Lulls are not my favorite time in WoW – because frankly I prefer the game to dish out content at a good pace, with tangible and multiple goals to achieve, and to achieve them on many toons without having to seek shelter in other titles or game developers. Today we have what we have, and as my current WoW goals are (almost) achieved, I’m left with lots of spare time to try other gaming.
There is a number of games I’m trying today, I’ve played enough to give an opinion, so let’s roll!
First and foremost, Star Wars Battlefront II. It’s a highly unlikely genre for me – it’s a shooter, for god’s sake! What saves it to me is of its content and the possibility to make it not FPS, but a third-person shooter – and the game provides the third person view by default.
It’s the second Star Wars game from Electronic Arts I’m playing (after Jedi Fallen Order last Summer), and I’d say that this company manages to deliver the Star Wars universe in gaming as it really should be presented. You really feel the vibe of the universe, and feel totally like in a movie, which is what is required.
There are several modes of playing. I’m not doing PvP anywhere, yet even if it is clearly designed for player-vs-player combat, there are multiple options for a single player.
There is a very cool and moving campaign, taking place during and between the events of Episodes VI and VII. Even if the plot revolves around totally new characters and a totally separate story, they are meeting a number of major lore figures on the way, and some major movie events happen in the background. For example, you see an explosion of Death Star and Starkiller base, although your character was not involved in the events. In other words, the campaign delivers an awesome, engaging and lore-accurate addition to the movies, while being no worse than a movie on its own!
Second, the campaign allows to participate in every Star Wars combat type possible. Lightsabers, blaster shooting, and piloting every iconic ground and space vehicle is what you’ll be doing during the campaign.
Third, even if you’re not into PvP, you’re still able to participate in the widest variety of matches versus AI – pick ground assaults or space combat with simple shooter goals like capturing spots, destroying enemy forces faster than they destroy yours, and all. This is totally aimless in terms of progress, yet it provides the widest variety of any Star Wars encounter you could dream about.
Now that campaign is complete, I’m keeping the game just to be on my hard drive. If I ever miss Star Wars universe, this is where I’m jumping immediately! And I’m surely replaying it again.
Horizon Zero Dawn caught my attention immediately as I saw its trailer, and now I can finally play it.
For those unaware, it’s an RPG in a post-post-apocalyptic world. The society crumbled presumably after the war, reducing the communities to the level of development of vikings or native americans, living in small wooden settlements. The previous history and technology is shunned and/or forgotten about. The unique thing about the game is that most of its wildlife are robot beasts which you are hunting for resources and survive in the wilds among them.
The game is stunningly beautiful, all the robots, people and people’s outfits, nature landscapes are gorgeous and super engaging to be at. It is fun to find ruins of the past civilization, like bunkers, or ruined cathedrals, or sports stadiums – although no one in the universe even remembers their purpose. But we do, and this recognition is precious!
The story tells about your common ugly duckling with a chosen flavor, a pariah at the beginning of the game, which slowly makes her way to renown among the local tribes and unveils a big plot. It is quite interesting so far, and I will surely make it to the end. The only thing that spoils the game to me a bit is that the overall mood is very melancholic, or it seems so. It’s not a cheerful world to be at, despite all its sunlit gorgeous beauty, and when I make it to the end and learn the story, I doubt very much that I would return or ever replay it.
Finally, closer to our WoW activity, is an Asian MMORPG called Blade & Soul!
I have hop on – hop off relationship with Asian – and frankly, all other MMOs. Whenever I tried to play them, something went off, felt out of my liking, and I dropped the game after initiate 10+ levels. It has nothing to do with visuals, as I’m not a stranger with anime, wuxia styles and stuff. On the contrary, I’d have liked to run in the eastern setting.
Well, Blade & Soul came to stay.
In many ways it’s not like WoW – an antipode of sorts – and this is cool. As much as I like WoW, still remaining my favorite game, receiving a totally different experience is precious.
There are 4 races – common humans, giant humans, female-only analogue of elves, and my obvious choice – the small folk with an option to tune dozens of animal ear/tail styles, kinda gnomes with furry elements (see the picture of my character above). A zillion of appearance options and tunings – frankly, I’m not a fan, because it could and does often result in uglies, so I prefer a more limited, designer-approved range of WoW. Yet you can create a really unique character and be sure there’s no one alike you.
There is a wide range of classes – being an Asian game, it’s naturally enormously big swords, some kung fu, bow hunter, mage, warlock, shaman and other casters with Asian flavor, a casting nature druid with a cat pet (as in Allods Online), and what not. I picked what I lack in WoW – the gunslinger, dual wielding pistols.
Leveling is simply awesome. I don’t even pay attention to levels, because the game simply drags you through the story and locations. They set the story already in tutorial, as a bad band of guys ruins your temple, kills everyone and your teacher, and wounds you with a magic wound. So as you travel through the story, there’s always the big goal looming: you need to cope with those bad guys and have your revenge. They never let you forget about it, because they’re always ahead of you, spoiling the lives of the villages you come across, and you always fix their wrong doings and chase them – even having some encounters with this vilalin group members!
There are no mounts – at all. This is highly compensated with the unique means of travel in the form of windwalking, which comes in all sorts. There is a fatigue-based bar meant to take you through short distances via a speed run, compared to a mount speed – which you can also use inside caves and stuff. It is normally enough to cover the distance to the destination spot, yet I often run out of fatigue, and have to recover it while running normally. The bar grows as you level though, allowing to cover more distance in one take.
Windwalking also allows you to glide from cliffs (demon hunter developers surely played Blade & Soul), and later to run on the certain walls, which I haven’t unlocked yet. Cherry on top, BnS version of flightmaster whistle. Once in 3 minutes you can teleport to EVERY location in the world that you’ve previously discovered – and do so from dungeons and caves too. Besides, as you fought your way to the end of the cave, there would be a portal to the cave entrance.
Gear is also unique for MMOs. Your outfit depends on only your preferences and what you’ve found. The thing is, you discover an outfit (one piece), keep it in your bag, and may swap it anytime you like. It does NOT affect your character power, only the looks! Of course, there is a full set of invisible items that affect your damage/healing output: like rings, necklaces, trinkets – about 9-10 different stuff, could be compared to WoW. Yet I think it’s brilliant how they waved away the need to struggle and pick between your looks and your ilvl/power. Transmog is present – you could apply this to weapons, which alas dont comply the outfit rules.
Finally, the world and visuals. Well, they are cool. Very atmospheric and beautful, they convey the Asian style that I was seeking. I like how villages are scaled to character – while in Goldshire you have 2 buildings (tavern and blacksmith), and have to imagine a settlement, in BnS it is what it means to be. So far it’s small villages with local problems, and it’s refreshing to stay away from planetary scale.
The landmasses are proudly called ‘continents’, but this is an exaggeration of course. At best, they are islands – especially considering the natural scale of settlements I’ve described.
As always, MMOs show what they are really about at level cap, and I’m eager to find out. Maybe it will lack stuff to do, and won’t serve as a match for WoW, but we shall see. So far the gameplay, world and story is super engaging, completely different from WoW, totally Asian, and that’s what I value most in it.
The only thing that bugs me in BnS is Korean names of all NPCs :) They are really hard to remember, but I think it’s the lack of practice, and a positive brain challenge. I’m very eager to fight through this.
So, that’s the stuff I’ll be playing until 9.1.