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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

    Dead by Daylight (free on PSN this month)

    Yeah I was playing with friends this weekend, and on console we couldn't figure out a way to stay together after matches either. It's a baffling design choice. I've been playing it a lot this week and I'm surprised it's holding my attention. Once you start getting to know the killers and the tactics and start unlocking perks the game has a lot of depth for what it is. As you rank up the other player's are better as well, so you start to get into strategies and mind-games. I started watching some Youtube videos and I can see now why it has such a following through streaming. Aside from being entertaining, once players have unlocked a lot of perks they can do builds which have very different playstyles. The Killers play very differently as well, your whole approach in a game will change depending on the killer you're up against. I had a lot of fun as the Hag the other day, who can lay traps on the ground - if people trigger them you can teleport immediately to that location - it's a brilliant fun mechanic as you suddenly pop up in the middle of them and they run around in panic! It's definitely one of those games where the more you play it, the more you get out of it. At its core its a simple idea, but I'm having a lot of fun digging into its nuances and clever ideas. It's also full of great "player stories" with memorable moments. Like last night it was just me and one other survivor left, and I rescued her from the hook (eventual death) twice, risking my own life as the killer was camping the hook. She eventually got downed again which meant certain death, but instead of giving up and quitting, she deliberately distracted the killer for long enough that I managed to escape. Or a game where all the survivors reached the exit. I ran out but the others stayed to taunt the killer when he arrived (Michael Myers). He stared them down as they toyed with him, at any time they could have made it to the exit alive. But during this time he was building up his stalking meter, making his attacks more powerful. He played their little game, threatening but not bothering to chase them. But then one came too close and bam - he knifed her with his now powered-up attack and downed her immediately. The others tried to taunt him away but now he toyed with them, waiting till the last second to pick her up and hook her. They had to give up and run away. They got a taste of their own medicine, I was laughing the whole time. It's the mind-games and mixture of altruism and idiots that make this game so much more interesting than a shooter.
  2. Played a few hours last night. First impressions: looks good, combat feels nice and meaty, lots going on at once, and can be punishing. I beat two elite enemies (mini bosses), though more through the build I had rather than skill. I'm quite enjoying it and it seems like there's a lot of depth and variety. I wouldn't say its grabbed me, but I can guess once the areas open up a bit and you have more choices its better fun. Not a big fan of so many attack buttons either, its a bit overwhelming. I've never been a big combat buff for this kind of game and the exploration/playforming is uninteresting so far. But I know its early days so I'm willing to give it a proper stab.
  3. I can't find a thread so I'm making one. Dead by Daylight came out free for PSN subscribers this week so I decided to try it - and I've been having a blast. It's pretty great. If any rllmukers want to team up this weekend for some jolly surviving/killing, let me know. Anyway, here's an overview and my first impressions: I was surprised to find that what started out as a kinda fun-looking - but janky - PC Youtuber favourite has come a very long way. Two years of constant updates and refinements have left the game polished and with loads of hidden depth. Dead by Daylight is an "asymmetrical multiplayer survival horror" game, where one player plays as a classic horror movie Killer (for example Freddy Kruger or Shape from Halloween), who hunts the 4 other players; the Survivors. It's all presented in a horror movie style with the appropriate music when you are in a chase sequence, lots of tension, creepy arenas, and of course gruesome deaths. The survivors have to evade the killer whilst starting up 5 generators around the arena. Then they can open exit gates and escape to freedom. Survivors are fast and agile, and have a 3rd person camera for better awareness. They have to be careful and sneaky - they are very vulnerable and can only get hit twice by the Killer before being downed, then they're are at the killer's mercy. Survivors can work alone or help each other out. Different Survivors have different traits and equipment to suit your playstyle. The Killer is invincible and stalks the players, putting them on meathooks around the arena if he downs them. There they will eventually die, unless they are rescued by other survivors. There are a bunch of Killers to choose from, some of which are paid DLC characters (like the licensed horror movie villains). They range from simple, like the Hillbillie Texas chainsaw massacre guy - to the brainier, like the Doctor who sends Survivors mad over time. The Killer uses a first person camera and each Killer has their own special skills, such as bear traps or turning invisible. Killers can hear wounded survivors, and track their movements by red scratches during chases - making them deadly efficient at hunting their prey. Both survivors and the killer get points at the end of each game, so even if the killer doesn't stop all the survivors, that's ok - likewise if you die as the survivor but make a good stab at it, you still get rewarded. The scoring system encourages you to roleplay your role - so killers get points for chasing, hitting, hooking, damaging stuff. Survivors get points for hiding, losing the killer in chases, helping fellow survivors, and so on. So first impressions are, it's really fun - and hard. For such a simple concept, there's a suprising amount of depth. Aside from the basic mechanics, there are a host of survivor and killer characters to get to grips with. Each have their own perks and equipment you can upgrade and customise between rounds. Maps are procedurally generated, with generators, exits and cover changing position. Different killers have their own strengths and weaknesses. Survivors can tip killers off to their position by disturbing birds, or failing skill checks whilst fixing generators. In chases, survivors can pull down pallets and slow down the killer for a second or two, hop through a window to gain time, or hide in a cupboard. Fog in the map varies depending on what player items are used. It goes on and on. Being a survivor is pretty terrifying at first - sneaking around, running for your life, desperately trying to fix generators whilst constantly checking your back. When the killer finds you, the horror music pumps up and you run for your life, trying to lose them (Killers get faster over time in each chase so you'd better lose 'em fast!). Hard decisions have to be made with strategy and heroics - do you try to rescue a hooked teammate when the Killer is nearby, patrolling the hook? Or sacrifice your buddy to get more generator progress? Maybe you could distract the killer to let a teammate run in and make the save instead? Friends can group in matchmaking and play as a team of survivors against a random killer - or a full group of mates with one as the killer for belly laughs. Being a killer can be like living the horror movie dream - where you ruthlessly stalk down your prey - outrunning them, outthinking them, taunting them when you catch them. Or it can be a bit of a nightmare, as experienced survivors run circles around you - as you struggle to get to grips with each killers move-set and limitations. When it works, it feels badass - and in balanced games it's really fun to be the killer, just catching that pesky survivor before he makes the exit, or leaving one lying wounded on the ground and using him as bait - then jumping his friend when they arrive. The other day there was one survivor left and the exit was open. I patrolled around, hoping to catch her as she ran for it. But no sign of her. I kept hearing noises nearby using my Killer senses, but couldn't locate it. Then I had a flash of inspiration and checked a cupboard meters from the exit - she had been cowering there the whole time waiting for me to move away and hunt for her! It's these sort of moments that make the game so fun. As a survivor, outwitting, outrunning and friendly comradery mixed with tension make it compelling (even more so with friends I imagine). As a killer, the empowerment - but combined with the knowledge that whilst you spend time chasing one lousy survivor, who knows what mischief all his mates are up to? Anyway, I think you get the idea. It's a lot of fun once you get the hang of the basics, and there's tons of Youtube tips videos and stuff if you're struggling. Best of all it's a cool concept that's very different (if you discount Friday the 13th), along with a lot of depth and variety. If any mukkers want to have some silly weekend antics let me know. Interested to hear what your impressions are, as I'm sure a lot of you have grabbed it off PSN now.
  4. Alan Stock

    Episodic gaming: Has it worked?

    I think Telltale's proven that episode gaming's worked. If it didn't, Telltale would have stopped publishing in that format years ago. They're the episodic veterans and as long as they keep pumping out good quality narratives that sell, I doubt they'll change. I bet they still make a lot of money from selling seasons of their older games too. Publishers quickly moved away from making bigger budget single-player games episodic when they realised the issue of player/sales dropoff (as someone listed above). Telltale manage it because their games are "low tech" and in all honesty very basic at their core gameplay-wise, so running dev costs aren't as high. They also have relied on popular existing brands which should guarantee at least some sales to kick things off. And because their games are story-led you can get away with that. Hitman's the only big non-narrative game I can think of that's been successful, I guess due to its open-ended gameplay, and the dev team carefully creating it with episodic content in mind from day 1. The OP talked about The Wolf Among Us and how so few people completed it. It's worth bearing in mind that The Wolf Among Us game is old now, and very cheap to buy as a season. I'm sure a lot more people were finishing it when it was still episodic. As for sales drop-off for later episodes in general, in all honesty with games that keep tech and only slight design variations between episodes it's not a big deal. As long as you have budgeted for your company properly you should have some breathing room, and dropoff should have been factored into your budget from the start. You probably need to budget for the first few episodes selling X amount, which then bankrolls the rest of development. Alternitavely you go to a publisher and convince them it will sell, and they'll bankroll you throughout. There is an advantage in that approach because it guarantees the game will be finished, the publisher can then reap the rewards of selling a whole season in a bundle. Final point. Episodic gaming in single player may be rare, but look online and actually there's a lot of games which follow the format without you neccessarily realising. GTA Online, Rocket League, Fortnite, Fifa, Overwatch, Call of Duty. They all run some variation on seasons/episodes or regular expansions. Some of those "episodes" you buy outright, like in GTA Online or COD. Others are funded by microtransactions (Fortnite, Rocket League). And some games just made so much money already that their developers can continue to produce regular content until interest in the game dies down, with micortransactions as a nice little booster in the meantime. So look to online games and stuff like Telltale and you can see that episodic gaming isn't a bad idea, it's just really hard to get right and it only works for certain genres and development models.
  5. Alan Stock

    Subnautica - Ver 1.0 Out Now

    Getting the Cylops is one of the best moments in the game and opens it up massively, I implore you to return! In other Subnautica news, they are working on an arctic-themed expansion, although we don't know when it's coming out. Presumably it will be new biomes added onto the game, rather than a standalone separate experience.
  6. The Monokubs do grow on you, they have some brilliant skits and the way they bounce off Monokuma can be pretty funny. Yes the character roster is definitely kinda weak in this one, with some really annoying ones. There are a few gems though - I can't really get into my favourites without spoilers as it could give away who dies early on. PS curious to know how you felt after case 1 is over. Its pretty mad!
  7. Wooooo, Captain Jean Luc Picard! Even if it's crap, Patrick Stewart can surely elevate it to half decent through just by himself. Plus I bet he is influential enough to alter scripts etc in order to make it hopefully not shit this time. This had better be the theme song:
  8. Alan Stock

    Overwatch - Hamster Ball

    Rialto is the best for this, the amount of Hammonds that I see at the start immediately swinging into the canals - plop!
  9. Alan Stock

    Overwatch - Hamster Ball

    I've found Sym on my teams to be either totally useless or really good. Sneaky Syms who teleport Bastions or laser turrets behind you can really catch you off-guard. Sometimes I pick Widow as a Sym counter - but if the Sym knows you're there she can right click at you - then you can't actually see to shoot her because there are these giant balls in your face (sorry/not sorry). I'm a bit torn with Hammond. Sometimes it feels like I'm throwing when I play him. It's really hard to do decent damage unless you get a real good piledriver or drop a minefield in a tight space on the enemy team. Usually I play him mostly for disruption - to break up teams when they're trying to push, or roll through the back lines and distract their healers. Like you say, it's all about getting in to knock people about, pop the shields and zoom off again before you die. Rinse and repeat. He is a great laugh though.
  10. The first time I actually made it down onto the branch, after about 8 tries, in my panic I walked a step backwards off the branch - and fell off. I laughed and cried at the same time
  11. Alan Stock

    Overwatch - Hamster Ball

    So Wrecking Ball aka Hammond is a lot of fun. You're zooming around and swinging hither and thither, bashing into people and doing hit and run attacks. You don't do too much damage so he's more of a disruption/dive hero than a killing machine. He plays a lot like Winston, you smash into the enemy team or deny an area you're swinging around in. You take loads of damage as you're so big so you pop shields and then use that to run away and get healed up. Hammond needs healers really badly but fortunately they seem to be in good supply these days. Lots of Ana and Mercy on console at the moment. Hammond gets wrecked by heroes like Hanzo, Mcree and especially Sombra. Unless you have good support you might as well switch off. Hes also difficult to control, and on console I've had a lot of problems replicating the kinds of moves you see Pc players doing. Minefield is great, especially if you pop it in the middle of a fight in a tight space, it wrecks. Mcree and Soldier are good again with that latest patch as falloff damage has been increased. So right now the meta is in a pretty good spot where you're seeing all kinds of heroes which counter each other. Having a blast with the game right now.
  12. Alan Stock

    Critical Role - The new campaign

    Interesting, so now I'm curious what kind of check/roll he is making. And how he establishes a baseline pass number before modifiers come into play. So in "normal" D+D how does it work if it's "easier" (I've never played D+D, purely know about the rules based off Critical Role.
  13. Alan Stock

    Overwatch - Hamster Ball

    Hammond the Hamster ball is Live in the new patch today! Patch notes: https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/news/patch-notes/pc#patch-49154 Also be sure to check out the Overwatch League semi-finals on Twitch/overwatch league website. Philly vs New York is especially gripping.
  14. Alan Stock

    Critical Role - The new campaign

    No shit, no wonder her voice sounded familiar! Cheers
  15. Alan Stock

    Critical Role - The new campaign

    Episode 26 and campaign 1 spoilers

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