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Troy, NY, United States
A blog to talk about my random gaming thoughts.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Exams still suck

Finished my paper on the effect of weather and water quality on the population of Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets in Elkhorn Slough for ecology, onward to studying for differential equations and neurobiology.  Three days left, then done with college, such a weird feeling.

Until then, enjoy the Tribes inspired video that I find far funnier than it probably is.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Torchlight 2

Happened to luck my way into a Torchlight 2 beta key today and had the chance to play it a bit while taking a break from working on a paper.  If you're unfamiliar with Torchlight, it's a Diablo "clone" made by Runic Games, which I believe is made up of many of the old team members that made Diablo in the first place.  Torchlight 2 feels really similar to the original so far, with the major additions of a much more expansive world (think going from Diablo in just Tristram, to Diablo 2) and the addition of multiplayer.

Playing the Embermage class and having a good time so far.  Only had the chance to play up to the first boss tonight, but had a good time.  Was nice and easy to just jump into a game and catch up to someone that was working their way through the first zone and start killing stuff with them.  If you're a fan hack and slash games like Diablo, it's a great game to check out, the original is $15.00 on steam and is single player only (demo available), or you can pre-order Torchlight 2 and get a copy of the first as well.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kickstarter Craziness

Not about video games specifically, but if you've followed any video game news recently, you've probably heard of Kickstarter by now.  If you haven't, the idea is pledging money directly to the design team of the game to help fund the game directly, as well as prove to investors that there's interest in the game.  The big part of this, is that it cuts out the publisher, meaning there's no one breathing down everyone's neck with deadlines and rushing a game to meet a crucial release date.  Looking at Mass Effect 3 and it's terrible ending, it's becoming obvious that rushing games to meet a release date is becoming a problem.

The system itself is interesting, giving seasoned veterans of the industry a chance to make sequels to, or games in the same style as their old classics, and giving new comers a chance to pitch their idea directly to consumers rather than to a big name publisher.  I don't know of any big name games yet that have actually finished, but with big name titles like Wasteland 2 and a Shadowrun sequel on the way, it should be interesting to see how well this ends up working, or if it will break down due to broken promises.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Diablo III: Wrath

So the final D3 teaser got unlocked yesterday.  A lot of people seem to be complaining about it because they don't like the art style for it, but whatever, I love it.  It was done by Peter Chung, the animator behind Aeon Flux and Titmouse Inc., the guys behind Metalocalypse.

The video itself is an interesting look at the back story to the Diablo games with the war between Heaven and Hell and reminds me why I've always loved the angels in the Diablo story.  They aren't really forces of good dedicated to protecting the innocent or anything like that.  They're vicious warriors whose only goal is to destroy the forces of Hell.  Anything else, like the mortal realm of Sanctuary in the games, is just another battleground to be fought over.  They would rather destroy all of Sanctuary in favor of losing it to Hell, and in fact would have already had Tyrael not voted against Imperius in favor of humanity when Sanctuary was first discovered.  It should be really interesting to see where they take the story for the Diablo III as they've left open so many possibilities from the books.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tribes: Ascend - Tartarus Patch

Major Highlights
  • A new CTF map has been added, Tartarus.
  • A new Arena map has been added,  Hinterlands.
  • Users may now configure up to four pre-established loadouts per class. These can be used to more quickly switch between favored configurations for each class. Loadout slots are purchasable using XP or Gold.  
  • Users may now QUICK SWITCH between classes and loadouts while in a match using the “NUMPAD ENTER” key (default). This is an alternate way to change classes/loadouts versus using the Class Select menu ("I" Screen) that does not require you to open the game menu and is much faster.
  • Users will now be presented with a customized “DEAL OF THE DAY.” This is a deal tailored to the individual and presents special pricing on an item that the user does not already own. The timer for the deal of the day resets at the same time as the timer for the First Win of the Day.
  • The gold packages have been changed. The $30 and $50 packages now give significantly more bonus gold than previous, but do not include an XP booster. Users continue to earn permanent VIP status (which increases XP gain by 50% after their first real-money purchase).
  • IMPORTANT USABILITY NOTE: With this release, you always close the console window using the ESCAPE key. You can no longer close the console window using the same key that launches the console (default “tilde”).  This is necessary to solve issues when people rebind that key, as well as on some countries’ keyboard layouts.

Weapon/Balance Items

  • Shrike price reduced on public servers to 4000.
  • Beowulf price reduced on public servers to 2500.
  • Gravcycle price reduced on public servers to 500.
  • Reduced the amount of knockback the flag receives from explosions in air (reducing punting).
  • New Accolades have been added:
    • Investor: Earned every 2 minutes that a Base Radar or Generator that you upgraded remains online.
    • Turret Support: Earned if a Base Turret you upgraded gets a kill.
    • Hot Air: Earned for getting a mid-air kill with the Plasma Gun. (Replaces Air-Mail).
  • An exit speed cap of 200kph has been added to the Shrike.
  • Fixed an issue in which the Pathfinder’s Thrust Pack could sometimes not correctly thrust the player.
  • Fixed an issue in which the Pathfinder’s Light Assault Rifle was not always firing three rounds.

Custom Server Notes

  • XP is now rewarded on password protected servers so long as at least 8 people participate in a match.
  • Server owners can now choose between multiple spawn types. This includes Normal spawning, Naked Pathfinder, and Core spawning (Pathfinder, Soldier, and Juggernaut with unlocks).
  • Fixed a bug in which configuration options would not be saved properly in some cases. This audio/video settings, custom servers, etc.
  • Fixed a bug in which servers would go offline and require a manual restart after the overall game servers were restarted.
  • Variety of other minor cleanups and fixes.

Additional Items

  • Fixed an issue where the jet-only option for a keybind was jump jetting instead.
  • Fixed an issue where the whiteout grenade could cause the permanent loss of IFF’s in certain situations.
  • Deaths from hitting a player equipped with the Super Heavy perk will now play a splat sound.
  • Fixed an issue where projectile explosion sounds and effects wouldn’t play in certain situations in close-quarter combat.
  • Fixed an issue where inventory and vehicle stations weren’t properly updated when the generator went online or offline.
  • Fixed an issue where meleeing while zoomed could cause the zoomed-in reticule to still be active after you released the zoom button.
  • Fixed an issue where throwing a grenade while spawning a vehicle could leave the player without weapons.
  • Fixed an issue where the firing sound would not properly stop on constant-fire weapons after a reload.
  • Fixed an issue where de-cloaking with a call-in active would display the wrong active call-in information.
  • Fixed an issue where reloading a weapon while zoomed would not properly resume zooming when the reload had finished.
  • Vehicle stations have been added to Outskirts Capture and Hold.
  • Fixed an issue where vehicle station markers were not displaying in Capture and Hold.
  • Fixed an issue where player input wasn’t being properly reset at the end of a round in Arena.  
  • Fixed a client crash when placing deployables (i.e. Doombringer’s Force Field, Technician’s Light Turret, etc) in certain areas when roaming.
  • Fixed an issue where players weren’t able to place a deployable on certain areas of the flag stand of Katabatic.
  • Fixed various UI presentation bugs.
  • Performance optimizations done on Arx Novena aqueducts.
  • Fixed an issue with the voting keybinds, they have now been restored to their previous values (F5 for no, F6 for yes).

So far I'm liking everything.  The new map is pretty sweet, the punt and shrike nerf will make competitive play a bit more interesting on maps like Crossfire and the fix on the whiteout grenades means they should get unbanned for tourneys now.  Haven't tried the loadout features yet, but hopefully you can rebind it since I play on a laptop that doesn't have a numpad, or at least not an easily usable one. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

No actual post today

Studying for a neurobiology exam that's tonight, so I'll just leave you with a random Tribes: Ascend video instead.  Enjoy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Exams are killer

How am I supposed to write about games when all my time is spent studying?  Last classes on Tuesday though so I should find time to play in between then and worrying about finals.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dungeons and Dragons - The Story so Far

The Setting 
A post apocalyptic world, an event in the fairly recent past has caused the destruction of most of the world.  Though the event wasn't that long ago, it has quickly passed into legend as the remaining societies struggle to make due.

The Fortress

Our story begins in a large village built around a mountain fortress.  The party has their individual reasons for being there: the sorcerer a merchant, the artificer a sculptor, the swordsage mercenary, and the druid on a quest for an ancient artifact.  When a sudden raid on the village occurs, they band together to fight them off.  Despite beating back the initial forces, the party and a large group of villagers are forced to flee into the mountains to escape the oncoming barbarian horde.  Knowing the fortress can hold for about two months, the party begins to make its way towards a nearby city state to seek help.

The Druid

Finding their way to an underground river, they quickly construct a raft and begin on their way only to be halted by Assassin Vines on the walls of the tunnel.  Dealing with the vines and continuing on their way, the party comes upon the grotto of a water elemental that has an offer for them.  In exchange for safe passage, the party agreed to investigate a local druid who has mysteriously gone silent recently.  Journeying to the druid's forest, the party was quickly ambushed by the forest's guardians.  Upon further inspection, the guardians appeared to be corrupted by something.  Making their way to the center of the forest, a large barrier was present, oddly, a barrier to keep something in, not prevent intruders.  Entering the barrier, the party came across the druid they were seeking to find that he was not only a treant, but that his sanity was long gone.  Piecing together his rambling, the story of a tinkerers guild that stole his brother's Life Gem, an artifact that sustained the forest, for some purpose, leaving the brother dead and the forest in decay.  With little else to be done to help the druid for now, the party returned to the river, informing the elemental of the druid's fate, and continued on their way.

The Desert

Leaving the river, the party began to journey through the desert towards a nearby outpost.  Stopping for supplies and resting for a night, they inquired the locals about the druid's story, they were informed that while a similar tale existed, it lacked the existence of a second druid and had happened long ago before the world fell to ruin.  Pondering the meaning of these odd discrepancies, the party thanked them for their time and left, bringing with them a messenger and guide to lead them to the city state they were searching for.  Passing through the desert was a dangerous venture, interrupted by an attack by a band of pirates sailing the sea of sand on a modified corsair.  Fighting them off, the party quickly made repairs caused by the battle, taking the corsair for themselves and fleeing only a short time ahead of the rest of the ships now closing in.  Destroying one of the chasers, the party seemed doomed until the sudden appearance of the ancient and powerful Crawling Apocalypse.  Quickly destroying the ships the party flees from the wreckage towards the ruins of a nearby city.

The City of Shadows

Fleeing from the Crawling Apocalypse, the party takes refuge in the ruins of the city.  The resting through the night, the sun appears to have not risen in the morning; the city is trapped in perpetual night.  Searching the city, the party finds signs of barricades and defenses long abandoned.  The buildings are coated with long expired ghostwall shellac, an alchemical paste designed to render walls solid to ghosts and shadows.  In a still standing inn, the party encounters a group of feral humans still at their barricades.  Fighting them back, the few survivors attempt to flee to the streets only to be struck down by a large shadow beast which quickly flees.  Continuing through the city, the party comes upon one building which appears to still be standing and relatively untouched bearing the symbol of a tinkerers guild.  Believing it may possibly be the guild spoken of in the legend, they investigate.  Fighting their way past the still active golem defenders, the party finds no survivors, but a record of the events that destroyed the city.  Seeking a weapon to fight an invading army, the guild had found a a way to open a portal to the Plane of Shadow.  Using an unknown power source, the city used the device to summon shadows to fight their enemy.  At some point though, the device faltered and the portal remained open, turning the city into a nexus connecting the Material Plane to the Plane of Shadow.  Under constant assault now, the city quickly died.  Leaving the guild, the party encountered the remains of the pirates that had survived the earlier battle.  Once again the party was saved from nearly impossible odds by the reappearance of the shadow beast.  Combining forces, the beast and its shadow minions were fought off and destroyed by a burst of magical daylight.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Current "To Play" List

I'll keep an updated list here of the games I currently plan on playing but haven't found the time for.

Fire Emblem 4 - I'm really already quite far into this, it just takes me a while to play as I'm the kind of person that hates to lose units and can restart a mission just to save someone.  With how easily some characters can die and how long the missions are in this one, it can take me a while to play a single map.

Half Life 2: Episode 2 - I can't believe I still haven't played this one, I just need to find the time to sit down and play through it.

Trine 2 -  Most of the way through this one as well, just need to finish it up.

Botanicula - A cute point and click puzzle game from the makers of Machinarium.  Had this for a while, just need to actually play through it.

Fallout - Picked this up for free a while back when GoG had a promotion going for it.  Like the other games on this list, I just need to find the time to play it.

If you have any suggestions for a game, feel free to drop me a comment and I'll check it out.  Keep in mind that I only have a laptop and a DS to play on right now, so I can't play anything top of the line right now.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Finally got around to playing some more Soul Reaver today and played it up to the first boss, Melchiah.  Quite the easy boss, just drop a couple doors on him and he's dead.

It's weird how different than the memories of it from my childhood are.  The controls are pretty bad, though that's probably be cause I'm playing with a key board, the camera is a nightmare, and the combat is atrocious.  Still, the voice acting and scenery hold up well, painting the grim land of Nosgoth and really bringing the characters to life.

Diablo 3

Just a quick post while I wait for class to start.

So, who's excited for Diablo 3?  Years of waiting and less than two weeks to go now.  Sadly I won't be able to play much right at launch as I have two finals on the 16th and will be on vacation the week after finals before I graduate, but after that it will be nice to take it easy for a week or so and just play.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tribes: Ascend - The Raider

The Raider is the class that I currently play most often and has two main goals: destroying base assets and disrupting the flag stand.  The raider is equipped with numerous weapons and packs to help him achieve these goals.

Primary Weapons:
  • ARX Buster - A sticky grenade launcher and the default primary weapon for the Raider.  Three shots before you have to reload, each shot deals about 600 damage.  The arc on the shots makes it a fantastic weapon for dishing out long range damage.  There are however, two major flaws with the ARX Buster.  First, the shots are blatantly obvious to see.  The ARX Buster fires big red balls that are quite easy to see and combined with their pitiful explosion radius, it can make landing hits with the weapon quite difficult.  The second flaw is that the shots stick.  While this might seem like an advantage, in some cases, such as the small corridors of the bases, being unable to fire around corners or down an elevator can have a huge impact.
  • Grenade Launcher - 42k experience to unlock, the grenade launcher is a fairly standard affair and does exactly as expected.  It shoots grenades.  Each grenade only does 550 damage on a solid hit compared to the 600 of the ARX Buster, but the GL has a five round magazine, allowing for more shots before reloading is necessary.  The GL is overall, a better weapon than the ARX Buster, with a large explosion radius, larger knock back, and the ability to bounce shots.
  • Plasma Gun - 100k experience to unlock, the recently added Plasma Gun is a dueling powerhouse that is incredibly devastating, if not completely overpowered, in the proper hands.  Dealing 500 damage on a direct hit, the Plasma Gun features a fast rate of fire, ten round magazine, and a large projectile.  When first introduced, the hi tbox for the Plasma Gun's projectile was absolutely enormous and has since been nerfed to a still quite easy to hit with, but not elephant sized, hit box.  While a great weapon for dueling and pissing people off, I personally prefer to stick with the grenade launcher.  The Plasma Gun has very little knock back on its hits, and when your flag capper is coming in fast, you need that heavy off the flag now, not in five seconds when the plasma gun might kill him.
Secondary Weapons:
  • NJ4 Sub Machine Gun - The NJ4 is the default secondary weapon for the Raider.  Featuring a very high rate of fire, a 36 round magazine, and 80 damage a hit, it's probably one of the best default secondary weapons 
  •  NJ5-B Sub Machine Gun- 75000 experience to unlock, the newly added NJ5-B SMG is a nicely balanced side grade to the NJ4.  The NJ5-B features an increase in accuracy, a scope, and a damage bump to 140 a hit, at the cost of rate of fire.  Neither weapon is particularly better and the choice is yours as to which you prefer.  I personally use the NJ5-B as I like the scope and higher damage while shooting at flag carriers or coming in on the flag stand.  A great example of how the unlockable equipment should be balanced and not a pure upgrade over the default.
  • Shield Pack - My personal preference, activated at the click of a button, the shield pack activates a shield that absorbs damage at the cost of your jet pack energy.  The shield pack adds quite a bit of meat to the Raider, allowing him to take a few hits as he flies face first into the enemy flag stand attempting to clear the area.  An interesting trade off of gaining immediate protection when you know you're going to be hit  while losing the jet pack mobility that might help you dodge the next shot.

  • Jammer Pack - Haven't unlocked it myself, but I've seen other Raiders use it and it doesn't impress me.  Pseudo cloaks your character, making you invisible to radar and base defenses, but still quite visible to the naked eye.  Useful for getting in if the other team is stacking technicians, but otherwise leaves you vulnerable to simply being shot without a shield to boost your health.
  • EMP Grenades - Only grenade I have unlocked at the moment.  Quite powerful if it hits, 1100 damage or so, going up to over 2000 against base defenses, the EMP's main flaw is the Raider's sissy throwing arm.  Poor guy is spoiled by grenade launchers for guns and can't throw a grenade to save his life.  Combined with a short detonation timer, you have to be quite close to attempt to hit anything with these.
  • Whiteout Grenades - Essentially flash bangs, the Whiteout grenade blinds anyone who gets hit by it for a few seconds.  A couple of these on the flag stand will leave the defense in disarray and unable to prepare for the incoming flag grab.  The next item on my "to buy" list.
  • Cluster Grenades - The final item added in the most recent "Raid and Pillage" patch, the cluster grenades explode into many tinier grenades which explode again.  Used as an area denial tool, the cluster grenades can force someone to move off the flag stand for a few seconds.  Not that great of grenades though, as they take a long time to work, having to explode twice, and are un predictable in their spread.
  • Not much to say here as I only have a few perks unlocked, none of which are really any good for Raider.  Check out survivalist to gain health back on ammo packs, strikes me as the most useful one.

Whew that was a lot of typing.  Hope everyone enjoys the write up.  Expect a similar post for the Doombringer class for some "Heavy on Flag" goodness in the near future.