WRUP: Thanks a bunch edition

    
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They exist.

So it’s the end of the year, and rather than the usual nonsensical stream of consciousness that I usually put here, I wanted to say thank you to the people who show up to this feature every week to read, comment, and validate the weird garbage that I put ahead of the actual content-and-comments. Because the fact of the matter is that it’s one of my favorite things to do, as ridiculous as that might sound; it’s a chance to write something weird that amuses me with no concern for anything beyond “make it strange enough to be compelling but familiar enough to feel accessible.”

I look forward to writing What Are You Playing every week, whether it’s rambling about food terminology or zone nicknames or recycling. And based on the comments, you guys seem to enjoy it or at least don’t mind it enough to stop commenting. So thanks a bunch, because it makes me smile. See you next year with bits about the creative process for this column, gargoyles made of dental floss, and… oh, let’s say Bob the Gormless Gorm-crafter.

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): ​As always, more Pokemon Go. I’ll have some new Pokes to mess around with and a buttload of raid passes to burn through (as well as holiday calories), though I’m really hoping to see a whale since it’s that season and my usual trail is a pretty good place to see them. Overwatch still has holiday boxes that are tempting me, since nothing is good enough to spend coins on but cool enough for me to want them. And hopefully I’ll get in some Final Fantasy XIV time because I haven’t broken in that Santa Bear mount enough!

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I’m home again, so I’ll definitely be gaming some! I picked up a bunch during the Steam sale, and so far of those I’ve toyed with ARK: Survival Evolved (which I already owned, technically, just hadn’t played) and Portal Knights. They make for an interesting comparison! Justin also talked me into Broke Protocol.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): My usual antics in FFXIV and World of Warcraft, naturally. Other than that? I don’t know, maybe some new single-player stuff? Maybe not. Life is a rich tapestry.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I definitely need to spend some time in Lord of the Rings Online this weekend, because I’ve shamefully neglected it most of this month. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to exploring What Remains of Edith Finch, thanks to some strong reviews and a Steam sale.

Your turn!

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mysecretid

Thanks for all the fascinating non-sequiturs, Eliot! If you have never read Samuel Beckett’s Watt, you may want to take a peek — it’s probably one huge, nonsensical meta-comment on the conveyance of meaning in novels, without the pretention or archness of perhaps-similar works by Joyce or Pynchon (I say probably because Beckett apparently refused to explain the work in any detail, and the novel itself seems intentionally elusive, opaque and absurd).

What R I playing? Two things may be worth mentioning …

Note that these are, as always, only my opinions, friends. I neither expect nor require that you agree.

1) I finally played through Life Is Strange, and — for the type of choice-and-storytelling game that it is, I thought it was a masterwork — until I got to the end.

For all the options and choices and evocative details in the game, the ending comes down to essentially two player choices at the end — and both of those choices suck.

It reminded me of nothing so much as the ending to Mass Effect 3 — where I spent hours immersing myself in characters and plot and carefully-chosen choices only to have it all yanked away at the end for forced endings which were all equally unsatisfying.

Life Is Strange is almost a master-class in how to do choice-based, character-driven storytelling, but the ending utterly ruined the game for me. It actually made me angry, to my surprise. It felt like the game wasted hours of my life invested in a game which reneged on its implied premise and promise.My recommendation? Skip it.

I’d say more, but I don’t want to get into the spoilers further explanation would require.

2) I managed to pick up a copy of No Man’s Sky for about $30 in local currency (full retail for it here is about $80).

As a thirty-dollar game, I like it just fine for what it is (as opposed to what it was hyped to be). It’s basically a single-player spaceship-and-planet exploration game which makes good use of procedural generation.

That said, if I’d paid full price for No Man’s Sky and had expected it to be what the pre-release hype promised it would be (i.e. A vast multiplayer universe full of spaceships, lifeforms, and planets), I would’ve been annoyed with what was released as well.

Take care of yourselves, and each other, going into the New Year folks. Party responsibly, please! (no drunk driving, right?) and I’ll see you all here again in 2018.

Cheers,

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Sray

I know that there’s a lot of people who hate the endings of Life Is Strange, but I loved it. Right from the get go, I could tell there wasn’t going to be any sort of traditional happy ending involved in this particular story. During the middle chapter I realized that it was just Groundhog Day told differently, but with the same moral: there’s things you can change, and things you can’t. And personally, there’s only one ending: as far as I’m concerned the “happier” ending is just there for the people who aren’t ready to accept what the story was all about.

I get the desire to see more varied endings, but pretty much any story comes down to a single choice the hero makes at the climax. Seeing a few more variations in the denouement based on your choices would have been nice; but it’s a time travel story, so you have to have a wall full of flow charts and spreadsheets to figure out what really did and didn’t happen when it’s all said and done.

It’s a shame you didn’t care for the ending, but I guess all I can say is try not to let that spoil the enjoyment you did have up to that point.

Have yourself a Happy New Year.

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mysecretid

Heya Sray!

I’ve been intending to write you a reply, elaborating on my criticisms of Life Is Strange. but I’ve been feeling dodgy health-wise, so this isn’t it. :-)

As a preview, though, my objection to the endings isn’t simply that they were both unhappy, but rather, I was taking issue with two things: first, the increasingly-common substitution in popular writing of tragedy for depth, and second, the fact that Life Is Strange‘s endings betrayed the very themes of the game, and sent (wittingly or not) a very unpleasant message about conformity and inevitability.

Bonus Beef: The authors clearly don’t understand quantum physics and, specifically, chaos theory, even though they attempt to use both as a justification for their endings. One of my oldest friends is an actual quantum physicist, believe me, we’ve had many a discussion about these things over the years! :-)

Anyway, that’s all for another day. Hope you are well, my friend.Stay warm!

Cheers,

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Sray

We’re going to have to agree to (mostly) disagree, but I have to say that I am relieved that your complaints aren’t the thoughtless “both ending were bad” that I usually get from people when I hear them say they hated the endings.

However, I do completely agree with you on the point about them wildly misusing “science”. I was rolling my eyes pretty hard at the explanations that even as a layman I knew were completely wrong. It might have been a bit misguided to try to “science up” a story that was clearly fantasy, but they did kind of need to explain what was going on without having literal wizards start popping up, so I just went with it.

But in the end, I think that regardless of one’s opinions on the endings themselves, I feel like the fact that the work evoking such strong reactions from people means there is a very powerful piece of art there. Clearly, there’s lot of thematic depth there, as your comments about themes of conformity and inevitability never registered with me at all as being there in my playthroughs (not saying they’re not: I’m saying that wasn’t part of my take away at all); which suggests to me that it might be worth another look at another time with a different perspective (don’t do that with Mass Effect 3 though: you can trust me that it’s just plain shit). Honestly, based on your comments here last week, I’d decided that I’m going to stream the game and try to have discussions with any viewers about the themes and such; and just your brief comments here give me a new perspective on new themes to look for in that new play through. Thank you for that. And I’ll probably post a link a schedule of when I plan on starting that in the next WRUP.

Staying warm is a mixed bag: I’m either too hot, or too cold.

And stop being sick: just be awesome instead.

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rafael12104

I hear good things about No Man’s Sky now. Apparently, not only is it discounted often, but they have added a great deal to the game. It seems what they deliver now is much better than what they did at launch.

As for ME3, it ruined certain game genres for me. What I mean is, and I know this sounds irrational, but I haven’t played Life is Strange because some reviewers also made the comparison to ME3. Normally bad reviews don’t impact my decision as I do my own research, but anytime ME3 is mentioned it puts the game in a bad light for me. I’ll get over it… maybe someday. Lol

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nobleeinherjar

I spent most of today relearning GTA Online with a friend. It was pretty fun. I need to try to find a good Crew so I can get heists done and stuff.

Besides that, I’ve been spending more time with my 3DS lately. I want to finish Bravely Default, the sequel, and a few other games before Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology and SMT: Strange Journey Redux come out next year.

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JB

Happy New Year Eliot !

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rafael12104

As for me? Well, boys and girls, I’m tired. I get tired of the holidays. :) Love them and all that they mean, but I’m worn out. I need a vacation from my vacation.

But what I’m not tired of is Blade and Soul. Every week I find a reason to keep going strong. Everyday I get what I need for my gaming fix.

And you know what? I don’t care if the studies say I’m addicted. Out all the crappy things to be addicted too, I’ll take MMORPGs please.

So, I made another little nerdy vid. Yup. Very simple, sappy and somewhat less exciting than a dungeon run. And if you look at the scenery in the foreground and especially the background, much more beautiful, IMO.

Indeed, this game was released initially in 2012. And it still looks pretty damn good to me.

Have a safe New Years Eve and day, whatever you do. And if you choose to stay home and play your fave game, that doesn’t mean you have a problem. :)

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

What impressed me most about BnS is how smooth it ran on my laptop (i have a desktop now), it is a good machine, but old games made it heat up a lot, and BnS didn’t do that, when i played it the laptop was warm, no fan noise, how did they do that?

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Danny Smith

Gave up on Destiny 2 and uninstalled it, its current state is just a very bad game. One that takes up a lot of console HDD space. So i took a look at the sale and saw Diablo 3 with all the dlc on PS4 for £20 and picked it up and its so much better than the pc version its like night and day
-no always online
-no single player lag and rubber banding so hardcore is fun for once
-can lend it to friends because its not locked to an account
-runs better, surprisngly
-has couch co-op
-does not lose a single thing in the port
-has more content like those rifts full of clickers from the last of us
Tried Necromancer and it feels very overpowered. By lvl. 9 you have a small army around you and with the corpse spear you can just spam it as your summons kill stuff to take out huge rooms with no effort. Think i still prefer Monk and Witchdoctor to either of these two new classes so far.

also got Hellboy in Hell library edition which is… something alright as it ends Hellboys story and Twin Peaks the Return on blu ray and it looks amazing!

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Bruno Brito

Hey guys, i’ve been drawing again!

Actually happy i’ve been doing this, and finding pleasure from it.

Sadly, that means less MMO time for me. Still didn’t found anything i actually invested myself into. Tried DDO, didn’t work. Thought about B&S but it seems shallow as a MMO. Anarchy Online seems good but the extremely old graphics and engine put me off.

Guess i’m still looking for a game =P

BW Snow 001.jpg
I will save myself 001.jpg
Skyhigh 001.jpg
Desert Stride 001.jpg
Axing 001.jpg
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rafael12104

Hmm. I don’t know, but I think you should take time to focus on your artwork. Looks great!

I wish I had any talent at all. Lol. My nerd cred is intact though I suppose since I all I can do is talk about games. Heh.

So, I say keep it up. BnS? Well, I wouldn’t call it a deep experience. It is a theme park. A lovely ride though once you get going. Easy to jump in and out of. But, heh. Not for everyone for sure.

Keep up the good work. The more drawings the better.

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Bruno Brito

Oh, i have enough time to draw even when i play. My issue is really finding something deep to involve me. I miss the time when i was really involved in WoW, and i’m trying to scratch that itch.

About talent. Well, i was the worst artist on a 40 kid’s classroom back on my school days, so it was pretty much effort. I would say, if you can write you name, you can draw. It just comes to effort, to researching and copying what you see, until you start putting yourself in your copies. Then it stops being a copy.

Thanks, i will.

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Utakata

I keep think of that dark fantasy manga Dorohedoro when I see your artwork. o.O

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Bruno Brito

Never heard about it. I’ve read Akame Ga Kiru tho. The artstyle is pretty cute, which threw me off when people started getting decapitated.

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mysecretid

Love that your artwork has come back to you Bruno. You’ve got to follow what brings ya joy!

As for finding a game, just keep checking in here at Massively. If something good releases, I’m sure you’ll see us all yabbering about it here, eventually. :-)

Be well, man. Thanks for sharing your art with us!

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, i am checking. I may end up playing something oldschool. Hell, maybe even Wildstar.

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JonBuck

Well, I’ve already quit playing Champions Online. It’s far more grindy than STO and I just don’t have the patience for that anymore. I’m just bored of everything now.

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rafael12104

Meh, time for a break. Not a bad thing, I think.

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thirtymil

I’ve just cancelled my last two subscriptions. ESO was due to go anyway (because of lockboxes and time-limited cash shop tactics) but Warcraft I cancelled because after the loss of a friend it’s not feeling so much like the world I fondly remember.

I could well be back within a week or a year – I’m just taking the time right now to step away and consider the whole thing from a distance.

And yes, Eliot, I really enjoy the ‘weird garbage’ that precedes the rest of the column. ‘Reasons to order your badger through the mail’ was my favourite this year :)

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rafael12104

Distance is a good thing sometimes. It’s not like we are on a marathon anyway. Take your time. Plus, if everything goes as planned in the MMO world, there should be a few new additions this coming year to sample.

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mysecretid

Yes, the mail-order badgers were a highlight. In a parallel universe, I’m sure other-Eliot makes his living as a badger rancher. :-)

And hey, it’s okay to take a break from MMORPGs whenever you like, especially if you’re still mourning an absent friend. The games will always be here, in some form, waiting — so taking care of yourself is job one. Life is hard, and sometimes, you’ve just got to step back from the fray until you feel like yourself again.

Best to ya, 30!

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Pandalulz

STILL working on FFXIII very slowly. I think I’m near the end, since I just got to the part where you can teleport back to Pulse. Started working on the Cieth stone grind a little, sure I’ll burn out and make myself just finish the game.
Also started Nier:Automata, and while I only played for, I dunno, an hour or so, the way the gameplay shifts is one of the neatest things I’ve played in a long time. If my house guests will ever leave so I can have the big TV again, I want to jump back in.
Unfortunately, I’m leaving Tuesday morning on a work trip for the whole week. I’m going to pack my PS3 and take it with me I think.

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rafael12104

Ah… Nier Automata. Game of the Year, as far as I’m concerned. And yeah, the shifts will continue, but other things will change to as you finish your first play through. You may know a little about that, but just remember that the game is far from over after two playthroughs.

I swear, near the end of playthrough D, I think it was. I was literally brought to tears during the credits. You will see what I mean. Just make sure your system is online for that last playthrough. It is very important. :)

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Pandalulz

If I heard correctly I need to get through at least ending E for the full experience?

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Sray

This is true, but apparently subsequent play throughs are significantly changed from the first, and get faster to finish as well; so completing it five times to get the real ending is not as monotonous as it would sound.

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rafael12104

Yup. E is the clincher. D got to me. :) But E is even more important. Just make sure you are online for D and E. E feeds right in from D so they are tied together so to speak. You will see.

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Sorenthaz

Probably gonna be putting a lot of time into a private Burning Crusade server called Warmane. Started playing it with a few friends from LoL and I’m already absorbed in it in ways that most other MMOs (including FFXIV and retail WoW) just can’t do for me. Helps that the server is 5x experience/reputation rates (still slower than retail WoW in terms of leveling, lol) so the grind isn’t as grueling. So I’ll probably be leveling up the replica of my original Sorenthaz (Blood Elf Ret Paladin that I made back in the original BC era – first time I ever used the name) and working up Engineering/Mining and doing class quests along the way.

Beyond that, probably will do a bit of FFXIV and some Fortnite. Might do some Dead By Daylight as well since there’s a double bloodpoint event going on that I’ve been woefully not taking advantage of, but I’ve also been burnt out on DBD so blehhhhh… Probably gonna be a lot of Fortnite and Burning Crusade this weekend.

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Bruno Brito

Outland Server? The P2W mechanics are a bit offputting, but the server is good.

Wish Medivh wasn’t dead. 1k peak pop isn’t really good :c

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Sorenthaz

P2W? I noticed there are some pay to progress options (level boosts/profession boosts) but nothing gamebreaking. I do notice though that people care way too much about iLvL even though the only way to even see iLvL is via an addon…

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Bruno Brito

The x5 server, Outland, has a gearshop. It’s not “P2W” in the extreme sense of the word, but having the ability to completely pay the gap is a bit weird for a WoW server. That being said, the server is good.

If you guys are playing in a stable way, let me know. I’m looking for a server to call home and this may be it.