Shornhelm Resident

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When I play an MMO a curious thing seems to happen.  There will be one town or public area that I tend to gravitate towards.  In World of Warcraft that was Ironforge which makes sense given that was the location of the only Alliance Auction House for years.  However long after that fact I still visit it pretty often because as far as a city goes it just feels comfortable.  Even when I hang out in Stormwind as the later expansions have pushed us…  I tend to hang out in the Dwarven Quarter because again… it feels right for my character.  I am sure if you were to ask me to cobble together a roleplaying back story it would involve the fact that Belghast was a human living among Dwarves in Iron Forge as a sort of adopted son.

In Elder Scrolls online…  my home is Shornhelm located in the Rivenspire zone of Daggerfall Covenant.  While I chose to play an imperial for the bonuses…  in my mental canon I am from Shornhelm and grew up there.  It doesn’t hurt that I absolutely love the look of this town, but in truth what drew me to it in the first place was the ease of crafting.  There is a Wayshrine a few steps from the Smithy and Lumbermill and around the corner from that is the bank.  A few steps away is the entrance to the thieves guild, and the only thing that is inconvenient is the Enchanter for breaking down my enchants and jewelry.  All told it is just a simple and convenient way to get into town and do my business without needing to run all over the place.

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I spent the better part of the weekend playing Elder Scrolls Online chilling on the sofa.  At this point I have gone through at least half of Deshaan which appears to be a very large zone in the grand scheme of things.  Once I got past CP160 my overall champion rating doesn’t really seem to matter anymore but I believe I am somewhere around 230.  This is nothing compared to the players I see roaming around in their 700s.  One of the things I find interesting about this game is the fact that the champion system helps to buffer things…  but if you are not paying attention and get too much hate from too many targets… you still can pretty easily die.  I of course have Green Dragon Blood cheats which helps me recover from dumb things…  but it isn’t like I can reliably solo the zone mini boss type mobs yet.

I am still largely playing the same way I always have as a sword and shield dragon knight favoring stamina a bit, but in truth a fairly balanced character otherwise.   There are many builds that appear to be faster at killing things than mine, and I am sure I could swap stuff around to get to one of those.  However this one makes me happy and it involves me charging in… debuffing the target and then just wailing on them with my weapon.  I am perfectly fine with that style of gameplay.  Now were I dipping my toes into PVP I am sure I would quickly be confronted with my inadequacies.

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The system that I stumbled onto yesterday that I had never experienced before was the Outfit Station.  I have largely been wearing an disguise that I picked up from some crates since I really dig the whole platemail robes thing that the World of Warcraft paladins had going on.  As a result I have not really worried too much about what sort of gear I was wearing, but eventually wandered past a machine I had not seen before.  This allows you to change the appearance of every slot you are wearing and set three levels of color dye.  One of the things I deeply appreciate is that the same regions on every piece seem to be the same dye slot.  In both GW2 and Rift there are times where the primary item may represent the metal pieces…  but in other items it could be the secondary dye slot.  In ESO it seemed to be reliable that the first slot represented the metal bits, the second the highlights, and the third any underlayment.

Ultimately what this tells me is that I need a lot more dye pots, but I am not really sure how one gets those apart from buying them on the in game store when they are offering up a color scheme you like.  I cobbled together something I am largely okay with however.  That said…  the real win for the night was learning how to dye my disguise so that I could keep wearing my plate robes appearance but just change up the color scheme a bit.  I am having yet another renaissance with this game, and I am wondering how long it will last.  As my friend Squirrel said…  it will likely last right up until some other game catches my attention since I do tend to flit back and forth between every MMO I have ever played.  Really enjoying the story of Ebonheart Pact and it is so much more “me” than what was going on over in Aldmeri Dominion.

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One parting comment… if you are out there playing some ESO feel free to add me to your friends list.  If you friend @belghast it will do so at an account level, making it easier to track if I am on an alt.  The truth is however…  I don’t really play alts.

Champion and Stonefalls

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Last night I managed to do enough greater rifts to push my three gems of choice to level 35… which means I have now finished the second post chapter of Season 14.  I am now two steps into Destroyer where the challenges get harder as to the prize amounts.  I feel like this is a reasonable place to take a break since my often partner in crime in this Diablo nonsense is having to deal with some real world stuff.  I do however intend to keep running the occasional run to farm up some gold.  I am completely flat broke at this very moment… or at least 600k gold which FEELS flat broke in the Diablo 3 seasonal post game.  I spent a chunk of time transmuting gems for the purpose of trying to slot the best green gem into every item that would take one.

This will be essentially the last performance and damage output boost I can make that does not involving swapping item for item with an Ancient Legendary equivalent.  You can see on the profile of my seasonal character that I currently have four ancient legendaries…  but of those one doesn’t really count given that I am wearing nemesis bracers just for the purpose of burning through Rifts faster.  I’ve been spending all of my blood shards with Kadala on chest pieces in the random hope of getting an ancient version of the Marauders chest, but really at this point it is just picking a slot and grinding on it until luck rewards me for my futility.

I also need to determine what conquest I will plan on going with this season, or technically conquests if I intend to go deep enough in to get the extra bank slot.  The conquests available this season are…

  • Avarice – Complete a 50,000,000 gold streak while outside The Vault and the Inner Sanctum
  • Speed Demon – Complete a Nephalem Rift at Max level on Torment X or Higher within 2 minutes
  • Years of War – Reach Greater Rift Level 55 Solo with the full bonuses of Six of the Following Class Sets
  • Divinity – Reach Greater Rift Level 75 Solo
  • On A Good Day – Level three Legendary Gems to 65

Of those the two most obvious and probably easiest are Divinity and On A Good Day given that those sorta happen in the normal flow of the game.  Figuring out which third one I want to do is probably going to be the biggest issue.  Maybe Grace and I could get fast enough to do a T10 Rift together within 2 minutes, especially if we could find some more people to help us out and just sorta go in different directions during each level racking up kills. Avarice is all about building a specific set for it and then gathering up all of the trash in a specific area and trying to kill it all at once.  I guess I should be holding onto those gold boosting items just in case I want to go down that route.

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The other thing I did last night was run around in Elder Scrolls Online for a couple hours.  I gotta say this game is really gorgeous and even thought Stonefalls is probably the worst zone in the game (though Ashgar would probably fight me and claim that Alakir Desert is)…  it is still breathtakingly beautiful with its alien mushroom landscapes.  I am trying to push through this area because Stonefalls is really the major impediment for almost all of my attempts to level through the Ebonheart content.  As a reminder to my readers… I am stubborn as fuck when it comes to Elder Scrolls Online and am not willing to try any of the expansion content until I have beaten the original content.  That means I started off in Daggerfall and leveled all the way through those zones.  Then I entered the new game plus…  which was Aldmeri Dominion on the same character and have leveled through all of that.  Finally I am in the process of leveling my way through Ebonheart Pact at which point… I will happily begin gobbling up the expansions.

The primary reason behind this is that I know people who worked on this game and feel like I want to see every last bit of the original content.  There is a town in the Rift area in Ebonheart that has namesake characters for myself, Ashgar, Warenwolf, and Audrae…  and while I saw them during beta I want to see them legitimately with my main character.  I feel like maybe I am ready to buckle down and start pushing through the content and finally reach that goal I have been working on since 2014.  Ultimately Elder Scrolls Online is a game I have been playing off and on in one form or another since February of 2013, and the amount of effort that I put into beta testing probably stalled out my eventual post release progress.  That said I am deeply proud of being a member of the Psijic Order… what they called the alpha testers and proud of what this game has ultimately become.

Falcon’s Wings

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Last night was another night in Diablo 3 and I managed to whittle down the remaining objectives in Champion down to one…  raise 3 gems to 35.  This is more tedium than it is difficult since I can do 45 greater rifts pretty quickly…  the challenge is simply not dying and getting that bonus gem level each go round.  Demon Hunter is very much a glass cannon and it gets frustrating sometimes when a single hit can send you to the graveyard, but I am getting better at vaulting to safety.  The challenge however is now that I have swapped over to the grenades build…  there is so much going on with the grenade bounces that it can be extremely hard to actually see incoming attacks that might KO me.

For most of the season so far I have been running the Yang and Rockets build that while it isn’t exactly the same as this one… the one I was running is fairly similar.  Last night was all about finishing out the pieces I needed to swap over to the more appropriate seasonal Manticore/Cluster Bombs build that supposedly has a much higher damage potential.  The one thing I loved about Multishot is that I could hang way the hell away from my targets and just pepper the screen with nonsense, allowing me to pretty safely clear everything without needing to “get my hands dirty” as it were.  This is a play style that absolutely fits the Demon Hunter because it kept me largely safe and at a significant distance to react to incoming damage.

Cluster Bombs however feel like I need to be way closer to the action and as a result spending much more of my time vaulting around the screen trying not to die to poison puddles or explosions.  I am adjusting but I still find it less enjoyable overall than the multishot route.  That said…  Rift Guardians just completely melt at this point when you hit them with a slew of bouncing grenades.  I’ve reached the point where the normal mobs are the problem not the bosses because I have enough stacked up boss damage that they just seem to evaporate.  By the end of the night I had gathered up all of the pieces of gear I needed for the build and am now working on getting those gems up.

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The highlight of the evening however is one specific drop.  Grace and I were splitting up and doing a full round of bounties for cube materials, when she was not paying attention and apparently opened the chest in Garden’s of Hope Tier 1… that contained the cosmetic Falcon’s Wings.  I thought for certain that they would have only dropped for the people who happened to be in zone at that moment…  but apparently that is not the case.  I ported to Grace and sure enough the wings were sitting there on the ground waiting for me to loot them.  I’ve spent time in the past farming for these without much luck, and it seems to be the way of Diablo 3 that the only time something drops for you… is when you aren’t expecting it at all.

A couple of interesting notes from the Season of Greed double goblins event.  Firstly between the two of us we have yet to see a single puzzle ring drop, and the only time we have made it into Greed’s Realm is when a Gilded Baron opened a portal for us.  Second note…  we have yet to see a single Menagerist Goblin spawn so our dreams of double pet drops have been dashed so far.  Similarly we have yet to see any Rainbow Goblins…  so no whimsydale nonsense either.  We are however seeing a ton of the gem and material goblins…  which are awesome but less interesting than the ones that can drop something really rare.  All in all I am having a blast and spent from 7 pm onwards last night playing Diablo 3…  first solo and then duo’ed up with Grace.  I am having more fun this season than I have had in a very long time.

Season of Greed

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If you have followed my blog for any length of time you would know that I have a deep connection to Diablo 3 and periodically I do the seasonal nonsense.  When the concept was fairly new a bunch of us would get together on the Friday night that the season opened and attempt to push as far towards 70 as we could.  Over time this group has dwindled from having three teams of four players active during its absolute heyday…  to this past Friday just being me and Grace roaming around killing demons.  The truth is I often enjoy the more low key seasonal pushes than the bigger groups because you don’t feel like you are letting as many down if you need to take a quick break.

The other thing that has changed is that our speed and longevity does not appear to be anywhere near what it once was.  There were several times when we would stay up well past midnight pushing hard to get to 70 as soon as possible, and now..  we often tag out around 10:30.  I think this past Friday we managed to make it to 47 before running out of gas for the evening.  I picked up Saturday morning and pushed through to I think 68 before Grace and I got back together that afternoon and passed the finish line.  Thankfully with a demon hunter…  simply passing the finish line to 70 is enough to pretty much finish the seasonal challenges.

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Often times double demon hunter seasons start out as ones when we are not super into the process…  and are just wanting to unlock the basic seasonal rewards.  This season however we both seem to be interested in pushing a little further than those initial steps.  For the uninitiated there are four chapters that make up the standard seasonal journey, each including several achievements that you have to unlock like killing a specific boss at a specific difficulty or leveling up the blacksmith and jeweler.  These range from trivial to difficult and chapters 2-4 unlock a satchel called Haedrig’s Gift including 2 set pieces each time for a total of the full 6 piece set after completing the journey.  Getting to chapter four also unlocks whatever cosmetic rewards are available for a given season… which this time around was a back banner thingy (yes I know it has a name but I am drawing a blank this morning).

However after this initial four chapters you can unlock additional challenges that go through the ranks of Slayer, Champion, Destroyer, Conqueror, and Guardian.  At this point I have finished the Slayer step and am currently working on Champion and I am honestly not sure if Grace has defeated that step and moved on to Destroyer or is still working on it.  The ultimate reward is an additional bank tab which comes after finishing Conqueror, but this becomes less and less of a thing as you can only get four of these in total.  I’ve not gotten my four…  Grace has.  Demon Hunter with the Marauder set seems to be a reasonable option for pushing higher into the ranks than I normally do in a given season.

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Traditionally I play long enough to unlock my set and finish the cosmetic stuff and then check out until the next season.  This season started on Friday June 15th and if it goes as it normally does… will wrap up around September 15th.  What makes Season 14 special however is there is an event going on called the Season of Greed which greatly increases the number of Treasure Goblins that you encounter.  Firstly it feels like the encounter rate has been increased significantly…  but when you do find one you will get two copies of the exact Goblin spawned in at once.  This means double the loot every time you can get them down, making it feel extremely good to go out and take on things like Nephalem Rifts that already have a fairly high chance of encountering goblins.

I am admittedly a very loot-centric person and the fact that I have hot and cold running goblins on tap…  means I am way more likely to spend time roaming around and hunting the good stuff.  I’ve already seen myself spending a lot more time in Diablo 3 solo than I ever do during a season.  For whatever reason I am finding it extremely relaxing to get in and tear up a rift, but what I need to be focusing on is bounties since I am still down several gem patterns.  I think tonight is probably going to be all about doing a full round of bounties and then maybe knocking out some of those Torment 10 achievements needed for Champion.  All in all I am still very much a fan of Diablo 3 and I am super amped about the potential for a new Diablo project that they are ramping up the hiring for.

 

forty two

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First I feel like I need to start this mornings post off with a discussion of how completely overwhelmed I am by the birthday wishes yesterday.  We were travelling and each time we stopped I furiously tried to catch up with personal thanks to everyone who sent me something.  I completely missed Facebook unfortunately because I refuse to install the Facebook app on my phone and wound up doing a sort blanket thanks over there when I got home.  Twitter however is my social media of choice and I tried my best to keep up throughout the day.  I think I successfully thanked each and every one of you…  but given how fast everything was scrolling there is a high chance that I missed someone.  If I did I am truly sorry because I am super thankful for all of the awesome friends I have.

For the last several years my wife and I have been doing this little mini vacation to the Kansas City metro.  As the rockstar teacher she is, she signs up to grade the AP Statistics exams…  and for the last several years has been a table leader that is responsible for making sure that all of the essay questions get graded effectively the same way by all teachers.  For those who are having trouble picturing this…  imagine a convention center filled with tables full of teachers… all of them grading essays for eight hours a day in a sort of weird factory type environment.  That is what my wife has been doing for the last week and some change.

Instead of having the AP Board fly her back home I have been driving up on the day she gets released and picking her up.  Then we run around Kansas City that night and the next morning and drive back to Tulsa.  Because we are lame we mostly just hit a bunch of the Half Priced Books stores there and usually the Microcenter since we don’t have one in Tulsa and pretty much anything else that happens to suit our fancy in the journey.  That means as the birthday wishes are rolling in we are usually moving from location to location with me trying to catch up as we go.

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I tend to tweet out random things I encounter… like yesterday I made a joke about these being apparently the Amiibos that did not sell, given they were at a Five Below in Olathe KS.  Later I found out that no… these are fairly rare and were Amazon exclusives and who knows how they ended up in the secondary market.  I wished I had picked up a couple because various folks like Pizzamaid really want the Palutena one.  You can find a bunch of odd things that show up at Five Below, which is a discount chain that I wish we had in my area.  The Below part is generally a lie because I’ve seen very few things there that are cheaper than $5.

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Another weird thing I stumbled across in my journey was this controller at Microcenter.  There was no way I was going to pay the $70 price tag but I did snap a photo because I thought it was interesting.  Once I got back to civilization I looked it up and apparently it is the Emio 5-in-1 switch controller, but based on the reviews from Amazon it is not a phenomenal product.  Apparently the Switch 5.0 update completely broke this controller like it did so many third party peripherals, but it was an interesting idea with swappable button layouts for the different Nintendo control schemes it is trying to emulate.

Anyways this is one of those rambling nothing posts.  I feel like I should suddenly feel wiser today given that I am not forty two and apparently the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.  Unfortunately I don’t feel much different apart from the fact I woke up this morning with an insane headache.  I remember as a kid anytime I would go through growth spurts my joints would hurt.  I wonder if headaches are just a sign of your mind going through a growth spurt too.  Personally I like that thought better than the alternative explanations.

Upcoming Lapse

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I don’t really have much of a proper post to make today, but I did want to give my readers a heads up that it is highly unlikely that I make a post before next Tuesday.  Nothing bad is happening, it just won’t be reasonable for me to be posting much.  This makes it all the more inexcusable that I don’t really have much to say today.  I’ve been playing a lot of The Division and have managed to get back into the swing of things after the gear swaps I talked about last night.  Unfortunately I am having hell taking screenshots right now because both Fraps and the Nvidia Experience based fall back seem to not be picking up and taking the shots.  I am not exactly sure what is up but whatever the case I’ve been going into gaming sessions thinking I was taking a bunch of captures but not ending up with anything in the end.

The one new thing I have been playing around with is Survival mode, which was suggested to me by a lot of people.  The premise is you are trying to get to the dark zone in order to extract some cure that was found for the small pox based super bug that started the whole problem in the first place.  This in itself would probably be reasonable but there is a massive blizzard hitting New York and upon approach your Helicopter crashes…  puncturing your hazmat suit and leaving you stranded with only a pistol.  Essentially as you roam around you are fighting two problems…  the extreme cold and the fact that you have been infected and are trying to stave it off.  Either of those things can straight up kill you.

For the cold you wind up moving from building to building or fire barrel to fire barrel trying to stay warm while wandering out in a whiteout blizzard.  For the infection you can pick up medication periodically and use it to pause the timer that is ticking down.  On top of this… you lost your filter in the crash and need to gather up enough materials to craft a new one in order to move into the dark zone, get the cure and successfully extract.  If you choose to queue into a PVP session you are also up against other players who are trying to compete for the same resources and the same eventual cure.  To spice things up… you will also encounter the various factions from the game roaming the streets that will of course start firing on you the moment you come in range.

There are a number of things that you can do to improve your odds, because you drop in with a base set of green gear.  Drops occasionally upgrade your weapons or your armor, but everything is limited to this one survival session starting you back at square one.  The cosmetic clothing increases your survival against the cold letting you stay out longer before needing to run back and warm up somewhere.  The entire process is really interesting because it is basically this intense survival game in the middle of an MMO complete with hunger and thirst meters that you need to keep an eye on.  Basically the entire world is dead set against you and you need to keep moving, keep searching and keep looting to gather enough resources to be able to survive for a long periods of time as you attempt to cross New York, get into the Dark Zone and retrieve your cure.

From what I understand there are also a number of other gameplay modes that show up once you reach thirty… and as I am sitting at 28 I am feeling close enough to the finish line to try and push through this.  Super thanks to everyone who tipped me off to Survival since there were several of you.  I linked a guide video since I didn’t have much in the way of screenshots.

Significant Gear Swaps

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I thought I would talk a bit about my varied experiences with The Division of late.  I wrote the other day about some of the difficulties I had and frustrations that it was not easy to swap gear around to fix those problems.  That said I decided to start trying to incrementally improve my lot in life.  I sifted through my bag and my wallet and decided that I had enough components to be able to craft a single item…  which luckily rolled with stamina on it.  After that I found that the base vendor also had an item I could afford that added stamina to a slot I had none in.  The above image is the original state of my character before swapping anything around.  Notice how heavily I am apparently leaning into electronics…  more than likely because that is just what I was able to get through drops.

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This image is after that first swap of two items…  gloves and mask.  Firepower and Electronics obviously took a hit but my stamina went up significantly.  This was enough of a change to make the game feel completely different for me.  No longer was it feeling like a single shot was taking an entire pip of health off and I did not really notice that much of a difference in my ability to kill things.  This little act alone was enough to revitalize the game for me, which makes me question…  should stats make that much of a difference in the way the game feels?  It basically took something that felt horrible every single time I attempted to play it over the last year…  into something that feels pretty good.  Sure I still feel squishy if I get caught in the open but so long as I stick to cover I can hold my ground, which is absolutely not something I could do before without swapping out those two items.

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After a few more gear and mod drops this is where I am sitting today and the game feels pretty great.  I played some last night, but eventually sleep claimed me.  I did however managed to knock out a few lengthy side quests including one that had like five phases two it and involved taking down two yellow mobs.  Now I am not entirely certain the yellow mobs were connected to the particular quest…  but I took then down nonetheless in the progress of doing it.  I also seem to have completed some Division Shields mission that rewarded me three pieces of endgame gear that will sit there and wait for me to hit 30.  I am just shy of dinging 28 so I sorta can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I had a lot of fun playing last night and it just seems weird that two item swaps could make all that difference.

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I still have a significant number of quests to knock out in the world and there is at least two areas of the map that I have never even been to.  I seem to be getting back into the swing of things and enjoying my time.  It is funny how E3 works because it often has these side effects of making me interested in games that I dropped along the wayside somewhere.  The coverage of The Division 2 gave me the drive to give the original another shot.  Based on some twitter discussion that happened yesterday while I was completely swamped… it seems like there are a handful of other people still playing as well.  I still have yet to fully catch up from the threads that went nuts while I was sitting in meetings all day.  If you are playing Division however…  friend BelghastStern my UPlay handle.  I still don’t fully know what I am doing but I am dying a hell of a lot less.

Final E3 Rundown

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Yesterday was the Nintendo Direct E3 edition, and the truth is not enough came out of it to really do its own post.  I am sure if you are a huge fan of Smash Bros it was an amazing presentation because they went into copious detail on how exactly that game will work on the switch.  The only Smash Bros game that I have played is the WiiU version and it honestly felt weird…  like I was unable to see why everyone is such a huge fan after playing so many other better fighting game options.  I realize this is probably blasphemy but whatever… it’s my blog.  Some of this will be a recap for those who follow me on twitter…  but I figured I would put a pin in my E3 coverage with an ordering of the show I thought was the best downwards.

  1. Ubisoft
  2. Bethesda
  3. Microsoft
  4. Sony
  5. PC Gaming Show
  6. EA
  7. Nintendo Direct
  8. Square Enix
  9. Devolver Digital

Truthfully Ubisoft and Bethesda are really close, so close that I almost gave them a tie.  There were so many games that I was amped for coming out of the Bethesda show, but it also provided a whole lot of awkward moments.  Ubisoft on the other hand is just really good at doing a presentation and has mastered the flow of dialog to game trailer.  I think they are just technically better at these shows than most of the other companies.  As much of a Sony Playstation fanboy as I am… it pains me to admit that the Microsoft show was just better in every conceivable way.  Sony itself almost got marked down significantly for how bad this new show concept was that involved intermissions and shuffling the live audience between venues.  What gained it the fourth position however was the simple fact that everything they showed was awesome.

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The PC Gaming Show has always been a mixed bag that never really felt like a blended experience.  While the production value has increased massively each year it still lacks something in cohesiveness and flow.  Electronic Arts would have been dead last on the list were it not for Anthem and my desire to get more information about it.  The problem with this show is the majority of things covered are recursive sports titles that I have never cared about.  I still feel like they would be better served having two shows… one with a high sports flavor that they could maybe partner with ESPN on… and one with everything else.  Nintendo Direct was a massive disappointment because the things I wanted to see…  didn’t show up.  We had no news of Metroid Prime 4 and I was honestly expecting something along the lines of Pokemon Lets Go but for Animal Crossing with a Pocket Camp integration.

Square Enix didn’t really have what I would consider a proper show.  What they released was a YouTube video that they just happened to be streaming.  The only thing I was really interested in like I said yesterday was the FFXIV/Monster Hunter crossover.  They should have simply skipped having a “live” event and just released a big YouTube video instead since everything was prerecorded.  Admittedly so was everything we saw from Nintendo Direct but at least it had some dialog interspersed between the game trailers…  Square was one statement at the beginning and then fifteen minutes of trailers.  Devolver Digital on the other hand I don’t even consider a real show… given it is mostly a running joke at this point.  That said they did at least announce two games this year…  but the majority of the experience was something straight out of an episode of Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show.

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The E3 experience does weird things to me… like I fully expected to be having a resurgence of Elder Scrolls Online after the Bethesda show case.  Instead what I find myself doing over the last couple of nights is running around and attempting to get back into The Division.  I left that game in a really weird place in that I never actually managed to make it to the level cap.  Right now I am 27 and still struggling to get back used to the way it plays.  I feel insanely squishy, and in truth I think it is all because I failed miserably at gearing my character.  The problem there is I am too poor to do anything about that by picking up gear to fix this problem of any of the vendors.  That was a huge thing for me when I last played is that it felt like I simply was not getting the drops I needed, and never got enough cash to go the vendor route instead.  Similarly all of the crafting patterns that I have really don’t do much to dig me out of this whole either.

I missed the train with the Division.  Those players who got in early and power leveled their way through the content seemed to have a much easier time gearing up.  I remember that first patch and the nerfing of the drop rate of materials combined with an increase in the material costs of crafting really hit me hard.  I think more than anything that was the point where I was largely demotivated from moving forward.  I have been going with the solo build of med pack and turret and in some cases it works nicely…  in other cases it feels like I keep getting one shot by things that should be well under my level range.  I did one of the missions last night and it wound up taking me eight or nine attempts to get through the final phase which involved two yellow mobs that rushed in with a yellow sniper type mob.

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The whole cover mechanic thing is a foreign concept for me as I am way more used to the run and gun style of Destiny.  I am very much not used to finding the best option as far as cover goes… or often times ending up getting pinched from both sides as something spawns in behind me.  These are things that are likely mitigated with more players, but as a solo player it is pretty much death.  There lies another problem… I attempted to queue up for another mission and managed to find exactly one other player wanting to run it.  Things went mostly well until once again we got to the end encounter and kept getting overwhelmed by a wave of purples and two yellow bosses.  After eight attempts the other guy just left and I found myself frustrated for the evening and logging as well.  It always feels like most of the encounters have one or two mobs more than are really manageable, and in turn I just die an excess amount.

I loved everything about The Division for a really long time but I just sorta hit a wall around level 26 where everything seemed way tougher than I could handle.  I am sure it is a combination of the fact that the game does a poor job of messaging how you should actually be gearing for solo play.  It also does not do a great job of letting you dig yourself back out of that hole because drops seem really spartan.  If they offered the ability to boost to level 30 and give you a decent starter set of solo gear…  then I think life would be grand.  Right now the only way I succeed is to just never get hit, which isn’t always a viable option when there are eight things rushing towards you.  I figure with time I might get used to the game play again… but for the moment it feels miserable.

E3 Monday Roundup: Square Enix/Ubisoft/PC Gaming/Sony

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I am once again starting this post ahead of my normal morning routine because there is just too much stuff to cover for me to cram it all in without a little pre-work.  As a result some of my tenses might go haywire given that I am at least in theory writing parts of this at different times.  Hopefully you will bear with me, because it feels like the conferences are way more tightly stacked than they have been in past years.  On Monday June 11th we had Square Enix, Ubisoft, PC Gaming Show and the Sony presser and I am attempting to cover at least all of the things that interested me from each.

Square Enix – 1 pm EST

This one was a bit of a let down and did not follow the standard E3 press junket format, but instead reminded me an awful lot of a Nintendo Direct.  Instead of a bunch of commentary connecting the clips we just got a rapid fire succession of trailers back to back.  The truth is… there just wasn’t a lot here that really interested me.  I feel like a horrible human being but I am one of what seems like a handful of people not terribly excited for Kingdom Hearts 3.  I only played a little bit of the first game because it came out in a weird time for me and I never caught up on any of the others.  I keep telling myself I will play them but never actually get around to it.

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Monster Hunter Final Fantasy XIV Crossover

This is legitimately the thing that excited me the most from this press conference, the announcement of a crossover between Monster Hunter World and Final Fantasy XIV.  This one appears to be inside of XIV but that is still awesome.  My hope is we can end up earning a Palico mini pet or some of the iconic weapon skins for glamour options sorta like the Lighting Returns crossover event.  I am still holding out hope however that we will see the other side of this equation at some point and FFXIV stuff showing up in Monster Hunter World.

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Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Another game I am very interested in is Dragon Quest XI since I have not played a Dragon Quest title since Dragon Warrior IV on the Nintendo.  I am completely out of touch with this series and at some point I would really like to try some of the games out.  I absolutely loved Dragon Quest Builders… and I realize that game barely relates to the modern core of the franchise but it was still enough to raise my interest level enough to try this one out when it releases.  It looks pretty freaking cool which is enough of a reason for me to play almost anything.

Ubisoft – 4 pm EST

While they don’t always have what I would consider to be the best possible line up of games, Ubisoft always seems to have the most watchable show.  What I mean by that is many of the offerings have relatively low production value and Ubisoft seems to take a very holistic approach to the show carefully placing games in such a way that you are never very far off from something you are going to find awesome.  This time around though there was a lot to see and I am pretty pleased with the overall product line up.

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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

I can honestly say I have never before been excited about an Assassin’s Creed game.  I am not exactly what you would call the core demographic of most sneak around and don’t be seen sort of games.  However Assassin’s Creed Origins pushed the game into more of an Action RPG genre.. and I have really enjoyed it.  From all signs this appears to be Origins wearing a Greek skin… and I am perfectly okay with that.  This time around you get to choose between a male and female protagonist…  which is a permanent decision point that has been long overdue in this series.  It was a blast running around in Ancient Egypt and I am certain it will be similarly awesome running around in Ancient Greece.  Definitely looking forward to this one in ways that I never thought I would prior to Origins.

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The Division 2

Please lord help me temper my hype because this game continues to look extremely good.  It is making me want to give the original game another shot as I attempt to finally push my way to thirty.  As I said in this mornings post… the game seems to have what the first one was missing…  a sense of hope.  Things are going on in the world that lead me to believe we are actually the heroes instead of potentially making everything worse with our presence like the first game.  It grated on my nerves that everyone seemed to be deathly afraid of me as a player character, and that there wasn’t much that I could actually do to help folks I stumbled onto in the world out in a significant way.  Sure there were those random encounters that would take a piece of food and give you something frivolous like a beanie, but the only people I seemed to help out in any significant way were the JTF agents.  I wanted to help the suffering citizens out and what I am seeing hear leads me to believe that is actually a gameplay style.

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Beyond Good and Evil 2

I still don’t really have a clue what sort of game this actually is.  It seems like some sort of an action RPG, set in a really interesting world… and I am okay with this.  I never played Beyond Good and Evil because I missed the boat when it was actually cutting edge and struggle to bring myself to go back and play those older 3D titles.  The folks who did play it tell me it was an amazing experience.  I am mostly just enthralled by the world building that is going on here because it seems like an insanely intricate setting.  That is the sort of thing I go in for more than a narrative story…  giving me a world that just begs to be explored.  Glad to see this continues to be less and less vaporware as time goes on.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

I really hate that this game exists and that I want it.  I got caught up in the thrall of the whole digital toys thing with both the Amiibo and the Disney Infinity generation 2 and 3 (Marvel and Star Wars) and have way more of these figures than I should admit for the sake of sanity.  Starlink appears to be the same sort of thing, but this time you are piloting modular starships that change your vehicle in game based on the pieces you have assembled in the real world.  The real hook for me however is the inclusion of Star Fox…  which just seems cruel.  I am not even the biggest fan of space ship shooters but this looks extremely excellent.

PC Gaming Show – 6 pm EST

This show is always an awkward beast, though I have to admit each year it has become closer and closer to a real production.  This year they cranked up the quality significantly but in my head I still remember the cheaply thrown together high school theater experience sort of feeling.  They showed off some thirty games but it always feels a little jarring because the quality and style of the games always varies so much.  I am not really going to talk about most of these but there were a few that did stand out for me.

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Sable

This game is some sort of hyper stylized open world exploration and adventure game.  The setting reminds me so much of a Jean Giraud/Moebius comic from the 80s.  The main character even feels like it could have been one of his designs.  More than anything I think it is visually interesting and might be something I pick up at some point just because I like the look of it.

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Overkill’s The Walking Dead

I know a lot of people are simply done with the zombie genre but I am not…  in fact I continue to enjoy the hell out of the Walking Dead franchise and have been looking forward to this game for awhile.  I am not really a fan of mobile games, so the majority of the Walking Dead branded titles are really not for me.  Similarly I have for whatever reason not really been able to get into the Telltale style of adventure game so that one fizzled for me as well.  This however looks like a game right in my wheelhouse set in the Walking Dead universe.  I am down with it on so many levels.

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Ooblets

I am so ready for this game to come out already.  This was hands down my game of the PC Gaming show last year… and it continues to look amazing.  It is a quirky mash up of Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon and Pokemon where you grow pets and then “battle” them.  However as of today we have learned that those battles are awesome dance fights…  I am so down with this and it is so fitting to the setting.  Please release this game already because I want to run around doing nonsense things with tiny pets.

Sony – 9 pm EST

This was a really odd show as far as E3 showcases go.  It started with a word from Shawn Layden…  that essentially stated that we should not expect to see anything new.  This was followed by a very lengthy banjo performance in this huge custom built set piece that looked like a church in a tent.  Immediately following the banjo time we were treated with a new trailer for Last of Us Part II… where we find out the church tent stage design came from the game.  Immediately following this however…  there was a lengthy intermission as they asked every single person in attendance to move to another theater…  at which point some generic commentators showed up and started commenting on their own show.  Finally once we moved venues almost 20 minutes later…  we were presented with a bamboo flute solo of some sort.  Then finally after that… the show became a little more traditional…  but it was a really weird ride to go through.  The positive however is that almost all of the titles shown looked excellent and as has been the case in so many other years…  most everything they talked about landed firmly in my wheelhouse of things I was interested in.

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Last of Us Part II

I thought about what screenshot to include for reference to this game but since this is literally the moment everyone is talking about…  I figured I sorta had to include it.  My timeline erupted with praise of this portrayal last night which tells me I have done a pretty damned good job of curating it over the last several years.  Supposedly however in other pockets of the universe it somehow was shocking that the lesbian character from the first game was in fact still a lesbian character and erupted into a chorus of faux controversy.  I am thankful my little corner of the twitterverse is generally a sane and rational one, because instead I personally focused on how damned amazing this game looks.  I still have yet to play the first one and I need to make sure that happens before the release of this game.  I am hoping my nonsense parsec solution to play console games remotely is going to help me clean out my backlog of PS4 games.

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The biggest thing from the trailer is it revels in reminding us just how damned brutal a world Last of Us really is.  There are two start juxtapositions between the quiet times of the revival tent and the stark brutality of hunting down the people that I think were cultists in the first reveal trailer.  There are two fades that happen with the last one being the most biting given that we go from Ellie chopping off someones head…  directly into this kiss sequence.  It was a strong way to lead the showcase, but a weirdly dramatic set up that largely fell flat followed by a twenty minute intermission that felt needless.  Great game… weird presentation for it.

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Control

Another game that seemed to cause my timeline to erupt into excitement was Control, which appears to be a game where a lady uses a rubiks cube for a gun and travels through a M.C. Escher drawing.  This is apparently the spiritual successor to Alan Wake and Quantam Break…  games I have never played but always thought looked interesting.   If I am remembering correctly this is also the team behind the first two Max Payne games which were essentially rag-doll physics sandboxes as far as I was concerned.  They seem to like really playing with the narrative space within games and sending us to weird places…  and this trailer is definitely one of those weird places.  However some of the combat sequences specifically do look really awesome, so I will have to watch this one as it gets closer to release.

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Marvel’s Spider-Man

It is really difficult to take a coherent screen capture of a high action video like this, which I guess should tell you what the game play is going to be like.  Spider-man was essentially in constant motion and one of my friends referred to this as the Arkham Spider-man…  referencing the Arkham Knight series of games.  I personally don’t think this is a bad thing because they were high action and high enjoy-ability as you went on a wild ride with that character and were presented a ton of signature villains.  We seem to have a plot line that centers around a version of the Sinister Six as they are breaking out of the Raft and you as Spider-man are trying to prevent this from happening.  The Playstation 2 game was amazing and just insanely fun to swing around town… and this looks similarly crazy and enjoyable.  I am not exactly the biggest Spider-man fan in the world but this is going to be a fun game, and it looks gorgeous.

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Death Stranding

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The only way I can really explain this game is to show you what I was tweeting while watching the trailer.  This is the third or forth trailer I have seen for it and I still have no more idea what the hell is actually going on.  You have to understand… I never played the Metal Gear Solid games because the whole sneaking around bit pissed me off and was exactly the opposite sort of experience I wanted to have in a game.  I don’t generally like stealth games, and especially not ones where you have to repeat entire sequences if you get seen.  So I am not as indoctrinated into Kojima nonsense as I think most of my friends are.  If I was basing anything on this trailer I would assume Norman Reedus is some sort of a post apocalyptic UPS delivery guy that occasionally has to deliver creepy babies.  I don’t think anyone knows what is going on, but I continue to be intrigued by it.

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The Death of Cayde-6

While not part of the Sony show… Bungie did release a tweet with a video attached giving us some more background story surrounding the Forsaken story.  Now for some time there has been a back plot in Destiny 2 that has existed only for the lore hounds revolving around the fact that the forsaken we are fighting don’t appear to be any one house… but instead a mixture of houses all unified under one banner.  If you dig hard enough you uncover evidence that it appears that Uldren Sov… The Master of Crows and brother to Mara Sov has survived the battle that occurs at the beginning of  The Taken King cinematic and is gathering up the remnants of the forsaken and uniting them for his purposes.  In the trailer from last night we see a very beaten up Cayde-6 that is then summarily executed by Uldren with Cayde’s own Ace of Spades Hand Cannon.  It is my sincere hope that Cayde is not actually dead…  but would serve as a decent revenge plot as we hunt down Uldren and make him pay.

E3 Weekend Roundup: EA/Microsoft/Bethesda

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It is that time again…  like Pete Smith said it is very much like rushing home to find the Sears Christmas Book sitting on your door step filled with toys you have never heard of and begin daydreaming about.  This is really the time of the year I look forward to the most when it comes to gaming information.  It is also the time of the year when I try and lock my excitement away in a box and guard myself against the fact that a lot of the promises that are being made won’t actually see the light of day.  Everyone holds a game in their memory that didn’t quite live up to that original announcement trailer.  That said it is still an insanely fun time to be a gamer and blogger…  and as is my tradition I sit down and write about the shows as I watch them.

Electronic Arts – Saturday June 9th

First up this E3 Season is the Electronics Arts conference which thankfully happened while I was gone at a family reunion.  I say thankfully because of all of the shows during the season this is traditionally the one I need to parse the most because over half of the show is content that is very much “not for me”.  If I was not being so lazy I would add up the total minutes of the show that are in that not for me category, but the truth is…  if you are like me and don’t really enjoy sports you could probably skip the above conference link and watch individual trailers.

I was not really expecting much from Electronic Arts and somehow they managed to still disappoint me.  I had heard they would be announcing a new single player story driven Star Wars game… and they did…  sorta.  They announced the title Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order… and that the game would take place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope but not much more than that.  Unravel 2 was announced… and available for purchase immediately after the presentation which was kinda cool…  but seeing as I have yet to play the first one it is more knowledge to file away for a future date when I have played the original.  We also got a new Command and Conquer game…  on phones…  not sure what else to say here.

Not shocking there was more talk of Battlefield V…  and they announced their new “innovative” Battle Royale mode.  The truth is I am at least slantwise interested in Battlefield V because I recently started playing the campaign in Battlefield One and found it to be rather enjoyable.  It seems like they are swerving even harder into the story… which is sorta hillarious given that traditionally Call of Duty was the game you played for story and Battlefield was the multiplayer only experience (no bot mode does not count).  This year it seems like the roles are completely reversed given that Call of Duty is not wasting time or money on a story and as a result completely ruling me out from caring about it.

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Sea of Solitude

The first of the titles to really interest me is a little “indie” game called Sea of Solitude.  This is another in a line of Indie games that get published by the big box stores of gaming to give them some measure of street cred.  The world appears to be set after some sort of apocalyptic flood that has drowned the world and you play a little girl who has a problem.  In this world when people get lonely they start turning into monsters, and your character is beginning to go through the transformation.  So you have to sort out why the loneliness has taken hold of her all the while avoiding other more predatory former human beings.  It is cool looking and funky and might be worth adding to the list of things to play when I have time to do so…  which is a disturbingly long list.

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Anthem

Next up is Anthem and god I am trying so hard to keep my hype in check.  This game looks really awesome and so far what we have seen of the setting and the mech like Javelin suits is just so damned cool.  The problem is once again I am doubting the visuals and the “gameplay” that we are seeing…  that is until a YouTuber that I generally trust released a video this morning from an influencer exclusive play test of the game.  The gameplay footage syncs up with what we are seeing in the trailers and now my hype struggling against its restraints.  There are so many ways this game can go wrong, and having played both Division and Destiny 1/2 at length I am still going to try and maintain a fairly neutral stance until release.

That said it seems pretty positive and I am digging the weird unique IP that feels like a sort of blending of the Monster Hunter ethos, Warframe and Destiny with a little bit of Mass Effect Andromeda mixed in.  That last bit is not a negative to me because I happened to really like the last Mass Effect game we will probably ever get.  Supposedly this game has been in development for a very very long time under the code name Dylan.  One of the developers mentioned that the game was in development before the announcement and launch of Destiny and that much of the gameplay loop predates that genre coming into its own.  I will be watching this one closely while we wait for February 22nd of 2019.

Microsoft – Sunday June 10th

I will just come out and say it… Microsoft who is a company I am often disappointed with…  really knocked it out of the park with this conference.  Now if you believe the YouTubers that were hired as part of the official E3 coverage…  it was a disappointing show.  However at least three of those people on the panel are known for releasing rant videos so probably take that with a giant semi truck full of salt.  Their show had a reported 50 games in it… and hit on many big name franchises like Halo, Gears of War, Crackdown, Tomb Raider, Devil May Cry, and Fallout.  Admittedly there is a lot that was shown that I am mildly interested in but not enough to really talk about it here.  If you are interested I highly suggest you watch the show because it was an overall good experience…  even though it clocks in at roughly two hours.

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Halo Infinite

Halo is that series that I really wish I had gotten in on back in the day…  because now I am just not indoctrinated enough into the franchise to stick through a bunch of mechanics that I don’t enjoy.  We don’t know anything really about this title other than the fact that it is in fact a Halo game and appears to have Master Chief and Cortana in it.  The infinite branding makes me wonder if this is maybe their attempt at an always on persistent world environment for Halo along the lines of Destiny.  If this is the case I might be interested…  but most of the Halo fans I know are in it for the single player story and occasionally multiplayer matches with friends.  My core problem with Halo is the fact that they give you an amazing feeling weapon… that immediately runs out of ammunition…  which forces you to use absolute trash weapons from that point on to survive.  If they come up with a Halo that doesn’t have this problem… sign me the hell up.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

We jokingly referred to Nioh by Team Ninja as “Samurai Souls” then today From Software announces a game that deserves that title more.  Based on some of the gameplay footage we can maybe split the difference and refer to this as “Ninja Souls” due to the fact that your character has a trick arm of sorts that seems to be able to hookshot onto objects.  It looks interesting but I am not entirely on board with the Dark Souls genre, though that said I have been playing through the Remastered a bit and enjoying myself.  I loved Onimusha and if this game can scratch the itch left by my desire for another game in that series I would be willing to try it.  Otherwise I might end up just giving Nioh a shot given how much Tam seemed to enjoy it.

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Metro Exodus

This game looks so unbelievably good.  I really enjoyed both Metro games that already exist and the remastered versions were a massive step forward in both graphics and gameplay.  The entirety of the demo footage shown today apparently comes from a single mission in the game where you are seemingly taking on a cultist of sorts.  The biggest problem with Metro in the past is that it aligned with some pretty janky non-standard mechanics that came up through the Stalker series of games.  I get why it does what it does especially given its lineage, but I am hoping with Exodus they are adopting the norms for an RPG shooter or at the very least giving us the ability to rebind all of the keys to our liking.  This is going on the must play list because it looks great and anything that shines more light on this setting is a plus in my book.  Speaking of books… I keep telling myself that at some point I will read the translation of the Metro books.

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Division 2

The Division is one of those titles that promised an awful lot with that very first E3 trailer… and never quite delivered on all of it.  The Division 2 is similarly promising an awful lot and presents something that looks completely awesome.  However they still seem to be dead set on scripting artificial multiplayer dialog that provides for a really awkward experience.  I don’t sound like that with my friends…  because in truth we are usually talking about something other than the game until someone yells “oh fuck” when something goes completely wrong.  The problem is this scripted interaction just brings back my feelings about the first Division and its E3 reveal trailer…  and how much it missed the mark.  I signed up for the beta so here is hoping this time around they really deliver on things.

What I can say that I like going into this one is that it appears that we are actually helping the people this time.  One of the back and forth discussions that kept coming up on AggroChat is how awful the world of Division feels and how it seems like we are actively harming the citizens that just keep getting caught in the crossfire.  This time around they are seemingly running missions to help out people who are stuck out there trying to make a difference.  You go into an area where there are kids playing and signs of folks trying to make a better life for themselves.  This is a setting I can get behind… one that gives me reasons to go out into the wilds on murder sprees… and makes me feel like I am actually helping rather then maybe being a bad guy myself.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Another not so subtle reminder that I need to get back on the bandwagon and finish the first game.  Look I may or may not be bad about starting things and never getting around to finishing them.  There is a similar stack of partially read books on my end table…  so it is a me thing.  As always this looks like an excellent entry in the series and I really would like to catch up and be able to experience the whole thing as it releases.  There is however a long list of games waiting for me to give them attention… and with other things that have been announced during the Bethesda show…  they may be waiting awhile longer.  The game looks great and very much in the feeling of the other modern Tomb Raider games.

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Devil May Cry 5

This is a title that initially surprised me… but in truth really should not have.  Over in Monster Hunter there was a recent cross over event where you could earn a charge blade and outfit themed after the primary character in this series…  Dante.  That should have tipped me off to the fact that there was a new game on the horizon.  The truth is I have not played these games past the few that were on the Playstation 2 and at some point I really should catch up because it looks like a fun series.  Everyone on twitter was talking about the cringe worthy dialog, but in truth I found that just fine for the sort of game that this is.  It was at the very least interesting enough to make me write about it, which considering how many things I won’t be today is a positive.

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Session

I know nothing about this game other than the fact it has skateboards…  and pending that this is not some sort of bait and switch and the game is really about some crime drama…  I will probably be down to play it.  I loved the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series and it is a crime that we don’t have a proper modern game worthy of that lineage.  Sure they released a game not long ago but it had a lot of issues…  what I want is a spiritual successor to come along and pick up the reins delivering a great street skating experience.  Ultimately that is all I have ever really wanted is for someone to give me an open world skateboarding sandbox where you could roam around freely and create mini objectives as you played.  I need to track down a copy of one of the Skate series games because it always felt like the Transworld Skateboarding to THPS’s Thrasher magazine vibe.  I would love to see this game land squarely in the middle…  but again I know nothing about it yet other than the fact there are skaters in it.  Please don’t disappoint me…. the ambiguous title concerns me a little.

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Tunic

Cute chromatic aberration fox zelda…  which is completely enough for me to go on and want to play it.  We need more interesting takes on the zelda-like genre and from what I can tell this seems to be one with pretty good fidelity.  Again I don’t know much more than we are given in the trailer but I will be spending some time looking this title up because I have a feeling… it is probably going to be showing up on steam at some point soon given it very obviously is Indie.

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Dying Light 2

I really enjoyed the original game… when I did not think I would given I am not a big fan of parkour nonsense in games.  That said it presented a really interesting take on the zombie apocalypse with a very vibrant world full of survivors…  and a ton of options to make as to who you would align with.  Dying Light 2 seems to double down on that decision making game play in presenting a world that seems to be shaped from the very first moments by the choices you make.  This will end up creating a really rich narrative with a shocking amount of replay, but also gives you the feeling that while you are killing zombies…  you are actually fighting for something you care about.  This is yet another game that I started but never quite returned to… in part because of the laptop thing…  but now that I have a working option I need to add this to the list of games I want to revisit especially given I made it rather far.

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Cyberpunk 2077

This is the game we have all bee waiting for…  a Cyberpunk game with the loving fidelity of The Witcher 3.  While this is mostly just an establishing trailer showing us off various locations and the style and feel of the game…  it does not stop me from wanting to wallow the fuck in its grandeur.  Everything about this trailer is good and I just want more of it.  I am so ready for this to be a thing and for us to be roaming around in this world hacking bots, getting augments and driving crazy vehicles.  I am not really sure what else there is to say at this point but I feel like this was a major coup for Microsoft to get the first reveal of any sort of this game.  Now if Sony turns around and gets gameplay… I will reverse this decision but in the grand scheme of things…  awesome.

Bethesda – Sunday June 10th

This is the show I think most of us were waiting on… and I did not walk away disappointed.  In fact once again I think Bethesda threw down the gauntlet and probably won E3 as far as new and interesting game releases.  They opened with a surprise Andrew WK performance of a song that appears to be in Rage 2.  It was weird watching the internet react to this because I was like “Hell yeah!” and so many were frustrated and annoyed and just wanted to move on with the announcements.  This show as shockingly self aware, often making fun of the sort of things the internet says about Bethesda as a company.  Probably the best of these moments was the Skyrim Very Special Edition commercial…  for a hopefully made up Alexa version of the game demonstrated by Keegan-Michael Key.  There were some moments of the show that were just awkward… which prompted me to comment…

There is an awful lot to unpack here so lets get started….

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Rage 2

I am finding out that apparently I was one of the few people out there that deeply loved the original Rage title.  I’ve heard so many people comment about how generic it looks…  but it was fucking Mad Max before the Mad Max game existed.  This was everything that I wanted in a road-warrior-esc-post-apocalyptic game…  how is that for some hyphen abuse!  The truth is I enjoyed every minute of the game…  but it just never really lived up to its potential given how painfully short it was.  When I got to the end of the game I thought that maybe a bigger campaign would open up and there would be a whole bunch more areas to explore…  instead I just got a credits roll.  Now at this point I have played through the game several times and I am excited to get to step back into that world with the sequel.  Ultimately I am hoping this will live up to the potential that the first one left laying on the ground.

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Fallout 76

The other game we knew about going into the show is of course Fallout 76 and unfortunately post show last night… I have more questions than I actually have answers.  It is in fact set in West Virginia and based on some of the scenes may also include the Capitol Wasteland as well.  It is a game supposedly four times the size of fallout 4, which is staggering…   which at face value seems amazing and makes me want to start throwing dollar bills at the screen.  There are some concerns I have because this game is going to be entirely online, and while they talked a bit about both PVE and PVP elements there were not a lot of details determining if you could in fact play with your friends in a purely PVE environment.  Thankfully they at least mentioned that the entire game was playable in a single player mode, which is enough to keep me going for the moment.

If I could create a session that included a bunch of my carebear minded friends and allowed us all to freely roam around and conquer the wasteland together…  then that would be absolutely amazing and the sort of thing I have always wanted in the back of my head.  However if all of my effort can be fucked up by a random asshole who just likes breaking shit…  then I am going to be severely cross with this game.  I feel like there are a lot of players in my timeline that feel pretty much the same so it will be interesting in the coming months who this shapes up especially given that it has a November release date.  I will be signing up for the beta in hopes of getting in and seeing how the game works in person.  I am excited…  and sorta felt like running around the house flailing my arms last night… but trying to temper that excitement with the possibility that this will in fact be a Rust/ARK/Survival-Murder-Sandbox clone and not really a game for me.

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Wolfenstein: Youngblood

In the games I was absolutely not expecting at all category… we have a new Wolfenstein game this time centered around the grown up versions of B.J. Blaskowicz’s daughters.  This time the game is set in 1980s Paris with what appears to be a very 80s vibe to it.  There is not a lot of detail to go on from the trailer other than the fact that you get to destroy more Nazis and this time around do it with one of two female characters.  The entire game supposedly supports co-op play letting each player take control of one of the main characters or you can play single player and I am sure have slightly different branching options similar to the other games in this series.  I am so down for this and extremely excited to see that Machine Games can apparently turn one of these games out every single year.

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Doom Eternal

The last doom game was extremely good and felt like a modern successor to that franchise in every single way.  Now it appears that we are getting the version of Doom 2: Hell on Earth for this modern re-imagining of the series.  This time they are calling it Doom Eternal, but whatever… I see signs that we are on Earth and that is all I need to know.  I loved the Doom series and the truth is… I played through Doom 2 in full long before I ever did the original games.  For a very long time I played the original free episode of Doom over and over and over because I lacked the credit card to order all of the add on episodic content and they did not release that in a physical form until after Doom 2 was already a thing.  I will always welcome more games in this series pending they apply the same level of interesting detail and fidelity that they did the last one.

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Starfield

One of the surprise announcements at the end of the show is something we had heard rumors about for some time… that Bethesda had been working on an entirely new IP.  We got essentially a title card… with a bit of animation showing a planet and some sort of a satellite looking space ship warping away.  I am so down with Bethesda doing a space exploration game and I am very much read for someone to pick up the reigns left by Bioware when they seemingly abandoned the Mass Effect series.  I am hoping by the time E3 2019 rolls around that we have more details and a release date, because after seeing Prey I am ready for a proper space game from Bethesda.  This game will be the source of rabid speculation for the next year…  and this would have been more than enough of a mic drop at the end of the show.  However there was more.

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Elder Scrolls VI

I think more than anything this is to silence the “there is never going to be another main Elder Scrolls game” crowd that has been claiming that since the launch of Elder Scrolls Online.  We know nothing… except that once again the theme has somehow managed to get more grand and bombastic.  We have a flying aerial shot of Tamriel that I am sure folks will pick apart and try and determine the setting…  and then a simple embossed gold title card in the Elder Scrolls font.  Short simple and enough to drive people insane for the next year.  I fully expect this one though is two years away considering at this point last year Todd Howard claimed that they were not working on it yet.  Skyrim took 4 years to develop so I think 3 years is the absolute minimum that they would need for this.  That said at this point they do have an army of other games studios that they could probably employ to work on parts of the game.  Bethesda seems to be speeding up the time it takes for them to deliver games so it will be interesting to see when this actually releases.  I fully expect Starfield with be the 2019 game and this the 2020 game but I could be completely wrong.