Bookish Wednesday: Ascend Online by Luke Chmilenko

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’ve got the first book in another LitRPG series. It’s Ascend Online by Luke Chmilenko!

Plot Synopsis: Diving into a revolutionary new video game, Marcus and his friends escape a stagnant society, entering into a world that defies their wildest imaginations. But from the moment that he logs in, Marcus finds himself separated from his friends and thrown into a remote village under attack by a horde of goblins. Forced into battle, Marcus rallies the beleaguered villagers…

Plot: The plot of this LitRPG is pretty good, It’s not the most enthralling or truly original but it was still quite interesting. There are much worse series you could read, like the Unbound Deathlords or Twilight. Honestly I think I’ll place the former in the league of the latter, since it almost reaches the level of that horrendous piece of garbage which eats peoples brain cells like some really dangerous pond scum. There are better series out there, like Awaken Online, but Ascend Online truly isn’t bad. I’d put it above average.

Characters: Marcus is a pretty interesting guy, and I like the class he specializes in. I won’t spoil what it is, but it’s very interesting. The rest of the cast is also pretty interesting as well.

Overall: A good LitRPG, you could a lot worse than Ascend Online.

For those who like: Fantasy, LitRPGs, Action, Adventure, Drama, Good Plot, Excellent Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

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Video Game Tuesday: Destiny 2 Beta Concerns

Hey all I’m back with a look at Destiny’s latest Beta. It’s my Destiny 2 Beta Concerns.

My concerns: We don’t have confirmation that the three subclasses added in The Taken King are going to be coming to Destiny 2. We have others like the Voidwalker, Gunslinger and Striker that were in the vanilla game, and the “new” subclasses. However they aren’t really new, because they are almost exactly the same as the ones that are being replaced with the exception of their Supers. I can understand that the Defender Titan and especially Sunsinger Warlock supers were overpowered, and lead to things like people soloing Raid Bosses. I can get why they were removed, it’s a balancing nightmare and frankly overpowered in the case of Sunsinger. In addition I was hoping to see Bungie embrace the fact that PvP (Crucible) is a vastly different experience from the main game. But instead of fixing the issue for just PvP, it seems they’ve also screwed over every PvE player as well. Bladedancer’s removal is odd.

They have completely changed the Primary, Secondary, and Heavy Weapon systems. They are now Kinetic, which is just standard guns and contains the primary weapons from Destiny 1 plus a couple others like the sidearm pistols and the new SMGs. The Energy weapons replace the Secondary, and are exactly the same as the Kinetic, except that they deal elemental damage as well. Finally the Power category which contains every Secondary, minus the sidearms, and the Heavy Weapons. No longer is it possible to equip both a Sniper Rifle and Rocket launcher. I understand why this would have been an excellent change for PvP, and in fact is quite brilliant and would solve a lot of the balance issues faced in the first game. However the gameplay in the first strike showed me that while the weapon systems have changed for PvE players, the enemies behavior and mass numbers haven’t. A lot of strategies in Destiny 1 revolved around taking out enemies from as far away as possible with a sniper rifle and rocket launcher any that got too close in groups.  The enemies haven’t changed since Destiny 1, and you certainly aren’t getting your new class abilities recharged very quickly or your super abilities either. However what you are able to now use highly limits strategies. Harder difficulties are going to be nightmares and will result in a lot of people getting upset.

There are of course ways around that, and it would make tons of sense for the new class abilities to allow you to make up for having to get closer. Except they don’t. The new Titan barriers aren’t a full sphere, and they don’t allow your bullets or abilities to go through.  I can get why having just one or the other occurring making sense from a balancing point of view, but both? No having both occur is just nightmarish. So not only can you kill yourself by shooting a rocket, and having a barrier get set up right in front of you as you fire killing you instantly, but you still aren’t fully protected from enemies that will surround and swarm you in higher difficulties. The Warlock pools of healing and power are better, and might make a lot of difference, but the cooldown on them is going to require you to rotate multiple warlocks using them one after another to protect your team, that sounds like a balancing nightmare for Developers and making a lot players play Warlocks if they want to experience Raids or the like. Finally Hunter’s dodge ability has a much too long cooldown for such small window of invulnerability. I ‘d rather see them removing the invulnerability from it and giving the dodge ability a cooldown of 3 seconds, instead of the 30+ I experienced in the Beta. Will any of these issues be fixed prior to the full release of the game? I doubt it, given Bungie’s lack of forethought and planning in terms of fight mechanics in the past, I’m probably going to be severely disappointed by Destiny 2.

 

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

Video Game Tuesday: Destiny 2

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover the topic you all knew I would eventually. It’s all about Destiny 2!

Destiny 2: It was announced on March 30th that Destiny 2 was a real thing and would be released this year, but there were some big “surprises” announced. It would release on the PC and everything, or close to everything, wouldn’t transfer from the first game and it’s “expansions”.

PC?!?: Yea color me not that surprised, it was rumored for months prior to the announcement that it would release on PC, so I’m really not that surprised. It was a surprise it didn’t release on the PC in the first place to be honest. And just to clarify I probably won’t be playing it on PC as my main platform if I should happen to receive codes for both PC and PS4.

Wait our stuff?: Yea all that time you spent on gearing up your characters, getting cool things like Exotics, fancy looking ships, awesome Shaders, and cool Emblems was wasted. The only confirmed thing that will transfer over is the appearance of your characters, but that’s hardly a thing to be excited about. It’s not like we were ever all that attached to our characters since Destiny never had much of a story. I’d hope at least cosmetic stuff like Shaders, Emblems, Ghost Shells, Sparrows and Shaders would transfer over, but that isn’t confirmed and probably won’t happen.

My Hopes?: I hope the game transfers over the cosmetic stuff, has a story that isn’t a piece of crap, and has a loot system that doesn’t exploit players. My expectations that any of those will be met is very low, and all of them being met? Practically non-existent. I hope Bungie can redeem themselves, but I highly doubt that is possible at this point.

Bookish Wednesday: Soulstone Awakening by J. A. Cipriano

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m looking at the first entry in another LitRPG series. It’s Soulstone Awakening by J. A. Cipriano!

Plot Synopsis: Aaron Hope plays video games, like a lot, just not professionally. When he entered the EpiX! Games! PVP World Championship on a lark, this college senior never expected to make it to the final round, nor to get drugged and shoved into the alpha test for World of Ruul.

Plot: This book tries too hard to be something it shouldn’t be and it has a lot of tropes that have made up the LitRPG genre, stuck in a game, permadeath etc…  Frankly betweeen the somewhat stale premise and the various references that litter the book about other series like Legendary Moonlight Sculptor or Sword Art Online, which aren’t even hidden they are just flat out mentioned, it’s pretty obvious that this is the authors first attempt at writing in the genre. Frankly anything slightly original in this book just doesn’t make up for the pure boredom the story gave me.

Characters: Aaron is a smart ass, and while I tend to enjoy that in a character, the entire cast is pretty unlikable including Aaron. In fact I hated just about every character.

Overall: Stay away from this book, and series. There are plenty of more entertaining and better written series out there for those who want a good LitRPG book.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Mediocrity, Stale Plot, Dull Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

TNT: The King’s Avatar Chapters 1-40 by Butterfly Blue

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This week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m covering the first set of chapters in a series I came across a while back. It’s The King’s Avatar Chapters 1-40 by Butterfly Blue!

Plot Synopsis: In the online game Glory, Ye Xiu is regarded as a textbook example and a top-tier pro-player. However, due to a myriad reasons, he is kicked from his team. After leaving the professional scene, he finds work in an Internet Cafe as a manager. When Glory launches its tenth server, he who possesses ten years of gaming experience once again throws himself into the game. Bringing with him the memories of his past and an incomplete, self-made weapon, his return along the road to the summit begins!

Plot: The plot is pretty good, although these first forty chapters are very much a foundation for the rest of the series. If you are a gamer though, you’ll appreciate this series quite a bit.

Characters: Ye Xiu is a great male lead, he’s ruthless, smart and very skilled. The rest of the cast isn’t really introduced all that well yet, but Chen Guo is a fairly amusing character.

Overall: If you love gaming, you’ll love The King’s Avatar.

For those who like: Gaming, Fantasy, Action, E-Sports, Great Plot, Excellent Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Patch 17 by G. Akella

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This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with the first in another LitRPG series! It’s Patch 17, Book 01 of the Realm of Arkon series, by G. Akella!

Plot Synopsis: A new “update” arrives to the ultra-popular online game, Realm of Arkon. With Patch 17, the level of immersion experienced by players in their gaming capsules has made virtual reality indistinguishable from the real world. But every gamer’s dream becomes a nightmare for Roman Kozhevnikov after he gets confined to Arkon against his will. And not just to Arkon, but to an unreleased high level zone–Demon Grounds. Playing, or rather living as his character Krian, it’s not just about survival for Roman. He longs to exact revenge for his banishment to the virtual world where the sensation of pain has reached one hundred percent…

Plot: The plot is pretty interesting, sure it’s got some stereotypes, but it was interesting as hell anyways. Plus it was fun to read a translation from a Russian author who actually understood American geography (I’m looking at you Play to Live series). Patch 17 starts in medias res, which is not an easy thing to pull off, but the author does pretty well with it. I also loved the various shout outs to other series like Legendary Moonlight Sculptor.

Characters: Roman is a pretty awesome lead character and his interactions with the world he finds himself stuck in is very interesting. The rest of the cast is great, but I really enjoyed the side story with Max and his friend who seems to be missing a straw hat…

Overall: If you love LitRPG or just gaming in general, you’ll love Patch 17!

For those who like: LitRPG, MMOs, Gaming, Action, Adventure, Drama, Excellent Plot, Great Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Destiny 2 Hopes

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering what my wishes for Destiny’s sequel. It’s my Destiny 2 Hopes!

Levels Mattering: I want to see levels actually make a difference, I want to fight against a level one enemy and be able to sneeze and instantly kill them at max level. The fact that Destiny actually punishes you for having a higher level then content is unacceptable. Back in Year 1 if you went into the Vault of Glass with Crota’s End gear you would be at a disadvantage compared to someone with full Vault of Glass gear. You’d do less damage to bosses even with the same weapons equipped. It made no sense whatsoever, and it still applies even now. Why even make a leveling system in the game if it doesn’t affect anything in a positive way?

Ships Doing More: I want to be able to use my ship to fight in space, or in the air above a planet. Hell I want to be able to fly it above an area and land where I choose for patrols. I want it to be more than a glorified loading screen tool. Back in pre-alpha footage that they showed at E3 in 2012 ships were actually shown in places other than the Tower and Orbit when a player landed and whatnot.

Lots of People: I want to see tens of guardians running around in a zone during patrols. I hate only seeing one or two people per area. Some of the best gameplay Destiny had was when people all flocked and worked together to farm the Loot Cave back in the first few weeks after launch. You could actually reliably see more than a couple people in a zone at a given time, and it was awesome. I know lots of people play Destiny, but when I’m just out on patrol I feel alone way too much.

Story: I want a coherent story! I live for stories, and the fact that Bungie keeps pushing this flimsy excuse of a story, if you can even call it that, is shameful. It doesn’t have to be JRPG worthy, but I want to feel like I’m paying for more than an glorified ticket to a virtual grindstone. Rise of Iron and Vanilla Destiny’s story was terrible, Vanilla had almost nothing story wise. The Taken King was a step in the right direction, but it lasted all of a few hours.

Lots of Loot: If Destiny 2 will be as RNG heavy as it is now, we need to be seeing lots more drops then we are seeing now. Again The Taken King had it right, but Bungie went backwards after that with Rise of Iron.

There are lots more things I’d like to see, but this article would drag on and on. That’s it for now. Maybe I’ll cover it more in the future, if I feel like it.