Fallout 4 & Fallout Shelter

Fallout 4

I watched Bethesda’s E3 Showcase last night to see whether or not I would want to be interested in Fallout 4. I will happily admit that I have never been into the Fallout series. Each new Fallout game I look to see if something unique or interesting presents itself, and then decide whether or not I’m going to finally jump on-board.

My reason for disliking Fallout has never too focused around the game mechanics. I think the open-world setting is pretty good. The conversation options are lacking, but the stories (as loose as they can be) are decent. What I really dislike is the post-apocalyptic world. I don’t like the brownish orangish grayish tint on everything. I don’t like wastelands or modern/post-modern weapons and gadgets when they’re combined with a wasteland environment and motif. That’s all on me, and entirely subjective.

Watching the video during the E3 Showcase, I will admit the world looked a little bit better… although still that post-apoc wasteland. There does seem to be a little more color infused into the world. I was digging that. Right when I was starting to think, “Hey this doesn’t look so bad,” I saw what probably would keep me away: The wacky/zany craziness of wearing ridiculous outfits and using downright unforgivably stupid weapons. I think I saw a bazooka shoot teddybears that made enemy’s heads explode. I’m done.

Fallout 4 Pip-Boy EditionGraev already Pre-ordered at Best Buy, and I got one of their available pre-orders of Fallout 4: Pip-Boy Edition on Amazon. It comes with a Pip-Boy that will hold your phone and several other “collector’s edition” items. Bethesda is going all out and creating an app to accompany the game. I don’t know if I’ll end up getting it or not, but I have the pre-order reserved and Amazon won’t charge me until it ships. Might as well hold on and make my decision later.

The biggest news of the night was that Fallout 4 will be available on November 10 of this year (2015) which is crazy fast.

Fallout Shelter

Bethesda also announced that right after the show a new game would be available for iOS and Andoird: Fallout Shelter. It’s one of those time wasting games where you build stations to collect resources and keep people happy. It’s Freemium, so you can download and wait for things or spend real money on lunch boxes which contain cards that will give your shelter benefits.

Fallout Shelter

I’ve just started playing and find it enjoyable enough to log in once or twice a day during breaks at work to check on my shelter, but it’s nothing I’ll spend money on just yet. I’ll write up more formal tidbits about the game later this week or next.

There Are Too Many People Playing My MMO!

I’m seeing this sentiment all over EverQuest both in-game and on the forums. People are complaining that there are just too many other people playing the game with them. I never thought I would see the day when people complained about too many people playing EverQuest.

There are A LOT of people playing EverQuest. I’m seeing more people playing on Ragefire than I have seen in any new MMO launch in the past 10 years. I want to emphasize that I am actually seeing them. Let’s look at why.

No Phasing. EverQuest doesn’t artificially hide players behind imaginary phases of existence because they’re on another stage of a quest or version of a linear story. Norrath is a contiguous world we all share.

No Individual/Group instances. There may be multiple copies of zones, but they are not the instances people have grown accustom to in new MMOs. Dungeons and zones are always shared. Dungeon bosses and mobs are on respawn timers. They get camped.

All of Norrath is Useful. Players have to travel places, go to cities to buy spells and sell. Dungeons drop items that can be sold, traded, or used. Players will always be wanting to find rare gear and feed the economy. Crafting and spell reagents that a level 50 will want to use drop from low level mobs. There are no zones in EQ that are worthless.

Norrath is not Linear. You do not grab 20 quests from Greater Faydark then never return. You’ll travel through GFay to get to Mistmoore, Crushbone, Kelethin, etc. You’ll travel through Commonlands on your way to Sol or Freeport. The world is all connected and people have a reason to cross back and forth.

High Level and Low Level Mobs Share Zones. In many games a lowbie zone has only lowbie mobs. In Norrath, level 35 mobs often roam around where there are level 10 mobs. Oh, and they are aggressive.

Quests Require Exploration. A level 50 Necromancer Quest may require the Necromancer to revisit Mistmoore. Spell research requires reagents that may only drop from certain mobs. Epic quests require massive amounts of camping and travel to find rare things. You’re given reasons to move about the world.

I would not give these things up for reduced crowds. I may moan and complain when I can’t find a camp in Unrest, but the alternative leads to what ruined this industry. No thank you.

Great Weekend in EQ + Some Good Grouping Lessons

My weekend was filled with great gaming. I played Assassin’s Creed Unity and Splatoon with my wife, then spent a good deal of time leveling up my characters in EverQuest. I’ll write more on the other two later because I really want to write about a few of my EQ highlights from this weekend.

Keen the Bard progressed a little bit. My bard is the character I most want to play later on in levels, but I’m keeping him part of the guild static group we have going.  For a group around our level(levels 17-21 at the time) it’s sometimes tough to find a spot in Unrest given how crowded it can be. Three of us decided to take our group and head over to Upper Guk to check out the leveling scene. We build a lower sewers team that ended up bringing in about a level and a half before we decided to call it for the night.

My Mage is where I spent the bulk of my time this weekend. I’m having an absolute blast leveling him up! Twice this weekend I found myself in stellar groups pulling constant streams of mobs in Unrest. I was the main DPS in both groups which, in EQ speak, means it was my job to burn something down very quickly if we got a bad pull and also my job to make sure things generally do not stay alive for too long and drain the healer’s mana. That leads me to a couple of important lessons I encountered this weekend: (1) Know your role, and (2) When you get a good group you need to socialize.

Know Your Role

This might be one of the best things about EverQuest. Even in a state where things are generally easier, roles are clearly defined. As I mentioned before, I am a Mage and that makes me the DPS. I’m not the puller. I’m not the tank. I’m the guy who blows things up. The puller’s job is to make sure we have a steady stream of mobs — without him the EXP is slow. The tank is responsible for tagging what the puller brings in and keeping it (generally) off everyone else. The Healer is responsible for managing their mana and ensuring no one dies (notice I didn’t say at full health). I could go on and highlight more specialized roles like CC and other support, but that’ll suffice.

I ran into a few people this weekend who seemed to either forget their role, or never learned what it was to begin with. When roles are played properly everything is amazing and smooth, but the opposite is true. We had an enchanter who never used Mez. I don’t know if he thought we didn’t need it, or simply was lazy, but he was nuking constantly. As a result, our healer’s mana was always low. That meant I had to nuke more to keep the mobs from killing people. The dominos kept falling from there.

Having clear roles makes everything more fun for me. So much more dynamic than everyone being DPS and having a healer and tank loosely filling their role while DPSing as much as possible.

Get to Know Your Group

Last night I was in a group at the Fireplace in Unrest. Awesome spot to EXP in. I went from level 20-22.5 in like an hour and a half. We had a few hiccups getting started, but quickly found our rhythm. We started chatting and having a good conversation as time went on. I learned about their past experiences with EQ. I learned what alts people were playing. Loot was dropping and we would congratulate each other and try to pull named mobs to get the other guy who wanted the tunic a chance at the drop.

The genuine consensus was that everyone was hoping everyone else was going to stick around a good long time, and generally we all did. At the end of the night when it was time for me to log (curse getting up at 5am for work) several people said they added me to their friends list. I used a line I hadn’t used in over a decade: “If you guys are ever looking for another and need a Mage to blow things up, definitely give me a shout!”

I know from experience that I WILL get a /tell from one of these people in the future. They will be in a group or leading a group one day and they’ll see me on the LFG tool and say, “Hey guys invite him, he’s a great Mage!”  Seriously, even if I wasn’t the best Mage ever they’ll still vouch for me because I know my role, I perform it well, and I was personable.

If you can’t beat them…

Join them! EverQuest Ragefire server is the game I’m dedicated to right now, and although it’s enormously fun (I have 80+ hours in it already) it’s not without its faults. One of the biggest issues facing Ragefire is how overpowered casters are compared to melee classes. Whether or not it’s fixable ends up being a moot point, and instead of complaining about it all the time I decided to just join in on the fun.

I made a Gnome Magician last week, and have loved every minute of playing him. Yeah, it’s broken. I think my pet can take on most even con mobs all by itself, and yellow mobs require little more than one nuke from me. I toss in two if I want to down them quickly.  I’m able to go into Unrest and solo 2 yellows at once, or control the ENTIRE yard all by myself (blues and whites) raking in insane amounts of experience and loot.

While the Mage is so much fun, I still love my Bard. I want my Bard to be my main character. My Bard is the class I see myself playing in groups, going on raids with, etc. The Bard is support, and support is where I find I’m most talented and have the most fun.

My Mage will be my farming character. I’ll earn money on the Mage, camp items that can be soloed, and this will allow me to have a character I can play when my friends aren’t on or I can’t find a group on my bard. Sadly, the latter happens often as most people prefer to invite casters since their DPS is worth more than the support of a bard in this version of EQ.

Even playing an OP class in a very different version of Norrath, I still find myself rushing home every day to get in at least an hour or two of EverQuest. You can join us in our casual friends/family style guild by visiting our forums.

Splatoon

Splatoon Review

 

Alright Inklings, it’s time for our Splatoon Review! Splatoon is Nintendo’s first true foray into an online multiplayer experience on their consoles, and definitely their first attempt at creating an online shooter. How’d they do?

Splatoon is set in a brand new world where everyone is a kid… or a squid… let’s just call them Inklings. Inklings have gathered in Inkopolis Plaza which acts as a staging area for shopping for gear, venturing forth into single-player missions or challenges, jumping into ranked or unranked battles, and interacting with other players’ Inklings via the Miiverse.

Maps and Overall Feel
Splatoon is an incredibly fast pace third person shooter. Each round/map is only three minutes long, and players have one goal: Cover as much of the map in ink as possible. The team with the most ground (note: ground only) covered in their color ink will win. While an incredibly simple approach, and favorable for the younger audience, there’s depth and strategy at play here that only some of the more advanced or skilled players will employ.

You can still “kill” or splatter your opponents by shooting them inking them up bad enough. When you die you spawn back at your starting point which takes anywhere between 10 and 15 seconds to happen. This is valuable time lost if you consider that any ink you lay down can be painted over by the enemy. The map turns into a constant tug-o-war. The key is to own the center of the map and not let the enemy sneak behind your lines. If you lose control of the map you are likely to lose. [Read more…]