Aside

League brings on the man tears: A Loadout Review

These last two weeks have been so busy I haven’t had time to do much of anything other then work, write a few words, and booze it up.  Always time for booze.  My nice liquid cooled PC master race box, has gone utterly unused.  After a long day while I sit on my couch, with my cat on my shoulder, I just can’t bring my self to take the 20 steps and reach my desk.  Then it takes time to boot the beast up and talk to people to set something up. I guess it’s just supreme laziness, the kind of laziness that stops people from burning time on dumb things and instead literally doing nothing for an hour.

On the couch, I have turned on the TV to catch some of the LCS and every single game makes me want to boot up league and have another go.  I am definitely one of those players that is more negative then anything else, but I’ll have you know I suffer in silence.  It takes maybe 5 losses in a row, trying to just win one game before bed, around 4 in the morning on the sixth game and I can’t seem to catch a break.  In my head, my options come down to 2, pull all my hair out or say something to the top laner pushed up to the enemy tower with no wards and 4 deaths.

For the last two weeks I’ll go as far as to have the computer booted up and league updated.  Then I’ll hover my mouse over the ‘Play’ button and flashes of horrible games will bring me to tears.  Shuttering with sobs, my girlfriend will put a blanket over me and whisper, “It’s ok, take your time.”

At this low point, when I question my very will to game, grassy snipes.  “Come on try Loadout”, I can hear his evil smile.  I am a 100% jaded gamer and don’t fall for the ‘new thing’.  I like to sit and wait for a game to ripen before I decide to spend any time on it.  Free to plays are so rarely worth the time they want that I stay away. A new one, ‘that is totally different’, pops up every 2 months and Grassy eats that crap up.

Fine, it can’t destroy my day like league does, let me give it a shot.  It turned out to be ok. I would give it a solid ‘meh’ and a half.  Didn’t suffer from crazy lag and only required some fighting with the dumb Friends list.  Why, if you are on steam, would you make your own clunky friends list?

Quick review, stages have little to no thought in them. It doesn’t matter so much, since the game modes are what any other came would consider novelties.  With check points bouncing here and there and people spawning everywhere, it’s just not possible to make a balanced map with any kind of depth.  OK, maybe it is, but load out definitely didn’t manage it.  Might not bother casuals, filthy as they are, but the time required to start getting a customized character isn’t worth spending in a game with so little depth.  I could be spending my time on something productive, like trying to get karma on reddit or crying in front of the League play button.

Unique gaming experience.

I don’t remember what I was complaining about while arguing with Grassy, but I got a strong pang of nostalgia. Something had me thinking about peculiar gaming experiences.

Things that weren’t part of the games. Things that happened because of my unique situation.  Things that I simply can never re-live.  Like playing the first game that requires a pause to look around and just enjoy the spectacle.

I started to run through all the years of gaming I could remember, and find those times.

I got the PlayStation as a Christmas present, along with Final fantasy VII but no memory card. I remember playing the first maybe 2 hours over and over, stretching it to around 15 hours.

When I finally made it past the tower and out of the city for the first time. I can’t describe the excitement that came with the realization that this city was just one of a whole world. That changed gaming for me.

I had spent so much time in Midgar, I just never would have thought that there was another place.

I remember being challenged to 1v1 in Unreal Tournament by some other dude at school.  Unreal was the first online game I had ever bought.  At the time, I had just got broad band.  I played that game day and night, so naturally I accepted.

I pretty much destroyed him.  He had a negative score by the end since I took to pushing him over the edge. Then the big reveal, it was actually another dude playing.  The lesser of the pair.  Now I’d fight the real challenger.

He picked an indoor map, low gravity, and intsa-gib only(which is a one shot kill gone).  Did I mentioned, I lived this game?  Particularly with the insta-gib.  I would practice with that gun at 180% normal game speed.

I stomped him worst.

The last straw was my leap from one side of the stage to the other and killing him three times before I landed.  They disconnected. Memories.

I spoke to Grassy about his experiences.  Apparently he is the most boring standard gamer ever.

Please share some of yours.

Dark souls opens doors and is such a breath of fresh air for me.

My inner pessimist and optimist were in complete agreement that I should wait before booting the game up.  One wined, a single player game hasn’t held my interest for more then an hour or too in so very long.  The other pleaded, so many people enjoy this game, it might not hold up to the hype, so save it for later.

Two weekends ago, later finally arrived.  I was an idiot for waiting so long. Simply put, this game kindled my enthusiasm for single player games again.

I had grown tired.  FPS’s put me against dumb AI.  Dead spaces, Bioshocks, Skyrim, Tomb Raider all did this. Not to say they weren’t fun in different ways but what they lacked in mechanics and AI they hoped to make up for in story and presentation. As a gamer that isn’t afraid to pick up a book I require a bit more in story to hold my interest.

Not to imply that games can’t tell amazing stories.  Most games just don’t manage it.

As an example, I beat through Bioshock Infinite solely to see as much of the amazing world and performances as I could. The game play almost completely broke immersion and boiled down to killing waives of enemys till you could move to the next room.  Most of the weapons and powers amounted to just a few actually mechanically different options.

Gaming is still my major hobby.  That time is spent in multiplayer.

Dark souls introduced me to a game that didn’t sacrifice game play for story or presentation and a world were AI wasn’t the focus.  In dark souls the focus is mastery of the mechanics.  Enemy’s are predictable but vary in difficulty not only by level, but my the build you chose.  So each build you create changes the game so much.  What was tough then is now easy and you are forced to come up with different approaches, which in turn makes me want to try other builds.

Much of Dark souls is completely a mystery to the first time player.  Which can make for a steep learning curve.  Items of value can easily be wasted or passed over.  Once I realized that the game was supposed to be about exploration.  I wasn’t afraid to just start over and try something new. It can be punishing but restarting is fun and feels like a world of new options.

This so far sounds like a game review, which is not.  I just want to explain where I am in terms of single player and Multi-player.

Other games do this but in much smaller scales.  Binding of Issac comes to mind.  Starting over and getting different items to beat through the game a very different way.

That scale of difference is what makes me so much want to just jump in to Dark Souls right now and try something new.  Everything in Dark Souls is build for a unique experience.  Almost every weapon, even the ones you start with, have potential to be amazing. There is no ‘best’ weapon.  It all depends on how you want to use it.

Even the Multi-player in dark souls is unique every run through.  Turn to human form for help with a boss you know your build isn’t ready to handle.  What do you know you were invaded and now you have a whole new experience and it all feels natural, even part of the single player.

I wish this game wasn’t such a rare gem.  I wish more major titles would focus on mechanically interesting and different games.  Till then, Dark souls 2 is coming out 2014.

Unfulfilled promises that grind my gears.

It’s becoming a Monthly discussion. Grassy brings up fall out and we start arguments about player expectations. He sees Fallout as completely open but something like GTA as too restrictive. The deciding factor is the fact that GTA has so many buildings and the ones you are able to explore are very limited. For Grassy at least, That alone is able to turn the game into a jacket two sizes too small.

I don’t have much against the limitations of Games. Budget and time only allow so much to be open. It’s not a disappointment to me that, while playing Skyrim, I wouldn’t be able to take a quite morning outside crocheting or building a steam engine.

What can quickly make me start considering a game’s options to have as much stretching room as a southwest center seat, is when a game doesn’t warn when an option is going to disappear.

Bioshock says no, that gun I have been upgrading is now useless because it doesn’t have a red ribbon at the end. Yes, my old gun is mechanically the same and has money put into it but too bad. I have to switch and start upgrading a new gun because head shots don’t do the same amount of damage to the new more human, humans.

Deus ex, at least before the update, says no, there is no way to non-lethally kill this boss. Even though the game gave every option in the few hours I played before this point.

That moment was more then upsetting to me. I had slowly and very enjoyably, managed to make my way through the areas without notice. Then I got to the boss.

Had I read anything about the game, I’d know that the first boss is disproportionately difficult then the game up until that point and for a good while after.

The difficulty wasn’t the issue for me. I wanted to maintain my non-lethal status. After about an hour of trying to win the fight without actually killing him. I decided to look it up. Nope, no way to achieve my goal. So I tasered and shotgun him till he died.

Adam then decided to take it a step further, and stuff a grenade down the bosses throat, with a smirk in his face. Blowing his head clean off.

Game violence as a whole doesn’t phase me much. What put sand up my butt crack was the betrayal. I had gone out of my way to make it to this point without killing or even being seen. The game rewarded me with character comments pointing out that my Adam was not a cold blooded killer. Until he was, and for no other reason then the game decided so.

Oblivion did this same thing to me. I worked on sneak and made my way with a knife and nothing else. That is, until I got to a fight that mattered. The area gave no option to sneak up to him. My super, once a day, turn invisible to everyone move was useless. The boss would just stand next to me waiting to de-cloak.

There simply has to be a way to let the player know a head of time, the hard limitations of a class decision. At least let us know when an option is simply off the table.

These situations are always worst in games where you are creating your own character. They take a moment of immersion and break it as abruptly as a sneeze in the face as you lean in for the kiss.

[League of legends] The Meta *echos through the ages*

Good god do people cry about it.

Meta this, Meta that.  Took me a while to realize, not only do people not know what the meta is but what ‘a meta’ is.  I am surely going to make a video about this but I have to collect my thoughts just a bit more.  I think I can get it all out in under 2 mins but if I am not causes that torrent could push to 20 mins.

Complaining and negativity are going to be the enemy on this one.  If league is your game please hold your hate at bay for just a bit, as I explain why I don’t want the meta to sleep with the fishes.

The meta gains its power, not from how fantastic it works under all situations, but from the very fact that you know what it is.  That’s why we need it and that’s why you should at least consider it.

When you Que up for a match you don’t know who you are going to end up with or what they are like.  Getting people to try and communicate about the actual game is like pulling teeth. Even if you have the best idea ever.  Trying to explain what you are going to do and the adjustment everyone else has to make without the base line of the meta, would be impossible.

Right or wrong, must players know what the meta is.  Which makes it a starting point so we have the smallest notion of what the other players are going to do.

Someone grabs and AP character, we all pretty much know they plan to go mid unless they say otherwise.

No one thinks the meta is magic but it does have value.  Well, it has value until you have a full team.  Then throw that crap out of the window and make up whatever plan you all want.

After this I wanted to go on to talk about what makes the meta.  Why it is so, but I think that’ll work better as another post.

TTYL

Mr Lion.

My Chivalry Review.

Thanks for checking out Fair game.  This is Mr Lion. I am going to be reviewing Chivalry and I don’t care that it’s a free for all map, don’t be a wuss and 1v1 me like a real man. [ Quick clips of the game and maybe shot of the title screen]

Number one on indiebd.com’s ‘indie of 2012’, first game by torn banner and example of a successful kickstarter.  Did any of this drive me to play Chivalry? Nope. It had a free weekend and knights’n swords are cool.

My first match started with the gates opening to a crowd’s applause and me, being the predictable nublit I am, went archer first. Between getting stabbed, dismembered and hearing my last breaths through a bloody esophagus. I recognized that certain frustration.

In my twisted world this frustration is what drives me.  That which makes me willing to poor hours into improving my skills in a given task.  In this case Chivalric task of liberating limbs or cheaply putting a spear in other unexpecting limb liberator.

This ffeeling and I say it with and extra ff, because of their rare and annoying… This ffeeling of Frustration meant I was having FFun.

What brought me to this eemotion?  Could it have been the weight of the weapons?  Maybe it was how after some time playing I still found occasions, where I feel a wince from an especially brutal blow.  No, it was the enjoyment of a deep mechanic, that I wasn’t good at.

Combine the fighting anticipation and positioning skills of ‘Jedi outcast’, the larger scales of savage, and a slower pacing then ‘pirates vikings and knights’ and what get’s spit out is Chivalry.  In Fact it reminded me of PVK so much I kept expecting the ‘Final Countdown’ to start up while the stage filled with lava.  The major differences between the two being, Chivalry is a more complete/polished game and everyones is pretty much made up of so many watermelons.

The arsenal contains a few classes and groups of class specific weapons that are all mechanically different enough for me to suck all over again when I try them.  My biggest gripe here was with the spearmen who only has 6 spears. In the game types with no way refill ammo, I’d be left with a dagger to convince people to death.

With goals like, “kill the villagers” or “protect the trebuchets” I want to praise Chivalry for what is offered in the modes department.  But, Most of the time I would freeze and the massage ‘Team blabla has won’. I would think, ‘is that my team?’  Then hold tab to bring up a spreadsheet of information that I read as ‘eh, whatever… positive kdr, YEYAAa’.

Many tables were also flung, trying to get a few friends in the same match.  The invite errored if it was full and it was impossible to tell if server had room or which one a friend was in.  I just kept switching back and forth from the steam overlay to the game trying to squeeze in.

Once I managed to get my crew in the devs were nice enough to let me see each name in green even through objects and walls.  We could actually group up and and charge hi fiving the whole way.

Watching the enemy team descended on my group and our group reacting to them reacting to us was something that happens only in games that focus on melee.  Once I reached an enemy the fighting was just slow enough to think and make calls and fast enough to get suprised by a pike through the chest.

Team Leader Steve Piggott gave an interview November 22, 2012 here’s the TLDR version.

Will there be customization?
yes

Will servers be allowed to cap classes, like archers?
yes

Controllers/game pads?
yup

Siege mode?
Bet your last spear on it.

Modable with sdk?
only a matter of time

DLC?
Gameplay stuff will be free, so tell your friends about the game already.

For one final note I’ll give a tip.  If you don’t want to get kicked when you’re going to team kill,  just before you go for the kill press f10.

Fallowing the curve is not so obvious.

This is the Curve to the story of Star Wars “A New Hope”.  It could be used as a rough template for pacing just about anything.

“The Curve”

The thought of using  “The Curve” in as many aspects of a project as possible, down to it’s smallest part, is one I have always wanted to do. By god, it is much tougher then it sounds.

Right now I am writing up a review for one of the youtube channels I contribute too(http://www.youtube.com/user/fairgamereviews). My thoughts are all down and organized. Now, I am trying to find the curve.

The questions I am considering to try and find what is driving this reviews pacing: Is it an intensity curve? Maybe and excitement curve? How can a ratchet up the viewers interest/emotion?  What would be the peek?

At this point I am not actually sure I can do it.  The practice will make it easier for me to see it next time. If  just a bit of my intent is successful.  It’ll improve the piece immensely.

For a full explanation to “The Curve” check out this video “Pacing” by Extra Credits.