My E3 2018 Notes

I had a lot of fun co-streaming all the E3 events on Twitch. It will definitely be something I start to do more of in the future. I saw a lot of new games I’d like to give a first try. I’ve taken notes on what I found most interesting at E3 2018. I think Bethesda had the best overall show, but Ubisoft was a close second. I’ve highlighted my favorite announcement in each category. Let me know what your favorites were in the comments!

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Singleplayer open world RPG. Play as a Padawan that escaped the initial purge/Order 66.
  • Battlefield V – Pretty standard lobby shooter. Large scale area control mode coming, but no details.
  • Battlefont II -New squad system, thank goodness. Starfighter mode where you dogfight with hero ships! A new large scale sandbox where you capture command posts & attack/take out capital ships?! Sounds awesome!
  • C&C Rivals – Decent looking RTS mobile game.
  • Play to Give – ? Never heard of this before? Money gets donated to charities based on player hours played.
  • Anthem – Feb 22, 2019 launch. Open world, 4 person co-op. You wear Iron Man looking suits called Javelins. You can change javelins so you are not locked into a specific class. Only monetization is cosmetic, no loot boxes.

  • Doom Eternal – Further details in August at Quakecon! Takes place on Earth. I’m hoping for open world and co-op!
  • Fallout 76 – Open world! All humans are players! West Virginia setting, the good old south! Can co-op with your friends on servers filled with dozens of players. Can transfer servers anytime. Launches November 14. Preorder now starting at $59.99 USD.
  • Elder Scrolls 6 announced. No details. Open world and co-op could make this my first venture into the Elder Scrolls universe.

  • The Division 2 – Better graphics than the original. Boss’s armor falls off gradually as you do damage? 8 person raids coming. The Division 2 is set in Washington DC. Launches March 15 2019.
  • The Crew 2 – Open beta June 21st, June 29 launch. Preorder now for $59.99 USD. Open world across the entire United States! I really liked driving in Ghost Recon, could be a match made in heaven.
  • Skull and Bones – Takes place in the Indian ocean. You can Co-op PvE to take down enemies, then turn on each other to fight for the reward!
  • Rainbow 6 Siege – 35 million players! Parabellum is a free update.
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Singleplayer, but looked very interesting. Battle scenes looked very realistic, and doesn’t look like a lot of stealth gameplay. Male or female character. Releases Oct 3, 2018.

 

  • Jurassic World Evolution – Take control on micro scale! Pilot the helicopter, drive the jeep, fire the darts! Sickness systems gives the game some complexity. I received a copy from the devs at Frontier Developments and will have it on stream!
  • GTFO – 4 person horror co-op shooter. Stealth gameplay is a big part, making melee weapons important too! Very intense looking whether you’re sneaking or fighting. Only 2 maps so far, that’s how careful they are about level design! Wow! Baddies have kind of a Silent Hill type horror look.
  • PuBG – Massive War Mode? No details but might be good.
  • Mavericks: Proving Grounds – New (lol) Battle Royale game, but! with 1000 players?! Massive chaos could be a good spin.
  • Hunt: Showdown – New weapons, and a new monster – THAT YOU FIGHT IN THE WATER?!
  • Maneater – Play as a shark! SharkPG?! Emphasis on roleplaying as a shark! Open world ARPG where you stalk Florida’s waterways.
  • Satisfactory – Welcome to the new Factory Survival genre! First person gameplay, similar to a survival game where you gather materials and build. You (and friends if you bring them) build industrial complexes instead of bases. Kind of an economy sim.
  • Resident Evil 2 – Remake of original RE2. No other info beyond a release date of Jan 25, 2019.
  • Just Cause IV – 3rd person, open world shooter. Multiplayer for the first time in the series! December 2018 launch! Sounds just like Wildlands!

Constant Warfare for 2016

tom clancy's the division
It’s like year round Christmas this year.

2016 My Busiest Year EVER for Video Games Already

In the beginning, I was a one game kinda guy. World of Warcraft for 7 years straight, except a 3 month break where I played Tabula Rasa, but no WoW during the break. After WoW, I started playing multiple games. League of Legends, World of Tanks, City of Heroes, Wildstar, Heroes of the Storm all mixed in with the ‘main’ games of SWTOR and Guild Wars 2. Still, I was probably playing 2-3 games a year total.  So far in 2016 I have played Total War: Arena, The Division, The Isle, Total War: Rome II, Star Wars: The Old Republic (with Shintar!), ARK Surival Evolved (With Ravenal!), and it’s just now March. That’s six games already, and there are a ton more coming.

I plan to continue playing all of these games throughout the year.

  • Total War: Arena – It’ll be back eventually!
  • The Division – I want to unlock everything, and get full legendary gear. Then we’ll see how Dark Zone PvP goes.
  • The Isle – Luckily there is no progression yet. I can log in and just have fun.
  • Total War: Rome II – I want to at least finish my first campaign.
  • SWTOR – I’d like to start the new Knights of the Fallen Empire story, and of course play more with Shintar!
  • ARK – I want to find a home server, hopefully somewhere I could play more with Ravanel. Ideally if the opportunity arose($), i’d like to host my own server!

I can foresee The Division and Total War: Rome II dropping off that list this year. Which is good, because there’s a storm of games coming for me still in 2016.

Games Still Coming in 2016

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The next game up is DOOM! Yes, my first love in computer games. Scared the ever living crap out of me when I was playing the shareware levels over and over. I look forward to seeing the new one, and hope the singleplayer campaign can live up to the nostalgia. I also look forward to using SnapMap to make my own map(s).

Total War: Warhammer comes at the end of May. I’ve contacted Creative Assembly about getting into their reviewer program, so maybe I can get an advanced copy and put out a review. I’ve listened to some of Overkill’s Lore Videos, and am most excited to play Bretonnia and the Empire, in that order. The ‘good guys’ of course. One of my stream viewers is helping to develop this game as well (Goremaster!), so getting to see his work is another exciting aspect for me to this game.

I heard about No Man’s Sky a while back. It’s an exploration game with a procedurally generated universe, meaning it never ends. Exploration is infinite. Imagine all the planets and animals you can see. My fondest memories from MMORPGs come from exploring something for the first time. Every planet is this experience over, and over. It has a survival element thrown in too, so boredom won’t be a factor. I am really curious to see what the average player lifespan is for this game.

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World of Warcraft: Legion launches on or before September 21st, 2016. Hopefully no sooner. I am excited to play this knowing some of my stream viewers also play. Mostly I just can’t wait to get back on my Worgen. I have a couple of WoW tokens waiting for me, so this won’t be too expensive. Burning Crusade 2.0 here we come!

And that’s just the games with confirmed dates. Indie games have been popping up more on my radar recently, specifically Dreadnought which may pop up this year too.

What’s Still On Deck

The Humble Bundle has been good to me, and I have a bunch of games that I want to play but haven’t had the opportunity yet. Streaming has really ramped up how much I play, and for how long. It’s hard to stop playing something when people are having fun.

  • Aliens Franchise – Aliens Colonial Marines and Alien Isolation.
  • Heroes of the Storm – Everyone seems to love playing this game.
  • DOOM Franchise – I’d still like to replay all the old DOOM games. Preferably before the new one launches.
  • Star Citizen – I’d love to get back into this for the flying part.
  • Diablo 3 – There’s a new map i’d like to check out. Just once through.

and…

  • I want to make my own video game. Cryengine, Unity, or Unreal. More to come on this later.

Looking For More, PST

I am always looking for people to play with. I will be streaming 90% of everything, so feel free to come watch! You can also join if you’re willing to use voice chat. Actually talking to people – from around the world – is my favorite part about streaming. Playing with LionheartShintar, HaxoTheHunter and Ravanel has been awesome, and I hope to group up with even more people throughout the year. So no matter where you are, if you’re interested in any of these games, drop me a line in the comments. 2016 is going to be a big year in gaming for me. I’d love to have others along for the ride.

 

How To Know When Video Games Are “Worth It”

long term cost of video games
SO MANY GAMES! SO MUCH MONEY!

Video Game Costs Are Dynamic

There are just SO many video games out there, I think about everyone has a game they still want to try. That is certainly the case for me, and the biggest factor is money. New games can range from $20 Indie games, to $60 new AAA MMO titles.  It’s the up front cost that gives me the most pause, but it shouldn’t. Free To Play games like League of Legends have such HUGE followings because there is no up front cost. There is no barrier to entry. Of course you can buy stuff later, as I always say, free games are never really free.  I’ve already done one post where I broke down my gaming spending on a per year basis, but if I told you I’ve played a game for a year, that doesn’t really tell you much. It’s how long I played it for during that year that matters. I’m going to break it down so that you can determine if a game is worth it – or not.

Cost Per Hour Makes Games CHEAP

The defining factor here is going to be time. The best way to break down a game’s monetary value is by total time spent in the game. Steam does a great job of tracking your time in games. World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic have a handy /played command to see your time spent on each character. Tracking time can be pretty easy. I got the times off of several games I have played in the past, broke them down by time and price. The results were pretty awesome.

Game Cost Hours $/Hour
The Division $48 36 $1.33
HotS $45.97 219 $0.21
WoW* $1,398 10205 $0.14
SWTOR $307.89 3,669 $0.08
LoL $70 756 $0.09
TW: Arena $31 722 $0.04

The Division is less than 1 month old, so of course it’s going to be a little off. I just wanted to show a little contrast. HotS I have access to for about 16 months, and looks to be about twice the ‘average’.  WoW, SWTOR, and LoL are all in the range of what i’d consider average, or “worth it”. Of course they have been out for YEARS now. Total War: Arena is just an exceptional game at about 6 months. I am biased though. Love me some Arena.

Determining When To Buy Games

Of course the formula for yourself might vary.  Still, with the above method you have a powerful tool to evaluate whether to buy a new game or not. You can guess how long said new game might hold your attention for, and then start playing with numbers to see whether or not you might get your money’s worth. I’ve done a few examples below to show you what I mean, and to give you a quick reference. Just bookmark this page and come back to it.

Cost Hours $/Hour
Steam Sale $5 50 $0.10
Indie Title $20 200 $0.10
AAA Title $60 600 $0.10

Games Aren’t Just Races, They’re Relays

You have to look at actual time spent over the long haul. Hardcore gamers may reach 100 hours in a month, but casual gamers may take 4 months. It’s still 100 hours no matter how you look at it, the hardcore gamer just got there first. Look at my World of Warcraft spending – $1,398 – that seems insane! But then look at my time spent. Over 10,000 hours in the World of Warcraft, and that’s not even counting all my characters.*I spent more time in WoW, but had to use old screenshots to kinda estimate played time in my last few months playing WoW. So make sure you’re using the long-term view when evaluating game costs. $60 might seem like a lot, but if you can stretch it out far enough, it might actually be less than the $20 you spent on that last movie you bought. It’ll still require a little guessing on your part, but next time you want that new game, see if you’re sinking enough time into other games like it.  You’ll be able to make a more informed decision, and spend your money more wisely.

What’s the best money you ever spent on a video game?

My Tom Clancy’s The Division Beta Review

tom clancy's the division review

A Modern/Next Gen MMORPG Experience

I had the weekend to play Tom Clancy’s The Division in open beta.  It has a lot to offer, and feels very much like a MMORPG being made today should. The Division takes place in a modern day setting, with a post-apocalyptic twist thrown in. But no zombies. Don’t hold not having zombies against the game though.

The Division is Polished, Complete

The visuals were all very amazing. The white out conditions from the changing weather was the crown jewel. It was incredible to watch, wish I had thought to screenshot. I didn’t even make it to level 10, and there was a huge variety of weapons to choose from. The overhead map was very minimalistic, and still very useful. The Social system was even integrated into said map, letting you see and/or set a waypoint to friends even if they weren’t in your party. All the little things you could want in an MMORPG are here. I experienced no bugs during my play.

The World Feels Natural and Fluid

In all of our favorite MMORPGs, the mobs pretty much all enter the game world in the same way. They pop into existence from nothingness, then begin to pace in a small area, oblivious to the world around them until it enters their little bubble. In The Division, the mobs come walking into the area just like you did. I know in the back of my head that they just ‘popped up’ somewhere, but I appreciated not having to see it. The combat system is really, really fun. It’s fast paced, and about as real as you can get in a video game. I like the cover & climb system they have, it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen in an MMORPG. I was a little frustrated that head shots weren’t one-shots, but then I remembered this wasn’t an FPS, and just reloaded and kept shooting.

You also get to experience random encounters as you walk through the streets in game. These can be as simple as dispatching a band of thugs, or as simple as handing a civilian your can of soda. The city feels very alive in The Division, and it reacts to you. NPCs speak angrily to you(in different languages!) when you point your gun at them, and stray dogs become frightened. It’s more realism, and less decoration.

Drawbacks To The Division

The game lacked the proper mouseover features that I have come to expect in games. When I got a new piece of gear, I didn’t know what stats did what. The Division seems geared more towards players of shooters than MMORPG players. One of my stream viewers noted that the cover system was used in other Tom Clancy games. So if you’re a player of shooter games, you may feel right at home. If you’re an MMORPG fan, you’ll be doing some adapting.

Dark Zone PvP

I was eager to check out the PvP in The Division. That’s what holds my interest in games. Dark Zones are essentially a free-for-all PvP zone like the arenas in WoW or the Outlaw’s Den in SWTOR. If players aren’t in your group, they’re killable. Attacking first gets a bounty on your head though, causing everyone nearby to down you for extra rewards. There are also NPCs in the Dark Zone that you can kill for Dark Zone XP, which levels you up through the PvP side of things.

Initially after my first PvP experience, I was excited.  However after sleeping on it, and further reflection, I don’t think the Dark Zone is going to be viable PvP in the long term. Not a single player intentionally shot first while I was in the Dark Zone. The ones that did quickly stopped and apologized because it was an accident. Most players were just running around, trying to work cooperatively. The times I or my party members shot first, I was quickly dispatched because of the aforementioned bounty system. Then there were the internet heroes who wanted to PvP, but didn’t want to shoot first. They walked up to me, and made some SUPER LAME attempt in local voice chat to trick me into accidentally pressing some kind of key to attack them. It was incredibly pathetic. Finally I obliged one group of players, and WOW the trash talk that ensued after I died! I had always heard there were these kinds of people out there, but never met one.

Still more evidence of PvP not happening is a poll in the Official Forums, as well as an Official Pro Tip video. Both indicate players should avoid attacking players, and focus on NPCs. Very strange.

Final Thoughts On The Division

I like the game overall. At the right price, I might pick it up someday if I saw the PvP working better or if I had several friends playing. It’s a buy-and-play game, no monthly subscription. I would recommend The Division if you’re a fan of shooters. Also, strangely, if you like to explore worlds, the game might offer something as well. The climbing/CTRL system they have set up lets you get into all kinds of places. Otherwise, if you’re an old school MMORPG player like me, you should probably wait a little. The $60 price tag is a lot to gamble with, especially considering there is already multiple paid DLC in the works for this year. At any rate, I think I should stop calling this an MMORPG, and instead calling it an MMORPS – Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Shooter. Something a little different. I think that’s a good mantra for this game. Something a little different.

Update: The Division is available 20% off through Amazon if you pre-order!

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