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The OT: Drop Shot

March 23, 2017

First, some small items. LaVar Ball actually has me liking LeBron. Russel Westbrook is playing out of his mind, but I am not even sure that he should be the one getting the MVP anymore. Hang Time podcast brought up some interesting points on that matter, and really, it all depends on what that MVP title means (MVP to one’s team? to the league? to the game?).

Congrats to BaseballFanEd and The Blankman as their team won the real “World” Series, and did so in decisive fashion. Eight runs makes for a lot of left turning, though admittedly, not nearly as many left turns as you will see at any Nascar event. 😉 Seriously though, I rewatched Moneyball last weekend, showing it to Chiiko for the first time, and it made me wish that rED would post about baseball so that I had a guide to get me into the game. I am all ears and eyes. I will read and listen patiently, and ask a lot of easy questions, if you want to share the joy of the sport.

In other gaming news, Astroneer developer System Era has finally asked gamers what needs to be done to make the controller a better UI for the game.

Aside from the most important issue of offering inverted controls, there are really a lot of other areas they could make the controller work better with the game, including offering a toggle for the stick “acceleration”. Give ’em your feedback. Astroneer is an amazing game with incredible, creative, 4 player fun just waiting to be had. It is a blank canvas on a planetary scale, and the sculptor’s tool is a mini-game all in itself. Beaming it and watching as the fifth wheel, will even be enjoyable.

And speaking of controls, the new “patch”, as Psyonix most humbly calls it, is probably their most significant update to Rocket League since it launched. The number of fixes to every aspect of the game is unknown as not all the changes are listed. (It could be in the millions.) The most significant fix is the addition of the one-click air roll function (RB for Cornie and I). Over a year since launch, this option finally evens the playing field between us and the Master Race PC users. All that is left now is the framerate differences, and the Scorpio will take care of that.

So that leads to the biggest news: Drop Shot. I have only played a few rounds, but there are intelligent “rules” and subtleties that the promotional video didn’t make obvious. For one, the ball will only do harm to the orange side, for example, if it was last “activated” by a blue touch. Second, boost quickly replenishes to keep you fly-ready but the cars can drive over the tile-less areas even without being airborne. Third, the floor resets on the side that was scored against, increasing the chances for a close game. Fourth, it truly is an excellent representation of the game of volleyball. You literally want to smash the ball onto the floor of the enemy side, but want to make amazing “bump” saves off the floor on your own. “Damage” points are awarded when you light up or take out a tile of the enemy floor. I haven’t played enough to see any exploitable areas, but at first glance, this appears to be, by far, the most intelligent, replayable game mode yet. If there aren’t some weird exploits, or problems with the rules, this could (and should) be a competitive mode. It blows “Hoops”, “Hockey”, and “Rumble” out of the water. There is one problem, however. This mode is probably easier to grief in than any mode, or any game for that matter, that I have played, ever. Want your team to lose, just keep hittin’ the ball back to your own side. Fully one half of the arena is a friendly-fire headshot. Bwahahahaha!

I have embedded a goal I got, not because it was amazing play, but to show some of the mechanics/rules of the game mode.

Finally, I am sure you noticed the title change for this post. It is not the “Weekly” OT. Missing three weeks kind of makes the title misleading at best, and so as of today, I am discontinuing that series. If someone else wants to pick up the mantle, go ahead. From now on, I will just be calling them “The OT: aaaa”, using the subtitle as a descriptor of the most significant content (for me) of the post. Cheers!

30 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2017 11:32 am

    My body is ready. Definitely going to have to give it a go on Friday

  2. March 23, 2017 5:02 pm

    Destiny 2, looking like release this September.

    A game that got a lot of love by some. I barely scratched the surface because I came so late to it. The PS exclusive aspects were a turn off, hopefully that isn’t the case this round.

    I felt that the original game was one of those that could really be great with a future implementation. More of the same and prob a pass for me.

    • March 23, 2017 7:45 pm

      I just couldn’t get past the art design. Technically pretty, but awful looking to my eyes.

      Having played a lot of that, Cornie cannot go back to the simpler mechanics of Halo 5, for instance. Apparently, Bungie did a lot of things to change and improve the arena shooter experience.

    • RoBBins permalink*
      March 24, 2017 12:31 pm

      Raiding was the most fun I’ve ever had teaming up with randoms in a game. Actually met a lot of cool people through them. The amount of teamwork needed, and the in game rewards made it so satisfying to complete them. Finally getting the exotic weapon or armor piece, or Raid set gear you were looking for felt amazing. Most likely will get 2.

  3. March 24, 2017 4:28 pm

    3 weeks after launch, I got a Switch. In order to do this, I had to get really lucky. The 4th store I checked that morning literally lost one on their shipment and found just as I arrived to check. I’ve had to go at 6am to several store openings.

    Based on what I have heard from the store managers, this isn’t similar to the wii launch (where few units were getting shipped at all). They have had new units every single day they receive product normally and they sell out within 10 min. Most places are still handing out tickets in the morning for a line when it opens.

    Impressions on the switch: It is really light and the hardware feels solid. It is pretty amazing to play a full fledged title one a tablet screen. Ethan loves it.

    Zelda is insane. Like, next level open world game.

  4. March 24, 2017 5:11 pm

    Zos, congrats on finally getting your hands on the Switch!

    Re: Zelda,

    In short, playing Breath of the Wild feels like I’m being cured of an addiction I didn’t know I had. An addiction to traditional open world RPGs. To sandboxes.

    I felt this early on, when I realized that all my weapons were breakable and naturally, this being a Zelda game, I couldn’t just regain my hearts by hiding behind something. As such, each fight is a more significant, important, dangerous experience.
    There was a moblin camp up ahead, one with two tough blue enemies and a few reds. I paused.

    “Why bother killing them? I’m not getting XP. I’m probably going to break my only good sword. I will probably end the fight low on health. What’s the point?”

    I fought them anyway. I hacked two to death, breaking the sword, watched one enemy bungle into a nearby hive and be murdered by bees, and I threw a bomb which cracked a tree in half, which fell on an enemy and killed him outright.
    My prize was garbage, a chest with some other breakable weapon that probably wouldn’t survive the next fight. But I was laughing, smiling. The game rewarded me not with XP or a new level or some must-have, perfectly rolled piece of loot. It rewarded me with the experience itself.
    This was the problem, I realized. I have played so many of these open world games that were determined make me 100% clear zones, maximize XP gains, build up giant hordes of cash and weapons and armor, that I forgot what it was like to play a game just to play it. To fight a group of enemies just because it was fun. To explore what was on the other side of the mountain just because I was curious.
    Sure, Breath of the Wild has RPG elements, as you look to acquire better gear and upgrade your health and stamina over time. But it is far less focused on the pursuit of those things than it is the wonder of the world itself. The rewards is not the item you get or the level you gain, the reward is the experience. Not XP, the experience.

    Another contributor to Forbes similarly gushed about the open world gameplay of Zelda:

    The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild isn’t just the best Zelda game I’ve ever played. It’s one of the best video games I’ve ever played. Period. It’s unflinchingly ambitious and tirelessly innovative, and yet it feels like the natural culmination of decades of game design experience rolled into one big, awe-inspiring experience. That it borrows from so many other open-world games, from Far Cry to Skyrim doesn’t change the fact: What Nintendo has done here is something incredibly special.

    The entire world of Breath of the Wild is a carefully crafted, carefully designed open-world puzzle. The shrines and dungeons that you encounter offer their own more distilled and focused puzzles, each with its own creative twist, but the world itself is not just open for openness’ sake. You don’t simply trudge across big open spaces. Everywhere you go there’s something to explore, some incredible discovery to make. There’s a story here, of course, which you uncover as you play in a totally open-ended, non-linear fashion. But the backdrop to that story is your own adventure, and Nintendo uses organic, emergent storytelling in one of the most effective ways I’ve ever seen in a game. The stories you tell your friends about this game will be your own, unique and fascinating and sometimes funny, too.

    Regarding the console, Gabe from PA called it the Ultimate Console and gave some compelling reasons why it deserved that title. Unlike the gesture Kinect bullshit, this is the kind of technology/user experience that Microsoft should mimic.

    I’ve had a few weeks now with my Switch and that included a trip over to Boston. It is hard for me to separate my feelings about the console from Zelda: Breath of the Wild. So far the Switch has really just been a Zelda machine for me. With that said I still feel like the Switch might end up being the ultimate console for me. I don’t know how your house is set up, but we have a family room where we spend most of our time. It’s got the big comfy couch, all the video game consoles and the nice TV. It also has all the boy’s Legos and toys so it’s where we all hand out. If my wife is watching shows or the boys are playing a game I can still be in there playing Zelda on my Switch. I’m not playing a portable game or a different game. I am playing the real deal and when it’s my turn for the TV I can just pop the Switch into the dock and pick up right where I left off. This was already awesome even before I took my trip to Boston.

    The flight to PAX and the stay there really sold me on the Switch. Having Zelda on the flight made the 6 hour trip feel like no time at all. I’ve played my 3DS before and I’ve watched movies but this felt different. This felt like having a real console on the plane and other than the uncomfortable seat, I might as well have been at home. Again, I wasn’t playing a portable game that I had picked up for the trip. I was playing my actual game that I am obsessed with at home, only 40,000 feet up in the air. Then when I got to my hotel room it was a simple matter of hooking up the dock and plugging in the Switch. Each night after the show I was back in my room playing Zelda on the TV like I had never left home. Since then I have taken it with me to all sorts of places. Waiting to pick up the kids at school, car trips and just back and forth to work. The Switch is perfect for how I want to play games.

    • March 24, 2017 5:47 pm

      It is hard to even begin to explain the brilliance of Zelda. There are many systems that work together organically. You are dropped into the world with little explanation on what to even do. Your the second quest you unlock is “Defeat Ganon” (The Bowser of Zelda). Everything just works naturally as you would expect. To such an extent, that Ethan was asking me to do things (that I wouldn’t think was possible) and it just happened exactly as Ethan thought it would. I can’t recall the last time I was placed in a game world, where the mechanics of the game didn’t get into the way of the actual experience. It really feels “next gen” in that sense. The game feels so alive and handcrafted that you can get lost exploring and end up discovering entire new journeys.

      All of this being said, I plan on primarily playing this with Ethan or when no one else is on. So this will not get in the way of “work” or other games. The beauty is, I can even just have it it my hands playing while we are in party, or dock it into my second monitor. I was expecting to love Zelda, but the Switch has really impressed me a lot. I can easily seeing this as being my most used Nintendo device since the DS Lite.

      What time are you all going to get on tonight and whats on the menu? I have to play some Rocket League and get a start on the new ranking division (+ all the new goodness).

    • March 24, 2017 8:34 pm

      You wouldn’t happen to be able to stream Zelda somehow, would you? With all your PC savvy, Beam us up or something? I would love chatting with you on Xbox Live while you take us through Link’s world. Anyway, stay in touch. Here and Xbox Live messages via me and or Cornie to make the get together a reality.

      (Cornie actually has company coming over for the whole day, but there may even be an hour for him to play in front of his friend. I, however, can commit to a greater time frame.)

    • March 26, 2017 4:41 am

  5. March 25, 2017 6:38 am

    That is a badass statue!

  6. RoBBins permalink*
    March 27, 2017 1:30 am

    Been keeping a close eye on Amazon, more specifically the random people that are selling Switches themselves through the website. There was one up for sale the other day for $275, but I chose to pass it up for some reason. Now the cheapest one on the site is going for like 320$. I need Zelda in my life, badly.

    • RoBBins permalink*
      March 27, 2017 1:36 am

      Just caved and bought the one for $320 and Zelda. Thanks for the persuasion, Zos ;D

    • March 28, 2017 1:00 am

      It’s soooo good. The game just keeps surprising.

  7. March 28, 2017 1:01 am

    Such transparency. Bigger games have much bigger problems and none of the transparency. Dropshot is incredible, been thinking about it a lot. GOAT

  8. RoBBins permalink*
    March 28, 2017 1:44 pm

    I know it’s basically beating a dead horse at this point, but Rare is sending out 23,000 Alpha invites tonight, and in addition to the now weekly Wednesday Alpha sessions, there’s a technical test this Saturday from 2-5pm EST. @esuns will you be on for it?! I can play for about an hour and a half of the 3 hour session.

  9. March 28, 2017 5:43 pm

    Tragic loss for the Astroneer team:

    I followed Paul’s work before Astroneer, he was a power house of an artist in the industry!

    • Blankman permalink*
      March 28, 2017 11:41 pm

      Very sad indeed. System Era was making significant headway on Astroneer, & I’m sure that his loss is devastating on a professional & personal level to everyone at SE. I took a look at the link of his artwork that Zos posted, & Pepera was definitely talented.

    • March 30, 2017 3:06 am

      Yes, the art design is one of the best aspects of Astroneer. I love the cartoony, friendly style. Cannot wait until they fix the game enough so that it is playable.

  10. March 28, 2017 7:29 pm

    @RoBBins, Kenai got in, too. I will be on.

    @zosofan, been thinking about Drop Shot, too! And thanks for the heads-up on Astroneer.

    EDIT: I was reading on my tablet at the airport. Missed that fact that he didn’t quit, but passed away. Very sad.

    • March 28, 2017 10:00 pm

      @robbins0096 I just checked the time conversion and that is actually 3am – 6am JST. That is a bit much, even for my early rising ass. I will be sure to message you if I actually get up, but I am doubtful now.

    • Herandar permalink
      March 29, 2017 8:58 am

      I’m in the Sea of Thieves Alpha as well. Downloaded the game last night. I’m also in the Paladins Beta FWIW. For some reason I can’t determine, I seem to be doing very well at it in the first three games I’ve played…

      Not sure I’ll be able to make the SoT Alpha window, but I’ll try.

    • RoBBins permalink*
      March 29, 2017 10:46 am

      @esuns ok, i’ll keep an eye on my messages friday night/saturday morning.

  11. March 30, 2017 3:05 am

    Just a heads-up regarding the Sea of Thieves Alpha.

    Once you are in, you are in for good, for all consecutive sessions.

    Also, every Wednesday 7-10 BST (British Summer Time) they have a session. Currently, the times are convenient for Rare (and Europe) not anywhere else. Eventually, they will offer longer sessions and/or better times for the North American crew.

    There is no rush. Eventually, we will all get in. In the meantime, there is only a very small loop of entertainment going on, the sailing of the ship, engaging other ships, and a very bare bones treasure hunt mechanic. All other aspects of the game are in development and not included in the test.

    • RoBBins permalink*
      March 30, 2017 10:44 am

      Dont forget drinking all the grog and playing our instruments while we majestically sail the seas and throw up all over the ship! Good times!

    • March 30, 2017 3:28 pm

      Yeah, but that is most enjoyed when we are together. Not so much fun drinking alone.

  12. March 31, 2017 11:25 am

    New Rocket League car coming in 4 days:

    F&F licensed car, looks similar to Dominus? Will be interested to see how it controls! Drop Shot is amazing fun, and I can’t wait to get started on season 4 rankings. I was just thinking about what a crazy year it is going to be for games, a lot of really quality experiences to be had (too many to play everything). Between now and Holiday, there is only going to be more.

    I’ll be on tonight, probably usual time or slightly later. Ethan has been staying up later than usual (Zelda may be partially to blame) and I’m banking as much time as I can.

    • March 31, 2017 11:26 am

      Also, apparently the latest update for XBL was causing some online issues. I believe things were going to be solved by today however.

    • March 31, 2017 3:47 pm

      Brilliant marketing push for both movie and game industries. Who can’t appreciate Dom’s Charger? Sweet!

      One of the interesting things about Drop Shot, it is darn near impossible to play with car cam because the gameplay is so vertical. It is forcing me to use Ball Cam full time, and is the reason I can’t hit the ball. I look forward to changing that. It may take me a while yet, but when I get it (and I am sure that I will eventually), I will be that much better playing “soccer”. The longer it is out, the more I am convinced that it would be a very exciting competitive game mode. Psyonix needs to sponsor a “for fun” event where they get the top gamers playing in a tournament for some nice prize money. Showing the mode played well would be smart marketing. Their promotional vid was an awful display of what the mode was all about. In fact, most of their promotional videos are poorly done from a generating excitement perspective.

    • March 31, 2017 3:58 pm

      That is interesting regarding the ball-cam, I can’t recall whether or not I don’t use it in DS.

    • March 31, 2017 4:02 pm

      Pay attention. I bet you don’t even switch to car cam at all. Not once in an entire game.

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