On Engaging Fictional History in Games

In a couple of weeks two new Assassins Creed games come out, Unity and Rogue, for the PS4 and PS3 respectively. I’m a huge fan of the series so I have both games on pre-order and am very excited to play through the story and meet the new characters as well as to see how it ties in to the overall story.

So in preparation of this I have spent the last few days replaying Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag (aka AC Pirates). I think I’m currently at the midpoint in the game. Far enough in that I have upgraded the ship and can handle most sea battles, which means I’m taking a break from the story to work on completion. While playing there was a cutscene involving a fairly minor character and I thought to myself how most of the characters are based on an actual person so was this person real or simply a fictional addition to aid in the story. It turns out that this particular character was indeed based off of a real individual who was alive at the time, and indeed was someone who turned to piracy.

This is what I find enjoyable about these games, that even though the game is a work of fiction it is set in a historic time period and the developers take the time to include people and events that are at least partially based in reality. Obviously the whole Templar/Assassin thing is fictional, but they put it together with real history in such a way that it piqued my curiosity.

I enjoy history for the most part. I like the History Channel, or at least like when they actually show HISTORY, but reading history books is pretty boring. Games like Assassins Creed give me the interest to go and at least read what is available online about the events. That does make the assumption that the articles are indeed accurate, but it is cheaper than going to the book store and buying volumes of history books.

I know that Unity takes place during the French Revolution, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Not knowing much about that time period I imagine I’ll do a bit of reading once I play through the game. I’m not sure of the historical period that Rogue takes place in. I know it falls between Black Flag and Assassins Creed 3, but I really don’t know of any historical events that happened at that time.

What this is really getting at is that I feel there should be more games like this. Ones that have some basis in factual history that are engaging enough to get the audience interested in reading more about the subject matter.

On Destiny – Part 2

So now I’ve played a bit more Destiny I have a few more thoughts on it.

I mentioned the general belief that there isn’t much story in the last post, and now that I’ve finished it I can’t say that the thought isn’t entirely unfounded. I don’t think that the story isn’t good, and I don’t feel like the acting was sub-pair as people have mentioned. The part I agree with is that the story mode is short. You can probably burn through the entire main story in a couple days. I think that Bungie felt that there would be enough additional story through their online Grimoire or Strikes to make up for it. I haven’t done a strike yet so I really don’t know how much story is involved in those.

What I really want to talk about is post story content. Well, not that you have to wait till you finish to do it, but this is what I’m doing right now. That is PVP and farming rep. I don’t normally do PVP, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I played a console FPS multiplayer. That being said, the pvp that I’ve done is good. Personally I enjoy the map sizes. I feel like they are right for the game, not to small, but not large enough you run around for the whole match without running in to someone.

I do feel that they need to work on the matchmaking service though. Because if you go in and you haven’t obtained a really good weapon or some legendary gear you will be greatly disadvantaged. I believe that they normalize player stats so you can see a level 7 killing a level 20. For me the best part is that I can’t hear the other people yelling at me for not being very good. Now, surprisingly, I did manage to place first on my team in one match. So I was either really on my game that time, or my team wasn’t that good.

Other than doing pvp I’ve been trying to farm rep so that I can get the “Light” stat. This stat is the only way you can get past level 20 which unlocks raids and heroic level content. Post level 20 experience only goes towards creating “motes of light” which are used at one vendor to get exotic gear. The trick is to get a random stat piece one it costs 23 motes…

Purchasing legendary gear is also a task for the patient. I understand it might go quicker if you do the strikes, but as I mentioned I haven’t done those. Even if you do you need to get whatever faction up to rank 2 in order to by the gear in the first place. Then you need faction tokens to buy that gear. The pvp faction gives you precisely 1 token per match, and you need a minimum of 68 to buy a piece of gear. With a maximum weekly cap on 100.

There are other factions that you can level to get gear more suited to your character, but you have to buy a faction cloak in order to gain faction with them. The trick is that as you gain faction with them you aren’t gaining faction with the other groups. So any pvp faction or vanguard faction you get goes towards them instead. Personally I’m okay with this, but it does mean I will have to regrind pvp faction after I get the faction I want up.

So over this weekend I’ve played around 45 pvp matches, and done lots and lots of patrol missions to gain faction rep.

I am still enjoying the game, but I do hope to do strikes soon or that the DLC starts coming out so that I have more to play.

On Destiny

So as I sit here at work waiting on servers to come back up from monthly maintenance I feel it is a good time to try and do a little bit of writing. As always I’m citing being super busy at work as my excuse for not posting, but there has also been some lack of desire to try to come up with relevant stuff to talk about.

There hasn’t really been a huge shift in the games I’ve been playing lately. Mostly been back in Warcraft doing various things, watching lots of Hearthstone videos, and playing Diablo 3. I find it fairly difficult to juggle games. I started Last of Us only to have not played it in a month. Lately I’ve had so little motivation to do anything I usually just get home, complain to myself about apartment parking, eat food I shouldn’t be eating and then laying on the couch to watch Hearthstone videos until I pass out. Typing that out is also really depressing.

So, in the spirit of buying another game that I might not have time for I picked up Destiny on the PS4. Now here’s the thing. I never really got in to Halo. So for me this is my first real experience with anything developed by Bungie. I did play a little in the beta so I knew a little about how the graphics were and how the controls handled which made picking it up a bit easier. But the main thing that really sold me on it was a comment made that while it might not be the most story rich game, it is a game you can just pick up and play for a few minutes and put down.

Unless you’re doing a story mission, which might take awhile, you’re probably going to be doing free-roam missions on the various planets to earn money and maybe some better gear and reputation. Then there are times where all you want to do is dance.

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I know a lot of people are saying that the story is pretty weak, but I still enjoy it. I find it nice having something that I don’t feel like I have to rush through to the end. Sometimes I just like popping off a few headshots and yelling “BOOM HEADSHOT!” in to my empty apartment. Granted I’m sure my neighbors love that, but meh.

The only thing I don’t like about the game is the fact that in order to do a good portion of the group content you need a Playstation plus membership. Now, from what everyone tells me I should have had this already. I don’t do a lot of multiplayer and just didn’t see the necessity of it. I did finally break down and get it, and I have yet to do any group content so far.

What’s funny though, is that even though this was meant to be a “I’ll play on the weekend” kind of game. I’ve been playing at least an hour every day since I picked it up.

On Fabled Events

So I’ve had a bit of a rough time coming up with topics, and generally having the time to write. All I’ve been doing lately is playing Hearthstone and World of Warcraft, but that doesn’t really give me anything new to talk about. I’m not one for relaying stories of what I’m doing, mainly cause I’m not doing anything worth talking about, and because that isn’t what this blog is really about.

Thankfully my friend Bel has been posting writing suggestions so I’m going to steal borrow one of those for today’s post.

For me GenCon is this fabled event, what is yours? What is the event that you would love to attend but have never had the opportunity to do so for whatever reason.

For me this would have to be Comic Con. Not just any Comic Con, but the San Diego Comic Con. The big one. The one that everyone wants to go to. If you’ve ever listened to the Aggrochat podcast when I’ve been on you’ll know I’m a huge comic book fan. I would spend so much money on that as a hobby if I could, and eventually will (darn you student loans…*cough*).

Anyways, right now this is a bit out of my budget but is certainly something I want to do at some point in the future. I had been planning to hit up the Tulsa comic con in November but I’m not sure my budget will allow me to go and enjoy myself. I could probably get the tickets and hotel plus travel costs, but I wouldn’t have the money to blow on comics & toys like I would want. I’ve done a con before where I only had enough money to cover my part of the room and gas but I couldn’t buy anything so the whole trip sucked.

I do think that once next summer rolls around and a lot of my expenses go away I’ll start saving up for the San Diego trip. I’d love to go and be able to come back with some amount of goodies, even if I had to ship them back home. I might still be able to go to the Tulsa one that’s coming up, but I need to take a look at my budget and see what I can afford.

On RNG or Why Can’t I Pull A Good Hand

So stretching a bit for a topic here, but I’m trying to post more again.

This weekend, like the last few before it, were mostly spent playing Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. Most of Saturday I ended up working, but either way my gaming would have been the same. The majority of the latter half of Saturday night was spent on Hearthstone building and researching decks and trying them out. The one thing that always seemed to happen is that I’d lose a match because I couldn’t pull that one combination of cards that I needed, or in a couple cases top decked just the right card to pull off a very, very narrow victory.

That happening just reminds me of how much I loath RNG in games. Granted I see the point of it, especially in a card game, but that doesn’t mean I can’t loathe it. Especially when you start the night at rank 18 and end at rank 20 (though as of last night I’m up to rank 17). So I guess it is more of a love/hate relationship. I think there’s a saying for this, “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword”, something like that.

I do have some screenshots I’ve been meaning to post over on anook, so keep an out out there for them. I like taking screenshots of legendary / rares I get out of packs or really close matches.

I feel like I had more to discuss here, namely some memorable RNG in WoW but I got interrupted at work when I was typing this up (on lunch, not while supposed to be working) and lost my train of thought.

I’ve seriously considered streaming some Hearthstone, but I am not sure anyone would want to watch someone who loses most of their matches.

On 10 years 10 Questions

I’ve seen a few people mentioning this on twitter so I thought I’d give this a shot.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I started playing mainly because all of my college friends were playing. When WoW first came out I was a full time college student, and I didn’t have a very well paying job so I was using the household PC. I didn’t jump on WoW right away either, because at the time I didn’t like the graphical style, so I was playing Everquest 2. Eventually I did pick it up, but had a ton of issues with my computer. Namely that while playing WoW my computer would reboot every 30 minutes. I’m pretty sure I leveled to 50 this way. But short answer, I started playing because I wanted to do stuff with my friends.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

I think that the first character I ever rolled was a hunter, but I don’t think he lasted very long. My second character was a mage and I still play him to this day. He’s always been, and always will be my main character and I use that name in every game I play.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

My friends were all rolling alliance, so I rolled alliance.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

I mentioned this in a post the other day, but one of my earliest raiding experiences is probably one of my most memorable times in the game. Another top memory is the night that Burning Crusade launched. I had pre-ordered the collectors edition and everything was patched up and ready to go. Everyone on the server was standing out by the portal waiting for it to open up so we could go in to the new area. I staid up way to late that night, but that remains my favorite WoW expansion launch still.

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Exploration and achievements have always been why I keep coming back to the game. There are always things to do in the game. A lot of other MMO’s I’ve tried over the years just fall apart after you reach the max level.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

I can’t really say that I have a favorite area in the game. I tend to find myself sticking to whatever area is the current one for content.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

I honestly don’t know this right now, so I’ll have to update this later. I can say thought that it has not been continuous. Over the span of 10 years I’ve taken several breaks. Some for just a few months and at most a year. I always seem to come back though.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

I try to, but more often than not I just glance at it. That has, on occasion, come back to bite me in the rear.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not starting the game earlier would probably be my biggest regret. By the time I started playing all of my friends had moved on to the end game content so I wound up doing all the levels available by myself. I never got to do the starter dungeons at level for various reasons because of this. At the time there was no group finder, and I was much shyer than I am today. The only time I ever ran with a pug group was if one of my friends was there and they got me in.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

I’m having a hard time thinking of any effects that I could solely relate to playing Warcraft. I know for sure I spent more time playing than studying, which is one factor in why it took me longer to graduate than it should have. But I have also met some really good friends on there that I still play with and talk to out of game.

oh and here’s the source