Welcome back everyone and I hope your gaming week has been AMAZING!!! I know mine has been as I actually stopped writing as much for work, study and the blog. Time off in lieu of good behaviour. After a few big cooking days there is enough individually packaged food in the freezer to last a while so I can just come home, heat up some yummy lasagne or stroganoff and sit back to relax with the computer. It’s been great.
The hubby’s recovery is coming along well. The bruising and swelling has gone down and he has started physiotherapy making movement easier so he isn’t being a complete man baby all the time now (except for the current cold/”pneumonia” episode) which is giving me more time as well. I’m still doing helping out as much as I can but when you’re not having to jump at every beck and call you’d be surprised how much time you get back.
Work….hmmm.. Kind of over it at the moment. I still really enjoy childcare and even though I could use my higher qualifications to get a better paying job it’s still something I enjoy, for me. It’s good being active and it makes you feel like you’re doing something that matters. The thing is I’m just over all the other bullshit that usually goes on in the workforce which is sad. I’m actually thinking about timing my resignation and finish time so I get some time off for when ESO releases. You have no problem finding another job in Childcare, so many jobs all year round but I just feel bad for the children I care for, like your abandoning them.
Now for what I’ve been playing
Hearthstone… check. I just can’t stop for some reason. I want to keep doing those dailies to earn more gold, play more arena’s and get more cards. I’m working on a few decks at the moment and I can see it taking quite a while to get the necessary cards or components to craft them. It’s great that they give an alternative options to get the other cards, and the basic decks you get a more than adequate to play with so it’s more a personal need spurned on by clever mechanics that get you to keep playing. The free option is there and takes time and while you’re at it you just so happen to get hooked.
I still absolutely suck at Arena though, absolutely terrible. I know the principles behind deck building; getting the right balance between card mana cost that is slightly lower than normal, to get enough cards with reach and ways to negate special effects. To get taunts and have a certain cohesive deck. Once the time comes to picking cards all that just gets left behind. I keep second guessing my decisions and making poor choices, waiting for a better card or just picking the wrong type of card. A couple times I even went in without a single taunt, which tends to end badly.
I think I am getting better than I used to be, but there is still a lot to learn here. I read another article that might help, with a few references there as well. Has some good strategy points and differences of opinion in card choices and such that might actually suit my playstyle and preference more.
Played some Rayman here and there, just short bursts. I’m trying to earn enough of those points in order to unlock the last campaign but I’m like 100 or so off which will mean replaying a lot of old levels as well as some of the new invasion ones.
I’ve tried out a few of the daily challenges too which are actually quite fun. They are insanely frustrating with some punishing mechanics and a reliance on remembering paths and perfecting play but it’s the fun kind where you feel triumphant, even with accomplishing something minor. I ended up getting a silver medal for one but the others where just bronze.
Like, a lot of people out there I am also playing Banished. It was one of the games I was looking forward to in my post of upcoming titles this year as it looked to be an amazing management sim… and it is. Just perfect. I am amazed that just 1 person has created this title as it is just so polished with the options you would expect, the ui functionality you need, and the little conveniences that make it even more of a joy to play.
It comes in a simplistic package, one that is extremely familiar. Build, manage, grow. The core of every good management sim but where others try to complicate matters with obscene mechanics or new functionality this just tries to perfect its core. In this aspect Banished is as pure as you can get in this genre. However, even though it has a more narrow and defined focus it still has enough depth to make it just enthralling to play.
You’re managing a lot of different aspects of the town from gathering to production and then getting the workforce in order with the different buildings, jumbling this around based on the season and controlling the birthrate enough to contain growth but allow enough to take over when the workforce ages. It’s deceptively simple while also being reasonably complex… the perfect combination.
Most of the mechanics also seem to grounded in some sort of common sense or internal logic so you can make easy, educated guesses regarding what to expect in all aspects. It’s deep enough that crops and such will fallow if farmed on the same land too long, or stuff like a couple having its own house in order to give birth. It’s mechanics like that which show a lot of depth but are understandable. You have enough information to make the right choices here and while it does tend to punish for mistakes, there is enough leeway in time and such to correct them.
It does occasionally throw certain events, catastrophes or accidents at you, sometimes more other times a lot less. These seem manageable as well and when the unthinkable does happen and your town is a wipe you learn your mistakes here and how to avoid them next time. Splitting up your food and supplies.. self-contained smaller towns or even the placement of certain specialised buildings.
I remarked on twitter this week that Banished actually reminds me of some of the more recent Settler titles. It has a gameplay more grounded in reality that focuses on town building and management yet Banished seems to keep and even improve on the depth while getting rid of a lot of the Bullshit. There is no combat or military, no arbitrary achievement milestones, no tech tress or capped growth mechanics – just pure, management bliss.
I ended up downloading and playing a fair bit of Path of Exile during the week and am enjoying it. It’s not as good as I thought it would be although certain elements are just amazing. The combat is the usual polished click and kill style and you have an extremely customisable set of skills to use that level up with you. The Economy is interesting and unique in how it has used alternative currencies thought rather than one set currency. You buy and sell using common but useful drops identification scrolls, things that let you improve and upgrade items and such which makes each purchase or use of these an interesting decision point between the immediacy of the reward or working towards the future.
The skill building really is amazing, as has been documented many times. There are so many paths to take in building to accommodate various styles of play and a lot of area for improvement there. It’s a work of passion and rpg beauty. I’ve ended up trying to create a ranger focusing on attack speed and crit. No idea if that works as I prefer to read up on builds after I’ve had my fun, sounds good on paper anyway although it seems too squishy when it comes to the bosses.
Unfortunately it just doesn’t grab me and I really don’t know why. I think it’s a little too drab; the environments are dull, as are the enemies. It’s your basic dungeon crawler but with the only unique part being the mathematical points it doesn’t have enough there that enthralls during play.
I had a quick jump into Day Z, just for a night. I ended up just scavenging a lot, finding some food and a damn fine Axe that I planted within a couple of zombie faces. It’s amazing how much easier they are to control when you have a decent weapon.
After a lot of scavenging I ended up waiting for a friend to meet me in the town so I was just standing in the middle of the road waiting, killing a zombie if I saw one. I noticed two people going through the buildings as well, back and forth slowly until they noticed me and then bolted like a startled rabbit. They kept around until, seeing me again later they finally poked their head out after realising I wasn’t making any moves to butcher them. It’s amazing how paranoid people are in here now, sad in a way but also funny when playing. We ended up having a quick chat in which they called me the guardian of the road, standing there in the middle of the road with my axe in hand. I had no idea I looked so ominous.
It make me think about how the Gameplay in Dayz, and most of these multiplayer survival games. The game comes in stages and is cyclical. At the first part your nervous, you duck around scared of your own shadow, sneaking between trees, bushes and buildings to avoid unwanted attention. The eternal creeper.
After you get a decent weapon and the wildlife is no longer a threat you run around with some kind of wild abandon.. Yolo time. A madwoman with an axe where you kill, collect and just have fun. After you’ve gotten more upgraded, you have the better or best weapons and supplies to last it’s back to the start again. You have too much to lose and start sneaking around again, nervous and frightened of loss. Back to being a creeper again.
It’s fun playing Day Z like this, I enjoy the gameplay but I really don’t think I’ll be playing anymore. My gameplay involves constant stuttering and screen freezes every several seconds, more during action times which makes it far more frustrating and punishing than it should be. Enough that it just isn’t enjoyable.
Played a little bit of Hawken and it’s still the fast placed fun and wonderful mech combat it was before. There has been a few little tweaks; a few different mech options, new maps to play on and general polish. It performs brilliantly which is a plus at the moment for me, especially for multiplayer combat. The pace also seems to have changed in that death is a lot quicker now, either your mechs have less health or the weapons are harder hitting so the time before death is quicker if you let it.
I’m not sure if I like it like this just yet. It does make it more accessible as you can get kills for whatever your skill level and it makes it feel more rewarding in a call of duty, epic kill streak kind of way. Seeing those mechs explode and knowing you did that is a great feeling. But it seems to have lost that dueling feel I really liked before where you would come across another mech and it was your piloting and movement that really determined the fight. That’s still the case but those first few blows seem to be far more important now.
The strategy and team work is still there. You still have enough health to be able to utilise cover in a fight to survive and enough time to pull out and heal up. It’s trading blows in a more strategic manor but just a little less than before. You are still having to work as a team too, to group together, protect your sides as well as those healing up behind you but with kills being far easier it seems to incentivize more individual acts.
I also went back into Landmark for a bit and just polished up a few elements and tried to work with a few of the building tips and hints but that’s kind of it. I just don’t feel like investing too much into it right now when it’s still this incomplete. I love what it is and they’ve added a lot of new elements but it’s just not enough there just yet. I think I’m mainly waiting for it to be an actual world rather than these little instances as it will make the world feel so much more alive.
I also played a little bit of Hammerwatch, a gift from Doone which is a delightfully old school RPG. Simple mechanics and enemies that has an insane difficulty curve at points. It has that old school vibe where if you screw up it’s going to punish you for it. The combat is simple but it really gets you into the flow. I ended up finishing I think the first area, getting to the boss and then dying over and over.. and over and over again until that was it.
For the week to come.. EVERYTHING.. maybe. Maybe study too. I’m feeling the urge to go back into Firefall more than ever although, I just don’t want to log in and have to talk to the guild I’m probably still in. Sometimes you just want to explore in peace you know.. get used to it all first and see if you do want to spend more time. Why waste yours and their time after all if it’s not going to be anything more. There really should be an appear offline option when you’re logging into mmo’s.
Have fun everyone and may your towns harvest be bountiful and your competitors freeze to the harsh winter.