Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Steam Fizzles and You Tube Musings.

The Steam Sale came and then went out with a bit of a fizzle if you ask me. I picked up some games early on, but the later days were a bit dull. A lot of recycled sales with ‘flash sale’ items appearing in ‘daily deals’ (which lasted 2 days by the way) and none of the games I had flagged past my initial purchases made it to the deep discounts. After per-ordering and then never really playing a few games I made a vow to never buy another game that wasn’t on sale. I have enough games to keep me busy for ages so I can wait for hot new titles to get discounted- or at least I hope I can because I’m really tempted by Rome II Total War.
I have been spending my time mostly with Crusader Kings II, and just this week it (and all it’s DLC) went on a 75% off sale once again. I picked up the Old Gods DLC which now means I have everything minus a few music DLC’s. I often listen to baseball or You Tube stuff in the background so the music isn’t all that important to me. I went back to the ‘islands’ and started off as Wales with the ambition of taking over the entire place. So far that’s proved quite hard and I’ve had to resort to cheating by using console codes to get extra cash to stave off the pesky King of England with mercenaries. My next play through will be either the Sword of Islam or the Old Gods.
I’ve also delved into Magic The Gathering 2014, Duels of the Planeswalkers (DotP 2014 forevermore here on the blog) in a big way (time wise) and I have to say I love the game, but I hate the multi-player mechanic. I’ll have more on that in a separate post later this week…or next.
My last bit of news is that I’ve been approached by a You Tube network to become a partner. I’ve only done one video in the last 5 months and recently decided to give up trying to get a lot of viewers so this came as a bit of a surprise. I’m not really sure if I’ll bother because, as I’ve said before, my time is pretty limited and at the end of the day I’d rather play than record games. I also find the You Tube format troublesome in that I often don’t care what people have to say- which is a bit counter-productive for a You Tube channel. With World of Tanks on the shelf (for now) I’m not sure there’s anything I’d like to record and have viewed by the world. I do enjoy other people’s videos and watch a couple Let’s Plays per day, but I’m not sure that’s a good enough reason to do my own.
The idea of winding down the blog has again reared it’s head. My posting is infrequent and I don’t feel connected to my readers at the moment (if there are any left that is). Chris over at A High Latency Life posted a good question: Is the Blogosphere Dead?
Checking back and noting there were only 4 replies is very telling I think. I’ll likely continue to plug away here as I always have something to say about games, even if it’s infrequent. What about you? Have you been reading any good, new blogs lately?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fortuitous Friday: Steam(ing) Ahead

The Summer Steam Sale has arrived and I've been a good boy. And by 'good' I mean that I've bought a metric but-ton of games that I may, or may not ever play, and I'm okay with that. Without World of Tanks dominating my nights I have time to check out other games. Not a lot of time since New Mouth To Feed takes priority, but I can report that it's true, these 'other games' do exist and some of them are damn good.

I keep getting drawn back to Magic The Gathering 2014 Duels of the Planeswalkers. It is good game but the multi-player sucks big time. I suppose they want you to head to Magic Online for that (where I am told you will spend a lot of money getting a winning deck together) but still, it could be improved. All in all I've bought some pretty good games at great prices (Might and Magic 6, Crusader Kings II) and some that literally made She Who Will Be Named Later laugh out loud (Euro Truck Simulator 2).

In fact, when she came in to the den last night and I was playing it, she burst into laughter and asked: "What the fuck are you playing?" I have played a lot of games over the years, and this is the first time I've been mocked. It does sound ridiculous, and truth be told I could give a shit about a truck simulator, but it is very relaxing. It also has a decent management aspect to it (you can start your own company) and it's nice to drive in the UK/Europe again. Reminds me of home, kind of.... if you ignore the fact I'm from Canada. Never mind, it makes sense if you've been reading me for a while. I'm only using the keyboard so the 'realism' is at a minimum though I am eyeing the new Nascar PC game out soon so maybe a controller or perhaps a steering wheel is in order. I'm not sure I could withstand the torrent of mockery that would follow should She come in again and this time find me playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 with a steering wheel. I'd be better off being caught watching midget porn. Wait until she finds out I've edited it so I can listen to BBC4 while I drive. Heck, she might make a few runs for me herself.

I will have some posts about the new games I'm playing, and the final damage from the Steam Sale. I'm sticking to my decision to only buy games that are 75% off. Or games that are under $6 if I think they may be fun. Or games that are 66% off if I really, really want them. Hmmmm, perhaps I need a new plan as this one doesn't seem to be working all that well. And speaking of working, I've got a load of bannanas to deliver from Dover to Southampton and that's not a euphemism for what the missus and I get up to after our Friday night bottle of wine.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Friday, July 12, 2013

And Then, Suddenly, The Tank Ran Out of Gas

I was excited for the World of Tanks July 4th weekend special. In fact, all day that Sunday I was planning how to use my precious one or two-hour gaming session later that evening. It started out pretty good and I got my 5X with my Object 704 right off the bat. I turned my attention to my favorite Tier 6 tanks to take advantage of the 100% income. I was 10 games in, and 300k up when it hit me. I was tired of playing World of Tanks. There was no excitement in my play. I was playing out of habit rather than desire.

It's too be expected, I guess. I've had burnout before- the last time at around 8k battles. That was 2100 games ago so I think I'm in need of a break. I can't think of a single thing I want to do in WoT. I have favorite tanks, Tier X's, lots of gold, 6+ months of premium....and still I don't feel like logging in. I knew several weeks ago this was coming. It always happens shortly after I start to look at the Clan Recruiting section of the forum. It comes from boredom, partially (looking at the clan recruitment that is) and frustration with random PUGS. When I start to think I'd be better off in a clan, it's time to take a break ;)

Ah well, the Steam Summer sale is here, hot on the heels of the Good Ole Games Summer sale so there's an endless amount of games to keep me amused. Lately I've been playing a lot of Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers which suits my mood perfectly. Turn-based, challenging, endless variation, and multi-player which I'm off to check out now for the very first time.....

All is not lost. I'm not giving up on WoT, just taking a hiatus, or should I call it a Tankatus?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Still Loving Those Missions

I'm still loving those missions. When you only have time for a few games, it's always nice when they turn out like this:

Like I said, kill farmer.

The Object 704....gonna finish this grind- finally!

The extra experience really does help.

I've turned my attention back to the Ojbet 704- Russian TD's were one of the first lines I grinded fully....untill they added tier 10 TD's and then a whole new line, of course. The new line doesn't interest me in the least, but the next one in this line certainly does. It looks pretty badass. I just wish I had known they were going to expand the line before I ticked 'convert free experience' on the Object oh those many months ago. I be a bit closer now, that's for sure. So far I'm finding the TD buff to be really, really nice. My damage is a lot higher with the improved aim, my experience is better (of course with the 30% 'extra' it is noticeable), and I seem to live longer/more (seen less with my camo net, camo skill, and perma camo). At the risk of jinxing it, I'm currently on a 7-game win streak with it (I know, I know, not much but I only have time for a game or two per night atm). Let's hope that continues as I really would like to pull my 46% win rate up to 50% by the time I finish (170k more to go means quite a few games left). Here's hoping!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

World of Tanks Offers 'Daily Doubles'

Yesterday saw the introduction of Missions on the NA World of Tanks server. Or is it the United States of America server now? I get confused when they disregard other North American nations’ major holidays (July 1st is Canada Day, akin to the US 4th of July holiday for those not in the know and they did absolutely nothing...not even a mention of it like last year). My bitterness aside,  WoT has indeed added missions/tasks with completion rewards that can see you get extra credits and experience. Never mind the physics. Never mind the arty ‘nerf’. Never mind, well, anything. This is the single greatest thing they have ever done. No really, it is.
If you are a solo pubber like myself you may have often played games where your team has let you down (I like to use the term ‘shit the bed’). Two, three, four+ kills, 3500 damage, 5000 spotting damage, last man left alive…. I’ve had losing games like this too many times to count in my 10k+ battles and I am so very sick of seeing the lamest, do-nothing-ist ass-hat on the ‘winning’ team get more experience and credits than me. I realize it’s a ‘team’ game, but we all know a couple good players can, and do, carry a whole pile of sub-par players. I have long been a proponent of rewards based on performance, instead of punishment based on team stupidity when it comes to credits and experience.
To illustrate my point, I want you to take a look at the picture below.

I thought long and hard about using this particular picture but I think it illustrates my example quite nicely. Some time ago I had a message here on my blog (which I didn’t publish) that led to a discussion with a player who uses a bot program. He sent me some screen shots, and a few replays, and was wondering if he could guest-post a few articles about botting in the game. I’m still debating that one, but for now I will use this picture (heavily vetted) to make my point. The Type 59 was the bot. Note that he got 0 damage, and still managed to best most of the other team in experience. I mean, come on, look at those two top players. They played their guts out and a bot beats them in experience? That’s dreadful. I watched the replay of that one, and the experience is so high because the bot ended up with 2000+ in spotting damage (and 40k in credits as it drove to the middle of the field and then stopped and fired until it was dead). That, quite fankly, is bullshit. What a slap in the face for the other team but it does highlight the problem with punishing the 'losers' for not having good teammates.
This is why I say adding performance based rewards is the greatest thing they could have ever done. If rewards players, like myself, who often play well but end up losing. I am absolutely thrilled. There might be those who argue it will cause players to ‘act for themselves’ or ‘kill steal’ but you know what? I don’t care. I’m sick of trying to get people to help me cover the flanks while they lemming off to their early deaths. I’m sick of teams all rushing to one side to camp while the other side gets face-rolled, etc, etc. There may be a few cases where someone costs the team a game or two chasing a reward, but I’d rather have that than the other.
Last night I was excited to try it out, and below are the results. Booya! That’s what I have to say. I’m particularly happy with the Type 59 game (my first of the day) because we were getting decimated in town while myself and a couple others wisely flanked in the field. We were on the cap and seconds away from winning when the enemy team arrived to re-set. At this point I had done all I could do. I played a great game and knew that we were going to lose (only three of us left, sitting on a re-set cap with enemies shooting at us AND capping our base) so I left the cap with 150hp left to chase my third kill. I’m sure glad I did.

That's one defeat I can easily live with.

I also did well in my B2, but I expected that. It’s a good tank for farming this type of mission because you usually get a good number of kills and the extra 20k in winnings is nice. I was also one kill away from getting this in both my Object 704, and my Hellcat. I only played nine games last night and while I did manage to win seven of them, I also got two of the three-kill missions completed.
The B2...kill-mission farmer.

All in all the new mission-rewards system gets a huge thumbs up for me. My desire to play, of late, is really waning. The missions give me something to focus on, especially in the face of loss after loss. I would like to see the permanent introduction of rewards for top damage in every game but for now, this will do nicely.