- None of the purchasable costumes seem to be based on anything preexisting. That’s really weird. One of the fun things about Marvel is that there’s just mountains of existing stuff in comics to mine. I would’ve expected to see a lot more recognizable stuff in this game. Legally distinct characters, not based on MCU, yes. No comic book costumes? What in the world are you doing?
- There are fewer recognizable Marvel villains than heroes, and that’s real weird. They’re not really treading new ground here either. I can count three bosses/villains and two of them are movie retreads. It’s a real surprise considering how Spider-Man was throwing villains at me every hour. This game doesn’t even namedrop, and it’s not an origin story. The player comes into it with an established Avengers team. They’ve fought villains.
- This game is distinctly separate from the MCU, but I can read into it that they intended to keep it in MCU canon. Let’s just say the plot has a ton of overlap with things that were big themes in MCU adjacent properties four years ago. That’s around the time when the game was teased.
- A surprising amount of the game is HARM, which is the training room. Every hero has a HARM training mission. There’s a string of HARM missions that are just wave-based combat scenarios in a small room. I guess it’s a good way to pad out a big, pretty, expensive game.
- I’m working through the story expansions, so I may have more to add here.
A common problem I have with starting a new game is that it takes way too fucking long for the game to get started. Between tutorials and world building and exposition, too many games won’t just let me play it. This is particularly frustrating when I want to play something like a JRPG. They all start with long cutscenes, lots of establishing of the world, walking around and talking, and then maybe it might drop me into one fight where my options are hobbled because I haven’t completed the fight tutorial yet. Sometimes the tutorial is so awful that I can’t tell what I need to do to get through it. I drop so many games after only 15 minutes of playing them.
Hey video games. Get to the fucking point. Please let me play you within the first 15 minutes so I can figure out if I even want to keep playing.
Something I learned really quickly was that death is expensive. In my first mission, I busted in the front door, shot a couple guys, and got mowed down by their friends. Barely got started and died immediately. Then I noticed that my respawn fee is $500. I didn’t have any money, so my balance is in the negative.
Alright, back into it, round 2. I slink around. I don’t go in through the front door. I manage to get a couple kills that drop organs. Yes, organs. Kidneys, livers, intestines, etc. And then I die. My balance is -$1000.
This game has a stock market. One of the tabs in it is “parts”. This is where I can sell those organs I found. Neat! After an even slower and even more cautious run, I finish the first level. I’m paid $1000 for my troubles. Considering the cost of implants and upgrades, this is a pittance. For $1000, I can’t buy anything worthwhile. All the cool stuff, higher jump, grapple, armor piercing ammo, is way too expensive for this. I’m going to have to sell these organs if I ever want to get cooler stuff.
On the second mission, I am a ghoul. I’m not making money completing missions. I’m making money harvesting and selling parts. I don’t know of a more reliable way to get to parts than kicking corpses, so I’m football kicking these dead motherfuckers all over the place. When I kick a corpse over a wall, I curse. Fuck, there goes my parts! Civilians got parts too, so they’re not special. I’m going to get their parts. What passes for dogs in this game have parts. Give me those parts!
I’ve walked into a residential neighborhood, killed a lot of people, and walked out with a sack full of intestines, livers, pancreases, brains, and kidneys. I got paid $2000 for three of those kills, but I made four times as much selling parts. And look at these jump boosters I just put in my legs! I can leap right over fences now! Makes it easier to get to those hard to reach parts.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about Cruelty Squad. Trailer below.
I went hard on FFXIV for a couple days and stopped playing. Why?
In short, I have other games to play. Wow, such a revelation, right? But that’s the beauty of a demo. I can try out something that sounds good and see if I want to put more time or money into it.
Playing FFXIV made me recognize that I wasn’t really doing anything I couldn’t do better in a single player game. I have every other Final Fantasy. I’ve only finished XV. I could even play FFVII Remake.
I will give FFXIV credit for being a better single player MMO than ESO. The world’s prettier, there’s a lot more meat to the narrative, and actual cutscenes. It’s fun, just not so fun I’d spend $15 monthly on it.
I finally got out of my starting area.
I’ve read that tank and healer classes have an easier time finding groups. I experienced a bit of this when the story sent me to an instanced dungeon. My current class is lancer, DPS. I went to start the dungeon and it put me in a queue, waiting for a healer and a tank. The wait time was estimated at 6 minutes.
Now that I can go to any of the starting areas, I decided to swap classes to a tank class. That’s when I found out that there are very few non-DPS classes.
As I learned, if I want to play a tank, I can pick gladiator (which leads to paladin), or marauder (which leads to warrior). Dark Knight and Gunbreaker are advanced classes (level 50+). Likewise, if I wanted to play healer, I could go conjurer (leading to white mage) or arcanist (leading to scholar), which astrologian being an advanced class. I was really close to the starting point for marauder, so I went with marauder.
Side note: look at this wild class imbalance. Four tank classes, three healer classes, eleven DPS classes. No wonder DPS classes have to queue.
I went to the marauder quest giver. It turns out switching classes is as simple as switching weapons. He gave me an axe so I equipped it.
Immediately, I’m standing there in nothing but my underwear with an axe on my back. All of my armor was either specific to lancer, or too high level. I was a level 1 marauder.
I didn’t keep any low level gear. I had to run around in my underwear until I could find an armor vendor. Even then, his only level 1 armor was a shirt. Oh well.
It did not last long because I was able to level up to 5 (the next gear level) fast, but it was pretty funny and definitely unexpected.
I know MMO games are not really my thing. It doesn’t stop me from playing them.
It started with Everquest. I saw one of my friends in high school playing it and I thought it looked like nothing I’d ever played before. I bought my own copy. But I was in high school, and broke, and had a short attention span. I played it for all of a week under the 30 days of game time it came with, uninstall, and never played it again.
Since then I’ve picked up and played some Champions Online (free), a lot of Star Trek Online (free), some Guild Wars (one time purchase), some Guild Wars 2 (one time purchase), a little Star Wars: The Old Republic (free), a little World of Warcraft (free trial), and a lot of Elder Scrolls Online (one time purchase). I’ve never considered playing a subscription MMO since Everquest. I don’t count WOW as I was never going to pay for WOW, I just wanted to see what the fuss was about long after it was on the decline.
Final Fantasy XIV gets a lot of positive reviews though, and it’s a subscription MMO. Every time I’ve considered it, I’ve installed and played ESO instead. But ESO is bad. It’s just an ugly, dreadfully boring game. I call it my depression game because I can only play it when I’m depressed. I demand too much for my time to play it otherwise.
This time, though, I’m giving FFXIV a shot. It has a generous free trial. I can get the full game + a month of subscription for cheap if I enjoy it. And so far, maybe two or three hours in, I’m enjoying it.
The mistake here is that I could be playing any of the hundreds of games I already own. But here I am, starting an MMO that will takes hundreds of hours to “complete”.
James Stephanie Sterling is a youtuber whose work I’ve been following for several years. They recently came out as trans-feminine non-binary. Since then, they’ve lost thousands of Youtube followers. Part of this is because Youtube’s algorithms routinely punish and de-value works from LGBTQ creators, and part of this is simply that bigots who are intolerant of Jim’s identity are leaving. As they say in this video, it’s a good thing their livelihood doesn’t depend solely on Youtube, because Youtube is a terrible platform. Without Patreon supporters, like myself, they’d be in a much worse position.
Likewise, May Leitz from the Youtube channel Nyx Fears also finds her videos being de-prioritized or hidden by Youtube’s algorithms. She put a lot of work into this touching and personal video about childhood neglect, and it’s gotten less views than a week-old video about her DVD collection. It’s sad.
In one of her videos, she started it with (paraphasing) “This video is sponsored by no one. Nobody is going to sponsor me. I’m a trans youtuber talking about weird horror. No one is going to pay me for that.” And she’s right. That was the day I subscribed to her Patreon. Corporations might be scared to sponsor a trans youtuber, and Youtube is definitely fucking with her videos, but I can throw her some of my money. I like what she makes and I want her to keep doing it.
Another Youtuber I love whose work isn’t completely supported by Youtube is Patrick H Willems. He makes fun, thoughtful videos about movies. He’s been connecting the last year+ of videos with a side story about an evil coconut. He’s going to dedicate a whole video to wrapping up the coconut storyline with a mini-movie. But instead of his youtube channel, he’s putting it on Nebula. He had to take to twitter to elaborate on that decision because some people were mad about it.
It’s pretty clear to me that Youtube isn’t enough. Maybe when you’re at the tippy-top it’s enough, but everyone else isn’t getting enough out of it, especially queer creators. So please, if you have a favorite youtuber, find ways to support them outside of Youtube. A couple weeks ago, Youtube recommended a Jon Tron video to me, and today they showed me a Prager U ad. This thing sucks and I’d sure love it if these folks could all make enough outside of Youtube to leave it entirely.
I think I’m coming to the end of my interest in continuing to play Fallout 76. Xbox tells me I’m just past the 49 hour mark, with maybe 10 of those being played before this most recent stretch.
This is a huge game and it lands in the same place for me as playing a solo MMO like Elder Scrolls Online. I can walk around this endless world and see the sights, read some stories, and barely interact with it. It consumes my time. Even though I’m having some fun with it, at some point I want to “finish” it. But that’s not the point of this game. The point is for me to play it forever.
I could go back to Nier Replicant and continue my Ending B run, but that’s turning into a bit of a chore. I know what needs to be done and I’m not looking forward to doing it. I’ve run out the fun in playing it.
I have The Quiet Man. I know The Quiet Man isn’t a good game. But I also know The Quiet Man is a short game. I can run through this bad game and get to an ending and feel that satisfaction in finishing something.
I’ve also gotten a sudden urge to complete Resistance 3. I never finished Resistance: Fall of Man. It was a bit too early PS3 for my taste, a bit too rough and boring. I did finish Resistance 2, but I had to check my PS3 trophies because I sure don’t remember that at all. It’s a bit funny or sad that the Resistance games didn’t get caught up in the wave of reboots, remakes, restarts on PS4 or PS5. I think of them as kind of a tentpole of Sony exclusives that kept the PS3 going, but it seems they were less important to the platform than I thought.
I’ve been playing way too much Fallout 76 lately. It’s really weird coming into it the way I did. I started it a couple years ago, stopped playing without making much progress, and now I’ve come back in. The game has received several large scale updates, including an update that put human NPCs into it.
Yes, in the before times of Fallout 76, there were no humans. Just robots, mutants, and monsters. Putting humans into the game is a big deal. There are friendly people and non-friendly people. Settlements and raider camps. None of this stuff existed before.
The problem is that these additions put in more quests and stuff to do. But I’m neither coming in brand new, nor coming in having played this to the end. I hit a bit of a wall with the main original storyline by walking into a boss fight that I was way too low level to finish. But now what? Side quests? I stumbled around a lot to find out that the Wastelanders update brought in a different low level quest storyline. So now I’m following those quests.
I’m not mad really, because I did a lot of side stuff in the mean time, but I wish a game like this would do a better job of communicating what I should do next. The Division 2 had that figured out. There’s a page that tells you what to do next. Fallout 76 has something like that for daily and weekly challenges, which seem largely directed at people who have done everything. But it needs that for people like me who get a wild idea to play a bunch of Fallout 76 after putting it down shortly after launch.