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The Weekly OT #13: BF1 Beta, Horde 3.0, and Ark:Scorched Earth

August 28, 2016
by

 

Narcos Season 2 releases on Tuesday (Sept. 2).  Gonna be hard not to binge watch that one…on a weeknight…before a heavy day of work.

Other notable mentions include: Manchester By The Sea (Nov 16), which looks to be this decade’s Ordinary People, and Lion, which had me thinking it was this year’s Slum Dog Millionaire (watching the trailer leads me to be believe that it won’t be nearly as brutal).

And Rocket League continues to impress.  Here is my Noobs Gone Wild Blind Helicopter Goal for which I can take no credit yet hold immense pride.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. Herandar permalink
    August 28, 2016 6:14 pm

    LOL at NGWBHG.

  2. August 29, 2016 9:09 pm

    Herandar, there are lots more where that came from! Love the game!

    And I found some interesting discussions on the official Sea of Thieves forums. Here are some links to the Rare Employee posts explaining the decision not to include NPC run ships.

    MikeTheMutinous
    Rare Employee
    7

    Interesting topic! Love the thinking around how we might implement this…

    In reality though, we’ve actually never even considered this as it would compromise some of the unpredictable and truly emergent encounters that players can have in Sea of Thieves. The technical requirements were never discussed as its just not an experience that we believe is important to the game.

    Every time you see a sail on the horizon, we deliberately want you to know that its another ship crewed by real players – what their goals are, where their heading, what they have on-board is for you and your crew to determine. Seeing a ship in the distance, seeing its sails drop and then seeing other pirates running around on the deck and knowing that they’re real people is a pretty magical feeling. Fair to say, introducing NPCs to fill this role would feel second rate and a poor relation to the real thing.

    Of course, there will be NPC’s in the game, but all ships will be sailed by real players. Its also likely that you’ll often encounter other ships with very different goals to yours and this mystery is what makes it feel super exciting and unpredictable.

    Its a very bonding experience to know that its your crew against whatever dangers may be waiting over the horizon. AI can always be outwitted given enough time and practice, but each crew is going to have its own way of doing things, different ways of strategizing and using their own techniques when encountering others. Its actually central to allowing players to role-play, since your focus as a crew will often be second guessing the intentions of others, much like you’ve seen in countless pirate / nautical movies and books. It provides endless depth.

    Further down the thread:


    Its more a case of NPC ships being predictable and spoiling the immersion somewhat. Even the best AI can never live up to how inventive and creative real players will be. You’d have one set of tactics for dealing with AI ships, but then another set when encountering a real player ship.

    Having every ship be crewed by real players is a bold promise that we want to make to players. Its at the heart of what we believe is special about the game.

    Getting the core of the game into a Beta will allow players to experience what I describe above with regards to real player ships. But let me assure you that nothing is off the table and non-negotiable and decisions we’ve made so far have been made solely to create a consistently immersive experience. However, while we have a vision for the game, ultimately we want your feedback to ensure we’re building the right value for players. Sea of Thieves will evolve with the community and no one can say right now where this epic voyage might take us.

  3. August 30, 2016 6:23 pm

    The Battlefield Open Beta is supposed to be live on the 31st.

    Levelcap has some “pro tips” to help us get the most out of it.

    And Xfactor has a vid on the damage models for the guns. Semi-related, in past videos it was made clear that, more so than in previous BF games, the gun classes are quite restricted in their effective ranges. The weapon graphics will help us pick the appropriate weapons (assuming we are able to unlock them).

    • Blankman permalink*
      August 30, 2016 7:43 pm

      I already got a beta code. Playing it tonight with Zos.

  4. August 30, 2016 10:14 pm

    Dang! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a beta code. I thought it was just available for everyone to download! I will have to check my other e-mail address when I get home. Hope it works out well.

  5. August 31, 2016 12:13 am

    I haven’t viewed any of the footage since the beta, but when Horde 3.0 came up, I decided to take a look (I didn’t like the mode in the previous games so there is no let down for me no matter what they do). Apparently, there are “microtransactions” in multiplayer that probably filter over to Horde. If i had previously heard that this would be the case, I must have pushed it out of my mind.

    Really too bad (but understandable) that they went for Horde instead of Overrun.

    That game is going to have to get real cheap before I buy it, even though Zos and Blank will be getting it day one (don’t listen to what they say, their track record is all that matters). LOL!

    • Blankman permalink*
      August 31, 2016 12:34 am

      Nope, sticking to boycotting Gears 4 until it’s cheap. Gotta vote with our wallets.

      BTW: Battlefield 1 is fun. I kind of lost my voice playing with Kenai & Zos. Check out our game clips on the ‘Community’ feed. Some of them are pretty epic. Zos crashes a biplane,and kills the dude (that he had just missed with his plane) while descending to the ground firing his rifle. Ridiculous skill. That’s a George Costanza moment. He could have brushed his hands off and called it a night from there. Drop the mic.

      The gunplay seems pretty solid, but damn is that rifle for the Medic class underpowered. That’s the class that I pretty much play because there’s nothing like constantly reviving and healing teammates. There was one battle where we were losing and we (our squad) made a concerted push for two flags and wound up winning 173-170. Pretty damn good feeling when a game rewards team play.

      The textures and character models are very blurry compared to the PC-version. It’s a shame that the resolution for the XB1 is the ugly stepchild. When you compare the two versions, it’s like night & day.😢 Zos said that when the Scorpio launches, BF1 will probably be the game that gets showcased on what’s possible on the next gen console. Too bad we’ll have to wait until next year to see the graphical fidelity that will be available.

    • August 31, 2016 2:18 am

      Yeah, the lower resolution was off-putting initially, but still very nice looking (a la Battlefront). I am expecting at most 900p, which is what I believe the (current) consoles will max at. It looks like they use dynamic resolution, so it may scale. I thought I noticed that when we were in closer interiors, but could just be my brain.

      Once the action gets going, it is not distracting. Especially because most of the combat is closer range than previous BF games (where the muddy resolution actually becomes an issue).

      It turns out I am building a new PC at home as well now. Steph is taking ownership of the Surface Pro 2 to use for photography. I don’t even think I will put a GPU in it (this year), but we will see if there are any “steals” around the holidays. Hopefully the xbox party chat works on PC well enough, because the integrated graphics in the processor chip I am buying can play RocketLeague and other similar caliber games.

    • August 31, 2016 3:13 am

      You may end up joining us in The Sea of Thieves, but from your PC!!! LOL!

      Well, if they get that PC mic/headsets stuff compatible, who knows, I might even jump over. I want to see Scorpio, and I want it to have a toggle-able OS (Xbox and Windows 10). How sweet would THAT be!

  6. August 31, 2016 12:49 am

    BF1 is epic. Full of hilarious squad shenanigans that brought back a lot of good memories. I was worried about the desert map before playing, but it is one of the best “large” BF maps I have ever played. The way spawning works, you aren’t stuck lugging from point to point and the villages (set pieces) are straight out of classic films.

    The gunplay feels very brutal and crude (intentionally). The rifle with a scope, requires you release the left trigger between every shot, same is said for canons, for which you must load a new shell between each shot. All of the vehicles control nicely, but have narrow fields of vision or technical limitations that prevent running the map.

    The whole experience is cinematic and raw. The gameplay forces close encounters, and the melee is totally epic (and easily stopped if you know what you are doing). We were already top of the boards with just Blank/Kenai/I just by playing as a squad, the game rewards teamplay (with wins and points). K/D focused gameplay won’t get you much. I can’t imagine once we have a big group in.

    The biggest question now is what will be broke at launch. Squads must work well in order to keep frustrations at a minimum. But at least so far it has worked well for us 3.

    There is also an old school server browser, where you can save presets and select servers just like PC. Super nice.

    Some clips of note:

    —-Kenai crashes the plane we are in, and gets sent back to his maker (watch his body)
    https://account.xbox.com/en-us/gameclip/c8be7ed5-c100-4aaf-a302-3b35ca0fa844?gamerTag=Z0S0&scid=62c40100-1842-4392-a17b-96d43f9eff62

    —-I climb a cliff with a horse, kill a dude and jump a canyon with the horse to force the guy to fall off a cliff.
    https://account.xbox.com/en-us/gameclip/08380e84-8a37-45b8-84ab-01482aa4f015?gamerTag=Z0S0&scid=62c40100-1842-4392-a17b-96d43f9eff62

  7. August 31, 2016 1:33 am

    Guys, your (good) impressions have me smiling. The clips are epic! Can’t wait!

    I watched them ALL!!! LOL!

  8. August 31, 2016 9:25 am

    This is my favorite Beta since BFBC2 (and I’ve only played for a few hours). The learning curve for Kenny and I was steep to begin with (lot of screaming by….) You know who… But soon we had our groove on, and the Epic moments started to come. One of my favorites was me getting killed in a doorway at point blank range, then Kenny rushes through, clubs the guy to death like that guy from God of War, and caps the ‘epic-ness’ by reviving me. Kenny was probably the only guy playing medic on our team (at least is seemed that way), and man was I grateful. When Zoso showed up, we had our Stone Cold Killer, and the circle (or triangle) was complete. We started affecting the game in general and the wins started coming. Tonight we will have Red (who Zoso mocked for not getting the early access), Herandar, Lab Rat (and whomever else…).

    Like Adam and Kenny said, this game feels gritty, epic, has ‘moments’. The combat requires more work, more thought. The range isn’t as easy due to iron sights. No spotting. Reload times (on any gun) take a while, so you gotta plan out what you’re doing.

    I got bayonet charged twice last night. One (that I remember), was firing into this guy, and almost dropping him, but no…. blade went straight through the sternum, and life ended for this poor soldier. Alas, Kenny wasn’t close enough to bring me back…

    I really enjoy the music, the overall sound is awesome, and the character conversations are related to what is actually going on in the game. Not sure what to say about character models, but the overall game looks fantastic, and the weather affects are so cool. All this adds up to a very immersive combat.

    Can’t wait to get back into a Bi-plane, but I doubt Zoso will hop in again….

  9. August 31, 2016 5:49 pm

    Cornie and I played last night. The learning curve is steep! The word “moron” was used repeatedly until I discovered that it was Cornie who was my gunner in the jeep. “Why do you have to always call people ‘morons’?!” Thing is, we were just trying to get a grip on the controls and the UI and were having difficulty spawning on each other (there is definitely some unresponsiveness/lag in the menus/spawn screen). I was surprised that it was suddenly him who was with me.

    The language! I don’t even know what they are speaking, but as with other BF games, it sounds authentic, and I love it!

    After the initial frustrating start (I don’t recommend defending on RUSH to start your experience), I started really warming up to it all. I was disappointed to see the big K and D at the top of the stats, but very pleased to see the points rack up for capturing bases and everything else. The bayonet rush is amazing, though I never actually rushed at an enemy, just into a house. Based on that brief play session, yes, this is the Battlefield game that I have been waiting for since BC2 (I think). It is all the old feels. I cannot wait to play again tonight.

    If we do run as a larger crew (and we must!), we will empty servers. No joke.

    • August 31, 2016 6:53 pm

      Rush wasn’t available to us yesterday, so we were only able to play conquest. At least when we were playing K/D top of the board. IT is possible that someone with high K/D was also playing the objectives (in fact, it’s likely with rush because in order to come across more players you must be on the objective).

      I forgot to mention the menus, they are super slow at times and the beta crashed once for me. In terms of spawning, it was very easy (again at least in conquest). Also, there are times (when squad is under fire) that it prevents you from spawning. So that could have been the case. It isn’t very strict with this policy, but it helps the immediate spawn death rage.

      Also, the gunner on the vehicles is not an easy task. The gun’s are wild, unpredictable and almost always you are limited to small degree of turning (Some vehicles the window seemed < 45 degrees, and 70% of the screen was blocked). We were in a tank last night, and I was switching from window to window in order to continue shooting at a single soldier.

      What time will you be on tonight? I am assuming later than I will be on.

    • August 31, 2016 7:45 pm

      Yeah, I won’t be on until 1am PST. LOL!

      Cornie could join you if he wakes up. Dude was up for at least 36 hours straight – finally went to bed at 8pm yesterday. Still hasn’t woken up yet, as far as I know. Youth!

    • Blankman permalink*
      September 1, 2016 1:21 am

      The EA servers were all pooched for the entire day because of a massive DDoS attack. I told Zos that I wouldn’t be surprised if Activision had something to do with it since CoD: Infinite War is doing abysmally in pre-orders compared to BF1. Anyways, the two games that I managed to get into for the entire night turned out to be a terrible experience because it was the Rush mode & we couldn’t get anything started since it was only Jim and I on the same squad.

      Sheesh, another crappy start for yet another EA BF title. Even though it’s not their fault due to a DDoS attack, why does this always involve EA?

    • September 1, 2016 1:35 am

      Thanks for writing. I have been teaching steady all day, and I still have one more class! RUSH is awful, at least on that map, especially as a relative noob – though I don’t think that it will ever be a very good RUSH map.

      As for the DDOS server problems, this is happening all the time to almost all of the games (and I think even, systems i.e., PS4). EA is a huge target for attacks, as is Microsoft, Sony, and Activision. I was going to say that Activision is the only company that doesn’t seem to get attacked, but then I remembered that most/all? of their COD games aren’t even on servers!!! Bwahahahaha. Who woulda thunk that would be a good thing? Rocket League didn’t have those problems, but they sure had a lot of match making problems at the beginning. Literally 1 hour trying for 1 short game. Then again, it was a 20 dollar game made by 3 people. LOL!

      Well, hopefully they will get their shit defended by the time the weekend starts. Or, they will take it on the chin for yet another BF game.

    • September 1, 2016 1:53 am

      Yeah, server outages are the new norm for game launches (and this is a beta (pre-release) to be fair).

      I wasn’t able to play much Rush today because my internet was pooched. Thanks comcast! I figured out the issue though, so I should be in good shape come Friday night.

      I don’t expect Rush to be much fun unless we are rolling as a crew (maybe until we learn the maps). Even in BC2 days, Rush was really hard to do well unless you were rolling in a crew. Conquest seemed to work a lot better for those situations (where the congestion of enemies is spread throughout the map). With a smaller crew (2-3) you can feasibly go base to base and not be met with a wall of enemies.

      Hopefully they have it up before the weekend. I really want to play some additional maps as well!

  10. September 1, 2016 1:38 am

    P.S. I love the mustard gas ‘nades! So nice. Area denial AND subterfuge at the same time! Great for capturing bases.

  11. September 1, 2016 8:42 am

    Got in to several rounds of Rush first, and then later, a Conquest room that filled up quickly.

    DO NOT press the Start button…ever, but especially if you just died. If you want to check the scoreboard, don’t. The start button will shut your game down for anywhere between 30 seconds and several minutes. Other than that, things actually operate pretty smoothly. I have not yet found a gun that I am efficient with, but the beauty of BF games are that if you have even half a brain, you can do so many other things than just kill. I had an exceptionally fun time, as did Cornie with the sniper and tank (went on a 29 kill streak in the tank – from first base until last).

    I am concerned, however, that the start menu problem will not be resolved before launch.

    “When am I going to learn not to buy their products on day one? When am I going to learn that EA products include free misery?” Tycho PA

    That hasn’t changed to this day.

    Please note, I was much more concerned about BF3. I canceled my pre-order, losing the discount, and then went ahead and bought 4 copies of the game anyway. (I think the cancellation cost me $40).

    As Z0S said above, broken is the new norm for game launches.

    In the dark, in the rain, if you hold me, I will hold you.

  12. Herandar permalink
    September 1, 2016 9:33 am

    Good rush games are heavily dependent on two linked items. Player count and map design. I enjoyed the rush game while on both sides so far.

    If you haven’t experienced a sandstorm yet, just wait. So much better than Gulf of Oman levelution.

    Closed Alpha was much more stable. The DDOS really screwed up the servers all day and night long. The good news was my friend was able to stay in one server for three straight games when I went to bed last night, so it seemed to be getting better. Got kicked from a couple of BF4 games too after giving up on the Beta.

  13. Herandar permalink
    September 1, 2016 4:01 pm

    Servers were stable three hours ago.

  14. September 1, 2016 4:54 pm

    That fun that I had was almost all in Rush. Knowing the map, the controls, and the weapons etc., makes it much easier to be effective. The one round on the first night was just horrible. Probably all our teammates were complete noobs like Cornie and I, literally pressing the wrong buttons, etc. Last night, as I mentioned, it was exceptionally fun.

    Also, it is very intense, and I think that is because of the slower speed and inefficiency of the weapons. There is time for the enemy to actually run at you while you are reloading etc.

    I have experienced heavy winds, but no sandstorm yet, I don’t think. I also experienced a blinding light. …I didn’t walk towards it.

    • September 1, 2016 5:50 pm

      The sandstorms are insane. Crazy low visibility. With a limited field of view in a vehicle, you are essentially blind. It also appears the smoke grenades work really well.

      I know it is kind of early, but I will be shocked if I don’t end up buying this one. Even if there is a rough launch (lets face it, there will be at this point), the core of the game is appealing enough to me to stick it through. (Suns and I will be holding each other in the rain)

    • Blankman permalink*
      September 1, 2016 7:43 pm

      It’s my turn to pull the trigger on the next two games, Zos. There’s no need to pre-order yet until after the Open Beta is over.

  15. September 1, 2016 7:56 pm

    • September 1, 2016 8:22 pm

      To me this so much less than Overrun. Why would I want to play static tower defense against bots (ON GRIDLOCK!!!), when I could defend against AI or humans, over a changing, progressing map, and then have the opportunity to turn the tables and play as the various creatures?

      Gears 4.
      So Broken. So Much Less. So Far Off The Radar

      EDIT: I just checked the reddit thread and the lips are all pressed firmly against Coalition’s cheeks. Not gonna bother commenting over there.

    • September 1, 2016 8:45 pm

      I was gonna post based on your comment. Reading the reactions/forums… The Coalition is doing what the fans want (based on their feedback). This will probably be a very successful game for them.

  16. September 1, 2016 9:20 pm

    Zos, yep. You can’t really blame The Coalition. Since Gears 2 and the major changes, the community was always going to be divided. We still have UE (and even Judgment for Overrun) and they are about as good as could be.

    and now BLINDSIDED!!!!

    Ark: Scorched Earth Expansion Pack ($19.99) Game Preview

    In your mind, compare what you just watched with Horde 3.0, to this.

    Seriously, watch it. Ark:SE and expansions is a Scorpio seller (especially since it runs so poorly on the One – LOL!). Cornie and I were just talking about Survival of the Fittest last night.

    Below is snippet from the official description:

    Scorched Earth utilizes a new feature called The Gateway, a cross-server ARK transfer. Survivors who manage to survive the harsh arid conditions can travel back and forth from the Scorched Earth map to the ARK: Survival Evolved main game, taking with them newly collected tools, weapons, and their newly tamed creatures to impress their friends and dazzle their combatants.

    Its a whole new world.

    (EDITED for brevity.)

  17. September 2, 2016 1:10 am

    And there is that other game that keeps on giving.

    http://www.rocketleaguegame.com/news/2016/08/custom-team-names-colors-private-matches/

  18. Herandar permalink
    September 12, 2016 11:50 am

    This is the gun that was a battle pickup at the E base in Conquest:

    I think the in-game model might actually be too small.

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