Review – Early Days of Animal Crossing

I know I’m very late to the party as this came out over a year ago now. However, for some reason the other day I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I decided that what I needed in life was a relaxing game like Animal Crossing. So I got it and it’s been five days now I think? As it’s not been that long I don’t feel equipped to do a full review but I wanted to talk about my initial impressions.

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Avenger’s Game

This game has been on my wishlist since I learned of its existence. I was disappointed when the release date was pushed back from May as I was planning on getting it for myself as a birthday present. This past weekend there was an open beta and so I tried the game out and I’m so glad I did.

It’s bad.

Like I’m the target audience for this game probably. I’m not very critical because I’m pretty useless at games and I love Marvel. Getting to play as my favourite characters = instant success, right? Well normally but with this game? Yeah not so much.

Ok so why do I think it’s bad?

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Day One: Jedi Fallen Order

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this game since I first learned about it back in the summer. Literally for the past few weeks I have been googling everyday to read news articles because “dammit it wasn’t out yet and I wanted it so bad!” and I needed something to take the edge off. BUT there was a problem with this because nobody was excited?!? It got even worse when the game came to Steam and I looked in the discussion forums, there were so many spewing hatred for a game that wasn’t out yet.

Now I’m not naive and I do understand that EA has a bad reputation. However for my sins I very much like Star Wars: The Old Republic and I don’t play shooters. I knew of course about the Battlefront controversy, my grasp on dates is shocking but I think it was about the same time as Marvel Heroes, which had a ‘gambling lootbox’ element and people had reportedly spent eye-watering amounts. However that at least was for cosmetics and not power upgrades.

Anyway I find it quite dispiriting that nobody seemed to share my hype. On the other hand the googling everyday meant I learned super quick about the game coming to Steam which was like a dream come true. I have a controller for my PC – a Steam controller, which meant I was having to look for a third-party Xbox type because I heard that Origin didn’t play nice with Steam. So yeah the game being on Steam solved my problems. I preloaded a couple of days ago, this morning I set it to download, it did freeze for a bit but recovered. I connected my Steam account to Origin and then I had to go to uni but it was all ready for me for when I got home.

I have never ever played a game like this. I think the closest would be Crash Bandicoot or perhaps the Star Wars Kinect game that I bought my Xbox 360 in order to play (unfortunately the sensor is shocking so it doesn’t work very well). I read in those articles so many comparisons to other games but it meant nothing to me. So I’m coming at this with completely fresh eyes.

Verdict? I mean build-up aside, that’s why I’m writing this post yeah? To give my initial impressions.

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Hearthstone Battlegrounds

Among the blizzcon benefits there were two beta keys. One for Warcraft 3: Reforged and the other for early access to the new battleground mode in Hearthstone. Now I like free stuff so I downloaded and installed both games. I do own the original Warcraft 3 but I didn’t get on with the main game at all, in fact I got it purely to play a user-created tower defense game made from gems. However I thought the ‘reforged’ part might mean the campaign would be cool – it’s not, at least not for me. In fact I’m struggling to see where the ‘reforged’ aspect comes in because it looks basically the same. Anyway I uninstalled it because it’s really not for me.

Hearthstone battlegrounds on the other hand…

I did play Hearthstone when it first launched. I can’t remember why I quit exactly but I think it was because the games took too long, it was slow and I the whole ‘building a deck’ thing was a mystery to me. When I first reinstalled Hearthstone I ran a normal match (mostly because the game prompted me to) and it was as slow and boring as I remembered.

Hearthstone battlegrounds on the other hand…

The play is a lot faster, in fact sometimes too fast as I’m still thinking. It’s not dependant on any cards you own so you don’t get smashed because you are new and don’t have a deck, all cards come from the tavern. The intro tutorial was too easy as I won and thought I understood, my first real game when I came last proved I didn’t understand anything. I then lost again and again and fed up I quit. But that wasn’t the end of the story! BlizzardWatch did an information post about the new battleground mode and I commented with my disenchantment and got a couple of replies with advice. I figured I would give the game another shot. Verdict? It’s weirdly addictive.

I still haven’t won but I have come in the top 4 a couple of times. I still get smashed pretty much every game BUT I’m not getting smashed every single round anymore, I’m winning some rounds now. I still don’t quite understand what I’m doing wrong (aka why I’m never ever winning) but I’m not losing so badly anymore that it’s demoralising and not any fun.

Weirdly addictive. It’s fast-paced enough that I curse when I lose and instantly want to queue for another one. Each game probably takes at least 15 minutes though, but the gameplay means it doesn’t feel like that. I swear at this point I’m just wanting to obsessively queue to see if I can win just once – just once! I had hopes the last game as I was doing ok but then by the end, there’s so many cards on the board that one lost round = lost game and that’s what happened.

TLDR: Still don’t like Hearthstone (still don’t understand it) and the amount of money for card decks is obscene so no way I want to get into it. But the battlegrounds doesn’t require cards, it’s separate and that does get my thumbs up. Now if only I could just win one game!

Picking Two Mains

So no secret I’ve been playing swtor again since they I learned they made medical probes baseline back in the summer. I think I also mentioned at some point…? I had a ton of cartel coins stocked up as I’ve been playing on/off again since launch so I got a couple of the boost to 70 (which was max level until last weeks Onslaught) because not having to worry about being the right level means I can just focus on what I wanted – the story.

As I think I said at the time I was 7/8 on class stories so I boosted a scoundrel smuggler (my missing one) and a mercenary bounty hunter as bounty hunter (powertech though) had been my first character and so it had been years since I had experienced the story and my memory is faded. My intent was to get 8/8 and then see what characters I enjoyed playing the most to then go forward and do the expansion stories as even though it’s been 8 years I’ve never progressed further than the base game. Not because I don’t like the game (I do!) but there’s been a perfect storm of reasons really.

I have now done that! So what was the result?

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Swtor and future fear

I have thoughts about the impermanency of the world and how hard it is to let go. For instance I googled about the future of Swtor as I’m getting back into the game. I like to avoid the doom and gloom brigade but someone stating simply about the licence being up in 2023 and how Disney was unlikely to renew it – that gave me pause. It wasn’t some frothing rant about the state of the game, just a fact and given that Disney did that to Marvel Heroes and now that game is gone… well lets just say I have already experienced the bitterness that brings.

So with this in mind I had a leaden feeling in my gut because the games days might well be numbered and then I thought “2023 is four years from now” and then I thought about technology. Without emulators games days are always numbered even if you buy them and have them on disk because technology evolves. The Lego games I am liking so much through Steam might not work in ten years or so (which is the timeframe for upgrading my PC) because the games of my childhood no longer work on the machine I have now.

I have issues letting things go because if I like something then I want to keep it forever and I do find it an unsettling prospect that something which I like, and work on, can disappear. But it happened with Marvel Heroes, I had invested a good amount of time (and admittedly money) into that game and there is nothing but memories left. I still miss it and I’m looking for something to fill the same itch. The Lego games are good (I just got to the point in Superheroes when I’m at the X-Mansion) but the Lego games are designed by nature to be comedy so it’s not quite the same. I’m hoping the Ultimate Alliance will help should I ever manage to get my hands on a Switch.

But anyway nothing in life is permanent, not online games or offline games because technology evolves – that’s the takeaway. It’s sad but at the same time due to that evolution there is new stuff to play. Games improve over time as well and with nostalgia culture, emulators and then graphical improvements sometimes old games can get a new lease of life.

So I think I have to be ok with the fact that there is a clock on Swtor. There might not be if the rumours of a Knights of the Old Republic movie is true because the game might get a resurgence. I mean there’s a reason why they bring out video games with new movies. I certainly get that itch after seeing it on the big screen to dive inside the world and play with it myself. Anyway that brings me to my point about the future being uncertain. Swtor might be doomed or might have another fourteen years – nobody knows.

I guess we just make the most of what we have when we have it. There is nothing more we can do because like so much of life we individually have no control over the outcome. EA/Disney will only keep the game running if it makes enough money and that requires hundreds of thousands of players – one voice is nothing. I try not to think about that powerlessness as it applies to far more serious things than just a game and it’s not a nice feeling.

Live in the moment. Good advice and not just when it comes to Swtor.

While I was sleeping Swtor became a pretty great game… or maybe it was me that changed?

I’ve played Swtor on and off since it launched, a month here and a month there, I said this when I posted last week about medical probes becoming standard for all levels of players (not just for subs).

Back in the day I made a post at the height of my Swtor enthusiasm saying why it was worth subbing to both Swtor and Warcraft. A few months later I made a post explaining why I was unsubbing from Swtor, the primary reason being I was burning out of Warcraft and the mechanics of Swtor were too similar to be a change. That is true enough as they are both MMORPG’s but there was also another truth and I can’t remember if I acknowledged it or not – familiarity.

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Why Swtor is so much fun

I finished up Ilum on my Imperial Agent the other day and I dinged level 56. Now, when Ilum was released the level cap was 50, it was raised to 55 for Rise of the Hutt Cartel. I’d accidentally leveled past a whole expansion worth of content.

This really made me think. Sure I watch the XP bar sometimes because I like the whoosh of the ding, I also like to make sure I’ve not screwed up somewhere and I am the right level for the planet. However, aside from that I quest for the story and the levelling is very much a byproduct. That explains how I managed to accidentally level a lot higher than intended.

Now I am a subscriber. I know that the xp is throttled somehow for preferred/f2p and so their experience would be different. However, from my perspective since the launch of Fallen Empire I get experience from everything and it’s awesome. The bar just jumps and it’s effortless, I’m just playing the game and the level is secondary, it’s unimportant, it really ceases to matter.

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The Fallen Empire

I haven’t blogged about swtor since April, when I said that the 12x boost was coming into effect for subscribers. I thought that I would be playing a lot of swtor this past summer. I only wish that could have been true. Instead I was rather ill and not in a good way, the sort of illness where you feel too bad to even play games.

In my post about the 12x boost I said I was “wary but excited” as I worried what the boost would mean for the games longevity. I thought that if I played through all the class storylines, then I would be ‘done’ with what I loved most about the game.

I need not have worried. I only took one class through their storyline – Imperial Agent. I started another – Jedi Consular – but I’m only level 21. That is all I managed. I have yet to touch the classes of Sith Inquisitor, Smuggler or Trooper and my Sith Warrior is still on level 17 and due for a restart as it’s been so long. I didn’t even max my Jedi Knight, which is now on level 47 so very close to the end.

The release of the next expansion reminded me it’s been a while since I played. I actually forgot to cancel my sub so I have another six months as it renewed by accident. So what are my current thoughts on the game?

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Diving back into Landmark

I have a few posts in the pipeline. One on Marvel Heroes which just added achievements! Another on the reality of the Swtor 12x boost, one on Age of Ultron when I eventually manage to see the movie (I can’t wait!) but it’s the newest post in the pile that has my attention.

I never really should have signed up for the Landmark Alpha but I was too excited about the game to wait the year or so until release. I wanted to try it out for myself. However, with having to gather all the materials, then losing them in wipes, I never really got into the game. I know it’s beta and that’s the whole point but I am a very bad beta tester, I didn’t want to waste my time gathering only to lose everything.

Well the devs have said that’s the last wipe, that they will only do claim wipes from now on. Given the template system, all people have to do is login and pick their spot and they are in the same position. From this point on, aside from more bugs and missing features, there’s little difference in my opinion between this and the eventual ‘launch’.

Right so what’s different from the last time I played? What are my ‘first impressions’ when logging in this time?

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