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Video Games - Sequels of Dread and Anticipation

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17 hours ago, Rhom said:

Never played WC3 Reforged.  How did they mess that up?

Originally it was supposed to be a much more comprehensive remaster with every cut-scene completely re-rendered, all the in-engine cutscenes redone and a much more thorough update than StarCraft Remastered (which was excellent, but conservative, with reworked graphics but all the cutscenes left alone). They didn't do that and delivered a game that didn't look much better than OG WC3. It was all the worse because OG WC3 had had tons of mods and fan remasters and other things over the years to make keep it looking pretty good. So WC3 Reforged coming out with marginally better graphics than the base game felt underwhelming. There was also the fact they decided not to tamper with the game's animations (which look pretty clunky these days) to keep the timing the same for spells, cooldowns and so on for multiplayer veterans, rather than throw everything off, which meant the one improvement people were hoping for wasn't included (for not a bad reason, but still, poor communication over that).

But far worse was the way that Reforged replaced OG WC3 as the default game for online matches and then tore out a ton of features from OG WC3, such as LAN and offline play, ranked ladders, automated tournaments etc.

So Reforged not only came out with a ton less features than was originally promised, what was done wasn't much better than had been available in WC3 for donkey's years and then yanked out features from the original game so people who'd been playing WC3 for almost twenty years suddenly found a ton of features unavailable to them.

As far as I know, a lot of these problems still haven't been fixed.

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With all these remakes/reboots/TV&Movie adaptations -- it seems kind of amazing to me that Ultima and Wing Commander (WC3 will always be Heart of the Tiger to me). EA owns the properties (from Origin Systems) -- have there been any rumblings or real attempts? Is the dearth of interest because of Ultima IX flopped and X was cancelled?

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5 hours ago, IlyaP said:

Between him and Creeper in Caldera, it's a nice way to build up a small fortune. 

Now if only I knew why Dark Brotherhood berks kept attacking me out of the blue every now and then....

Well all those assassins do work very well with the creeper and mudcrab since they keep donating moderately valuable gear to you. If you want them to stop irritating you I believe that any guard will direct you to an npc who will then send you to Mournhold, the capitol city on the mainland, and iirc the attacks stop once you've visited at least once even if you don't pursue the Tribunal content (though it is good).

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2 hours ago, Poobah said:

Well all those assassins do work very well with the creeper and mudcrab since they keep donating moderately valuable gear to you. If you want them to stop irritating you I believe that any guard will direct you to an npc who will then send you to Mournhold, the capitol city on the mainland, and iirc the attacks stop once you've visited at least once even if you don't pursue the Tribunal content (though it is good).

How do I get to Mournhold? And can I travel freely back and forth between Vvardenfell and Mournhold?

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26 minutes ago, IlyaP said:

How do I get to Mournhold? And can I travel freely back and forth between Vvardenfell and Mournhold?

There's a guy in uh.. Ebonhawk? no that's Guild Wars... uh Ebonheart who you need to have a chat with about the assassination attempts, if you tell any guard that the Dark Brotherhood is after you they should direct you to him, he'll then send you to a mage also in Ebonheart who can teleport you to the palace in Mournhold and yeah there's a mage there who can send you back and after that you can get teleported back and fourth at will.

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Since the Tribunal expansion is basically supposed to happen after you beat Morrowind, it might be best not to go farther than "stop sending these stupid dudes after me every time I sleep" if you go to Mournhold through Ebonheart.

I always played the game with expansions installed, and that is annoying because my stupidly low-level toons get attacked by Dark Brotherhood goons, who are a pain to beat when you're lvl 3, but as said, at least it's a cheap way to get good starting gear and plenty of money (for low-level who can't yet look glass, ebony or daedric armor from random mob). Once I've killed a dozen of them, I do the quests and get rid of the attacks.

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Well, having now reached 41 hours of playtime, I've just started the Citadels of the Sixth House quest, so I'm approaching the end of the main quest. And I'm only level 11, which...I don't know if that's too low level? 

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While not being a speed-run, I have the feeling you did the main quest and some side-quests, some guild-factions questlines notably, but left some for later. lvl 11 looks quite low, but you'll know soon enough if you can beat an Ash Vampire. Just keep a save game before you enter a citadel, and obviously once you decide to go meet Dagoth Ur himself, save before your endeavour and keep it safe, just in case.

I don't have Morrowind playtime on my saves, so I can't compare exactly. My first insanely thorough playthrough took at least 300 hours by a very conservative estimate and took me something like 340 game-days. For my 2nd playthrough, during which I did all the quests (but not the thorough exploration of the map and cleansing of every non-quest-related dungeon and shipwreck), I ended Morrowind (before expansions) at more or less lvl 35 and it took me 120 in-game days - no idea how high level I was at the Citadels of 6th House quest, but a lengthy check through my journal showed that I took that quest on day 75, and obviously I did a lot of factions quests once I beat the main quest on day 80. But then if you want a point of comparison, my first very thorough Oblivion playthrough (and only one I completed), including all DLCs and expansions, took me 270 hours of playtime and I hit lvl 34 when finishing Shivering Isles.

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1 hour ago, Clueless Northman said:

While not being a speed-run, I have the feeling you did the main quest and some side-quests, some guild-factions questlines notably, but left some for later.

Just checked the in-game day count - I'm on day 153 in the game itself. I've managed to find (completely by chance) most of the glass armour and sword (the latter from a mechanoid statue in Ald Daedroth). I've done a few side quests, but really only just a few - and the ones I did engaged with irked me a bit due to being little more than fetch quests. I've joined, at this point, the thieves guild, mages guild, and fighters guild, but mostly I've stuck to completing the main quest. As my fiancee pointed out, this is a game that really requires the player to talk to everyone and anyone (she played the game to death one summer some years back), especially if you want to do all 490 quests. ...And I don't know that I have it in me to dedicate that much time to that many tasks. (Especially when I'm job hunting in real life.)

That said, I've enjoyed the RPG mechanics, though they obviously can't compete with what was on offer in Daggerfall, which, to my mind, remains the most feature-rich RPG ever made - by which I mean Julian LeFay and co. offered so many systems to build out and/or exploit at your pleasure, including actual *language* skills, which is just such an unfathomable concept for anyone other than an indie developer to explore as a feature. I'm also very intrigued by the fact that I can drop loot nearly anywhere and it'll just...stay there. It circumvents the need to get a flat or house, obviously, and it makes me wonder about potential mods that could build on that feature. 

I do confess to being somewhat tired of having to *constantly* reference UESP on account of Morrowind's less than great dictionary/encyclopaedia system. I never had to refer to anything online for Skyrim, since it was easy enough to check the information in-game - in instances where I was trying to remember someone's name or their location. That said - it's from 2002, so it's going to have the features that are of its time. It's almost like a puzzle in some respects - the game expects you to figure it out yourself and not have the game provide you with any kind of hand-holding the way it did in The Elder Scrolls OnlineSkyrim and to a lesser extent, Oblivion. (Can't comment on Blades, as I've not tried it.)

Having looked at Oblivion, by comparison, my playthrough for that took me 60.9 hours. (I'm reinstalling it at present to check what my Day Count was in-game - and as I seemingly did not save any of my save-game files, I...can't tell you. But I recall getting up to about level 17 by the time I finished the main quest.) I know @Werthead mentioned the Shivering Isles expansion and how much he enjoyed it - and I would legitimately love to know why, as that's actually where I *stopped* the game. I completed the main quest, did a few side quests, and then thought "stuff it, fine, I'll do the Shivering Isles". I met Sheogorath and found out what the quest was. And then I sighed and said "yeah that's enough". I generally dislike him as a character, and find him to be as annoying as the kid in your classroom who won't behave no matter how much you try to get them to just stick through the lesson for the next 30 minutes. Apparently it's the most highly-related DLC for Oblivion, but I just don't know why. Even the funky world design can't compare to what's on offer in Morrowind. 

All of this pales in comparison to Skyrim, which, uh, I've played for 426 hours. 2017-2018 was my Year of Skyrim. I did every quest, tried hundreds upon hundreds of mods, learned how to do low-level coding in mod editors, used my spare time to research mods not posted on Nexus Mods (there's a porno mod, and it's...weird), and even read some fanfic. (The Requiem mod does a lot to make Skyrim a more interesting RPG.)

My goal, after finishing Skyrim, was to go backwards, and complete games that I missed out on on account of having been preoccupied with university and work for a good decade and a half, between 2000 and 2015*. Part of that also included playing the Elder Scrolls games...in reverse. So I've done Oblivion (completed the tragic and strangely moving dark brotherhood quest, and a few other side quests), I've nearly finished the main quest in Morrowind, and I've installed Daggerfall Unity (amazingly I played this when it first came out, on a Pentium 90 back in...1998 or something). And I'll be at least trying out Arena as well. **

*Which is why I'm currently also, on the side, doing a playthrough of Ultimate Doom, which is made *infinitely* more enjoyable with GZDoom, which introduces a muchly needed Y axis. Other games on the To Complete list include NWN, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Firewatch, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Syberia 1-3, Walden, a revisit of Anachronox (I have finished it, but it's been so long that a refresher is needed), Fallout 3, Halo and Halo 2 (completed the first), Uru (nearly finished), Mass Effect (finished), Quake IV, KOTOR, System Shock 2, Bioshock Remastered, Tyranny (finished), Pillars of Eternity dulogy (finished - having played each game 3 times because they're so goddamn good), and Thief 2-3. (I also managed to complete all of the Tomb Raider Survivor trilogy, and most of the Tomb Raider Legend trilogy, though Anniversary is not terrific and Underworld has a poorly-programmed camera that gave me awful headaches). I am contemplating Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, but having found Human Revolution somewhat underwhelming, I'm not really inspired by what the second prequel has on offer.

**And once I've finished the series, I'll be doing a comprehensive personal write-up, much like I did with the entire Tomb Raider series late last year - where I wrote a 10,000 word piece to eventually put online once I get my website completely up and running. 

...that ended up being a longer post than I intended. Was writing it over breakfast while installing Oblivion to check some stats for you. Got a bit carried away. Sorry. 

 

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Mankind Divided is basically Human Revolution without much change to gameplay, features, similar world. 80% of the game occurs in one quite big city (Prague) instead of you travelling across the world. And it was obviously designed as only the first half or first third of a series, which makes it massively annoying, because there's no genuine climax with a feeling of a job well done, no genuinely satisfying ending - you've just done what would be the questline of one chapter of a regular Deus Ex game. In this regard, it's a bit like Mass Effect 2 whose main plotline is basically "assemble a team and when you're done, go there and beat these baddies", which once again is usually just a part of what a RPG questline is supposed to be, there's no "let's save the world for real".

153 days in Morrowind, that's already a lot. Lots of fast travel or sleeping maybe, because I can't see how you'll only have play 41 hours. About dropping loot, it works well in Morrowind as well. Creeper usually has a huge pile of expensive junk at the end of my playthroughs :D

Now, about Shivering Isles, the Isles are quite insane with plenty of reasonably funny bits and quest, which are quite different from the standard Oblivion quests, it's the only place that doesn't look like a generic European medfan area (something you don't have at all in Morrowind), and the final parts of the main quest, including its conclusion, are really good, but that would be quite a serious spoiler.

Edited by Clueless Northman

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10 hours ago, Clueless Northman said:

153 days in Morrowind, that's already a lot. Lots of fast travel or sleeping maybe, because I can't see how you'll only have play 41 hours.

Lots of sleeping, to heal. 

Before I found, of course, alchemists and wizards with *good* healing potions. 

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I loved "Housing" in Morrowind more than I did many games actual intended player housing systems. 

I wiped out some homeowner whose home had a superior layout. I painstakingly mounted my hoarded sets of armor on shelves, dozens of trinkets in barrels, books and scrolls in a tremendous pile, all that jazz. I don't remember much of that wonderful game, and might just GoG it due to this conversation. Oblivion was great, but it didn't have my visual dragon's horde of loot arrayed carefully by the pixel. I also couldn't leap into the air and fly over the entire continent. 

Okay, yep, Morrowind is getting a playthrough this year.

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9 hours ago, Argonath Diver said:

I also couldn't leap into the air and fly over the entire continent. 

Okay, yep, Morrowind is getting a playthrough this year.

That was one of those things that really made Morrowind for me. The enchanting system was so broken. Spent hours collecting and making a set of Daedric armor with jump & strength on it, to the point I could literally hop the entire island in a few leaps. Good times. They never let you break the game mechanics quite so badly in the subsequent games.

Edited by Impmk2

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9 hours ago, Impmk2 said:

Spent hours collecting and making a set of Daedric armor with jump & strength on it, to the point I could literally hop the entire island in a few leaps.

Wait, what?

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I don't think this is actually "breaking the game mechanisms". Morrowind shows you at your very arrival at Seyda Neen what magic and enchantment can do, with the mage dropping dead from the sky.

IlyaP: The trick is, to be able to put more powerful enchantments, you need higher gear, Daedric being basically the top. You of course also need the best soul gems with the biggest mob's souls caught in them - say, Golden Saints for instance.

Edited by Clueless Northman

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I was always a fan of using the Boots of Blinding Speed for my day to day travel, with some resist magica for when I put them on so I could actually see.

Edit: Powerful jump enchantments are extremely fun though, I definitely recommend giving one a go sometime IlyaP!

Edited by Poobah

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This was unexpected. MicroProse - the 1980s/90s developers behind the original Civilization and X-COM games - has been resurrected by ex-Bohemia staff to create new military simulation and strategy games and they have half a dozen games in development (the most promising of which is steampunk aerial combat game Highfleet).

They've also announced Carrier Command 2, a sequel to a 1988 game that was waaaay ahead of its time, allowing the player to to conquer a massive island chain in real-time combat. The game was one of the first real-time strategy titles as well as featuring elements of air, land and sea simulation. There was a crappy remake in 2012 from Bohemia (it was actually promising, but let down by terrible AI; when a 1988 game has better AI then your 2012 game, something has gone wrong somewhere) and an absolutely superb "inspired by" game in 2001, Hostile Waters, but this is being set up as more of a direct successor.

It looks interesting. The slightly retro graphics I know will put some off, but for a game that was 90% played from the map screen or from the cockpit of a Manta fighter thousands of feet above the ground (or a carrier-launched drone satellite), it's probably not a huge deal. I'll be more of a concern for when taking direct command of the amphibious assault tanks.

It's also coming out surprisingly soon, apparently before the end of June this year.

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The troubled development of VtM:Bloodlines 2 continues, and likely is even worse than the original's at this point. https://www.bloodlines2.com/en/bloodlines-2-development-update

The game, originally scheduled to release in March 2020, will now no longer be releasing in 2021 at all; with no information on any future release date. This coincides with Paradox removing Hardsuit Labs from being the developer of the game, with some new, unannounced, studio presumably taking over (the game isn't being canceled, so someone has to be working on it). Last year Hardsuit Labs had a lot of turnover, and it seems like there must've been a lot of issues going on in the background for Paradox to take this action.

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Finally got my xbox modded and am able to play Goldeneye. I've been alternating between that and emulating the PSP version of Final Fantasy Tactics for the full 1997 video games experience. 

Both great games but it's really nice to play these Goldeneye levels again for the first time in like fifteen years. Not being able to shoot through the glass on the second Bunker level made it a bit harder though. 

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44 minutes ago, Fez said:

The troubled development of VtM:Bloodlines 2 continues, and likely is even worse than the original's at this point. https://www.bloodlines2.com/en/bloodlines-2-development-update

The game, originally scheduled to release in March 2020, will now no longer be releasing in 2021 at all; with no information on any future release date. This coincides with Paradox removing Hardsuit Labs from being the developer of the game, with some new, unannounced, studio presumably taking over (the game isn't being canceled, so someone has to be working on it). Last year Hardsuit Labs had a lot of turnover, and it seems like there must've been a lot of issues going on in the background for Paradox to take this action.

Ach, that's a pity. When I heard it was in the offing, I got quite excited about it, then forgot about it when there were no updates.

In somewhat video-game-related news, Sarevok (Baldur's Gate) is going to be Dr Hibbert in The Simpsons. 

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