Completed: Submerged

I just finished Submerged – I don’t exactly know where or how I got it, but it was in my Steam library and sounded interesting. I played around 3.5h and got 5 out of 10 Achievements, when I finished the main story, all that’s left would be some discovery and I’m not sure I want to do that.

Submerged is a third-person combat-free game in which you explore a mysterious flooded city.

So the exploration is nice, you move around on your boat, then scale buildings and find stuff, so far so good.

My main problem is while the game is not linear at all – you can go in any direction and each of the 10 things you need to find is progressing the story, but I don’t know why they thought it would be a good idea to teleport you back to your base when you found the thing, because this means you need to find all the hidden extras per building BEFORE you use the thing, which makes you needlessly backtrack. The game has a wonderful fast travel option back to base. Why not just a simple “do you want to fast travel back now? Y/N” instead of this?

You can also get some upgrades for your boat but it only enables you to use your speed boost for longer, and travel times are not a problem at all. So more like “find all of them for an achievement”. What would have helped is a sprint key while climbing, especially with the aforementioned backtracking. Also I find it very funny that the protagonist is a better climber than your toon in Assassin’s Creed, but you can’t jump over anything, even if it’s a a big step and if you are balancing across a plank you walk very slowly and awkwardly.

Graphics are fine for 2015, if somewhat repetitive, and hold up pretty well.

So much for the objective criticism, subjectively I didn’t like the story-telling in pictograms, I’m really bad with those, when I looked it up I only got like half of it. But it’s not really important, I guess.

Did I like the game? Yes and no. The problem is that it makes me want to play Assassin’s Creed now, and not their sequel, make of that what you want.

So, recommendation to buy it? No. Recommendation to play it when you get it in a bundle or something? Yes. It’s a short game, I don’t think you’d need more than 5h unless going for completion.

Ninja edit 2023-09-08: 100%ed it in an hour, finding most of the secrets on my own, grabbing a guide for the rest. Total time: 4.5h

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Rise to Ruins Update 2

Rise to Ruins is an awesome little indie game I bought in Early Access in 2017 and have since come back to play a round or two once in a while.

I’m not one to judge if a game is a classic X or Y with a twist, but you build a village, manage your resources, and at some point at night the monsters come, so you better be prepared and had some towers and walls built. Not strictly Tower Defense, but related.

It’s by no means a perfect game, but it doesn’t have a lot of game-breaking bugs (more like a few small irregular oddities) and some QoL things are missing, but you should absolutely buy it. I’m not saying that often because I suppose my taste in games is weird – but I fully support this game.

I hadn’t heard of this person before but I liked the review a friend linked me when I mentioned the game.

Apparently my timing was perfect because I had made a mental note to play it like a week ago and on August 26th a massive update had come out.

Splattercatgaming on Rise to Ruins

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August in review

Maybe I’m getting old and caving in to people’s trends, or maybe I’m just trying to learn from the insights and “month in review” posts make sense if you still have something to say that you already didn’t and don’t want a ton of mini posts.

Didn’t get a ton of gaming time in this month, summer has been great, I’ve been outdoors a lot despite no official vacation (except one day, iirc).

We played some WoW, killed the Raid Tier’s end boss on Heroic, have since been struggling to get enough people together for a reclear for the people who missed it (but those also didn’t show up consistently, so maybe only half-way bad form?) but otherwise I’ve ignored it. Logged in a couple of times to grab some achievements or just to relax and do some weeklies, mostly ignoring alts. Refreshing to be a casual for a few weeks!

The 14d free login event in FFXIV came and went and I did put in some hours, but I think I didn’t stress it overly much. I kinda planned to resub directly afterwards, but life got in the way, so I’m holding off until I am needed to tank or heal some Stormblood story dungeons, probably soon-ish.

Then I was craving something different and played a couple games of Stellaris, which was usually a full evening. I suck at it but I like the game. Dug out Age of Wonders III again to see if I might be interested in Planetfall, which was (maybe still is) on sale at the time. But I’m still not feeling it. AoW always teases me with looking and superfluously being like Heroes of Might and Magic, but something is off. PF could be different enough because it’s in space, but i doubt it. I still don’t see them as 4X games for the most part. Might try Civ VI that I found in my library, probably from Epic.

Oh and Blaugust – I managed to keep up with some reading in the first half of the month, not so much in the latter. Discord looked busy though, good times.

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Topics, games, WoW

I’ve written many times that this is not a WoW blog, just a blog by someone who has played WoW for quite a few years (started in 2005, some short breaks until 2014, then mostly subbed since 2019 again) – but in the last year or so I think 90% of the posts have been about WoW. I do play EVE Online, and at times more than WoW, but I find it very hard to write about, so not many posts. I’ve been slowly progressing through Diablo IV but this is the second post mentioning it, without it being the main topic of the post. (Yes, it’s still fun but not awesome, but I’m still in the story part). And then there are other games. I’ve basically zero interest in Baldur’s Gate III, but all the talk made me wonder if I should replay the original Baldur’s Gate or Planescape: Torment. I probably shouldn’t.

Anyway, after a few weird months (see posting frequency since April) I should probably be happy to have some topic to write about once per week, even if it’s just a small blurb on how the raid went, even if I don’t want to exclusively write about WoW. But then again, there’s nothing drawing me to FFXIV or SWTOR or GW2 at the moment and that list of upcoming games for 2022? Yeah well, I played Gamedec and it was good and then the reviews for Redfall were abysmal and the ones for Forspoken were mixed or worse, Nightingale hasn’t released and so on…

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A blogging lull

My month in Eorzea ended recently, quite uneventful. I managed to get my Relic Weapon, the bow for the Bard – but I even forgot the name. It’s iLevel 615 and looks ok.

Other than that I’m hardly logging in to WoW, basically trying to earn a little money with missions and waiting for the expansions, rarely leveling my last 4 chars – but I have 2 weeks left, even a little more.

My time is spent mostly with EVE, but not much to write about.

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Minion Masters

Probably gonna jinx it by posting about it, but I’ve started playing Minion Masters last week – it’s free to play with ingame stuff, no clue if it’s pay to win, so far I haven’t felt the need to buy anything. I’m only like 20 games in (2 hours) but it’s fun for a few minutes per day. Of course there’s free login stuff and small quests like “Win 3 matches” but also neat stuff like rotating free heroes (I think LoL also has this) and then some “Win 5 matches with the rotating heroes”, and several different tournament and ladder modes.

Oh, what kind of game? I’d say it’s realtime Magic: The Gathering. Two opponents face each other, you play the cards from your hand (mostly creatures, some spells), those run towards the enemy and hopefully kill their minions and then life pool. If it has strong MOBA vibes, I am not feeling them. It’s quick and fun and nothing of the annoying weird stuff, but I’m way down in the league. Anyway, fun game – recommended.

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Random bits about games

Currently a bit meh on everything gaming wise. Retail WoW is ok, but also not perfect, detailed post probably incoming soon.

I’m feeling the urge to play something Diablo-like, but not the same old Diablo 3 again. As I wrote, unfortunately I couldn’t find a lot of fun in the Torchlight Infinite Beta. I thought about Path of Exile, but as one of my main points atm would be co-op, and my wife wasn’t enthusiastic about returning to it, that’s a no. (“How about PoE?” – “Nah, I don’t like it” – “Steam says you played it for over 250 hours” – “Yeah, but maybe I didn’t have fun for the last 50 hours” – “…” – “…”).

Then I saw that Darksiders: Genesis was on sale and people described it as Diablo-like, so we tried that, but both didn’t really get to terms with the WASD movement and some research yielded: click to move doesn’t work, also in general some keybinds seemed to be “play this with a controller or GTFO” – so that was the first game in a combined ~20 years of Steam that was returned after 30min. (Only bought one copy and both tried it).

So, I also didn’t like Torchlight 2 (she did) and so I’m not fond of trying Torchlight 3 and that’s that. Maybe we should try Grim Dawn or Victor Vran after all.

Then there’s also the loose end of Guild Wars 2 where the bugged multiplayer story missions annoyed me so much that I completely stopped playing in July, also I don’t really want another WoW-like MMO atm, I want some ARPG. Maybe we should actually go back to Diablo 3 and I’ll just not take a Demon Hunter…

But I also played a little bit of “The Bridge”, a puzzle game I found in my Epic library, it’s really cool.
Then I tried out Solitairica which is kinda cute (but the sound effects are a little annoying) and I think it’s a good game if you enjoy Solitaire or Rummy or such things. I found it a little too luck-based and slow.

Then I also finally gave Prison Architect a spin, a game I’d had wishlisted for quite some time and then somehow got it, maybe also for free via Epic, but I noticed I don’t like it. Like, I was impressed with what you can do and it looks enjoyable enough.. but it simply didn’t click with me but I can give no objective criticism except one time in the campaign I had to let the fire brigade try to extinguish a fire and for some reason that burning tree would not stop, no matter how I positioned four firemen around it, moved them around, tried auto aim and manual aim. Had to restart the level, which was no problem, that were like 3 minutes lost, still weird.

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Torchlight Infinite Impressions

When I saw Connor’s post about Torchlight Infinite I was interested and wanted to give it a try. We played the original Torchlight for quite a bit in this household (Diablo-style ARPGs are usually very popular) and while I didn’t really get into Torchlight II, my wife really liked it and also played a lot.

So, beta it is. The graphics are awesome, I love Cel Shading and it looks nice. After playing for just shy of 2 hours that’s unfortunately everything positive I have to say. It kinda feels clunky (maybe also because it’s a mobile port to PC), the UI is not great, but mostly… it just doesn’t seem to be fun for me. I tried all the classes, some are better than others, but overall there’s a complete lack of this “I just started and I want more” feeling that these games usually evoke. One more mob, one more level, one more map. Nope, nothing. It feels kinda slow, the mechanics feel weird to me and then there are the little things. The minimap is on the upper left and I always want to look to the right (very minor detail), I didn’t yet try to rebind from Q W E R + D F, but I can’t hold shift to stay still, I need to only right click attack. Yes, this sounds a bit like “I want Diablo” but those controls make sense for me, these don’t.

I guess it’s absolutely worth a try if you like these sort of games, but it’s not for me. Watching a Level 30 Fire Mage destroy stuff looked kinda fun, but I’m not feeling like putting even 3h in to continue. In my opinion they need to work on the first 20 minutes of gameplay.

Now it’s a day later and I continued to play the Melee Warrior type class a bit and it was actually a little more fun, interesting how a single skill can change everything. Also my wife agreed that the dual pistol class I originally started with is not fun. Maybe I’ll sink some more time in after all, now that I didn’t hate it.

Torchlight Infinite Beta – standing in town

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Diablo Immortal

Everyone knows (I hope) that mobile games have a bad reputation for being money sinks, but if only half of this is true (and I have zero reason to think that not everything is true) then Diablo Immortal might be the worst pay2win/money grab I’ve ever had the displeasure of hearing about:

“Preach Reacts to Bellular’s Diablo Immortal Video”

Also small disclaimer: Usually not a huge fan of reaction videos, but in this case it’s kinda “watch one video and get the opinions of three people I value without having to watch several videos”.

Wow, it’s bad.

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On Being Casual

For some reason I had the idea that getting back into Guild Wars 2 would be fun on the weekend, not in a “let’s start and play a bit” but more “would I be willing to invest some time again” – because I think I was in a FFXIV duty roulette queue at the time and of course I can’t just stare at the screen for those 15 minutes…

I asked on Discord if my gear was still ok (or even good) and several people reassured me that nothing had changed in GW2 and my Level 80 Ascended and Exotic pieces were still completely fine.

Tessa remarked “Yeah, one of the reasons why Gw2 is casual friendly. Take 6 years off and your gear still holds up.” and that got me thinking a bit. What does playing something casual mean anyway? Our FFXIV static was formed to raid savage at our own pace, and originally once per week (we did add an hour for reclears on a second day meanwhile) but we’ve not yet skipped a week I think, and it’s savage – so ist that even casual? My WoW guild is strictly limiting raids to 2x2h per week, very rarely do we spend 5 minutes extra on a pull. We managed AOTC in 9.1 and before I joined they managed AOTC in 9.0 as well, and I think they’ve been doing that for many expansions. Despite taking everyone in the guild above a certain token item level and even getting them through heroic (unless someone actually sabotages a single fight) I wouldn’t call that casual. Non-hardcore raiding, yes – but casual?

On the other hand I guess my adventures in SWTOR are actually casual, it’s just that I spend a lot of my time there when I am playing. But apart from the launch raids in 2011/12 I’ve not raided progression and I only joined farm raids 1-2 times. I don’t do dungeons, I basically just level toons and get some gear and achievements. So that’s casual I guess. TESO is complicated, I think if you’re just starting a game and never coming close to max level or any real goal that might be casual by a proper definition, but I’d just call it being a beginner. So, GW2 then. I heard there are raids, but I don’t know anyone who does them. Most people also weren’t keen on fractals, maybe this game’s goals are actually more aligned to casuals overall.

Oh, and Diablo 3 – is it casual if you start a fresh season, grind yourself to max level and then through the rifts and Paragon levels until you lose interest? Do you actually have to be good (compared to others) to not be casual? Or is being invested (time) and progression-focused enough to temporarily not be a casual?

I don’t know. I guess my definition of being casual stops with having an organized scheduled group to focus on a goal that’s non-trivial (or pugging that stuff that’s usually done this way), so that would be raiding Heroic in WoW (but I guess Normal also counts) but in FFXIV I’d draw the line at Savage and EX because Normal Asphodelos is no comparison to a Normal WoW raid. You can have 2-3 of 8 people never being there, needing 2-3 rezzes each, and still winning in a reasonable time. Good luck with 5 of your 20 people dying early in WoW.

But back to the original question. I made a spreadsheet for my three main GW2 toons with their gear and plan to investigate if I can craft or otherwise get some upgrades before I actually plan to play, so maybe I really suck at casual gaming.

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