E3 WTF

"With Halo Infinite, we will join Master Chief on his greatest adventure yet, to save Humanity… We're now at an exceptional moment of creativity in gaming!"
—Phil Spenser, Microsoft Xbone Zero 290 whatever at E3 2018

The ninth (more or less) Halo game, an unseen, suited protagonist with two ranks but no name, a cliché rail-shooter "quest" where you move through linear levels and gun down anything that moves, othering aliens and opposing cultures so you can personally murder them by the thousands. This shit is what you think creativity is?! Fuck you, Phil. Fuck your entire goddamned species and the shit studio that pumps this stuff out for you.

Funny story, I once interviewed with Bungie; I figured they had money and might not be jackasses. I figured wrong: It was top to bottom the douchiest brogrammers I've ever met; zero women, even security/reception was a dude; they are exactly what you would expect from their fans. By the end I was just openly telling them what I thought of their non-game, and walked out.

Anyway. I'm waiting for the Bethesda event, since they seem to be the least bad big game company these days.

So to get the "Twitch extension" on the sidebar to work, the "grant access" link does nothing. You have to go to your ESO and Bethesda.net accounts, and link to Twitch. Then back on Twitch, settings, advanced, Grant access. Pain in the ass.

More Sword Art Online:IF

The game progresses VERY quickly at first, such that in 5 days of light playing I'm Level 50, geared up nicely, about ready to do the 5F labyrinth and boss, and then I expect 50-60 grind to be harder, since 6F is I think the top currently. The game devs have a lot to work on, since there's 100 floors in Aincrad.

I spent quite a few hours this morning grinding very difficult 5th floor mobs from 40-50 to get the mats for my level 50 armor and level 45 weapons, which didn't help me at all until I hit those points; it would've taken another day to get everything at 50.



Where the gear says "Lv1" or "Lv20", that's the experience level, which is unrelated to the gear level. While that's obscure, it's kind of interesting, lowbie gear with high experience can be nearly as good as high-level gear with no experience, but won't have as nice a set of "random bonuses".

Why does my heavy chestplate look like it has boobs? The other armors are more angular. I'm using costume pants to cover up the ugly jodhpur lower armor, but I don't have a costume shirt yet.

There's a lot more gear and skill depth than you'd ever expect in a mobile game, it's more like a desktop MMORPG. The fighting game is somewhat simpler, since the tiny UI and a few touch buttons limit it, but positioning and teamwork (even with your invulnerable NPC partner) matters, there are boss mechanics, and even normal mobs can be complicated. Poison and paralysis are incredibly dangerous, as seen in the books and anime; I just swapped out a skill with a good defense bonus for a poison reduction because I want to survive.

The only thing that I'm much disappointed in is, they didn't do permadeath even tho that's the premise of Sword Art Online. When you die, you can use up a (somewhat rare; I have 5 left) recovery crystal and instantly revive, or just return to 1F city. You should be deleted and have to make your character from scratch. If they wanted to be nice, they could let you keep your gear, but lose all experience. As it is, it's like any MMO where you can die a few times.

Only 1F is even slightly detailed, with a city of 3 areas, a town of 2 areas, and 3 fields of easy monsters; floors 2-6 are 2 areas each, but I expect 10F will have another city and multiple fields, since that's how the books and anime are structured. But it is very lovely:



Because I've forgotten a lot of side characters who are showing up in the game, I started reading all the light novels from the fan translations. I'd previously just seen the anime and read the first few manga adapted from the novels, but now I am a bona-fide teenager reading trashy pulp novels, oh, wait, that's exactly what I've always been.

Sword Art Online: Integral Factor

I hadn't realized this got released already! Why didn't you tell me?

A few hours in, I'm just about to start doing the dungeon floors at Level 10. I'm going for spears, but may have to respec for swords if I don't get more skill cards; I think it's lame to "reroll" a character for better starting loot, you take what you get.

Naturally, I named my NPC partner Black Rose, but she's toting a 2-handed axe since there's no 2-handed swords. Need to customize her appearance if I can.

If you want to send me a friend request, I'm ID 635575026.

Gacha Nose

There's 6 games I've played recently with gachapon or free-to-play mechanics. I have no complaint about these mechanics when made optional, I'm fine with paying some money to a game company if they keep me amused. Not everyone is capable of that.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp: The "fortune cookies" cost 50 Leaf Tickets ($2 or so), with posted chances (3% for the best items), and rarely drop in-game for free. Given that any rare item costs 100-350 LT, cookies are a "deal" but still excessive.

I have more complaint with the goddamned pelican added last month, that wants 10 furniture per trip for apparently a 5% chance at a new animal friend. HATE. HATE. HATE that fucking pelican. 2 animals got, 1 to go. I'd pay real money to make pelican soup of him & get the last animal, but this is not what Nintendo monetized.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery: As of year one, this is barely even a game, but there are game-like elements. I initially started in Ravenclaw, but instantly got bored of goody-goody shit and blue's not my color; by fucking around with the Facebook login (to a defunct account used for developer shit 10 years ago) and a second game on my old phone, I was able to reset and join Slytherin. I'm a bad man, but I look good in black & green. The NPC dialog doesn't change much, and the stupid witch antagonist doesn't realize I'm now the real monster.

The energy economy in this is shitty, but not as shitty as it first looks. There are 1-2 items (paintings, statues, house Elf…) on each floor you can tap to get some energy. Doing a class takes 10-50 energy? So take the 8 hour classes, only tap on the lower-cost action bars (0/1 is better than 0/5), go out and refresh energy, wait a while, it's easy to pass without paying.

Grossly inferior to the LEGO Harry Potter games, but I'll at least finish year one, I think. I have been informed that all these games are for children, but I have the heart of a young boy… in a jar on my shelves.

Elder Scrolls Online: Crown Crates cost ~$12 for 4, each of which has 4-5 items, 1 costume/mount skin/trinket, the rest mostly consumables you can trade for "crown gems" and save 100 of those for a good item. I routinely use the "free" crowns from my ESO+ subscription to buy the crates, and like the results; my Flame Atronach Camel is ridiculous but awesome. Some ESO players are insane with envy (the shittiest of Human emotions) about other players having better luck.

Fate/Grand Order: I liked the anime, so tried playing this and while card/turn battles are a thing I like, the endless VN dialogues with useless parasite "Director" killed me. The gacha? Cruelly unfair, but playable without any money I could see. So when I see articles like Man spends $70,000 on Gacha, I dunno what he was doing it for.

Fire Emblem Heroes: Take all the stock elements of a daily clicker gachapon game. Add very pretty anime girls with swords & spears. Add the blandest tactical pseudo-RPG ever made. So dull and formulaic it makes me wonder how anyone plays this without falling into a coma. Gacha rates seem generous, but who'd care enough to spend money? "FEH" is the sound I make at this game.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Before I kicked the habit, a daily struggle… Not really, it's very generous with free "lapis" and summons, and getting a good party was just a matter of time. I'm sure junkies spent money on it but that's not needed. Story drives you thru the map and fighting quests, but it's a real FF game with exploration, crafting, NPCs. Loved it but I'm done and not going back.

Capsule Silence XXIV

So speaking of Anamanaguchi, the new albums are part of a "game" you can get on their site, and it is fantastic. Easily the best game since E.T., the PDF in the app download (Windows & Mac in one zip file! Cats & frogs living together!) has a "17 stages of Joseph Cambell's MONOMYTH" slide which must be placed in all future slide decks, and Larold's story is so compelling it would make Hemingway cry. I found all the tapes for the rack + 3 extra, which shows the attention to detail in this game.