Wednesday, February 24, 2021

You're right Illidan, I am not prepared

Hold up a minute. Burning Crusade is a thing? I guess we all saw this coming the moment they announced they were going to release Classic. I am sure we all went "ok then, I wonder if that means...?". Of course that is what was going to happen. Classic and TBC were very popular and there is no way they're not also releasing Wrath of the Lich King once they've started down this path.

Problem is, I am so not prepared. They only released Classic 1,5 years-ish ago! I don't even have a level 60 yet!

I was always hype about the possibility of TBC coming back, just like I was mad hype about them re-releasing Classic. And I have loved every second of Classic so far, which is half the reason it has taken me forever to get anywhere (that and unlike last time I played WoW I am making sure to divide my time to other games as well). I love the leveling experience and have multiple alts between 20-50. I am not in a rush to get to end game, at all.

Except now maybe. Because there is no way I will be able to stay away from TBC once it is released. And there is no way I am going to have time for Classic and TBC. And if they will be asking us for a separate fee for both there is also a very tiny chance I will even want to have two subscriptions, I just don't see that happening. 

So here I am, kinda feeling forced to move on to TBC. Which I am not, of course. I could just lounge around in Classic some more if I want to, but I wonder if anyone else will stick around with me? Or will finding groups be even harder? It's not overly difficult at the moment, but there are evenings when I just don't find a group I want and that might happen even more as players move over to TBC. 

Classic is fun because I find great people to do content with. I also enjoy questing on my own, but that is only because I am not really on my own. I can talk to people in guild chat or run across people questing in the same area. Maybe you group up for some harder quests and then you say your goodbyes. This is where Classic WoW has always excelled I find. If I knew I was in fact one of only very few people left on a server, that would definitely take a lot of the fun out of it for me because the only thing that is really left for me to explore and that makes the game still new and fresh is other people. I've already done the content a hundred times (literally). I've done every area, every dungeon, every quest, leveled every class at the very least once.

And yet I just don't feel anywhere near done enjoying Classic yet. I still want to get to end-game, there are still several instances and every raid that I haven't done (this time around). Most raids I didn't even get around to experience current-content the first time around, because I wasn't in a raiding guild and I don't recall PUG raids being anywhere near as common back then as they seem to be now. While I did do MC and ZG a handful of times before TBC was released, I never saw UBRS, BWL or Onyxia until after that. 

But I know most people probably
have been in end-content for a year now and maybe they are feeling done with it. I've heard it's difficult to find groups for PvP which might've otherwise bolstered end game. I heard that Blizzard intend to keep dedicated Classic servers running but I wonder how long they will do that if most people leave them. I don't know, maybe it is a good thing that I am sort of being ushered along since I seem to just loiter around and not even get to end game, but I can't help but feeling this will only mean I am going to miss Classic all over again (until they re-re-release it in another 15 years).

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Cyberpunk 2077 - 25 hour mark

Spoilers ahead! (Played on PS4)

At mid- December last year me, and a lot of other people, started playing the extremely highly anticipated game Cyberpunk 2077. I wrote down some thoughts on it after a few hours of gameplay; I thought Night City was fun to check out but didn't really feel "alive". I was unsure about the main quest and mostly stuck to doing side business. I hadn't really encountered any bugs or game breaking glitches. I felt combat lacked something that made it really interesting, but hoped more skills for my character and knowledge from my part would change that. I was worried I would find the game repetitive if that didn't happen.

So, some 20 hours down the line, have I changed my mind about anything regarding the game? Mostly no, but there are some things that have been positive surprises.

I am still a bit torn, or should I maybe say worried, about how I feel towards the game. When I am not playing it, I don't really have any feelings drawing me in to play it. It's not like how I felt about The Witcher 3, where I constantly wanted to play more to discover more adventure. So far I feel the main story is fairly meh and almost every character I have met is too. While I still think Night City is gorgeous and I actually really just walking around and taking in the scenery because there are fun little things to see and marvel at everywhere, all the people in it sort of break my immersion. Or maybe it is something about how the bad guys and side quests are all gathered up in little chunks around the map for you to deal with that makes it feel so planned out rather than natural and dynamic. 

An unwelcome sight

Over the 120+ hours I had on the Witcher 3 I never once thought "urgh, this kind of quest again" and the only enemy I got bored of were the dogs. I already feel like I've done only the same quest over and over in Cyberpunk 2077 and that's not even true, it just feels like it. Every enemy in Cyberpunk 2077 feels exactly the same because they are. In The Witcher 3 I fought everything from Drowners to Katakans to Alps to Giant Centipedes and even plants! In Cyberpunk the enemy is always yet another street thug (I guess I've seen a handful of drones as well).

In fact it reminds me so much of how I ended up feeling about Skyrim. After having played it for 65+ hours I realized I felt cheated by the game and all its little icons beckoning me to check what was around the corner. There was always the same thing around the corner! The same dungeon, the same enemies, the same loot. I fell for the urge to explore and continued to harbour the hope of something new and interesting continuously until I was almost angry at the game for having tricked me. 

The main story of Skyrim didn't interest me in the slightest either, and Cyberpunk has at least the upper hand in that regard. While I don't find the main story particularly compelling, I didn't really in The Witcher 3 either - it's adequate enough and has me mildly curious. My main drawing point so far is by far Johnny Silverhand, whom I really didn't believe I was going to like as much as I did. 

At least Cyberpunk 2077 doesn't have a really annoying companion ruining your life. Oh wait.

When Keanu Reeves first showed up on screen and I got to know who Johnny Silverhand is and how he is implemented in the game I was actually not too keen on the idea. But he quickly grew on me and now I miss him every time he's not on screen. It's kind of unfortunate because since he never shows up during any of the generic side quests, that's just another reason for me to avoid them.

I've got to hand it to them though, to me the whole concept of Johnny Silverhand is genius. A long dead terrorist-rebel who's stuck as a data-avatar in your brain? He's too cool for school and while I don't consider myself part of the Keanu Reeves fan-club I will acknowledge that he is probably the only one who could've pulled this off. I usually actually detest when they use actual actors in games, but this is one instance where the casting was absolutely perfect, nothing else would've had the same effect.

Combat has some fun points, but it still hasn't evolved much from me just being able to run in wild and crazy and just hold a shoot-out. I don't actually need to plan ahead or need to use a different tactic. I guess you could blame the fact that I've only ever tackled quests labeled "moderate" or lower, but "moderate" shouldn't be easy right? Maybe I should try some "high" threat quests and get back to you on whether combat required some more thinking or not. Right now I will occasionally essentially Nuzlocke myself to get some thrill out of the fights, because while there are a lot of interesting skills to be had, when you don't feel like you need to use them they lose a lot of their fun.

Game designers should ask themselves, what would Pokémon do?

You get completely drowned in loot like this is Diablo 4. I stopped caring about what I was picking up about 15 hours ago. I still pick up everything because the game tricks you into thinking that some of those things might be really useful. They almost never are, the only time you'll notice any major upgrades or differences are within the first five hours of gaming or if you do some certain quests that reward you with good legendaries. After every fight I've got about 20-30 inventory items to sort through, ranging from sunglasses, y-fronts and yet another assault rifle. I think there must be a better way to handle loot from how I am doing it now though... I will figure it out.

I've put most points into Quickhacking, Breach Control and Crafting, in that order. So I am what you could basically call a mage in this game. And it is quite powerful. I can take out entire squads of enemies by getting them to puke their guts out while being on fire, while I am hiding behind some trash can giggling. It's a fun concept and I know there are a dozen other ways you could handle a fight, but like I said you never feel like it's necessary anyway. I would've liked to be better at sneaking, but have yet to feel like the game is actually well designed towards this game style. Often I find some interesting alternate route after I've murdered everyone in a building already, and that is not for lacking of trying beforehand. 

Combat in some ways epitomizes what I might think is the main issue with Cyberpunk 2077, it is trying to bite off so very much that only some very core concepts work ok and when they try to come together they just don't. The world aesthetics are great, but characters are not. Combat skills are great, but combat is not. For everything cool about it there is still something empty and tedious in every smile I see and every gun shot I fire.

And yet there are a lot of things to like about Cyberpunk 2077. It's not a bad game, and yet it is. I really can't wrap my brain around exactly what my problem with it is, it's like a nice looking pair of trousers that are slightly uncomfortable. I still intend and want to see the story through, so I don't feel like I am done with it yet. But I really doubt this game will manage to get 120+ hours out of me like The Witcher 3 did, with ease. But you never know.

And also I still really can't stand the voice acting for female V.