The gog.com Big Fall Sale is On

gog.com 2014 Big Fall Sale Banner

I thought this deserved to be mentioned in a post of its own. gog.com are currently doing a huge sale which, according to their website, touches more than 700 games and discounts up to 90%.

Their games library is certainly impressive, and they have a few games currently on sale that deserve a special mention (some of them are not even available on Steam):

  • Neverwinter Nights Diamond
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 Complete
  • Rayman 3
  • Baldur’s Gate II Complete
  • Planescape: Torment
  • The Longest Journey
  • Icewind Dale Complete
  • Icewind Dale 2 Complete

Make sure to check out the sale because you are likely to find something cool on discount right now. Plus, if you check in for 7 days on their website while the sale is on, you will get a free copy of The Witcher 2 and The Gamers: Director’s Cut.

Let’s Visit Tyria – All the Vistas in Guild Wars 2 – Plains of Ashford

Plains of Ashford map

Welcome to the second post in the Let’s Visit Tyria series, a collection of screenshots of all the vistas in Guild Wars 2. Check out the previous post in the series, where I roamed around the Brisban Wildlands area, before jumping into this collection. Today, we are going to visit the Plains of Ashford, the Charrs’ initial area.

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Let’s Visit Tyria – All the Vistas in Guild Wars 2 – Brisban Wildlands

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[Update] Note that this is not a collection of videos on how to reach all of these locations. There are already plenty of YouTube videos on how to do it, so I didn’t really feel like I was adding anything interesting.

I decided to start a new series of image posts on Guild Wars 2. I normally don’t play MMORPGs as I prefer jRPGs much more, but Guild Wars 2 is an exception: perhaps it’s because it doesn’t have a monthly fee, which makes it more appealing to players like me, or perhaps it’s his focus on collaboration, I am not sure, but there is something in this game that is making it much more enjoyable than World of Warcraft has been for me during my (very short) test run.

In this game, there is something called Vistas, which are basically difficult-to-reach locations in the map, usually accessible after a more or less long jumping puzzle. They are basically platforming sections in a MMORPG. If you manage to reach one of them (signalled by a flag with a specific symbol on it), you can trigger a short cinematic sequence in which the camera shows all the surrounding areas (similar to what happens in Assassin’s Creed, just to give you an example).

Some of them are very, very nice to look at, so I’ve decided to capture the screenshots for all the vistas in the game (based on the last moment of the cinematic sequence, which is usually the most picturesque), grouped by area. Let’s start off this series with the vistas found in the Brisban Wildlands.

Brisban Wildlands loading

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An Open Letter to the Developers of Quake Live

Quake Live Logo

Ok dear Quake Live. A lot has been going on in the past few weeks, something has been good but most stuff has been bad. At the moment of writing, most things are still very, very bad. Just in case the developers had not noticed, here is a summary of the situation.

How do you even start an open letter anyway? Do you mind if we just jump right into it? I guess a little bit of form won’t hurt.

Dear Quake Live Developers,

This is a list of everything that your latest game update, together with the release of the game on Steam, broke. The good news? Nothing is broken beyond repair if you just, for once, listen out to what the community is saying. For your convenience, I have added a paragraph at the end of the letter detailing what could be done to solve this mess. Don’t worry, it’s nothing difficult.

For now, let’s start with what is not working anymore.

Unable to create servers

I would say that this is probably the main reason why people purchase a Pro subscription (yes I know, the URL says “premium”, which was another availablesubscription which has now been discontinued; oh well, so much for attention to details), and server creation is totally broken at the moment. I can’t spawn new servers and this has been going on for about a week. And no, I am not the only one: just one or two of my friends with a Pro subscription are able to create servers at the moment. All the others have to either ask somebody to create one (there was a tournament yesterday, you can imagine how fun it was to find somebody who could create servers) or play on public servers, certainly not the funniest thing to do.

Login to the QL launcher is broken

Quake Live has now moved to Steam. All good stuff (more about that later in the post), but what about the old client? Yes, it’s still there, and people can still use it. But can they? This is what I have been seeing in the past few days when I try to login to the client:

Unable to login to the desktop client

I struggle to believe this error message, as once every 100 times the login actually works. No, I am not changing email address between attempts.

You can’t unlink your Quake Live account from Steam

Linking your Quake Live account to your Steam account is a permanent action. Seriously? What’s the thought behind this? Please explain, I am all ears.

Welcome back, lag!

Ever since the game was moved to Steam, in-game performance has massively deteriorated. To be honest, it’s a bit better now than it was a week ago, but it can still be terrible at times. Constant “Connection interrupted” messages have been experienced also by players with good internet connections.

At the moment, playing in Northern Europe is still not a nice experience: average ping is around 60-70, and it was over 150 a week ago. I personally have never pinged that high in those servers, and there is nothing wrong with my connection (as a quick speed test confirmed).

“But how can you be so sure that it’s Quake Live’s fault?”, I hear you say. The answer is in the next paragraph.

The official forum is down

This is what you are greeted with if you try to access the official forum:

Quake Live forum is down

The QUAKE LIVE forums are offline in order to reduce the overload on our infrastructure. We are working to restore site responsiveness and will enable the forums at that time.

If they had to take the forum down to alleviate the impact on their infrastructure, how bad must this infrastructure be?

Besides, are we sure that this is the real reason why it has been taken down, or perhaps it is to avoid the flow of criticism and request for support? The truth lies always in between, so perhaps it’s a combination of the two.

Weapon balance has not been improved. But can it be anyway?

Many people have been complaining about the Lightning Gun (or LG, or shaft for the insiders) because it used to be an extremely powerful weapon. I was among those who though so at first, until I finally decided to do one logical thing: learn how to use it!

This weapon is powerful for a reason: it’s not easy to learn and it’s not easy to use. So why did they decide to nerf it down? Good question, glad you asked. I don’t know why. If before the update you could battle against a Rocket Launcher in a 1v1 match if your LG was good, now your LG must be very, very good to win this (I would guess around 45% accuracy).

So now I want the Rocket Launcher to be nerfed. And then every other weapon, one at the time, until we get to a point where every weapon will deal the same damage as every other, so that we won’t get any more complaints from users who cannot learn how to use a weapon.

Free For All is ridiculous now

Before moving to playing CA almost exclusively, I used to play FFA. The latest update introduced Loadouts, an option that allows you to choose a primary and a secondary weapon with which you can start a game and respawn after being fragged.

Quake Live Weapon Loadouts

So no more looking for your favourite weapon, keeping an eye on how much ammo you have left for that weapon etc. You just spawn with the weapon you like and that’s it. Oh, and ammo packs are unfiied, meaning that you don’t have to look on specific parts of the map to get the ammo that you need. Just get one random ammo pack and you are done.

Quake Live Unified Ammo Pack

This has been absolutely ruined.

But surely there has been some good stuff, right?

Definitely. I think making the game available on Steam has been a good decision, it was probably the only thing that could get us new players. Obviously, the implementation was flawed to say the least, but that is another story and has already been covered in this article.

What about bunny hopping and visual timers instead? I don’t know, I am not sure that making the game easier will make more players like it. Why can’t people just learn how to play a game as we had to do when we first started? If a game is difficult, it’s difficult. Period. No need to make it easier to make more players play it. If a game is difficult, then it will appeal to a certain group of players and not to others, it’s as simple as that. Money rules everything, I know, but this was really a flawed idea. If they made Dark Souls easier just to appeal to new players, that game will probably lose much of its appeal. What happened to good ol’ skillz?

Ok TGL, we admit our mistakes. What can we do to make up for what we have done?

Nice to see that you have read this! This is something that I was expecting to be included in the new update but that, to my surprise, was not there from the beginning. The solution to this is quite simple:

Allow players to create matches with the old ruleset.

I know that you can choose Classic mode when you spawn a server (if you are lucky enough to be able to do it, that is), but even Classic mode includes some of the new changes (for example, LG damage down to 6). Besides, I haven’t found a way to create a classic FFA server where you only spawn with the machine gun.

This obviously won’t solve all your infrastructure and performance issues, but at least it would allow old players to keep enjoying the game the way they have been doing since the beginning, while allowing new players to be introduced to the game in a gentler way.

After the update, all you have done is forget about the players who have been giving you support and paying for subscriptions, in favour of new players who might not even stick around that long to become supporters of the game. Who has been paying for the Pro subscriptions to support you so far, new players or old players? The least you can do is to show these players a little bit of respect and listen to their voices.

Until that happens, my subscription has been cancelled. You simply don’t deserve anybody’s money unless you show that you are not the naive, money-grabbing, conceited and deaf people that it looks like you are in light of what has been going on in the past few weeks.

Regards,

TGL

4 Rayman Games for Less Than $10! (Less Than a Day Left)

Rayman Bundle 75% Off

This is for all the platforming fans out there: if you haven’t played Rayman yet, you have a great opportunity to do so now. gog.com is currently seeling a bundle of 4 Rayman games for $9.46. At this price the bundle is a steal! It contains the following games:

  • Rayman Forever (the original game with a bunch of extra levels and a level editor)
  • Rayman 2: The Great Escape
  • Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
  • Rayman Origins

I absolutely loved all of them, it’s difficult to pick a favourite since they are all amazing games.

The bundle will expire in less than a day at the time of writing, so don’t miss this! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

First Impressions On The Wii U

Wii U

Yep, I finally succumbed and bought a Wii U, because of the good price you can find one these days, and because my girlfriend said that it would be nice to have one. You can imagine which of the two reason played the biggest role in my decision.

I got the Premium Pack, which is actually quite a nice pack, which includes the following:

  • The Wii U Console (you don’t say?!?) with 32 GB of storage
  • A Wii U gamepad with stylus
  • A gamepad cradle to recharge the gamepad (very useful, since this thing seems to last around 3 or 4 hours)
  • A gamepad stand
  • A console stand if you want to keep your console vertically
  • Console and gamepad AC adapters
  • Sensor bar
  • HDMI cable
  • Nintendo Land game
  • Nintendo eShop discount for Premium Pack owners (10%)

It’s not too bad considering that the retail price for this is currently around £200. It’s definitely more bang for the money compared to the PS4 and the Xbox One anyway. And for this price, I don’t think that going for the Basic 8 GB version of the console would be worth it.

Wii U Premium Pack Contents

The contents of the Premium Pack. Not too bad for the price.

The first impressions are definitely good. I immediately got the feeling that this console has been severely underrated. Sure, it might not have a ton of great games yet, but which of the new consoles has? And in any case, those that are already out are that good (Super Mario 3D World, Wonderful 101, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, New Super Mario Bros U and New Super Luigi U, Monster Hunter etc.

I personally decided to buy Zombi U together with the console, also because it seemed to be one of the cheapest Wii U games, and I must say that I enjoyed it a lot. I have already completed it (review coming, stay tuned) and, even if it cannot really be considered the best survival horror ever, it is most certainly a very good example of the genre, one of the best ones of the last few years.

Right now I am playing Super Mario 3D World and that is simply impressive. I will write a post about this as well, but it is nothing short of extraordinary, a brilliant game.

The console itself is very nice to look at, it’s quite small (just a little bit bigger than the Wii) and finally has HDMI support (only almost a decade after every other console, but this is Nintendo we are talking about). The MiiVerse does not look developed to its full extent yet, but I must admit I haven’t looked too much into it yet, but it seems a nice little application.

Finally for this first impressions post, a though about the gamepad, probably the most interesting feature of this console. It might look very uncomfortable to hold and to play with, but I can tell you that it’s not, it’s very very comfortable to use, even if it takes a little bit of time to get accustomed to looking at two screens. This was definitely a surprise, as I didn’t really think that it might be this good.

That’s it for now people. These were just the first impression on my new Wii U, and I will make sure to follow this up with a more in-depth article after I have tried more features the console has to offer. So far I can only say that, even if it has not reached its full potential yet and even if it has not received a lot of attention, the Wii U is the most interesting console to have right now and for sure the one with the best value for money. It will take some time for the PS4 and the Xbox One to reach a price where they are really worth buying, but the Wii U, for many reasons, has already reached that point.

Collecting Videogames VS Playing Them: Where Do You Stand?

I have recently stumbled on an article about the new world record for the largest videogame collection, which made me think about how many games we buy but we don’t actually play, not having enough time or for other reasons.

To be honest, it has happened to me more than once to buy a game and not play it for a while (even months or years in some cases). Maybe I bought them because they were heavily discounted, because I wanted to play them immediately after finishing the game I was currently playing, or even because I knew they were a good game and that they were worth buying. The result? I have a huge backlog of games that I still need to play, and I suppose many of you are in the same situation.

I was a collector myself in the past (although my collection is obviously worth much less than $700,000 to $800,000 like the collection of the current world record holder), but I gave that up over the years because I decided to focus on gaming rather than on collecting. The increase in the number of limited edition of videogames that are not limited at all has also helped in taking this decision. It just makes me laugh when I see a limited edition of a CoD game, of a FIFA game or even of a Final Fantasy game, because I know that a) they won’t be worth anything in the future and b) they are mass produced like the regular versions. I still admire those who collect games though, it is amazing to look at huge videogame collections: Rooms filled with awesome game boxes simply leave me in awe 🙂

To be honest, though, if a collection becomes too big, then it becomes almost excessive, it almost looks like you are a videogame buyer rather than a collector, earning as many games as possible just for the sake of it (or maybe even out of habit) rather than because you are genuinely interested in owning those games.

What do you think? Are you a collector or are you a gamer? Make sure to leave your opinion in the comment section down below 😉