[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.

[BL2] Same Ole Same Ole…

… Fun!

Same type of  behavior in the game, same sort of things to kill (though more mobs), lots of back and forth missions, a bit more story to it with characters returning from the first game. I’m having fun with it and finding it slightly more challenging – just slightly.

The LBO claims to almost be done and keeps trying to tell me what happens, looking disappointed when I shove my fingers in my ears and start ‘la-la-la’ing. I did have to give him a hand with one area which he was having a hard time with (did I already mention that?). I opened his eyes up to some different tactics with Axton and reminded him of the importance of making sure he had different ammo types represented (less likely to run out of ammo) and making sure he mixed up the elemental damage types.

Then I ended up carrying all Fire elemental weapons… yeah. If you’ve played the Firehawk portion you’ll realize how worthless Fire weapons are there… at least for killing stuff.

LLO is moving along more slowly. He’s picking up the quests but doesn’t seem to be completing them. I think he just wanted to rush ahead to gain access to a town. I popped into his game (he’s playing as Zero) yesterday to help him out (I caved and got him a Steam account then bought third Borderlands 2 game…). I noticed he still had missions from the first area but gave him help with the area he was in, including a few more after that.

We do have a group we’re playing together with – I think they just got to Sanctuary and no further. I’m playing Salvador and not really liking it as much as the others. I find having two guns with different rates of fire somewhat… weird. I get used to the fire rate and how to shoot each gun so putting two up there that are different? Argh. And if I try to put two up that are the same I just burn through the same ammo quicker (I’m guessing). I’m starting to just let the kids charge in and spend most of the time bailing them out. I hope that’s not foreshadowing their teenage years…

For my own personal game, I’m playing Maya the Siren. It’s taking me a bit to get used to her ability and figuring out how best to use it and which spec line I prefer. I ended up going the route of more elemental effects (Cataclysm) picking up the extend mag and reduced reload times first, then the fire burst when I Phaselock someone. Next up will be the Cloud Kill talent where shooting people has a chance to make a little acid cloud for a short time. I’m building a purely offensive spec hoping to be able to avoid or soak as much damage as possible.

I won’t say how far along I am because I don’t want to spoil, but let’s just say I’m around level 15 or 16 and about to deliver some pizza.

[IRL] Gaming ADHD

So there is an influx of games I’m looking forward to not having the time to play coming out in the next short little time frame…

Borderlands 2 – this Tuesday (Sept. 18). I’ve got this pre-ordered for me and the LBO (LLO) and pre-loaded on the systems we play on. I’m not sure which of the classes I’ll play first, but I do have some interest in Axton and Zero.

Mists of Pandaria – coming out Sept. 28. I have this purchased and installed. I’m looking forward to new content to level through and some of the newer mini-games to engage in… maybe. Mostly new content to level through. I intend to play the rogue through first, then either my DK or Hunter. Paladin and Priest are in the queue as well. I also have my Mage that is slowing creeping towards 85. Further down I have a Druid sitting at 67th and a Warrior up to 60. I just need to knuckle down and get them trough TBC, WotLK and Cata. heh.

X-Com Enemy Unknown – coming out Oct. 9th. I’ve got this pre-purchased and waiting for pre-loading on Steam. This is a throw back to X-Com UFO Defense which is an ancient PC game that I loved. Unlike the more recent interpretations (UFO Aftermath, etc.) this one is more of a true interpretation of X-Com. It is going to include base building (something the others lacked), some of the ship combat (and upgrades) and all the squad based missions and researching and ZOMG… I’m excited just typing about it. There are some additions to the missions, they’re adding in some cinematic effects for some of the actions – so when you shoot a target, it plays it out. If an alien moves to attack you, it plays out in a mini-video using the ingame engine. A lot of it is just moving the camera around – it looks pretty cool (Video here) but I can see it get a little annoying after a time.

So those are things that are going to consume some of my time later this month and into the next.

(And some Guild Wars 2 here and there).