Monday Gaming Diary: I’ve realized why I haven’t played Destiny

Destiny

Another week, another batch of gaming friends asking why I haven’t played Destiny yet. I constantly say I don’t have time, and in part, that is true. I haven’t had time to play a second of Final Fantasy XIV, and that’s one I really do want to play. I do find plenty of other games to play instead of Destiny, even though I can now say I legitimately don’t own the game. I gave my CE to Blake, and he’s going to trade it with his regular copy of the game. We haven’t completed the trade yet, and it’s not bothering me in the slightest.

I know I don’t want to play Destiny, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I realized exactly why that is.

It’s only partly because I have people hounding me to play it. True fact: if you want me to do/read/watch/play something, don’t bombard me about it every time we chat or even every other time. Pass along your recommendation and move on. Constant barrages of OMG YOU HAVE TO DO THIS will only put off my motivation to do whatever it is you want me to do. Most likely, I’ll never do it. I never said this is one of my better character traits, but it is what it is.

So my friends asking me about it is only partly to blame.

The big barrier is the fanboyism. My Twitter feed is constantly full of people tweeting OMG THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER! People proudly announcing how long it took them to grind to get enough light pants to reach level 30. I thought grinding was an annoying thing, not something to really celebrate. Then they talk about the emotes, Legendary gear or engrams or whatever, going on raids (but this is totes not an MMO!), blah blah blah and my eyes glaze over. I’m so glad you all love this game so much, but do I have to be inundated with frothing fanboy comments? This is just like Halo!

OH.

MY.

GOD.

OHMYGOD. I am having the exact same reaction I had to Halo. I refused to give Halo a chance, outright refused. Everyone I knew who was into Halo was a diehard fanboy and couldn’t talk about the game rationally. More OMG BEST GAME EVAR!!11!! crap whenever anything Halo-related was leaked. I never thought about touching Halo until I was assigned to review the Anniversary edition for Gaming Angels. I think my exact response was, “Well, fuck.” And I couldn’t get out of the assignment because I was the shooter gaming editor. You can’t not review Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary when you are the shooter game expert. Well, fuck. Fine. Give me the stupid game.

And as they say, the rest is history.

So there it is; I’m going against Destiny for the same reasons I went against Halo. Perhaps if I play Destiny, I’ll love it as much as Halo. My boss says that won’t happen. He swears I’ll quit after two hours because of the grinding and lack of story. That may be true, but what Chris said about the game also has me intrigued that I could like it.

Nothing I can do about it now, as I still don’t have a copy of the game and I still have other games I will play instead. But Extra Life is coming up. That could be a good time to play the game once and for all and be done with it one way or another.

Monday Gaming Diary: Game-Free Vacation

This nightly view was ROUGH to put up with.

This nightly view was ROUGH to put up with.

I actually went on a bona fide vacation last week with my family. Every year we go to the beach with the entire clan, where we swim a lot, eat a lot of fish tacos, and drink too much wine. Last year, I hauled down my PlayStation 3 to get my Diablo III on and play some LEGO games with my eldest. This year I decided to leave all of the big consoles at home, and I only brought my Vita. I figured this would be prime time to play some Mortal Kombat IX either on the long drive down or at night when everyone else went to bed. I never turned on my Vita once, and I have no regrets.

Sadly, I didn’t really play any games over the week, and that does make me sad because I brought Uno and Exploding Kittens for everyone to play. The cards stayed in their boxes, because we all ended up crashing early every night. Who knew that sun, swimming, and chasing after kids all day would make you so tired?

However, I did get a lot of reading done. I finished Halo: Contact Harvest and I’m two-thirds of the way through Halo: The Cole Protocol.  As much as I am bummed that I didn’t play any card games, especially with my eldest, at least I got some me-time in with reading. And since they were Halo books, I suppose they were kind of like gaming.

No matter to me, it was kind of nice being completely unplugged from the gaming world. Of course, now that I’m back and therefore must return to the grind, all I can think of is everything I need to play and work on. As far as the massive RPGs that I need to play goes, I’m thinking of working on Final Fantasy XIV. If nothing else, even if I hate it, I can use it as a feature for work since it will be my first MMO. That’s me, always thinking how I can turn something fun into productivity!

Oh and by the way, I haven’t plugged this enough yet, but if you aren’t reading the Mortal Kombat X comics yet, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.

Monday Gaming Diary: Halo Woes

Since Halo 5: Guardians is releasing soonish, a friend and I have a plan to play all four of the first Halo games together to get prepared for it. Neither of us have really played much of the Halo: Master Chief Collection, and this seems like the perfect time to burn through these games and get prepared for the upcoming awesomeness that is sure to hit our Xbox Ones. I haven’t touched the MCC since my review, where I mostly just played Halo 2 so I could check out the improvements and test the multiplayer functions. The multiplayer experience was absolutely abysmal and was the exact reason why I gave the collection the low score that I did.

343 Industries has released numerous patches to fix these server issues, especially those with matchmaking. Since the game has been out for nearly a year, we assumed like the fools we are that the issues have been mostly fixed. We just want to play co-op, so what’s the big deal?

We’ve tried to play together a couple of times, and each time has had the same result: we can’t join each other’s games.

Halo Co-Op Connection Error

This was us for over an hour before we gave up.

The first time we tried, Xbox Live was down so we didn’t think much of it. We tried again over the weekend, and we were both met with problems. I could connect to the Internet via the Xbox One, but the multiplayer connectivity was down. It insisted we had some ports blocked on our modem, blah blah blah. The only way I could fix it was to directly plug in the ethernet cable from the Xbox One into the modem. Goddamn the Xbox One is picky when it comes to Internet. I couldn’t set up a wireless connection when I first bought the thing because it insisted the signal was too weak despite sitting in the same room as the modem and router. Now it has to be plugged into the modem to work for multiplayer. Picky, picky, picky.

Once we both got our multiplayer connectivity happy, we still could not join each other’s games. It didn’t matter who hosted; we received the same error message that we weren’t able to connect. We looked at forums, and we weren’t alone in these issues. 343’s server issues are still not fixed, as ridiculous as that sounds.

We’re going to try again this week before we both go out of town, but we’re both rather frustrated. Our plan was to play the first two games together and then meet up with Blake and Chris to play the last two with four players. If we can’t get two of us to connect, how in the world can we get four?

It’s ridiculous, 343, to still have these kinds of issues with your collection. I hope to God you’re planning more Beta tests for Halo 5: Guardians, because you obviously need extensive strain tests on your servers.

At least that night wasn’t a total wash. I finished reading my current Halo book instead of playing Halo.

 

Monday Gaming Diary: Mortal Kombat X Comics

Mortal Kombat X comicsLast Friday was my birthday, and a dear friend of mine gave me a gift certificate to Comixology with the recommendation for the Mortal Kombat X comics.

Wait.

Wait.

Stop.

There are Mortal Kombat X comics? Are they as awful as the Injustice: Gods Among Us comics? How is the art? How is the writing?

About this time my friend told me to shut up and read the first comic for myself. It’s a weekly comic series, which I think Injustice was as well, and it moves incredibly fast. Since there are so many characters in the game, the story arcs jump around a lot, but they’re able to get away with it and keep it cohesive because it is a weekly subscription.

Long story short, I ended up buying all 30 comics available in the store, and I didn’t play any games over the weekend because I stayed up super late every night reading the comics. I haven’t gotten through the entire series yet, but suffice to say, I’m hooked. In fact, it’s taking a lot of willpower to stay in my office today and work instead of reading the rest of the comics.

Once I do finish reading them, I want to replay the story mode of MKX. The comics really fill in the gaps that the story mode mentions of past events, and they help fill in missing pieces for people like me who haven’t been MK faithful in many, many years. The stories do get a little dark and deep, the art is absolutely gorgeous, and it pokes fun at the franchise in all the right places. I even texted Chris late on Saturday night to order him to look into the MKX comics.

And I recommend the same for every other MKX fan, even if you aren’t that into comics. Grrrr, it’s going to be really hard to finish working today when I know those comics are just a tablet away…ready to read…

Monday Gaming Diary: Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi Memories

287490-dbztI watched A LOT of EVO 2015 this weekend. I streamed the Ultra Street Fighter IV and Super Smash Bros. Melee pools most of my work day on Friday and then watched Mortal Kombat X pools Saturday as well as the MKX semifinals that night. Right after church on Sunday, I got prepped for the MKX finals, and I was blown away watching someone from the losers bracket come back and win it all in the grand finals. Watching these guys master juggling opponents is a beautiful sight to behold, and I saw more Brutalities than I know I’ll ever see in my own gameplay days.

Granted, these guys practice and train with their preferred characters about as many hours as I work during the day, so yes, they have worked hard to get where they are. Watching them, though, reminded me of how many hours I put in back in the day when I was hardcore into Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi, the original one on the PS2.

Even if there were professional gaming tournaments for DBZBT back then, I wasn’t good enough to get very far in any competition. However, I did put in the hours in that game to master two characters (Vegeta and Trunks) and learn all of their secret moves–a/k/a the ones that weren’t in the instruction manual–and no one would play that game against me. I would even offer to play as a character I normally didn’t fight with, but still no one would play against me. I don’t know if this game supported online play, but the PS2 wasn’t that great for online anything back then. Some games utilized it, but not many, and it wasn’t great enough to warrant even bothering running CATV to the PS2.

I loved DBZBT so much that I purchased the sequel, and even though I loved the cel-shaded visuals ten times more than the 3D graphics of the original, I never put in half the hours into DBZBT2 as I did the first one. By the time the third game came out, I was over DBZ as an anime and had gotten into the world of RPGs. My fighting game days were pretty much over.

If I could put in that many hours into MKX again, meaning that I play nothing else but MKX and what I’m reviewing for work (which also means no more Platinum Trophy hunts or replaying RPGs or even starting Final Fantasy XIV), then perhaps I could have a brave enough face to show up at an open tournament. Although, I have a feeling that I’m past my prime with fighting game tournaments anyway, just with age and hand-eye coordination falling as sub-par compared to a 20-year-old.

Even if I was 20, though, I still wouldn’t focus that much on one game. I like playing so many different games, and I like my stupid Platinum Trophies. But I really like watching these guys, and I really like how they motivate me to play the game more to try out different combos, attempt Brutalities, and try to master a character as much as I personally can. It makes me wanna go DBZBT all over again.