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My luckiest Destiny Crucible match ever

After I got all my Guardians to Iron Banner rank 5, I continued playing so I could keep getting that phat lewt Destiny was handing out (sometimes). Since I was just messing around, I didn’t have the pressure to win, which may have helped with my luckiest match. I was stealing kills (not on purpose) and having lots of good luck, resulting in my best K/D ever. It probably didn’t hurt that I had a full-auto Hawksaw as my primary gun and the sweet Lord of Wolves as my secondary (I can’t emphasize how much fun Lord of Wolves is). I realize this isn’t great by other players’ standards, but I was happy to have done better than usual.

The Division looks great, but they really dropped the ball here

I like Tom Clancy’s The Division(TM) (and, yes, that’s the last time in this post that I’ll use the whole name), and I think it looks really good. The city is modeled and textured very well, and the guns and gear are lovingly rendered (especially the purple beanie and the stylish slouchie, whatever that means). But sometimes, the devs got a little lazy and used a lot of copy and paste. An example is the “Fashion” store in the video below. All the clothing is the same (and ugly as sin). Sure, it is good to reuse textures and art assets, but it’s like they’re not even trying. You can’t tell me there wouldn’t be a little black dress or a red sparkly dress in a fashion store in NYC. If this were just a random spot I wandered into, it might be okay, but we need to go into these stores to get crafting materials, so it is an integral part of the game. C’mon The Division folks, try harder.

Destiny Iron Banner – Mediocrity Perseveres

I had more PvP success in Destiny last night, this time playing in the Iron Banner tournament. Between this video and the last one I posted, it may seem that I’m trying to say I’m good at the Crucible. I’m not. I’m very often nearly the worst on the team, but sometimes things come together and I can do well and help the team to victory. Here, I had a nice shotgun that made a difference.

I’m doing the Iron Banner with my Hunter because I need that fancy Hunter cloak with the Wolf head! It’s amazing how much fancy fashion-forward gear is for the Hunters. I already have Taniks’ cloak (which is great, because it doesn’t have a hood), and I think the Flayer capes look pretty cool too! I don’t know of anything quite as fancy for my Warlock or Titan.

I’m also posting this video because I like the map. They’ve made an abandoned town in Europe a battleground, so it is familiar and looks good. I thought it used to say that it was in the “European Exclusion Zone” or something like that in the intro screen rather than just putting “Widow’s Court” twice at different font sizes. In any case, here’s a video of me not playing particularly well, yet coming out on top in a very close match.

Destiny Crucible Success

I finally did well in the Crucible Rift mode, which I tend not to like. I also finished the crucible kills required towards my Exotic Sword questline. Because I was so happy with my results, I’m posting my first ever Destiny video.

Star Trek Online: Making a Fat Bajoran on Risa. Adventures of Lt. Cmdr. Fatass

I decided to experiment with the character editor to make my Bajoran Female character look more like the reality of myself and many other ‘Muricans with a little (or a lot of) extra weight. Unlike all the other avatars I see in their tiny swimsuits on Risa, Lt. Cmdr. FatAss here has as large a belly and legs and torso width as I could make. It makes her more representative of most of us playing the game, I’d suspect, and I couldn’t stop laughing as I flew her around Risa and compared her to all the petite lovelies that everyone else uses. I’m surprised her floater was even able to lift her! That being said, she’s at the limits of the fatness scale of the editor, so she looks stout, but not enormous like the stereotypical fat person we all know or see on TV. Admittedly, it is a game, so we don’t want it to reflect reality too much, but it sure was fun being different from everyone else on Risa!

Sexism in the Star Trek Online Graphics Engine?

I really like the relatively recent update to the initial character screen in Star Trek Online. It shows your heroic Captain as well as the 4 main Bridge Officers (BOffs) with your majestic starship up above. I recently broke my long tradition of only playing male characters in MMOs by creating a Klingon female Captain (I also created a Fed one even more recently). That’s when I started noticing that when my female Captain was drawn in the character screen, her boobs would come in first, then her outfit top, as shown below:

Klingon boobs

Notice that her BOffs’ boobs are also there before their clothing is. Then I noticed that my other Klingon Captain has an Orion BOff, and her boobs showed up before the top:

Orion boobs

Finally, I saw that some of my Federation BOffs showed up with teeny little panties (not part of their uniform, as far as I know) before their skirts popped in:

fed panties

Now this isn’t horrible or anything, but it doesn’t seem to happen with the men. They don’t show up chest first, then uniform, nor in boxers or briefs (at least as far as I’ve seen in my not-very-extensive study). A movie of the character screen that these stills were taken from is below so you can see how it all works:

I’m not offended by this, but it also isn’t they way I need to think about my BOffs and Captains – I’m not James T. Kirk, for God’s sake! If I wanted to play a sexy game, I’m sure I could, but I find the starships sexy in Star Trek Online, so I don’t need to see my crew in their undies. I also wonder if some of this isn’t intentional. It sure looks like that. There’s no real call for teeny panties, since there’s no viewpoint where anyone could look up my BOff’s skirt. So I’d prefer it if the graphics engine treated men and women the same and didn’t draw boobs and panties, but instead only rendered parts that were fully ready.

 

 

Killzone Shadow Fall is pretty, but stupid

Let’s say you just defeated your enemy by blowing up his planet. Then, apparently feeling guilt, you give the enemy refugees half your planet, because, hey, what could go wrong? I mean you have a (presumably small) population that hates you to the death and not just because you blew up their planet, so it’ll be okay if you give them half of yours, right? And rather than giving them some continent somewhere, you just put a wall up and they get one side and you get the other. Oh, and your citizens that lived there? They need to move, and your enemy may or may not cooperate in giving them safe passage.

Does that sound like the stupidest, most contrived scenario for a game? It does to me, but that is the premise for Killzone Shadow Fall. Since I never finished Killzone 2 or 3, I don’t know if this is in keeping with spectacularly stupid plots or is a new achievement in stupidity for the series, but there you have it.

Assuming you can muster up the effort to keep playing the game after that introduction, you’ll see a very attractive game that seems like it could be fun. You get dropped on the enemy side of the wall, yet for some reason, you don’t have any gear with you. You need to find all your stuff, including your personal helper robot, which is a nifty thing. Again, contrived and stupid. The video below shows me retrieving the ammo for my rifle with the help of the robot. I order it to go and kill the baddies then use it to make a zip line so I can get to the dropped supplies. I then explore a bit and find a downed allied aircraft. I stopped the video at that point, because I thought I was going to die, but I fought off the attackers and continued the mission.

The main problem I have so far with Shadow Fall is, while it is pretty, the field of view is narrow enough that it is hard to see enemies until you’re being hit by their bullets. This is annoying. Surely if I can have flying robot helpers, I could have a HUD that outlines the enemies for me.

In the short term, I have abandoned Shadow Fall and continued to enjoy Knack. Once Knack is done, I will consider what game I should play amidst playing LOTRO Helm’s Deep and Star Trek Online’s The Sphere.

Knack is my favorite Playstation 4 game so far

I bought 3 games for my PS4 thanks to Amazon’s buy-2-get-1-free sale: Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. I haven’t even opened AssCreed, but have tried both Killzone and Knack, and like Knack quite a bit. I’m not normally a platformer kinda guy, but Knack is very well done, mostly fun, and very whimsical. The graphics look good, but not in a photo-realistic way. Instead, it looks like a finely animated cartoon that we can participate in. The video below shows a short snippet of my gameplay, including me making a stupid mistake at the end and getting killed.

While the game is fun, it isn’t easy, even on easy mode. Some of the combat gets quite easy, but some of the enemies can take you down in one hit. A few of the puzzles take a few minutes to figure out, but they haven’t been too hard as far as I’ve played.

The biggest problem with the game is the checkpoint save system. Games and developers that use bad checkpoint systems like this one don’t respect their players. Yes, there are mini checkpoints during the gameplay, so if you die, you don’t go back too far (Killzone: Shadow Fall also has these), but they don’t stick if you need to quit the game. If you quit, the game restarts you at the chapter checkpoint, so I lost quite a bit of progress when I so nastily discovered this. Infuriating! Killzone saves the current checkpoint so you can quit and come back and not lose anything, so it is much better than Knack in this case.

So do I recommend Knack? Yesterday when I lost so much progress due to the pathetic checkpoint system, I would have said “NO,” but after calming down a little and playing some more, yes, it is a worthy game and is fun to play. I’ve yet to try the co-op mode, but I look forward to that.

And, of course, it’s killing me that the PS4 came out at nearly the same time as the new Star Trek Online season (The Sphere), which has a really fun battle zone for ground combat, as well as the new Lord of the Rings Online expansion (Helm’s Deep). Oh how will I get time to play all these things?

Two #LOTRO Videos: Mounted Minstrel and Michel Delving Horse Race

I took two videos in LOTRO recently and thought I would share them.

The first is very short. I was experimenting with NVidia’s ShadowPlay in LOTRO and happened to turn it on just as a not very bright mounted orc started attacking me. I’m posting this to show how dangerous a mounted Minstrel can be. I was able to take the enemy down in seconds even from a full stop, though he was higher level than my Mini. I’m really liking the Minstrel class for combination of damage and healing, though when I managed to get a bunch of enemies attacking at once, he died. However, he was able to take down the Craban Master Warband near Garsfeld solo, even though it’s a small fellowship one.

The other video is the horse race near Michel Delving. This run got my Hunter enough Fall Festival Tokens that he could buy the Spooky Caparison of the Bat to decorate his War Steed.

 

Saints Row IV Powers Video using NVIDIA ShadowPlay

Yesterday I mentioned some of the awesomely fun powers the player has in Saints Row IV. Well today, I have a video showing it. This also gives me a chance to try out NVIDIA’s excellent new ShadowPlay feature.

In the video below, my character (I don’t normally play female characters, but SR4 allows you to change genders and looks nearly at will, so this is what the POTUS looked like at that moment) did a bit of jumping, gliding, running, and killing people. One of the powers is to have an aura of flame which lights bystanders on fire, but not other Saints. It apparently also imbues bullets with fire, but I didn’t use it much, so can’t say for sure.

My game was running at my monitor’s resolution of 2560×1440, yet NVIDIA’s ShadowPlay scaled it behind the scenes to make a 1920×1080 H.264 video without any apparent burden on my CPU or the graphics in the game. I’ve used FRAPS before, but this achieves much greater compression and less system impact. I think it’s a great thing that NVIDIA has given those of us that use their graphics cards.