Dude’s Chronicles 3-31-2016: Beware of Fools

 

Image via quotesgram.com

Image via quotesgram.com

The Irish are resting for next year so bring on the fools. I’ve always felt like this was the most Polish of all days.

Entertainment!

The two most recent episodes of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been interesting. At first I thought it was frustrating how the plot and cast are constantly changing but I’ve come to enjoy it. In fact, all the twists and new characters help to keep the show fresh and my interest at a peak. It remains the only show I regularly watch on television at this point.

I also went through and re-watched Powers from Sony since the new season is due to release soon. I somewhat miscalculated in that I thought the new season released on March 31 when in fact it releases on May 31. Oops but I enjoyed watching it more the second time than I did the first time. Sharlto Copley didn’t fit the part of a fallen superhero at first but after watching the series again I think he may have been perfect. Perhaps he would not have worked as a superhero in my mind but he works well as someone who has fallen from grace.

Games!

Yep, more of The Division. For both the good and the bad I am still enjoying this game. The Dark Zone has calmed down a bit and there is not as much PVP murder going on. However, matching making after the last patch seem a tad more unstable. There was always the issue of a mission not starting correctly for a match made group but now there have been issues after the start. I’ve seen enemies disappear and then re-appear in different places; damage from guns not being effective; getting dropped from a game then being thrown back in after restarting matchmaking; and a few other things that have just been making it feel like a mess.

One thing that I am really truly disappointed in is something that unfortunately is not unique to The Division or any other game. During one match made game, the group I was in made it to the first boss phase and I thought all was well. I killed the last enemy of the wave and the next wave started. After doing which, one of the other players that had been silent the entire game until this point keyed on the mic(and I’ll paraphrase) “Dude, you @*&%ing idiot. Why would you kill the last guy and start the next wave? You useless piece of $#!*. Don’t you know how to farm this mission right? $&^# face. Yeah, go ahead and die. You worthless piece of $#!*.”

At this point I almost blasted on my mic to tell this chap to go put it where the sun don’t shine but I thought better of it. No, I don’t know the proper farming method. What I would like the other player to consider is that not many do and if they do know a method it may not be the one he intends. Also, if you are playing with random players you cannot assume anything. It would have been far more constructive to come on the mic earlier and ask “Hey guys, do you know the farming method for this mission?” or even “Guys, follow my lead. I know a way to do this easier.”

In a perfect world, I would have all the knowledge available for every game I play but like many other I just don’t have the time. I do my best and unfortunately this particular player did not appreciate my efforts.  I did not appreciate his vulgarity or demeanor in the matter either. Last time I played a Call of Duty something similar happened and it soured me on playing again. It is unfortunate that these incidents that are the minority of in game encounters overshadow both the fun of the game and other players. My overall experience with other players has been good other than this encounter and I’m disappointed that this one bad experience has to stand out so much.

News!

Roll the tape…

  • Xbox One consoles can be dev kits!!! – I personally don’t see a need for this but I acknowledge that others do. Any Xbox One can be a dev kit, with some caveats, which is nice for those with limited resources but still want to try to develop their own games. Bravo to Microsoft coming through on a promise it made three years ago. It took time to fulfill, much like Sony did with SharePlay, and it will likely be just as useful to me but great for others.
  • Titanfall 2!!! – Its supposed to be bigger than the last game and have a single player campaign. I absolutely loved the first Titanfall and am completely onboard for the sequel. Between the Xbox One and PC versions that I own, I’m not sure how many hours i’ve sunk into this game but I would do it all over again.
  • One less sexy butt pose in Overwatch??? – I guess there was an uproar about one of the victory poses in Overwatch, so much to the point that Blizzard changed it. I guess Bayonetta can display that bootie but not Fipps. Perhaps it was unfounded and overtly sexually but why call out this one instance in this game in particular?
  • Xbox One backward compatibility keeps expanding – I know…you are as excited as I am, if not more so to play Halo Wars again and again and again. Ok, maybe not but it is good to see Microsoft committed to this service regardless of how useful I think it is. Although, the idea of playing Left 4 Dead 2 again is very, very tempting.

Look out for all of those fools out there. You’ll be surprised how they will out smart you.

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.

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Dude’s Chronicles 3-24-2016: Blueprint Blues

Head in Hands

This world is not perfect, first of all I wish all the best to anyone affected by the recent attacks in Brussels and elsewhere. Looking beyond the world news, things have been good in my realm. I just wish everybody had it as good. Chin up everybody.

Entertainment!

After watching the second season of Daredevil, I needed to just watch a few mindless things. So I watched Tim Burton’s Batman yet another time. Then I watched Son of Batman again. For a change of pace I re-watched 30 for 30: You Don’t Know Bo. Finally I watched Serenity. All of these I recommend and will probably watch again, and again, and again.

Games!

The Division is still going strong for me. Rolling through the Dark Zone is an ongoing pain and joy but I keep doing it regardless. I’ve been doing the daily hard missions to get some gear and credits but have yet to complete one of the challenge level missions. One try with a group showed me that none of us had what it takes at the time. Obviously I needed better gear and ran into the same problem as any RPG in that it is quite elusive. Better gear would not drop for me so I bought a blueprint for a high-end SMG and was very happy with it. As soon as I had enough credits built up I bought a blueprint for a high-end marksman rifle, or so I thought I did until I went to craft it only to found I had bought a shotgun blueprint instead. Honestly, it was my mistake for scrolling up and down through the items then not paying proper attention to which one I was on when I went through with the purchase. I wouldn’t feel so bad if I ever used a shotgun. Just another reminder that I can be a real dumbass at times..

The latest patch to the game has been mostly good. They had to back off of their plans to rework the drops for Phoenix credits unfortunately, due to technical reasons. If the Dark Zone wasn’t brutal enough who should like the retuning the did since the NPC’s are far more aggressive and will chase you down given the chance. There is a good and bad to the spawn changes. The good – enemies, including bosses spawn more often. The bad – the will spawn right next to you. Hopefully the later is just a glitch that needs adjusted. Unless they intend the NPC’s to be able to ghost up on you.

They also drastically changed the penalty for dying as a rogue. It used to be you lost about 20k XP at the least, I died as a rogue after the patch and only lost about 2.7k XP. This huge reduction has been detrimental to solo players like me because it makes it so there almost no penalty for going rogue. Massive and Ubisoft probably did this to get more PVP action but it is way out of whack now. Because of so many people killing other players, I hit level 36 seven times in one day. How? I hit it by killing NPC’s, then died to an NPC which took enough to make me 35 again. I went to get my loot back, farmed again to be 36, then another player gunned me down in the street, 35 again. Fine, get my loot back – again – kill more NPC’s, get 36 again, try to extract and get killed by a gang of other players, 35 yet again. Head back to get my loot, get it, get baited into going rogue by another player, hit 36, try to run out the timer, run straight into a group of four players, 35 again, again. Go get my loot, AGAIN, kill NPC’s at the extraction zone, hit 36, get gunned down by a different group of players, 35 again. Last shot, grab my loot, kill NPC’s, get extraction, hit 36, quit game for the night.

News!

Never a dull moment…

  • Destiny April update outline – Higher light level, Prison of Elders revamped, new strikes, and not one bit of it interests me. It could be I’m just burnt out on the game, it could be that I’m into The Division but I just can’t force myself into the thought of playing this game again, for any reason.
  • Evolution Studios shuttered – Whether it was the fault of DriveClub or not, it is always sad to see a studio close Hopefully those that are not moved to other studios with in Sony will quickly find work elsewhere.
  • Battleborn beta starts April 8th on PS4 – I’m curious about this game but I seem to have a problem as I confuse it with Paragon and Lawbreakers. Maybe playing it will help sort that out.
  • Wii U ending production? – Reports claim no more units will be made after this year but Nintendo is denying that claim. Of course they have to deny the claim in hopes that somebody is still looking to buy one or two. However, realistically they have to be winding down production soon if they are gearing up development and then production of a new console.
  • VR – With the Oculus Rift releasing on March 28th, the hype-train is in over drive. Pre-orders and different bundles have been announced for PlayStation VR and given and October release. Oddly, there isn’t much talk about Valve’s Vive even though it releases in April. I won’t be a first adopter for any of these since I still need to see something more than just the hype.
  • More console upgrade hype! – I still think this all a big red herring and will never really happen. Given the closed build of the systems and the fact that USB just isn’t going to have the throughput needed for powerful peripheral upgrades, this just isn’t very feasible. Plus, given the fact that we are now two and a half years in to the consoles’ lifespan(remember the PS3/Xbox360 era lasted about seven years) it would essentially be asking owners to upgrade or replace their system halfway through their lifespan. Then you would be asking people to replace them again in just a few years. This is near the argument that people have against PC gaming. You might see add-ons, like PlayStation VR, for the consoles but don’t expect anything to upgrade the graphics output of any console.

I’ve been trying to stream more of my gameplay. Through these efforts I’ve grown in respect for those that are not only good at it but are successful since neither are easy and don’t necessarily go hand in hand. If I can keep up with it and get a consistent schedule I’ll be sure to share it here. Otherwise you’ll just have to see when I pop up on my Twitch channel.

So draws a close to another post about nothing but my ramblings. Thanks for stopping by.

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.

A Reason for – Daredevil Season 2

daredevil-s2Building on the people and events of the first season, Daredevil returns to Netflix for a tremendously entertaining second season. The first few episodes may groan in dullery and muck but once the ground work is laid the show takes off.

Much will be familiar for those that bathed in the first season. Some of it will have to be recalled for those of us who neglected to re-watch the first season prior to the second’s release. Back are the characters that are the base of Daredevil’s construction but new faces are brought to to the fray to expand and enhance the story. The plot is complex and compelling enough to keep you wondering where it may be heading at any moment. If you may be prideful about being able to predict outcomes in shows and movies you may have to take in some humble pie as this season tends not to foretell much if anything and you may not be able to figure out as much as you suspect.

One of the new characters to be shown is Elektra. This is one of those dull parts mentioned earlier as it takes some time to show how Murdock and Elektra now each other much less how or why they may come to work together. No spoilers here but Elektra is a fairly pivotal character for at least this season. Elektra herself is at first nothing more than a spoiled brat in a grown up body but the show does well to peel back the layers to reveal the true tortured nature of the character by the time the season concludes.

A welcomed return of a character was that of the Kingpin. Still one of the best, and surprisingly so, villain performances comes from Vincent D’Onofrio. His part is much smaller this season but it was still an important one. Working his crime syndicate from within the prison walls allows him to press an advantage when it presents itself. Likely, he will be back for season three with much more to contend with.

By all accounts, the key part of the new season was that of the Punisher. A large percentage of the story is based around the character and helps to lead the other characters to their eventual points. Jon Bernthal absolutely nails every aspect of his role. From the growl in his deep voice to the glean in his eye, along with the delivery he gives to every line, you believe that he is both the victim and mad man.

If you were a fan of the first season you’ve likely already watched the second one. Any of you on the fence about the show need to give it another chance. The only thing to hold against the second season being better than the first is the fact the the first few episodes were a tad slow. This initial drag pays of big dividends in the later episodes and is well worth the time.

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.

03/18/2016 – Please Do Not Leave Beltravis Unattended, Or Else…

I only wonder if Mass effect then counts as otome? But seriously, good to see Beltravi back.

Casual Gaming Girls

… they rank #130 worldwide in an Otome event.

Hello everyone! It’s been a couple of months since I remembered I had a blog. I’ve had a few posts here and there saved in drafts that I keep meaning to finish but keep overlooking. I’ve got a few minutes before I have to go pick up the small demon child from school, so let’s talk about a subject that is both horrifying and a point of pride:

The fact that I ranked in the top 150 for an Otome side event on a game that thousands play.

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Remembering What’s Your Tag?

Thanks for remembering.

Comma Eight Comma One

The world of game blogs, and fans of game themed comedy comics lost another outlet earlier this week. What’s Your Tag? was probably not on your radar, but it should have been. Particularly if you enjoyed internet comics in the vein of Penny Arcade, the late Shortpacked, or VGCats. As is the case with most web comics it wasn’t a huge outlet with millions, and millions of readers. But it also had its own identity. The crude art style coupled with some crafty jokes made for a pretty unique feel.

Even if you didn’t agree with an underlying message in a particular strip the effort would still garner a laugh. Sometimes the strip would go for an obvious joke, but even then pull it off without making you roll your eyes. One of the funniest strips made fun of Assassin’s Creed Unity’s buggy launch. Most infamously was a…

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Dude’s Chronicles 3-18-2016: Blame the Irish

I know it’s not Thursday but it wasn’t my fault that it was St. Patty’s Day and the kick off of March Madness. Those two events lead me to be at a bar instead of at my computer. I think after returning from a vacation and finding a cluster of disaster at work I needed a few drinks.

Entertainment!

Have you ever watched the movie Badass with Danny Trejo? The only thing more ridiculous and terribly entertaining than that wreck of a movie are the two sequels. Badasses 2 and 3 not only step up the hilarious old man action but it also adds Danny Glover. This series has now become the senior citizen variety of Lethal Weapon and it is glorious. Give it a watch if you are into bad acting and poor story writing but love a good laugh.

Nice to have Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. back. The first two episodes of this seasons second half were pretty good.

Games!

It has been all about The Division. I posted my impression of the game yesterday for all to read. I have found that it whether I enjoy the Dark Zone or not depends on what type of players I run into. If I run into the likes that are just like me, running solo or in a smaller group, trying to get XP and maybe some loot it is fine and good. However, if there is a pack or two of people strictly killing other players, then it is horrible. This is hit or miss based on the player mix and is nothing that the game or developers are likely able to controller. Maybe they could offer a special region of the DZ for PvP players to go with boosted XP levels. Then again, that would probably just end up taking map space away from everybody.

As I continue to play the game I have a few things that I wish would get changed or corrected:

  1. Why can I shut car doors and trunks but not hoods?
  2. I want the Dark Zone renamed to the Danger Zone. Bonus if Kenny Loggins is playing on a loop at random entrances.
  3. When you bound over a car hood, the animation should be a Duke of Hazzard style slide.

News!

More stuff just keeps happening..

  • PlayStation VR – We now know that the unit will cost $399 but you’ll also need the camera for an additional $60. My pal Brad did a nice write up about this and we both agree that we can’t go run out and buy one until we see the games and apps.
  • Microsoft opens to cross platform play – This has been something people have wanted for a long time but Microsoft has forbidden it. Now they are opening up to more Xbox One and PC cross play for multiplayer gaming. Furthermore, they are open to linking to other networks like PlayStation. Don’t go looking for this to happen overnight, there is still a ton of leagal and technical issues to deal with but Microsoft opening up to it is a great start.
  • EverQuest Next cancelled – The older EverQuest games will still be supported but it makes one wonder what the future of the franchise is. It is somewhat disturbing to keep seeing games canceled at the current rate.

It’s a party weekend for the college town I live in. My plan is to avoid as much of that scene as possible. Locking the doors to play The Division and watch movies sounds like a good plan to me. If you see me streaming or just playing, feel free to pop in and say hello.

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.

Drafted Into – The Division

the-division-coverThe lack of RPG’s on consoles is well noted and those of the shooter variety are even more rare. To help fill these needs comes Tom Clancy’s The Division from Ubisoft. If you are looking for an in-depth review of the game, look elsewhere. I’ll give you my thoughts on the game by writing about certain points of it.

the-division-00Having not played a great deal of RPG’s, I cannot speak about those aspects of this game. The closest thing i can compare it to, both favorably and unfortunately, is Destiny. The ability to customize gear and weapons is vast. There are different levels of gear and different ways to alter them far better than anything I saw in Destiny. The Division offers ways to alter attributes of almost any piece of gear. Although it may take some time to learn and obtain the correct mod for your gear, you’ll be able to tailor almost anything to suit your play style.

For players that aren’t familiar with these type of upgrade systems, it can be frustrating and daunting at first. It took me a bit to get acclimated to it but after a while I learned what stats made a weapon work better for me and what attributes I should be focusing on.

the-division-01Multiplayer is one aspect that i will give both a plus and minus when compared to Destiny.

  • The plus is that there is matchmaking for just about everything. If you want to team up on campaign mission, you can. Want to find somebody just to roam the streets with? You got it. To scared to go into the Dark Zone alone? Don’t, find a buddy either via matchmaking or by asking someone you run into to join you. To make it even better, the matchmaking is easy and accessible. You can open your menu, select matchmaking, then pick an activity. If you are already at one of the social hubs, walk up to a terminal and enter into matchmaking. Whereas Destiny took a huge, and well deserved, black eye for not having matchmaking for end game activities like raids and Trials of Osiris, The Division offers a fantastic and accessible matchmaking system.
  • The minus is the lack of a traditional multiplayer experience. While I see both good and bad things about the Dark Zone, it does not replace the gameplay styles that some will long for from games like team deathmatch or king of the hill. Sure you can go rogue and rage against other players but it just isn’t the same of being pitted directly against them for the top score. I personally don’t feel this absence hurts the game but I acknowledge that it may turn others away.

the-division-02If you want to pile some more lumps against Destiny, compare the stories. Granted that The Division doesn’t provide an epic adventure or deeply spiritual experience but at least it tries to give some sort of reference and tone to its world. Although it sometimes can get fragmented and not directly connect it still holds together better than Destiny did. One parallel between the two games that I have is not clearly understand the ideal order of the missions that would offer the best story experience. Heck, I’m still not sure if I played the mission in the order that they unlocked.

the-division-03On a technical level, the game can be both beautiful and buggy. Graphically the game is good but not great. Games like Titanfall look better but I understand that they are not offering the same scale of environment as The Division. Even with that said, the game looks very good with it dynamic lighting and objects. I’m playing on the Xbox One, which is likely considered the worst graphically, but I am pleased with the graphics nonetheless.

The audio of the game offers its own highs and lows. I love walking down the street listening to my own footsteps only to hear enemies talking in the distance thus alerting me to their presence. The game fails, however, when it repeats dialogue over and over. There is a limitation as to how many audio samples you can record and include in a project like this but it is detrimental when you are constantly passing AI’s that say the same things over and over. What is even worse is when your AI compatriots are yelling “Look out for those Cleaners. Don’t let them get too close.” even though you’ve already cleared all of the enemies and none of them were Cleaners to begin with.

the-division-04The game offers some great moments at inconsistent measures. Although the campaign tries to tell the story of desperation, I found that the sense of desperation was best conveyed elsewhere. Some of the side missions and audio logs gave a better feel of the emotion of the game than anything the campaign offered. What I did get from the campaign was the feeling of success and glory when I completed a mission. This sense of accomplishment was enhanced while playing with teammates as you could all revel in your victory.

the-division-06With my praise will also come my scorn. I enjoyed the story but didn’t get the resolution I wanted and I feel like the was intentionally left out as so as to make it available in DLC. I don’t like it but I can live with it. What I can’t live with is some of the bugs. Multiple times when matchmaking for a story mission the event will not start correctly. For example, in the mission where you have go through the convention center, it never opens the doors and prevents you from even starting the mission. The only resolution I’ve found is to leave the group and go through the matchmaking process again.

Another bug I’ve been effected by is one mission not completing correctly. Luckily it was a small mission that did not stop my progress but it continues to irk me. Early on in the game you are sent back to your base to complete the tutorial for your new tech wing, which I did but my mission status says I didn’t. The problem with this is that every time I spawn into the world, either when first starting the game or joining a matchmaking session, it makes this tutorial mission my active objective and draws the GPS guide to it. I have to manually go change to the correct objective so that I am not confused by the errant directions.

the-division-07Even with its flaws, I excitedly look forward to playing more of the game. There is still more to explore and do in the PvE zone before any of the expansion material release. There is always the Dark Zone to ply my trade in as well. I’ll always want better loot and the desire for that will be tempered by my anxiety of never knowing if I’m safe. If you ever wander across me in the DZ maybe we can help each other out, or just pass each other by leaving each other at peace.

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.