Late to the Party #8 – For Honor

I’m not sure when but at some point in time, I actually got a free copy of For Honor on my account. I think Steam was just giving it away in 2018 or something… and then again in 2019… and again last year… So, I basically grabbed it for free a few years ago and then I just never played it and didn’t even bother looking at it. For whatever reason, I just figured that “freebies are nice” and that “For Honor is probably just another shooter”, so I basically didn’t really care about it… That was until Chris, a lovely streamer from the Stream Team that I’m a part of, streamed it and actually explained to me what it was about… so… now, I’m actually kind of enjoying it a lot. Alas, welcome to another post on a game that everyone but me has tried already. I’m sorry but it seems that I am Late to the Party.

Notice: This is not a review. These are my first impressions… sometimes also my second impressions. I tend to rant about games in ways that I wouldn’t rant about games I’m reviewing… I tend to praise games in ways that I wouldn’t praise them usually… Similarly, I compare games or cover non-Indie titles that I usually wouldn’t cover… Hence, these are no review posts. Just FYI. Move on.

“1v1 me bruh” – I won by spamming poison spears!

For Honor plays in an alternative timeline where Samurai, Knights and Vikings fight against each other… constantly… for territory and *For Honor*, I guess? There is a story of sorts but nobody really cares about that, as far as I know. It’s funny to see that not even Steam’s store page tells me anything about the story. You basically play as one of the three factions, deploy units on battlefields and play in a bunch of different modes from Dominion to Breach to Skirmish. But even if you belong to the Samurai faction (like I do!), you can still play Knights and Vikings and whatnot. It’s quite cool. Winning battles rewards you with different bonuses like experience for your battle pass, for your character and steel (which is the in-game currency that you need to purchase new heroes). Your character/hero can be customised once you buy them and you can level them up to unlock different skill variants to customise your playstyle. It’s an interesting concept, for sure, especially as you get to influence the battlefield with your victories and as you get to deploy units that you get from playing a lot in order to conquer a territory.

The season goes on for ages and within the season there are a lot of different campaigns and challenges and bounties to fulfil. I like this Real-Time-Battle-system a lot and really dig the whole idea behind it. As you complete matches, you end up conquering lands or battling it out with other factions and when your faction wins at the end of the season, you leave your mark in the world, as well. 

Between matches I can pretend to be a master strategist that is deploying units to these battlefields… noice.

Combat itself also has a rather high skill-ceiling. Enemies can strike to your left, right and top, so you’ll have to block accordingly and use feints or repeated attacks to trick your enemies into blocking the wrong way. Similarly, you can dodge attacks and cause the enemy’s stamina to deplete. There are also throws and a bunch of combos, specific to each hero, resulting in a rather in-depth melee-focused combat-system. But more important than the micro is obviously the macro in most games. You can be a mechanical god but it won’t help you unless you’re doing a 1v1-Deathmatch against other enemies. Most players seem to play Dominion, which is why you’ll need to keep an eye on the different points that you need to control as well as where the enemies are heading to, where your allies are, and all of that. Having a 4v4 mode like that is quite fun. There are also other modes like Capture the Flag and whatnot… but the activity in those modes is super low and I don’t have unlimited time to waste waiting on a match over there. If it’s not going to find a match in five minutes, I feel like I’m being cheated out of my time… y’know? Also, there has to be a reason that nobody plays those modes.

Now, while combat can be quite fun… I noticed that some heroes aren’t that fun to play against. For starters, I love playing Nobushi who’s an agile Samurai wielding a Naginata (which is basically a long spear… with a sword on top of it… and that btw really exists). Naginatas are annoying IRL… In For Honor, Nubushi also uses poison attacks, so, you just spam those attacks and win by default unless people know how to counter it… which… often doesn’t work because of latency. It’s annoying, to say the least. Similarly, despite being called “For Honor”, nobody honours the duel between two warriors and because of that, the most effective strategy seems to be that you group up as four people and steamroll over the enemies, especially in spots where you can easily gang up on them from behind without any issues. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. There isn’t really a whole lot to do against it unless Ubisoft does something against it… it feels kind of as if Ubisoft is encouraging it, though, since there is no penalty for fighting together as four against one… and there is no penalty for killing the same people over and over again at their spawn…

Hooray, I’m stomping people!

And while the different bounties and game modes are quite interesting, I kind of feel like I’m burning out already from it. It’s a multiplayer game, so maybe it will be more fun once I get some friends to play it with me (on that note… add me if you wanna play?) but as it is right now, I just get frustrated because of AFKs in my team and people grouping up as four together against one single person… and that kind of stuff is just depressing. Unless of course, I get to play Nobushi because… then I can at least spam poison attack at the enemies to counter-frustrate them. 🙂 

Just kidding.

But personally speaking, I’d rather have a game where I can enjoy myself and where the enemies also have fun… than a game where every round is either a stomp by your team or a stomp by the enemy team. Sadly, that’s the case here. It’s either win or lose. It’s usually decided at the beginning of the game. It’s never really close or anything like that and you hardly ever see a comeback, which is something I’d really like in this sort of game. Instead of actual comeback mechanics, For Honor introduces “Breaking” which is something that prevents you from respawning when you’re getting stomped in games. It’s basically a mechanic that makes frustrating games more frustrating…

Oh well,… I’ll play it for a while and drop it again. At least I get to play as a Samurai here… that’s quite rad, y’know? Another game off the list.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indietail – Really Big Sky

When I created my Steam Account in 2014, I spent a lot of time playing a game called Really Big Sky. It came out in 2012 and since I was really into Indie Games at the time, I spent a lot of time with this game in particular. I only have fond memories of this title, hence today’s question is whether Really Big Sky is just benefitting from the Really Big Nostalgia or if it’s actually a Really Great Game! We’ll see!

Developer: Boss Baddie
Publisher: Ripstone
Genre: Shoot 'Em Up, Space, Bullet Hell, Action, Arcade, Indie
Release Date: February 24th, 2012
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

The premise is simple. Just like in other Shoot ‘Em Ups and Bullet Hell games, you’re aiming for the high score and nothing but the high score. Try to survive as you’re flying through space debris, planets and gas giants and basically upgrade your ship to the max while you face off against alien invaders.

I mean, it’s really just that. There are a lot of different variables to the game, though, like different boss fights and special events that include black holes, wormholes, and other things. The game is hard as it tests your reflexes and your decision-making. You’ll have to dodge bullets, enemies, asteroids, lasers, and other projectiles. It’s quite literally bullet hell, which is fantastic. There are powerups in the game as well as space bits that you collect to upgrade your ship. Upgrades include random shoots at various angles as well as shield, speed and weapon upgrades. It adds a little bit of extra fairness to the game as you can upgrade your ship more and more throughout runs if you need to… but you can also make it harder for yourself by playing without that. Similarly, different game modes disable these features or play around with other aspects of the game like unlimited lives and a timer to get as many points as possible… I used to love to do the boss rush mode and challenge myself to get better and further into the game…

And the environments that you see are unpredictable and nearly random. Every run is procedurally generated from the way you play the game, meaning that everything changes based on your playstyle and how you do. If you’re getting better at the game, the game will get harder as well. Similarly, there will be fewer enemies and projectiles early on if you’re still not that good at the game. Really Big Sky analyses your movements and adjusts the game as you move on, giving you a rather interesting experience. As I moved on and on and got further into my runs, the game adapted and it got a lot better, going from an easier to difficulty to a much harder and more challenging experience within minutes. Once I started to lose more runs, it started to adapt slowly and change back, which is quite nice. On top of that, you can check out your data yourself after every run and compare your last run to the ones before that. It’s super detailed and there is probably more data in there than you’ll ever need but it’s quite motivating to see small improvements along with your playthrough and it kind of makes you want to strive forward and reach new highs!

The boss fights and special events are a lot of fun actually. One of them is a huge ball inspired by the death star and you’ll have to activate your drill to get inside and shoot the core… meanwhile, there is a different one that is literally too big to fit on the screen while another fills the screen with bullets making it harder to decide whether or not you want to aim at him or rather watch your step and dodge stuff right now. It’s interesting and dynamic. It feels satisfying to battle against these foes and eventually bring them down… and every run feels unique with the different events and the changes in the environment.

Those environments are generally bright and full of life and colour. There are a lot of different filters and particle effects that work really well with the space-theme within the game and its levels. The issue is that the constant flashing and some other issues with the rapid changes between filters and colours could cause issues for people that are sensitive to flashing lights. This is bad. There aren’t even any settings for it. You can turn down the quality of everything which kind of has an effect on the brightness of these effects, but overall, I’d just recommend not to play this game if you can’t deal with flashing lights. Even for people that aren’t photosensitive, this can be problematic since it sometimes is a bit hard to see where you are on the screen or what is actually damaging you right now. Clarity is important in games, in my opinion, and in that regard, this game certainly is lacking. I’d like it if your space ship would always be in the foreground so that you can basically always see it and detect danger. With the fog and the clouds and all of the other filters in the game, it can get very hard to dodge everything, which can get annoying or even frustrating.

At the same time, the game seems to have some issues with the menus and the resolution. If you play in 720p/fullscreen, you should be fine, but the game tends to struggle in 1080p a lot, even if that’s your normal resolution. Despite that, however, I’ve really liked the game and I enjoyed playing it again. I last played it in 2015 and really liked it back then, and well, even in 2021, I really am enjoying it. It’s a great game to play on and off… Part of the enjoyment comes from the amazing soundtrack. It’s a bummer that it has all those flashing lights with nothing really to do against it but other than that, Really Big Sky is a Really Nice Game to pick up if you’re searching for a quick and challenging fast-paced bullet hell game!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Magic: Legends – First Impressions

I’ve liked Magic The Gathering for quite a time. I’ve got some friends that like it so I had to get into it as well… and then we never talked about it again since they only play the physical card game and since I don’t have the funds to get a deck like that together and since I don’t see why people hate MTG: Arena so much… but either way, it’s fun and the systems are interesting and just recently I found out about Magic Legends, which just launched in the open beta. Hence, I wanted to write a bit about my first impressions of it and my general thoughts and concerns. Enjoy!

So, Magic Legends was initially announced as an MMO in the MTG universe but eventually got published as an ARPG in that universe. You play as a Plainwalker and… and… I honestly don’t know what the plot is about. The plot is a clear weak point. I found it a bit cringy and the voice acting is bad and really, who cares anyway? I get to play as a Necromancer, so that’s cool. There are also five other classes. One of them has to be unlocked through different mechanics in the game… or through the shop. It’s quite interesting. When you play the game, you’ll basically have a normal attack available to you, two spells tied to your class and your deck. Since it’s based on MTG, you’ve got a card-based battle system in there with twelve cards from all elements. These can be classified as either Creature cards, Enchantment cards, or Spells. Based on your class you may summon more enemies or enchant your attacks more or you heal allies while smiting enemies and that sort of stuff. It’s interesting and I like it in a lot of ways but I have one core problem with it at the same time… It’s incredibly slow.

The story is lame but the implementation of the card-mechanics is even worse, in my opinion, as combat just sucks. It’s kind of fun since I get to summon a lot of creatures as a Necromancer and I love the way they implemented that class and the Black Spell Type and all of that,… but it’s really just “spam one button to get mana” and “spend mana on your cards to deal more damage”. There isn’t really much depth, in my opinion, but that’s not really important, I guess… It’s quite satisfying in a way since you can watch a show while playing the game with your attention split. Diablo 3 required more focus than this. Torchlight 2 did… Hence, being able to do literally anything else while playing the game on the other screen is quite refreshing, I guess.

So, it’s more of a chill experience where you grind runs to get better gear and then you eventually run dungeons and stuff. I haven’t gotten to that point yet, sadly, since I’ve had my difficulties with the game and the motivation to start up the game… but I’m quite sure that it’s going to be something like that later on.

My biggest issue with the game isn’t the lacklustre gameplay or the boring and empty world but mostly that the progression feels so incredibly slow… It took a friend of mine two hours to get to the good part (aka when you have 12 cards). It took me longer than that since I took longer breaks from the game between play-sessions and even dreaded the story and missions during the play-sessions. But I really want to get to the later missions that I can play with my friends… alas, I’ve got to pull through this.

Currently, I have 11 cards unlocked. Those include a Voracious Thrull that’s looking incredibly disgusting and I love it… as well as a Drudge Skeleton and Scathe Zombies and token monsters and the Bone-tip Archer. I can also summon other undead monsters and cast different spells to impale, burn down or shoot enemies. I also some spells that deal more damage to low-health targets or snare them. I feel like the Necromancer is quite a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to adding cards from other elements into my deck and creating synergies between different elements. I feel like that could be quite cool.

Throughout the fights, you’re able to find loot and spell cards as well as materials to upgrade your cards with. It’s quite nice to see frequent drops, although I’d like it even more if it would actually tell you which equipment pieces had the better stats or what equipment is suited more for your character, especially at the beginning. Magic Legends has a tutorial for everything, which is quite frustrating and annoying… At the same time, it doesn’t give a fuck about explaining stats to you… because everyone obviously knows what +2/+1 means or what it means to pick up Spark Globes or what CRT stands for. I would love it if the game had fewer tutorial windows pop up at times to speed up the pacing a bit more. Similarly, I’d love it if you could look all the information up again somewhere else or if you could look up terminology. I know people that haven’t played ARPGs before and hence wouldn’t know what certain terms would mean.

At the same time, I’d also like it if you could zoom into the world. You can turn the camera around quite well (especially with the gamepad controls that work really well actually) but you cannot zoom in, which is kind of weird. At times the world looks quite pretty but it’s missing NPCs or enemies or any interactables or breakable urns, crates and that sort of thing. The game definitely needs some polishing in my opinion. The Voice Acting is garbage, the storyline is boring, the world feels empty and the pacing is incredibly slow… but once you get to 12 cards, it actually is quite chill and rather fun.

Although, I’d imagine that the end game is probably super grindy and annoying. The publisher for this game is Perfect World after all, so… it’s quite heavily monetized and despite being free-to-play and despite having the option to grind gold, I’d imagine that the grinding in the later stages of the game is going to be horrible to the point where it’s really just “pay up or go home”. I at first figured that this game sounds quite good to me with the MTG universe and it being an ARPG… and then I saw that it was hard to get to the good part… and when I heard that it’s published by Perfect World it all just kind of made sense to me… There is a shop for the game where you can get booster packs and extra deck-slots for real money. At the same time you can get a battle pass for ten bucks and 25 bucks, if you want more rewards. They did have a whole class locked after lootboxes but I think they got rid of that completely now and made it unlockable for free… still, all those practises make it hard to enjoy playing games for free really. And I don’t want to shit on people for trying to make a living off games and for having to feed their families and hence resorting to these types of things… but I think I’d rather enjoy paying a subscription fee every month or paying one price upfront for a great game than playing a mediocre game for free only to realise that you kind of have to cash in to make some progress in it.

And yeah, Magic: Legends is mediocre at best. Overall, if you get through the boring part and just rush through everything and skip the mediocre story, you may get to the good part quite fast… The Necromancer class is a lot of fun actually… but it’s an issue if you have to get through at least an hour or maybe even two hours worth of boring content in order to have fun in the game. It’s an issue for me and if I hadn’t had friends that started playing it, I would’ve stopped super early and just uninstalled it completely. Pair all of those issues with the fact that there are no European servers apparently and that all European players get redirected to the American servers… Yeah, I don’t know. It just kind of sucks, to be honest, when you cast a spell five or six times before it actually gets cast…

Hope you enjoyed my first impressions. Have you played Magic: Legends yet? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Late to the Party #7 – Enclave

As part of the #LoveYourBacklog week and the #MaybeInMarch event, I ended up saying that I’ll plan the oldest unplayed game in my backlog… as in… the game that has spent the most time in my backlog and hasn’t been played yet. I think the oldest game I own is probably some Leisure Suit Larry game… but this post is actually about Enclave. So, welcome in! Take a seat, grab something to drink, wear your mask if you’re outside… I’m sorry but I’m kinda late to this party.

I got Enclave for free on IndieGala, I think, in 2014, so, it’s been there for quite a while now. It’s an “incredibly atmospheric and intense medieval action combat experience” from 2002 where you enter an award-winning world and complete missions in an RPG-like manner. You got imprisoned but the castle is being attacked by the enemy forces. Your cell-mate is threatening to slice up your guts or something once her friends save her… but a catapult actually hits her by accident in an attempt to breach the walls. Kinda dumb. Anyways, you’re now on the loose and you’re defending the castle and get rewarded for that because you’re the good guy. From then on, you complete missions… for whatever reason… and there’s a campaign that poorly explains why you’re doing things.

Enclave has a Light campaign and a Darkness campaign. The only difference between the two is where you start off and what you do, essentially. In the light campaign, you play as warriors, archers, wizards and other characters… In the dark campaign, those classes get replaced with other class names that look different but have the exact same skills. In the light campaign, you’ll save people and stop the evil enemies… in the dark campaign, you’ll do the opposite. You’ll play the same missions, though, which is kind of annoying because you’re not allowed to choose between them. Instead, you have to complete the light campaign first and then you’ll complete the dark campaign. Fun and freedom of choice weren’t invented in 2002 after all… apparently, that came later.

Now, you may think that I’m overstating things here. It’s an old-ish game and it may not have aged too well… but certainly, it must have been fun to people back in the day and yeah, you could absolutely be right but I’m playing it right now and I found it very frustrating and annoying. Beyond Good and Evil came out in 2003 as well and was a lot better. I don’t get how Play Magazine described it as “illegally beautiful” when it couldn’t compare at all to much prettier games from the same time… and older games. Worthplaying says that it only fell “a few steps short of perfection” but more on that later. GameZone describes the enemies as “quirky” and the controls as “tight”…

Enemies in the game actually switch to ranged weapons when you’re far away and to melee weapons when you’re close by. They’ll also shoot you through walls and they won’t move closer if they can hit you from afar. If you move out of their range, they’ll stay where they are. Worthplaying.com described it as a “smart and challenging” A.I. when it’s basically the most frustrating thing in the world. With limited healing items and rather clunky controls, combat becomes a pain in the butt and the game becomes worse of an experience than the likes of Getting Over It and/or Dark Souls. 

Enclave’s 26 missions repeat the same task over and over again, it seems… across two campaigns that basically do the same thing but with different enemies and different allies. The same story is told from two sides with no changes in the writing or perspective really. You’d imagine that the bad guys would experience the story as if they’re doing the right thing and as if the “good guys” are treating them badly… but it rather feels like you’re just playing the good campaign from the other side if that makes sense. Similarly, the game tries to add variety to the game by letting you equip different gear before every mission. Without any stats or other indicators, however, it seems to be purely cosmetical… Some of the animations change a little bit but usually melee combat consists of you spamming the attack button and your character swirling around your sword, mace or hammer in the most ridiculous motion ever. It’s clanky and annoying. Hitboxes vary a lot… Super frustrating.

And then there’re the deaths in the game that add a lot more pain to Enclave. When you die, you respawn at a checkpoint at the cost of gold… that is when there are actual checkpoints. In one of the missions that I played on stream, I had to find different items, solve a “puzzle” and then I needed to save someone and fight a bunch of enemies. Afterwards, I walked over a bridge that just collapsed out of nowhere, resulting in a scripted death… and suddenly I had to start from the beginning of the level again. Why? Well, there were no checkpoints in 10+ minutes, at all. The mission before that had a checkpoint every five or so minutes. I can’t remember if that mission, in particular, had any after that bridge part but it was then that I decided to quit the game (yup, that’s a ragequit) and to raid someone instead of continuing the stream. 

Enclave is frustrating in a lot of ways and has a bunch of “mechanics” that didn’t age well at all. There are games older and newer than Enclave that had a lot better combat and RPG mechanics… and while the soundtrack of Enclave is quite good, it is also the only good thing about the game. I noticed that some of the female characters are protected by plot armour that is very skimpy and sexualised… So that’s something in the game… that people may have liked a lot.

If you somehow end up pulling through the game and if you somehow find all the gold coins in all the levels, you’ll unlock the OP characters that let you have a bit of fun as a robot with a gun… or as a fetishized female character with a gun… it’s weird. I don’t get the appeal really…

Oh well,… if you own it, I’d recommend playing this game to appreciate newer games more. If you don’t own it, buy a different game or pizza or donate to charity instead because there’re better uses for your five bucks.

Enclave was one of the first rage quits I had in ages. It just got super frustrating and while I’m kind of happy to write about a really old game that’s been in my library for ages now… I kind of regret having wasted nearly two hours of my time on this title in particular… “Maybe it gets better”, I thought… in #MaybeInMarch. I’m glad that Kim doesn’t force us to play through bad games… because I’m not sure if I’ll ever play through his shitshow of a title but I certainly played it for a while. As far as screenshots go, btw, Steam didn’t want to capture any, so I had to take some from the internet. Hope you don’t mind. 

Do you like pain and frustration? Do you want to waste your time? No? Don’t play this game… Played It? Yeah? Let me know your opinions on it!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Twitch Etiquette – The Unwritten Rules

Be it the so-called Netiquette or any other matters, there are always unwritten rules that exist in different spaces that people either abide by… or people do not potentially upsetting other people in those spaces. Today I wanted to talk about some of Twitch’s terminology and some of Twitch’s Viewer/Streamer Etiquette

For starters, (this may be a given but…) not only viewers but also streamers have to abide by Twitch’s official Terms of Service (also known as ToS). On top of those rules and terms, however, each streamer tends to have their own values and rules. Hence, I’d recommend checking out any channel’s rules upon your first visit. Most timeouts, bans and arguments happen because these rules get ignored or frankly not seen. Channels tend to have a panel with their rules or the rules mentioned in the chat rules that you see upon your first visit or by clicking the cogwheel symbol followed by clicking on the option labelled “view chat rules”.

These rules may sometimes seem unreasonable. Some channels don’t want you to mention the view count, for instance, while other channels don’t want to see emotes by other streamers… and while I don’t get the latter, if it’s a rule, you’ll have to abide by it and understand. Don’t question rules as that may seem as you arguing about it. Move on to other streams if you don’t like the rules in place in one stream. Similarly, if you’ve been banned, don’t try and avoid the ban by creating different accounts or asking people to talk for you. If you ask for someone else to get unbanned, you may very much get banned yourself. There are times when people accidentally get timed out or perma’d because of bots or misclicks but in those cases, it’s best to send an unban request or whisper a mod or streamer once and then just wait for a reply/respect their decision. I once was banned somewhere but wouldn’t know why it happened. I filled out the unban request and despite my chat logs showing absolutely nothing problematic, it got denied immediately. I then messaged the streamer somewhere but they didn’t reply at all, which was weird since they weren’t that big… but since a second or third message would be rude or maybe even intimidating, I decided to just move on instead. You can’t do much about it. Eventually, it will get cleared up and if not, there’re plenty of other streamers out there to watch instead. Respect their decision. Move on.

Often, streamers put information about themselves, their pronouns, their specs, their games, rules, commands, social media, etc. in the panels below the stream. Hence, checking out those panels before joining the chat can be helpful to get to know the streamer and to prevent the streamer from getting annoyed by repeated questions. I know that it’s not a big deal to answer a question like “Where are you from?” once or twice… but sometimes, streamers get asked stuff like that ten times within a few minutes or even more often, based on their size, so I’d say that you can play it safe by just looking through the given information a bit more before you ask stuff. I personally wouldn’t get annoyed at people for asking stuff even if it’s in the panels. I just noticed in other places that people prefer it when viewers read about it in the panels before asking, so this may be something worth considering.

Don’t be rude. There are a lot of things that can be seen or interpreted as “rude”. One of those things would be backseating, aka telling the streamer what to do. It’s weird. It’s annoying. It’s frankly frustrating and more often than not, streamers will warn you once and then time you out if you do it. Backseating not only causes frustration but can also spoil games. “You’re going to love this next part” or “You should use X weapon” or “I can’t believe you’re not doing X”, etc. is just annoying. Don’t do that. Be better. Most of the time it’s not ill-intentioned but it can ruin the experience for both the streamer and other people in chat. Similarly, spoilers are usually a no-go even if the streamer has already played the game and even if the game is relatively old. So what if it’s old? So what if the streamer has already played it? Someone else in chat may not have played it. Don’t ruin people’s time. Don’t spoil games, shows, etc.

And there’re also other things that you shouldn’t say. Stuff like “I’ll go watch Y now” or “I’ll start up my own stream now, goodbye” is just weird and advertising generally doesn’t really sit well with most people. If you want to promote your stream in some way, you can use social media or you can put yourself out there by raiding people or hosting them. Mentioning that you also stream out of nowhere… and then trying to leech off someone else’s content or channel is just annoying. Similarly, you don’t want to go to a streamer and ask them to raid you or to collab with you. If you’ve gotten to know them already, you can DM or whisper them afterwards maybe and “talk shop” but most of the time, doing that stuff on a stream doesn’t really fly well. I personally tend to be quite tolerant about that stuff. I’m not insecure about my content. I doubt people will suddenly “steal” my viewers. I don’t mind that there are literally thousands of other streamers live at the same time as me. Still, there were scenarios where my patience was tested when a viewer would dip in and out of chat and always announce that they were leaving for someone else’s stream. Like, alright, it happens once… or twice… but doing that four or five times in a row is just annoying.

And then there’s other stuff like calling lurkers or streamers out. You saw someone chat before but they’re not active right now? Don’t @ them all of a sudden. As a streamer, you shouldn’t call them out, and as a viewer, it’s just weird to get called out by another viewer. Similarly, if you see a streamer, you may say hi to them or whatever… but asking them about their streams or their channel when they act as viewers in someone else’s chat is rude and often not well-received. Apart from that, you may also want to refrain from mentioning viewer count, sub count, or other data unless the streamer is talking about it right now. Discussing purges, timeouts, bans, etc. also can be seen as rude. Saying that you’re under 13 is often an easy way to get banned (again, ToS). If you’re in a mature stream, you should still watch out for what you say. Just because a stream is 18+, that doesn’t make bigotry okay. On top of that, there’s also still the chance of minors watching, which is why you should be aware of that possibility and your language.

I feel like that’s already plenty of information and I can’t really think of much else. If you have other ideas for unwritten rules or if you think differently about things here, let me know! I hope that this list of Twitch Etiquette helps you out a bit as a streamer or viewer. I also hope that you enjoyed this.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indietail – Osteoblasts

I honestly wanted to write about this title for a while now… In fact, you may have actually read my post on the demo before and then after I published it, the developers hit me up and I got a review key for the full game… and then I’ve been playing it for a few hours… and then I tried other classes… And now we’re here, way too late, and I’m lowkey-addicted to Osteoblasts. That’s a good thing. I like playing RPGs but I’ve been a bit burned out from the genre since it always seemed like the same thing being made with different storylines… and Osteoblasts does appeal to me on a lot of levels and makes it seem new and fresh.

Developer: Moonana, Anglerman
Publisher: Moonana
Genre: RPG, Turn-Based Combat, Adventure
Release Date: February 12th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent to me by the developer.

I mean, the premise is simple. You’re a skeleton, you get revived by a Witch Cat, and now you… do stuff. You fight against dogs, skeletons, ghosts, demons and elephants. You level up your character, equip new randomised gear, fight enemies, crawl through dungeons, and eventually, you’ll still understand nothing. The gameplay is satisfying, the story not so much. My issue with the story is that it’s just super confusing. On the one hand, the dialogue sometimes is hard to understand and whenever there is supposed to be a revelation of sorts, the NPCs just drop more riddles and mysteries onto you, making the story less of a satisfying experience, in my opinion. The gameplay, on the other hand, is excellent and while some of the dialogue can be hard to understand, most of the jokes and puns actually land and made me chuckle.

Btw, you’ll need to use your bonemark to cast spells/skills! Ain’t that fun?

As you rise from your grave, you get to choose between six different classes ranging from the Shaman to the Scavenger to the Stranger. I would have liked it if you were shown example skills or maybe more info on the different characters. The game certainly is lacking in the clarity department and leaves you hanging when it comes to explanations regarding your class or skills. I noticed that weapons would have similar names but have randomised skills and stats. This is a great thing, in my opinion, as it adds replayability and lets you customise your class a lot more. In the same way, you have a lot of different stats that influence combat in a plethora of ways from enhancing your attacks to letting you counter attacks or making you heal more. Stats also determine whether or not you can draw out the full potential of your weapons. Skills often are tied to certain stats. Buffing up stats in combat using spells, however, can also enable you to use the according skills. Overall, I like that mechanic a lot but it took me ages until I figured it out. The manual didn’t really help me in-game and I feel like the tutorial should’ve given me more of a helping hand, even if I hate tutorials that hold your hand too much…

Being able to use your skills only when you meet the requirements is interesting since it also influences how you gear up for certain encounters. Equipping different gear shapes your character in a lot of ways, giving you more attacks and helping you out stat-wise. If enemies use debuffs on you, you may lose out on the stat-requirement for certain attacks, which adds a bit more depth to combat. Just like how they can stop you from bashing their heads in, you can also debuff enemies and reduce their stats, preventing them from returning the favour. It’s interesting and fun. I like that a lot about this game. Similarly, you attack enemies, they have a chance to counter you. They attack you, you get to counter them. It’s great to see that rules apply to all characters in the game and it’s refreshing that they have the same chances at taking jabs at you, raising the difficulty a bit more.

Exploration is fun. You don’t need to travel far away to get to different parts of the world and friendly villages. There are a lot of Metroidvania-ish roadblocks in the game that urge you to find other ways to get to the next area like keys that you get from different boss battles or boulders you need to mine with pickaxes. It’s interesting and exploration gets generally rewarded since you’ll unlock shortcuts as well along the way. Through Exploration you also find statues of the old gods. There are six different gods that you can pray to earn bonuses to your stats. On every level up, you get to pray to one of three gods that each grant you two stat increases. Meanwhile, the aforementioned statues grant you those regardless of the level up and also can give you passive bonuses, a checkpoint, fast travel points or even shops, making them quite the reward for exploration.

My favourite part about Osteoblasts, however, is the presentation and the personality that comes with it. The game’s soundtrack is amazing and adds a lot to the atmosphere, especially since the world’s tracks play in battles, too, making the changes from exploration to battle not too abrupt. Similarly, the art style is phenomenal with abstract background art in battles, cute pixel art in the overworld and amazing pixelated character models in the actual turn-based battles. The animations for the different attacks range from simple sword swings to spell effects that appear on the target. The sound design is fun and adds a lot to the game.

But yeah, clarity is the big downside to Osteoblasts. I had to try a lot and fail at it until I figured out that my stats are the reason behind me being able to use a specific spell… or not being able to use it. Similarly, I’d love to see the debuffs and explanations about the enemy by hovering over it, so that I can plan the battles even more… but the game doesn’t have that. And I’d love it if I could get more information on items but, again, the game doesn’t have that. Once you find out about things, you can have a great time,… but until then it can be frustrating unless you catch on quickly about how things work in this game.

Still, despite the clarity issues, I had and am still having a great time with this game. Osteoblasts breathes life into a genre that has been quite dead to me for quite a while now and is delivering a satisfying experience despite its shortcomings in terms of clarity and plot. I would say that you’re making a grave mistake (pun intended) if you don’t at least try out the demo. The full game certainly has a lot to offer and I can highly recommend it.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Risk of Rain 2’s “Anniversary Update” -Thoughts

It’s been two years since its release but Hopoo Games figured, it’d be a great idea to announce an update of this size now, titling it the Anniversary Update, and rounding out their title, Risk of Rain 2, as a whole to say thanks to all the fans that supported the studio through Early Access. Hence, this patch includes both new content and updated old content as well as stuff that didn’t make it into the 1.0 version or that the community suggested over time. You can check out the patch notes over here. I’m merely talking about the changes that I’m the most excited about!

Close your eyes, for the Heretic is here!

So, for starters, there is a new Survivor in the game. The Bandit from the first game makes it back into the game. I personally think that the Bandit is a bit overpowered but I love how they implemented him into the second game, keeping his kit fresh while still staying true to his old playstyle. His primary attacks fire either a shotgun burst or a rifle blast, dealing a lot of damage and reloading after four shells. His secondary attack is a slash that deals damage and can cause a new effect called “haemorrhaging” on enemies on crits. The Utility skill turns you invisible, makes you move faster and stuns enemies while also granting you bonus damage. At last, the special ability, Lights Out, executes enemies and resets all your cooldowns on kill… It’s an interesting character. The backstab and the serrated dagger are new mechanics introduced in RoR2 over RoR1 but I honestly like it. I have yet to unlock all the abilities but the style and the feel of the character is amazing, although I also think that he’s quite overpowered.

There he is… and he’s looking amazing!

On another note, MUL-T, Loader, and REX received a new Special Variant while the Mercenary and the Captain also received a new Utility skill variant. A bunch of characters got balanced or changed a bit. The Final Stage got changed and a new monster got added for it. There is also a new Elite type (“Perfected”) in the game as well as a new boss enemy, the Grandparent, which basically comes back from the first game… kind of… it apparently has been in RoR2 since the 1.0 update but it didn’t get used until now, so… I love it honestly. Some of the new Boss items are amazing. The Empathy Cores and the Planula are somewhat situational and could be rather good on some of the characters more than others… the new Charged Perforator is simply amazing on anyone with a high proc coefficient. The two new Lunar Items that got added allow you to transform into the teased character, the Heretic, now: Hooks of Heresy and Essence of Heresy, paired with the other Heretic items turn you into the Heretic, a beefier character that loses health over time but has a unique playstyle, utilizing the four lunar items. Very cool! Looking forward to trying it out a lot more. Speaking of lunar items, you can now also refresh the Lunar items in the Bazar Between Times, utilizing the Lunar Shop Refresher, which is quite cool. There are also new challenges and 93 new Lore Entries.

Apart from that, there have been a bunch of changes to enemies and items as well as more quality of life improvements. I’m mostly excited about the option to turn off Screen Distortion caused by Spinal Tonic and other effects since people reported motion sickness from it. They also added new visuals for a lot of items and updated some of the skins and icons, which is quite cool and streamlines the game a bit more, making it fresher. I really like some of the changes since they really do flesh out the game a lot more, although I would have loved to see more changes to some of the skill variants that people have been using less (like the moving turrets on Engineer or the standard Utility on Commando) since variety is quite lovely, in my eye. Apart from that, changes to certain survivors like Acrid and Commando could have been quite great in order to have more fun as those characters and in order to make them more viable and more fun. 

At last, I love the new Profile Stats and Run History (aka “Morgue” and “Account Stats”) menus in the logbook area of the main menu. You can now browse past runs and all of your account stats like favourite survivors, progress to completion and your favourite equipment in there,… a nice little gimmick that I personally like, especially if you want to try out different builds and compare the damage numbers and stuff later.

Overall, I’ve been more than excited about this update. The Bandit has been a favourite of mine in the first game (although I would have loved to see the Chef, the Sniper or the Enforcer in 3D, too) and I like how they re-imagined him in 3D. Hopoo announced that they’re planning a paid DLC for Q4 of 2021 that will add new survivors (yes, plural!), new bosses, enemies, items, new random events, stages, interactables, elite types, a new alternate final stage, a new alternate final boss, a new item tier, new music, a new game mode, and a lot more things. It’s about as big as 2-3 Content Updates in size and honestly, I’m just super stoked for that. I’d imagine that it will include some new characters as well as older ones although there’s no confirmation on that.

In The Thunderdome, there can only be one!

What do you think about this patch? Have you played the new Survivor yet and do you like the idea of it? What do you think of some of the changes and the new items? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Discord vs Guilded?

Voice chat has been a rather big part of me when it came to gaming. Sure, playing games alone doesn’t necessarily require it… but a singleplayer game can still be shared with someone else or be played while someone else is also playing it… and multiplayer games are more fun with friends. Voice chat isn’t a requirement for games to be fun… but it adds value to it. And alas, we use programs like Skype, Curse, TeamSpeak3, Discord, and as of late… Guilded.

Yes, Guilded.gg has been a rising star in the gaming community now with features that make it seem like a promising competitor to Discord while other people tend to just shrug it off as a “clone”. Hence, I figured I should maybe share my thoughts on Guilded and how it fairs in the comparison or what I think of it. 

Personally, I don’t think that it’s going to be a good competitor and I don’t think that people will switch from Discord to Guilded and completely abandon Discord… but that doesn’t need to be a thing anyways. I remember switching to Curse from Skype since Skype would pose a security risk and since Skype would make my internet so much worse… I remember switching to TeamSpeak because Curse did not have enough users at the time… TeamSpeak servers cost money and Discord is completely free. Eventually, my friends switched to Discord since nobody cared about stuff like “poking” or “whispering” and enjoyed text channels, screen-sharing and the general feel of it more… Also, you didn’t even need to have it installed and could just run it in your browser… in a lot of ways Discord was like Curse. Actually, I remember saying that it’s basically a clone…

With Guilded it’s the same thing really. Just earlier I had a discussion with people about it and about it being a somewhat serious competitor for Discord in some ways… not as in “it’s going to replace Discord” but more in a “Both platforms and voice chat apps, in general, will get more and more innovative about features because of Guilded” way. Competition breeds innovation. Twitch got better while Mixer was a thing. I’m sure there are more and better comparisons out there… but you catch my drift.

Guilded looks similar to Discord, just like how Discord (from what I remember) looked similar to Curse before it got scrapped by Twitch who acquired it eventually. Guilded’s main thing is probably how things are organised. You have different groups and sections. There are categories for things in your server, just like in Discord, but you can re-arrange them and set them up differently, making them less overwhelming. Messages become threads that are easier to see. Lists and events are amazing for streamers and people that have huge communities and want to plan things. There is a calendar that shows all of that information… and you basically don’t need to use any third-party-apps of sorts for that stuff… but you can do that if you want to. There is bot-support, like in Discord. There are voice channels, like in Discord. You can stream, like in Discord.

The main part about Guilded is that it’s very much directed at Guilds’ needs. If you’re in a raid with tons of people, stuff will get very disorganised in your discord call if everyone can speak. On Teamspeak, you can let the shot-callers whisper to certain groups of people. On Guilded, you have a similar thing with sub-groups within the same call and with every call being a thread of calls basically. You can have someone in the top hierarchy call shots for the raids while the groups themselves organise independently. It can work out very efficiently. Lists could be used to create crafting orders.

The calendar system adds a lot of value to the planning side of things. If I want to share announcements on my Discord Server, I’ll tag a certain role and post it somewhere. Pinning the message doesn’t make it more visible or anything like that. It basically gets swept away. Nobody checks the pinned messages in discord or the channel info. It’s hard to use and a bit counter-intuitive. A “pinned message” should always stay on top, like the pinned tweet in my profile on Twitter. Discord’s kind of weird. If I post more updates, announcements, ideas, and so on, I end up flooding the chat and removing the initial message… creating a new thread/channel for different things will make it harder to see. Categories and sub-categories, however, like in Guilded… they make it very easy to organise.

This and the previous screenshot were taken from a Twitch Streamer’s Guilded Server btw. Please check FederalGhosts (Twitch|Twitter) out!

If you want to enter a server, you have to apply. Guilds work similarly. Guilded has a nice application-system (that can be turned off) as well as unban-appeals. I like that idea. I’d like it if Discord had that.

But just because Guilded has some features that I very much like… that doesn’t mean that I’ll switch to Guilded. It’s more about stating that it’s there and that Discord is quite cool but it has fewer features and can sometimes be quite frustrating. I feel like everyone has been using Discord now and even though the shop failed, Discord is continuing to make at least some money. I think the platform could grow more if it took some of the ideas that Guilded implemented and if Discord could actually use those… or just frankly work with Guilded. You can “automagically” import Discord templates, roles, bots, channels, etc. into Guilded, which is super bold and brazen… maybe not even in a good way… but hey, it’s there. Guilded has its market and with so many streamers on Twitch (and other platforms) having Discord servers, I feel like Discord should do more to satisfy the needs of those streamers more.

  • Better tools for planning.
  • Better tools for organisation.

Guilded has those better tools. Guilded has nice features like comment threads that don’t clog up chat… Guilded also has a social-media-esque activity feed that you share with friends where you post “tweet”-like announcements or screenshots and files with friends of yours. Discord had something similar but it seems to be gone or just very hard to find… I’d like that honestly. Right now I don’t see a point in adding people as friends, really. Apart from privacy settings.

Obviously, Guilded isn’t perfect. It still is lacking in the userbase department and there are issues with its identity and with everything still looking like Discord… but overall, I just hope that Discord takes note and pen to hand and write all of this down to implement it themselves. Having a forum, homepage, calendar, and voice chat in one platform could be amazing for people that need those features (like raid guilds and stuff or Valheim community servers, etc.)… and people that don’t need them could still use discord like normal right now.

I won’t switch to Guilded unless Discord really doesn’t do anything… I may create a server of my own as an addition to the Discord server and see how people in my friend-group/community react to it. Will have to see.

Have you seen Guilded, yet? Have you used it already? What are your thoughts? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Happy Birthday!

Twenty-two years ago, a little human entered this realm and started to live. That’s obviously just me pretending to be human. I’m actually way older than the concept of time itself and this may not be very lich-like, but I never really liked my birthdays… Also, yeah, it’s my birthday! Woohoo! 22! I wanted to talk a bit about stuff today and ramble on about why I never liked it and why this is starting to change at least a little bit. For starters, it’s just another day and I feel like it’s a bit weird to make it about me. Last night, I actually streamed and gave away games instead of receiving stuff, because I figured that that’s a good thing about birthdays: I get to plan fancy events on Twitch and stuff. I don’t really think that you turn a year older all of a sudden and generally speaking, I just end up rounding up or down anyhow. Ever since I could remember my parents would always be super stressed about my birthday and they’d try to get the cake sorted out and I needed to look pretty and we needed to take perfect pictures and I just didn’t like how people put so much effort into… well,… me. I’ve always thought like that…

Eventually, I started to loosen up a little bit. Last year (actually in Summer and not in March), I celebrated my birthday (a bit belated) with two friends and my better half by listening to some music, eating some curry and just hanging out. It was fun and relaxed… It was also covid-safe due to distance and all of that. This time around, I’ll have another tiny gathering with my inner-most circle on Saturday as well as some Chili Sin Carne. I haven’t cooked that yet, so I’m excited about it! My 18th and my 19th birthday have been great. I believe I was at home for my 20th… Over time, it got better, but I still kind of dread the day because of all the distant relatives calling me all of a sudden to congratulate me on turning a day older… and then there’s the issue with friends not knowing what to do about presents and stuff, so I’ll have to think about something… Since I’m really into trying new recipes, I’ve opted for either aprons, Christmas sweaters, or cookbooks as recommendations. I like my current Apron but I feel like having another one would be cool, just in case… and you can never have enough Christmas sweaters! I have none so far, so,… hey that’s a great gift! Cookbooks? Always fun and useful! I ended up finding a lot of nice recipes through some cookbooks I got last year…

And this year, I actually got FL Fowler’s “Fifty Shades of Chicken” as a present, and so far it’s glorious. It’s a nice read. It has plenty of puns… and… some recipes in it are more than intriguing! I never tried sage, brandy and vanilla extract in the chicken before… but it sounds great…

And as of recently, I’ve gotten better from depressed phases and my sleep issues and all of that. I’m on my way to quitting my smoking habit… and I’m blessed with both offline and online friends that have made my life a lot better as of recently, which is why I’m not dreading this day as much anymore. In fact, I may even mark it on the calendar for next year! I’ll see!

Now, as far as birthday presents go… I got that book and some other things from Ms Magi and apparently, the friends that are coming over on Saturday also have gifts, so I’m intrigued. I’m really excited about NieR Replicant as well as Humankind, though, since those are two games by excellent studios that I ended up pre-ordering a while ago… and while they do come out at the end of April and while it is a while until then, I’m more than excited about those late birthday gifts! Also, Risk of Rain 2 came out on my birthday (well, two days later… but still!) and there will be a new update on the 25th, so expect a post on that and the new survivor soon! 🙂

All in all, I’ll try to be more positive about all of this and I’ll try to dread this day less. I’m still young and I shouldn’t be this negative about something like this, I guess.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

More on the Frogwares-Nacon-Dispute

So, not too long ago, I wrote about Frogwares and Nacon and The Sinking City and tried to explain my stance on it in combination with the information that was open to the public. Then Frogwares DM’d me about some information I got wrong or that I portrayed in a wrong way, so I figured I should write a small update on the situation with information from those Twitter direct messages. I could have just updated the post but since a lot of people read it and seemed interested in it, I figured I should make a new post on it so that people actually see the updated information and so on.

For anyone that doesn’t know what this is about: Here’s the previous post, I’d say read the previous post… I’ll try summarising it quickly but it’s quite difficult to put it into a TLDR of sorts. So, Frogwares are a small studio that is behind the popular Sherlock Holmes games among others and have been developing The Sinking City for a year but required more financial support for the development of it. Nacon, formerly known as BigBen Interactive, was supposed to contribute to the game financially per contract on certain milestones and they’d be able to be the sole contributor of the standard version of the game and they’d take a revenue share as well. Nacon ended up agreeing to the terms but didn’t deliver the money on-time or would stop it completely, presumably because they wanted to get Frogwares’ source code for another game and Frogwares refused to give it to them. Nacon doesn’t own the IP or anything and has no right to stop financing the studio just because of Frogwares protecting their IP but they just ended up being dicks about it. Stuff went to court and now it gets complicated.

So, Nacon basically demands a version for them to sell on Steam and basically started selling an older version without any Frogwares logos on the boxes and stuff… That’s against the agreement, too. They also nearly breached the deal with Epic Games that Frogwares had by trying to sell on a different platform despite the exclusivity agreement. Frogwares had to issue DMCAs on different storefronts to prevent that. Nacon went to court.

July 2020: The Judge refused to order the continuation of the contract and the delivery of a new Steam Master version to Nacon. Nacon did after all breach the contract multiple times.

October 2020: The Appeal Court ruled differently. The contract continues but Frogwares does not have to deliver a new Steam Master version of the game. Nacon did receive a version before for the commercialization on the Epic Games Store and since there was this exclusivity agreement there, there was no commercialization on Steam yet. Hence, they should use the EGS version and be happy with it… So, the judgement from October 2020 is not preventing Nacon to release the game on Steam since they have the Master Version (from EGS) from April 2019. For whatever reason, however, Nacon wants a new version instead. Since the court didn’t say that Frogwares has to do that, Frogwares doesn’t do it. Frogwares proposed three times to find an agreement on that older version but Nacon refused it every single time.

Fast forward to February 2021 where Nacon still has the Steam Master Version from April 2019 but refuses to use that one. Frogwares still doesn’t have to deliver a newer version. Nacon refuses Frogwares’ proposals of settlings. Instead, Nacon goes and buys a commercial version that is newer from Frogwares only to then crack it open and edit/hack/pirate it to use it on Steam. They do not have the right to do so per contract or per court case or whatever. Piracy isn’t allowed at all in this case or any case. 

Another part of public information is that the decisions of July 2020 and October 2020 are summary court decisions and hence not final. The final decisions are sent to the trial court. I assume this means that the legal dispute will continue and with Nacon not only breaching the copyright agreement but also pirating a copy to sell their own, I’d reckon that the tides may shift in favour of Frogwares here. We’ll have to see about that.

Another part here is that Nacon still has to pay Frogwares the money they’re owed. Nacon is selling units of the games right now but is sending negative sales report without any indication or explanation. Nacon refuses to explain to Frogwares how they can sell the game but actually lose money. They have to pay Frogwares but make reports that there isn’t anything to pay. They don’t give any details on sales figures nor any documents that would explain this phenomenon of selling a lot but losing money. Hence, Frogwares’ only real option here is to start a new court case so that the judge can order Nacon to give them the actual documents and actual sales figures that are also part of the contractual obligation. 

My stance on the matter doesn’t change here. Nacon still behaves like a huge child that wants a new version despite the court ruling that Frogwares doesn’t have to give them one. Nacon doesn’t understand that no means no, which is an issue. I still think that Frogwares deserves all the support in the world. With these new bits of information, I still believe more in Frogwares. Nacon still just says “no, you” in there statement and says the opposite. We’ll just have to wait on the court’s ruling and see how things turn out in the future.

Any thoughts? Let me know! I still think that the topic here is quite interesting and since I apparently misinterpreted information or phrased it in the wrong way, I’m happy that Frogwares reached out and let me know about the bits of information that I was missing.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

My Workspace! (from the Blaugust Promptapalooza Prompt #11)

So, last year we ended up having Blapril during April to make use of the time that we suddenly had due to the lockdown and all of that. Then we ended up having the Blaugust Promptapalooza and while that has been fun… I’m not sure if I understood the rules fully and I ended up skipping one of the prompts since I was at my parents’ place at the time and I hence couldn’t post about it… and then I moved on and procrastinated a lot and… well, here’s Prompt #11 from the Blaugust Prompatalooza… a prompt about my workspace aka “A Place To Create”!

This post should’ve linked to USS… so here’s that post and check it out if you haven’t yet. Here is Krikket’s post – check hers out since she did write the first post on it.

Today, we hence talk about the place “where the magic happens” aka my desk where I create all the blog posts and where I also stream, work, eat, watch shows, study, and play games. I also hang out with people on there… and sometimes I even fall asleep on it. Ain’t that amazing? It’s a TOOMANY-in-ONE-type of deal… and I’ll show ya today what this place is about!

So, in the picture above you can see my desk here. That’s where everything happens. Generally speaking, I get tea, coffee, or anything else warm to drink before I start studying or before I work on things. My favourite mug usually stands right there on the right side of the desk. I feel like it doesn’t bother me too much. I tend to have games on the right monitor while having streams, Spotify, Discord or OBS open on the left. When I write blog posts, I tend to have the editor/Grammarly open on the right and my notes on a notepad on the desk. Works quite well for me.

As you can see I have blankets in the back there… When I stream it kind of helps with the audio… or at least I think it helps. I’m not entirely sure if it’s better than no audio-foam-stuff… it’s certainly not the same… but I don’t have space or money for that audio-foam-stuff. It may help… idk… The microphone is set up horizontally since the Wave 3 works like that, too. Up there it seems to work quite well but I may have to bring it closer to my face though but then I’ll see it in the monitor and I’ll get annoyed… maybe I’ll change the arm-setup as well. The arm is sitting on a side-table that is dividing my room into a chill and a work area. The work area being my desk and my bookshelves… and the chill area being the balcony door and the seating-thing on the ground where I tend to read blog posts, news, manga or books. I think separating the work and the hobby areas is important… but then again, gaming, streaming and blogging are also not work… so… yeah. It’s hard to do that anyway when you only have one room to function as dining, living, bed and work room, right?

So, this is basically how my room works. I’ll have to upload the pictures from my phone but I also have a tea-setup on here the side table with a candle to keep it hot and stuff while I work… while also keeping it away form my electronics/my rig. There is also my drawing pad there and the microphone and all of the sugar and tea stuff. My computer is sitting off to the side of things… far away from all the liquids in the world.

Apart from that I also am rocking that desk lamp behind the screen and I just turn it up and move it and stuff to illuminate my desk or my face based on what I need… works quite well, in my opinion.

That’s basically it. I hope you enjoyed this post! What do you think of my workspace? Would you like to know more? Ask me below!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Looking out for We Are The Plague

We Are The Plague (formerly known as “Plague in Us”) is a tactical turn-based game set in a hand-drawn dark-fantasy world where you join the Plague and seek your revenge. The story is very cryptic but you essentially escape from prison and, with the power of the Plague, you find other team members, get rid of enemies and fulfil these missions of sorts. It’s an RPG that looks quite interesting and I’m looking quite forward to it.

Developer: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Publisher: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Genre: Tactical, Strategy, Turn-Based, RPG, Adventure, Dark Fantasy
Release Date: Q3 2021
Played on: PC
Demo available on Steam.

The game’s going to come out in 2021’s Q3 but you can play a demo right now right here. It’s an amazing experience in my opinion, which is why I planned on writing about it and my thoughts on it.

From the get-go, I’ve been intrigued by this game. The story is quite cryptic and you’ll have to piece it together slowly whenever you get bits of information here and there. Who are we? Who or what are the Plague? What is our goal and what are we trying to accomplish with our crusade/revenge? What did they do to us? What’s happening in the world? Questions upon questions but answers are only slowly trickling in, which is why we need to move forward. The hand-drawn art style reminds me a lot of Darkest Dungeon and the amazing soundtrack adds a rather nice feel to the overall atmosphere, which really compliments the themes of the story.

You move your character around and can command it to attack or defend. Combat is initiated by walking into the line of sight of enemies. Then your party gets pulled out and you move around in turn-based and, I guess, RTS-ish fashion? You position your units in a way so that you can get some good attacks in, reposition or kite enemies away. Different units have more movement points and can travel further. The different stats also influence other aspects of combat, like defence and attack, for instance. The three characters that you play in the Prologue/demo each fulfil a class of sorts. Your main character is a knight of sorts that does pack a punch and does have a few hit points but it’s not a tank. Another character can reduce his health by half to deal double damage while your third character utilizes a crossbow and can hence attack from afar at the cost of being fairly squishy. 

You can customise your characters using weapon runes and tattoos that grant you power. It’s an interesting mechanic but nothing too different from other RPGs. If anything, I’d say that the equipment that was shown in the demo leads to assuming that equipment itself doesn’t play too much of a role in the full game… I mean, I don’t know anything about other items that will come later, so it’s a bummer that nothing more is shown apart from one tattoo that you can put on one of your three characters.

What’s more pleasant, however, is how the side objectives in the story influence the game or give you new ways to play the game. There is a prisoner that you can choose to free or you leave him behind and your choice influences how the game plays out, making it harder to easier for yourself. I like that level of choice that you can have in the game and ultimately it adds a bit more of a challenge to the game. You can also level your characters and potentially unlock more abilities but some of the instructions feel a bit unclear.

I’d love it if there was a tutorial-section in the journal that allows you to look things up. How do certain stats work? How do abilities work? That kind of stuff, just in case you need to refresh yourself, you’d be able to look up what you learned so far, making the game more accessible, in a way.

Overall, it was pleasant though. There are some achievements in the demo and I got through the Prologue within two hours, so it was quite nice. I really dig the hand-drawn style and the overall aesthetic. I wonder how the story will pan out and what other weapon runes and tattoos there will be… Cool game! Looking forward to it!

You can try out We Are The Plague yourself by playing the demo!. You may also want to wishlist it, just in case! I hope you enjoyed this post! What do you think of the game? Have you played the demo yet? If you have or if you end up playing it now, feel free to share your opinions on it! I’m burning to see your thoughts!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Alerts and Overlays on Twitch? Why?

Just recently Bel from Tales of the Aggronaut posted a piece on the “machinery of streaming” and about him being tired off widgets, overlays, alerts, and all of that stuff on the screen that is in the “meta” right now on Twitch and Co. Hence, I figured I’d write a piece about it and state my opinion on whether or not all of that stuff is needed… or rather why I agree with Bel in a lot of ways. Please check out his post as well! I’ll link it below, too!

As always, take everything here with lots of salt. I’m not the biggest streamer in the world but I do analyse and think about a lot of this stuff and talk with other streamers (that are partly bigger than myself) about stuff like this, so I like writing about it. How I run my channel/stream and what I like to do doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the only way of doing things. Keep that in mind and don’t get offended. Thanks!

So, uh, let’s start this from the beginning: What are alerts, overlays, bots and extensions?

Well, alerts, extensions and overlays are ways of creating a better or more interesting experience for viewers. As a streamer, you can opt-in for them or leave them out. Alerts pop up on the screen or play a sound and a gif or something when someone follows, subscribes, cheers, tips, hosts, raids, gifts subs, or buys merch. It’s a fun little thing that pops up on the screen every once in a while and it doesn’t do much harm, in my opinion, and helps since you don’t always watch the activity feed and since the sounds help you out. You can customise everything with services like stream-elements or streamlabs taking a load of work away from you on their sites respectively. Meanwhile, you can also use Twitch-integrated extensions that show up in your panels or when you hover over the screen. There are a lot of nice ones there that may get rid of frequent questions. When I used to stream Destiny 2, I used one of the extensions for that game so that people can see my gear, loadout and power level at any time without it distracting other viewers. You as a viewer could look it up and click it away whenever you wanted to, which was quite nice. There are also things like that for other games… and games like Ring of Pain or Dead Cells even have integrations that allow your Twitch audience to vote for your items, draw enemies (in the case of Ring of Pain, for instance), choose when to heal you (in Dead Cells’ case) or even appear as an enemy (in Domina, as an example) in the game… all of those things are funny gimmicks that can add to the experience.

Now, the problem with extensions is that I’ve seen some people use way too many. You can disable, rearrange them and enable them whenever you want… but some people just tend to forget and have everything up at the same time which can be very frustrating and distracting for users/viewers. In the same way, there are also overlays that streamers add in OBS itself where the most recent follower or the chat messages and whatever are shown. You can create your own overlay or play around with downloadable packs from the internet. I have a widget that makes chat messages appear on-screen for two seconds or something and one that makes emotes that are posted in the chat float around the screen for a second. Nothing big. I don’t like boasting with the biggest tip or the latest gift-subs or follows, which is why I don’t show those off on stream… but generally speaking, they can be good incentives for viewers to do that. 

My Starting Soon Screen with my Follower Goal (temporary) and the current song that is being played. Chat can be seen on the right if I’d type something now or if I was live… alerts pop up in the bottom middle section of the screen.

The idea behind that is that having a goal on stream that shows viewers that you’re very close to reaching a specific milestone or whatever is a somewhat subtle way of creating a “call to action”. You can use timers for that or have a goal on stream. I just recently mentioned that I’d play “Getting Over It” on stream if I were to hit 500 followers until my birthday (this upcoming Tuesday) and while I hate it… I actually added a follower goal and people that usually would just forget about it now basically hit that follow button. I don’t earn anything from it but it’s a milestone… half a thousand, you know? So I wanted to celebrate it and since we’re quite close, I figured… might as well put up that stupid goal. It’s small and somewhat subtle but still, it can be quite distracting or even obnoxious, which is why I don’t tend to do that often… if at all.

With alerts and these overlays, the good thing is that viewers have this “call of action” at all times present. Some people like being called out for subscribing and supporting the stream. Some people like seeing their name there and all of that. Hence, those people get rewarded. I personally don’t like it as I think it’s obnoxious and distracting to have a live-ticker of the latest events or whatever on stream at the same time. That’s also why I don’t like news shows on TV and read the news online since I don’t care about the weather and the stock market stuff that is obnoxiously being promoted below the reports, etc. In my streams, I hence have these occasional things going on at most… the chat messages showing basically lets people see that their messages did make it to my side and that I did not ignore them for a while but there’s just a delay… meanwhile, the emote-wall overlay is just a fun little gimmick that is quite cute and cool, in my opinion, when there are raids or breaks.

On top of that, you can also use bots to keep viewers engaged with *cough* gambling for loyalty points *cough* or to mess with each other and duel or whatever. There are lots of commands and scripts out there and all kinds of bots. A bot that I use, for instance, is called buttsbot and basically, it just hops into chat sometimes and butt-ifies messages… which can be fun at times. It’s silly and nothing big but it can be a bit of fun and create moments. A streamer I watch at times, Vicksy, once said that she added a bot to her stream because she’d sometimes be so busy with League of Legends that she couldn’t react to chat at all. Sometimes there is a lot of action that requires a bunch of focus… hence, the bot is there to give the viewers a bit more to do, like the occasional heist, duels, hugs, sound commands, and other features that enable viewers to have a nice time with her stream even when she’s not looking at chat right now.

In the screenshot here you can see the extensions I currently have. For a while I did pla ya lot of Destiny 2 and League of Legends as well, so I had those overlays activated for some quick info on the game. When I don’t play those games, I have them deactivated. So, they don’t clog up space or anything and people have a nice experience. Similarly, I can activate/deactivate the Ring of Pain/Dead Cells extension when I play those games on stream. Currently there are only three extensions active on my end. Two of which are in the panels below the stream (the Emote Panel that showcases emotes in a cool way) and the stream schedule (that I’ll probably just get rid of since Twitch added a schedule feature already… I’ll think about it). The Closed Captions that I have installed (see “Overlay 1”) appear on-screen, meaning that you’ll see them when you open the stream. You can turn it off without any issues, though, if you don’t need them. It’s just something that I installed for those viewers that don’t hear well or that can’t currently listen in or that are deaf. They may not be perfect and they may not catch every word I say… but it’s better than nothing and it makes the stream more accessible to people on Twitch that may also want to see my streams. Closed Captions are one of many examples for overlays that are actually great and somewhat important for content creators. These ones right there were created by Alejo Pereyra (Twitter | Twitch | Discord) and they are relatively easy to set up and, again, work quite well. You can customise the text/background colour, the location, the size or turn it off completely. It’s all up to you and I really like that about this specific extension!

The follower goal is a temporary thing but it will be there only until Tuesday and then it will be gone forever. I do have a gif of Magi (the necromancer) in the corner of the screen at all times as it belongs to my branding and then there’s also some emotes on some corners or gifs here and there just to fill out space. It could be distracting, potentially, if they were moving a whole lot but since they’re super slow-moving or since it’s minimal movement, really, I personally like it a lot and I only got good feedback about it so far, which is nice.

Apart from that, I either have a static purple background or a moving magical purple thing looping in the background instead of those fancy borders that everyone is using for their cams and whatnot. Bel also noted that it was fun in the beginning but eventually everyone was using the same things over and over again… or everyone is doing one thing because all the big streamers are doing it. Having chat up at all times, for instance, is something huge streamers can afford to do… small streamers with an inactive chat, however, could end up seeing it backfiring on them,… which is why my messages only appear for two seconds if at all to not cover any UI or game elements but still have that effect of “message is now being read” appear. I also have a tiny widget on stream that shows what music is playing when I’m on break or when I’m chatting… because I like crediting the musicians that allowed me to use their music when I mailed them. I feel like it’s less intrusive than widgets used by other streamers and overall, it’s a small thing and better than not crediting people. 

So, overall overlays, chatbots, extensions, alerts, widgets, and all of that can create opportunities for streamers but I don’t think they’re needed. You don’t need to invest in some professionally made ones, either. I’m currently working on reworking all of my alerts to fit the Crypt theme I’ve got going on with art and animations/gifs made by myself and all of that and while it’s a lot of work, it’s going to be absolutely worth it once I’m done with everything. All my alert sounds are recorded by myself (either some sound effect that I just spoke into the mic… or a silly song cover for the sub alerts)… meanwhile, I’m not using an overlay in the classic sense at all and am still happy with my layout. I’d like to show one of those animations I created but it doesn’t seem to work in WordPress… which is a bummer… I’ll post about it once it’s done!

The most important rule in streaming is, in my opinion, to create content that you – yourself – would watch and enjoy…

And,… well, the streams that I watch don’t have all the live tickers and overlays and all the different obnoxious things going on at all times… or rather I’d stop watching streams if they were constantly flashing in my eyes or if everything was overstimulating my brain and trying to grab attention from me in all sorts of corners when I’m effectively only there for a game and the streamer that is playing it… or the personality behind the screen… or the community feel in the chat… or the interactions.

Bel also goes into his experience and him wanting to go back to streaming and also him not wanting to go back, in a way… It’s a very interesting read that goes into different directions and I enjoyed reading it a lot. I’d highly recommend checking his post out!

Anyways, what do your layouts, alerts, and overlays look like? Do you use any at all? Do you use a bot? What kind of streams do you prefer? Ever got annoyed by obnoxious live-tickers of chat and whatnot? Have you set up closed captions, yet, and if not why not? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Another Day, Another Stray Sheep

So, today is yet another one of those days where I don’t really have a prompt but I also wanted to keep the blog streak up, so hence some rambling and some screenshots. Sounds good? Sounds good!

Uhm, I still need to start up Enclave for that #MaybeInMarch Thing but with my internship and with my current mental health and my current sleep schedule and everything going on, I’m not really getting anything done. At the same time, there are plenty of games that I have to review since I was asked to… and while I don’t have to, I really want to… and that’s kind of stressful but more in a “fire up my arse” kind of way. It’s driving me forward. I didn’t quite have the time today, though, to prepare a proper post with a review or anything, hence why it’s this rambly post now instead.

Apart from that, I found myself wandering around in Valheim again. I know I said that I don’t exactly have the time… but with Enclave, it’s a new world, a new game and quite potentially it could be overwhelming or something like that… and I’m not prepared for that. Meanwhile, I’m still relatively new to Valheim but I am enjoying the building aspects of the game, which is why I planned on setting up a shop on a friend’s server where I’ll sell stuff or maybe have a brewery and tavern of sorts… I feel like that could be quite cool.

At last, I really hope that my internship is over soon. I have to deal with kids and I get to gather experience which is nice but I also feel like I’m constantly at risk of catching the ‘Rona and screwing everyone around me over…

Anyways, that’s it for today! A bit of a shorter post but hey, pretty pictures! Stay safe over there and keep yourself busy or distracted or whatever!

Edit: I forgot to save when I added the pictures and had to do it again. Sorry!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

But is it worth the full price?

From time to time, I’ve caught myself thinking that a game is worth the full price or not worth the full price… sometimes, I’d wishlist a game to buy it on a sale while I’d immediately buy other titles even when they’re not even on a discount and that lead to me think… how do I set those standards and why am I allowed to judge whether or not a game is worth the full price tag? Hence, a small post on that topic.

Sometimes you play a game solely for the experience. You can’t play it again after your first time really… or rather, you can play it again but the experience won’t be the same and it’s maybe even ruined for you, like in Outer Wilds. Similarly, other games add a lot of replayability to them or have a ton of content in them, like Hades or Risk of Rain 2, while other games have collectables and great stories or enjoyable combat, etc. like Bioshock 2. Hence, it’s very hard to put a price tag on your time and answer whether or not your time has been well-spent on a game that cost ten bucks, twenty bucks or sixty bucks. It’s hard to give a good answer… but sometimes you see a game that costs twenty bucks and it doesn’t even give you twenty hours of content out of it, while a lot of other games have so much replayability in them or offer so much extra content that you could spend days in them, past completion, to discover all the little extras and bits that were hidden.

Stardew Valley costs 14€ on Steam. I remember buying it from one of my first paychecks back in 2016. I worked three hours as a waiter and had to deal with very annoying guests on that one Sunday there while my boss was taking a nap and while everyone else was not in the house. I had to prepare drinks and coffees and even food from the small menu and it was absolutely not worth it as I didn’t even get tipped by those annoying and very demanding guests. 14€ isn’t the steepest price tag but I got 112 hours out of this game so far and I have yet to get through the game and get to the newest content and the modded content and all of that. The game is super underpriced in my opinion but I probably wouldn’t have bought it for 60€. 30€? Maybe. 25€? 100%. 14€? Way too cheap! If I donate half a litre of blood, I get 20€ meaning that I can buy Among Us and Stardew Valley for half a litre of blood on Steam. I can get my blood’s worth out of those games easily and it would still be enough. But for what it is, I wouldn’t be able to pay more than 10€ for Among Us, especially since it has a free version on mobile… yup.

So time = money doesn’t work in games, since games don’t work like that. Monster Hunter World and Stardew Valley cost different amounts of money but I love both of these games in different ways. While I may have clocked in less time into Outer Wilds, I paid mostly for the experience, the soundtrack, the art style, the story, the gameplay in Outer Wilds… and it was 100% worth it. Monster Hunter World has this beautiful and stunning world, these epic monsters, no spiders, not too grindy grinds, fun co-op, lots of quests and event quests, a lot of stuff to do, cosmetics and an end-game that is worth it. It has a high skill-ceiling as well, which is amazing to have in games, in my opinion, which is why I clocked so many hours into that game…

Meanwhile, the 2020 remake of Destroy All Humans! costs 30 bucks, adds no new content compared to the old game, and the graphics have been barely touched “to keep it nostalgic”. The game still has annoying controls, there are little to no things to do in the world, there isn’t any extra content past the story, really, and there are still a lot of bugs in the game that made the game rather frustrating… including a very annoying escort mission. Regardless, it was fun at first… but eventually, I regretted the purchase, especially after that refund-window was over.

I feel like that it’s a common theme for developers these days to re-release games on different platforms and sell the nostalgia feel while front-loading the early game… and then everything else feels “eh” but you can’t refund it anymore… or people stop playing after a few hours.

And that’s a problem because you can’t really evaluate games based on their price tags or playtimes. You can’t evaluate it based on the contents and essentially, it’s all a rather personal thing and statements like “not worth the full price tag” don’t really say anything really… if anything it feels wrong to say stuff like that and I’ll have to be careful not to fall into that habit myself. 

Rather, I feel like we need to move away from trying to play through games or to play “at least” a certain number of hours in it. I feel like mentalities like that can take out a lot from games and make them less enjoyable, which is a bummer. Instead, I feel like the only value you can get out of games is your personal enjoyment. Based on you and your preferences, an hour of a game can be worth nothing or priceless already. 

Krikket actually put it into some really nice words by calling it “play to satisfaction”, which essentially enables her to drop a game if it doesn’t work at all or to grind the heck out of it if she absolutely loves it – and I feel like more people need to get to games with that mindset. I still sometimes regret purchases… but it’s less of a thing for me as of late and I’ve really been enjoying games no matter how long they are, especially due to the experience they gave me so far and have yet to give me and especially with the challenges I sometimes tend to impose onto myself. It’s great to change the mindset a bit and not ask “how much is this game worth?” but rather “how much is my time worth?” – The first question is more about the money/price tag. The latter question is more about prioritisation and whether or not you want to play one game right now and another later or which game you may enjoy more. It’s less about the actual money you worked for or that you paid… it’s more about what game you may enjoy more and testing out boundaries and new genres.

But that’s it mostly for today’s thoughts on a random topic that rushed through my head. I hope that I kind of made sense. Check out Krikket’s post! Krikket is cool! Uh, happy St. Patty’s Day! Happy Humpday! Hope you’re well! Let me know if you have any rules or ideas on how to evaluate games… or if you, too, think that it’s stupid to do that.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.