the helicopter got angry. Now it was both fire lots of bullets and launching blinding flares. And just as we had gotten rid of it’s shield, it started launching rockets.

Now the helicopter boss in itself wasn’t too bad once we figured out where all the switches to turn on the turrets were. The part that kept killing us over and over and over were the ground troops that started to spawn. These guys had a lot of health, like way more than the normal red enemies and they did a ton of damage. After what seemed like our tenth attempt were able to overcome every obstacle and blast the helicopter our of the sky. One big fancy explosion later and we had beaten the base game.

I also hit level 30 which promoted a tutorial of the end game. I really have no interest in playing the end game or collecting all the things I’ve missed on the map.  It was a fun ride and I liked the story missions but farming the dark zone just doesn’t sound appealing to me. I do think that when the DLC goes on sale again for PS4 I’ll probably pick it up but for now The Division can rest snugly back on the shelf.

 

 

E3: Three Games I’m Hyped For

This is the first year I really paid any sort of attention to E3. Usually I have a vague idea whats slated to come out for the end of the year holiday season and maybe a few titles in between, but I’ve never been able to get hyped for a game years in advance.

I’m also not into sitting down and watching a press conference so I poured over a list of games “revealed” at each conference. I’m not sure how this thing usually goes,I’ve heard this years E3 has been lack luster, but I found a few games I’ll be looking forward to for the next year and a half.

 

Monster Hunter World

I had to reread the list to make sure I was still scrolling down the Sony reveals on this one. I’ve been waiting to play Monster Hunter on something other than a handheld since Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii.

My first experience of a Monster Hunter game was on the PSP with Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, and to be honest I hated every minute of it. The camera was awful and you couldn’t lock on to anything. I don’t remember why I decided to give it another chance on the Wii but I fell in love with it. I must have put hundreds of hours into it over a few summer breaks. Then came the 3DS releases which was a system seller for me even before Pokemon.

While the 3DS were great I always wanted the franchise to come back to the big screen. The PS4 has some offerings in the same vein as Monster Hunter, namely God Eater and the Toukiden series. But neither of them quite as exciting as Monster Hunter. Ya I know I could have bought a Wii U for Monster Hunter 3 but there wasn’t anything else for that system that I wanted to play.

Either way the trailer looks slick, the graphics got a much needed update, and if this turns out to be as good as the last few handheld games I can see my friends and I putting in long hours hunting.

 

Marvel’s Spider-Man

My favorite super hero game of all time is Spider-Man 2 which I played on the Gamecube. It was my first open world game, one of the first games I ever beat without a guide. And one of the first games I’ve taken the time to hunt down all the collectibles.

We’ve known for a while that Sony had a Spider-Man game coming out for a while now and I enjoyed the new trailer for it. There are a lot of criticisms about it having so many quick time events but I didn’t think it detracted from the game that much. If anything it added a more cinematic feel to the whole thing.

The one concern I have with it is the stealthy looking game play in the beginning. It looked very much like the Arkham games which I’m in the middle of playing through. While that style of play works for Batman, Spider-Man has never  been a stealthy hero to me. He’s more of a flashy, I’m going to make fun of you while beating you up, kind of hero and I didn’t see a lot of that in the trailer.

Regardless of how it turns out I’ll probably pick it up at some point. The swinging and wall running look to fun to pass up even if its full of quick time events and stealth missions.

 

Anthem

Let me start out by saying this game looks awesome. It’s got sci-fi Iron Man suits, it’s got squad based combat, and it’s apparently got RPG-like progression. It’s Bioware’s Very Pretty Destiny and Oh You Can Have A Jet Pack Too.

But I know how these things go and while all of it looks and sounds great when it’s first announced theres always that thought in the back of my mind that says, how are they going to screw this up. This looks like the poster child for the hype trains next wreck. But I’m hopeful and out of all the games I’ll be following the news on this one closely if only to temper my expectations for how insanely awesome this looks like its going to be.

 

Heading Back to Trove

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I’m back to playing Trove again this week. Sometimes I want a game I can turn my brain off and play and feel like I’m getting somewhere. It fills the same role as Diablo 3 for me, grind a few levels get some new gear while listening to music or something. I also have a group of friends who get together to run the weekly Shadow Towers, which are the closest thing Trove has to challenging content.

Lately I’ve been looking for a game I can play with no sound so I can catch up on some podcasts. Trove is perfect for this as I don’t have the game sounds on anyways because they’re a little repetitive. I think the entire soundtrack consists of 3 songs.

This week I took a break from my main class the Ice Sage and have been playing the Pirate Captain. I’ve had him for a long time and I don’t know why I haven’t played him before. He’s got a really great set of skills with parrot manned turrets, explosive decoys, and a giant cannon the fires molten cannon balls. In my adventures so far I’ve leveled him up past the 5k Power Rank needed to do higher level content with my friends. Also I got a class gem that lets me spawn 2 Parrot Turrets instead of just one. And we al know more turrents are always better.

Trove hasn’t had the sticking factor that it once had for me. Jay has been playing it every day for the last year and a half and I can’t seem to get into it for more than a month or 2 at a time. I used to really like unlocking and playing around with all the classes. When the game first launched there were new classes almost every month. As of late the class releases have slowed dramtically with the last one being released in August of last year.

Trove has been really slow with content updates as well. While there have been some major patches since the release of Mantle of Power, which came out last summer, none of them have added new features to the game and have seemed to just added more stuff to the store. In fact there was one “major update” that was just an improvement to the store UI. Apparently they’ll be adding sub-classes and a few more shadow tower bosses later this year but a release date hasn’t been mentioned yet.

I’m not sure how long I’ll be playing Trove this time around. I could be a few weeks or it could be a few months but right now I’m enjoying my time there.

 

Gaming Choice Paralysis

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Last week I built my first gaming PC. With that came a crash course in computer hardware installation and a great sense of accomplishment but also some unforeseen consequences. It ran for about 3 days until the power supply gave out causing a whole week worth of troubleshooting, researching, and more troubleshooting. But after all was said and done I was able to bring it back to life over the weekend!

For the past 8 years or so I’ve been attempting to play games on a business laptop. It wasn’t exactly an enjoyable experience. There were only a few kinds of games I could pay, Namely this came down to do I want to play a 2d side scroller, a pixelated indie game, or, if I was lucky, a game that came out 15 years ago. Other than that my choice in games has been whatever the PS3 and PS4 libraries held. While they aren’t small by any means there was always something I wanted to play but it wasn’t on the system.

Now I have all the options and I must admit it’s a little dizzying how many choices there are. I’ve already installed games I’ve been following for years but could never run well enough to play. Games like Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Black Desert Online, Wildstar, even World of Warcraft. They all run without skipping a beat, it’s fantastic.

Then there’s single player games I’ve been waiting on like Grim Dawn and Elite Dangerous. Though Elite Dangerous is set to release for PS4 at the end of the month…go figure.

Unfortunately I don’t have any really intensive game to really make my PC work hard but even my old games take on a new life at maximum settings and on a bigger monitor.

With all of these options how do I choose what to play? I find myself hopping from game to game saying “oooo look how pretty this one it” and then moving on to test another. It’s hard to pick just one to play for an hour but I can’t complain too much it’s a pretty good problem to have.