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. 

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.”

Free Torchlight? Great game, shitty distribution.

A free copy of Torchlight sounds good to me, so when the offer below ping’ed my email I started jumping through hoops to get it. Several resets, installations, and such later and I still have to wait for a key. Stuff it.

My advice to people is: unless you’re already using Arc (a steam style launcher, which is perhaps used for Champions Online or the StarTrek game?) for games don’t bloody bother.

When you have a problem – try their facebook link, which tells you to try the Support site, which has a different login to be created (wtf?), or open a ticket, which then links to an article which confirms that you’ll have to wait for a key AFTER you login to the game. Huh?

Too many hoops to jump through, a process too unclear, and frankly there are better ways to run a promotion than this malarky. Skip this and do something else.

I’m willing to bet thumping your head on the wall while listening to One Direction’s back catalog on a freighter ship bound for Iceland in winter is better than this crap.

Aside – Why in a god’s green earth does each game, game distributor, reseller, or whatever need a separate “launcher/service” to star their games? Blizzard get a pass because you can run the apps from the icons easily, and they’ve got 3+ games in the market that are current. I accept Steam happily too, although I’ve only two games on Steam at the moment.

Especially when they try to run in background and start when the PC does by default. We don’t need 5x different launchers sitting in the background chewing CPU and bandwidth, so stop frakking making these games use them. At least make the “optional” check boxes deselected.

TLDR = IF I WANT TO PLAY YOUR GAME I’LL CLICK THE ICON. DOLT!

See you online in a game which knows how to give things away, understands that hoops are painful, and at least tries to help. But Torchlight is (apparently) free at the moment, and you’ll need to see how much pain you’re willing to go through. I certainly think the game itself was great when it was released. Great game, shitty distribution.

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Grumpy TyphoonAndrew today. I pity the virtual monsters I’ll meet tonight.

More on Adventure Era

I’ll admit to playing this little IOS game too much. So much so that I think I can offer some tips to other players.

  • Plan your login/play times so that you match your expected gapto the work effort of tasks. For example there is no point using an extra worker in a task to get it completed faster if you won’t login till after the longer of the two times. Especially important for research and major upgrades which can take 8-24 hours. Click a long task before bed, and sleep happy.
  • You will need to reshuffle where your units are placed to fit in the new ones when land gets tight. I can see why the game does this (to drive in-game purchases) but so far it can be played without spending real money.
  • Stockpile your gold as a priority, because everything costs gold in the end. I made the mistake of having plenty of resources, and then struggling to pay to open up a new area of land. The next area of land I want is a steep purchase at 200,000 gold, but thankfully I’ve been focusing on gold as well as other resources so I can afford it. Plan to always have around double the gold of your next land purchase, because it seems relative to the cost of each research task  and the cumulative cost of upgrades.
  • Once you open the Trader, check it often. It is a great way to buy resources cheaply. The Trader becomes active a few moments after you login, and seems to be in sync with the gold leprechaun about half the time.
  • Research costs a hell of a lot too, so click through the next items you can see but not research yet, so you have an idea of what is coming.
  • The Pet serves no purpose. I read somewhere that it opens a new area of land at level 12, but mine hasn’t. Meh, disappointing. Perhaps it only opens when your level matched the pet?

Happy clicking.

Should mmo have difficulty settings?

Aside

Single player games tend to give players the choice of a difficulty setting, which they can do because the impact of that choice isn’t shared amongst anyone else. D3 on easy is darn easy, and I think there is nothing wrong with playing a game for silly easy fun. We don’t always need to be raiding Hard modes, just like you can’t eat pizza every night. In an MMO all the players tend to be in the same “game” so the game’s difficulty tends to be controlled in strictly controlled ways. Instances, special quests, achievements, collections, and special creatures are around for the folks who like a challenge, but generally speaking most players are playing the same game.

If you can kill 3x monsters in the starter zone at the same time without dying then you are at a certain level of game skill. If you need help, or get *repeatedly unlucky* then you become very accustom to running back to your corpse.

What if the game had a difficulty slider, which changed some options?

  • Rewards could be recognised (achievements) at different levels. We have this in raid modes, why not elsewhere?
  • Instances wouldn’t need to change, but perhaps a player using the lower setting is forgiven more in terms of damage taken, dps, healing, so that the other players don’t suffer because somebody is playing on easy.
  • A lazy player might always play on Easy mode, because they value easy fun over challenges. Perhaps they get slightly less rewards? Less cash to a casual probably isn’t an issue.
  • A dedicated player might be rewarded with more gold or increased special drop rates because of doing it the hard way.
  • The UI slider could apply for different reasons, so that even XP reward, death penalties, gold loss, and such are all configurable by the player. Perhaps even cofigurable per character and changeable in UI at anytime.
  • It would make Ironman style challenges supported as part of the game backbone.
  • It would add more bragging rights, which isn’t always a good thing, but depends on how it is used (gearscore & achievement linking?).
  • It might help farmers of special stuff.
  • Let learners learn. Let kids be kids.

Overall I’m not sure, but perhaps there is room for this.

* Repeatedly unlucky – ahem, meaning a fire stander? I used to rant in a furious way when folks said they were unlucky.

Just amid you are less skilled and get on with playing for fun. I did. The freedom of a noob is worth something.