Video Game Tuesday: Black Armory’s Launch was a Failure

I’m back with a familiar topic for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about why Black Armory’s Launch was a Failure!

Black Armory?: Black Armory was the first DLC drop after Forsaken launched for Destiny 2, and it was a massive middle finger to the player base once again. There were many things I had faintly hoped Bungie had learned from in the past, but apparently five years into this series they still make really stupid mistakes.

Like what?: They decided to make the first new activity of the new DLC an activity that even people who had the very best gear the day before the DLC released couldn’t complete without being highly skilled premade group despite flaunting the ability to match make the activity and locked it behind a tedious grind. Black Armory wasn’t like past DLC that included Story Missions, Strikes, New Vendor Gear, New Exotic Armor, or Crucible Maps, instead it included none of those things, and just added a new activity and a raid that was locked for a few days after it’s launch that started off at a new gear level that was vastly over the previous cap. They included no ability to catch up for those who hadn’t reached that previous cap, so those who were just hitting 500 power level were still unable to even contemplate doing these activities until a month or more had passed depending on their luck. This has been lessened with a recent hotfixed change that made Prime Engrams drop more often up to the 600 power level cap, but that’s a really shitty bandaid that doesn’t fix the issue with RNG deciding to give you the bird and still requires players to grind constantly.

The fact that the very first activity was geared for people at 630 power level was a big fat screw you to the player base considering the cap was 600, and getting 1 or 2 increase in power level is a serious grind for everyone at the level.  People who had stocked up multiple bounties with Powerful Rewards and keys from the Raid could easily skip most of the grind and get a character past this with ease, but most people weren’t expecting to have to continue doing the same old content just to even think about doing the new stuff and still most likely fail.

This was a serious mistake on Bungie’s part, and instead of really creating a solution they hotfixed it the next day to give the activity a 5 power level decrease in total, meaning people had to spend only a day or two less in a very lucky week to get to that level. I’ve long held that Bungie has no clue how to properly communicate with their consumers, and this is another mark in the long list of proof I’ve been keeping of this fact. I had been playing Destiny 2 nearly daily since Forsaken up to the release of Black Armory, a thing that hasn’t happened since the Dark Below way back in 2014. That quickly changed when I was told to continue the grind just to do a new activity that wasn’t really all that fun in comparison to the work required to do it. I’ll be deleting Destiny 2 off my PlayStation’s hard drive once again and I’ll hope Bungie gets a clue in the future on how to treat their player base, but it’s a tiny hope now and I expect only more screw ups from them.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

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Video Game Tuesday: Setting Expectations

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the importance of a very key factor when discussing future games or plans for content. It’s all about Setting Expectations!

Expectations?: So recently we’ve had two really good examples of how NOT to set fan expectations both prior to announcing something and afterwards. The Diablo Immortal Issue, and Final Fantasy XV’s cancellation of almost every future DLC and PC support.

Diablo Immortal: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Blizzard royally screwed up with the announcement of Diablo Immortal at the recent Blizzcon. I don’t think I remember them screwing up so bad, ever. There was the Real ID fiasco that occurred years ago, but that wasn’t as bad I think. They could and had plans to announce not only Diablo Immortal, but also Diablo 4 as well at the end of that announcement. Instead they just announced Immortal, which was a huge freaking mistake. First hardcore gamers in general, and PC gamers in particular, all hate the idea of Mobile games, add in the fact that Blizzard was teaming up with NetEase to make Diablo Immortal and the whole situation looked like a huge betrayal of the Diablo fanbase. One of the developers incredibly poor response during a particularly pointed question during a Q&A session later only exacerbated the issue. They should have gone with their first plan, as it was would have been much better. People would’ve been upset, and arguably rightly so in some views. Having multiple teams working on separate projects for Diablo could be seen as overly ambitious, and division of potential labor towards the quicker goal of completing Diablo 4, as well as the blatant cash grab that was the initial response to Diablo Immortal. I don’t agree with the direction of making a Diablo game for mobile, first it seems like it could easily be a poor clone, and while the demo available was apparently okay, that was a controlled demo that was made to showcase the best of the game. The rest of the game could easily be a huge disappointment, and the response from the people who played the demo doesn’t rule out that possibility. The Blizzard seal of quality has meaning, and if they handle this poorly they could end up repeating Bungie’s mistakes that cost them pretty much every shred of credibility with the gaming community.

Final Fantasy XV: The loss of Director Hajime Tabata seems to be the root issue of this issue, and frankly it’s a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to playing the second wave of DLC, and because it was announced I hadn’t touched the first wave of DLC. Now I’m not sure I will for a good while. I’ll probably have fun with the Final Fantasy XIV crossover stuff, but I’m highly saddened that Square Enix is cutting back on the entire DLC plan they had for 2019 and beyond. Unlike many, I was looking forward to seeing a different ending that would’ve been included in the Noctis DLC, as while I really enjoyed most of the game and the story, the later portions of the story were incredibly depressing. Knowing that we lost this DLC is highly discouraging and a huge black mark on Square Enix’s record of making Final Fantasy games for me.

How can Developers handle expectation better?: Honestly, knowing their consumers better would prevent many of these issues in my opinion. Nintendo lost many hardcore gamers with their decision to cater to the casual market with the Wii, and they are still feeling the repercussions of that decision still. Granted that the Switch is a huge success, but they lost a lot of trust with the decision to pursue gimmicky controls with the DS and Wii. Others should take note of their mistakes and keep them in mind when they are planning announcements.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: Is Cayde-6 Really Dead for Good?

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with my answer to a question I’ve been asked by a few friends. It’s all about Is Cayde-6 Really Dead for Good?

Huh?: So in the upcoming Forsaken “Expansion” for Destiny 2 beloved character Cayde-6 is going to be killed, supposedly permanently. Many people, including his own voice actor Nathan Fillion, don’t buy that.

So what about you?: I don’t buy it for a second. There are multiple reasons, from gameplay to lore.

Gameplay: If they really kill Cayde for good, that will cause problems with people playing in the Tower. For those who haven’t done the expansion, Cayde will be showing up to do his usual giving out of activities and the like. But what happens when you have people who have done the expansion and haven’t done it in the same fireteam load into the Tower? If they really mean to kill him off they’ll remove him from the tower, which would require a completely separate instance of the Tower which would cause issues with players in fireteams. Otherwise the impact of Cayde’s loss will be meaningless if we can just waltz up to him and grab a treasure map from him like usual every week after he supposedly dies.

Storytelling: Cayde is a wiseass, and that’s a good thing because honestly Destiny needs someone to lighten stuff up. Cayde has always been the one to do that, and if you kill off that character you lose a huge part to the story. Things will get incredibly dark, and even some darker series like Game of Thrones need some lighter moments and characters interspersed to balance the story out.

Lore: First off, it’s supposed to be really freaking hard to kill a Guardian, which Cayde is. Even more is the fact that he’s an Exo, which means every time he dies he loses a few memories and gains a new number. Cayde’s died 5 times before, but Banshee the gunsmith has died 43 times. Finally, Time Travel has always been a thing in Destiny lore. It’s central to the plot, as both the Exo Stranger AND the Vex travel through time. We even get Cayde out of Vex time warp shenanigans in Destiny 2, and that isn’t even touching upon the whole Osiris expansion, which heavily touches upon the time travel aspect of the Vex in great detail. If Cayde were to die for good, we could just hijack a vex machine to prevent it. Boom done deal, Cayde doesn’t die. It wouldn’t be the first time we messed with the timeline in Destiny to our advantage, that’s the whole point of us going into the Vault of Glass back in Vanilla Destiny in the first place. So I’m not buying into the whole Cayde is really dead for good thing Bungie is spouting. Because from gameplay, storytelling, and lore standpoints, it’s total bullshit. Now Bungie could really kill off Cayde, but it’d be a huge mistake on their part. We’ll see how they decide to play their cards, but I would expect Cayde to be sticking around.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Video Game Tuesday: Forsaken Thoughts

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about my thoughts on Destiny’s upcoming content. It’s my Destiny 2: Forsaken Thoughts!

Forsaken?: The next “Expansion” which should be on the level of Taken King in terms of content. Whether it lives up to that particular benchmark, as low as it is notwithstanding, remains to be seen.

What’s in it?: A new story, new Patrol Zone, Bow as a new weapon, Completely Reworked Weapon System, Random Rolls for Weapons (I’m not so psyched about this), New Raid, New Mode of Gameplay, and New Supers and abilities.

Bow?: Yep, honestly this might actually be really cool, especially given the…

Weapon System Rework?: Yea, changing one of the worst decisions Bungie made in regards to trying to balance PvP was to make secondary weapons into Power weapons along with the Heavy Weapons. This was a really unnecessary change that only highlighted one of the bigger issues I’ve had with Bungie which is having PvP balancing influence PvE play. I’ve made comments about that in the past though. Now in Forsaken, you’ll be able to equip weapons to any slot, if you want 3 rocket launchers you can do that. Go crazy.

Random Rolls?: Uh huh, each weapon will have random rolls once more, I personally find this to be a horrible change. It adds replayability, but of the worst sort in that it’s completely random and absolutely bullshit for some people. Others will disagree, but I see this one coming to bite Bungie in the ass given the Weapon system rework. PvP is going to be a nightmare to balance, and I’m already laughing at the amount of crap Bungie will get for this change. God tier rolls will be a thing again, and I personally hate this. I don’t want to run stuff over and over again just because it won’t drop a good roll for me.

New Mode?: It’s called Gambit, and it will be a mix of both PvE and PvP. It features two teams going through a set of rooms with various enemies. The first to reach the end wins, at least that’s what I can understand from the various sources I’ve read from. The PvP part comes into play when you finish certain rooms and cause a mini boss to spawn for the other team that they have to kill before moving on and/or one of your team members gets to go over to the team’s side and take them out. I’m hesitant about this, it sounds interesting, but it’s just another mode where you queue up, which is not what made Destiny fun. It was meeting the random people during Patrol and having them help you out and vice versa. Gambit lacks the spontaneity that marked the best of Destiny 1.

Finally they didn’t announce they’re making Patrol modes doable with a full fireteam of 6 people, which is a huge oversight. If they don’t add that, I’m going to be highly disappointed.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Video Game Tuesday: Bungie Can Do One Thing Right

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering one of the better things that Bungie can do, other than screwing up gameplay constantly for fans consistently. It’s all about how Bungie Can Do One Thing Right.

Huh?: So Bungie has always been known for their rather well done ARGs, or Alternate Reality Games. Now while this particular one was done mainly with Vicarious Visions, I have no doubt that Bungie had a hand in it. Stuff like I Love Bees. Now while these are all outsourced, they definitely were helped out by Bungie and they often get the credit for it.

But this one?: So players were given a puzzle in the latest Destiny 2 DLC which lead to a rather massive cipher and it lead to a message from an in game lore character from the first game. It also included a GPS location where there was two containers. One contained a replica of the Valkyrie weapon you get to use in the game temporarily and was given to the first person who found it. There was a second container holding commemorative gold coins for each person to visit the location. I have no doubt they are all gone and probably up on eBay already after the weekend that this was found, which was the week of the DLC launch. Honestly this kind of thing is really cool, though I’ll never get to take part in one really as code breaking isn’t my thing, too much numbers for me.

So give Bungie and their outsourced help credit for doing at least one thing right, their ARGs. If only they could make their actual games halfway as decently as these ARGs. That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: Warmind

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering what we know about Destiny 2’s latest expansion. It’s all about Warmind!

Warmind?: Yeah that’s the title of the next expansion, and frankly the only sure thing we know about this. However there are reports and possible leaks by retailers like GameStop that gives us a look at what it’ll actually contain.

New Enemies: Yay? Frankly I could give less of a shit at this point about new enemies in Destiny 2. They weren’t significantly different from Destiny 1 with only a few additions to the already limited types of enemies. Supposedly the new enemies are called Crypt Exos, which may mean we face things that are roughly “Guardian” shaped and sized and have to fight more traditional humanoid enemies. Again this isn’t really a big change and if anything only more boring.

New Area?: We’re headed back to Mars, whether it’ll include areas from the first game is unknown but highly likely given what we know about the backstory of this expansion which is supposed to deal with the Clovis Bray facilities we last raided during the Dust Palace strike in Vanilla Destiny (If you played on the PlayStation at least). Again I don’t particularly care at this point, but even if just is the same map, which wouldn’t surprise me and I wouldn’t put past Bungie to just copy paste into Destiny 2. Frankly while Mars was an interesting location, like all of Destiny’s various locales it was fairly with sparse enemies. At least if they copy paste the map from Destiny into Destiny 2 we should be able to use our damn Sparrows.

Raid?: Nope, we are supposedly getting another “Raid Lair” activity. This is highly disappointing. At least the Dark Below gave us the Crota raid even if it was ,and still is to the best of my knowledge, a buggy mess.

Horde Mode?: Another thing we are supposed to be getting, and frankly again really disappointing. Firefight hasn’t changed all that much since the Halo ODST days and Prison of Elders wasn’t all that different from that mode Bungie first made in 2009. I’m expecting nothing more, and just more disappointing stuff.

Story?: Supposedly we’ll be getting a story, but again I find that I just don’t give a fuck anymore. None of my friends regularly plays Destiny 2 anymore and I’m not suprised in the least, because it’s a freaking terrible game.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Video Game Tuesday: Violent Games Are Not The Problem

I’m back with a topic that is really starting to piss me off for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Violent Games Are Not The Problem!

What?: So recently our beloved leader of the United States Vladimir Putin Trump, and no I don’t like Trump if you can’t tell from me implying that he’s a puppet of a foreign government, stated that he believes that violent media, namely movies and Video Games are at fault for influencing people to become more violent. I have so many problems with this bullshit that I could rant for ages. I won’t though, and will stick to a few paragraphs at most.

Video Games Do NOT Cause Violent Behavior: The American Psychological Association (APA) has stated in a recent memo that there is no viable link between violent games and movies and violent behavior. These are people who perform hundreds of studies and actually know what the fuck they are talking about. So the next time you turn on the news, and no Fox isn’t actually a news channel it was made for sensationalism not accurate or even coming close to factual reporting; and hear a person saying video games are the problem, ignore them. They have no idea what they are talking about. Besides if that was the case, and it isn’t because even watching an episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood could cause a kid to become violent, there would be so many mass shootings around the world that most of humanity would be dead or hiding in the ruins of civilization.

Here’s the quote from the APA “The less publicized, more scientifically sound view [is] that little evidence exists that playing violent video games produces violent criminal behavior”.

So when Trump announced his meeting with video game industry leaders I was more then a bit pissed off. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, in 2013 Vice President Biden held a similar meeting with industry leaders and it went nowhere because they aren’t the issue. Easy access to guns and poor mental health care are the things we should be focused on. The fact that so many people with mental health issues are not being helped by the government is a huge problem, and it’s not just an American issue.

We don’t as Humans have enough care for people with issues like severe depression. So many people believe that it’s something you can just get over, and that’s patently not true. I’ve dealt with severe depression for many, many years and it has never once gone away. I’ve had times in the past where I was almost able to forget the negative sides of myself, but it never fully went away. There’s always a part of me telling myself that I’m an utter failure and waste of oxygen. That I should just give up and find some shallow ditch to lay down and die in. But I’ve never once performed a criminal act of violence against another person. And I’ve been playing video games longer than I’ve known and felt my severe depression.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.