A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

Posts tagged “Star Citizen

It’s Been A While

Hey there folks, it’s been a while since I’ve had much of an opportunity to write. I haven’t been gaming exceptionally much of late and life is keeping me extraordinarily busy.

What I will mention is that in the last couple of months I’ve very much enjoyed the Diablo III update, the housing update to Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I’m playing Dragon Age II again.

On the D3 update: my character feels stronger than ever. My wizard is a joy to play and I’m often playing at Torment IV. The new equipment I find really encourages good strong looks at the stats and I appreciate tough decisions at high level regarding equipment.

For SWTOR: The housing system is a lot of fun. I spent an entire evening just decorating my main stronghold (the Nar Shaddaa sky palace). It’s really expensive to expand these strongholds and the Tatooine one is exorbitantly expensive. One of these days I’ll get back into it, I hope.

Tuesday, Borderlands The Pre-Sequel releases and I’m hoping everything goes smoothly regarding the free copy I got at PAX East back in April. I’m really looking forward to the story as well as the new characters and gameplay mechanics.

Later this month, Civilization Beyond Earth is dropping (on the 24th) and I’m very excited for that as well. I’m intentionally avoiding the videos and streams they’re releasing so that I can figure this stuff out on my own. Probably not the best idea I’ve had, but I don’t have much time for watching gameplay videos right now.

In Arena Commander, I’ve been spending time lately trying to improve my piloting skills. I’m pretty terrible, but I feel like I’m getting better all the time. Then again, when you’re the worst, all you can do is get better. I’m a bad shot with the gimbaled weapons removed from my 300i trainer, but I’m figuring it out. The main issue is that the Vanduul will change directions randomly after I fire, so it looks like I’m going to hit and then… nope. Oh well, like I said, I’ll figure it out eventually. I just want to get good at this game because when Star Citizen drops I want to be decent enough at it so I can get beyond the starting areas and out into the universe at large.

Speaking of universes, I’ve been considering investigating roleplaying games to see what their populations are. For example, older games, because of the limited space and capabilities of their platforms back then, have smaller observable and implied world populations than modern games. In Final Fantasy VI, there’s about 15 cities but maybe only a few hundred NPCs you can interact with and an implied few thousand actually in the world. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, there’s many thousands of NPCs and an implied number of millions or billions on some worlds thanks to the draw distance and such. I feel like saving the world or the universe is much less impactful when the world/universe isn’t very big or populated. Just a thought that’s been bugging me for a few years now.

However, it’s back to not blogging for a bit. Balancing school, work, and a social life takes up a significant portion of my time these days and I don’t necessarily have something to write about. Therefore, expect me when you see me.

Until next time!

– Thomas

P.S. “A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.” – Gandalf


My New Pride and Joy

This past week or so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Star Citizen. Mainly, my original contribution from two years ago.

You see, I invested in the Scout package which netted me a nice Aurora MR and lifetime insurance for it. This past week, I was playing Arena Commander (formerly the dogfight demo) and felt that the Aurora wasn’t really for me. It just didn’t have the maneuverability that I like in a ship, let alone a fighter. So I started looking at my options.

Option 1: Shell out some cash for a cross-chassis upgrade to the Origin Jumpworks 300i. This lets me transfer my lifetime insurance to the new ship.

Option 2: Shell out some cash for a cross-chassis upgrade to the Anvil Aerospace F7C Hornet. This also lets me transfer my lifetime insurance to the new ship.

Option 3: Purchase another ship entirely and just cope with the fact that its free insurance will run out in 4-6 months.

At the time I was making my decision, the Hornet was available to try out in Arena Commander and I took it for a spin around the block. It was fun, more so than the Aurora, but I felt it was missing something else. I then knuckled under and did some research on the forums and on YouTube on the 300 series (as it was the only one I couldn’t try out). I finally decided (after a day or so of thinking) that I’d do Option 1 above.

Now, that decision made, was I happy with the baseline 300i model or did I want a different version? New options!

Option A: Stay with the Origin Jumpworks 300i.

Option B: Shell out some cash for a ship upgrade to the Origin Jumpworks 315p.

Option C: Shell out some cash for a ship upgrade to the Origin Jumpworks 325a.

Option D: Wish that the Origin Jumpworks 350r package was available for purchase.

Well, I exercised option D right away, but after even more research into the differences, I finally settled on the 315p upgrade. Here’s why I chose it:

– The 315p comes with a jump engine (the other variants don’t specify having one)

– The 315p comes with a tractor beam (while I could always use another gun, I appreciate the potential for the tractor beam)

The ship brochure said that it had more powerful engines and a better power plant because it was the exploration variant

– The 315p comes with a special scanner package (I think it’s to help identify new jump points or something)

– The 315p has more cargo space

Now that I’ve had some time with the 300i trainer (it’s pretty darn maneuverable and I enjoy flying it) I have a couple of things to say. First, I hope that when Star Citizen finally shows up that my ship is far less squishy than it is right now. As it is, it feels like it’s made of paper, shields and all. Second, I really hope that the racing engines that the 350r comes with will be able to mount on my 315p (I love twin engines). Third, I hope that I become much better at flying because there’s a bit of a learning curve to the mechanics.

I really like my 315p. It looks like a combination between a Scimitar and a Hellcat. I changed my desktop wallpaper for the first time since October to this lovely image of it (click to make it worth your time).

315pIf you’re interested in seeing more, here’s a floor show video of it.

I’m really proud of my purchase and I’m looking forward to flying it for real in the actual game. I’ll be okay flying the trainer in the meantime, but Star Citizen can’t come soon enough.

Until next time!

– Thomas

P.S. Here’s the director’s cut advertisement for the 300 series. See if you can spot the Wing Commander III scenes.


Heading to PAX East

This week I’m heading off to PAX East in Boston.

There’s a lot less I’m interested in this year than last year. Last year, XCOM was new and turn-based strategy games were the major topic of conversation in several panels. This year, not so much.

As of right now, I’m hoping to sit in on a few panels:

Friday

– Noon: Rooster Teeth

– 4:30: Future of PC Gaming

Saturday

– Either the 10:30 PA Make-a-Strip panel or the 11:30 Firaxis Games Mega Panel and I’m leaning towards the latter

– 1:00: ExtraCredits

Sunday

– 10:30 Inside Gearbox Software

– 1:30 Live D&D Game

And that’s about it. I’m hoping to spend a bunch of time on the expo floor checking out booths and just generally relaxing and enjoying the convention overall. I don’t expect to be going back next year since it’s so expensive and the sign-up for passes this year sold out so quickly.

I’m hoping to see some Star Citizen at the convention and I know that Chris Roberts is sitting on the Future of PC Gaming panel. I think Awesomenauts will be there again and I’m hoping to swing by to see Lord of the Rings Online and a few other games.

I’m quite excited for the trip, but I’m concerned I won’t be interested enough in the convention this year. In future years I’m looking to go to local conventions instead as a cost cutting measure.

Anyway, I’ve got a lot of Diablo 3 to get to before the convention. I’m hunting for great loot!

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “I’m on the hunt.”  – Montross, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter


Free-to-Play Spaceflight – Star Conflict

The last week or so I’ve been playing a well made game called Star Conflict, available free-to-play via Steam right now. I highly recommend it.

It’s like playing an updated version of Freelancer without the story or the single player mode. Also, there’s three factions and it’s primarily Player-versus-Player. So, a very streamlined version of Freelancer. Kind of.

One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that it’s filled a gap in my gaming desires that I didn’t realize I was missing until I played for a day or two. I haven’t been playing any flight simulators in recent years, what with Star Wars Galaxies going away and the flight mode of Star Wars: The Old Republic being a rail shooter and I’ve been missing the sense of speed, breakneck maneuvering, and missile locks. I’ve really missed the sense of freedom such a game can provide. I know it’s not open world like Star Citizen will be in a few years, but it’s definitely scratching the right itch.

I’ve discovered that I’m okay with PvP content as long as I don’t get penalized too harshly for losing. In this game I’ve been making a fair amount of credits per loss; more than enough to cover my expenses (repair and rearm) and to have some left over to save up for upgrades or new ships. Some play modes have unlimited respawns, others are conditional. It’s very well thought out and I do have to say, I haven’t had this much fun losing a game in a very long time. Seriously, even when I lose a match, I genuinely don’t feel bad most of the time.

Now, past my perceptions and desires and what-have-you, the game is pretty well built for a late open beta release (version 0.8.3 dropped recently). You pick your faction (which is changeable somehow), you equip a ship (over time you’ll gain a variety of vehicles), you queue up for either PvP or PvE (there’s one PvE mission right now and I expect there will be more available in the future), and you do your best to survive while achieving the objectives with the group you’re flying. There’s a lot of ways to play but none of them are guaranteed a win. I’ve seen more than one team go down in flames after a great start and conversely some teams starting poorly have shown amazing recoveries.

There are three types of ships in the game. First you have interceptors: light fighters that are small and nimble and are by default pretty hard to hit sometimes. Then you have fighters: heavier ships that have more firepower and less maneuverability compared to the interceptors. Last there are frigates: large vessels with very poor maneuverability offset by potent firepower and incredible durability. Within each class of ship, there are other roles like Recon Interceptors, Gunship Fighters, and Engineering Frigates. Pick your poison and hope your opponents choke on it.

Thus far I’ve been enjoying riding fire in a Covert Ops Interceptor as a member of the Federation of Free Worlds. I’m not the greatest pilot or even the best shot, but I’m having a ton of fun and I’m picking up stuff as I go.

I hope you give it a try. It’s worth a look for all of you who are fans of flight simulators and spectacular explosions.

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. I’ll let the trailer for the Beta Launch of Star Conflict be my quote for the week. Enjoy!