Northgard, initial thoughts

Northgard Title image by Kurunya

Traditionally I hate RTS (real time strategy) as I like to ponder and choose and not feel like The game is a click-frenzy; however Northgard is so darn good I have to share. It is friendly to new players, has good gameplay which scales well, both single player campaign and multiplayer, and fantastic artwork. I grabbed it on a Steam sale and do not regret it. I’m still not confident that it’ll suit my game style and even in a basic game it feels chaotic. For now loving the game.

Legion flying (pathfinder), DK Mount, and Nightfallen rep Done

I’ve completed the Pathfinder achievement and gained flying in Legion. Crikey that was a long process – mainly due to the huge quest chains and the one required raid. I loved it regardless of the length of the quest chains as it felt a lot like a congruent story which was similar in style to what I would expect from a book or from  pen and paper rpg. I mean that to be very high praise.

I’m also very excited and pleased that is over. I don’t have time for alts but I am considering doing daily quests on one of my other level 110 characters to get and spend Order Resources; for gold. Would be nice to start Battle for Azeroth with a nest egg. It also makes alt levelling far easier.

I was also finally able to finish the DK class quests which grant the flying undead dragon, and also have got Exalted rep with the Nightfallen. The DK class quests are amazing! I think Legion was worth the effort purely due to the integrated storyline and class quests I’ve seen – and I’ve only seen the DK quest line and a little of the Druid line.

A huge week. Happy killing.

Legion Flying is not hard, it is time consuming

I’m still playing WoW Legion after returning 3 months ago – specifically I’m trying to see the story (meaning world quests, dungeons, and raid content on scrub level), and get the Flying Achievement. For the first few 5-6 weeks I didn’t think I cared about flying as it seemed a task for later, but now it frustrates me watching other players swoop in, complete something, and swoop out. I’m now 5 weeks into playing scrub/casually and creeping up on the farmable reps, and the (huge) zone quests in Suramar.

Legion Flying takes dedicated attention to get because it requires completing all the zone quests, considerable effort in reputation farming, and making sure you have travelled everywhere. Those tasks unto themselves are worth it because they help/force the player to see the content. I dislike how unfriendly to roadways and cumbersome some of the zones are (High Mountain is a disgrace). So Legion Flying is essentially very easy when compared to very difficult content like the Mage-Tower fights, however it takes a concentrated effort of many months when you play very casually.

If I get Flying, see the raids, and a second Legendary drop by the time the expansion ends then I will be happy. … In the pic blow is Mortigen wearing a terrible clown-suit leveling drops surrounded by a few ghouls (unholy spec), a bodyguard, and a quest follower.

WoW Art contest finalists are incredible

As reported by WoWHead – the finalists of the student art contest are fantastic. The selection has world of warcraft based in-game environments, new models, and animations.

Presented by Blizzard Entertainment’s University Relations and World of Warcraft development teams, the seventh annual Blizzard Student Art Contest has drawn to a close. After some fervent debate and impassioned deliberation, our judges sifted through the many remarkable entries and identified the winning entries.

Take a look. So, so great.

What did I play this weekend?

So what did I play this weekend? Well, two little little word games on my phone, a very short burst of Civ6 which I abandoned because the starting conditions were really poor after 20 turns, and World of Warcraft: Legion !

On WoW: Legion…

  • I’ve chosen to take my Druid into one area as a primary character, and play my Death Knight and a Demon Hunter through others. That way over the next 6 months I can see plenty of the zones, learn a few classes, and casually click my way through the world content. perhaps teh Druid will get there first, maybe the DK, lets see.
  • I love the story so far (only one zone finished, and the Druid is just on level 103).
  • Having the “special” mobs marked with a star on the map is handy and I’m always trying to kill/complete them.
  • Getting “free” artefacts is wonderful, but getting special storylines is even better. Frankly the weapons would not need to be “legendary” for this feature to be great.
  • I missed playing this style of game, and it took a little while or my fingers to remember the keyboard. I can’t smoothly fight while strafing around a target yet, but that will come again.
  • I stil suck at watching the mob, watching my cooldowns, and watching the area around me. I reversed my Druid Bear into another monster a few times, and thankfully Druid Tanks can still take a serious beating before they die.
  • I’ve died a few times, but not due to falling damage or AFK (yet). Repairs are not cheap.
  • The Demon Hunter feels like its a bit of a gimmick, but its also darn fun so far. I guess the Death Knight looked the same way too in Wrath of the Lich Kind, and its still my favourite class.
  • I’m not preordering the next expansion yet, as you need a level 110 character to unlock the new races via a rep grind. As I’ve not played Legion mainstory yet, the idea of rushing through it to just grind a rep seems silly. I’d also be surprised if the classes were not made available to players without the grind once the game is officially launched. The grinders get the races months early, whcih is a reward of sorts.
  • I also plan to farm some old dungeons or transmog, mounts and such, irritate the world around me, and make a general nuisance of myself.

Happy killing folks, TyphoonAndrew

More Civ6 Observations

Aside

I’m playing Civ6 steadily; a distraction from work-life combined with a hobby when the house is quiet. As such my frustrations with Civ-like games has returned a little because:

  • The starting click through movies and “click to continue” screens are horrid. This game’s UX is so bad that you need to click “OK” to get to the starting menu! Who does that!
  • The UX for political interaction is shite too – you click teh bottom left hand buttons to make choices and then close the screen with the top right! That’s UX fail.
  • I hate using and defending Spys. I’d love a mod which removes them from the game.The in-game interface is ugly, constantly re-allocating the is a pain, and I want more detail on what they are doing and their success ratios. I give up trying to promote them.
  • I’m now trying to learn the ins and outs of a Religious victory. Its nonsense at present. I’ll learn the Tourism one after I get the religious one down.
  • The Domination victory is by far the easiest. By far.
  • The starting position, presence of barbarian, and leader choice makes all teh difference. Those three factors are huge levers for success or failure. Yes that makes sense, but it also means some games are just dead from the start.

Anyway, on a lighter note – here is what happens in a sim game – a launch pad is next to sheep. Those poor sheep.

Civ6 update and benefit of DLC expansion

I’ve played around 320 hours of Civ now and still consider myself a novice. A key out-take from play so many hours as a novice is – this game has high replayability as a base game and does not need DLC to be worth buying. That’s excellent.

The new DLC expansion was released recently, again adding new content and also new game mechanics for Civ6. It introduces Eras, City Leaders, and a range of new sub-mechanics which will make the gameplay more complex. I’m holding off on buyig the expansion until I get a better grasp of the game as is.

PCGames – “Historic Moments award Era Score, and this is what determines what Age you will fall into as the era transitions. Reaching a certain threshold will trigger a Golden Age, but failing to do so will trigger a Dark Age. After receiving a Golden Age, the threshold is changed, and the next one is harder to achieve. But after receiving a Dark Age, the threshold is changed to make it a bit easier to get a Golden Age next time.”

The studio who creates civ6 has said they like DLC and microtransactions for their games, and can foresee doing more in the future (uptake is apparently very high for the DLC). I’d hate microtransactions to be in Civ but like the DLC small segments.

Civ6 - where a Mars spaceship and Sheep are side by side.

Refs:

Chuckle

Its been a while since I considered WoW and thats not going to change soon – however I came across a wow’er’s blog which discussed the early levels and couldn’t resist this old bad joke. Happy travels folks.wow_deadr

Autumnlands – a good read

Crossposting from my rpg blog – Autumnlands is a comic that I wasn’t sure about, but quickly liked. The story starts simply and gets more fantastic and magical as it progresses. After reading the first collection there is certainly more going on in the backstory that will be revealed than the initial story gives you – and I’ve several guesses that I’m keeping to myself for now. The wider story arc called “Tooth and Claw” plays out in issues I’ve not yet read but am looking forward to. Weird magic (floating cities, rituals of summoning, muto corpus / animal based hybrids in Ars Magica, lightning spells), beasties, rapid melee with swords and spears – what’s not to like?

Autumnlands by Image Comics

More impression of Civ6

Civ6 is a punishing (fun) game. I’m playing on the easiest level as a learner and the AI has a naggingly consistent propensity to totally wreck my beautiful plans. 

My biggest gripe is how shit the startup screens are. Huge ego stuffing symbols from the creators, then a single mouse click which you always need to do. 

Hey designers – if I don’t have a choice then just move on. Or allow me to click quickly through. IDGAF about your company name. I care about Civ. /grumble. 

I’ll say I’m generally winning or at least making good in roads but cripes – the AI is sometimes illogical. 

For example:

  • NPC civ plonked a city between two of my cities because there was just a sliver of space. Who does that! Bastards. 
  • Building walls is an almost must do, but they drain so much cash and production early on. Perhaps I need to build in close and not spread so far. 
  • The barbarians appear about 10 turns after your units declare war and swing over the other side of the map. Bastards. 
  • How do I reduce how many other NPC civs are present. So many contenders. Perhaps I need to start on a huge map. 
  • Who in hell knows how to start a religious victory style game? 
  • Why are the penalties for killing and razing a city so nasty in the early game? Isn’t this what civs did?

Good game though. 

Playing Civ6, newbie mistakes are great fun

I bought Civ6 a day ago and started playing. Wow, the game has changed since my old days of Civ and Civ2. The endeavours and strategies look like they will be the same but so much of the game interface has changed – for the better. Here are my impressions. 

  • I sat clicking like an idiot for a long while wondering why my setteler wouldn’t make a city when I pressed the B button. Even moving him around didn’t work, till I saw the build button. 
  • It took me ages to work out that Traders made roads. Good change, but tempting to use Romans as empire choice to get them automatically (so I read).
  • I still don’t know how to use Envoys or all of the political levers. Do spies exist anymore?
  • It starts so simple and ramps out of my comfort zone quickly. 
  • I’m yet to change the assigned population tiles for the city. 
  • I’m yet to suss how to use districts properly. 
  • I still want to crush everyone on the map with hordes of units, so maybe I should be playing the barbarians. 
  • I love and hate the new barbarians. Bastards are a pain but good for unit xp. 
  • Being a single player turn based game suits the home life I have, as I can walk away anytime. I almost grabbed my copy of MOO3 out of the box but decided a new game would be more fun. 
  • Getting the steam sale discount was ok, but I fear the ongoing temptation of DLC. 

I’m having so much fun discovering how to play a Civ game again. Just need to now get 60 hours in a day. 

Civ screenshot from the Interwebs

BattleTech Returns (maybe), turn based gameplay!

Polygon’s article on the Return of BattleTech is exciting. Huge Mechs, turn based strategy, nice graphics, hopefully Mech cutomisation. Yay, awesome! BattleTech via a Kickstarter campaign? Boo, but fair enough.

“The way the mechs move — they’re very slow and deliberate and stately — gives you get a sense of their size,” says McCain. “The camera shakes. There are particulates in their wake. Little cracks appear in the ground, or trees fall over. We want to evoke as much atmosphere and implied detail in the world as we can, to make everything feel like it has a sense of grandeur.”

Frustrated with Garrison Missions

This comment reflects some of my frustration with Garrison Missions:

I have 25/25 level 100 followers as well. All are epic. All are ilevel 630 or higher. I’ve seen at most *3* ilevel 630 quests in the past WEEK at least. And I keep getting nothing but quests for more exp. I don’t mind it *TOO* much since I have a salvage yard, but it’s really annoying when it plateaus into uselessness…

In my case I have 20x active followers, and two inactive. 9x Epic, 11 Rare. All are ilevel 610 or higher, 15x or so are ilevel 630 or higher, 2x are 645. Yet my available higher level (615 & 630) missions are rewarding gear that is below what my character can use, and not rewarding upgrades for the followers either. Further the list of missions contains a large amount of xp missions and frankly almost everything on the rewards lists is almost pointless.

So I get gear I cannot use and nothing to help improve the situation. That’s frustrating. It appears that the inactive followers also influence what missions are offered. That’s silly.

Garrison Missions need to be changed, and changed in a way that allows players to prioritise or alter what missions they get. The WoW Forum thread above has some reasonable suggestions. Here are a few:

  • Firstly increase the drop rate of Follower upgrades. God it is terrible now. Then when the list of active followers is wearing all epics, greatly reduce the drop rate of those rewards.
  • The gear rewards should be either potential upgrades, or don’t show them at all. There is no point doing a mission which rewards a 630 gear item when you’re wearing an epic. Particularly true when the same reward appears twice (i.e. the bloody trinkets).
  • Allow a player to select what type of reward they wish to prioritise (follower upgrades, gear upgrades, xp, gold) and the missions will tend toward that. Allow the selection to be changes per day.
  • Allow 10x missions per day to be “dropped” and replaced with different rewards? I dislike this as it is replacing a random unknown selection with another unknown random value.
  • Lower the cost of making a follower inactive. Where is the rationale that it is 250 gold? It means that I won’t collect any more than I need. Ever.
  • Inactive followers do not factor into the mission selection. I’m sure they are not meant to, but they must be.

I had more fun in the early days of doing garrison missions than now. We had more diversity in missions, better combos, and far more tangible rewards. What felt like an interesting mini-game and offered rewards for the character now feels like a waiting game and a grind.

barracks

What a nice new Runeblade!

Something fun from the salvage yard is the class specific gear drops which emulate the starting character gear. For Death Knights the gear-set is easily obtainable, except that a new two handed rune-sword model was added in WoD. It is a really nice looking weapon, and I’ve luckily found one in a crate. The weapon goes by many names depending on what the source is (quests, crates, etc) – Heart Lesion Greatsword.

What might be coming in WoW v6.1?

What might be coming in WoW v6.1? (blizzard official source, and wowhead’s views)

  • A Legendary follower for the garrison, as part of the legendary quest chain. Cool.
  • Ability to send tweets and screenshots out directly from the UI. Um, wow.
  • Better flight paths. Good.
  • Game-Time tokens tradable for gold. Maybe at this stage. #Plex
  • An heirloom tab, which might be wonderful, or might be pox.
  • Maybe the new Blood Elf models. Meh, not fussed.
  • Another raid. Good.

Bring it on, looking forward to it.

Molten Core at 100 done

Aside

Molten Core is done! I feel like I can de-stress a little as I’ve gained the mount and the helm, and don’t plan to return to there at 100 anytime soon. It was great to do though. I plan to open up an Alt now so they can also have a Garrison, to both feed my main and have a different leveling experience through Warlords.

For MC I joined an in progress fight so only had to fight the last 4 bosses, and our group had a far harder time on the trash than the bosses. Strategy wise I think there were enough folk who knew what to kill in what order, that everyone else just followed along – so it was like very old school MC. I missed Sam yelling for decurse, and thought that Ragnaros in particular had been toned back in terms of difficulty to make the experience more LFR friendly. Nobody made the joke about looting the damn dogs, sadly.

Art-MC

Finally level 100

Aside

My Death Knight Mortigen is finally level 100. He ding’ed in the Spire whilst handing in part of the Terrok story chain. Immediately I used the armor upgrades for level 100 I had earned from Follow Missions. Then I signed up for the Bronze challenge mode, and was extraordinarily lucky to get an epic weapon from the reward. Last night I also queued up for the “movie train instance” (Grim Rail Depot?) and fought through that instance with repeat wipes. It was worth it, due to the two 615 items which I won.

Aside – Grim Rail is a terrible instance for melee dps. Constantly avoiding ground effects, constantly moving, circling around opponents as they switch facing so often, and sprinting between foes. I’ve only been in there once, but I am almost certain that range have a better time. Blarrrg. Granted there may be better ways to do the fights than what I saw; I’ll see. I’m not looking forward to the heroic mode.

So I’ve only just ding’ed and I’m item level 604. Not bad for a dirty casual, but I need to keep the pressure on to get to 615 so that I can queue and repeat-wipe in Molten Core for the damn mount. The helm would be good, but I’m not going for that.