Friday, August 28, 2015

Diablo III: Season 4

The next season of Diablo III starts in less than an hour, and it's looking pretty sweet. They put out a new patch this week to use in the new season and it has a ton of interesting changes! The biggest one is the addition of a new 'cube' with powerful new recipes. It lets you reroll legendary items to get better stats, or trade in an extra copy of a set item for a different piece of the set, or convert a rare item to a legendary. You can swap gem types, or crafting material types. You can remove the level requirement from an item to really power level an alt. But the best part is you can destroy legendary items and then equip 3 of their passive abilities onto your character! One of the constraints to builds in the past was which slots you could get passives from while maintaining overpowered set bonuses... Now those options have multiplied! So many more builds should become playable as a result!

On top of that they've added in higher difficulty levels (useful since the previous highest difficulty for the base game was massively eclipsed by the greater rifts)! New items! Quality of life changes to crafting and rifting!

On the downside they decided to put crowd control (CC) caps back in. This was part of the initial game and it sucked since you couldn't permanently CC hard enemies which meant everyone had to build to be invincible. Eventually they decided that was a bad idea and took the cap out. Now they put it back in and I'm not sure why. On the plus side it came with massive damage nerfs across the board to enemies so maybe they've decided everyone needs to be invincible again but actually made that feasible this time? I guess the setup where every group needed a CC bot that did no damage was pretty bad too. So if everyone can mostly survive just fine with the damage nerfs and you can use short bursts of CC to help against bursty monsters or something that could be good.

I tried out my old crusader on the highest difficulty just to see what it was like. He was built to infinitely CC things, and couldn't anymore, so that sucked. On the plus side I was able to kill all the monsters in torment X. I died to most of the blue packs. But my build was undoubtedly bad now, and I had none of the new cube bonuses, and I wasn't tip-top as it was, so the new difficulties are probably just fine.

All in all I'm pretty pumped to get playing Diablo III again. This version of the game is probably going to be the best one yet, and that's really sweet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rocket League

Rocket League is an online MOBA game where you drive around in a car, with a rocket strapped to the back of it, and play soccer. It seems to have pretty good physics for a rocket boosted car game... At the very least it seems to be consistent! So even if it isn't 'realistic' for the real world, it feels realistic for the Rocket League world.

Ike is always on the lookout for games we can stream together, and he really wanted to get into Rocket League. I wasn't sure it was for me, but mostly I wasn't sure the price tag was for me. But then Ike was awesome and gave me a copy of the game on Steam. Hurray! I ran through the tutorials and was pretty bad, but it was fun.

Last night after my WoW raid I played some games with Snuggles, Sceadeau, and one of Sceadeau's friends. The game plays up to 4v4, and we were pretty terrible, but it was really fun. We played for close to 3 hours all told and there were noticeable improvements in both our mechanics and our strategy. Still really bad, but not quite as bad as at the start!

I watched Witwix playing H1Z1 this morning, and then he finished his stream by playing Rocket League. It was like he was playing an entirely different game! My tactics pretty much boiled down to driving fast near the ball and hoping it did good things if I hit it... He was able to do these jumping dashing hits that actually made the ball move fast, and in a planned direction! Definitely some more practice will be needed... But it seems to have a reasonable matchmaking system, so even if I always suck I should just play against other people who suck and then we can have fun driving around near the ball!

One big plus the game has is you only play a 5 minute game with almost instant queue times to get into the next game. So even if you start getting blown out, the game is almost over! It's not like some LoL games where it's obvious you've lost in 6 minutes but have to play for another 20+ minutes until the game actually ends.

It's definitely worth checking out if the idea of car soccer sounds interesting.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Seven Springs Lodging Options

The World Boardgaming Championships are moving locations starting next year. It's moving from a self destructing hotel an hour from Philly to a ski resort an hour from Pittsburgh. From the sounds of things the ski resort is under newish ownership and is working on setting themselves up as a summer convention destination. Convenient that our convention needed a new summer destination...

One of the big concerns people have about the move is the increase in hotel cost. There were a ton of cheaper motels and the like around the old location (as in, the next building over) but a ski resort is more likely to be secluded and cut off those cheaper options as a result. On the other hand the ski resort does have a bunch of different types of rooms but actual information about what is available is sketchy at this point in time. Someone told us there were chalets with bunk beds and pretty low quality buildings but I found pictures of the chalets on the website and there were no bunk beds to be seen.

At this point I suspect the best play is to just get a room in the main hotel for the 2016 convention and then actually see what the other options are in person to make decisions for later. But for anyone unwilling to pay the main hotel price that's not really a good option. Getting to cram a ton of extra people into a chalet of some kind could be a really economical option for large groups of people... But there's a problem here in that no one has told us when we can book these things, or even how much they're going to cost! Waiting to get that info before making decisions is apt to have a faster group yoink your chalet out from under you! So it seems like a prudent thing to do would be to look at what the options are going to be and then it'd be easier to pivot and make a decision when the pricing is actually revealed. I will be listing the default web pricing when I can find it, but I have to assume the convention will have reduced rates.