Weekly Roundup: Diablo IV

diablo_3_reaper_of_souls-wide

So last week the latest installment of the Diablo series was released, and honestly it feels like an entirely new game in comparison to what I played when Diablo III was first released. Massive improvements all around, and in all honesty, I haven’t really been up to much this week other than checking out Reaper of Souls and getting completely absorbed into it. I’ve played a little bit of WoW, hitting up some previous-tier LFR and levelling up a new Paladin alt on Emerald Dream. I already talked extensively about Loot 2.0 and how much it has effectively brought me back into the Diablo franchise since D2 (though even then I rarely played it), so today I’ll talk a little more about what the expansion itself brought and my experiences in the first week of it.

The original plan was for me to grind out my Witch Doctor, as I’d been having a lot of fun levelling him up when 2.0 hit that I’d continue with him into RoS. However, because I was playing around on my Wizard, trying to get a Diablo kill in before the switch was flipped. Then about 10mins early the system message was announced, during my Diablo kill, that I ended up going straight into the cutscene for Act V. Feeling too lazy to switch toons, I buddied up and spent the next 5 hours grinding to 70. And that time went by quickly! I didn’t even notice it was 4am until I dinged 70 and looked at the clock… Realising I had to be at work a few hours later I didn’t get to spend much time at 70 itself, other than finishing the campaign.

charodei-wizard-iz-diablo-3-1920x1200

Needless to say though, I’m having a lot of fun with the Wizard, firing off Black Holes to suck mobs in, and then firing off a few trusty Frozen Orbs to finish them off. So much so, that I ended up spending more time than I originally intended in this first week on my Wizard, than levelling the Witch Doctor or even checking out to see what the Crusader malarkey is about (though I am pretty interested in their playstyle of using shields offensively, which is a whole new level of badassery). However, what I have levelled of those, I’ve done it in the new adventure mode which rocks like hell! For those that don’t know what it is, it’s essentially this mode where you complete certain quests without having to follow the storyline of the game.

When you complete these quests, such as killing particular rares, completing chest/shrine events, or killing bosses, you’re rewarded with exp, gold and occasionally Nephalem Rift Shards. With these shards, you can go into a special instance where you go on a murderous rampage, killing hundreds of mobs before finishing up with a boss, and you get loot at the end of it. It’s seriously a lot of fun, especially with friends, and certainly beats the previous model of grinding out a certain questing route over and over again.

d3transmog

Seriously, Blizzard have made such a turnaround with Diablo, it feels like it’s Diablo 4 instead of just an expansion. Plus, the new Mystic artisan to match the Blacksmith and Jeweler brings the ability to swap around stats on items through enchanting, as well as an amazing version of transmog that I wish WoW will adopt one day. Essentially, you only need to have looted the item in order to be able to use it in transmog – no need to keep hold of it in void storage or anything, plus you can use that skin on your other characters! With the dyes, you can quite easily make a decent looking set in no time at all.

In other games for me this week… Erm… I think I summed it up in the first paragraph unfortunately – as I said in my previous post, I’ve been working pretty much all of this week, and then my only day off was filled with Mother’s Day celebrations. So I’ve pretty much only been on Diablo this week other than about two or three hours on WoW in LFR. I’m still not brave enough to go into SoO LFR after the character boosts came out a few weeks ago…

When a lot of information is a bad thing

Out_Of_Order_by_gajol

This week at work, we had a few days where one of our two entrance doors were out of order. The sensor on it was faulty, and it led to the door being temperamental as to whether or not it would detect if people were nearby to automatically open. So we switched the electronics in the door off, and put up a sign apologising to customers that the door was out of use, and to ask them to use the other door, barely two paces away. The miniature social experiment I observed afterwards when I had a few slow starts in the morning, or in the evening was quite interesting. While I didn’t collect any data or anything like that, it was still amusing to see the results that followed:

  • People walked up to the broken door, found it didn’t open, and walked off, assuming we were shut – we had to run out the door telling them that we were open, it’s just the first door they tried was faulty. Most of the time they looked at the other door, noticed the sign, and laughed at themselves for not noticing it and came back in.
  • Some stood in front of the inoperative door, waited a couple of seconds looking at the sensor or doing some kind of ritual dance (ignoring the sign on the door), then walked over to the other door.
  • People walked past the operating door that opened for them, stood a few seconds at the broken door, stepped back to wave at the sensor, then walked back through the open door.
  • Some weren’t paying attention whatsoever and walked straight into the broken door, expecting it to have already opened.
  • Finally, one or two who couldn’t get in the broken door, walked through the operating door, then told me that the broken door was in fact broken. Depending on their tone with me, I either politely thanked them and said that we were expecting someone in to fix it soon; or told them we were aware of it, and gestured toward the big sign stuck up in the middle of the door.

I’m pretty sure there were other anecdotes surrounding the broken door for when I wasn’t working the till, but overall I had to laugh at the amount of different reactions to the broken door, but more importantly how many people ignored the sign that was stuck onto the door explaining the situation. It then got me thinking possible reasons why the sign was ignored – as I said I don’t have official data to back this up, and I didn’t ask any of the customers why they didn’t notice the sign, so it’s all speculation purely on my behalf.

Some people may have been distracted in their thoughts, just purely not looking at what’s on the door, and just expecting it to be a door that opens for them. After all, that’s what automatic doors are supposed to do, especially when they’ve worked that way for many years and all of a sudden it just doesn’t. However, the main conclusion I came to is that we have a lot of information already on our doors that’s only really applicable to a small percentage of the time. We have signs stuck on the doors explaining our opening times, what services we provide in-store, what cards we process, signs to tell customers that we do have an online store that does deliveries to the customers’ homes, and even some others that I can’t remember right now. While we thought that a sign in a colour scheme that didn’t match the overall theme of those other signs, as well as a big, red CAUTION at the top of the sign would get people to take notice, I was still surprised at the amount of people that didn’t acknowledge it. To them, it was likely just another sign on the door that most likely wouldn’t have affected them as they went for their fortnightly shop in our store.

PrettyUI

So what does this little real life anecdote have to do with anything in terms of gaming? Not an awful lot, but considering I’ve spent pretty much no time this week in games, I thought I’d try to link something up between the two. I got to thinking about UIs and the amount of information they can present in games, how some UIs can just be full of pretty looking fluff that is there to please the eye (as pictured above – after all, why not if you’re going to be looking at it for multiple hours per day). Some are just clogged up with information in that you may as well be playing a text-based game. Some can be minimalistic so that only the important information is right where you need it.

It all comes down to personal taste and how you can process the information on your screen: If you feel like being an air traffic controller while you game, then go and give yourself a ton of information to process; if you don’t want to just be presented with a whole load of boxes displaying information, go and download kgPanels to make your life on WoW a little easier on the eye; if you know your keybindings through and through, and have a good sense for your class and the game, go for the minimalist approach and just have what’s important at that time for you. I’m personally the first kind of player – for those that have seen my UI in one of my earlier posts everything’s kind of… There. Since my burnout of WoW, the UI’s only gotten more deprecated, though I have scaled the ability buttons down and moved a few things around here and there from when I was raiding on Nagrand. It’s very messy, I’m well aware of it, but it’s what I’ve gotten used to and I’m pretty sure I’d be lost going for a different approach. I could cut it down to the minimalist UI like the one below, but as I’m an altoholic, I’d be lost having one UI for my Druid(s) and knowing the exact keybindings etc for them, but then on alts I’d forever be wondering what button does what.

MiniUI

However, I know my faults when it does come to me and my UI – adding new things to it. I’m so used to how my UI looks 95% of the time, that when I add a new WeakAura for a specific boss fight, I have to add a sound or make my character say something so that I actually do notice it. I know it took me more attempts than I’d like (as in, not fixing the problem straight away after the first fail) on Malkorok heroic to notice a ball spawning underneath my feet in the first 30secs, because I’m too focused on how much time left I’ve got on potion, trinket procs, engineer tinker proc, Celestial Alignment, Incarnation and matching those to DOTs, Starsurge procs, and when CA runs out to start casting Wrath instead of Starfire for a few casts, that I end up not watching the small ball that barely poked out of my big Boomer butt. I love the first 15-30secs of a fight as a Moonkin, don’t get me wrong, but put a subtle change to the fight in that time period and I will either screw up that crucial early DPS pace or the fight mechanics. As another example, on Fallen Protectors we all had to make speech bubbles for when we were affected by Sha Sear. It’s going to be fun to purge all those WeakAuras and make new ones when WoD hits, that’s for sure.

Weekly Roundup: Shortfused on Blackfuse

blackfuseIt’s been a relatively quiet week for gaming, and between coming home from work last night and raiding, I didn’t really know what to write about as to what I’ve done this week. So the reason why this post is a little on the late side this week, is because I spent most of the evening last night progressing on Siegecrafter Blackfuse heroic. I know he’s been nerfed in 10man but he’s still a powerhouse to content with. The new mechanics, while small and don’t change the encounter TOO much, coupled with increased health and increased damage, still make him a brutal fight. As I’m just casually raiding now, I’m not going to be spending my time digging into logs to see what went wrong per se, but from the few observations that I did have on the wipes themselves, it mainly comes down to individual mistakes screwing over the raid group as a whole. Well, that and making sure that our Hunters can stay alive on the belt and can go back onto it without dying again.

Overall however, it’s quite an enjoyable fight. One that I don’t mind wiping on (I probably won’t be saying this at 80+ wipes) as it’s a legitimate challenge, but it’s also a methodical fight as it’s very fixed pace. You know exactly how long you’ve got to deal with a certain mechanic before the next one comes along, and all I dislike about the encounter are the crawler mines. I don’t know if people panic, don’t switch in time, stack CCs or flat out don’t CC, but you know you’re hitting problems when the big bombs are reaching people, let alone the small ones afterwards. Also, please don’t let me raid without a Rogue again. I love Cloak of Shadows. It’s my new favourite cooldown.

romeiiA new game that I sunk my teeth into this week was Total War: Rome II. It’s a game I picked up while it was on sale at Christmas, and never really looked at too much since really. I’ve taken an interest in the game series largely thanks to the TV show Time Commanders that ran in the mid 00’s on BBC2. I believe that Creative Assembly, the creators of the game’s engine, were mentioned in the credits for the show, and then they just added a few extra camera controls that could be used for televised purposes. Still, I got tutored through a few matches from a friend: one just plain on land; one city assault; and a couple of ocean-based fights.

I mainly found out that I sucked at the game, and would probably need to play through the campaign to learn a few tricks of the trade, but going straight into a fight with all the troops available to you and you have no idea what they do was quite overwhelming and daunting. Even my tactic of just using the most expensive of each category didn’t work out well, because you actually had to use the effectively in the fight itself, and apparently even some of the less expensive troops are better used in some situations! I’ll probably pick it up again at some point single-player, but for now I’ll likely just play it multiplayer occasionally and just have a laugh as entire ships blow up when you ram into the side of ships.

civilization-v-brave-new-world-2013325113630_4

After losing my cultural attempt with Gandhi, thanks to Ethiopia’s apparent amazing ability to keep city states happy and win a diplomatic victory, I picked up a few more achievements in Civ5 the following game, rounding out my victory types with a conquest victory as Assyria. Turns out that they’re pretty fun to focus on that type of victory on, though I did go for British Isles map, so focusing on getting a strong siege to begin with, hiding up in Scotland at the start of the game, then progressing to Battleships later on worked out pretty well. Any city-states that were in good positions I just took, and picked up a few easy techs to catch up on in other ways there, and having the ever-expansionist and scientific Iroquois as neighbours certainly helped in our on-and-off war of around 4000 years.

Now working on winning as other Civ’s in other map types, I will eventually hit… Maybe halfway into Civ5’s 287 achievements by the time I have grandchildren. Oh Civ, why do individual games have to take up so much time? I swear, you blink and it’s suddenly 2am. Don’t blink. Don’t even blink. Blink and you’ve lost hours. Time goes by fast. Faster than you can believe. Turn your back, look away, but DON’T blink. I guess Civ is a little better than weeping angels from Doctor Who (for those that didn’t get the reference), but it’s still pretty terrifying.

lion_vertRounding out my week, and I’ve gone back into All-Pick on Dota (I might even return to my A-Z challenge at some point… But Chen) and I played around a little with the Truepicker site I mentioned in last week’s roundup, scumbagging counter-picking to higher chance at wins. As it turns out, when people insta-pick Meepo and they see me pick Lion at 20secs, they end up re-picking! Regardless, I still played as Lion that game and ended up participating a huge amount to a win. On other games, I saw him pop up as a good counter for other carries too, so I’m being led to believe that Lion’s just the best counter-carry support out there for most cases. It’s a good job I’m competent at him as well, from what I’ve found out in the games I played him in, and he may be joining my top heroes alongside Keeper of the Light, Ogre Magi and Jakiro before long.

For YouTube, I’ve mainly been watching Day[9]’s day off in Heroes of the Storm (yes, had to get this game somewhere in this post) where he’s learning how to play Raynor, Tyrael, Zeratul and Uther, and as always with most big YouTubers, goes less for the support role and more for just wrecking the enemy team apart. Though I have to say, the Hyperion does need a nerf when it comes to destroying buildings. Hell, whenever it kills enemies it also reduces the cooldown of it, so I’m looking forward to abusing it as Abathur for major push potential. I still want in before too many people know what they’re doing though, because I can guarantee I will noob it up big style – from seeing Day[9]’s gameplay videos, it seems that barely anyone knows what to do with Abathur though, so I’ve still got opportunities to get ahead of the curve.