RSS

Author Archives: HeadBurro Antfarm

About HeadBurro Antfarm

Explorer. Wit. Bon Vivant. Gazelle. Sun God. Some of these are true and one is only half true... Read my "About..." page here: http://headb

Dawn (a reblogged Elite Dangerous post)

HeadBurro Antfarm:

A call reaches out. Cmdrs are contacted. What will they do? What will you do?

Originally posted on Dark Gathering:

—–BEGIN XSA PRIVATE MESSAGE—–
The time has come. The voices in the void that were once indistinct and meaningless are no longer so.

There is an undercurrent of darkness that has been slowly moving into place invisible to us.

We hail from all corners of human space. We are above the petty dice throws of those hungry for only power. We are people of conscience who will not sit and watch this blackness unfold.

There is a threat. One that does not respect border or flag. We set ourselves against that threat.

We shall make null the demons that reach out from the darkness and threaten us all.

We must face it.
—–END XSA PRIVATE MESSAGE—–

View original

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 22 July, 2015 in Elite Dangerous

 

Tags: , ,

Life in Tyria: Welcome back, Mr Antfarm…

So I’m back playing Guild Wars 2 and it took exactly 30 seconds for the addiction to flare up and flood my bloodstream with the delicious chemicals of total control again. Just how deeply must I love this game that I can walk away for an entire year and come back still enjoy everything about it including all the changes I have no idea about and events I now have no connection with? This game is obviously my soul mate and we are in a romcom where the two leads spend a lifetime drifting apart and back together again and the sex is always wonderful. Sigh, I love you Guild Wars 2.

Sorry. Where was I? So yeah, I blame Gitbot over on Google+. You see I was the one of first of the Elite Dangerous players in the ED G+ Community to state I was going to take an extended break from the game. Gitbot was concerned that the great work the community had done to foster such a pleasant place to chat and debate would be lost so he started up his own G+ Community for gamers who wanted nothing to do with the aggressive eco-systems that many forums descend into – hence Good Guys Gaming was created. It’s not just a way for us to keep in touch when not playing Elite Dangerous, but rather a place for us to discuss, share and enthuse about any games we are playing and it was here I posted I was considering restarting GW2. To my surprise a few of the members, both old GW2 players like me and people who’d never played it at all, were interested in joining me.

So now we have a guild in game (my first ever!) and have spent a week running about trying to learn or re-learn just how to play this amazing game. Every event, every location, every NPC conversation just delights me and I find myself wondering why I wandered away in the first place. I suspect this will ever be my pattern with games – fall in love, become consumed, grow restless, wander away, play another in the same way, drift back, fall in love again*.

Our guild, “All the Gs” if you are interested, is small and we haven’t even looked at guild issues yet as we are a tiny group of players struggling to remember how to play or rolling a character for the very first time, but we are having a blast with it. It’s especially nice for me to finally get people to play in a game with me as I’ve tried for years to get friends into games and so far the only one to follow has been Justin but with him being in America we rarely get time online together. But now with GW2 there are a small handful of players joining me and suddenly the game feels more alive and fun :)

There have been so many changes to GW2 in the year I’ve been away that most of the last few days have felt like ramming a toilet roll into my ear hole but I’m getting there:

  • Builds are very different now so I’m starting to learn how to build from the ground up.
  • Levelling up is vastly different with access to things I took for granted with Jurak now locked behind progression. Luckily levelling is still just as quick.
  • I have bought my son his own version of the game and deleted all but one of his characters from mine – if he wants to make a new one he has start at the bottom on his account now :)
  • This has freed up a lot of character slots for me and I’m expanding my family out to:
    • Jurak Gearwright L80 human engineer
    • Bercolwyn L30 Sylvari Ranger
    • Raketooth Longclaw L10 Charr Warrior
    • Twilk L10 Asura Elementalist
    • Ulfryk the Penitent L1 Norn Guardian
  • I’m saving one slot for the new type, the Revenant, but I would still like to try a Thief and a Memser at some point (Not too fussed by the Necro – just too… goth looking for me)..
  • I’m really looking forward to completing the Living Story Season 2 with Jurak, especially now that the locations visited will be as they were at the time of the LS and not as they are post-LS (this means I should see the village in Dry Top free of tendrils).
  • Speaking of story – I hear that the final acts of beating Zhaitan are now solo-friendly so maybe I can finally get Jurak over that finishing line and actually have one character kill the big boss a mere 3 years after launch! :-D
  • I’d like to think we (either “All the Gs” or “The Gearwrights”) can grab a Guild Hall when the expansion is released but I don’t don’t if we’ll have enough characters of high enough level to do so. Hell, in the case of The Gearwrights, there is only me and my son in that guild so there is only one level 80 character.

So that’s me for a while, back into Tyria I go and I’ll see you in a few months when Elite Dangerous does something to turn me back on after Power Play doused me in cold piss…

HBA – somewhere in Tyria.

P.S. Want to know more about GW2? Check out these videos from Arenanet on YouTube.

P.P.S Interested in trying out GW2? You can buy it here for £35 and never pay a penny more (and it includes the core game *and* the upcoming expansion!): http://buy.guildwars2.com/

*Not with LOTRO though. I’ll never go back there. That grind heavy, time stealing, money grabbing bastard will never get its claws into me again, no matter how much I would love to see Bree again. Some sins are unforgivable.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 20 July, 2015 in Guild Wars 2

 

Tags: , , , ,

Elite Dangerous: A Burro drones on about drones (arf arf, see what I did there?)

Now bear with me as I take you on another wee flight of fancy to illustrate a point but imagine you walked into a computer game shop to buy a new game and the conversation went something like this…

You: Hello shopkeep, I would like to purchase a copy of GTA X, please!

SK: Of course, that’ll be £1,000, sir.

You: *splutter* What the chuff? A grand! A GRAND!

SK: Yup, £1,000 for the game computer. And another £40 for the game source data.

You: Oh! Ah, the computer… No, I just want the game.

SK: Yup, the game computer. You buy the game computer and the data.

You: What?

SK: It’s simple. All games now use the same resources and therefore come on a single data source but the computer is what decides exactly what game will be played.

You: But… that’s insane!

SK: You’ll need a new table too…

You: Fu…

Erm, I’ll leave it there but suffice to say if that happened you’d think the world has gone mad and yet that’s exactly how drones work in Elite Dangerous – you buy multi-use drones that each take up exactly 1 ton of relatively valuable cargo space and then use up a far more valuable module slot with a use-specific controller unit and that means if you want to use two types of drone (why have two? ohhh I don’t know, if say you’re prospecting and also want to collect maybe) you’re going to have to sacrifice two module slots. Why? Why does a drone need a new controller? It’s madness! The controller should be universal and it should be the drones that are specialised – not only does that make logical sense (why would a fuel drone be the same machine as a prospecting drone? And what if they ever introduce repair drones?) but it makes better play-sense too as it frees up module slots allowing greater flexibility of ship use.

If you ask me (let’s all pretend you did) I think the decision taken is possibly due to Frontier needing cash sinks in the game (due to a flawed economic model, but that’s got another post) and also to give players a path through the shipyard. The problem is I don’t want a path through the shipyard. I want to play in a sandbox and I want as much flexibility as possible which means I want to make better use of the (arbitrary) module slots on each ship I fly so I can play the way I want to.

So, in summary, the number of controllers is too damn high. Thank you.

image

Too many damn controllers!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 7 July, 2015 in Elite Dangerous, Games

 

Tags: , , ,

A Burro further muses on his future in a post Power Play Elite Dangerous

We all have ‘tells’, the give away signs that show people what we are thinking. I, for example, am an extremely fiery person and you can tell exactly what I’m thinking from my face and so I am terrible at poker (although, on the plus side, people always know where they stand with me). And my tells don’t stop at my oh-so-open mug – they extend into my gaming too. I’ve just had two weeks off work and whilst they have been busy and insane in equal measures I’m sure I could have put some time into playing had I wanted to but instead I spent the time watching TV and, as of yesterday, playing Left 4 Dead 2 and there’s the tell: Left 4 Dead.

I first heard of Left 4 Dead a tweet from Graham Linehan waaaaaay back in 2008 and from the moment I bought it (from a real shop – I still remember the patient  young lady trying to explain I’d need ‘always on internet’ because of something called Steam) I have been in love with it in a way that only the original Doom has ever come close to. Most games burn bright and short for me, but L4D1 & 2 have been my go to games ever since I first played them and when I tire of an obsession they are the games I find myself playing until a new obsession begins.

And I’ve started playing Left 4 Dead 2 again.

So that’s it for me and Elite Dangerous. Yet Elite Dangerous offers many years of play so why am I backing off? Well that’s simple – boredom. I need more to do in the game and with both the Power Play update failing to deliver anything but mindless grind and the *still* dull, cookie-cutter mission system, I find I need to back away until the devs add the stuff I am looking for. The popular steamer John “Kerrash Landing” Virgo has hinted in his latest steam that the things players are crying out for are being developed for release in August for Gamescon. In my mind this will be the first phase of planetary landings and a first person mode, but like everything Frontier Developments puts out these days it’s impossible to know. I understand their desire not to raise expectations and face player backlash but to provide nothing is, in my view, worse. Still, I have a lot of faith in FD and I’m sure they will have Elite whipped into shape by the end of this year.

Until then I’m planning on shooting lots and lots and lots of zombies and waiting for the release of No Man’s Sky. You know it makes sense.

Hell yes...

Hell yes…

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 27 June, 2015 in Games, Left 4 Dead, Real Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Not just a Burro is musing on their future with Elite Dangerous…

In my post yesterday I explained how I had grown bored of Elite Dangerous and was taking a long break. It seems I’m not the only one as Kate Russell had blogged about similar feelings of needing a break until more (taste appropriate) content is added. Like me she also still loves the game as a whole and plans to go back.

http://katerussell.co.uk/opinion-i-have-absolute-confidence-well-still-be-playing-elitedangerous-a-year-from-now/

 

Tags: , ,

What a Burro’s playing – June 2015 update

It’s been over a year since I last wrote one of these posts and in that year my gaming life has really shrunk, both in terms of time and scope. You see, my work has been horribly busy over the last twelve months (continuing the trend of the last four years, if I’m honest, and I can’t see it getting any better) and most of my free time is taken up with family time, very important when you have little kids. In that time I bought into the premium beta of Elite Dangerous and that became the all encompassing obsession I knew it would, although I did find time to play a few other games and a year after first piloting a Sidewinder my love of Elite is on the decline. So, what am I playing?

Elite Dangerous: After a year of playing and finding myself taking short breaks throughout I think I’m finally at a point where I’m not going to go back for quite some time. It was the recent Powerplay update that broke me because it showed me that the kind of gameplay I’d like to see isn’t likely to be implemented anytime soon. Of course I’ll probably go back but only once Frontier add multiple character slots (so I can experience different types of gameplay without locking myself into one form for extended periods), planetary landings (I want to explore alien worlds, not just take screen shots of them from orbit), and a more immersive mission structure (to give me a sense of purpose in the galaxy without drinking the Koolaid of Powerplay). It’s still a good game but just one still awaiting many key features that will raise it to a great one. Hopefully ED will flesh out enough in 2015 for me to go back, but for now… meh.

Guild Wars 2: I started Elite just as the Festival of The Winds came to an end and Living World season 2 started. I logged in enough to get each of the season 2 episodes but I have yet to play a single one of them. Now there is an expansion, Great of Thorns, and I’ve not read a thing that makes me want to play it, let alone play it.

MCPE: Update 0.11.0 came out at the start of June and it continued the run of strong, feature packed updates released in the last couple of years. Mojang have taken on three more devs devoted to the pocket edition and the pace of updates is likely to increase dramatically, especially if the additional features they added to 0.11.0 in just a few weeks of being hired is anything to go by! This continues to be the most fun when playing alongside my kids on tablets :)

Transmission and Hook: Both of these are mobile logic puzzle games (I use Android but it’s a fair assumption they will be available for iOS too) and both are totally recommended as they are both beautiful and fiendish in equal measure.

These are the games that are available now but there is at least one other upcoming game I’m now pinning my hopes on…

No Man’s Sky: If Elite Dangerous is all hard sci fi and stark, uncaring beauty, the upcoming No Man’s Sky is a throw back to the eye-popping wonder of the 1970s sci fi heyday. Both offer an immense procedurally generated universe. Both offer open gameplay and the freedom to explore and play in whatever way you choose. But NMS seems to offer a more complete offering of fun over ED’s patchwork of genius and boredom. NMS may also prove to be a big but dull game too, but until it does I’ll be keeping a hopeful eye on it…

Unfortunately that’s it for games and me. A combination of little time and even less interest means I’m facing a bleak few months on the gaming front. What about you? What are you playing, enjoying, not enjoying, waiting for? Leave a comment below.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Elite Dangerous: A Burro muses on space missions (AKA “Death by 1,000 procedurally generated yawns!”)

Another mission, you say…

There is a place in Guild Wars 2, a small human outpost near the front line of the war between Man and Centaur, where something wonderful and exciting can happen to you if you are lucky to be there at the right time. The first time this happened to me I had no idea it was in the game and therefore no idea it was going to happen and by the time it had finished it had changed the game for me forever. Before I tell you more about that place and what happens there, I should give you a little background. Guild Wars 2 borrowed an underdeveloped idea from Rift which had in turn borrowed it from War Hammer but it was only GW2 that came close to getting it right. The idea was Dynamic Events and it allowed the game to react to your presence, kicking off a pre-scripted event as you passed through an area. On the surface that wouldn’t be anything worth writing about but Dynamic Events were more than just triggered events because a player’s actions could influence their outcome and then that outcome could trigger a new event which in turn could trigger further new events, all chaining together to form an unfolding storyline that you became caught up in until it was played out. Now in this human town, the name of which escapes me, you might be lucky enough to hear NPCs chatting about a patrol about to set off and if you did you could volunteer to join the patrol and help out. Once you (and your follow players – these quests scaled up and down as players came and went at any point in their narrative) had set out with the patrol you were part of what was to become one of the most ambitious Dynamic Events ever put into the game. The patrol was to check on various camps and way points, each deeper into the Centaur territory and each bringing a fresh assault. The attacks had to be defeated and camps set up before pressing on, all the time being driven on by a charismatic NPC captain until the patrol, swollen by players and NPCs alike, decided to take on the Centaur main camp. This led to an all-out, multi-phase assault on the stronghold that ended up with the patrol fighting the main Centaur boss. All of this was in the open world, not a closed off instanced dungeon, and it was exciting as hell every single time I took part. The feeling of daring do at the outset, of desperate struggle during the patrol and of emboldened heroism throughout the assault was palpable, yet the devs managed to make me feel like that without ever crossing the line into making me feel like a dull untouchable superhero. My choices and decisions mattered, both to myself and to the other players and NPCs of the patrol because at any point we could fail. It was breathtaking.

Now in Guild Wars 2 I played an engineer called Jurak Gearwright in GW2 and with a quick fast forward of a few thousand years to Elite Dangerous I’m piloting Jurak’s direct descendent, William, around the Milky Way and something seems to have been lost in the intervening millennia because the missions in ED suck like a turbo charged Dyson. Waaaaay back in beta the devs introduced ‘Branching Missions’ and I wondered if they would become like the Dynamic Events of GW2 but despite my best efforts I could never find any missions that went past the initial ‘hand in’ point. It’s been a recurring dev claim throughout several updates that the missions were being altered to add more variety and branching and I’ve yet to see any that don’t fall into the following categories: trade, smuggle, steal, kill and locate. And apart from the always annoying NPC trying to get you to swap sides I’ve seen no branching at all. You get a mission, do a mission, hand it in and you’re done. Missions do not seem to branch and do not seem to lead on to other missions – I say ‘seem’ because I could be wrong as my game time is not stratospheric and I am bored.

I’m bored of my bulletin board missions having no impact or effect. I’m bored of my gameplay not leading into areas I haven’t dreamt up in my wee brain. I’m bored of cut and paste missions from cut and paste stations found in cut and paste systems everyfriggingwhere the game. A friend of mine has posted about a conversation we had today and it’s a really good read that at first seems to be at odds with my views but in reality shows, I think at least, that we are both coming at the same point in different ways. Both of us are lovers of the Elite universe and are glad that Elite Dangerous has been made. Both of us enjoy RPing in and out of the game about our in game experiences. Both of us love the size and scope of the universe crated by Frontier Developments. Where we do split, I think, is on the matter of depth versus breadth. It would seem at first glance that I’m calling for a deeper game offering stronger, linear story telling and that just isn’t what ED is about – ED is an open sandbox where you make your own reason for existing or you just don’t play. But I don’t agree.

What I want isn’t exactly a hand-crafted narrative designed to drive me along a storyline not of my making but rather the introduction of a system that can chain missions together to lead to some kind of meaningful change in the game state. Let me explain by way of an example.

Current mission: I pick up a mission to recover military plans from a system following a never specified incident (why the military can’t get their own effin’ plans is beside me but hey, they’re paying). I fly to the system and start the boring and repetitive task of signal source hunting. Eventually I drop into a signal source where the RNG engine in the game decides I’ll find the wreck of a ship with cans of military plans floating around. Quite often the wreckage of the ship raises questions I’d like to look into, as does the fact that whoever destroyed it left the plans floating about in bleeping cans, but there is nothing more complicated I can do than scoop the plans up and fly back to the mission’s starting station to hand them in. The biggest threat at this point is being scanned and fined and even then that[‘s just because the mission becomes a net Credit loss as opposed to anything approaching dangerous. This is dull after a short number of identical missions, trust me.

Better Idea (1 of many): I pick up the mission and fly to the system. For a start the location should be a system with active war zones or some other type of conflict that would explain the presence of military ships and plans. The mission brief should contain last known coords so I can head, using the compass, to the right location but this should be a race against time as other agents are also after the same things. Getting the plans should involve hacking the ship’s computer – only tech and supplies should be in cans, not bloody data! At some point I’d have to escape as other forces come in *or* when I get there I see other forces leaving and they have the data. The mission is then chained to a chase and interdict mission. At the point of interdiction other missions could chain – the ‘enemy’ could pay me off to not only leave them alone but to even take false data back to the initial client *or* I am congratulated by the first client and informed this was a test and they would like to use my skills on a far more dangerous mission. This could even be a recruitment exercise for one of the new Powers in Powerplay and further missions could be chained here.

You see, that wouldn’t need a hand-crafted storyline, just a far richer mission generator that can link missions together to give them a sense of narrative greater than that of your average Yodel driver. As it is the game is just like my 9 year old son with his homework – doing the bare minimum to get by whilst promising me that the absolute best is being done *and* that that more effort is coming at some point in the future. I have to put up with that from him, I don’t from my game.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 14 June, 2015 in Elite Dangerous, Games

 

Tags: , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 496 other followers

%d bloggers like this: