Pokemon Go

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Melvin Smif’s Geekery is nothing if it isn’t a weird amalgamation of various nerdy interests. So while I typically delve into Tabletop Gaming, I need to speak about my latest passion, Pokemon Go. This little app game has it’s claws in me so deep I can cite more than one late night excursion into the wilds of my suburban neighborhood seeking one of the more elusive Pocket Monsters. It’s a genuine worldwide phenomenon. Its popularity likely surpassing even the expectations of its creators, and we’ve really only seen the¬†beginnings of this game.

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Pokemon Go is the team effort between Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, and Niantic, inc. that utilizes GPS tracking to pinpoint a player’s location within the real world to overlay an Augmented Reality fictional Pokemon universe. Pokemon are randomly placed throughout the world, often even generating based on regional types, water Pokemon tend to be near Lakes, Rivers, Ocean etc. & if you want a Scyther, head to the park. On top of catching these critters players are also encouraged to visit landmarks, derived from data gleaned from Niantic’s previous AR game Ingress, to collect items (from areas deemed “Pokestops”) or battle against other teams (in areas known as “Gyms”).

Augmented Reality can be fun.

Augmented Reality can be fun.

Pokemon Go’s mission seems to be to get people outdoors, visiting landmarks, and interacting with fellow players. There’s even a method for rewarding movement via the inclusion of Pokemon Eggs that react through a pedometer function to log the distance you travel, hatching a Pokemon when that distance is reached. I can say earnestly that, in my experience and via much of what I’ve seen online, this mission has been met, and exceeded! It is safe to say this game has been an overwhelming success.

Central Park in NY City

Central Park in NY City

I’ve had some truly great personal experiences since the game’s launch on July 6th. My wife and I have both been playing , it’s gotten us out the door walking more and our kids love helping us catch the Pokemon around our neighborhood. You can easily enjoy an afternoon stroll paying casual attention to your phone, via glances or awaiting a telltale rumble signifying that something is near. We’ve seen a bevy of others out walking and playing too. It has also been a blast taking on a Gym together!

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At the time of this pic it was lvl 8. Now level 9!

This past weekend my wife and I had the pleasure of attending a good friend’s 30th birthday party in Columbia, Missouri. Amid the usual activities like going to dinner and catching up with friends were sprinkled moments of “Guys! There’s a <insert Pokemon here> outside!” followed by the bulk of the party hitting the neighborhood streets in search of it. Later that night (and by later I mean midnight until 3 am) we drove through the downtown district catching Pocket Monsters and hitting up Pokestops. We also took on a number of gyms throughout the weekend, smartly collaborating early in the game to all choose the same team (Team Instinct baby!). We even crafted a monstrosity of a gym on the outskirts of town, pumping it up to level 9. That gym is still holding strong three days later. Some other great memories from this weekend are.

  • Watching someone from either team Valor or Mystic drive up to our beefy gym, see a carload of Team Instinct players then decide he was never going to do any damage to us and drive off with a wave of defeat.
  • My friend and I sprinting (unnecessarily) to add some extra Pokemon to another yellow gym we came across.
  • ¬†Me yelling “Get that Puff!” to a stranger whom I knew was trying to catch the same Jigglypuff we were after.
  • Hunting down a Nidoqueen!
  • Me threatening to use my phone as a hammer “for all the good it was to me” because it wasn’t loading the game.
  • Driving a car full of happy, grown ass, adults around the same area we use to hit up bars at midnight so they can hit the various Pokestops (I had someone working my phone, I don’t drive and Go)
  • Having yet another shared interest with my wonderful wife ūüôā

Honestly there are so many fun things I’m forgetting, I’m certain. It was all just a blur of gaming and friends.

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Now, Pokemon Go is a solid success, but it is far from a perfect specimen of gaming yet. I have plenty of issues with the gameplay and reward system alone but the true monumental task Niantic will need to be dealing with over the next few weeks and system updates will be simply getting the game to run correctly. Server outages are the main complaint people have, followed closely by the game freezing up and generally being difficult to get into. On multiple occasions over the weekend, and before, just getting into the game long enough to enjoy it was a hassle. Often at least one, if not more of our group, was blocked from getting into the game. Gym battles were always tough for me. For some reason I freeze up in those constantly. ¬†The game also comes with a supposed tracking system for nearby Pokemon but it hardly ever works correctly, for a bit I would see one or two footstep Pokemon, but lately it’s always been a three steps away symbol. The game is sadly ripe with glitches and bugs, but honestly much of that is just a company attempting to meet overwhelming demand. It stands to be seen how well they do fixing these issues. For now, I’m content to deal with them.

My wife in Downtown St. Louis

My wife in Downtown St. Louis

Our home town... the wasteland

Our home town… the wasteland

The major issues to fix are bug and server related, obviously, but I’ve also been pondering the game-play itself. They do a lot of things right in the game. There is a pay to play aspect that the casual player, someone just seeking to catch Pokemon, can usually ignore if they wish. Items are plentiful at Pokestops, but you have to have Pokestops near you to make use of them. This isn’t an issue for people in heavily populated areas, or even rural areas with a lot of landmarks, but if you live somewhere very plain vanilla suburban (like me) you have a hidden cost, in gas, to playing the game. You have to drive to find Pokestops or you’re stuck purchasing Pokeballs. My city has a population of nearly 100k and I have only two Pokestops within a mile of me, and the next nearest one after that is easily five miles. Compare that to some towns around us we are a veritable wasteland. I was nearly dizzy with excitement to see the bevy of ‘stops in Columbia this weekend.

The gym system is fantastic fun, but if you aren’t someone who started this game week one, you’re not going to be able to even touch a gym for a long time unless of course you hook up with some buddies as there is incentive to start a gym with easy to defeat Pokemon that you then beat up to raise the prestige. The “Defender Bonus” you receive for owning a gym is paltry and makes capturing gyms more of a pride thing than anything else, the reward is so low that it’s more of a pat on the head than anything else. I also take issue¬†with the fact you don’t get some kind of extra reward for having held a gym for the 20 hour time limit between reward collections. It really seems like they need either lower the time limit between collecting the Defender Bonus or give you more for it. Right now unless you luck into holding multiple gyms, it’s almost not even worth collecting.

One of my bigger complaints lies with the tone of the game. So much of the appeal of Pokemon in the past was about obtaining a Pokemon and then working with that Pokemon to level it up and watch it grow as you modify it’s abilities. In Pokemon Go the Pokemon you start with are quickly eclipsed and you simply cannot utilize the same Pokemon who were your starters later in the game. Hell, you can’t even use the same Poklemon from three levels ago. It’s a completely different style, and frankly a huge grind.

Sarah caught a lot of cool Pokemon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis

Sarah caught a lot of cool Pokemon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis

Other issues aside, battery draining and data soaring issues, Pokemon Go has captured me, my wife and family, and my friends in its talons and shows no chance of releasing us soon. I endeavor to catch them all, and train to be the very best, like…well… you know how this goes. I hope you all give this game a chance, and don’t let the haters get you down. Sure there have been accidents related to people behaving foolishly while playing this game but since when is that new to people in any hobby. If someone calls you silly for playing a “kids game” they are hypocrites and jerks, laugh em off.

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Have fun out there and (as my father always says) be aware of your surroundings! Gotta catch ’em all!

-Melvs

P.S. Fellow Team Instinct Trainers. Meet me at Gen Con! We shall rule the gyms of Indianapolis!

Instinct

 

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Unboxing & Review: FAITH The Sci-Fi RPG

The Book

Last night I finally got around to completing my Unboxing of this unique RPG. I’ll jump right to the meat of it, here’s the link.

 

 

Now, this was a great chance for you to see some of the excellent craftsmanship that went into this game (and a little plug for AcadeCon of course). I make no secret in the video that I feel this product is of the up-most quality. However! Doing a blind Unboxing like that has its pitfalls, I couldn’t recall how to play the dang game… and it showed. A smarter Kevin would have gone back to his original review that came out during the Kickstarter run of FAITH, and done a little refreshing. That guy wasn’t around last night, he wanted to try his hand at the Unboxing and chose to dive right in. Well, for those who want to know a little more about the actual game, you’re in luck. The Kevin of today is feeling a bit more polished. Let’s review this thing shall we?

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Flip the gameboard over and the other side is in Spanish, nice touch!

The punch-outs mentioned in the video (which I’ve just now taken a break and gleefully punched all of them out, flipping love punch outs!) are all for the players. Four boards of punch-outs contain this game’s version of a character sheet, only here it is a game board. Almost all of these pieces you can punch out have homes on this character game board. Utilize them to change stats with adjustable numbers, add or remove upgrade tokens, or when starting any game use the various character portraits to choose a look. Highly customize-able and useful for streamlining various aspects of the game.

Another item I got a mite wrong last night was a side comment where I mentioned that the cards in the player decks might be something that works alongside your typical dice mechanics. This was wrong, there are no dice mechanics, only cards are used. The cool thing about this is it will allow players to manage their own luck in a way. They have a hand of cards to choose from, if they really want to succeed they likely can. That’s not to say they might not also take chances with lower valued cards, or even get a bad draw. There is still an element of chance, the players just have a bit more control. One of the only things I have a quibble with in this aspect is that there isn’t a GM’s deck of cards as well in order to get a bit of the same fun. I know why things like this are done, it streamlines the GM process, but I like it when I get to roll dice, or in this case deal cards. Some will very much appreciate the way the GM gets to run things though. We do get the NPC deck, that is a really cool toy, so maybe I should just be happy and shut it eh?

You’ve seen all these physical items already though, I spent 19 minutes showing them to you (despite a bit of terrible lag… man I’m kinda bad at this). I want to chat a bit about the world of FAITH. Very much the Sci-Fi game it claims to be, FAITH takes place in a setting rich with multiple planets, sentient species (many playable races), and gods. Travel through space is done via a group of wormholes known as the Labyrinth. This connective travel network is alarmingly well put together, allowing for many theories to suggest intelligent design. A myriad of planets make up the habitable worlds that the six species you can play as live, work together, war together. The gods of FAITH are ever-present and have little to do with faith as we know it (despite the title of this game). They are attached to a believer via personality rather than choice and the gods expect you to follow their commandments. You are still left a choice however, you just might run into a very real consequence for disobedience. Some really interesting role-play opportunities there.

If I had to compare FAITH to anything in its “feel” I’d go with the Mass Effect series or maybe even Destiny. Fully Sci-Fi with a hint of supernatural flair to it. The game is it’s own deal though, a ton of newness surrounds FAITH. Both the mechanics and the fluff turn some typical RPG tropes on their ear. I fully suggest you give it a chance. I know I’m going to get around to running a game someday, let me know if you’ve been able to or if you have any more questions about it below!

Want to learn more about FAITH The Sci-Fi RPG? Check their site!

Want to buy it? Here’s the Webstore.

-Melvs

 

RPGaDAY 2015!

rpg-a-day-2015

Last year I dutifully posted a single post dedicated to this topic daily, even during my trip to Gen Con 2014. Well, last year’s Kevin apparently had time on his hands because it didn’t even register as a possibility this year. No worries though, I’m feeding you all the info you need today. I know you’ve been waiting for this with baited breath (my answers to this…not who won the contest right?). So let’s get to it!


AUGUST 1ST: FORTHCOMING GAME YOU’RE MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO

Pheonix dawn command

That would be Phoenix Dawn Command by Keith Baker. The premise excites me the most, player characters expected to die heroically and return from the dead to fight once more. It’s been kickstarted and I for one can’t wait for the final product!

AUGUST 2ND: KICKSTARTED GAME YOU’RE MOST PLEASED YOU BACKED

Spirit of '77

I actually missed out on Phoenix Dawn Command so I can’t reiterate that campaign. However, it’d be hard pressed to out-due my love for Spirit of ’77 anyway! I’ve had some immense fun reading through the rule-book ever since it arrived. Easily the most groovy Kickstarted I’ve ever been a part of.

AUGUST 3RD: FAVORITE NEW GAME OF THE LAST 12 MONTHS

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Has to be Unleashed. I wrote about it extensively here on the blog, and you should certainly check it out for yourself. The game uniquely places its players in the boots of some of the most savage “heroes” you could muster up. The concept works on all levels, and I can’t wait to run more of it at my table.

AUGUST 4TH: MOST SURPRISING GAME

gamma world

I’d go with Gamma World, the version made with a hack of the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition rule-set. What surprises me the most is how well it actually works. I’ve always been a fan of 4th Edition but I think some of the gaming concepts the edition brings to the table actually work best in Gamma World. A really fun, quick to set up, game. Still a go-to for me when I need something last minute.

AUGUST 5TH: MOST RECENT RPG PURCHASE

I don’t purchase a lot of RPG’s from the established companies these days, perk of being a blogger. I do back some of the Kickstarters I believe in the most though as they don’t have the resources to simply gift me a review copy. Some of the Kickstarters I’ve back recently have been Spirit of ’77, BattleBards, Of Dreams and Magic, Feng Shui 2, Karthun, & Fae Nightmares. I realize BattleBards isn’t preceisely an RPG but I like them enough to put them on the list.

AUGUST 6TH: MOST RECENT RPG PLAYED

I took a jaunt over to Illinois recently to hang out with some of my buddies over at the Gamerstable Podcast to… help with something I’m not at liberty to discuss. Anyway, I got to play Pathfinder for the first time. I played a ton of D&D 3.X back in the day so it wasn’t anything I found myself being “introduced to”, it’s the same game really. I did get to play Greyhawk for the first time ever though. It was a huge pleasure playing games with those folks, always a good time.

AUGUST 7TH: FAVORITE FREE RPG

OSH

Nothing has changed from last year, my favorite free RPG continues to be Old School Hack. A fantastic little pick up game with some great support on it’s website. An honorable mention does go out to FATE though. I need to dig into that a bit more.

AUGUST 8TH: FAVORITE APPEARANCE OF RPG’S IN THE MEDIA

I imagine this was meant to be “popular media” and I generally don’t care for how it’s portrayed honestly. I think Role-Play Gaming is just too personal a thing for me and any time I see someone trying to portray it they just get it wrong somehow. It can be the smallest quirk in how they decide to play and I’m out. I don’t get angry though, a poor portrayal isn’t going to ruin the game for me anyway.

AUGUST 9TH: FAVORITE MEDIA YOU WISH WAS AN RPG

Steven Universe

I kindof just let my brain leap to the first thing I’d love to play and I think I’d love an expanded world of Steven Universe to play around in. For those not familiar with the show I’d check it out. Has a great mix of comedy and an utterly intriguing world. Would be awesome to play a character as some form of Gem. I’d also love to play a crazed Rick and Morty RPG.

rick and morty

AUGUST 10TH: FAVORITE RPG PUBLISHER

I’d have to go with Pinnacle Entertainment Group. They make Savage Worlds and a number of the Campaign Settings I love from the rule-set. I’m also a huge fan of Privateer Press these days, I mean Iron Kingdoms and Unleashed are amazing.

AUGUST 11TH: FAVORITE RPG WRITER

This one’s tough but I’ll go with Keith Baker. The guy is just so friendly to fans and he made my favorite D&D setting of all time, Eberron.

AUGUST 12TH: FAVORITE RPG ILLUSTRATION

Currently I’m digging the bar fight from the cover of the Unleashed book.

unleashed bar fight

AUGUST 13TH: FAVORITE RPG PRODUCT

My most go-to RPG Product would be my dice I guess.

My three strongest sets of rollers!

My three strongest sets of rollers!

AUGUST 14TH: FAVORITE RPG ACCESSORY

I’ve always been really excited by the prospect of what the folks at Trapdoor Technologies keeps trying to bring us and they seem to have found their place lately with their app Playbook. It’s a soft launch of the product with more to come but go check it out!

AUGUST 15TH: LONGEST CAMPAIGN PLAYED

Back in high school our main DM Mike “The Meatfist” ran a D&D 3.5 game set in the Forgotten Realms that lasted years and took us from level 1 to level 18. Solidly long game. Wish we’d actually tied it up with a true ending.

AUGUST 16TH: LONGEST GAME SESSION PLAYED

Honestly this could be represented by any number of games I played back in college. There were times we’d start in the afternoon and leave the house with the sun peeking out for sunrise. I can’t name one single time that was the longest though.

AUGUST 17TH: FAVORITE FANTASY RPG

It’s Dungeons and Dragons, it will probably always be.

AUGUST 18TH: FAVORITE SF RPG

I love the concepts in Numenera, and would love to play it more, I just can’t run the game. I have a mind built for fantasy and Numenera is too weird for me there!

AUGUST 19TH: FAVORITE SUPERS RPG

Eh, never been a huge fan. Maybe I just need a GM who can introduce me to a game where I actually enjoy it.

AUGUST 20TH: FAVORITE HORROR RPG

Dread. I love the added thrill of the Jenga tower. I do need more exposure to other horror games though.

AUGUST 21ST: FAVORITE RPG SETTING

EBERRON!

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AUGUST 22ND: PERFECT GAMING ENVIRONMENT

With friends. Cheesy as Hell, but there it is. I do prefer an in person game to one over the net.

AUGUST 23RD: PERFECT GAME FOR YOU

One where everyone is involved with only slight distraction for cutting a few jokes. Plenty of role-play with characters that everyone wants to play, and interesting combat.

AUGUST 24TH: FAVORITE HOUSE RULE

Not worrying about stuff like arrows or food and water.

AUGUST 25TH: FAVORITE REVOLUTIONARY GAME MECHANIC

The 20 sided die.

AUGUST 26TH: FAVORITE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR GAME

Conversations with friends and colleagues. I love tapping into resources like The RPG Academy Network I’m a part of or The Vagabond Gamers G+ group I helped start. We are all gifted creatives and bouncing ideas off one another rocks.

AUGUST 27TH: FAVORITE IDEA FOR MERGING TWO GAMES INTO ONE

Can’t say I have tons of experience with this one but I do enjoy taking a gaming style from on area and making it work in Savage Worlds. For example when Gamerstable took Conan and used Savage Worlds to run it.

AUGUST 28TH: FAVORITE GAME YOU NO LONGER PLAY

My Eberron game from a few years back. Loved the players’ characters, my NPC’s, and where the story was headed. Sadly it fell apart. Non-Revivable.

AUGUST 29TH: FAVORITE RPG WEBSITE/BLOG

You mean other than Melvin Smif’s Geekery? I’m a huge fan of everyone in the RPG Academy Network, you should certainly check them out. Other than that I like The Angry GM‘s stuff, Gamerstable Podcast, Monkey in the Cage, and Dyvers.

AUGUST 30TH: FAVORITE RPG PLAYING CELEBRITY

Probably Steven Colbert. He wears it on his sleeve pretty heavily and I think the more you see that the more likely others are going to want to try the games.

AUGUST 31ST: FAVORITE NON-RPG THING TO COME OUT OF RPG’ING

Video Games. Without RPG’s most of the things people really dig in video games would have been less likely to ever show up. Hit Points, Experience, Levels. You can thank RPGs for that.


There you have it folks! Let me know some of you answers below! As an added note, I’ll have the winners of my contest posted by Friday September 11th! Don’t forget about the AcadeCon Kickstarter either! It’s winding down but there are still badges to pick up. Would love to see you there.

-Melvs.

Long, Long Ago I was Actually Excited for Star Wars Battlefront 3

My interest level can be summed up by the action portrayed in this media pic...

My interest level can be summed up by the action portrayed in this media pic…

I loved Star Wars Battlefront 2, still do. My friends and I have been known to fire it up on the older systems and give it a run to this day. So naturally I was excited when rumors started to trickle out regarding the production of a third addition to the franchise, but now I’m less than enthused. It seems EA Games, and the subsidiaries attached to the product don’t really get¬†what made the predecessor such a beloved game. Hell, this game looks like a step backward in so many ways I can’t help but wonder if it’s merely a cash grab.

EA is such an odd animal to me. On one hand the flagship and its subsidiaries can generate some truly great games. We’ve seen that recently¬†with games like Mass Effect, the Dragon Age series, and I’m a fan of what little Garden Warfare I’ve seen. However, more often¬†EA earns its reputation as a “ruiner”¬†of sequels and a largely blah game maker in general. We’ve got more than enough examples of that on hand in that regard. The more I hear about SWB3, the more I fear it is going to land in the latter category and it saddens me greatly.

There is a long list of things I’ve found troubling about the latest reveal for¬†the game. Mostly, it seems they are focusing almost exclusively on Player vs. Player multiplayer, and they aren’t even doing a great job with that! At this point we have been told there is a max player count of 40 players on the battlefield, presumably a 20 v 20 setup, and when asked if there were going to be any AI “bots” to supplement any missing players the response was “no comment”.¬†So it looks like if¬†you can’t get enough players you’ll have even fewer people fighting in what already feels more like a skirmish than a battle. It’s not like EA is incapable of more players either! Just look at Battlefield, they have a max limit of 64! Battlefront id supposed to highlight the¬†massive battles that¬†often went on behind the scenes in the beloved movie franchise but instead we’ve got some tidily¬†little throwdowns between two groups of 20 people.¬†Not to mention if you get to roll as one of the super powered “general” types (Vader, Boba Fett) you’ll probably dominate a measly force of twenty…

Space fights in a game about space fights? Forget it!

Space fights in a game about space fights? Forget it!

That’s just the start of the issues I’m seeing. We also have –

  • No indication there will be space battles, merely air/ground units planetside. The AT-AT walker shown somehow navigating Endor’s heavily forested terrain? Not player¬†driveable. (as a fun drinking game check out the @EAStarWars twitter handle and take a drink every time they respond to someone with “We’re focusing on air battles and dogfights that take place on the vistas of our planets rather than space“)
  • Only four playable planets
  • No single player campaign, just a couple of missions you and one other person can play
  • No Galactic Conquest mode…

The last two items bother me the most. Actually, no, the last item bothers me the absolute most. It is almost enough to get me to completely¬†ignore this game altogether.¬†For those not in the know Galactic Conquest was the best part of Star Wars Battlefront 2. There is no way to argue against that fact, so don’t bother. It is what my friends and I play when we pick it up nearly a decade after its launch. Essentially Galactic Conquest mode allowed you, or you and some friends, to play a “Risk-like” game against the computer or other players where you fight battles on planets and in space to gain footholds in the galaxy, obtaining perks that help you further dominate, and eventually conquering the galaxy. I can safely say that absent Galactic Conquest mode or something similar¬†SWB3 remains a shell of its former glory.

Granted the game isn’t even out yet so I can only base my interest level on what I’ve heard second-hand. What I’ve heard though has removed it from a “must have pre-order” to an “I may not even buy this game“. Honestly the game they are trying to get us excited about baffles me (for a sci-fi game called “Star Wars” you’re telling me we never even see space!?). The framework for how to make this game successful was already available for review. You take Star Wars Battlefront 2, you slap some fresh graphics on it, you add more maps and player options (not remove them), you ship it out. It was a task any rookie game developer could probably have handled but EA seems to have failed. I sincerely hope they allow people to mod this game. EA rarely impresses me, but this is just sad.

-Melvs

Keeping Destiny Weird

Destiny-Logo

I spend just about every word in this blog espousing my love and adoration for Tabletop Gaming but anyone who knows me outside of social media knows I’m every bit as enthusiastic about Video Games, and no other game has grabbed my attention in a long time¬†quite like Bungie’s first-person shoot em’ up MMO Destiny.¬† You may recall that on of my friends contributed an article on the game right around launch and sadly I wasn’t even playing it at the time.¬† It took until December for me to finally get in on the fun.¬† To date I’ve logged nearly 300 hours, have gotten three characters to level 31 (merely waiting for the right raid drops to get to 32), and have played every aspect of the game…many times over.

There are countless people chatting about this game on the net.¬† Players complaining about certain aspects of the game that are still funky, folks finding clever ways to “cheese” (a term to denote finding an unusual way to cheat the regular play) their way through levels, in-depth¬†reviews on weapons, farm locations, etc. etc. etc.¬† My personal favorite stories though?¬† Weird things people get away with that were likely never anticipated.

I think the fact that Destiny remains a somewhat small-scale MMO in regards to actual playable maps and missions¬†ends up fostering the desire to find new and creative ways to play the game.¬† My favorite things to hear about are the players that challenge themselves to complete¬†portions of the game in crazy ways¬†that were in all¬†likelihood were never considered to be something anyone would ever try to¬†do, or even possible to accomplish.¬† Thus, I’d like to showcase some of the best stories I’ve come across.

Gaurdians sitting

THAT GUY WHO KEEPS SOLOING THE HARDEST PVE RAID IN THE GAME

Destiny has more game beyond its main storyline than during and the toughest chunk of PvE¬†in this endgame content lies with its Raids.¬† The one I’m referencing here is titled Crota’s¬†End and the guy who soloed¬†it is a Youtube¬†user known as “The Legend Himself”, aptly named considering his achievements. Crota’s¬†end is no joke.¬† You start out in an area of almost solid darkness with small beacons of light you have to get to in order to continue onward as a “weight of darkness” constantly piles up slowing you down and removing your jumping ability.¬† All the while enemies known as Thralls harass you from the dark and try to slice you up.¬† The remainder of the Raid is no less difficult, actually more so.¬†¬†For example¬†when you get to parts like the Deathsinger¬†where you have a time limit to take her down before she just outright kills you, or the final fight where you can’t even hurt Crota without dropping his shield first to get a few shots in with a giant sword!

Solo Crota

Difficult enough for a team of six (the recommended number) but this guy did it solo.¬† I have watched the video he was kind enough to make and it’s just insane that he pulled it off but what’s even more insane?¬† He did it again when they finally added the Hard version of the Raid into the game.¬† I haven’t even been able to join a team that’s beaten “Hard Crota” yet and he soloed it.¬† Hats off to The Legend Himself!

 

SPEAKING OF CROTA, THESE GUYS BEAT IT WITHOUT GUNS

BUBBLES!

BUBBLES!

I laughed really hard when I heard about this because I immediately pictured how that did it.  I was right too.  One of the playable characters in the game is the Titan Class.  This class can switch between being a Defender and a Striker type and plays some really good support for the team all while also being the most heavily armored.  The main super ability of the Defender choice is a Bubble of force that players can hide beneath to stop incoming bullets.  It allows players and enemies to pass through the walls and thus would normally not provide any protection against those Thralls I mentioned above.  However, there is a piece of armor you can equip that will cause any enemy that passes through the Bubble to be temporarily blinded.

Using such techniques we witness this group crawl its way through the raid only meleeing enemies, using supers, and throwing grenades.  Not a single shot was fired.  Truly an incredible feat, not to mention hilarious.

 

FLY ME TO ATHEON

The other Raid available¬†in Destiny is called the Vault of Glass.¬† This¬†one features the mechanical yet biological¬†enemies known as the Vex.¬† It is also¬†well-known¬†for long drops, platform jumping, and¬†insta kill enemy dodging.¬† Needless to say it’s hard enough to get through this thing on your own two feet but these guys managed to fly one of¬†the game’s hover bikes (known as¬†a Sparrow) through the entire Vault of Glass Raid.

To get an idea of the feat that was accomplished here you need to understand how players utilize the Sparrow.¬† First you need to know that the Sparrow is summoned via some form of teleportation from your character’s ship but only in areas where such a thing is possible, so yeah you can summon it outside the Vault of Glass but once inside you’re out of luck.¬† Second, the Sparrow doesn’t just sit around if you jump off of it.¬† The thing will disappear¬†(presumably back to your ship?) in a matter of seconds after you dismount so they couldn’t just park the thing and return to it.¬† No, for the most part the player(s) riding the Sparrow needed to remain out of combat altogether.¬† Lastly the ways to lose your Sparrow otherwise are typical, it can be blown up, if you fall off one of the many cliffs it is also gone.

Seeing these guys dancing around the burning (nearly destroyed) Sparrow at the finale of the video was great to see!

Sparrow

OH THE CHEESE

cheese

Bungie¬†has put together a fun game and has certainly added in a lot of material to challenge us… so naturally players have learned how to exploit things so those challenges are minimized!¬† “Cheesing” something is the term players use to describe the exploits they’ve uncovered in-game that help them defeat certain portions without the actual effort of completing them the “right way”.¬† It boggles my mind how some of these things were ever figured out in the first place.¬† here are a few examples I’ve heard of, some I’ve even used myself.

  • Scaling the side of a cliff by jumping to tiny landing points in order to get on top of a building where mobs of enemies with eventually despawn because you are no longer on the map.
  • Ledges you can jump to under a portion of the map where nothing can harm you so two other players can finish off the main baddie while waiting to revive if they both go down.
  • Using in-game explosions to launch yourself to various parts of the game where either enemies can’t get to you or to clear a gorge where you were supposed to spawn a bridge.
  • Pulling out your LAN cable at precisely the right time so Crota freezes and you can take him out without worry (Heard this one was fixed though).
  • Hanging out in a side room reviving your fellows while they shoot at the main boss and go down over and over.¬† They don’t care, you’re off to the side where she can’t hit you!

Honestly, all of this makes me feel like there are three styles of play in this game; Player vs. Environment, Player vs. Player, and lastly Player vs Makers!  It seems every time Bungie chuckles at our cheesing and claims to have patched it a whole slew of new exploits appear.  I love it!

THE EXTRA LITTLE THINGS

Don’t believe me? Just watch.

The other day I landed in the tower (home base for all us Guardians) and what to my wondering eyes did appear?  Roughly ten Guardians surrounding one other guardian who was standing still (presumably away from their controller) dancing, squatting, pointing, waving, pushing that Guardian around.  It made me laugh rather louder than I intended to at nearly midnight, but damn was it funny.  I also learned how to kill myself by standing in water and shooting my foot from my good buddy Topher.

Shoot foot

I’ve gotten to do some wonderfully creative stunts myself playing this game, even if they aren’t of the caliber as those above.¬† There’s been a number of times I’ve taken out the enemy targeted by a Patrol Mission using only my Sparrow as a ramming instrument (my favorite was the Ogre I launched into from a high platform).¬† I enjoy grabbing the sword that a certain enemy drops and attacking the giant mechanized Spider that appears in the area known as “The Divide” on Earth.¬† My friend and I even managed to get the purple rubber ball found at the tower onto a roof where you could blow it into the air using a fan…maybe you need to be more familiar with the game to understand that last one.

Bottom line is this game is tons of fun, even when you aren’t playing it “by the book”.¬† It also shows that the player base might just be getting a bit antsy for more content.¬† I’m happy to report though that an update is coming down the pipe and I get the impression we will be seeing Destiny 2 sooner rather than later, just a hunch.¬† If there’s a story out there I missed let me know about it, or if you have something you or you and your friends pulled off I’d love to hear about it!¬† Here’s to good drops folks!

Sparrow-Surfin

-Melvs (Shout out to my Clan! Hey Dads Gaming!)

P.S. All this talk about playing Destiny by not playing Destiny has me remembering some fun things my friends and I pulled off in those older Bungie games, the Halo series.

We quickly tired of the standard multiplayer and decided to get creative with our own challenges.  A few of my favorites include:

  • Getting every vehicle (in Halo 1) on top of the bunkers in Blood Gultch using rockets and grenades.
  • Creating a Multiplayer game where we shot skeet by having people ramp Ghosts off the back of one Tank and trying to shoot them down with the other.
  • Creating a Team Deathmatch¬†Multiplayer game called “MechaWarZ” where we were only allowed to kill each other using vehicles to run them down.¬† No guns, no melee, no grenades.¬† If someone else was in a vehicle you had to flip them out of it!
    • One of my favorite ways to play, fully ruined by making it so you could destroy vehicles in later iterations of the game.
  • In whatever Halo first allowed the sword we created a Multiplayer game we called “Bat Leg Rounds” where we only used the sword and could only fight in a specific spot.¬† You had to run immediately to that spot and then try to keep it as long as possible.¬† Screaming “There can only be one!” constantly was encouraged.
  • Golf… Yes a buddy and I created a way to play golf where we… ok, this is kind of complicated.¬† There were four players, two teams.¬† Two guys were Red and two guys were Blue.¬† Then you pair off by making one Red guy the caddie for a Blue guy and vice versa.¬† What you needed to do was kill the other persons caddie. By game standards they were your teammate thus it gave you negative points.¬† However if you accidentally¬†killed the opposing golfer you’d naturally gain points off setting any negative points gained by killing their caddie.¬† Just like in golf, the person with the fewest points won!¬† This was more of a chance for my buddies and I to drive around Blood Gultch pretending it was a golf course…and yes we did this at like four in the morning…shut up.
We got a tank up on one too.

We got a tank up on one too.

Other than my¬†buddies attempting to get the Warthog as far into EVERY mission it was made available¬†in,¬†much further than it was meant to go I assure you, I can’t recall anything else for now.¬† Oh well, long Post Script for ya!