Everything You Could Want To Know About DOOM (2016)

DOOM Campaign Gameplay Overview Video

I’ve gushed so much over DOOM on stream and Twitter that I totally forgot to put something here. Streaming takes up TONS of time, and I’ve also got an offline hobby, another special project, a full time job, and of course life itself to live. I’m finding myself more and more pressed for time. So it really sucked when I made my initial DOOM review video. It was bad. So I redid it into something I am a little more proud of. It’s spoiler free. I’m especially proud of the timing at the end.

If you watch the video, and are just totally compelled to try DOOM afterwards, you’re in luck. Currently the first chapter is free as a demo. Much like the first chapter was put out as shareware back in 1993. Lots of nostalgia there, and a very slick move by Bethesda. Do it soon though, they’re threatening to end it soon. Type “DOOM demo” on Steam, and that’ll get it for you.

The End of DOOM Credits

I found the ending credits to be really amazing, both graphics-wise and music-wise. It’s an incredible montage to both this game, and the ones that came before it. Incredibly well done all around.  I captured it all with pretty minimal commentary by me. There are spoilers, so watch at your own risk. It’s just under 4 minutes, but I turned off all the ads and stuff. I’ve already watched it three times personally.

Future DOOM Plans

I’m toying with redoing the game on stream again. I don’t think it was a big hit with my viewers, but being bad at a game can do that too. I haven’t played FPS games for years, RPG games even longer. I enjoyed the game a ton, and think I may enjoy doing it again on a higher difficulty.

SnapMap additions are coming. This is one of the big features I wanted to take advantage of when I bought DOOM. I have an idea already in my head, but the current features of SnapMap won’t quite let me bring it to life. Luckily an update later this month will open the features I need. I’m very excited to work on that, though it may have to be an off-stream project because again, not sure how popular level building is with viewers.

There’s also an expansion to come, and with that ending? Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Any world. Including Mars.

You can watch my entire DOOM campaign here!

My WarCraft Movie Review (No Spoilers)

warcraft movie title

Warcraft Movie Creates New Fans And Rallies Old Ones

I think the marketing for this movie is pretty tough. Only because of how successful World of Warcraft is. Whenever someone who doesn’t play World of Warcraft hears Warcraft, they probably relate it to World of Warcraft. This Warcraft movie, however, takes place 30 years before World of Warcraft. The movie takes place during Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, which is the very first Warcraft game released almost 22 years ago. The Warcraft movie is the origin story for Blizzard’s franchise masterpiece. It has apparently been panned by critics, but with over $300 million in it’s opening weekend, it’s clear the critics just don’t understand. And how can they? I’m betting most of them haven’t touched a single Warcraft title.

My Own Introduction To The Warcraft Franchise

The story stays right on track with the first game. I remember getting the game one Christmas. I had no idea what a WarCraft was then, but I ended up playing it that same morning (Human campaign of course). I had a conversation about it with my Dad not long ago, and he still remembers picking it up for me. I don’t know what made him think I’d like it, but I am eternally grateful he did. It’s an RTS game, so there wasn’t much story. I was a little fuzzy on the details, but as the movie unfolded, I was able to pick out small bits and pieces of the story I remembered from 20+ years ago.

Nothing But Praise For The Film

The cast was great. A couple of the supporting stars were familiar faces, but the main cast were relative unknowns, at least to me, and I like that. The music was also well done. No creative takes on a particular tune from the games, or extreme rock or hip-hop conversions. A completely original score, but it holds to what you’d expect from the Warcraft games. I think the movie catered more to the Alliance perspective though. You got about as much Horde story as you would playing an Alliance campaign or character. This is going to be a challenge moving forward, I think. Balancing Alliance and Horde perspectives. If you’re a Horde fan, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I have very little experience from the Horde perspective as I have been devoutly Alliance from day one.

My favorite takeaway from the movie is the costumes. Warcraft has always had slightly overstated weapons and armor in its games. It always makes you wonder if someone actually could wield a sword that big? Or if that armor could actually be light enough to move around in at all? It is a huge part of what I love about the franchise, and the movie doesn’t disappoint in this regard. That signature armor of the Alliance has remained unchanged throughout the entire franchise. I have fond memories of trying to gather all the materials for it, and dressing up as a Stormwind Guard in game. I’d love a replica of any of the weapons in this movie. A $249 resin replica of Lothar’s sword is available, but that’s more than my wallet can bear unfortunately.

No End In Sight

I am extremely hopeful that the movie does well financially, as I cannot wait to see more. Personally, I think the Warcraft movie starts at a (relative) low point in the WarCraft story. WarCraft III begins the story of Arthas, and one of my favorite storylines ever. Naturally I was instantly nostalgic for my early days in World of Warcraft after leaving the movie. With the free transmogs you get for logging in, and free codes for new accounts they are giving away at theaters, I of course had to log in. I streamed the Alliance Human and Horde Orcs starting areas. I hadn’t been through the human starting area since Cataclysm, and I think I never rolled an Orc so it was a fun little experiment. I plan to play World of Warcraft more soon. While I am not to keen on the PvP changes in store for Legion, it is still Warcraft. Even though I have a feeling World of Warcraft’s best days are behind it, there’s always WarCraft IV to look forward to. With Overwatch launched, and Legion all but complete, that frees up a lot of development time for Blizzard. Assuming they haven’t started on it already.

 

Warcraft PvP in Legion Not Looking Good

legion pvp bad

Blizzard May Have Already Shattered My Dreams For Legion

I have always thought World of Warcraft had the best PvP ecosystem. In fact, Warcraft PvP is where it all began. I can remember the exact moment I discovered my love for it. I decided to check out what battlegrounds were all about for the first time. Up pops Warsong Gulch.

The horn. The gates. CHARGE! FOR THE ALLIANCE!  AAAAAAAAAH!

No idea what I was doing, I ran to the middle. ATTACK!

ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK! ATT– dead.

I released, I was in the graveyard, waiting on the rez timer.

My hands were SHAKING. This was freakING AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

That’s all she wrote kids. When the PvP ranks first came out, I disappeared from my guild for three months to get as high as I could. My PvP addiction was born, and it was battlegrounds, world PvP, and Arenas for the next 6+ years.

Remembering that moment so vividly is what makes what I have to share with you so sad.

Blizzard Is Regressing It’s PvP Design

I have always seen World of Warcraft development as moving forward. Single server PvP queues to multiserver queues, dynamic questing that changes the landscape with your progress, and now shared realms where you can group up with any friend on any server. Well, in a recent post to the Dev Watercooler series, they mention two huge changes to PvP that are not only backwards-thinking, but shocking. These changes are to how gear is obtained and what stats you can get on that gear.

RNG Gear Drops

Gear is now going to drop randomly at the conclusion of your PvP battleground or Arena. You could get the same gear twice, or even five times. SWTOR had this mechanic initially back in 2012. People absolutely HATED it, so it was changed in their first major PvP update. Blizzard states that they want the same emotional highs and lows PvE players get while obtaining their gear. PvP and PvE have always been, and always will be, two different experiences.  They are completely opposing styles of gameplay, so why would you try to reward players the same way? Some people like working for a paycheck every two weeks, some people like getting paid through commission, others like contract work. It’s different kinds of pay for different kinds of work. Unfortunately, this is the lesser of these two evils.

Gear Disparity Among Players

Back in – I don’t know when – better ranked Arena players had better gear. It mystifies me to this day why you give better skilled players, better gear. In PvE you get better gear to defeat tougher challenges. In PvP, if you’re the top dog, there is no tougher challenger. Luckily, World of Warcraft went away from this absurd mechanic. In PvP, everyone has the same gear. Skill now determines the better player, not gear. Until Legion hits, that is. Blizzard is re-instituting this archaic practice. This is the change that really hurts the most. I could live with RNG, but now if I don’t rank high early in the season, everyone above me is going to have better gear than me. It’s an uphill battle for anyone who can’t do Arenas/Ranked BGs non-stop, for hours on end every day.

The Reaction From Players

Whenever I disagree with a development direction, I always wonder if maybe it’s just me. I’m definitely not, and my followers are LEGION. 782 comments currently sit on the article, more than 30 of which were added while I was writing this. More than two weeks later and it’s STILL getting attention. By and large, the vast majority of players commenting do not want these changes. Perhaps this is just the vocal minority though right? Well let’s take a look at who likes the changes. Facebook likes currently sit at 29. Again, this is after two weeks. Let’s compare this to something pretty tame. The Warcraft movie posts wouldn’t really be fair because I think we all collectively are excited about that. Let’s take the pretty boring post on Extended Draw Distance coming to the game posted not a week ago yet. That has 40 Facebook likes already. There’s 135 comments, which I am not even going to check. More people are excited to see further in game, than they are about the upcoming PvP changes. That’s sad. Really, really sad.

pvp flag

Creative Blogger Award

I was nominated by Targeter on his Imperial Intelligence blog for a Creative Blogging Award. Thank you Targeter! I like Shintar’s description of what a Creative Blogging Award is best, “a chain letter”. Kinda makes it more of a nomination than an award, but that’s just as good to me. Knowing people read, and like, what you write is the most rewarding part of writing. A quick glance at Imperial Intelligence shows that we share A LOT in common. We’re not interested in Overwatch, we’re both nostalgic for the ‘good ole days’ of World of Warcraft, we both have characters on Ebon Hawk in SWTOR, and the game Rebel Galaxy caught our attention. 4 for 4, we’re doing good.

SO, to fulfill my part of this nomination chain, here are the rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and share a link back to their blog.
  • Post 5 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15-20 people for this award.
  • Let the people you nominated know, that you have nominated them.
  • Post the rules so everyone will understand what to do.

Now that 1 & 5 are done, I’ll just go in order. I think #2 is the one that everyone wants to read anyway. So five facts coming up:

  1. I love me some dinosaurs. Before ARK and The Isle, there was a life size velociraptor skeleton in my living room. It was there when my wife came over for the first time. No idea what she must have thought. I also have a secret dinosaur project website.
  2. I don’t collect weapons, but I collect weapons. Pistols, long guns, knives, swords. Even a random throwing tomahawk. All real, no wall-hangers. Some are inherited, some I just kinda picked up that looked interesting.
  3. I enjoy tabletop gaming when i’m offline, specifically Warmachine. I’ve also played X-Wing & Armada, the Star Wars flavors. Now I just need a job in the gaming industry to live the 24/7 gamer life dream.
  4. I used to hate cats. I’m a dog person. Then I met my wife’s cat. We simply co-existed for a while until one Christmas we got a baby kitten. My wife’s cat jumped up in my lap when I tried to show the new kitten a little attention. We’re now bestest buds. He tucks me in every night. Now I’m a cat person too.
  5. Finally, my favorite color is red. I know it’s kind of a cop-out, but I’m actually feeling pretty ill right now. Coming down with something, and actually had to call out sick from work.

As for nominating people, Shintar and Ravanel are the ones I know best. Njessi is always entertaining too. They’ve all been nominated already though, so I’ll just consider myself a good judge of character. I don’t think I even know 5 other bloggers total, much less 15 or 20. I’ll take recommendations in the comments below if someone knows someone?

Now just to let them know…and we’re done! Quick, easy, and probably better than the QQ I was going to spew about the new Warcraft PvP system for Legion. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that next week.

Dreadnought Heartache

dreadnought ship choices

Is Dreadnought Really Free to Play?

You know that game you hear about, and get instantly excited about? It’s such an awesome concept, or maybe something you’ve ALWAYS wanted to see! Dreadnought was one such game for me. I enjoy the vehicular shooters (World of Warships, Galactic Starfighter, etc) very much. I heard about it last year and signed up for the Alpha. In January I got into the Alpha testing sessions. Finally I heard Dreadnought was in going into closed beta, and that I could start streaming it! And stream it I did, aaalllll weekend. Free to play Sci-Fi capital ship combat – what’s not to like? The monetization. I’ll get to that, but first I want to explain why it hurts so much. It hurts because Dreadnought is a really fun game.

What’s So Good In Dreadnought

The graphics are amazing in Dreadnought. Everything just looks amazing. Especially some of the planetary environments; my favorite being the ice planet. The ships are well done too, and I like most of the design choices too. This is pretty unusual because in most games I generally like only a small selection of what’s available. It’s all eye candy of the first order.

Most maps offer fun and rewarding gameplay. They offer an intense fire-fight where you can go in as close as you want, or stay back as far as you want. Every ship type has a place in every battle. The one exception to this is the space map. It’s a sniper camp-fest where the first person to even try and engage the enemy at medium/close range loses. A real snoozer. While this one map is kind of a stick in the mud, it’s not worth avoiding the entire game over it. I’m sure the beta will shake out the poor design.

The ships have mostly distinct roles. I covered those roles a few weeks ago if you’re interested. The slight exception is the Dreadnought and the Destroyer. The tradeoff is armor on the Dreadnought for firepower and maneuvering on the Destroyer. The tradeoff is very slight though, and given you can share some of the modules, I don’t think it’s really enough. Again, not something to avoid the game over, just an observation. The game is in the first stages of beta, so balance will undoubtedly come.

Essentially, there are no mechanics or gameplay or balance issues of any kind that would keep me from playing the game.

The Betrayal From Nowhere

So by all accounts, Dreadnought was using your regular Free to Play model. F2P games like this generally charge for premium ships(fully upgraded, not better stats), paying for cosmetic skins, and paying for accelerated XP gain. Nothing new or controversial here. The week started with founders packs, and the weekend was filled with hype. Overall positive feedback on the game during it’s launch week. Then came the first patch.

Let me explain really quick what Officer Briefings (OB) are, because that’s about to become important in our story. OBs are a group of ship modules. Think of them as the jewelry pieces of your gear. Rings & Neckpiece, for example. They aren’t your main stats, but they provide some stats. You get a set of OBs with each ship. As you level up, you unlock different options (dodge instead of block, crit instead of hit, etc). Not more powerful, just more options. They cost 1 FP during the launch week. FP is the earned currency like gold or unit XP in Dreadnought.

Well, after the first patch, OBs suddenly cost Greybox Points (GP). GP is the premium currency for Dreadnought that you have to spend real money to get at this point, so that means to unlock OBs, you now have to spend real money. Or using our jewelry example, you’ll get stock pieces for your character, but to min/max properly you need to $$$ up. Instantly, Dreadnought became P2W, and a $#!+storm ensued. To make a sad story short, it was reverted the next day with an explanation. Basically they said there would be a way to earn GP just by playing the game eventually, and that they would wait until they had that system in place before returning OBs cost back to GP. And for me, this is where the train wreck starts.

Dreadnought P2W

I was/am so invested in this game, that this actually makes me angry. It’s such a fun game! Why in the world would you hide game mechanics behind a pay wall? Even if you make premium currency available through regular gameplay, why even make it cost premium currency to begin with? They apologized in their letter of explanation, but I just don’t buy it. Not all of it. Somebody somewhere was told to physically code the system whereby stats were purchased with PREMIUM CURRENCY. How is this then a surprise to the developer? How is it an oversight that options affecting gameplay would only be available for real money? DURING A BETA? It’s not a game bug that made OB cost GP. This is why it’s hard to for me to accept as an oversight.

Being in beta may sway you in giving the benefit of the doubt. I can buy into that in part. Unfortunately though, not the important part. If putting stats behind a paywall is an acceptable choice for the developer, what else will be put behind a paywall in the future? Progression? Entire classes of ships? This slippery slope of  is what is now game for monetization worries me most about continuing forward with Dreadnought. There is no word on what they may or may not consider for monetization. That’s a problem for me. Dreadnought, above all else, deserves to get paid. It’s a business, not a charity. And even still, charities need money. Compensating Dreadnought is not the problem. The problem is how they failed to disclose their monetization method. DOOM for example costs $59.99 up front, and you get full disclosure that there will be paid DLC coming. Right now, Dreadnought is ‘free’ to play, where free may as well be an asterisk.  Even though it’s in beta, players should have a good idea of what the costs are behind Dreadnought. Instead, as it sits now, some stats will be behind some kind of paywall that may or may not be able to be overcome though in-game play.

Things Could Get Worse

Lots of people are writing this off as a beta mistake, praising the devs for their flexibility. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are missing the crucial fact that OB for GP will return. Let me quote the most important line of their apology to you. “A change like making Officer Briefings (Perks) only available via GP before the entire suite of GP-gaining options was available was a mistake on our part.” The emphasis on BEFORE is theirs. OBs will be returning to GP, and most people I talk to about Dreadnought don’t know or understand this. The second storm could very well be worse than the first. I would think the Devs themselves would be more sensitive to this. All that development time and resources spent on delaying the inevitable.