This week I have been mostly playing...

Steve C

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Steve C » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:44 am

The Rocketeer wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:17 am
I know an ammo explosion destroys its segment, but does it have any effect on pilot mortality?
Yes. An ammo explosion (not in the head) does 1 wound to the pilot. In the head you can assume the ammo is going to blow if it takes structure takes damage. So it kinda removes the 16 points of structure from the equation. Reducing the head armor by 16 and storing the ammo somewhere else would effectively be the same in terms of pilot mortality. Now anything that does 46+ damage can be a one shot. Which includes AC/10 hits and PPC hits. AC/20s are relatively rare and can have counterplay to balance it out. PPCs are really common and long range. There is no counterplay against PPCs. I have been hit in the head with the odd PPC shot. Storing ammo in the head isn't the worst place to store it (that would be in the Center Torso). It is still not a great idea.

However the real reason not to store ammo in the head is because of cockpit upgrades. The head is the only slot they go into and even the worst upgrade is a better choice than ammo. Cockpit upgrades are why weapon hardpoints in the head kind of suck.

@DL: Heat is its own mechanic. Definitely not that. In fact if a mech overheats, it causes structure damage to all parts of the mech except for the head.
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by John » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:10 pm

Still playing a little Disgaea 2. Still playing a little Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol. Don’t care. Doesn’t matter. Mostly playing Crusader Kings II!

I have realized the dreams of the Gerulfing dynasty and driven the Aghlabids from Europe. Hooray! As it turns out, there is a way for me to conquer large swathes of territory without having to fight all the defensive pacts in the world and that way is a Crusade. (Thank you, Mr. Pope, sir. I couldn’t have done it without you.) I conquered all Andalusia in a single war. It was glorious. It was also disturbingly easy. My threat level was too high for me to follow the Crusade with additional conquests, but my vassals—and, to be fair, also the Irish—were more than happy to attack the remaining Aghlabid possessions for me.

Andalusia was by far the biggest and best part of the Aghlabid domains. As evidence, I cite the fact that the vassal I put in charge of the place starting waging Holy Wars on the Aghlabids just as soon as he was able. He took not only the best bits of Leon and Castile but also Mauretania. All this despite the fact that I deliberately broke off large bits of Aghlabid Andalusia to form Portucale and Aragon. I’ve already got to deal with one over-mighty vassal in the form of France. I didn’t particularly want a second, but it seems that I’ve got one.

My empire has gotten so big now that further expansion strikes me as unwise. At one point I was two vassals over my limit. I’ve done some finagling and scheming to reduce the number of my direct vassals, but it’s been frustrating. It seems I don’t fully understand the rules governing vassal transfers. I tried transferring the vassal contracts of the Duke of Deheubarth to the King of Wales, the Duke of Mecklenburg to the King of Pomerania, and the Duke of Badajoz to the King of Portucale and found it impossible. No matter how long I wait—which has been centuries in the case of Mecklenburg—the dukes just don’t show up in the list of eligible vassals. On the other hand, I was able to transfer the Duke of Castile to the King of Aragon with no problems. I don’t get it.

I have therefore resorted to skullduggery. Now when I want to incorporate a particular duchy into a particular kingdom I wait for the king to plot against me. If he rebels when I try to imprison him, I get the perfect excuse to revoke his kingdom title. Then I give the kingdom title to the duke in question and, voilà, the duchy is where I want it to be. The new king usually gets overthrown in fairly short order, but I don’t care about that. I’ve used this method to get Deheubarth into Wales and Castile out of Andalusia and into Aragon. I’m waiting for the King of Pomerania to do something stupid so I can give his title to the Duke of Mecklenburg.

Anyhow, there are about 90 years to go before the game ends. My threat level is still ridiculous. I’ve been peaceful but my vassals haven’t. Apparently, my vassals’ conquests raise my threat level, which is a thing I did not know before. I guess it makes sense though. I suppose I could implement Absolute Crown Authority, which would prevent my vassals from declaring war, but I’m not sure I want to take the hit to vassal opinion. So it looks like I’ll be spending the rest of the game with the speed cranked up, trying to establish some sort of sensible internal order to my empire.
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Humanoid » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:12 pm

Check the de jure drift, some of those duchies may have drifted out of their starting kingdoms.
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by John » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:28 pm

Humanoid wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:12 pm
Check the de jure drift, some of those duchies may have drifted out of their starting kingdoms.
Hm. That was definitely the case for Deheubarth (Ireland) and Mecklenburg (Poland). Castile was drifting into Andalusia but hadn't finished yet. Badajoz was part of Andalusia, but I think that Badajoz starts as part of Andalusia.

So am I to understand that you can't transfer a duchy to a kingdom other than its de jure kingdom, assuming that the de jure kingdom exists?
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Humanoid » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:02 am

Yeah, you can only transfer duchies to their de jure liege.
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by SleepingDragon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:44 am

Well The Ringed City is still hard, God Eater is still grindy and Witcher 3 is still massive, but as part of the Playing Something Else Initiative I took The Signal From Tolva for a spin. It was not very amazing.

The premise is as follows: something on the planet Tolva emitted a strange signal that has brought the world to the attention of several robotic factions with conflicting goals and ideologies who struggle for control of the surface with the player being a separate party who hijacks individual drones in order to realize their own goals leaving the big powers none the wiser.

The game promises, or implies, a kind of back and forth faction warfare between the Surveyors, Zealots and Bandits with the player being able to get involved but ultimately after their own agenda. However, since you can only take over Surveyor drones you just conquer the territory for them as that gives you new respawn locations. All three factions are identical in terms of robots and weaponry they use and the combat is functional but clunky with drones either taking pot shots at each other long range with sniper rifles or unleashing at each other with close range weapons and seeing who explodes first. In addition the “back and forth” is somewhat annoying since you get no warning that one of your bunkers is contested, and even should you notice it in time you cannot jump to a contested location… meaning you will usually be in one part of the map and suddenly get a notification that you lost a respawn point to the enemy, drop what you’re doing, jump to the 2nd closest fast travel location and reconquer it all over again (which admittedly is not that much of a challenge). You can’t improve your factions drones, you can’t reinforce or fortify your faction’s bunkers, you can’t unlock a tech or conquer a building that would show you enemy parties on the map so that you can see when they’re coming... there Is literally nothing you can do to prevent a loss of a location unless you happen to be in the area at the right time.

I would be tempted to say that someone added combat on top of a neat exploration game because they wanted to avoid the association with walking simulators, except the mystery of the titular Signal is also not handled very well. There are 60 objects scattered over the surface that you can scan to reveal bits of lore. Some of those are mission objectives and their location is marked on the map as they unlock new gear for you to use, including mandatory items that let you traverse environmental hazards and reach further areas of the map. The remaining scannable objects are scattered all over the place sometimes plainly in sight, most often hidden in nooks and crannies. The obvious idea is that as you unlock the lore entries you piece together the whole story, but most of the logs are variations upon “planet weird and we don’t know why” and frankly the big reveal is nothing to write home about either.

What I think happened was that the ambition of the project was too much for the studio, there are a lot of ideas in the game that don’t seem to be really implemented or are implemented only halfway or so. For example there are turrets, but they only drop in a few preset locations in result to the player’s presence and cannot be deployed by the player to, say, fortify their bunkers. Similarly, you do encounter a few mobile heavy weapon platforms serving as bosses (I believe there are three in total, one about halfway through the game and one more at each of the two ending locations), I can only speculate but I think those might have been intended for use as parts of the actual dynamic faction warfare. Oh, did I mention there were also those weird non-euclidean mazes where you could find extra resources to buy gear with as well as plot objects to scan? Because there are, they have very distinct, though sometimes obscured, entry points and architecture but they don’t seem of particular relevance to the larger story (other than the aforementioned “stuff is weird”), they’re just there as another gameplay mechanics because… reasons? Padding? To be fair the game is on a short side as it is.

The game also had several small but persistent annoyances. I know I’m piloting a robot but the constant metallic sound of walking around never quite faded into the background for me. Similarly there is a vision mode that makes both resources and scannable plot objects more visible, and can also be used to see in the dark, though the game does have a very highly functional flashlight, but it is accompanied by a very annoying combination of low bass hum with static interference that I found particularly jarring. Visually… you better not be one of those people with a tendency for nausea when playing first person because I imagine various glitches and filters that trigger in the hazardous areas (even with protective gear) will not do wonders for you.

I should also add that I’ve only played the base game so far, the devs have recently added a free prequel campaign called Polar Regions (I’ll give you three guesses as to what kind of biome it’s placed in) to the game. I think I’ll give it a try to see if they improved on the original concept, though I’m not holding my breath, especially since I already know where this is all headed.
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The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by The Rocketeer » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:57 am

So I haven't actually posted much about what I've been playing for a while.

I picked up BATTLETECH, of course, but haven't mentioned much about it other than to follow up on what others have said. It's very uncommon for me to pick up strategy games; mostly, I get just beyond the tutorial to the point the game expects me to know what I'm doing to some minimal degree, and my performance and interest in the game start circling the drain. Well, predictably, I landed pretty hard in BATTLETECH, but for whatever reason I managed to stick with it, read up a bit about best practices, and I feel like I've shaped my mercenary corps into a pretty respectable fighting force. I find the mechanics engaging, and I enjoy adding mechs to my collection.

One reason I didn't say much about the game before now is that I wanted to see the main storyline through to its conclusion before discussing it, even as I became more certain I would leave the game aside due to fatigue well short of the finale. To tip my hand, I have major problems with every single step of the story and the way in which it's told. There is so much wrong here, far beyond just being bland, as most commenters have noted— though it is certainly bland. But that will have to wait for another day.

Beyond that, I picked up Dark Souls Remastered. Because I'm primarily a fan of strategy games like BATTLETECH, I feel like I let the whole Souls thing pass me by, and I thought the remaster of the first game might be a good opportunity to finally see what the fuss is about. The worst people you know are right: it's really not as hard as I'd heard. It has its challenges, sure, but from the very beginning I feel like I've understood how to fight, where to go, and how to optimize my build. It's almost suspicious how at home I feel with the game. Like, what's the problem? Just circle around behind them and swing your sword after their attack misses.

I managed to get almost to the end of "New Game+" before losing steam, just a handful of achievements shy of 100%-ing the game. Maybe I'll pick it back up if I need a casual break from Picross.

For the moment, though, I've finally picked up Tales of Berserkia, which has spent quite some time on my wishlist as I waited for a good sale. I'm just about to dive in for the first time.
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by John » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:34 am

I am now officially finished with Sid Meier's Ace Patrol. On the one hand, I still don't feel like I'm really good at the game. I could be, probably. Possibly. Sure, it'd take time and effort, but it's not as though I'm unwilling to do that for certain other games. On the other hand, I've beaten the campaign eight times now on two different difficulty settings and I think I've seen everything there is to see. There really isn't anything left to do but try to get Steam achievements and none of the remaining achievements are very inspiring. They're all for racking up points rather for doing specific difficult or interesting things. Ace Patrol is a pretty good game for playing in short installments, so I considered leaving it installed, but then I discovered Spelunky in my GOG library and downloaded that instead. If I had one word of unsolicited advice for Mr. Meier, it would be that Ace Patrol could probably use an optional Ironman mode. You can't save-scum mid-mission, but save-scumming between missions is so easy and convenient that I didn't have the strength of character to resist. With Ironman, you'd worry that a pilot with an engine fire might end up in the hospital for the next two or three missions or in an enemy POW camp until the Christmas prisoner exchange. Without Ironman, you'd worry--if you were me--that you now need to find a way to scrub the mission as quickly as possible so that you can reload from your last save.

I have also made some progress in the Disgaea 2 bonus campaign. Thanks to a convenient bit of pseudo-fourth wall breaking in the between-mission hub, I now know that I'm in the last chapter. If the last chapter is like the others, that means I have four or five missions left to go before I can declare victory and move on with my life. Of all the characters they could have chosen to star in the bonus campaign, why did they have to choose the annoying mid-boss? Argh. I don't care about the mysterious reason his TV show was cancelled and he was blackballed from the entertainment industry. He's just awful. There doesn't need to be any more reason than that. I think that I am going to have to break with all my personal tactical RPG traditions and start putting my best characters into each fight rather than my worst. I don't need all my characters to be approximately the same level. I don't need to do the grinding it would take to make my low-level characters viable in the story missions. I just need this to be over. It's funny how all my early enthusiasm for this game has evaporated. I loved the first Disgaea. Disgaea 2 is almost completely identical, mechanically speaking. But I didn't like the story and I hate all the main characters. (I'll admit that the big plot twist was clever, but it wasn't executed terribly well.) It's a pity. I want to move on so badly. I spent all Saturday morning downloading Divinity: Original Sin and I really rather be playing that instead.
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Post by Narratorway » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:32 am

Hadn't touched my PS4 in weeks, but I found out 1) my plus subscription was about to lapse and 2) it was on sale again, so I figured screw it, I'll renew. Turns out it's got some pretty okay deals each month. Anyway, I ended up getting sucked back into Bloodborne again. Sometime ago, I accidentally deleted my NG+ profile, but didn't sweat it and started another game. I ended up rage quitting after I lost some 70k worth of souls in the final area of the DLC. I've since put the past behind me and am once again ready to Slaughter Prey.

I've beaten every boss in The Old Hunters DLC except Orphan* and I don't think I've started the 3rd moon phase yet! For all the talk Ludwig gets, he's cake compared to Lawrence. Despite being a pallet swapped Cleric Beast that's slow as balls, he's got hit points for days and his claw swipes got both massive reach and a wiiiiiide radius and are one hit kills for my low-vit build...and he's got an extra phase where he loses his lower half and starts dripping magma all over the room from his severed torso, making him damn near impossible to get into melee range. I beat him, but ended up dying just as I did. This was the fight that got me to level up my HP stat a few times.

Turns out that since I'm so min/maxed, the co-ops I get into are almost certainly NG+, and the road to the Lawrence has a pile of enemies ya gotta take on to get to him, meaning everytime I joined in Jolly Cooperation taking on the flaming bastard, I would wind up accruing piles of souls in excess of 100k directly or indirectly. Ended up hauling around almost 400k souls at one point.

I'm also playing New Vegas on and off again, but that was more last week. Helped with a cure in Jacobstown and with some management restructuring in the local Brotherhood chapter and am now popping around with the Boomers up in Nellis. Still aint visted The Strip though. Go figure.

I've been using the console to bump my stats for speech checks as needed and then bring 'em back down. Honestly though I'm prolly going to end up just putting 'em all at 100. More often than not, the game locks the optimal completion for quests behind them while not being immersive enough to justify the supposed 'role playing' aspects these self-imposed limitations create.

All this time and I'm waiting for the 'great' writing in this game to show up. Mostly, the game's interest when it comes to writing is being a wikipedia. Most every conversation I've had so far allowed for options to ask about lore and its all been very dry so pun intended.

Also found out I still have Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway installed, so I might give that a run through too. We'll see.

*In MY world. Beaten 'em all by now when helping others.
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