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IlyaP

Videogames: The Sequeling

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The previous post from the last thread talked about the wonderful Dishonored/Dishonored 2 documentary produced by NoClip (see below). Which prompted me to revisit the first Dishonored game, which led to the realisation that I'd never played the three DLCs available with the version I'd purchased - The Brigmore Witches, The Knife of Dunwall, and Dunwall City Trials. It looks like the third and final DLC (trials) was part of some sort of online trial/ranking/leaderboard system. It appears to still work - though I don't think Arkane and Bethesda are tracking trial success numbers anymore. 

It's also led me to investigate the artbooks released for both games. If you enjoy maps, stylised art, whaling, and engineering, you'll probably get a kick out of these books - they're really lovingly crafted.

Otherwise, the Diablo: Belzebub* slog continues. I'm halfway to level 30 and still don't have gear sufficiently strong enough to prevent me from getting stun-locked by the final bosses in the game (Doomlord Gam'ar, Bloodlord the Destroyer, Benedict the Black, and Diablo), so I've started using the "$player #" command to increase the difficulty level in order to farm some better gear - apparently a known and regular practice among Diablo players. 

Am hoping to finally get around to finishing the write-up on Tyranny that I promised myself I'd finish last month - which was delayed by job hunting, other games and novels, and creative writing. Will probably do a third playthrough and test a few more game mechanics and systems before finishing the essay. 

 

*It's a really great mod. It's made the game enjoyable for me, in part due to numerous quality of life improvements. 

 

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I'm about 30 hours into Baldur's Gate 1 and am mid-way through Chapter 5. I'd forgotten just how different the game feels once you reach the city itself. Not necessarily better, since there is something vey relaxing about methodically clearly the wilderness areas. But its the city, with its recurring NPCs, slightly longer questlines, and quests with more outcomes, that clearly was the throughline to Baldur's Gate 2 and the whole modern lineage of CRPGS aping that style. It actually feels a bit like the tabletop campaigns I've been part of. I'm glad I decided to go through the game rather than jump straight to BG2.

Though I may actually take a break before starting BG2, since I'm very interested in the Shin Megami Tensei 3 remaster on Steam. I know the SMT games are quite different from their Persona cousins, but I've always been very interested in trying one and this is my first opportunity.

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23 minutes ago, Fez said:

But its the city, with its recurring NPCs, slightly longer questlines, and quests with more outcomes, that clearly was the throughline to Baldur's Gate 2 and the whole modern lineage of CRPGS aping that style.

Am inclined to agree. There's also something to be said for - in the context of when the game was released - of how damn cool it is to wander around in lovingly drawn nature backgrounds before finally arriving at - gasp! - a giant friggin' fantasy city. It's still just the coolest sensation to hear the music swelling a bit and the video playing, as it reveals the city of Baldur's Gate (see below).

Interestingly enough, the music that composer Michael Hoenig composed as it appears on the soundtrack is quite different, and much more rousing. Still gives me shivers every time I listen to his music. (It's a damn shame his creative output slowed down in the 00s, he's a talented composer.)

In 2021, I can see how the city sequence might feel a bit passe or outdated or not that significant compared to what modern day games offer, but for its time, it was phenomenal - especially in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.

 

 

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Bannerlord has one of the best battle AI's I've seen in games featuring many entities, whether RTS or something else. While the battles can get repetitive, it's nice to see the AI make different decisions based on strength differences between the combating armies, and how the battle advantage fluctuates.

In a recent battle, I've experienced a first. I joined in a battle with my band, not being part of the army, so I still had command of my troops. It's cool to see that if you issue a follow your serjeants command to various parts of your band, they will do what your ally does. So in this battle the enemy had a slight strength advantage, and my ally chose to adopt a defensive position, taking the high ground just behind a lake, with the enemy forced to traverse the water if they wanted to come head on. There were cliffs guarded by cavalry on both sides. I positioned myself on the left with my own cavalry. So the enemy army came. The way the game works, there is a limited number of units allowed on the battlefield at once, so if the armies are bigger, reinforcements spawn when enough units are taken out. (wounded or killed) Their first charge was repulsed with heavy losses. Some of their units routed, others actually fell back and waited for reinforcements. My ally gave a bit of a chase, but then fell back. I did the same. They came again, and again. Eventually the battle advantage shifted in my side's favor. At that point the enemy regrouped to a defensive position, and just sat there. But my ally didn't move either, so I stayed put, too. Maybe a minute passed, then suddenly the enemy started disappearing. It still had plenty of strength left, but the enemy AI calculated it couldn't win this battle if we continued to remain in defensive position, and chose to retreat. It didn't help them much post battle, with loads of prisoners taken, but still, that was the first time I've seen an AI choose not to stupidly fight to the bitter end.

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4 hours ago, IlyaP said:

The previous post from the last thread talked about the wonderful Dishonored/Dishonored 2 documentary produced by NoClip (see below). Which prompted me to revisit the first Dishonored game, which led to the realisation that I'd never played the three DLCs available with the version I'd purchased - The Brigmore Witches, The Knife of Dunwall, and Dunwall City Trials. It looks like the third and final DLC (trials) was part of some sort of online trial/ranking/leaderboard system. It appears to still work - though I don't think Arkane and Bethesda are tracking trial success numbers anymore. 

It's also led me to investigate the artbooks released for both games. If you enjoy maps, stylised art, whaling, and engineering, you'll probably get a kick out of these books - they're really lovingly crafted.

I keep meaning to pick up the Dishonored tabletop RPG as well, it apparently really fleshes out the worldbuilding based on the game writers' notes.

A full Dishonored replay is on my schedule because I still haven't played Dishonored 2 or Death of the Outsider.

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Somehow I missed this thread earlier.  Sorry about confusion on a new one.  If a mod would like to come along and close mine, that'd would be super duper.

So anyways, what I was saying:  

On Mass Effect, when last I played the game about four years ago (that was my second ever play through) I dropped the difficulty on ME1 down to casual just to cruise through it.  What I’m finding this time is that I’m really enjoying it more.  I’m not stuck behind cover all the time like in ME2 and I can move more.  It’s also a proper RPG with full control over your party’s weapons/armor/leveling/etc.

Im really enjoying it all over again.

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Sounds like Bethesda pulled the trigger - possibly some time ago - on delaying Starfield until 2022, and probably all the way until late 2022. As of last year they were apparently targeting late 2021 but COVID made that dubious and they decided to be safe rather than sorry.

However, it does sound like Microsoft really wanted the game for their big E3 presentation which they're using to try to sell consoles, so we should still see the game in action next month. I also suspect Microsoft liked the idea of clearing late 2021 for Halo Infinite (assuming no more delays to that) and having Starfield as their big exclusive (and it is exclusive, no PS version) for a year later. That does make me wonder if we'll see some more footage from Avowed as well.

Delaying Starfield to 2022 of course makes it far less likely we'll see Elder Scrolls VI this side of 2025. In fact, 2026-28 might be a more realistic date now which is crazy.

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3 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Delaying Starfield to 2022 of course makes it far less likely we'll see Elder Scrolls VI this side of 2025. In fact, 2026-28 might be a more realistic date now which is crazy.

Maybe Microsoft will convince Todd Howard to let some other studio other than the main Maryland-based studio at least do some of the pre-production and support work for ES:VI to try to get it out quicker.

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2 minutes ago, Fez said:

Maybe Microsoft will convince Todd Howard to let some other studio other than the main Maryland-based studio at least do some of the pre-production and support work for ES:VI to try to get it out quicker.

They've already been doing that. ES6 has been in pre-production since 2016 (hence the very barebones announcement trailer in 2018). It's possible they might be further down that line than normal because BGS has picked up some more sub-studios who could be in early work on the game, but since the Maryland studio makes all the critical decisions, they might not be able to proceed very far until Maryland finishes Starfield, though you assume 18 months from launch some departments might already be done and on ES6.

I also suspect that Microsoft would never force BGS to get other studios involved in Elder Scrolls as it's very much their baby, but Fallout would be a different matter. I can easily see Microsoft telling them to put Fallout 5 into development at Obsidian if the alternative is they won't otherwise to get to it until the 2030s.

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My friends and I finished the last boss of Valheim yesterday and was trying to figure out what to play next together. We landed on Diablo 3. I thought I had never played until logging in, I realized I had two 60 level characters (might have been the level limit at time I played). This should be fun.

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4 minutes ago, Werthead said:

They've already been doing that. ES6 has been in pre-production since 2016 (hence the very barebones announcement trailer in 2018). It's possible they might be further down that line than normal because BGS has picked up some more sub-studios who could be in early work on the game, but since the Maryland studio makes all the critical decisions, they might not be able to proceed very far until Maryland finishes Starfield, though you assume 18 months from launch some departments might already be done and on ES6.

I also suspect that Microsoft would never force BGS to get other studios involved in Elder Scrolls as it's very much their baby, but Fallout would be a different matter. I can easily see Microsoft telling them to put Fallout 5 into development at Obsidian if the alternative is they won't otherwise to get to it until the 2030s.

Oh yeah, I'm sure Microsoft won't be too heavy handed with their new golden goose. Just that, as big as Bethesda was, Xbox Game Studios is much bigger and can maybe help ease some logistical challenges with sharing more development across studios.

You're right that I wouldn't be surprised at all if Fallout 5 is Obsidian's next game after Avowed comes out. Although if Avowed is a huge hit, making a sequel to that plus having Grounded as some kind of live game might take up all of Obsidian's bandwidth too. Would love to see Arkane's spin on Fallout though. Or, hell, grow out inXile and give it to them; they've got that Interplay connection to the original games that would be kinda cool to see again.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Mexal said:

My friends and I finished the last boss of Valheim yesterday and was trying to figure out what to play next together. We landed on Diablo 3. I thought I had never played until logging in, I realized I had two 60 level characters (might have been the level limit at time I played). This should be fun.

The boss difficulty in Valheim was really all over the place.  I thought the slime boss was probably the most difficult, and I think that's the third boss.  The dragon was hilariously easy.  Every time it lands you just pummel the fuck out of it and it dies in short order.  The only thing that made that fight interesting was one of those golem things showing up midway through to harass our flank.  The second boss was really tough too.  I think that one took us at least twenty minutes, and two of the four guys in my group died during the fight multiple times.  I think we were a little under-prepared for that one, though, as the first boss was so easy that it may have given us unrealistic expectations for the Elder.

We took the last boss out before our buffs even wore out, and I think those only last five minutes.  We were well-equipped when we faced him, but still.  I was shocked by how easily he went down.  Zero lives lost.

Edited by briantw

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10 minutes ago, briantw said:

The boss difficulty in Valheim was really all over the place.  I thought the slime boss was probably the most difficult, and I think that's the third boss.  The dragon was hilariously easy.  Every time it lands you just pummel the fuck out of it and it dies in short order.  The only thing that made that fight interesting was one of those golem things showing up midway through to harass our flank.  The second boss was really tough too.  I think that one took us at least twenty minutes, and two of the four guys in my group died during the fight multiple times.  I think we were a little under-prepared for that one, though, as the first boss was so easy that it may have given us unrealistic expectations for the Elder.

We took the last boss out before our buffs even wore out, and I think those only last five minutes.  We were well-equipped when we faced him, but still.  I was shocked by how easily he went down.  Zero lives lost.

Yea, I agree with basically everything here. Pretty much how it all happened for us as well. We were so prepared for the last boss that he was cake.

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1 minute ago, Mexal said:

Yea, I agree with basically everything here. Pretty much how it all happened for us as well. We were so prepared for the last boss that he was cake.

Probably the downside of making the Plains so goddamn dangerous is that you end up so decked out that the boss can't hope to stand against you, especially if you've got a competent friend or group with you.  I was to the point where the only real threat to me in the game was a gang of goblins, because even with the best gear in the game, those things hit hard enough that they're still dangerous in big numbers.  Deathsquitos and those big yak looking things were no longer a threat to me by the end-game.  

I actually really loved fighting the yak things.  They had an enjoyable rhythm to their attacks that was very satisfying to counter.

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9 hours ago, Werthead said:

I keep meaning to pick up the Dishonored tabletop RPG as well, it apparently really fleshes out the worldbuilding based on the game writers' notes.

I purchased this just the other day. It's on my immediate to-read list, having just finished Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives (aka The Art and In-Game Notes of Dishonored). It's 314 pages in PDF format, and included artwork from both Dishonored games within. It's a lovingly-made book. 

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4 hours ago, Werthead said:

That does make me wonder if we'll see some more footage from Avowed as well.

There's been some speculation we'll be seeing some new footage from the game sooner rather than later. 

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4 hours ago, Fez said:

You're right that I wouldn't be surprised at all if Fallout 5 is Obsidian's next game after Avowed comes out. Although if Avowed is a huge hit, making a sequel to that plus having Grounded as some kind of live game might take up all of Obsidian's bandwidth too. Would love to see Arkane's spin on Fallout though. Or, hell, grow out inXile and give it to them; they've got that Interplay connection to the original games that would be kinda cool to see again.

We know that Josh Sawyer is working on a mediaeval-flavoured RPG of some kind that isn't Pillars-related (presumably a new IP), but a lot of fans seem really excited about the possibility of an Obsidian/inXile follow-up to Fallout: New Vegas, now that they're both under the Microsoft banner. Which, given the good reception had by New Vegas, I'm not surprised. 

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7 hours ago, Mexal said:

My friends and I finished the last boss of Valheim yesterday and was trying to figure out what to play next together. We landed on Diablo 3. I thought I had never played until logging in, I realized I had two 60 level characters (might have been the level limit at time I played). This should be fun.

I hate so much on Diablo 3, but it really is an excellent game for a 30 or 40 hour casual experience, especially if you're with a small group and can swap item drops. If you know the game, you can literally get your entire end-game setup, starting from scratch, in about 10 hours of super efficient play. It's absurd. If you actually play the campaign, which absolutely no one even bothers with anymore, you'll get more hours out of it before you finish your character and start the super-dull Paragon levelling experience. Honestly it'd probably be more fun if none of you remember the campaign to go that route and not worry about zooming to the end game.

I installed it again after taking a couple years off, read one guide on Icy Veins, power levelled myself to 70 in one night, and finished the character the next. I played one more day tinkering with some different builds - items drop so absurdly fast once you're doing 3 minute Greater Rift 90s solo that you'll have full end-game sets in no time. I vastly prefer Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, or even D2 for long-term grinds. The combat in D3 is really satisfying, though, can't deny that.

Re: Valheim - My brother's friends' dedicated server already collapsed though I suppose it's paid for for 2 more months. Two guys never even logged on, my bro has zero interest in grindy survival games, and the other fellow and I that invested a bunch of hours into our respective castles both lost interest once it was just us. Too bad. I've never even beaten Bonemass. I am pretty content to tinker with my single player world. I'm only really interested in building projects, so now that I have iron (and shitloads of access, as I have two enormous Swamp biomes with a dozen unfinished crypts) I don't really care about the bosses. I'd like to make some windmills, I guess. 

I'll probably put more hours into it once Hearth and Home finally drops - perhaps I can get that fellow I was with to help me advance to the 4th or 5th boss.

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It's Expansion Day (well, two days). The excellent Cloudpunk gets its mega-DLC, City of Ghosts (which is as big as the original game) today, whilst Phoenix Point gets the huge Behemoth expansion as well. Then tomorrow MechWarrior 5 gets Heroes of the Inner Sphere.

Waiting to see if Heroes breaks MechWarrior 5's rather-urgently needed mods before getting that one.

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14 hours ago, Argonath Diver said:

I hate so much on Diablo 3, but it really is an excellent game for a 30 or 40 hour casual experience, especially if you're with a small group and can swap item drops. If you know the game, you can literally get your entire end-game setup, starting from scratch, in about 10 hours of super efficient play. It's absurd. If you actually play the campaign, which absolutely no one even bothers with anymore, you'll get more hours out of it before you finish your character and start the super-dull Paragon levelling experience. Honestly it'd probably be more fun if none of you remember the campaign to go that route and not worry about zooming to the end game.

I installed it again after taking a couple years off, read one guide on Icy Veins, power levelled myself to 70 in one night, and finished the character the next. I played one more day tinkering with some different builds - items drop so absurdly fast once you're doing 3 minute Greater Rift 90s solo that you'll have full end-game sets in no time. I vastly prefer Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, or even D2 for long-term grinds. The combat in D3 is really satisfying, though, can't deny that.

Yea I think we're treating this as a casual experience. I nor my buddy's wife remember the campaign so we're just pushing through that. We just wanted a game to play together after Valheim and this seemed like a good, mindless fit with some decent combat. I'm playing a Necromancer, a class I haven't played before, and I love exploding corpses.

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