Dude’s Chronicles 8-25-2016: Humid and Salty

Image via quotesgram.com

Image via quotesgram.com

It’s not as bad as the picture above but it is pretty lousy.

Entertainment!

  • The Fast and The Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift – These movies aren’t good. Sorry, they aren’t but I enjoy  them nonetheless.
  • Gotham: Season 1 – This series seems fairly interesting and a slightly different take on the Batman story. I wish there were more episodes available on Neflix since I’ll never actually watch this when it airs. Not because I don’t want to see it, just that I don’t sit down to watch shows on a regular basis.
  • Indie Games: Life After – The follow up to Indie Game: The Movie, it was far less interesting and felt like one of those sequels that just didn’t need to happen.

Games!

The Division continues to be the land of salt. Massive is being a lot more upfront about the fact that the game is not good at this point. I appreciate their honesty and I’ll appreciate it even more when they actually fix the game.

It’s such a bad scene that players are being salty with each other. I was playing an Incursion the other day and the group just wasn’t working right. We wiped several times and one player got his salt shaker out. He essentially told me that I was running Smart Cover wrong. How you do that I have no idea. He didn’t say my skill power was too low, which would have made more sense. That group quickly disbanded, thankfully.

News!

  • PS4 Slim rumors – Do we need this? Do we want this? I don’t, on either count. I’m not even that excited about Neo. Maybe these are the same thing. No real facts and Sony doesn’t have much to say about it yet.
  • The Division delays expansion – Wait, fix the game before expanding it??? Brilliant! Looks like it will be a while before Survival releases due to Massive wanting to concentrate(and rightly so) on the 1.4 update to fix and balance the game.
  • John Carmack a thief? – Apparently Bethesda says that Carmack took some of it’s intellectual property with him when he left for Oculus. More ugly legal battles for the gaming industry.

Did you notice? I remembered to change the date on this post before posting it. Yeah me!

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

The Division – Repairs Needed

the_division_wallpaper1625The Division has problems. That is a statement of fact, one of which can be said for almost every game but The Division is beginning to crack under the stress of its mounting problems. It would be one thing to have bugs in the game and another thing to have broken systems within the game. Both of these issues are plaguing the game and it is not clear how or when they will be resolved.

It is not too late for the game but the longer the problems go on the more players will leave. Here are some things that Massive can do to make players stay and maybe even comeback.

Fix The Bugs

ladderThis one sound obvious. There is no reason that months after the game’s release the riot shield should still be bugged or for players to get stuck on ladders or for players’ skills to glitch out. As a player on the Xbox One, I beg for the lag issues to be fixed.

Make The Loot Better

divisionreview1It is not the quality of the items but rather how players can get them. At the end of an Incursion you have a “chance” for high-end or gear set pieces but only a chance. Also, you only get one of those chances once a week for completion the rest of the time you are hoping for boss drops. For how much effort and time an Incursion can take it should be more rewarding. Make it so the boss drops more loot and get rid of the weekly drop.

As for quality, there is no reason why a Heroic level story mission should only have 204 weapons. This is a clear imbalance in the loot system since a Heroic Underground mission will yield 229 weapons. Make it consistent so that all Heroic level activities have the same rewards. There also needs to be a chance for higher loot in lower activities so that players can build up to tougher activities rather than suffering through them at first.

Stop the Lone Star Shuffle

lonestartHear me out on this one. Players of The Division all know the Lone Star shuffle because we all do it. Put on the Police backpack and two pieces of Lone Star before hitting a restock. This is just an annoyance and it is silly that it needs done.

With that said, it is the need for the Lone Star shuffle that needs remedied not the shuffle itself. The fact that NPC’s are so overpowered and necessitate several clips of ammo, even with pulse and smart cover buffs, to kill is the real issue. Not that we can have a can that makes a marksman rifle kill a level 35 NPC will one headshot but it shouldn’t take twenty shots either. Make it so enemies take a more reasonable amount of ammo to kill and set our inventory to hold a respectable amount of ammo. That way we don’t need to carry Lone Star just to switch it on and off to restock. If the ammo amount is fixed then we don’t have to worry about ammo capacity as a gear attribute either.

Reel In The Rogues

tc-the-division-dark-zone-extraction-hijacking-rope-cutLook, I get it, the DZ is a PVP and PVE area. That is fine but going rogue at this point has almost no consequence. When the game first released the penalty from going rogue, loss of credits and XP, held most at bay from doing so. Now, the penalties are lower and they mean even less since those that are going rogue are a high enough rank and have enough DZ credits that it doesn’t matter if they lose those.

Since XP and credits mean nothing to rogues take away that which they most desire – the ability to kill other players. When you die as rogues your respawn timer gets longer based on the rogue level you were at upon your death. Make it a full minute or two for every level you were rogue. If you get killed during a Manhunt status, level 5 rogue, you would have to wait up to ten minutes to respawn. That will give people cause to think about going rogue and to be a bit more crafty when they do. It would also give the non-rogue players a respite if only temporarily.

Stop Nerfing Stuff

the_division_G36-1152x648They nerfed the SMG’s. They nerfed the G36. They nerfed Sentry’s Call. Guess what? That didn’t fix the issue. SMG’s are still viable but they aren’t the doomsday device they used to be. The G36 is probably still the best assault rifle in the game. Now people run four or five pieces of Sentry’s call instead of three.

Nerfing hasn’t done much but frustrate players. The G36 is a prime example. We finally had a weapon that made it feel like we had a chance and Massive nerfed it. Why? Good question. It would feel more empowering to the players to buff rather than nerf. Look at LMG’s, giving the bonus damage to targets out of cover made those more viable weapons without penalizing other weapons. That is a strategy more players will be in tune with.

Get Gear Sets Inline

tc-the-division-update-1-3-loot-items-drop-table-v1-01The gear sets of themselves are not at issue but how they are being used and how many are available are making a mess of the game. It used to be pretty simple, find a gear set that had talents that played to your liking, get a full four piece set, then fill in the rest with whatever. Now, every build is a mix ranging from five piece Sentry plus one other,  three piece this with three piece that, or two piece this with two piece that with two piece whatever.

There are over a dozen gear sets already and we are only months into the game’s life. Perhaps it is time to hold off on releasing new sets. The loot table has already diluted enough that it is difficult for players to get the gear to drop that they actually want. I am a fan of choice and different options but there is also a point where there are so many options it is confusing.

Simplify

simpleRPG players are accustomed to complex systems. Players of shooter games are not. This game likely has more people from a Call of Duty background rather than World of Warcraft. It can be a confusing mess to try to make a character that works when you have to consider armor, exotic damage, fire resistance, blind/deaf resistance and so on. It would be more accessible to players if there were less variables to deal with. Perhaps making it only armor and “other” damage rather than several different types of damage.

Keep it simple stupid(K.I.S.S.) is not a bad thing at all. It could also be applied to things like critical hit chance. It is capped at 60% but maybe it could be fixed at 33%. That way nobody has to worry about rolling mods or the like to get up to the max. Rather the playing field is level and known if attributes like this are set and not variable.

Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes and there is no “one thing” that can be done to fix the game. It will rather be a long process to fix the game and re-engage the player base. On Massive’s State of the Game broadcast they talked about things in terms of weeks, this is a good time reference but people need to understand that it may take that long to identify and sort the issues at hand with it taking even longer to provide a fix.
dudewantshisrug-profile

Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 8-18-2016: Back In Action

Image via giphy.com

Image via giphy.com

You really appreciate a vacation in a different way once it is over and you go back to work.

Entertainment!

  • The Real Death Star – It was a science show that talked about gamma radiation given off by massive black wholes. An interesting piece but as with science it was a bit wishy-washy about its conclusion. Which is accurate since none of know the secrets of the universe. A decent watch if you are into science-type stuff.
  • Hostage – An overly complicated and unbelievable Bruce Willis movie about a former hostage negotiator who has his own family kidnapped while he is on the scene of another hostage situation that is actually the house of bookkeeper that may or may not be working for the government. Confused?
  • Big Trouble in Little China – C’mon, it’s a classic! One of those “so bad it’s good” movies.
  • The Big Short – A fascinating movie about how corrupt our financial institutions are and the body’s the govern them. As intellectually stimulating as it was, it may have been a little too much of that and a little too entertaining. This seems to happen when you have too many big names in one film and some of the cameos just seemed completely out of place.
  • Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru – Tony Robbins has been around forever! Ok, 30+ years and people either think he is a miracle worker, a crook, a cult-leader, or a mix of the aforementioned. This film documented Robbins at one of his events and shows some of the people that he interacts with and how. Very interesting and compelling but left me wondering how genuine everything in it was.

Games!

The Division and all the woes that go with it. I played a ton of this on my vacation and I may have burnt myself out. I had a great time playing with the people of the DZR community and they keep me wanting to play. What keeps making me not want to play is the game itself. I feel like I don’t get well rewarded for my play time and the Dark Zone has turned into Gank City. There is so much blood lust and rogue activity that it was impossible to even farm for loot the last couple of times I was in it. I hope Massive and Ubisoft have some way of addressing this because I am seeing the player base dwindle and am not sure what will save it at this point.

Then I hooked myself back into playing Destiny again. Wondering to myself if I should buy Rise of Iron, I made the decision to play some of the Iron Banner event this week. I started at a Light level of 302(max is 335) and  in two days got to 308. Not a huge leap but I’ve been having fun playing the game again. Sure I still get frustrated and mad when I do poorly or the team loses but it is still fun – something that has been lacking in the previously mentioned game. I enjoyed playing this game with random people and I enjoyed The Division because of the core of people I play with. Strange? Well, maybe. I’m going to play some more before I decide to buy the Rise of Iron though.

Then there is No Man’s Sky. I look at the box and I still can’t force myself to play it. Is there something wrong with me? (Don’t answer that.)

News!

  • Titanfall 2 split beta! – I mean – technical test. This weekend and next there will be multiplayer technical test on PS4 and XB1. Sorry, no technical test for you PC players because of your data-mining shenanigans. There will be another technical test next weekend featuring different game modes and equipment.
  • Final Fantasy XV delayed, again – If you’ve been waiting to play this game, what is two more months when you’ve already waited this long? Look at how long The Last Guardian took before it was released. Oh, it’s not out yet either. At least it seemed like solid reasoning, they had some patchwork to do and wanted to include it on disk rather than making a day-one patch. However, if they go through this delay and still have a day-one patch there may be some upset peoples.
  • Destiny private matches – This is something that player have been asking for since the game launched. Huzzah! I’ll probably never play this mode!
  • Left 4 Metal Gear – Konami announces the first Kojima-less Metal Gear game with Metal Gear Survive. A four-person zombie survival game based in an alternate universe of Metal Gear Solid.

Since I didn’t find a way to become independently wealthy in my time off, I’l have to keep doing that ‘work’ thing…and this too.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Destiny – A Few Things Rise of Iron Needs

DestinyRiseOfIron

Being two years beyond its original release Destiny still has a steady pool of players and that is a good thing. However, the pending release of Rise of Iron could be another make or break moment for the game. Many people were hoping for a full-blown Destiny 2 and they are only going to get an expansion somewhat equivalent in size to The Taken King expansion.

Here are three things Bungie can do to make the Rise of Iron something players will come back to Destiny for.

Matchmaking for PVE

destiny-matchmaking

The only PVE space that has built in match-making is the Strike list and this doesn’t even include the Heroic and Nightfall Strikes. There are players out there that don’t want to use LFG sites and want to stay in the game to find fellow players if no one from their friends list is available. Since Destiny’s release the only way to try to recruit for PVE within the game is to find players in the social areas and send them a message asking them to join you. This is less than ideal to begin with and some people consider it an annoyance.

Adding in-game match-making would open opportunities that some players just don’t have currently. I have spoken with people that have never played the game’s original raid, The Vault of Glass, simply because they don’t already have a group to play with. Many people have left Destiny because they only want the PVE element but don’t want to play alone. There is a limit on how many Strikes one can run before they get boring and missing out on other content for the fact of being solo can be frustrating. Being able to find people that want to play the same part of the game as you should not be a limitation.

Better Chances for Loot

destiny-loot

There is plenty of loot to be had in the game but the real problem is getting it. Some loot is locked behind certain events and otherwise inaccessible. Much is the case with weapons and armor that are only available from raids or completing quests. The highest level gear can only be obtained from the highest level events which makes sense but then it may also limit people from obtaining those pieces just because they can’t or don’t want to complete the hardest level content.

Opening the loot table so that any loot can drop anywhere at anytime would encourage players to vary what they play within the game rather than just grinding away at a particular mode of the game. Many people play the raids every week on all three characters not because they like the raid but rather it gives them three chances to get the loot they want. My experience has been that the loot drops in the Strikes(PVE) are not as good as the Crucible(PVP) and I would end playing the Crucible not because I wanted to but because I felt I had a better chance for better loot. Changing how and where loot drops would make the players feel more rewarded for their playtime and allow them to be playing the content they most want to.

Improve the Story

destiny-story

Destiny has been bemoaned for its lack of story telling since its release and little has changed to this point. The Taken King was applauded for improving the story telling but it was just that, an improvement. It was only an improvement because the previous story and its delivery where terrible. The story isn’t very well flushed out either, the true nature of the Light and the Dark have never been explained nor the Traveler’s relationship to them. To make matters worse, most of the story isn’t even told within the game. Bungie has instead taken to using grimoire cards that are not even readable within the game. There may be great details in these cards but the majority of players are never going to see it since they have to go online, out of the game, to do so.

The solution here seems simple, tell a better story and deliver it better. The Taken King content gave little detail about Destiny’s universe overall and only served as a setup to its raid. Rise of Iron should learn from this and add to the game’s overall story line and not be limited to its own bubble of content. Simply adding more cutscenes, as The Taken King did, does not make the delivery better either. I would rather have important moments detailed to me rather than have them spoken over in-game action or presented in a nearly meaningless cutscene that misses the point anyway. If Bungie would provide an improved story, they would get the emotional attachment they want players to have.

These aren’t the only things that could could be fixed or added to make Destiny better. Little things like more inventory space would be nice and more likely to happen since the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game will no longer be a limiting factor. Given time and effort, the technical problems of the game can be fixed and Bungie has shown themselves capable of that much. What they really need to fix are the non-technical issues that would bring greater enjoyment to players.
dudewantshisrug-profile

Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 8-11-2016: Still Vacating

Image via playadreams.com

Image via playadreams.com

I’ve accomplished very little on vacation and that was all I wanted to accomplish

Entertainment!

  • Stranger Things – If you like The X-Files then you’ll like this show. It is only eight episodes but it is a very good watch. I didn’t want to stop watching it the night I started but I literally couldn’t stay awake any longer and passed out. Finished it up the day after and greatly enjoyed it.
  • Batman vs. Superman – I watched it again and …. it’s still not good. Pretty sure I don’t hate it like some other do but I just keep getting that feeling that it could have been much better.
  • Beavis and Butthead Do America – What can I say? I like stupid humor.
  • Blade 2 – Had never seen it before and it was on Netflix so I watched it. It gets a myeh rating.
  • David Cross: Making America Great Again! – This dude is funny. Watch this for a good laugh.

Games!

 

I’ve played a bunch of The Division and very little of No Man’s Sky. Why? Well, I’ll just say – I don’t like No Man’s Sky so far. I’ve only put three hours into it so I am not giving up on it yet but there isn’t anything hooking me to keep playing. The inventory system is not great and space is far too limited for the amount of stuff you need. There is no fast-travel system which means you have to run, literally run, all over the place and it feels like it takes forever. I want to put a few more hours into before I give up but I’m not getting a strong feeling that I’m going to like this game.

News!

I’ve haven’t been reading much, part of my near total shutdown for vacation, so let’s assume that there is a bunch of news about No Man’s Sky and Pokemon GO.

I really need to get back to doing nothing.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 8-4-2016: Before The Stoppage

 

Image via giphy.com

Image via giphy.com

No, I’m not done with the blog. I’m almost done with work before a week off. What will I be doing? Heck if I know.

 

Entertainment!

  • Jason Bourne – I don’t want to say I didn’t like the movie but I can’t say that I thought it was a good movie. It tried to hard to be a “Bourne” movie that it felt formulaic and predictable. Some of the scenes seemed to drag on longer than necessary making this one of the most boring action movies I have seen. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great.
  • Batman vs. Superman – WTF!?!?!? Arguable one of the worst movies I have seen of late. I don’t think it was as bad as some of the reviews have made it out to be but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as it should have been. The plot of this movie was an absolute mess and much of it became superfluous. The one compliment is that I thought the cinematography was very good, however, it was not good enough to save the movie.

Games!

The DZR weekend was a great time. You can read more about my experience here. That event pretty much made it so that The Division is still the only game I’ve played.

But there is that No Man’s Sky coming…

News!

  • POWERS is canceled – Kind of bummed out about this. I really wanted to see where they were going with this. O’well, I didn’t really expect it to last long but I wish it would have had a more definitive end.
  • No Man’s Sky is only 30 hours long – And The Legend of Zelda can be beaten in less than 1.5 hours.

If you have a minute next week, try to get a hold of me somehow just to make sure I haven’t sunken into the abyss.

 

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dark Zone Report: The Little Community That Could

cropped-webpage-banner-1

Even a bad game can be better with friends. When you don’t have friends that play the same games, those bad games can seem even worse. Tom Clancy’s: The Division has followed in this suit. Like many other players, I was ready to leave this game behind after struggling to enjoy playing it solo or with match-made partners. What made it more frustrating was that not only did I still want to enjoy the game but I would be leaving it before all of the content I had paid for, via the Season Pass, had even been released. This is where the Dark Zone Report(DZR) comes in.

There are plenty of other LFG sites on the Internet for The Division as well as many other games. DZR prides itself in not only welcoming new members but helping them out. Too many times have I tried other LFG sites only to find that the players I joined up with were only out for their own gain and would quickly kick you from the game if they deemed you to not be carrying your weight. In fact, at some sites where stats like DPS, Toughness, and Skill Power need to be listed I could not even get picked up to get into a game. Not only does DZR denounce this behaviour, it just hosted its second event dedicated to the very opposite.

The original Gear Up weekend was held just prior to the release of The Underground DLC for Xbox One and PC. The second Gear Up weekend was just held the weekend prior to the PS4 release of The Underground DLC. Personally, I cannot speak for the first event since I could not participate in it due to other commitments, I can say that they second event was an absolutely brilliant display to watch and partake in. Over the course of three days, innumerable hours of game time was played by an estimated hundreds of players all helping each other.

Things such as these are hard to measure in terms of success. I have no hard numbers to present you and I’m not sure if anybody does. There may be a way to measure how many registered for the event but how can we tell what percentage of them played. But that’s not the true measure of something like this. It’s about the stories of a player coming in to the event with little or nothing in the game and quickly leaving as a king. Such a story has circulated in the community of one player going from a gear score in the 160’s to one in the 230’s within the span of two or three hours. That is an accomplishment that would normally takes days of effort and hoping that RNG was on your side if you were to tempt it alone.

If there only had been a guest log for the event. A place that people could write that they were there and what a happened for them. We would hear tales of first time clears of Incursions. Loot drops of the weapons and gear long desired but never attained until now. Reading through such tales would give us a sense if not truer understanding of what it was to be part of something like this.

As for me, there is always the feeling I could have done more. I had volunteered to stream part of the event on the community’s Twitch channel but I was one of the two time slots that were cancelled. The cancellation came about since the person managing the stream was in desperate need of rest as he had been hard at work behind the scenes and there was still far more for him to do. Perhaps it was for the best since I am by far not a professional streamer but just wanted to do something to help out.

Instead, I lurked about the chat rooms trying to help out as best I could but even then I was usurped. So many others were willing to help that by the time I would offer there had already been another offer that was taken. Even when I did join a group to help I became one of the ones being helped. After joining a group leader who asked for assistance getting players through their High Value Target(HVT) missions, he mentioned that he was going to go do the Dragon’s Nest Incursion. I quipped that I had never even finished it myself and that I would like to tag along if it was alright. Alright? Not only did he take me through it but he grabbed two other players that had never done it and commanded us all through it.

But into every garden a serpent must crawl. Since this event had caught the eye and support of Massive, there were unfortunately a few that were not there to help. There came reports of players joining Dark Zone groups only to leave the group as to go rogue and steal their former companions loot. However, once reports of such treachery were made to the DZR admins said players were dealt with and no longer welcome if they were to continue their grievous ways.

To what reward did the members of this community stage this event for? Was it for money? Was it to enrich their own prowess within the game? Was it for pride? There was no money to be had from this as it was all voluntary. Even what items Massive donated were given away during live podcasts. Also, any in-game loot was given away if it where shareable therefore negating much of the gains that would have been made in-game. Then pride? Perhaps in the sense that they wanted to show that this community exists to support its members. Not show the kind of self-indulgent pride that leads to gloating. There has been no mention of members as to how many people they helped, so much for bragging rights.

This event passed much like a small town carnival.  The workers and the regulars made sure the shows happened and the rides ran. Many people who would normally not be there came by to get prizes but met some good folk along the way. People may think that they show has moved on but in truth it is always there. I’ll be somewhere on the grounds hopefully helping to keep things going, even if it’s just bringing out another box of stuffed animals. The rest of the DZR community will be there to open one of the rides if you fancy it.

There is no official announcement for another Gear Up weekend. Given the success of the first two it is likely to happen. In the meantime, DZR continues on with players getting together to play the game and be social. If help is ever needed it is quickly found. Go check them out.

dudewantshisrug-profile

Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.