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Alan Stock

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    Games, Photography, Travelling, Films, Clubbing, Dog's bottoms.

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  1. Alan Stock

    Apex Legends - Battle Royale by Respawn Entertainment

    Yeah although there's a big demand for solos it doesn't interest me and I don't think the game is designed or balanced around it at its core. Sure it will work but you miss out on the rez mechanics, the team based abilities, and some Legends will be way better than others. Bangalore, Lifeline and Wraith in particular are very strong in 1v1 scenarios because of their abilities and small hit boxes. I'm also a bit concerned about the splitting of the userbase, though with so many players I guess it won't be a problem - after all Fortnite and PUBG had both and none of them seemed to suffer for it. For me though its the squad play and communication that make this game so fun, even in duos I feel like it would be diminished a bit. I think 4 man squads would need a bigger or more spread out map or encounters would just get too messy.
  2. Alan Stock

    Apex Legends - Battle Royale by Respawn Entertainment

    Yeah I was aware of the ping mute, the problem is that in a situation where your teammates are down, you don't really want to spend those few seconds hiding to go into your menu and do it especially when you know the enemy team is still about. A good solution could be that when you ping on the downed/dead guy and click confirm, that automatically stops their pings. You were saying about playing with a German/Portugeuse pair. This is the best shooter I've ever played where Europeans/Middle Easterners can actually communicate and do well as a team with not a word over voice comms. Its a massive step forward for the genre thanks to the communication. In this region the massive language differences have always been a problem in team-based games but not any more. I've had a ton of winning games where my teammates have been French, Spanish or Arabic speaking, yet because everyone's using the ping wheel properly we can pull off strategies we'd never manage without. Compare this to Overwatch where in competitive mode it's an absolute nightmare to co-ordinate because of the language barrier. I can't praise it enough for this, a shooter game that helps to bring nationalities together rather the default toxic/racist fest you get over chat.
  3. Yeah Fortnite is the best "game as service" out there, but it's a good point that they have this sandbox world to play around with. There's so much scope to pull off little narratives, in-game events and new game modes without having to mess too much with the game's simple core and world. What I think's very interesting is that rather than make a new map, they're just continually evolving the one they've got. No splitting of playerbase, everyone knows the map really well and it ensures all players are in the same place for any events etc you want to pull off. And yes Epic has so much money and manpower to throw at it, but you have to give them massive props for so quickly jumping onto this idea of frequent updates and events and making it work. As for AI generated content, in certain genres yeah I can see it happening. But as we've all learned from procedurally generated levels and missions, the lack of that personal touch can make a game feel soulless. Even in World of Warcraft which is a very grindy game, you could have AI generating the quests - but what keeps them interesting is the story wrapping that the writers put around those quests, and the environments the artists create for them. However Diablo, Spelunky and Dead Cells are examples of good procedurally generated levels/gameplay - and people spend hundreds of hours playing them. So for certain genres I think it can work.
  4. Alan Stock

    Resident Evil 2 Remake - no spoilers pls

    I wish there were more moments when Mr X shows up unexpectedly because once you learn his behaviour and what rooms are safe, he's more of a strategical consideration than a terror. When he does surprise you in pre-scripted moments it's brilliant, but I missed one of the best ones:
  5. Haha, I did watch that Anthem review and I didn't see anything egregious in it, but as it's quite scathing I can understand why Anthem fans hate him now. But then I went and read/watched a ton of other Anthem reviews and a lot of them have exactly the same complaints. Skill Up does a more in-depth analysis on why each thing doesn't work but he does so calmly and explains his reasoning. The other thing about Skill Up is you can tell he genuinely wants to give games a chance, he always points out the good stuff even in bad games and gives devs credit where it's due. Even if I don't always agree with him, I appreciate that he always puts a disclaimer that it's just his opinion and he doesn't think that people who like a game he hates are stupid.
  6. Jim's such a contradiction to watch. His points are great and he raises awareness of really important issues, and in his reviews he often hits the nail on the head. But then he'll go off on his rants, which is what his on-screen persona is all about, and labour his annoying jokes "FIRE BOBBY KOTIK". His manufactured bile and self-important style is really irritating. I just feel like if he ditched a lot of his schtick, made his videos a bit more balanced, and didn't justice warrior in every video, he would be way more entertaining. He proves he's intelligent and verbose, he can get across his ideas really well - its just the way he does it that grates. One Youtuber I discovered recently who does good critiques is Skill Up https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ7AeeVbyslLM_8-nVy2B8Q - he isn't afraid to point out the cynical and negative side of games he reviews, but he does so in a much more balanced and less ranty style than Jim.
  7. Alan Stock

    Apex Legends - Battle Royale by Respawn Entertainment

    My experience with randoms continues to be... random. For every game I get an idiot going off solo and dying, I get a game with a high level player who plays as a team and racks up the kills. I've added a bunch of new friends thanks to good randoms I've come across, some even using voice comms and not being arses about it. In general though if you have a buddy it makes the frustration of randoms way less because you know even if one player is an idiot the other one's got your back. My advice is if you don't have many friends playing, add any randoms who are half competant as a friend. A lot of the time they'll be only too happy to join you for the evening as they're in exactly the same boat as you! Last night a random we had on our team got downed in Skull Town and wouldn't stop spamming the revive button. I got over to him after tooling up, only for him to run off and get downed again, of course spamming the button. This time he got eliminated along with my teammate (a 'mukker) and even though he could see I needed to heal and find gear before I could go for the retrieve, wouldn't stop spamming that damned ping. I was clearly heading to get him but he didn't stop for over a minute and as his time ran out I thought, you know what, fuck it, you can stay dead you annoying little shit! And to his last seconds as I shot at his box and ran away to rez my teammate he didn't stop spamming that ping. Maybe he'll learn his lesson, but I doubt it.
  8. Alan Stock

    Overwatch - Bob!!!

    There's been a lot of discussion in the community about rather than role queue (which has as many problems as benefits), implementing a hero ban/protect system like they have in other competitive games. It's even been tested in competitions by people like Jayne (now coaching Dallas Fuel). They found that it helps to counter stuff like GOATS and introduce a fun metagame in outthinking your opponent and making teams adapt on the fly to what heroes they can pick. I'd love to see it. The way it works is you can choose 3 heroes to ban for the enemy team, but they can protect 3 from bans too. So you can still end up with GOATS style comps but they will end up being much more varied. Personally I think in the long run this could be the way to go, at least for the e-sports side of things. Still there are some fun aspects to the patch that the League is running - for example Bastion is getting used on defence in some maps to chew through the tanks (usually countered by Pharah + Tracer). Symettra even got her first true League appearance attacking on Kings Row point A, where the team used her teleporter to put the tanks on the opposite side of the point and gain positional advantage. We've also seen some single healer, quad DPS strategies which are great fun to watch, however if the other team switches to Winston as part of GOATS, they have to switch off the DPS as Winston is too good against them.
  9. Alan Stock

    Overwatch - Bob!!!

    Also the armour patch is live so maybe it'll be a bit easier to kill those Brigitte comps. In other news, Overwatch League season 2 started last week. A bunch of new teams and presenters freshened things up a bit. Unfortunately though it was quite boring to watch, as most teams are running GOATS (3 tanks 3 supports). It's a shitty meta for spectators as essentially its watching 2 teams just smash into each other with really long fights because they're so tanky. Blizz even tried to fix GOATS dominance with the recent Brig nerf, Reaper buff etc before the League, but it hasn't worked. There is the occasional map where some DPS comes out and then it's as fun as last season, but for now Blizzard needs to nerf GOATS fast or its going to be boring as hell.
  10. Alan Stock

    Apex Legends - Battle Royale by Respawn Entertainment

    Yep I got the same, gold Prowler last night in a high tier loot zone, complete with the select fire and all other attachments. I think you can get a gold version of any weapon, it's just really rare. The Prowler is quite a beast with the select fire but DO remember to turn on full auto once you pick up the hop up as it doesn't do it automatically! I wish the characters would say what type of hop up they are looking for, it only appears in the kill feed for a second. Whereas when you tag items on the ground they say "Skullpiecer here", "Select Fire here" etc. You get kinda sick of people pinging Skullpiecers for you when you're looking for a Turbocharger...
  11. Alan Stock

    Darkest Dungeon 2

    Apparently it's a new "metagame" according to them which is good news, as like you guys I bounced off the final dungeons. It was just too much of a grind to train up two or three squads at once to account for deaths, insanity etc. And then go through the process again and again when they got mullered. The first half of the game though I really enjoyed. They say the combat will be much the same with some new mechanics. I still think its one of the best "line up" RPG combat systems in the genre.
  12. Alan Stock

    Apex Legends - Battle Royale by Respawn Entertainment

    Yeah its this for me that keeps me playing. I was chatting with Kerraig about it and as you know he's not a big fan of Battle Royale. I do have some of the same reservations, it can be frustrating, there is an element of luck to loot and when you get third partied, it can feel kind of pointless when victories are far and few between, and tactics like camping can lead to success over skill. But what grabs me about this game is the depth of combat, Legends and tactics which you can keep learning and improving on - whether you win or lose. I'm not very good, especially at aiming in close range fights, but in other aspects I have really got better at, like game sense, using abilities wisely, getting to know the weapons and so on. When I get in a rut I just switch Legend and start learning again. And crucially at its core Apex's mechanics are just really fun and satisfying. Just getting around the map is fun via sliding, ziplines and balloons. The weapons feel great and each one has significantly different handling properties. Even when I do badly I don't often feel frustrated unlike any other Battle Royale I've played, unless I really potatoed. And then it's 30 seconds and you're into the next game. I watched Dr Disrespect playing Fortnite and Blackops 4 last night and they're so slow, empty and campy in comparison. Sure I think the honeymoon phase will pass but like Overwatch this has enough depth and immediacy to keep me coming back again and again. P.S. I found the top ranked console player on Twitch last night. 4600 kills. Fyi he plays PS4 with sensitivity 3/3. But Dizzy, the best PC player has racked up over 7000 kills now and regularly gets 20 kill games
  13. Alan Stock

    Apex Legends - Battle Royale by Respawn Entertainment

    Its definitely true in my case that I've been in more winning teams that played passively or defensively than aggressive. For example, if there's only a few teams left and you get to the circle early and get a good defensive position, that can often win you the game. The downside is it's boring because you have to wait for people to come to you. Playing to seek out combat is way better fun, I really enjoy battles in the Bunker, Hangars, Skull Town and AirBase for example where the action is close and intense.

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