Overwatch Musings

I received an invite to Overwatch’s stress beta test weekend. A weekend worth of playtime wasn’t quite enough time to thoroughly test out all 21 characters currently available, but what I can say is that Overwatch is an extremely fun and amazingly polished game. I love the character designs and the feel of the game. Much to my pleasure, no real technical or server issues arose during the weekend, which wasn’t what I was expecting, especially for a beta.

Balance wise, it is difficult to determine how balanced or unbalanced any particular character is because Overwatch is more about team synergy than individual character balance. A few characters feel pretty overpowered but then again, not so much when being countered by certain other characters on the opposing team. It feels kind of like a MOBA in that respect.

Other nitpicks: It’s odd not having a straight up scoreboard to let you know how you are doing in relation to other players currently in the game. It’s also odd not having a kill feed. I would also love to see at least one more game mode other than point control and payload before the game is released. Overall, it’s a fun casual shooter.


Fallout 4: Quick Impressions

My original intention was to make a quick Fallout post about a week ago, but much like everyone else on the Internet, this game has consumed a large part of my free time. Overall, Fallout 4 certainly feels like a Fallout game both atmospherically and mechanically. In fact, it feels almost exactly like Fallout 3/New Vegas but with newer graphics and gameplay tweaks; I mean that statement by the way in the most positive and sincere way. The scavenging aspect and the challenge of surviving in the wasteland is something that Fallout 4 holds true to, especially with the addition of the settlements.

  • Mobs are harder than I remember and have distinct AIs: Feral Ghouls jump around and rush at you, humans with fire from cover, Boat Flies zig zag erratically, etc. There are also legendary enemies in the game that are more difficult but offer rare items.
  • The PC user interface is pretty bad and is clearly a console port.
  • The base building is fun, but is again, hindered by the user interface.
  • I am satisfied with the graphics. I’m not sure what all the complaining is about.
  • So far, I have been lucky in the sense that most of the bugs that I have encountered have been relatively minor and easy to work around. Other people however, have experienced constant crashing; Some of which hindering players from progressing with the main quest line.

The jury is still about on my full opinion of the game; That will have to wait until I finish the main story line. That said, the fact that I have already spent about 40 hours playing Fallout 4 yet feel that I have barely scratched the surface says a lot I guess.

Pixel Dungeon Musings

Really, the only game of note that I have been playing lately has been Pixel Dungeon on my phone. I did my Witcher 3 NG+ playthrough and also made a feeble effort at becoming proficient at Dwarf Fortress. Really though, it is all just biding time until Fallout 4 is released; Just a mere two days away.

Regarding Pixel Dungeon: It is a roguelike (turn-based combat, randomly generated dungeons/loot, permanent death) dungeon crawl that is available on most platforms. The goal of the game is to make it through 25 levels and beat the 5th boss. Thus far, the furthest I have gotten would be level 13. A couple of things that I have learned:

  • There is no shame in just restarting the game when the random number generator utterly shits on you with a bad loot table in the early levels.
  • You don’t need necessarily eat when you are hungry or even starving. When starving, you will only lose 1HP every 30 or so turns (depending on your class, etc). I will typically save my food until I am starving and at or below half health.
  • Upgrade scrolls will reset your weapon/armor durability. It may be worth saving and stockpiling these items. There really aren’t too many worthwhile weapons in the lower levels of the game unless you get really really lucky.
  • On a similar note, I am kind of starting to lean on the side of upgrading armor before weaponry. survivability goes a long long long way…
  • Bottleneck groups of enemies at the doors so that they don’t attack you all at once.
  • The “door trick” is a critical skill: Walk outside of a room just past the door so that the mob that you are targeting is on the door. 100% hit accuracy for 1 hit. Useful for killing the stupid ghosts that spawn out of the graves.
  • You can super farm the swarms of flies for healing potions (levels 3, 4, 6 through 9). Every time you hit a fly without killing it, it will split given that there is an empty space next to it (up, down, left, right. Diagonals don’t seem to count). Flies at the 3rd and 4th split seem to have a very high chance of dropping healing potions. They will literally do zero damage if you have high armor. Also, this trick only works up until character level 12. In other words, don’t over level before the first boss fight on level 5. Prime health pot farming time is after the fist boss but before the second as that is where the flies spawn.
  • I have also noticed that my “good runs” have been as a whole, mostly those in which I had received a decent weapon/armor relatively early in the game. Even just the smallest gear upgrade goes a long way and curbs the need to constantly burn resources to heal.

Overall: If you enjoy roguelikes and challenging dungeon crawls, I would highly recommend Pixel Dungeon.

Caturday + Things That I Have Been Playing

When in doubt, just post pictures of the cat I guess. He’s getting so much bigger!

I finally finished the MGSV campaign earlier this week. I kind of want to play Metal Gear Online and play through some of the extra/side missions that I missed but I don’t think I will. Good game, had a lot of fun. As a final thought, the weakest part of Phantom Pain in my opinion is the narrative by virtue of the Metal Gear series as a whole, failing to integrate the storytelling aspect of the game into the gameplay aspect of the game. There is too much exposition. I am torn between feeling glad that the developers shoved most of the dialogue into the cassette tapes and recognizing that sort of thing is lame.

I purchased Hearts of Stone, the Witcher 3 expansion the other day, which I was playing on and off in-between attempting to clean the house. The somewhat awkward thing is that you can only play the expansion content once you have beaten the game; Which would normally be okay except for the fact that I was already about 5 to 10 hours deep into a New Game + replay. So, I had to back up a copy of my NG+ save (as a precaution), load an older pre-NG+/post game completion save, then trigger the expansion quest line. I would like to complete NG+, but I don’t think I will be able to do so before Fallout 4’s release date.

Final Fantasy Record Keeper PSA: Orb Fest

FYI: There is an orb fest scheduled for this Sunday. If you have not started doing so already, it is likely worth saving your mithril and forgoing the current banner pull in favor of stamina refreshes during the orb dungeon event. If you finish the Terra event early (or don’t care), I would focus on completing the dungeons for the sake of maxing out stamina. Someone on /r/ffrecordkeeper has made a tool to calculate orbs needed.


There are 4 event phases, each phase lasting for 3 days.

  • October 18th: Phase 1 Black + Dark + Lightning
  • October 21st: Phase 2 White + Holy + Earth
  • October 24th: Phase 3 Summon + Fire + Ice
  • October 27th: Phase 4 Power + Non-Elemental + Wind

It is also worth noting that the Barret event starts on the 21st. Technically, you can wait until the Orb Dungeon has completed and then work on the Barret event but it may be close. In my opinion/based off of my orb needs, the most important phases are phase 1 and phase 4 since Black, Power, and Non-Elemental orbs are used in virtually everything. The weakest phases of course being either phase 2 or phase 3 depending on your personal need. Figure out which orbs you need now and use the weakest phase to grab Barret and Cloud’s MC2. Personally, I am hoping to come out of the event with well honed Breakdowns…in dire need of Greater NE orbs.

Odds and Ends: October 2015

It was nice, chilly, rainy, and fall-like last weekend and now it is about 100 degrees outside. It’s at the very least a “normal” Southern California dry 100 degrees and not an abnormal El Nino super humid 100 degrees outside, a la most of the summer. Still playing Metal Gear Solid V though at more of a, “do a mission here and there in-between being busy with other stuff” pace. I do believe that I am either at or towards the very end of the game.

The problem that I have with the second part of the game is that it seems to be for the most part, comprised of filler missions. By filler missions I am referring to the missions that are just rehashes of previous missions with harder win conditions (such as stealth only, no starting gear, “extreme”, and so forth). Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that I have to play through all or at least some of these in order to unlock the next story progression missions. So that is kind of where I am at in the game right now: Putzing around while waiting for the game to trigger the next piece of new content.

I’ve dabbled in Hearthstone on and off since beta, but haven’t played it seriously or all that competitively. I have been the mood to play Hearthstone so I have been trying to get more into it beyond building decks and playing a game or two during lunch at work. Really, the only classes that I have even somewhat extensively played are: Paladin, Mage, and Hunter. Next week’s “project” will be to build a warlock deck and play at least until all of the base cards are unlocks.

Rick and Morty
Marathoned season 1 and caught up with season 2, which I finally finished watching last night. Great show, new personal favorite, and easily the best show that i have watched lately. I had assumed that Rick and Morty was just a standard goofy Adult Swim show, wasn’t expecting feels. I am now really super ultra said that I will probably have to wait at least a year and a half for Rick and Morty Season 3.

Other TV Things
We dropped Netflix and Crunchyroll and picked up Hulu Plus, now that there is a reasonably advertisement free plan + a shit ton of anime. The only two things that irritate me about Hulu are: No options for separate profiles on a single subscription and only being able to stream it on one device at a time. Really, the only thing that I greatly miss (in light of football season starting) about not having a cable subscription is easy access to sporting events.

Monthly pen-and-paper Pathfinder (D&D 3.75) group starting up soon. I am rolling a human sorcerer and am currently torn between whether or not it is worth losing a spell per day to go crossblooded with Arcane/Draconic. I guess one of the human racial benefits makes up for that, but still. I would be lying if I were to say that I wasn’t tempted to fully minmax my character into fireball blasty goodness.


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PC) Impressions

For whatever reason, I had inadvertently forgotten about Metal Gear Solid V’s release date as well as the fact that it was a simultaneous console and PC release. I guess I had just assumed that it was going to be out on consoles first then PC 6 to 12 months later ala GTA, etc. So much to my pleasure, Phantom Pain has occupied much of my free time as of late  as I slowly savor making my way through the main missions in between fulton extracting all the things. Metal Gear Solid has always been a game series that I hold dear. It has a combination of drama, humor, and ludicrous, over-the-top action that I just relish. Oh, and it is primarily a stealth game, which are sadly few and far between.

Phantom Pain is a fairly big departure from the traditional Metal Gear Solid formula in that it is structured in an open-world mission based fashion instead of being linear action/stealth narrative. The game is comprised of three main pieces: Main missions, side-missions, and base-building/fob etc. The side-missions allow for open world exploring whereas the main missions occur in a smaller subsection of the map. Changes made to the world during the side-missions though, persist during the campaign. As always, Snake has a wide variety of weapons and tools to choose from. Obviously, full stealth is the most difficult and rewarding route, though it is hard to resist unloading your full arsenal from time to time.

Phantom Pain is still a Metal Gear game, so there are quite a few cut scenes. I would say that roughly half of the introductory mission is either a cinematic or dialog, but that tapers off greatly when you get past the tutorial and into the meat of the game. If you aren’t caught up on the Metal Gear Solid series’ story, it’s no big deal; The gameplay stands on its own merits and is enjoyable to play even if the Metal Gear lore isn’t your thing.

If there is any one thing that I greatly dislike about Phantom Pain it is the saving system. I really wish that the game save system wasn’t checkpoint based. The game only saves when you zone in and out of a new area or very specific checkpoints on the map/mission, which is fine for a linear game but it doesn’t really work in an open world environment in my opinion. Quite often, being able to save at all, including situations while free roaming on a side-mission, requires exiting the area via helicopter or zoning into certain subsections on the map to trigger a checkpoint. It feels limiting and kind of defeats the purpose of a single player game. Some of the hotkeys and menu navigation in general is a bit irritating; The menus particularly since they are keyboard only with odd bindings (navigate tabs by using ‘1’ and ‘3’ not left and right).

The build-a-base aspect of the game is a lot more engaging than I had thought it would be. Much of my evenings seem to be spent indulging my mild game completion fetish by systematically fulton extracting every single valid resource on the map as well as meticulously scanning and extracting enemy soldiers with valuable skills to join the fold. In short, gameplay elements such as new and upgraded weapons are unlocked by researching them at motherbase. Each weapon blueprint has a minimum set of requirements in the form of resources and the level of your R&D team. Upgrade your team by recruiting folks or by…well…whisking them away from the battlefield via balloon.

I am 56 hours deep into the game and about somewhere between a third and half way through the game. To say that I am having fun would be an understatement.

Odds and Ends: August 2015

Aka, reasons why I have not been posting lately:

  1. We have a kitten: Kittens are far more fascinating than anything computer related at the moment.
  2. It’s f-ing hot: Well technically it’s not the fact that it is hot but rather unseasonably humid. I live in a part of the US that you could normally bet a million bucks on never raining from May through October. It not only rained in July, but stormed with thunder, lightning and everything but only long enough to make absolutely everything miserably humid. Also, our office unfortunately heats up rather quickly so not a whole lot of gaming happens when the room is 90 degrees. We did cave and get an air conditioning unit so life is once again good.
  3. We bought a treadmill: Running after work eats into my allocated gaming time, which is something that I am totally okay with. I would however, like to setup a treadmill gaming station at some point.
  4. There is nothing to play: Well, now that the long awaited New Game+ feature has been added into The Witcher 3 via free DLC, I will probably play that and The Sims 4 until Fallout 4 is released in November.

Summer Dry Spell

I am still poking at The Sims 4 on and off but aside from that, there’s just not a whole lot else that I am interested in playing now? In theory I should at least attempt to play some of the games purchased during the Summer Steam Sale or well, some of the games that I have purchased and never touched in general. I don’t know how it is with other folks, but I guess I go through cycles oscillating between really feeling like game and really not feeling like gaming. This month would be the later.

Running has taken precedence over gaming this month. I would love to setup a treadmill battlestation at some point so that I can browse or play walking, but I am not sure how that will work out. For the time being, iPhone Hearthstone/whatever game + walking works out fairly well. Running/jogging + iPhone gaming not so much because of too much bouncing.

About 5 or so people have recommended Dirty Bomb, so I may pick that up at some point. I had an itch last week so I did end up resubscribing to FFXIV: ARR. More specifically, I subscribed after the one month free trial ran out in May. As a whole, I am having difficulty getting into the FFXIV storyline because it more-or-less feels like MMO 101. To my understanding, the main scenario begins at level 15. So, given that I just hit level 15, what I have been playing is what I assume to be the starting area quest chain, so that makes sense I guess.

Analytical and Deeply Immersed (and Stuff)


There’s another one of those gamer profile quizzes and floating around. This one seems fairly accurate-ish given that my absolute favorite gaming genre is fantasy role-playing (and MMO by extension though not so much as of late), with general action/strategy/FPS games trailing closely behind in second place. Above all I appreciate a decent character story and well, swords and guns and stuff.

It’s been a fairly light gaming week. In the wake of finishing The Witcher 3 (aside from the second playthrough that I poke at now and then), and thus not really having anything that I feel like playing, I have once again picked up The Sims 4 and started another stupid legacy story thing, continuing with the same family line as my original legacy story which was completed, but “lost” during a website migration. I still haven’t bothered playing or downloading either of the two games that I purchased the other week during the Steam sale. I think I will try to make a point of doing so in the upcoming week, so they don’t end up in the ignored bin for all eternity.

I keep reading about Heavensward in my blog feed. It’s very tempting to pick up FFXIV again, but I have a sneaky feeling that i should at the very least, wait until the initial login rush has passed.