[PC] Die UPlay

I just bought a game on Steam and now I have to install this UPlay crap with yet another account (on top of EA’s crap Origin platform, Microsoft’s XBox Live account and Apple’s account for iTunes/Store).

I’m going to say this slowly:

I… do… not… want… this… on… my… computer.

enoughalready

In protest, I think I’m going to consider pirated video games from now on and just mail the company the money.

Dear Game Company,

I have been a legitimate software user for a long time now (over 20 years) but recently find myself frustrated at what is required of me to play your game.I already have Steam installed and yet you require I install yet another bit of software that will run on my system for no other purpose than to ensure I’m a legitimate user?

I have decided – in order to reduce my blood pressure, stress and frustrations in dealing with this ‘protection’ you dump on your legitimate users – to down load a pirated copy of your game.

Please find a cheque (that’s how we spell it in Canada) for the box prices of the game.

Cheers.

Me

I won’t lie, it is damn well tempting.

I’m just too much of a good person.

Fuck you.

[PC] The Bureau: XCom Declassified

Pre-ordered this a week ago and scored the pre-order perk which was a complete bundle of previous X-Com games on Steam and some other FPS game I didn’t install yet. I managed to sink a couple of hours in this game despite all the other stuff going on in my life (work, kids, wife, kids’ events, husband stuff, reading, etc.).

I’ll start with the bad.

BAD:

  1. Check point saving – I hate this. It’s a bad idea especially when in the ‘hub’ that is your base. Nothing like having to turn the game off after doing a bunch of chatting only to discover that you have to do it again the next time you start up the game. I don’t understand why they do this check point save mechanic – it’s not like you can’t just restart the level or something? Or adjust the save game mechanism based on difficulty. I suspect that’s the reason, they didn’t want people loading games when they lost squad members.
  2. UI – the UI during order mode (Battle Focus) is decent but dominated by the mouse. I use the keyboard; SHIFT, A, 2 (to tell the left squaddie to move) and if I jiggle my mouse slightly it pops over S (main guy) kicking me out of assigning left guy something. It’s annoying as hell. They need to fix this by ignoring the mouse if the user starts using the keyboard in this mode – activate to mouse if the user clicks which is a more intentional action.
  3. While there is a story, the squadmates don’t have personality – something I can forgive since you create them on the fly – for the most part.
  4. I kinda miss base building, but it’s understandable since you’re in a base that already existed.

That’s about all I have for ‘BAD’ at the moment, which is pretty good considering…

GOOD:

  1. Plays like Mass Effect – main character is central to the story, squaddies are there to help out. It’s first person, over the shoulder view so not a turn based tactical game like the X-Com we’ve grown to love – it’s a nice change and neat perspective.
  2. A lot more options and precision control over the squaddies – kinda central to the game.
  3. There is a story you play through. I admit I do like it but find it missing something (see point 3 in the BAD above). It’s very familiar, unlike the sci-fi futuristic Mass Effect.
  4. The weapons feel good.
  5. The enemies are semi-true to X-Com: Enemy Unknown (though the Sectopods are not as scary – Mutons are cool).
  6. AI is okay, though I’m on a lower difficulty level – I’m curious to see if it scales up or they just hit more and for more.
  7. Weapon progression exists, though it’s through finding the items in missions so far.
  8. Some backpack designs come from exploring, finding in missions/side missions. I hope there are armor options…
  9. Side missions are decent – having a point to them, not just some randomization of aliens on a random map.
  10. Leveling in decent. More health, get to pick abilities at most ranks – some passive, some active.
  11. You have (special) missions you can send your squaddies on while you run with other squaddies letting you do your mission and them theirs. They’ll level from it and usually come back from the mission with something.

Overall I’m impressed with what I’ve played so far.

[CRPG] Shadowrun Returns

YES! I saw this earlier in the year and now it is out and available! Take a look at Steam; this was one of the Greenlight Games: Shadowrun Returns.

Being a huge fan of Shadowrun, I jumped on it (20$) and have been playing it for the last 2.5 hours. Old style CRPG. Create a character from common archetypes (Street Samurai, Rigger, Decker, Mage, Shaman and Physical Adept) or a custom one. Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orks and Trolls – oh my! Avatar customization is pretty basic, but decent. The portraits are good. 3d isometic, click to move and swap to turn-based actions for combat. Text dialog – zomg! youse guys has to read! – for quests and investigation (legwork!).

I’m enjoying it so far.

First toon I made was a a Street Samurai and I was bummed that they didn’t start with any cyberware. I had to run take the kids to soccer and when I came back I took a look at the character generation options. After a little fiddling, I decided to recreate my Rigger, SWERVEDRIVER, the obnoxious, yellow loving, Elven chick-magnet – in his own mind. Of course the built in options for responses don’t allow me to reflect that so much. Still… fun.

Enjoying it so far. Not too far in yet, but so into it that I’m hunch over my laptop in excitement.

BUY IT!

[MMO] Marvel Heroes

Free to play Marvel MMO that is more in line with Diablo 3 than WoW. One of the big wigs making it was involved with Diablo creation so no surprise there.

Random thoughts?

Plays like that. Click lots. Fire the odd ability. Lots of loot dropping. Simple loot for slots which follows familiar color scheme. Graphics are okay. Lots of lag in certain areas. Some areas are public and some are private. There appears to be a story line to it revolving around Dr. Doom and the cube that has everyone interested (see Thor, Captain America and The Avengers movies – yeah, that cube). Tree skill which has actives and passives – I missed this system. It is free to play – no cost to buy. You can pick from five starter characters (Daredevil, Hawkeye, Storm, Scarlet Witch and The Thing). You get a second character shortly into the game (I had Hawkeye and Daredevil). Nice thing about it being based on superheroes, established ones, the abilities are semi memorable and signature. Can purchase more heroes, different outfits, lots of power ups and experience boosts. Oh, and vanity pets I think. There is some crafting but I didn’t get into it (I’ll never cease to be me).

Major grievances?

It seems like every time there is a patch to the game, I have to download and install it all over.

For the graphics detail, it seems to under perform and lag quite a bit, more so when more people are on screen doing stuff.

Bottom line?

It’s okay but I’m not going to go out of my way to recommend it to people. Want something to kill some time on here and there? Go for it.

 

[PC] Mass Effect

I spent the last month (EDIT: a month ago – but only just finished this) doing a complete play through of Mass Effect 1 to 3. All my previous completions of those games were with freshly rolled characters and default results that brings. I never really brought one character forward through all the versions – mainly because I’d upgrade my PC between releases and lose the save games. (BTW the whole series is on sale on Origin)

Lots of spoilers ahead.

I decided on rolling up an Engineer, which was somewhat painful in the first Mass Effect because you’re limited to light armor and pistols. I still overcame that burden by excessive use of tech powers; Overload, Incinerate, Cryo, and Neuro. I made the choice based on how it plays in ME3 and ME3’s multiplayer cooperative mode (which I hop on from time to time).

Mass Effect 1 decision points?

  1. Played a female – which was a first, my previous characters were all male.
  2. Romanced Liara – rawr… blue babe.
  3. Turn over evidence in Noveria that gets the big cheese in trouble – extortion is bad.
  4. Let the Rachni Queen live – I believe the default is that you kill it, but I don’t remember.
  5. Saved Wrex – default is that you kill him.
  6. Let the scientist in the Krogan cloning facility go – minor point.
  7. Assisted the second team on Virmire by taking out extra targets – seemed like the right thing to do, preserves the Salarian in charge, Kirrahe.
  8. Sacrificed Ashley – figured the default on the male playthrough is to sacrifice Kaiden.
  9. Saved the Council – default seemed to be letting the Council die.
  10. Put Anderson in the role of Ambassador – Udina is the default.
  11. Conrad Verner – three visits.
  12. Sparing the Asari that the Thorian was controlling.

I think that is it? I was quite the Paragon.

Impact on ME2?

  1. Still playing for team V.
  2. With the Shadow Broker DLC you get to hook up again after completing it. Without it, she sort of keeps her distance. Shadow Broker DLC also reveals that Liara is in trouble with the Shadow Broker because she acquired your remains and gave them to the Illusive Man, preventing the Shadow Broker from selling the remains to the Collectors.
  3. Get to do a minor mission for the covert investigator from Noveria, enjoy a drink later.
  4. Minor mention of the Rachni Queen talking through an Asari she saved.
  5. By keeping Wrex alive in ME1, he is around as the head of Clan Urdnot in ME2 (if he’s dead, Wreav is the leader you deal with).
  6. When picking up Grunt, you come across this Asari helping Okear with his Krogan experiments.
  7. Moridin makes reference to Kirrahe’s Hold the Line speech if you mention that you knew Kirrahe from the STG.
  8. Kaiden shows up on Horizen, but nothing more comes from it.
  9. Saving the Council doesn’t seem to do too much for you that I noticed. They sound a little more grateful, but since you don’t really interact with them in ME2 it doesn’t feel like a big deal.
  10. Anderson gets to put Udina in his place – which is nice, I hated Udina.
  11. Apparently he shows up in ME2, though I haven’t seen him.
  12. She shows up on Illium, representing the people from Feros vs. Exogeni.

There might be a few others I missed or forgot.

ME2 major decision points? Wow… ME2 had a big impact on ME3. First lets talk about the crew – a big part of ME2 is collecting the crew and making them happy (or not). Every crew member you preserve in the suicide mission shows up in ME3 in some form. And it is possible to preserve them all – I did… I’m that awesome. Appearances in ME3:

  • Kaiden (or Ashley) – on and off crew member – join you for the initial mission, then ends up in the hospital until after you sort out Cerberus in the Citadel.
  • Liara – crew member – joins you early as well – this kindled the love interest again, though I did have to tell Kaiden to back off again (had to do that in the first one too).
  • Garrus – crew member – joins you early on.
  • Grunt – cameo – shows up when you look for the missing scouts. If you lost him in ME2, the commander of the Krogan elite company dies while you get out. If you did save Grunt in ME2, he gives you time to get out of the Reaper/Rachni caves and manages to survive. This gets you more war asset points.
  • Zaeed – cameo – shows up while dealing with an Ambassador that sold some information to Cerberus. He turns the chance of failing into automatic success. More war asset points.
  • Kasumi – cameo – she shows up when you’re dealing with the indoctrinated Hanar. If you don’t have her, you have to choose between saving the Hanar people or a Salarian Spectre – either one gets you one war asset. If you have her, she deals with the virus while you help the Salarian Spectre getting you two war assets instead of just the one.
  • Thane – cameo – he shows up at the hospital. If you talk to him, he mentions he’ll keep an eye on Kaiden but the real difference he makes is that he foils the attempt on the Salarian Ambassador’s life. If you don’t have him, you lose the Ambassador and miss out on some war assets.
  • Jack – shows up in Grissom Academy where she makes the end result better in that you don’t lose students. Without her, the ending sequence where a student lags behind results in losing their lead student. With Jack there she kicks ass and saves the student. She later is added as a war asset.
  • Miranda – cameo – she makes a couple of appearances before showing up in Horizen. I think her loyalty in ME2 ties to whether she lives or not in ME3. I remember losing her in my first play through of ME3.
  • Jacob – cameo – shows up as a protector of some ex-Cerberus scientists. Saving them adds some war assets as they’re recruited into helping build the Crucible.
  • Tali – crew member – she joins you when dealing with the Geth/Rannoch. There is a chance you can lose her if you don’t pick right. In fact, the whole thing between her and Legion is easier to deal with if they’ve both survived from ME2.
  • Legion – temp crew member – he joins you when dealing with the Geth Dreadnought but doesn’t stick around long. One way or another you seem to lose him; either you have to destroy him to prevent him from updating the Geth or he has to destroy himself to properly update the Geth.
  • Moridin – initial crew member – he joins you after Sur’kesh and helps with the Genophage cure, but it costs him his life.
  • Samara – cameo – she appears when you’re visiting the Asari monestary with the Ardat-Yakshi; two of them being her remaining daughters. It doesn’t seem like she changes much other than almost killing herself because her code demands she kill her remaining daughter. (I don’t know what happens if you side with Morinth – maybe she visits her sisters?)

Decision points – yikes… there are a few! Mostly around whether the crew members are made loyal and whether they survive the last mission or not.

  1. Shadow Broker DLC – it’s assumed you bailed Liara out or someone did because she is the Shadow Broker whether you did the DLC or not. I believe you get a bonus upgrade from Feron if you have completed this DLC and you get more information about what happened.
  2. Arrival DLC – it’s assumed that you destroyed the relay and caused the destruction of the Batarian colony. People (Batarians are people too!) are none too happy about it and make a few appearances.
  3. Jack or Miranda – picking one can cause loyalty issues with the other. There is a ‘get both’ option… I mean for loyalty, if you’re Paragon enough (which I was /flex)
  4. Samara or Morinth – you have to pick one or the other. Morinth is thoroughly evil so Samara must destroy her. I seem to remember in my original play through I wasn’t able to resist Morinth and I don’t think I was presented with a choice. Maybe I was and I didn’t remember it. If you do pick Morinth, don’t romance her… you’ll die. Shepard is special, but not that special.
  5. Keep the research from Genophage cure attempts – getting a cure for the genophage takes priority over saving Eve so the more time Moridin has to spend on the genophage, the more he can’t spend fixing up Eve. This helps determine whether Eve survives or not. Other things also factor in, such as how you treat her.
  6. Prevent Moridin from killing his former pupil – I’m not sure this impacts anything other than getting more Paragon or Renegade points. Maybe you risk losing Moridin’s loyalty mission.
  7. Destroy Collector base or not – Another one I’m not sure about. Whether you destroy the base or not, the ‘Human-Reaper’ appears in the Cerberus station where the Illusive Man was hiding out.
  8. Upgrades to the Normandy – not your typical decisions, but failing to upgrade the armor, the shields and the weapons can result in losing up to three of the crew members… maybe more.

Most of ME2 ‘s impact on ME3 is around the crew members that survived which I commented on above. The crew from ME2 make some cameo appearances allowing you to gain multiple War Assets instead of having to pick one or the other.

I suspect several of the choices and interactions you make with Tali and Legion in ME2 help you gain both assets with Quarians and Geth.

Wrex being there instead of Wreav puts you in a position of getting more out of the Krogan and I believe it is a factor for letting Eve survive.

I didn’t notice much else that stood out.

A few things about the ending… all through the game blue is used to emphasize Paragon choices while red is used to show a Renegade choice. in the end choice, the blue choice (control the Reapers) is shadowed by the Illusive Man, someone who is decidedly bad – or extreme in his views on saving or bettering Humanity (including actually turning some into hybrid-husks) – but you could see how he could be viewed as a Paragon for Humanity… at least in his mind. On the red, Renegade, side you see Anderson – someone who has believed in you, back you up and fought against all odds to defeat the Reapers and preserve Humanity.

This seems contrary to the rest of the game and previous games but if you think about it some, it makes sense to color them that way. Why?

The Paragon path was always about compromise, preservation and taking the high road.

The Renegade path was about winning at all costs, being ruthless and focused on doing what needs to be done despite the cost.

In some ways both the Illusive Man and Anderson embody both of these ideals. Illusive Man’s desire to preserve Humanity is goodly, it’s just his means that are ruthless and uncompromising. Anderson is out to save humanity too and he’s willing to do what it takes, but not at the extreme costs. Of course, destroying synthetic life to save Humanity would be well within the choice he would make. The Illusive Man’s motives were preservation of Humanity and increasing their power to also set them up above the other races.

Back to the consequences of the Blue/Red choices.

The cost of the Red choice is all synthetic life. The Geth who may have become your allies. EDI who you may have encouraged to have a relationship with Joker. And most importantly, the Reapers. It’s destroying one at the cost of others. It also wasn’t a guaranteed solution because it would only be a matter of time before someone creates synthetic life and the cycle repeats. Obviously the Geth were an example of that. So you just delay the cycle.

The cost of the Blue choice is only that the Reapers still exist. Well, that and your own life as you know it, so it’s a choice of self-sacrifice and preservation of all, even the enemy. Despite having the Illusive Man painted all over it (he was all about controlling them), it is the ‘good’ choice. In this choice, through your controlling the Reapers you advance all civilizations and rebuild what was destroyed. You break the cycle.

Other choices available – depending on your assets and influence levels – are to not choose at all, in which case the Reapers cleanse this cycle and the unknown happens as the AI in the Citadel  has to change how they do things because Shepard introduced an unexpected variable to the equation. You can choose to shoot the AI (in the form of a ghostly child) in which case you are killed and lose. You can also choose to join the beam and reform all synthetics and organics into hybrids so there is no need for the Reapers to destroy everyone.

You could argue the Green choice is the best, but then you’d be forcing your will on both synthetics and organics which isn’t so good. You can argue the Blue also takes away the choice of freedom from the Reapers, but their choice is clear if you don’t override them – harvest life.

Another thing I thought was neat about the dialogue at the end was where the AI tells you that the end of each cycle ends with the creation of a Reaper. There are A LOT of Reapers floating around so this would have been going on for a long time. Pretty epic in scope.

I have to admit this is one of the best sci-fi games out there.

[IRL] Wattup?

Busy working, which is good. Loving it.

Outside of work it’s been family stuff, reading and a light smattering of gaming.

Last week I completed Starcraft 2’s Heart of the Swarm expansion. It was pretty good, though short if you’re only into it for the single player. Well done though and pretty stable. No problems logging in to play – unlike some other game which I avoided entirely.

Been playing a little WoW. Started leveling my Deathknight to 90, but stopped and switched back to my Warrior who I leveled up to 85 before Christmas – which was the last time I played prior to poking around with the Deathknight. It’s been fun. I like the Warrior’s flow, pace and durability. While the Rogue and the Hunter have a number of escapes, not quite for the Warrior. Oh, you can great leap away or pop up that 100% parry buff but you still have to high-tail it to get out of combat. I like the impact of the class – feels very solid. Playing Arms.

Prior to that I was playing around with Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with a guy from work. It’s fun, but there is little point to it other than it inflating your Readiness in the single player, achievements (which I don’t tend to chase) and the short bouts of fun shooting enemies cooperatively. I did do a complete play through of Mass Effect 1, playing as an Engineer. Imported to Mass Effect 2 which I played through as well. And finally into Mass Effect 3 where it was awesome to see the impact of all the decisions I made throughout the games. If you haven’t played through then you get a lot of the default decisions or characters which means you have some tougher choices – usually one thing against another. If you played all the way through and your crew from the second Mass Effect survived then they’re present to turn those tough choices into positives. Pretty cool.

Otherwise I’ve been reading, watching some training videos on C# and taking a peek into ASP.NET MVC and a little fiddling with WPF (making a little Minecraft properties app for the kids to use with their server).

Fun times – no time for blogging except when I make the time. Sorry folks!

MMOs I’m eyeballing: Neverwinter and The Elder Scrolls Online.

Neverwinter has my interest because it’s free-to-play and has a toolset. The toolset doesn’t look to be all that powerful but it might be fun to play with. If there is any investment required, I’ll pass. Sounds horrible, but it’s the difference between them not getting my money or having a chance to convince me to invest.

For TESO I have a lot of reservations about how well Bethesda will be able to create a decent scale-able system for just about everything; levels, crafting, gear, dungeons, enemies – really, just about everything. Their single player games are just so fragile as far as balance goes, I worry it’ll be a game filled with flavor of the month type builds.

Playing some XBox 360 lately too. Black Ops 2 Zombies with the kids, some Borderlands 2, a bit of Crysis 3 and lately some Fallout New Vegas. It’s been fun. I may have already mentioned it, but I’m shifting the kids more towards console gaming – buying one copy of the game and both of them being able to play it just makes more sense than trying to maintain multiple PC copies through Steam or Origin or whatever distribution software the game uses.

Out!

[PC] 2 Games2 Down

Over the last little while I managed to complete Torchlight 2 and, more recently, Borderlands 2.

I definitely enjoyed Torchlight 2 more than I did the first which seemed more and more about delving down deeper and deeper (mostly), kill quests on those levels and the odd side dungeon. TL2 has more of a linear horizontal story, taking you outside with dips into dungeons as part of the story or as side quests. Much better than just the single town as a hub if you prefer a little more exploration.

I liked the randomness of the levels more than I did with Diablo 3 (which had better graphics). There outdoors seemed to be somewhat randomly generated. I didn’t replay too many of the levels to get a feel for how they do it (and I didn’t look it up) but it seems different enough from when I played alone or with the boys.

I also preferred the leveling/character growth options in TL2 over D3. I found the D3 abilities sort of lacking choice and customization – a direction that seems to be common for Blizzard now. I like the choices and ability to pick between trees or combine them. I like choice. I’ll stop there before I go off on a tangent.

Steam reports I spent about 23 hours on the game – this includes some time dabbling with the different classes and playing with the boys who didn’t really take to the game as much as some other games.

Borderlands 2 was completed just the other day. I started playing as Salvador with the boys (LBO was playing Axton while LLO was playing Zero) but we didn’t get too far before LBO took off playing Axton while I wasn’t around, vastly passing me in levels making playing together difficult – he was hosting on my old (but awesome) machine so enemies scaled to his level and his missions progression was much farther along.

I took to playing single player and decided to try Maya out. I got farther along with Maya, enjoying her ability more than Salavdor’s. I got her up to mid-20s when the LBO needed some help with the Bunker mission so I helped him out – even being several levels too low, Maya’s ability to do some crowd control helped out. I also had her spec’ed to do acid damage when shooting targets and explode with fire damage centered on the target she CCed – both of those were vastly beneficial against Hyperion loaders and the bunker itself.

I then proceeded to help him in the Angel Core.

Downside of that was it updated my quest log and appeared to cause me to lose some quests since I wasn’t far enough along to actually do the Bunker mission. Very strange and that caused me to stall on continuing. I popped on to help LLO with Bunker and the Angel Core then later loaded up LBO’s Axton to help LLO with the Warrior. He had was loaded into LBO’s game when LBO beat the game and so he got credit which meant he wasn’t going to face Jack and the Warrior, just the Warrior. He was really disappointed with this because only one Jack face head mod dropped and he missed out on it.

So multiplayer doesn’t quite separate single player progression. I suggest keeping a character for single player if you’re a completionist and don’t want to miss out on anything.

With Maya’s quest log in a messed up state (some quests were categorized under ‘blocked’) I decided to reroll as Zero. I started going down the Sniper tree but decided it was too similar to how I was playing Mordecai in the first Borderlands so I decided to try out the melee (Bloodshed) spec.

Damn… once you hit the top of the tree it becomes a wrecking machine. If you kill a target with melee, deception triggers again, pops out a decoy again (only one up at a time) and resets the timer. In combination with Execute (lunging towards the target in your crosshair, doing lots of damage) it works well for disabling a whole squad of enemies. For the tougher ones, you can soften them up with a grenade then zip through, assassinating them one by one.

Fun.

Downside?

The Warrior isn’t really an encounter that doesn’t really suit melee very well. I beat the stuffing out of Jack though.

For the last few parts of the game, the boys hopped on and helped me out. First the LBO showed up with Salvador (well suited to him – he tears around the maps in a frenzy shooting everything) and later the LBO popped on with his Axton (I respec’ed him to have a Longbow, Nuke turret which was impressive). Amazingly, LBO showed a lot of patience and didn’t do much more than bail me out if I was in a downed state since he was already into the second playthrough (which means he was level 40 something, 10 levels higher than I was, and geared up with far better gear).

It was definitely a lot of fun, especially playing with the both the boys. We decided we would use the skin customization for “Bandits” and be the “Bandit Clan”… okay, they decided that, I wanted to use the Hyperion skins for an extra F U to Handsome Jack but got out voted.

Again, another game with a talent tree allowing you to focus or adjust how your play your character to emphasize on different aspects or generalize.

I won’t go on a rant about how WoW’s simplification of this is a bad thing for players – really only a good thing for developers. Devs have it easier to balance the game since they don’t need to worry about predicting hybrid specs; yes, they did away with a portion of this by forcing you down one tree… now they’ve taken trees away entirely.

Sad panda. (see what I did there?)

The game itself is pretty much like the first one, only a little more story driven. The same twisted humor exists in the game, be it quests, introduction of bosses or NPCs you interact with (Tina is a nutter and Elle is … well… jeez.).

I like what they hinted at with the end of the game – a map of various systems containing vaults. Oh, that was a spoiler, by the way.

At first I wasn’t too keen on the change to the customization system – you basically find or are rewarded with skin or head customizations which are preset. After some time, the collector in me started to enjoy it and I suspect I spent a lot of time running from vending machine to vending machine to collect all the different company based skins (Dahl Elite, Maliwan, Torgue, etc.).

The multiplayer setup was much easier than the previous version. It ties right into Steam Friends or XBox friends (if you’re playing the XBox version) and lets you see (and join) friends when they’re playing. There are settings to make the game private though, so if you don’t want to be disturbed, you don’t need to be.

Steam says I’ve spent 95 hours playing Borderlands 2. Wow! That’s not to say one play through takes that long, it’s a combination of my playing Salvador, Maya and Zero through a lot of the content.

Fun game.

[PC] X-COM: Enemy Unknown Completed

I won’t gush about this game too much but I easily could. I saw this mid-September, took a look at it closer then pre-ordered it. When it came out early October it completely owned my game time. I set aside WoW, Guild Wars 2, Borderlands 2 and Torchlight 2 for it. I played through it twice; once on Easy (I thought I put it higher up after restarting after the Tutorial) then again on Normal. I’m holding off on doing Classic with Ironman mode (my family misses me), but I hear it calling so I suspect I’ll be at it again.

Gawd… I love that game.

[PF] Done

I let the Pathfinder (D&D/WNG/Wednesday Night) group know I wouldn’t be back playing after taking a number of breaks. First break was during the loss of who would have been our third child (it’s right around that time now), then after the layoff I didn’t much feel like leaving the house and after a short bit back, I took another break because of family scheduling (kids were in soccer 3/5 week nights and which fell on TheWife’s gym nights) where I took one for the Family Team. I was supposed to go back but when the day of return surprised me (literally – I didn’t know until that day that it was the day I was supposed to get back to it) I realized it just wasn’t a priority any more.

I miss the night out and miss the guys – somewhat. Looking over the forums I see things I didn’t miss. Like arguing over (or discussing at length) tracking 1-2 pounds of food which really only ever comes into play if someone can cast Create Food and Water while someone else is 1-2 pounds away from the next level of encumbrance.

Really guys? Definition of pedantic.

That wasn’t intended to offend – in some ways it’s reassuring that I wasn’t the sole source of such things. And in some ways I miss it… the arguing.

Here’s how you deal with it. The one casting Create Food and Water says, “Guys, I’m giving you one day’s worth of food and water so if you’re two pounds away from the next encumbrance level, you’re going to bump into the level until you eat lunch…. or take a dump after breakfast. K? No one is that close to their next encumbrance level? Cool.”(The ‘dump’ bit wasn’t in the rules, I added that part for color… brown color, otherwise see a doctor.)

That said, it’s not the reason I left at all. As I said above, it just wasn’t a priority. I had been considering dropping it before but certain people talked me out of it (for the record: pre-Qwerty and then post-Qwerty; they know what I’m talking about) and I hung on for awhile longer.

It’s a good group of guys that has lasted for a long time (over 10 years now?) and I’m hoping to pop out to the odd pub night they have if they end up canceling a game evening…

[TL2] Couldn’t Help Myself

I caved on Friday night and bought the four-pack (cost of one Borderlands 2 game) of Torchlight 2. I kept one, gave one to the LBO and another to the LLO. I have a fourth sitting here waiting to be gifted and I’m debating who to give it to.

On one hand I can gift it to the kids’ friend up the street that plays all sorts of games with them – figuring he’d play this with them too. On the other hand, neither one of the kids has so much as loaded the game up – they’re smitten by Borderlands 2 so I’m tempted to not give that to him.

On to the game.

I played it a little yesterday and was going to play a little of it now but decided I should give my blog some attention.

I went with the Berserker class (picking maniacal looking dude) and started exploding enemies almost right away. The game seems to have more of a flowing overland sprawl to it so far. I’ve seen a few little dungeons, but it’s not like the first one where you (sorta) just delved deeper and deeper (I’ve never heard that before). The story is light so you jump right into click-killing stuff. The short of it is the Alchemist from the first game somehow got corrupted (yeah, I never completed the first game) and turns on everyone. He takes out the Mage and beats down the Warrior until the Warrior has to turn tail and run. That’s where you come in – the Warrior asks you to figure out what is going on and stop him starting with warning some nearby town.

Classes available are Berserker, Engineer, Embermage and Outlander. I didn’t dig too far into them, I just hopped in and started playing figuring the Berserker looked to be more my style in these sorts of games. My assumption is that the Engineer is either melee or ranged – which ever is your preference, the Outlander is a shooter type and the Embermage is the caster type. There are three trees you can put points into per class, like in the first one, these give you new abilities to use or improve on your character in a passive or active way.

You have a few more options for pets; I think there are about eight in total. Your pet can now wear three pieces of armor – a collar and two tags. Feeding them fish does different things to them, just like in the first Torchlight.

One disappointment with Torchlight 2 is that the multiplayer doesn’t immediately tie into Steam. You have to create a Runic Account (like I need another account… really..) then it can synch from your Steam account for your friends list. I won’t bellyache over this a lot, just a little. The smooth integration between your Steam Friends list and Borderlands 2 spoiled me and I wish more games would go this route. Honestly, I don’t see myself using my Runic Account for anything other than Torchlight 2 Multiplayer so it’s only a matter of time before I forget what password I used for that and have to jump through some password recovery hoops.

Graphics and sound are much like the first Torchlight and the UI performs the same way. Not a lot of really big changes. There are tabs on the side of the screen for pulling out windows; character stats, pet, inventory, etc.

More of the same that you either loved or hated in Torchlight but with multiplayer!