This is where you can read any of my irregular wafflings about computer gaming. The whole point of this blog is to help motivate me to properly finish games, whether they be recent ones or older ones I played when I was younger that I never managed to beat.
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21st September 2016 - Witch Way Should I Turn?
I can't believe it's been nearly 3 years since I finished the first Witcher game. How time shifts as you get older. Anyway, as the third game has already been out for well over a year, it seemed time to finally install Witcher 2 and push on with the series.
I actually installed this and played it for a short time right after playing the first one, but I had a lot of problems getting it to run right at the time, and as I hadn't really enjoyed the first one, I got put off from playing it until recently.
Now all's said and done, I definitely prefer this to the first one. In my opinion, the original game had a lot more wrong with it than right. But this one flips that around for the most part and has been more pleasant to get through. However, I still feel that this series is probably not for me, as there were still many things that pissed me off about it.
Firstly, the mouse delay/input lag problem. Holy shit this was annoying. If I ran the game without vsync, the mouse would behave properly in the game and in the menus, but the game would run very jittery. With vsync on, the game graphics ran smooth, but there was an obscene amount of mouse lag, especially in the menus. This made certain quests, such as the arm wrestling, impossible to do. Eventually I was able to use the Nvidia control panel to set up vsync with triple buffering, which made the graphics run smoothish, and got rid of most of the mouse lag, but not all. Not ideal, but it was the best I could get it.
The other problem concerning controls was how you had to wait for the previous animation to finish before you could give Geralt a new command. The amount of times I went to cast a spell or roll out of the way only for nothing to happen, just because he hadn't quite finished twirling his sword.
Moving around the world could also be a pain. There were times when Geralt wouldn't even jump down a 1 foot drop, or would not be able to run over a tree root. I also did not like the camera changing every time you climbed up to or jumped down from a ledge. It was kind-of sickening.
However, the improvements over the first game were gladly received. When I rocked up to the first town and picked up the contract quests, I was originally horrified when it looked like finding and reading books would be necessary again, just like in the first game. Later on I discovered this was not the case, which was a boon, even though I had already wasted some money.
The combat is definitely better than the previous game, other than the problems mentioned above, that is. It just felt way more action packed, and being able to cast significantly more spells was great.
I also experienced far less bugs, though there were some. The game also hard crashed to desktop on several occasions, which had me saving like a crazy person at every opportunity.
I'd like to say I enjoyed the story, but while it is filled with intrigue, plot twists, and cool characters, I simply had no real idea of what was going on in the world at large. There seemed to be so many countries, kings and advisors all arguing with each other, and backstabbing each other, that I couldn't follow it all. It doesn't help that I've never read any Witcher books, or that it's been so long since I played the first game, as I can't remember anything about it. Hmph. Politics.
I do really like how the games give you several important choices to make that can really change what happens afterwards. I've just read about all the choices you can make in the games and their repurcussions. I can't really remember what I chose during the first game, except I definitely chose Triss over Shani, and I know I did not side with the Order. Whether I remained neutral or sided with the Scoia'tael I can't remember. I'm also pretty sure I saved the werewolf guy, but I can't remember if I killed or cured Adda. Though I remember saving Abigail.
In this one, I killed Aryan (though this was right at the beginning and I didn't really know what I was doing), I helped the troll to stop drinking, I sided with the Scoia'tael over the Blue Stripes, I saved the elf women from the burning building, I did not let the mob kill Stennis, I decided to save Philippa/Saskia rather than Triss, I let Síle die, and I killed Letho at the end.
Many of these choices can really change what happens in the game, particularly depending on who you side with.
It could do with certain tweaks to make it much more playable, and it also needs a much better tutorial, as the one provided was tosh, and not really all that helpful.
I should really crack right on with number 3, but I'm still not sure if I have the motivation for that yet. Which is a shame. If I found these games as good as others seem to, I'd already be diving headlong into it.
Geralt baffles them with his dancing
Villain shows off his yoga skills
I don't want to know what they are doing in this dark outhouse
Battling some wraiths
Arm wrestling is almost impossible with the game's shit controls
That's an interesting name you have
Geralt's squad of ultimate badasses
Burn harpy, burn!
Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes
Geralt interrupts some kinky shenanigans
Don't make Saskia angry...
...you wouldn't like her when she's angry
Sorry Adalbert, you need to die...
...so that Geralt can bang Cynthia
Not the kind of ride Geralt usually enjoys
Dealing with the Kingslayer
Our adventures through Arborea continued for a while, though we've not played for some weeks. While I quite like it for the most part, there are some awkward things about it that stop me from getting really invested. I find the controls a bit awkward, but that's nothing new for this type of game. When the mouse and W,A,S,D keys move you around, I always feel like I need an extra hand for activating skills. This has always been true for all the MMOs I've played, as well as games like Smite.
I'm also struggling to get involved in the world and the lore. You level so fast in this game that you can bypass three quarters of the zones, as by the time you finish one zone you're already too high level for many others. While that's probably a good thing if you plan on levelling alts, as you can go through different zones with them, for us it just makes all that content seem like a waste. Last time we played, we switched our questing tactics so we only did story quests and not all the little zone-specific quests. Hopefully this will keep our levels down longer, and allow us to visit more places, if for shorter amounts of time.
Not long back, they merged a bunch of servers and we lost a lot of items that we hadn't claimed yet, so that pissed us off a bit. We're unsure at the moment whether we'll go back to this.
It's a big bugger
Meeting a zombie-bear-thing
Duke Volperon wants my booty
Took us ages to kill this thing
One game I've managed to stop playing is League Of Legends, which I haven't touched for nearly 2 months. This damn thing had been pissing me off most of the year, but I carried on because Scoob likes it so much. Yet again, barring a few rare incidents, the idiots and AFKers were on our team, getting in my way as I tried to get to 300 wins. That should have been enough to dissuade me, but I think what has helped me quit the most were the changes they made to the pro scene after M.S.I. this year.
Up until then, I had quite enjoyed watching the pro games, and it kept me somewhat interested in playing myself. However, with more than double the games being played in the summer split, I wasn't able to keep up with them all and stopped watching after a couple of weeks. I can't even tell you who won, or who played well, or who is going to worlds. I just don't care any more.
Of course, I've had breaks before and always ended up going back, so this is a strong possibility. But for now at least, my time with the game is over. I've ended up on 295 wins to 270 losses, meaning I stretched the margin by just 6 wins, making the journey to 300 my worst performance yet. Sure, I wasn't quite at 300 wins, but I would have had to win the last 5 games without losing to make it the biggest increase. And on our last few performances, that just would not happen. The only great thing I remember happening was my first pentakill in one game where I was Katarina, who was one of the champs I think I got better on during these games.
I shouldn't really do this before 300 wins, but here's some sad pointless stats about the last 184 games:
- My largest win streak was 6, and my largest losing streak was 7.
- My most played champs were Annie (10), Kayle (10) & Nami (9).
- I performed best on Annie (8/2), Leona (6/2) & Karma (5/1).
- I performed worst on Akali (1/5), Anivia (1/4) & Caitlyn (1/4).
Using Kat to do some work for a change
Giving them the belly bounce
Scoob unleashing Brand's powers
Though I may play LoL again at some point, it's doubtful I'll be going back to Marvel Heroes. As expected, Scoob didn't want to carry on, but I tried to continue and finished chapter 2. I quickly got tired by the frequent and huge updates, as with my net speed it meant it often took twenty minutes or so to log in. I don't have that kind of patience. Shame, as despite its flaws it has some good things going on, especially for free.
Taking out The Hood
30th December 2015 - Most Definitely Didn't Make It
After getting my 100th ARAM win in League Of Legends a while back after a decent run of form, I set myself a new goal of hitting 200 wins before 150 losses. I figured it was well within the realms of possibility, especially if we could keep playing like we were, with 29 wins out of the previous 38 games.
How wrong I was.
Humbling is not a strong enough word to describe the journey we've been on during the last 190 games. Whereas I thought we would see our number of wins steadily increase at a faster pace compared to our losses, we've been frustrated time and time again. Other than a good run during the first half of December, where we went 22 wins to 6 losses, the entire rest of the run saw our total losses slowly catching up to the number of wins.
And today I hit the 200 win mark, with 181 losses on the board. Nowhere near as comfortable as I hoped it would be. Yes, we've stretched our margin by a further 10 wins, but it could have been a great deal more if not for silly players disconnecting or playing like idiots. Yet again, barring maybe two or three times in the entire run, the idiots and AFKers always seemed to be on our team.
If there's a player in the game who constantly snowballs into the entire enemy team with no backup, nine times out of ten that player is on our team. If there's a player that just stands there while Nidalee spear after Nidalee spear hits them in the face, nine times out of ten that player is on our team. Well you get the picture.
It's just very frustrating. As I'm not a great player, I just try not to do anything stupid, and play the team game. So to have reached the goal I had set myself, I'd have needed more reliable players than that.
Here's some sad pointless stats about the last 190 games:
- My largest win streak was 7, and my largest losing streak was 6.
- My most played champs were Soraka (16), Annie (10), Warwick (10) & Shyvana (9).
- I performed best on Garen (6/0), Annie (7/3), Warwick (7/3), Sona (5/1), Miss Fortune (4/1), & Sejuani (3/0).
- I performed worst on Karma (1/5), Soraka (6/10) & Amumu (1/4).
I know the stats don't tell the whole story, as team comps and how the players behave has a great deal to do with it, but the above info shows some surprising twists compared to last time. The game continues to love giving me Soraka to take to the Abyss, but whereas before she was my angel of ARAM, recently she's been a bit of a curse. I picked up her dryad skin, and I'm guessing she doesn't like wearing green, as since that day I've been really struggling to find wins with her. A 1/4 win ratio on Amumu is also very bad, especially considering how well Scoob can use him.
Though it was not all bad. Unlocking Sona, Sejuani and Galio have all brought me some good wins, and I've turned it around with Miss Fortune for the most part, though I think her recent update definitely helped. I even got some wins with Nidalee at long last, going 2 for 2 in her 4 games.
One thing I've learned over these last few months is that it's a bit stupid setting targets that rely on total strangers, so I'm not going to do it again.
Getting explodified as Warwick
My allies can't prevent Zac from grabbing that Soraka booty
Our enemies defend their tower with sneakily placed Rek'Sai tunnels
Elise and Miss Fortune get a rocket up their asses
Stretching my spider legs to leap into the chaos
Taking a Miss Fortune ult right to the face
Warwick strutting his funky stuff
My 200th win happens while I'm dead. Typical.
5th October 2015 - Made It
I'm being naughty here and uploading this blog entry without completing a game, but it still needed to be done as I have just managed to hit a target I've been aiming at for the last few months. Also, it's been a long while since I've done any League coverage, even though it is still my most played game, and has been for the last couple of years.
So, me and Scoob really got into playing ARAMs late last year, but I had to drop out for around 6 months because I couldn't trust my internet. At the time we stopped playing, I had quite a lot more losses than wins, not helped by a massive 11 game losing streak back in December, or by all the people on our team who acted like idiots or ditched the game entirely.
When we got back into ARAMs in August, I made myself a strict target to hit 100 wins before 100 losses. Lots of study concerning runes, masteries, builds and tactics followed, finally allowing me to play a bit better and managing to finish games with more kills than deaths.
We really started to pick up some momentum, and today it happened that I hit those 100 wins with 91 losses on the board. We only lost 9 of our last 38 games, which is good considering the losses we were picking up some months ago.
I was very worried loading into the last game, as typically I ended up with a champ I'd never used before, being Azir. I had no idea what I was doing, but we managed to pull out a very close win. Near the end, I even had a chance to take their Nexus myself, but couldn't quite manage it before they caught up to me and took me down. But still, we won in the end and the goal had been reached.
I looked up some pointless stats from the match history website, but it only tracks the last 186 games, so my first 5 ARAMs must have been played before the new match history was created. Oh well. But from the last 186 games:
- My largest win streak was 8, and my largest losing streak was 11.
- My most played champs were Morgana (11), Elise (10) and Soraka (10).
- I performed best on Soraka (9/1), Elise (8/2) and Nami (3/0).
- I performed worst on Evelynn (1/5), Miss Fortune (0/4) and Nidalee (0/3).
I'm especially salty about the single loss with Soraka. It would have been really nice to be unbeaten in her 10 games, which looking back would also have given me a 12 match win streak. But it was not to be, mainly due to two of our team mates spoiling it, with a Singed player refusing to play, and a suicidal Wukong player. There was only so much healing I could do man...
Me and Annie bringing all the CC
Getting caught by the enemy team
Commanding my soldiers
Trying to claim all the glory for my 100th win, but failing
Getting that big 100 with 9 matches to spare
Last 186 ARAMs, newest to oldest
7th October 2014 - The Ancient Crusade
A marathon of an entry kicks off with the completion of another old Amiga game, in the form of Space Crusade. The board game of this got me into wargaming back in the early 90s, and I also played the computer game a little bit with my friends. I don't ever remember finishing a single mission properly, on the board game or the computer game. But that has changed now with this completion.
I know it's old and simple, but the game was a pain to get through. It was just so slow, constantly switching to pointless little animations that got old real quick. I'd have preferred if there was an option to turn those off. There were other annoying things such as the Soul Suckers being present instead of the Genestealers for some reason, and a few graphics bugs, which may have been down to the emulator.
I went into this controlling both the Imperial Fists and the Ultramarines, not knowing that the Blood Angels are supposed to have the best cards. Still, it made it more of a challenge I guess. Overall it was quite easy, up until the last couple of missions anyway. That was when the weaker Imperial Fists got slaughtered twice when under heavy close assault from many enemies. But the Ultramarines with their better close combat cards and medkit managed to forge a path through every level. Kind of a shame, as I prefer the Fists to the Ultramarines, but oh well.
The Ultramarines deploy
Trapping enemies in doors
A Marine loses his head, and his body
That room is gonna be interesting...
A huge rumble kicks off
Gretchin beat up a Marine
Commander Keifer is killed by a Soul Sucker
That's a Dreadnought not a Soul Sucker. Silly game.
Commander Goldstock fights for his life
Launcher Marine cleaning up the town
In the final mission, the Fists are destroyed
The Ultramarines are able to destroy the Chaos Cube
Don't look so smug, you silly smurf
Another game I thought I could quickly blast through and tick off the completed list was Star Wars Dark Forces. I got to the last level of this back on my original PC in the 90s, but never managed to beat it. Recently I found there was a mod for the game called DarkXL which made it a bit more up to date. After installing the game using DOSBox, I was soon playing the DarkXL version. However, I came up against several problems which stopped me in my tracks. Firstly, the game's very loud music can not be turned down or off using the mod, and also the graphics were incredibly dark with no brightness or gamma control in sight. Also, reading the t'interwebs, there are many bugs with the mod that make the game impossible to finish anyway.
So instead, I booted up the classic game on its own, but had issues there also, particularly the lack of mouse control and the lack of targeting reticule. Just how did I play like that back in the day?
Hopefully, DarkXL will get updated, as it is still in alpha. If it does, I'll be back to this in the future, but for now it's going back to its forgotten corner where it belongs...
Here, have one of my red diamonds
Darth Vader argues with Colonel Mustard
Sit down nerd
The emulator got a further workout when I had a bit of a fad recently on good old Sensible Soccer. I played four leagues on the trot, each one including more and more teams as I thought of new ones to create. It was honestly quite a bit harder than I remember it when I was a kid, and I continually failed to win the title until the fourth league where I really knuckled down. Even then, throughout the course of the madness, I had a fair few second half meltdowns, playing very badly in the second half after doing good work in the first.
But it was so much fun to just go nuts on a fondly remembered game from twenty-odd years ago.
Angron scores passed me for Chaos Utd...
...so I fight Chaos with chaos
Scoring passed the DC comics team
Going for the lunge
Everyone's on their arse
Marvel's keeper tries to head it out
Only Marvel beat me on the way to the title
The midfield battle against the Skumsplattaz
Great save by Aquaman in the DC goal
Champions at last
Me and Scoob have continued in our efforts to find other interesting multiplayer games to play, but unfortunately none of them have really worked for us.
Up first, we tried Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine from Humble Indie Bundle 11. This was fun enough, but after a few levels we quickly got bored, and the blocky art style really spoiled it in my opinion. Had the graphics been created with a sharper, more up to date style, without all the blockiness, I may have continued a bit more.
We also tried Empire Earth which I'd grabbed from GOG, as I was hoping for an interesting strategy game after the failure that was HOMM 3. This thing was a bit of a ball ache to get into, and it seems to be one of those games that starts off slow and builds up to the action. It didn't help that it seemed very close in style to the old Age Of Empire games. I'm not ruling out coming back to this, but if we really fancy playing a game of this type I'm sure we would just go and play Galactic Battlegrounds.
And then we tried one that I bought a while ago, System Shock 2, that I was really looking forward to getting into, mainly because it can be played 3-player co-op, and I thought me, Scoob and JIK could give it a go. In the end, I got tired of waiting for all of us to be available, so me and Scoob tried a 2-player game. I think I'd built it up in my head far too much, and was greatly disappointed. This thing was all kinds of clunky, especially the HUD and inventory. The combat and controls were also slow and frustrating, and we had no real idea what was going on. I went in expecting an interesting FPS horror game, and got psychic monkeys shooting energy balls at us. Hmmph.
Ever since Riot activated intermediate bots in custom games in LoL we've been challenging ourselves more and more against them. The latest challenge, and as far as we can tell, the hardest one we can create, was to go against five burst champions who could root or stun while using fairly weak melee champs ourselves. When the enemy bots grouped up we could not touch them, and they beat us a few times until we changed tactics. Rather than try and team-fight them, we instead outplayed them and pushed the lanes to their base. We were easily able to take their nexus down before they touched our own, with just five kills in the entire game. We have since gone on to beat them with a host of different champs and in straight up fights, so we'll need to find a new challenge...
I see you, copper!
No idea what just happened
The not so scary ghosts of System Shock 2
The definitely not scary monkeys
Another challenge complete
Also had a bit of an RTS revival recently playing a few sessions with Mr. Gallear. Included were some games of Rome: Total War for the first time since my days as a Wild Monkey general. We also played some Soulstorm, with one 2v2v2v2 battle lasting nearly two hours, and another 2v2v2v2 battle where every army was Necrons. Crazy fun.
My wonderful pink cavalry ride to the aid of Mr. Gallear
Catching the enemy from behind
The massive 4v4 battle stretches down into the valley
The Living Saint takes a beating
The Ecto-1 sure looks different these days
March of the Necrons
The enemy Necrons stand no chance
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