Welcome back to cold, hard reality from a long three day weekend (for those who celebrate Labor Day). I’m trying to shake out the cobwebs and get back to the routine, but I have a feeling it’s going to take most the morning to do so. In the meantime, allow me to reflect on all the gaming done over the weekend.
FFXIV: The Two Year Reward
I’ve kinda been trying to sneak a break from FFXIV when I can lately, since all that’s on my roster is running EX daily dungeons for Eso armor. I re-iterate that dungeon running is not my favorite activity in FFXIV, but earning armor and progressing with Syn keeps me somewhat on track. I’m at the point where I personally don’t care about capping Eso for the week (not that I ever cared about capping any tomes that had a cap in the past, to be honest), so just getting a few runs down at a more leisurely pace is actually a good thing for me.
The FC did decide to blitz through all three floors of the Crystal Tower on Friday night to unlock the content for folks who had never done it before. I think they were also working on clearing EX Primals on Sunday, though this still remains an activity I’m not very interested in for myself. Maybe I’ll do them someday, but if I don’t, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on an integral part of the game.
In the middle of it all, I forgot to note that I earned my 720 Day Vet Reward in FFXIV – the Advent Attire. Meant to look like Cloud’s outfit from Advent Children, I’m supposing. It’s a neat reward (though I’ll have yet to see if any of my characters actually will wear it), and mind boggling to think that I’ve been subbed to FFXIV for 2 years straight now. I pay my sub monthly, so this isn’t a reward in advance or anything.
I don’t think I can remember ever being subbed to a game for 2 years without a break before. That’s really a testament to FFXIV (despite my dungeon grumbles).
Last week, I was stoked to be the recipient of the Blaugust Anook Community Choice Award! I was given a choice of the prize that I wanted, and I selected Cities Skylines, which is a game that’s been sitting at the top of my Steam wishlist since it first released.
I really wanted to make some time to try this out, and since it was a gift/prize, thought it was only polite to do so. Right?
Anyhow, almost 16 hours later, I have nothing but good things to say about this game. It really is a blend of a more modern feeling city builder with a lot of the old skool gameplay (I remember the days of connecting tons of water pipes under my Sim City and still wondering why the wasn’t water getting to my residents).
It does have some measure of challenge to it – guides encouraged me to not get frustrated if I needed to scrap and restart cities, and to learn from the experiences. That’s exactly what I’ve done, as I run across little snags here and there that ended up sending what looked like a flourishing city straight into failville in matters of minutes. My newest city, however, seems to be surviving, and I’ve reached the Grand City level, which thankfully unlocked a solar power plant.
I haven’t even touched mods or anything like that and I’m still having a ball. I can only imagine what I’ll do once I start messing with player-created content. 🙂
My zombie hunting troop surprised me when they requested to revisit H1Z1 this weekend. It’s been a long time since we’ve loaded up this game, and everything I built previously has long been washed away in the restarts. Despite that, we rolled up new characters and headed back to our favorite spot at the church.
There were a number of features and improvements that struck us from almost the moment we logged in. First, and best of all, they made it so that nighttime wasn’t so dark and nasty. I know there was a thing where Smed (back when he was still heading this up) noted that players just tend to log off or hole up for the night in H1Z1, and it’s because it was simply too dark to do anything constructive. Well, they fixed that, and very slowly, my team started to grasp that going out to do stuff at night was actually a thing now.
This is a good thing, because night cut our productivity and game time down drastically before. It was the point where I’d previously just hole up in the base, or hover around the base to do cooking or something. Now, we can actually go out and scavenge, cut wood, explore, or whatever freely during the night. Thank you dev team!
The next thing we noticed was the start of a weather system. For the first time ever, we saw it rain in game. Of course, being alpha, this is still in the works. It was raining out of a sunny or clear night sky. But the rain has some neat effects – the water and reflections on surfaces look good, and it’s neat to hear the drumming of the rain on buildings when you go inside.
There’s also some cons to the rain, such as campfires in the world getting too soggy to light. We even built a deck extension over our campfire to keep it out of the rain. It lit for a while, but once it went out, we couldn’t light it again until the rain stopped. And sometimes the rain goes on for days.
We really appreciated the changes to grouping that were added. Now, when you group, you see your team members off on the left side, and you can actually voice chat only within your group if you need to. Also, people in your group have a large green chevron (as my team calls it) over their head, indicating position and making it easier to see team members from a distance. Nice changes!
Aside from that, the number of bears have been reduced significantly. Prior versions of this game, it was more like we played keep-away from bears than anything else. We always had like two or three wandering around our camp area we had to keep an eye on, and only sniped them later when we had the guns and ammo to take them down. This version, we played quite a bit over two days and only had a few run-ins with bears. Much more balanced.
They’ve also fixed wolves – which used to dance and jump around people sporadically while attacking, making it really hard to kill them. They hold still now, and it’s much more reasonable to try to survive against them.
There’s been a lot of improvements with building, too. Mostly little things that I noticed – like deck additions, easier alignment and placement, small shacks that sit on the ground, but can also be built on the deck. Nice progress in this area.
Overall, though, I still don’t see a large population of people playing this game (on our PvE server). I also still feel though the foundation of the game is there, there’s not enough here for me to feel drawn to play for a long period of time. There’s no reason to build anything up right now because wipes will just clear it eventually. And the one time we tried to explore an actual town (Cranberry), the place was so shockingly overrun by zombies that we couldn’t even come close to approaching it. We tried, and it was like an endless spawn or something, way more than the four of us could handle.
So H1Z1 is getting polished up, but still has a long way to go.
The other big news of the weekend is that I bought a Wii U. But this is too much to tack on to the end of this post. I’ll write about it later. 🙂