Gwent – Technical Beta on PS4

Gwent finally came to Playstation 4, albeit for only a weekend, and of course, in Beta form. To absolve myself from bias – or rather to let my bias be known, I rank The Witcher 3 as one of my all time favorite games – not just action role-playing games, but all time favorite, period. Having put in over 200 hours into it over the past 2 years, base game and DLC included, I can still find myself lost in unexplored places with new adventures to be found. On of the most unexpected treasures in the game, however, is not its combat system or a weird side quest, but a little game called Gwent.

Almost from release, there were calls to make this part of the game stand alone, or at least entertain a multiplayer version so we could continue playing, continue building our decks and continue winning. Gwent is so popular that the game in actual card game was made and released with DLC hardcopy versions from Gamestop, CD Projekt Red heard these cries and desires, and behold, we have the Gwent card game, in which you can build decks and play against players from around the world.

Already in a continual beta form on PC and Xbone, we folks on PS4 have been waiting patiently and hungrily to get our own hands on it and try it out. So, for the weekend of March 31, 2017, we had our chance.

If you watch the videos, I did not win very much – partly due to the fact that the card game has in fact been revamped and reshaped from the version found in The Witcher 3. The basics remain the same, however, and I quickly went through two hours on my final play through of the beta. I didn’t notice many problems in actual game play – people reported issues in naming decks, etc, but in the actual game, I had no issues – besides my on ineptitude – at all. I had one connection issue on the first night it was out – I got kicked from the server and could not re-establish a connection, but beyond that, no issues to report.

One thing I would like to see implemented is the “classic” deck – letting us play against people, as well as build up our decks against people, using the classic cards and rules. It could even be something where we could import our decks from The Witcher 3 base game. On that note though, I will take Gwent anyway I can get it – and I hope it soon returns to PS4.

Mass Effect: Andromeda – J&J Show Special Live Stream

Had a special J&J Show event last night streaming Mass Effect: Andromeda!

We will have more videos and articles to come, so stay tuned. Below are the pictures that altlesjo referenced during the stream that he took and sent me.

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Golden Nomad
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Eos – 100% Viability

Star Trek Online Getting Patch – J&J Show (Ep. 6)

So, it appears STO is on PS4 and Xbox One is getting patched today, along with getting The Breach Event later on this week.

Couple of highlights:

  • Temporal Transponder will be fixed… really interested to see this!
  • Turn rate will be fixed (finally… again)
  • Bio-Neural Warhead will actually function properly
  • Get ability to turn off ship visuals (thank the space barbie gods!)
  • Temporary Hit Point meter has been added… curious about this
  • Swapping uniforms from command window added… let’s see if tailor has been fixed in anyways as well
  • Delphic Antiproton Weapons have been fixed concerning Beam Overload… wait… what?!?!?
  • Fixed Invincibility Trait to work with Continuity from Temporal Spec… wait… what again?!?!?!

Delphic AP weapons and Invincibility are not in game… Delphic AP comes from the Sphere Builder lock box and the Invincibility trait comes from the Lobi ship the Zahl… so does this mean, like the Temporal Transponder that these two things were broke BEFORE they were added to the game and this patch is going to fix that BECAUSE they are coming to the game? We don’t know, we can only speculate, however, it would not surprise me at all.

The Sphere Builder lock box includes some interesting things – particularly traits and the Denuos Dreadnought Carrier – which looks interesting (especially since I have been working on a Turret Build, Video 2). Of course the Zahl has one of the best traits for DPS when used properly. Obviously it is all speculation at this point, but I do find it interesting that these two things are being fixed in this patch and they are not even in the game yet.

We also go over Horizon Zero Dawn. My review can be found here, along with some videos of game play.

 

Horizon Zero Dawn – Review

It took me a total of 51 hours, 47 minutes and 22 seconds – but I got 100% completion in game. I got Platinum (all trophies / achievements) at just over 50 hours, and still lacked one side quest and one errand to do, which I found in Free Hope. Let me say this first, i enjoyed every second I played this game, and in the end, it has become one of my favorite games of all time – rivaling games such as The Witcher 3, but saying that, it doesn’t surpass TW3 in my book.

The first thing you notice as you begin playing is that the graphics and soundtrack are superb.

Graphically it beats games like The Witcher 3 simply because the FPS doesn’t drop and I found hardly any glitches whatsoever – except the occasional machine dino break dancing after death. The soundtrack only adds to the wonderful ambience, adding an element that both delights and terrifies as you trudge through the beautiful post-post apocalyptic landscape. This is simply the most beautiful game I have ever played, visually striking with a wonderful attention to detail.

Mechanically, the game borrows heavily from games such as TW3, Assassins Creed, Far Cry Primal and Tomb Raider – there is also elements of other games as well. What it does borrow it borrows really well. Everything, from climbing to shooting a bow feels natural. In fact, using the bow feels so natural that when switching to another weapon, it feels unnatural using it – but no less enjoyable. In combat, the game gives you many options – including just going all out, no stealth and blasting enemies, or the more subtle approach of setting traps and blast wires and leading machines and humans alike into a symphony of destruction as you whistle to get them to cone closer to you. Combat in this game FEELS natural – meaning it isn’t clunky or over complicated. At the same time, even being level 50 with the games end game power armor equipped, you can still easily die if you are not paying attention and dodging attacks on a regular basis.

The game is challenging enough on Normal that it provides a good experience. I have not tried it on any harder difficulty – Normal was good enough for me, providing a good balance between paying attention to the story and being challenging enough to not feel like I was rolling through enemies too fast.

Story wise, Horizon Zero Dawn tells the story of a civilization ultimately created by humanity to survive a man-made apocalypse. I’ll leave that there as the only true story spoiler – but I will say that the story was well thought out and very well told. Every element, every bit of information is important, and even though there are several side quests through out your journey, none feel like they are taking away from the main story, but in fact adding to its mystery. I will be honest, though I had an idea of how it was going to play out, the story did ultimately surprise me – and that is a good thing, with me not being able to guess all of the intricate details in the end.

Beyond the main story, we see a true human element in the side quests and little adventures that the game brings up – from finding people who are lost, helping people get revenge, clearing bandit camps and clearing dungeon like cauldrons – everything in this game feels right and again, ultimately adds to the end result, which is a well thought out and described story that brings us to the salvation of human kind.

My only complaint is that even though the game is open world, and a large one at that, I did not feel the need to actually explore. Ultimately, if you buy the “special maps,” all of the collectibles will be placed on your map. Yes, it is a general location, and I confess, Google helped me a couple of times, but the need to actually run off in a general direction simply wasn’t there. Instead, I would run off towards a particular map icon – be it a metal flower, and ancient vessel or a long neck to get my prize or open up even more of the map. This made the discovery of collectibles more like another fetch quest versus something that i actually found during the journey throughout the world. That being said, I have not discovered all of the date points, but since those do not count towards the completion percentage or the achievements, I wasn’t too concerned.

In the end, I got platinum before I got 100% completion –

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Platinum Trophy – 50 Hours In

And getting 100% completion was as simple as me finding the one location I had not yet gone to to get my last side quest and errand –

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100% at 52 Hours In

Ultimately, the game felt a little short to me – though left open ended enough for DLC or a sequel, I felt like it could have been a little more there. Essentially, knowing what I know now, I feel like I could have done everything in about 45 hours or less – and with a guide, which isn’t out until tomorrow, probably even quicker. However, I did really like that for the most part, the trophies/achievements were gained for typically though normal operations – except for the 23 training dummies – and i really appreciated that.

Over all I give it a 9/10 – Excellent game play coupled with an amazing story topped off with amazing graphics and soundtrack that only felt a little short to me. I would have loved another 10-20 hours with Aloy in her machine infested world.

No Man’s Sky – First Impressions

Not many video games have been more anticipated then No Man’s Sky. I remembered when I first heard about it years ago and I was instantly intrigued. As an old veteran of games like EvE Online, I longed for a space sim of some sort – whether it was single player or multi player, it didn’t matter, and with the surge in survival games, I had a feeling back then this game would be a hit. Blending space sim with survival just bleeds epic. Obviously, what we thought this game would be back then is not what we now know it to be – yes, other people can find my discoveries, see that I named my first planet after my deceased father – but if we are both on that planet, at the same location, we will not see each other. However, as a space survival sim, it feels like it should.

When you begin, you find yourself on a generated planet that now becomes part of the galaxy at large. Your ship is broken, your gear isn’t at full charge, and you are thrust into scavenger mode without really knowing what you are doing. I felt like I must have crashed on this planet and hit my head – really hard – remembering only that I am a human being who can fly through space. Eventually, I gathered that i could harvest material nodes, find outposts and such, and even talk to an alien who I found. I didn’t know his language, but after giving hime 6000 carbon and spending roughly two hours, i had learned 150 alien words and gained a bronze, silver and gold trophy for my efforts. I still have no idea what the heck he is trying to tell me, though I know he is a warrior, he keeps talking about an interloper (me?) and such. I stayed on the first planet for most of my time – I did repair my ship, leave the planet, then I came back down. I wanted to discover all of the way points, which I did. I did eventually leave – found a cold planet with tons of gold, and then eventually landed on a space station, where I gained reputation with the aliens in the galaxy as well as learned another word (I still have no idea what they are trying to tell me).

All in all I really liked the feel for the game – I can play it how I want in the sense that I can spend two hours gathering carbon and learning words. The learning curve was short – once I discovered what I needed to charge my stuff, etc, but I know the galaxy is vast. When I think of the fact that I haven’t even left my own star system, it is a little overwhelming. I feel like I could stay in this system and be content for a while.

Pros:
1) Game play is easy to pick up, awkward at first, but once understood, simple.
2) The game is beautiful so far
3) I can lose myself in each world (or even more simply, in a task, such as learning a language
4) I can play the game how I want to – I can remain in system, I can choose to learn a language if I want, or harvest to my hearts content (or at least until my inventory is full
5) The game feels truly endless, with billions of possibilities – of course, I am only 2 planets, 1 space station and 5 hours in.

Cons:
1) Maybe I’m stupid – but how do you exit the game without closing the application?
2) lack of multiplayer…

I want to hit on the lack of multiplayer a bit. We all knew going in that no one would be close to each other – or if we were, it would be a far fetched thing. However, the fact that it puts us all in separate instances came as a shock. Here is a link to the Kotaku article. I know multiplayer isn’t everything – just look at The Witcher 3, etc, however, in today’s day and age, mmo / multiplayer games are where we are at. It is nice to be able to take a breather from other people, however, how fun would it be to explore the galaxy with a friend – how fun would it be for friend A to say to friend B, I am here, you are there, lets set a goal to find each other, meet up and go to the center of the galaxy together – or at least meet up. We now know that is entirely impossible, and in a word, that totally sucks. Is it make or break? I don’t know – there is a ton of stuff to keep me busy by myself with my alien friends. However, I can guarantee the option to join up with a buddy would make this game “Game of the Year.” I do know that it will not take me away from my Neverwinter duties and play time, simply because I need my multiplayer fix.

Current Score: B- (75 – mostly due to the multiplayer lack)

 

 

Elder Scrolls Online – Level to Veteran

Originally Posted at Phantom Forsight ESO Guild

I recently leveled another character to veteran rank in Elder Scrolls Online. I didn’t grind this time, instead I took a different route. First, thanks to Deltia at Deltias Gaming for the insight and the build guidance.

Before getting into my plans for veteran content, I got to VR1 by doing the following:

  • Faction Quests (solo)
    • Each zone has three quest lines that line up with achievements to “clear the zone. They line up with Cadwell’s Silver and Gold in the veteran zones
    • I did only these quests, plus a few that were around these that I could easily complete at the same time
  • Dolmens and World Bosses (with a friend, but can be soloed)
    • Cleared all dolmens and world bosses
    • Important for xp gain, plus for Fighter’s Guild rep (dolmens)
  • Dungeons (friend/solo)
    • Cleared all – again, important for xp, but also each one has a sky shard
  • Public Dungeons (friend)
    • Five total – one in each zone, plus one in Coldharbour
    • Important for several things – xp obviously, achievements and Undaunted rep, plus a skyshard in each one, and each public dungeon has a special challenge that awards a skill point
    • Can be solo’d, especially when other random people are running, but better and less stressful with a friend or group
    • Kill all the bosses and do both quests in each one
  • Once everything is done – do the Harborage Questline
    • Note – I did no Mage’s or Fighter’s Guild quests, nor did I do any group dungeons – saving those for post main story
  • Cyrodil –
    • I did go into Cyrodil and Imperial City some – I gained a total of two levels while I was there. I mainly went in for lorebooks and to get the Assualt and Support skill lines.

That’s it – and I was able to get to VR1 in no time. No real grinding, no fuss, and no B.S. quests to make me feel like I was wasting my time. That being said, if this is your first time through, you should do the side quests, etc to get the story. However, if this is your third or eighth toon, this guide will work. Two notes, I am a ESO Plus member, so I did get that 10% xp bonus, but I did not use any xp potions or scrolls until I was lvl 49, and if i didn’t use them, I still would have hit VR1 before reaching Molag Bal.

Important Notes:

  • Dolmens will help with Fighter’s Guild Rep, Public Dungeons will get you into rank 2 in Undaunted, but to get Mage’s Guild up (if you need it for the ultimate0, you have to find books. It’s a grind, but not impossible. Dulfy.net is a good place to start, but they do not have every one, and for some, you will need to go into Cyrodil.
  • When starting out – figure out the type of build you are going to want and determine what type of weapons and armor you are going to use. Craft, or have someone craft for you, a armor and weapon set with the training attribute on them. Make sure you place one skill from each class skill line in your bar, and what I like to do is open up the skill line for what my secondary weapon is going to be and place a skill on my bar for that as well. Though I can’t use it, it allows it to gain xp and level up.

Now, you have killed Molag Bal, saved Nirn, blah blah blah, now what? Well, remember those Mage’s and Fighter’s Guild quests? Now that your VR1, time to do them. MG is important to open up Eyevea, plus you get four lorebooks and completes a set – a total of 40 reputation points. Both the MG and FG questlines will give you some decent jewelry pieces as well, and they will scale to your level. Completing these will also get you close to VR2, plus almost one champion point per quest completion. Once you have this, you are ready for the next step!

In my next post, I will detail out my plans for running veteran levels, but for now, I will leave you with some tips:

  • Get your initial gear set – with training attributes, and plan on getting a new gear set every ten to fifteen levels. What I did was the following: Level 4, left prologue, equipped gear set (Hunding’s Rage and Night Mothers for stamina Templar), level 15 new gear set (still with training attribute), level 30 new gear set (I changed my attributes to divines on armor, piercing on weapons as per Deltia’s build), level 40 new gear set, and then finally a VR1 gear set.
  • Set up your action bar with one skill from each class skill line, one from your eventual secondary skill line, and i personally put soul magic on until its rank 4 then put a primary weapon skill on.
  • Once you get a secondary weapon and action bar – travel and turn in quests with your secondary bar active while fighting with your primary bar.
    • a) you are used to your primary bar – and now you can remove that secondary weapon skill and level something else
    • b) you are effectively leveling your secondary bar and skills without having to get used to something different
  • Once you clear a zone’s faction quest, go back and get any remaining sky shards and books – you are still “at level” so the enemies will still give you xp. Going back later isn’t a bad option except you will probably not get xp because you are over leveled.
  • If you are going to be magika based – put all skill points into magika. Likewise, if stamina based, put them all in stamina. Use food for health boost.
  • Try to get the exploration achievement for each zone – it helps with both sky shards and lorebooks, but it also gives you a little more xp.
  • play Cyrodil at least a little – Setup your home campaign in a contested server, set up a guest campaign in a server that your faction controls if possible. This allows for two things: You get to actually PvP and get a feel for it, and you have a guest campaign where you can get lorebooks and more sky shards more easily if you need them.

That’s all for now – I will be posting a post VR1 guide soon. if you have any questions or comments – changes or suggestions, please let me know in the comments. You can follow me on twitter – @jzhnutz, and when I stream, I normally do it on the Phantom Forsight YouTube.

As a final note, I play on Playstation 4, we have a small, but active guild in Ebonheart Pact. My psn is jzhnutz.