Are Launches Exciting Anymore?

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With Albion Online set to launch next week, it looks like we’re about to see one of these crowd funded MMO’s actually launch. But what does launch actually mean?

Well the server will be wiped for the last time,a persistent world will follow and a brand new baby virtual world will be born. Now player’s won’t have to worry that all their progress will be lost forever in the name of development. All the founders will get to say “I was there in the beginning”and see their investment come to fruition. People who want to play a finished game can do just that.

As an outside observer and potential new player by the time something like this launches I’ve already heard about this game for the past couple of years.  It’s different from when a game is announced and then you get videos, blogs, little marketing events that hype it up. Most of the excitement comes from the initial announcement of a project. Then you get to hear all about it for years. And instead of having a closed beta or open beta weekend, people get to play this game from the very beginning stages to the eventual release as long as they pay for an unfinished product.

I understand that games are very expensive to make, especially massively multiplayer ones, and that crowd funding has the potential to raise enormus ammounts of money. But when a game opens itself up before it’s finished it takes away the magic of when it is finished. Everyone whos been there from pre-alpha, alpah, or beta already knows what tier getting gameplay wise and those who didn’t buy in but were interested already know whats going to be there except now all their progress will be saved going forward. I’ll admit that is probably enough to get new and old players in to the action.

Now there are a whole slew of projects being crowdfunded and I’m sure I will feel pretty ambivalent when every single one of them makes it to launch. It is cool to see a game that’s been developing for so long reach the finish line but the most exciting thing, for me, will be to watch the narrative go from will it ever be finished to what’s next?




Backlogged- Batman: Arkham Asylum


Something truly unusual happened with Batman: Arkham Asylum. I beat the entire story only a few weeks after I bought it. It’s one of the few single player that I’ve been compelled to beat.

I ended up spending 11 hours on the main story with a little light collecting. I gave up on solving all the Riddler challenges pretty quickly because some of them had me stumped for a while before I’d just move on and some of them are not very fun. The ones I could figure out relatively quickly I did though. In all I got 70% of the game complete.

Like I said in my last post on this game, I’ve had a love hate relationship with Batman. This was one of those love moments. The entire story was like playing a comic book. It wasn’t some complicated story with twists and turns but an action packed summer blockbuster type story. Batman: Arkham Asylum is the classic tale of the Joker trying to best Batman and Batman trying to stop the Joker. As the title would suggest, the whole game takes place in Arkham Asylum where all the great Batman villains go for a time out when Batman catches them. The story also takes place over one night. The story moves quickly and there is some great pacing. Once I hit the last couple hours of the game I couldn’t stop until the credits rolled.


Essentially the Joker and his Henchman have taken over Arkham, have trapped Batman there, and are planning nefarious schemes to unleash on the city of Gotham. You, as Batman, have to discover what’s going on, save a few people, and escape the island.

A lot of the draw of superhero games for me is that you start off awesome and you just get more awesome as the game goes on. Playing RPG’s I’m used to starting out as nothing and watching my character grow over time. With superhero game’s it’s like your character is already grown and they just keep getting more and more overpowered.

This game had a lot of stealth in it. I’m not usually one for stealth games but this was really easy stealth. If the enemies see you they’ll yell and scream and shoot at you until you grapple up to the rafters. Then they forget you even existed. You can hit them with batarangs over and over again and they’ll never look up. It’s great fun.


And it’s a good thing to because the combat is a little lack luster. It’s like Shadow of Mordor where you hit one button to attack and one to counter with a few combo moves in between. There are some fun moments like when your fighting 8+ enemies but most of the time you’re only taking down 2 or 3. I didn’t try the extra challenge levels because they all sounded like mostly combat. If the combat was just a bit more engaging I might be rushing to play them but right now I’ll pass.

The boss fights aren’t all that different from each other. They use the same big enemies that you have to hit with a batarang while they charge at you a lot. It was fun the first time when fighting bane, by the end of the game it was pretty uneventful. Ok, riding the big enemies and having them beat each other up never got old


I really, really, liked the Scarecrow levels. They added so much to the game between the weird cutscene’s as Batman succumbs to the fear mixture. The levels themselves also help break up the games core game play and take the game from 3D action to 2D stealth.

My favorite parts were collecting the character bios and interview tapes. They were really interesting to read, especially becuase they tell you the first time a character appeared in the comics. The interview tapes add a little more to the main villains. They’re all recordings of therapists interviewing the villains as patience. It just adds a nice little touch to the whole Asylum feel.

I’m glad I got to play this game after so many years. I’ve been told over and over that it’s fantastic. Now I’ve come to my own conclusion that while it has it’s flaws, it’s a very well done game and still holds up even 8 years later.


EQ2: Ice, Snow, and Orcs


It’s been quite a week in EQ2 for me. I thought after a week my curiosity would wear off and I’d return to my regular gaming habits. But truth be told I haven’t touched Guild Wars 2 since I started on Fallen Gate. I started the week at level 5 and have slowly fought my way to level 13.

At the beginning of the week I found myself doing more tutorial quests. One actually taught me about gathering and collectibles and gave me a nice materials chest for my bank so it wasn’t a waste of time. The boat I took from the Isle of Refuge was destroyed and I found myself in a very cold and desolate world of the Frost fang sea. Orcs seem to thrive here though because there are plenty of those all over the place.

Leveling from 5-9 had me doing quests for a band of travelers as they prepared to move to their next step on the journey toward New Halas.  I collected things for them, I found missing children , and I  even tamed some snow lions to get them through to the next leg. After all of that they still just sent me to the Great Shelf on my own. They didn’t even give me a lion for protection.


One of the things I’m finding is that the quests in EQ2, at least in this revamped starter island, are actually interesting. Each quest hub has a few quest lines that all tie together and form a coherent story for that particular area. I can’t even say that there is a main quest right now except getting to New Halas but the collection of side-quests really works for me. I especially like that I haven’t found a single one and done quest. Every quest giver has had three to five quests. It makes me feel like I’m actually helping this particular NPC instead of running around from person to person. Oh and I can’t forget to mention how much I like the little conversational flavor text for your character. Essentially their just next, yes, no, accept buttons but it’s so much more entertaining to make snide remarks instead of just blankly agreeing.

Let’s talk about quests for a minute on Fallen Gate. The quests have been out leveling me by a lot. I know I said I wanted to play this server and see all the old content but I did not expect to be level 13 and have all my available quests be level 16+. Was it like this at launch? Is this intentional? Maybe I’m just a spoiled millennial gamer but I’m not complaining, it makes accomplishing said quest a little victory all of it’s own.


Getting to level 10 felt like such a slog. I had a collection of gear and some skill books to use at level 10. I managed to find a repeatable quest where I slaughtered orcs and turned in the quest over and over again for about an hour until I finally dinged. I also received this hideous mount, the Pedipowered Posterior Punter. At first I didn’t get it, putting the mount on makes my Froglok walk instead of hop  and he looks like a creepy marionette. And then I jumped…straight up a cliff. It’s been quite a useful tool for exploring and avoiding some encounters.

Levels 10-13 have had me take part in a war between the Orcs and the Dwarves that live here. There’s orcs of ever flavor, magic orcs, warrior orcs, lazy orcs, necromancer orcs, you name it, the Frost Fang Sea has an Orc for it. The nice things about leveling so slowly is that I’ve honed my orc killing techniques.

I can’t help but feel like I might be going about this leveling the wrong way. I’ve made it to the Cragged Spine and have been doing level 16 quests when I can. It’s been a slow go and I haven’t seen all that many people around me to group up with . Nevertheless, it’s been fun. I have my own little goal of completing all of the quests here, getting to New Halas, and leaving for the mainland. I think I still have a while to go but it’s definitely been an adventure so far.





The Steam Summer Sale Ends


steam sale

Another steam summer sale is in the books and more games have been added to my library. I did what I did last year and put everything I wanted from my wishlist into my cart right when the sale started. Over the next few days I got rid of stuff I didn’t want right now, knew I wouldn’t play, or just didn’t feel like playing when the time came to check out.

The Final Cut

  1. Elite Dangerous: I’ve wanted to play Elite since it was released and it took it’s sweet time coming to the PS4. Of course it would be out on the PS4 the year I can play it on PC…
  2. Grim Dawn: I loved Titan Quest and have been looking forward to playing it’s spiritual successor since it was released. I love the setting and the dual class combinations. Plus I needed a new ARPG for PC.
  3. SOMA: I have had this game recomended to me so many times. The price was right this year and I scooped it up. It’ll be my first horror game I’ve ever played. Not sure how I went this long without experiencing one.
  4. The Longest Journey/Dreamfall The Longest Journey: I’ve heard such great things about these games. I’m not sure what to expect other than I’ve heard they have excellent stories and casts of characters
  5. Killing Floor 2: Theres one guy in my gaming group who loved the first one and played it a ton. He convinced the rest of us to pick up a copy and it’s been one of the best multiplayer experiences I’ve had in a while.
  6. Warhammer: End Times- Vermintide: Say that ten times fast! Another co-op game that three of us got. It’s like Left 4 Dead except with killer rats and swords. Oh and loot, can’t forget about the loot. I can’t decide which one I like more this game or Killing Floor 2.
  7. The Uncertain: Episode 1- The Last Quiet Day: This was my impulse buy this year. Jay and I stumbled across it late one night while we were looking for games to add to our wishlists like a day before the sale. It’s suppose to be a 3 chapter eposodic game with an interesting setting where humans have gone extinct and only robots remain on earth. It was $3 so I grabbed it. The next episode is due out some time at the end of this year.


There are a few things to note about this year versus last year.

No 2D Games 2017

I have nothing against 2D indie games. I enjoy my sidescrolling, platforming, metrovania games all dressed up in sprite artwork as much as I ever have but nothing stood out to me this year.

Still No Rougelikes or Early Access

Last year I didn’t even look at anything with an Early Access tag and it was no different this year. I also didn’t find any rougelikes this year that I wanted. I still enjoy the genre and fire up Tales of Maj’Eyal every once in a while but the novelty has worn off on me.

Two Whole Co-Op Games

Last year me and Jay decided we had too many co op games to still play through from the previous years sale. This year we ended up getting 2 to play with our larger group of friends. I haven’t been disapointed with either Vermintide or Killing Floor 2. Though some of the bugs in Vermintide kinda weird me out…








July Goals: Level All the Things!


June In Review

This month I came back to the blog after a few months hiatus. It’s good to be back! I didn’t have any goals for myself in June. I was testing a few games out seeing what I wanted to stick with for a while. I’ve mostly been playing around with a mix of Guild Wars 2, Trove, and a few single player games. I also started a character on the new Everquest 2 TLE server Fallen Gate.

July Goals

  • Get my Guild Wars 2  Elementalist to 50.  I’m looking forward to spending more time in Tyria doing the personal story and exploring the world. As far as I remember the leveling didn’t slow down that much and I’m having a blast completing the zone maps.
  • Level my Coercer to 20 on the Everquest 2 Fallen Gate server. I’m subbed up until the end of July and I’m still curious about EQ2. So far I’m really enjoying the world, the quests, and the class. It’s been a slow start, I’m only level 10, but it’s been quite a different experience than what I’m used too.  I’m looking forward to getting out of the New Halas starting zone and seeing something other than an icy tundra and water.
  • Get my last gear piece to Stellar, the highest gear tier, in Trove and possibly get to level 26. This is the first time I’ve had any sort of goal for Trove but now that it’s my go to podcast listening game I’ve been spending more time in it. I’ve never payed much attention to gear progression in Trove. Like everything else it’s a grind requiring a mix of crafting materials, money, and items locked behind weekly Shadow Towers. I’m really close to getting the last Shadow Tower item I need before I can start to try and catch up to my friends. Right now my Pirate Captain is sitting at level 25. After 20 the XP slows waaaayyyy down so who knows how far I’ll get level wise when I only play 30 minutes a day.
  • Finish Batman: Arkham Asylum. Currently I’m about 7 hours in and I don’t think I have all that longer to go. The game’s story appears to be rapping up and at the moment I’m not all that interested in finding all the collectibles. There are a few challenge levels I might try though.

Arkham Asylum: I’m Batman!


Lately, I’ve been playing Batman: Arkham Asylum when I’m in the mood for a single player game. I’ve somehow managed to avoid spoilers and the game in general for a long time. I found it on sale earlier this month and for whatever reason I was in the mood to do bat things. And there are a lot of bat things to do like throwing batarangs, sulking in the shadows, and being reminded for the hundredth time that Bruce Wayne’s parents are still dead.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with Batman. On the one hand, I grew up on the animated series cleverly called Batman: The Animated Series. I didn’t know going in that Batman and The Joker were voiced by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil from the animated series and that already makes this game amazing.

On the other hand, the Christopher Nolan movies defined Batman as a character for a long time. As much as I wanted to be as hyped as the people around me about these movies, they  just didn’t do anything for me.

So I swore off all things Batman for a while. That is until I discovered the excellent comic series written by Scott Snyder in 2013. My faith in Batman was restored. He was a cool, mystery solving, gadget wielding, action hero Batman again and not some grainy, over dramatic, lets yell at everyone in a gravely voice Batman.

I didn’t even see Batman Vs Superman, I just didn’t need that in my life.


But Back to Arkham Asylum. I really didn’t know what to expect going into this other than I would be Batman and the Joker probably had some horrible plan up his sleeve. The whole opening scene I was sitting there just waiting for Joker to escape. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. But the gist of it is that Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum for his own nefarious ends and Batman has to stop him. Pretty standard stuff.

I’m about 20% in and I can’t stop playing it. I love the little character Bios you can collect, I love the voice recordings you can find of therapists meeting with super villians like Scarecrow and Killer Croc, and I wasn’t expecting to love the Riddler Challenges so much. Every new area usually has some riddle and you have to use Batman’s withcer senses detective mode to find a certain object and scan it. Then the Riddler says some demeaning comment about your intelligence and you get on with your game. They’re really quite addicting…except the annoying ones but I’m not a completionist so I skip those.


Those Scarecrow levels though, those are weirdly fun. They take the game from a 3d stealthyish game to a 2d side-scrolling stealthyish game. It adds a little variety to the somewhat repetitive game play.

Not that repetition is bad, it’s actually a pretty satisfying game play loop of find some clues, hide in the shadows and swoop down on your unsuspecting foes, and then beat them up until they’re unconscious, find out a little more about the Jokers plan, then rinse and lather. The combat is so simple and yet its fun. It’s Assassin’s Creed style beat up your enemy until another one attacks, parry them, and then go back to beating up your enemy. Plus you get the super slow mo finisher scenes when you defeat the last bad guy. I thought they’d get old…they haven’t yet.

It’s been a long time since I played a super hero game but I always find them fun. They just make you feel like your in a comic book or movie. Instead of reading and watching your favorite hero fight bad guys, you get to fight bad guys as  your favorite bad guy.




Baby Steps on Fallen Gate


Since the Everquest 2 Fallen Gate has launched I haven’t had as much time to sit down and play as  I would have liked. But I did get to play a little over the past couple days. I chose to make a froglok coercer and go around the Isle of Refuge enslaving every mob I saw.

It all started on a boat, as all good tales do, with a thinly veiled tutorial on how to do MMO things. Like opening chests, buying and selling to merchants, and of course, killing rats. My biggest surprise right off the bat was that I had 4 inventory slots, just 4, and it stayed that way until level 3 when i picked up another 4 slot bag. It looked like I was either going to be going back and forth from the merchant to sell things often or just not pick up every piece of junk that dropped. I chose the latter.

Combat is harsh, I can barely take on 2 mobs at the same time even with a charmed creature fighting with me. It’s gotten to be a fun little dance of mesmerizing and rooting targets when I aggro one too many. But at the same time it takes a long time to down each one. Not excruciatingly long but long enough that it’s noticeable. I’m sure re once I have a few more skills to press it won’t be as noticeable.


I made it to level 5 and completed  all of the isle of refuge and set off for the Frostfang Sea. Mostly because it sounded cool. Maybe that wasn’t the greatest choice as my boat was attacked by orcs and I seem to be on another tutorial island. It even told me how to gather and fight things again. But I quickly moved past all the level 1-4 quests and am on my way to a new area of New Halas.

So far the leveling hasn’t been too much of a turn off. I knew it would be slower than the live character I made but right now it doesn’t seem too bad. The chat is lively with people looking for groups, guilds recruiting, and the general chat making the same jokes about some new game called World of Warcraft. It was also nice to see people in the isle of refuge instead of walking round a ghost town on the live server.

I’m enjoying myself so far. I’ll definitely be playing a little more over the weekend to get a better feel for the game. One thing I really like is that the quests are in chat bubbles instead of a separate page to read all at once. It feels more like a conversation between the NPC and your character as opposed to the NPC just ordering  your character around.