The uncertainity of two weeks ago
has given way to various stages of compulsory home isolation
Our March GBES event
was bookended with the staff telling us that breweries and dine-in would be shut down statewide starting the following day.
Still, for the scale of the change, everyone's seemed to carry on in a reasonably professional manner.
Friend groups have organized video chat kickbacks
, including a screening of Velocipastor
The national consciousness has been pretty well conveyed in the memes.
In the early days, the question on everyone's mind was, "is this going to actually affect me?"
Then there was brief period where companies large and small would use covid as an excuse to send marketing emails.
Everone works from home now.
looks more dubious every day. Still, I'm not sure anyone's missed sports *that* much.
Acceptance is one of the stages, right?
Guns, Love, and Tentacles
In a couple sessions, me and J finished a playthrough of the core content of the new BL3 DLC
. Even managed to do it on Mayhem 4 without too much trouble.
It's a huge homage to Lovecraft, from the story to the dialogue to the locations (and their names).
So this is one of the more moody and atmospheric BL experiences. It's a nice contrast to the comedic casino heist
and the obnoxious main game antagnoists. It's still Borderlands, though, so there's ample humor and over-the-top characters.
Unfortunately I have a hard time killing Kritchies
My Fl4k build is focused on critical damage (duh) with Dominate as the other top tier. With Leave No Trace (Critical hits may refund one round to the magazine) and new(?) ARs that have the same effect, I have a few weapon options that behave almost like Infinity Pistols
One of the Gaige quest rewards is a class mod that buffs damage with hit stacks, this works really well with the rest of the build.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
While waiting for the BL3 DLC to drop, J and I started a Divinity 2 playthrough
Luckily there are tentacles in this one, too.
A few hours in, the game feels quite a bit like the first one: very deep and detailed with tons of story and lore
The combat is still very cerebral. I felt that positioning was practically meaningless in the last game, not a ton has changed. Still, attacks and specials and elements make for a great combat system. Characters have physical and magic armor that seems to significantly reduce the possibility of status effects
, meaning basic attacks are back in style, at least til their armor has been depleted.
I went Fane, J went Red Prince. The motliest of crews.
Escape from Tarkov
The lolbaters/pubg squad is giving the indie Russian shooter Escape from Tarkov a go.
The gameplay is like this (with squads up to five):
- There is a collection of maps that you can select to play on.
- You play as either a Scav(enger) or a PMC (Private Military Corporation) unit, you can select either role each time you launch a raid.
- Scavs start with basic equipment and need to reach an extract point, optionally killing and looting along the way. If you die, nbd, but there is a ~20 minute cooldown between scav runs.
- PMCs start with equipment your persistent character owns. If you die, you lose it (and another scav or PMC might pick it up) and suffer injuries that cost money to heal. PMCs can theoretically go into scenarios with a huge advantage (scopes and suppressors and nades), but new players sometimes have to roll with a pistol and scavenge. So it's basically the time-tested cat and mouse formula thats like an inverse battle royale.
- Maps have AI-controlled scavs that are friendly to player scavs (unless you attack them) and hostile to PMCs. They are potential loot sources for either player class, but aren't easy kills when you have a pistol and no armor. As a scav, I haven't tried using them for a tactical advantage, but their firefights with PMCs are good for finding/avoiding trouble as you traverse the map.
It's a realism-oriented shooter. Without armor you can be dropped in a shot or two and injuries like limb damage and bleeding out are a thing. There are magical heals, but they don't work if you're severely injured. The inventory system is extensive and not intuitive - well, it makes sense that the reload button doesn't work if the next mag is in your backpack, it's just not something you normally think about
When I first played pubg I found the lack of creature comforts challenging. In EFT you don't have ally callouts or a map or really any standard video game training wheels.
The try-hard element can be punishing during the action, at least in inventory management
you have all the time in the world to figure out which mods work with which guns. Could it be color coded or sorted? Yes. Would that make you feel less like a badass? I guess.
As you can see from the lower grid in the screencap above, weapons are very customizable. Having looted a few fully-kitted PMC loadouts (great feeling, btw), I can say that the difference in a optics and recoil afforded by mods is a massive advantage
- the cat's claws, as it were.
Iron sights are usable on the Mosin, but other than that, scavs and destitute PMCs are at a huge disadvantage in ranged combat. Also, not having body armor, scavs and destitute PMCs are at a huge disadvantage in close quarter combat. Asymmetry is awesome, but the game is unbalanced
. Sometimes you'll get lucky, drop a PMC, and have good gear until you are next killed. You can also bring a squad and hope to find solo opponents.
Combat engagements are very short
; it feels like the first time I played Rainbow 6 after years of Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Turok, etc.
Gear can be obtained in raids, but there are also a few vendors
with neat, criminal underground identities. I think there are three currencies in the game - rubles, dollars, and bitcoin - only one of which can be exchanged for a particular item. Dealers also provide quests (kill/find x of y), which is a lightweight way to have sustaining, orthongal objectives/rewards.
In addition to the independent currencies, many items can only be traded for using the random junk you find when inspecting containers scattered around each map. This can be pretty frustrating, e.g. I had my eyes on a grenade build in an attempt to overcome my optics/armor disadvantage
. With nades I could choose to fight in buildings and hope for a more even playing field. Turns out grenades must be bartered for with zippos or batteries. Once I do collect enough of these items, I hope it's an unlock-for-purchase mechanic because there's no way I'll collect zippos and batteries at the rate I expend or lose grenades.
You have a hideout that provides the passive rewards for grinding
- healing of your injured PMC, a workbench, bitcoin mining, etc. Twenty minutes to produce toilet paper at the lav?!? Okay one: too soon. Second: that doesn't even make sense. And third: this game mechanic should only be used in free-to-play games as away to get people to buy speedboosters.
The verdict is still out.
- It's new
- Lots of gear, customizability, and unlockables
- Grittiness makes for a rewarding experience
- NPCs don't feel like cheap kills, but are essential to giving new players a chance
- Matchmaking times
- Combat could become frustrating
- The grind may be too much
- I have a sinking suspicion that there's an aimbot problem
Three Houses/Crimson Flower/madness (midgame spoilers)
When last we spoke, Byleth had accompanied Edelgard to the imperial capital
because the Church of Seiros doesn't set boundaries for their faculty.
Now he's protected her and pissed off the church.
I expected a difficult playthrough, with a steep xp climb and every unit susceptible to double attack
. I got that, but I also got different plotline with new battle scenarios (on the same map set).
A few notes:
Impregnable Wall (units only deal/recieve 1 dmg for a turn) has been critical. Last playthrough it was a way to defeat the Dark Knight early on, now having two units (Batallion carry-over) able to put up a wall is irreplaceable
. The frequency of enemies that can overcome this with Pass has lessened in the mid-game.
Lysithea is a monster. In fact, for whatever reason physical attacks seem massively nerfed
in this playthrough.
I'm sticking to the plan
and making flyers out of everyone except tanks and mages
. The class-based speed gains, high movement unaffected by terrain, and canto aspects of these characters has been necessary to keep them out of harm's way - that is, most of my units are susceptible to being one-shotted since there's no way to do main quest battles at anything better than enemy level-6. If the level disparity decreases, I may flex my flyers into other classes.