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Posts Tagged ‘PC’

Beautiful beautiful beautiful

I bought Skyrim. I haven’t had much time to play it due to uni commitments, but I played Oblivion before purchasing it and managed to have fun with it. I still think a different mindset is required when it comes to playing Bethesda games compared to most other studios. My way of playing games has always been to plow through with the story, often having a clear idea of what the best way to play my character is. Having come to terms with Bethesda being different, I’m starting to enjoy it quite a lot. It’s one of only two games this year (the other being Deus Ex: HR) that makes me want to sit in the main menu just to hear the theme play out.

(I know, the idea of that being the highest form of praise I can give to Skyrim is stupid – I just thought it’s kind of cool).

One of the reasons I didn’t get to play much Skyrim is also down to my involvement in The Old Republic’s beta weekend. I went into the game almost blind, having not done much reading into the classes or abilities and such, but after that weekend, colour me fucking impressed. That was the most polished beta I’ve ever played in. The biggest bug I could find in my many hours of play was my character’s lips not moving during conversation pieces. When that’s the biggest problem you find in an MMO beta a month before its full release, you know it’s in pretty good shape.

There are some improvements that could be made, of course. I’d like to see a bit more done with character customisation – a common request from the testers during the weekend, but having only four different body shapes is restrictive. It did, however, allow me to play as a morbidly obese Sith Warrior, so all clouds, silver lining etc.

I can see myself playing quite a lot of The Old Republic. Most of my old WoW guild mates are making the switch and I’ll be playing with them which is a big plus. As to whether I’ll do much raiding or endgame content, I’m not sure. I’ve really enjoyed playing with different characters, mostly for story purposes, so I might turn into one of those MMO players who just levels tons of alts and doesn’t necessarily focus on one character. Part of me quitting raiding in WoW was because I felt like I wasn’t enjoying it and I was just doing it out of habit rather than for fun, which is something I’m still conscious of avoiding – particularly with a game with as much promise as SWTOR.

So yeah, The Old Republic; it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from an MMO made by BioWare and set in Star Wars. That’s just about the best way I can sum it up.

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Team Fortress 2 is still the FPS game to beat

Last week, Valve released Team Fortress 2’s most controversial update yet. Since 2007, the game has been patched and updated for free (provided you’re playing on PC and not the much-neglected console version). Sadly, with the Mann-Conomy Update, this has changed. Yes, you can still download the update itself for free, yet the game now has those dreaded ‘micro-transactions’, in the form of paying real money for in-game items. Surprised? Confused? Angry? You aren’t alone, the community was in uproar.

A couple of days after the update came out, I uploaded a commentary to Youtube of my thoughts on the issue. I came to the conclusion that while I wasn’t dead against the money issue, I felt it was a shame that Valve had suddenly gone down the ‘Activision / EA route’ of charging money in-game seemingly for the sake of it and immediately creating a division within the community. Valve have been the best developers for the PC for a long time now, and part of what made them great was their caring for the community, the way they communicated with us, and their free content for TF2. After all, what started as a game with six maps, two game modes and 25 weapons is now a game with 32 maps, 10 game modes and 77 weapons! Yet, people wanted things to stay the same. The people who had gotten used to this free content were the ones screaming the loudest. Here’s a few of the comments to the video I created which took people round the new Mann Co. Store:

“In my views, this killed the game.”
“Now the whole game is like a shit mmorpg.”
“Valve has sold out, they are dead to me now.”

Having seen these remarks, it puts things right into perspective for me. It really is not that bad. Not so bad to the point where the whole game has changed, at least. Almost all of the items that were added with the update are available through regular means, such as trading, crafting or finding. The items that aren’t available through those methods are purely cosmetic and give you no bonuses over other players whatsoever. To balance that out, there are also some items that aren’t available in the store but can be found, traded or crafted. Ironically, this is the least publicised aspect of the update. Funny, that. The second least publicised aspect of the update is that pretty much all of the new items were created by the community for a competition. The new items are the winning entries and part of the reason for them being available for money is so that the creators of these items can take a share of the money that Valve makes from them. If that isn’t being generous and supportive to your community, then I don’t really know what is.

While Valve have annoyed a lot of people who were once loyal customers in the last few days, there’s no denying that, for me, TF2 is still the ultimate online FPS experience. The community is still top notch, the weapons are still balanced more than most big-name shooters currently on the market and it still costs less to buy the full game than any competitor. While Activision give you £11 map packs for Modern Warfare 2, Valve have given you the option of paying 50p for that Flare Gun you carelessly got rid of and now really want again. Hats are more expensive but, seriously, hats? If hats provided you game-breaking bonuses then maybe I’d understand criticism for them being available for money, until then they’re just cosmetic. Chill, and you can get one in a trade from another kind player (of which there are many). If more developers were like Valve, even with this quite turbulent week they’ve had, there would be many more very happy gamers.

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Alright, it happened

Starcraft II

Why I got Starcraft II:

  1. Peer pressure.
  2. Damn good reviews. Seriously, I took extra special notice of the ones that responded to the ‘omg 3 separate games’ criticism. The campaign has been very worthwhile so far.
  3. I wanted to return to RTS games. A long time ago I was having the time of my life while playing Age of Empires II. I wanted to hark back to those glory days.
  4. I stopped playing WoW, I need another game to step up to the mark. JEREMY KYLE STYLE.

So yes, I bought Starcraft II and I don’t regret it. Yet.

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Not too long ago DICE put a patch out for Bad Company 2. This patch was PC exclusive, so 360 and PS3 users haven’t yet experienced the goodness (looking at you, Xeer2000).

Now, the server has vastly improved the server browser for me, despite claims to the contrary by PC Gamer. It now takes 5 seconds to find a game, as opposed to the 55 it used to take. The filtering is much better as well, I can now choose to not display any hardcore servers which I truly despise (although I have had some instances where I’ve seen servers with HC or hardcore written in their names even if I’ve filtered them out). But it’s the weapon changes that the console crowd will be looking at. Here’s a few of the highlights you can look out for:

  • Firstly, the M60. The overpowered weapon received a few changes in the patch and many cried ‘NERF!’. If you ask me, the thing has hardly been nerfed at all. They’ve reduced the base damage of it, which is all well and good, but they increased the accuracy of it. This allows you to auto-fire for much longer, rather than having to tap-shot your enemies down. If anything, looking at other LMGs, the M60 hasn’t necessarily been brought down, it’s the other LMGs that have been boosted.
  • If you, like me, have been frustrated with the speed of the Tracer dart in the past, then this patch will make you cream. The dart now moves at the speed of sound, and taking down choppers is infinitely easier. On one map it is entirely concievable to take a vantage point and shoot tracer darts at the two enemy helis on the spawnpoint, and take them down whenever they try and take off. It may even be slightly overpowered now for that reason alone.
  • Another Engineer related change: The drill – “Increased the repair and overheat speeds of the Power Tool. Now overheats sooner but repairs the same amount before overheating.” This is a handy change. You can now repair through the damage of a rocket impacting your tank before the next one is launched. To give you a rough estimate on how much faster it repairs, I’d say it’s roughly twice as fast now, with half the amount of time before it overheats to compensate.

How’s this affected my stats? See for yourself, I’ve recently started playing a bit of Recon and after a few teething problems I think I’m getting the hang of it.

16-8 game as Recon

7 Sniper kills (5 headshots) and 4 knife kills

Now my overall stats, taken a couple of days ago:

Overall BFBC2 MP stats

K/D Ratio: 0.93

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One of my favourite sources of gaming news, Destructoid, came out with a story the other day that piqued my interest.

http://www.destructoid.com/dev-console-gaming-getting-as-expensive-as-pc-gaming-165680.phtml

As a PC gamer, this just confirms my opinion that publishers are neglecting the PC platform for no good reason. The most recent example of this being the Alan Wake saga which has done more than its fair share to get me pretty angry.

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So in November, the gaming world was driven into a frenzy when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was launched on Xbox, PS3 and PC. After the initial hype, the game has settled into a state of mediocrity despite being one of the highest selling games ever made. Hacks, glitches and general asshattery have plagued the multiplayer aspect of the game for months now. Despite Infinity Ward’s best efforts at patching the problems, there have always been new ones to arise. This video illustrates perfectly the state that the game is in currently.

I know this video was recorded on Xbox and most likely took place in a ‘glitched lobby’, but PC gamers are getting a very rough deal when it comes to the amount of hackers currently online. It seems impossible to find a string of games where there isn’t a hack of some variety on display. And even if you can find some good games, you’re likely to be thrown out due to some Steam error or host migration problems (I may blog about the dedicated servers issue sometime in the future). Grumblegrumble…

Personally, I cannot wait until I get my copy of Battlefield Bad Company 2. Then maybe I can experience a real FPS game online.

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