Category Archives: Miscellany
The Waiting Space
I have been playing a number of games since completing Dark Souls, but none of them are the games I really want to play. Because those games aren’t done yet. And it’s driving me mad.
This is a farming/life-sim game set in a more tropical area. It is currently in Early Access and available via Game Pass. According to the Roadmap it looks like there are updates planned all the way out until Winter of 2023 and then some additional big updates prior to the 1.0 release. One of those updates? The traditional marriage and/or kids additions. I don’t require life-sims to have these features, but if it’s already planned to be available, I also don’t want to miss out and/or have to replay for that content.
My Time at Sandrock
Quasi-sequel to My Time at Portia, which I played for 108 hours and enjoyed quite a bit. A lot of content already out there, but according to the Roadmap, it will be late March/early April before they add the marriage system in. Then late May/early June before they add three additional NPCs into the romance pool. I don’t know any of these NPCs or if I would care about them at all, but… what if I did?
The Mistlands biome has finally came out, but apparently there are more on the way. I have waited almost exactly two years already, so I may as well continue to wait until this one gets done.
Farming/Life-sim game that is a more fantasy-based Stardew Valley. And it even got a v1.0 release! After checking the patch notes though, I noticed the “Coming Soon!” section which includes, among other things:
- – More Pets
- – More Race Specific Dialogue
- – Having children with your spouse
- – Farm Buildings (Sheds / Greenhouses)
- – Proximity Animations
- – Minor DLCs
- – Main Story Epilogue
The Planet Crafter | Craftopia | Len’s Island | Sons of the Forest | Traveler’s Rest
All Early Access and none of them discounted. Pass for now.
[Edit] Just kidding, Steam Spring Sale is going on.
Technically on sale and… technically released? Doesn’t have the Early Access tag any more, but most info points to this being in a more Beta state. Green Hell is one that has been on my radar for a while from a survival standpoint. What I have heard is that it is a bit more grindy insofar as you have to take care of your macronutrients rather than just regular Hunger, and you are much more likely to die of random snake or spider bites than other games. Those sort of things are whatever. The biggest damnation though has been talk about how base-building is not really encouraged based on the narrative of the game, which requires you to venture out all across the map. That sort of thing really hampers things, if true.
V Rising | Kynseed
Released but no sale, so… no sale.
[Edit] Just kidding, Steam Spring Sale is going on.
Voidtrain | One Lonely Outpost | Palworld | I Am Future | Under A Rock | Lightyear Frontier | Rooted
None of these are available, even in Early Access. :(
All of this is mostly pointless belly-aching because of course I have a million and a half other games bought and paid for to play. But I want to play these games at the moment. #1stWorldProblems.
Momentum is more keenly felt in its absence. The more aware of it you are, the less of it you have.
It has been difficult to play much of anything these past two weeks, as I contracted acute bronchitis with a dash of viral pneumonia. Only today, day 12, would I say that things have downgraded to
tropical depression bad seasonal cold. My physical condition has made it difficult, as you may imagine, to make any meaningful progression in Dark Souls. And it is this progression that I fear may grind to a halt if I coast too much further or take an off-ramp to other titles.
The dilemma is not always present – I have juggled several games before. But it is arguable as to whether any said jugglees had momentum behind them. Or perhaps needed any. Some games just slip in and curl into your lap. Others require you to lean forward in your chair a bit. It is easier to keep leaning than to start again, though. Posture and all that.
Maybe some Youtube and going to bed early, again.
Enjoy your health, when you have it.
No matter what’s going on in the world today, I just gotta say: we picked a great hobby.
Inflation approaching (or hitting) double-digits? Gas prices through the roof? Games got your back. EVE raised subscription prices to $20 and a few developers are testing $70 price-points, but budget options abound in nearly every gaming genre. Supply chain slow-downs hit graphics cards and PS5 pretty hard, of course – I waited 1-2 more years than I had originally planned to upgrade my PC. It wasn’t like I was starving for options in the meantime though.
Just think about it. Prices in gaming go down over time. Outside of a few edge cases in live-service games, there is effectively an infinite supply of whatever you want to play. Between insane marketing giveaways and F2P options, there are scenarios in which your average monthly cost to engage with the hobby is between fifteen and zero dollars. You can’t even paint for that cheap. I have some friends that love to go to conventions and they are not having a fun time in this environment, let alone when COVID shut things down. Meanwhile: “Oh, I should be staying indoors? Way ahead of you, buddy.”
I was going to title this post “Futureproof” instead, as there’s nothing stopping gamers from using renewably energy to power our PC/consoles… but perhaps that’s whistling a bit too loudly past the graveyard. Some kind of collapse in the internet infrastructure would end the past-time for anyone not stockpiling emulators and ROMs. On the other hand, if there’s no internet, things have truly gone to shit and most everyone’s hobbies are probably over too. Unless you’re a gardener or psychopath, I suppose.
Hmm. Perhaps all these survival games will come in handy after all…
With a monitor and the PC acquired, it is time for Phase 2: reasons to have upgraded my PC at all.
- Final Fantasy 7: Remake Intergrade
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- God of War
- Horizon: Zero Dawn Complete
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
- Elden Ring
- Dying Light 2
- NeiR: Replicant
- Risk of Rain 2
The ones near the bottom did not need an RTX 3080, of course. Arguably, none of these do. But I have it now, so… Capitalism, Ho!
The plan here is to wait for the next Epic Store sale where they offer 50% off + $10 coupon, which could push many of these into the $15-$20 territory. Indeed, Cyberpunk and RDR2 were both $20 this past Winter, so I’m expecting the same thing this Summer. The big question mark will be FF7R with its MSRP of $70. I doubt it hits 50% off, but maybe something like 25%? With the coupon that would bring it “down” to $42ish which… ehh, maybe. There’s a part of me that wants to wait even more out of principle. At the same time, I have already waited so long for something I’ve wanted so much that it becomes a bit ridiculous. I could just, you know, not buy NeiR Replicant or whatever and use that cash.
Or just have bought a RTX 3070 prebuilt and all the games Nope, nah, I make GREAT decisions.
In other news, I’m looking forward to max settings on games where that matters.
Just got this email from Humble:
There is a saying that “He who speaks first loses,” which is supposed to be a negotiation power-play. This is very convenient for me, since I tend to not say anything when things get awkward, lest I make things more awkward. Which is does, inevitably. But I somehow get rewarded for it, so I never change.
So… thanks, Humble. I was going to buy the bundle for $12, but I accept your $6 counter-offer.
Downsides to PC Gaming
Sometimes shit just doesn’t work.
Outriders is one of the games I had an eye on, and thus was pretty thrilled when I saw it pop up on Game Pass. Downloaded it and tried to play. Emphasis on tried. Game crashes 100% of the time on the title menu. After Googling a bit, find out that this is a fairly widespread issue with a lot of voodoo workarounds. Someone noted that crashing is common if you haven’t updated your video card drivers.
OK, cool, let’s update some drivers.
Welp… maybe not. My current driver is from a year ago, but Nvidia appears to not be able to update it. I first got the helpful error message during the October/November patch and decided to wait for the next patch to see if that one would work. New patch indeed came out in December but it gives me the same error.
In the spectrum of potential PC nonsense, this issue is very mild. And I may very well may be able to find some workaround or another to get past the roadblock if I want to dedicate 2-3 hours to doing so. But I don’t. At least, not for now, not for Outriders.
What a crazy 1.5 months. Huge work initiative is coming to a close, I passed a certification exam a few days ago, and things are approaching what might be considered whatever normal amounts to be.
So, let’s shill some more for Game Pass:
- Subnautica: Below Zero
- Tainted Grail: Conquest
- Medieval Dynasty
I mentioned it before, but basically my gaming life consisted of Hearthstone, Fallout 76, and Slay the Spire for the last few weeks. Not because they were the best games I had at my disposal, but because they were accessible, low-effort time-wasters that kept me (relatively) sane. I cannot guarantee that much will change at first, though seeing the above games available for free* is giving me a nudge in that direction.
Although I have heard mixed reviews on Subnautica: Below Zero, I never dug deeper into why things are mixed. Not necessarily for the sake of spoilers, but because games end up changing so often post-release that what people complained about originally may no longer exist by the time I get around to playing. All I know is that you apparently spend a bit more time outside the water, there is some kind of vehicle that handles like shit, and the devs turned the game into a sequel instead of DLC to the original because money and they got tired developing water games. Considering I spent 61 hours enjoying the first game, my bar is relatively more forgiving for even a v1.5 game that costs me nothing.
Superliminal looked cool and sometimes that is all it takes to get on my radar.
I heard an interview with the band Japanese Breakfast on NPR, talking about how they wrote the soundtrack for Sable. At one point they mentioned how their favorite childhood memory was playing Secret of Mana with their father, and NPR then overlaid the opening theme in the interview… and that was it. I was back in the 3rd grade coming home from school to my Super Nintendo playing A Link to the Past, Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy 6, and Super Metroid for the 30th time because I got precisely two videogames a year and those were it. Funny how advertisers spend tens of millions of dollars keeping my eyeballs on the screen for more than two seconds, and a goddamn MIDI from 25+ years ago rockets past it all.
Before work stuff consumed my life, I was on a real roguelike card game kick. One of the options I was an inch from buying was Tainted Grail: Conquest. Instead, I bought Deck of Ashes and (ahem) burned out a bit on card games. Aside from OG Slay the Spire. Seeing Tainted Grail on the Game Pass certainly makes me retroactively applaud my decision to take a break.
Finally, Medieval Dynasty is one of those survival-esque games that was on my radar, then wiggled inside my radar after SynCaine’s review, then shorted out my radar once I realized that the price jumped upon full release. Which… I get it, you want to reward the early adopters. At the same time, if you are going to game theory me into buying an unfinished product at a lower price and hoping things work out, you should expect some hesitancy on the back end if I miss the “deal.” It’s not about the $5-$10, it’s the principle. Or not, because I can play for free on Game Pass.
Things are weird for everyone else too, right? Like we went from the worst possible timeline with F2P and loot boxes everywhere, to Game Pass and Epic Store weekly giveaways and people seemingly giving a shit about Consumer Surplus in general. This is exactly what competition is supposed to do, but I nevertheless keep listening for when the music stops.
That’ll Teach Me
There I was, minding my own business, writing end-of-year recap posts. SynCaine points me towards a game called Monster Train, which is sorta like Slay the Spire. It’s on sale for $18… and why not? Let’s splurge by buying a game on Steam, like the good old days.
This is why not:
Yep, I paid $18 on Steam for a game that arrived on the Xbox Game Pass like three days later. Hell, it could have actually already been there before I bought it. Forgot I had to do homework before making game purchases. I mean, I don’t have to, but it gets a bit silly the lengths I go to save $5, let alone $18.
In any case, I played Monster Train for three hours before finding it on the Game Pass. Submitted a refund request through Steam and it was rejected. Did some research on whether you can appeal your initial rejection. The consensus is that, despite appearances, each request that falls outside the automatic approval conditions (< 2 hours played within 14 days) is looked at by a human. New request, new human. Obviously that only goes so far, of course.
My second refund request was approved. I think the winning argument was changing the Reason from “Game wasn’t fun” to “Game was not what I expected.” As in, I was not expecting the game to be free elsewhere. I didn’t write that part in the box though. Monster Train is billed as similar to Slay the Spire, but it’s not really. I’ll have more to say on it later on, assuming I play more of it via Game Pass.
I’m just glad to have my $18 back in a Steam wallet that hasn’t been used in a year or two.
Fell Seal Complete, plus tips
Just beat Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark after almost 60 hours.
Quality of the gameplay remained high throughout the campaign. I could probably have shaved ~20 hours or so off the time to complete, but I enjoyed getting most of my team to a point where they had OP combos and synergies. The plot itself is nowhere near Final Fantasy Tactics, but the dialog is surprisingly humorous and there are some slight twists. The main thing that could be improved was the lack of different battle music, but luckily what exists is not annoying.
There is some “post-game” areas and New Game+ options – and some DLC just dropped – but I do not anticipate coming back. I got my fill of the systems and progression; anything else would be going through the motions, like grinding out the rest of a Civilization match.
I would not consider the following to be “spoilers,” but if you want to know nothing else about the game systems, you should probably skip this part. This is merely the text I wish I was able to see as I started playing the game.
Units gain AP after battle in two ways. Everyone who participates in the battle get a large chunk (110ish for random encounters, twice that for Story) of AP for their primary class. There is a second, smaller “Vicarious” AP gain (~40) that is doled out to each battle participant based on the primary classes of the other participants. So, for example, if you have a Knight, two Wizards, a Mender, a Mercenary, and a Scoundrel in a battle, then the Knight will get some AP towards its own Wizard, Mender, Mercenary, and Scoundrel classes, and so on with the other 5 people.
The above is useful to know because some of the best-in-slot Passive abilities comes from Classes that are only unlocked after some esoteric prerequisite classes. For example, if you want to unlock the Assassin, the chain goes:
- Gunner 4
- Mercenary 4
- Knight 4
- Ranger 4
- Scoundrel 4
- Gunner 4
That doesn’t actually seem that bad for a martial class, aside from the ranged portions. But something like the Warmage or Fellblade will require some Mender and Wizard levels, which can be awkward for some of the story characters. Luckily enough, all you really need is for there to be A Wizard or Mender in the party for 10-15 battles, and you’ll have enough AP to level the class to the minimum to unlock the higher classes. Characters get that Vicarious AP even if they have not yet unlocked the the class in question; it will be waiting for them once they do.
It’s not immediately obvious, but Kyrie is the main character of the game – she will be required for the vast majority of story missions. The other story characters can be unavailable for 1-4 missions.
Debuffs are very important throughout the whole game (including the final boss). Some boss-esque characters have 999+ HP that is much easier to chew through when you give them Bleed/Poison (% HP loss), for example. There are very deadly characters that are NOT immune to Sleep or Berserk, which means you can essentially delete their turns while you mop up the flunkies.
At the beginning of each battle, before deploying units, you can actually go into the unit screen and re-equip or change up abilities or whatever else based on what it looks like you’re facing. Is there water on the map and enemies who can move your units around? Equip some Flippers on your guys that can’t swim. Poison water around? Equip the rings that give immunity to Poison. And so on.
The most useful classes I found were Knight, Fellblade, and Assassin, surprisingly in that order.
The Knight’s Defensive Hit is probably the most damaging attack you will have for the early game, especially if you stack armor. Knight also has Taunt, which inflicts Berserk 100% of the time from two squares away, which can turn an enemy mage into an ineffectual melee attacker or make an enemy bruiser kill his own team. Life Font (gain HP when moving) is something I slotted into all of my characters, which pretty much removes the need for a dedicated healer.
Fellblade was pretty much my “default” class for all my characters due to versatility and debuffs. Sleep Slice to delete enemy turns, Poison Slice for high HP targets, Evade Magic as a counter-ability to ignore magic-users entirely, and Black Blade as a backup attack that deals magical damage and inflicts Blind. Plus, the Malice passive makes sure your debuffs have a good chance to stick.
Assassin is pretty much a splash class. What you’re really going for is Dual Wield, which enables some crazy damage. The ranged Blind and Sleep abilities are nice, but usually only have a coin-flip chance to succeed. Sabotage can be incredibly powerful in certain situations though. Specifically, if there is water in range and an enemy unit who cannot swim – Assassin hops in water, use Sabotage to switch places with enemy, instant death for them.
The sort of ultimate damage combo is a character with Dual Wield passive and Warmage class. Use Infused Edge, and your character will get two attacks plus an elemental bonus attack (or other spell). Personally, I was fine with Dual Wield + Attack Expert (Scoundrel’s passive +Attack based on level) and two weapons that had debuffs on hit. Indeed, I strolled into the final battle with story characters having primacy classes of Scoundrel and Knight.
Don’t forget the lowly Rock. It has a 100% chance to hit and always deals the full damage (50 when maxed out). This is useful for monsters that have crazy defense values like those jellyfish spellcasters, or even enemies with 30% evasion.
The crafting system is… annoying. Always go to Component View to see what your other crafting options are before using a resource you don’t think you can easily farm back. SAVE YOUR QUALITY THREAD. It’s a mid-tier Component used in an endgame armor (light helmet) and is supremely difficult to get any more once you’re in said endgame.