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Tycho / 1 week ago

My feed is jam-packed with amateur, yet still somehow amazing Spider-Man photography.  Technically, I do own it.  It’s one of about three PlayStation 4 discs I own.  It came with the Pro when I upgraded, but I upgraded for Destiny 2, so the box still has plastic on it.  Hopefully his hands and feet will remain sticky until I have a chance to get back in there.

I’ve been able to pry Gabe out of it for rounds of Gambit usually, especially once I showed him the Ancient Apocalypse set, but he must have gotten to a good part or something because he is now too unavailable to tell me he’s unavailable.

We had a chance to check out the Call of Duty: Very Long Name beta, the one for their Battle Royale contender Blackout, and it’s fucking great.  This doesn’t look like a first outing at all.  The map is plump, the vehicles are executed with precision, and underneath all that is the speed and feel that keeps the game selling tens of millions of copies even when you know exactly what you’re getting - even if, arguably, you have owned it many times before.  This is a brutal competitor in this context, borne of world class expertise heaped atop world class expertise.  It’s a Voltron made out of Voltrons.

The last time I got heavily into The Division, I spent a lot of time wondering how you could incorporate the RPG fundamentals that drive its progression inside a essentially stateless, start-from-zero framework in the service of its own BR-adjacent outing.  Blackout does something I thought might function there, and I think it really does: you pick up perks as “items” that function for a limited time.  It completely works.  It also has whacked out surprises like small incursions of the Zombies mode inside the rest of the serious shell.

Kiko came in to our office later and sheepishly asked if he could play a round.  Yes, Kiko.  Watching you play shooters is like watching Itzhak Perlman do his thing.  There will never be a time where I don’t want to see you pulverize strangers online and I cherish these blessed moments, each of which is a tiny, stirring egg in the nest that is my heart.

It was a near thing, but Amy… I mean Walnut was able to escape Hawaii before any hurricane related unpleasantness, and Kate…. I mean Rosie’s Wednesday thing got moved to another day, so we’ve got the whole crew in for tonight’s presumptively breathtaking episode of Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team.  Starts up at 4pm PDT tonight on on the Twitcher, come hang out.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I was there when the miracle happened.  Indeed: I was the vessel that carried it.

I told you on Friday that I can’t be trusted with motes.  Let me tell you what I can be trusted with: robbing motherfuckers.

Now, I should say that I think anyone would be capable of this particular feat with my build.  I think a sufficiently enthusiastic branch could manage it.  I play as a Stormcaller Warlock, which you might have heard referred to as Tickle Fingers.  I’m essentially a young, spry version of the Emperor from Star Wars.  They move really fast, the ult creates a shockwave on use, and then anything in a wide cone dies while arcing deadly lightning to their doomed fellows.  I invade the opposing team, sneak up as quietly as I can, and then:

1. Eat them while they’re fighting mobs to destroy their hard-won motes in the early game.  The most I’ve ever destroyed in this way, in one invasion, is thirty.

2. Kill them in the endgame to feed their Primeval, the boss they must kill to win.  Wiping an enemy team under these circumstances is practically a reset.

We understand that dads have been lonely in our absence - too lonely.  To this end, we have assembled a crack team of dad fuckers we’re calling “Dadfuckerz, Inc.” expressly to form lasting, romantic bonds that bloom into all-you-can-eat erotic buffets.  We’ve got a classic configuration for you today: Joshua Price as an older, wiser Tommy No-Chill, Ryan Hartman as Tommy’s modern incarnation “Sex Goku,” and myself as everybody else.  At 12 the Design Team is gonna get some horror games underway, and we’ll be on to go nuts on a dad at 2pm PDT on Twitch.

(CW)TB out.

Gabe / 2 weeks ago

Dear Australia,

Dear Australia, I am very sorry but I will not be at your PAX this year. You might remember that I had to cut my trip short last year due to my anxiety. I wrote a big post about it at the time and apologized for the inconvenience. You can still read it right here and it’s all still very true.

I am very fortunate to have the job I do. Traveling has always been the most difficult aspect of it for me though and as much as I love PAX, I am much happier away from big crowds. The flight to Aus and the reality of being so GD far from home…as my friend Amy would say, “it’s a lot.”

Just like every other time I’ve talked about anxiety on this page I have no doubt that you all will be very understanding. I’ve spent the last twenty years meeting gamers from all over the world and I have to say, being shy and worried all the time is pretty common for our people. There is a very good chance that I will be “appearing” at the show via the magic of technology. I know it’s not the same but as being there in person but this way I can answer your questions and not wear pants. 

Honestly, I feel very badly that I can’t be there in person. I can tell you that my family is itching to visit Australia and having them with me would be a huge comfort. Next time I am down there I’ll have the entire Krahulik crew with me. Trust me, you would much rather meet happy/chill Mike instead of nervous/diarrhea Mike.

-Gabe out

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

Most of the levels I’ve gained since the Forsaken expansion are from Gambit.  It’s early days for the mode, which is the part I like generally for new systems, where the continents have not yet cooled and it’s possible to succeed with great communication as opposed to Raid-like mechanical rigor.

I came around to Crucible in D2, and I may be completely alone in thinking that four players per side makes for a far more legible, more skill based, less swingy battle.  But that’s not what I’m here to talk about - I only mention it because it is very, very distinct from the rest of the Destiny experience.  Gambit marries what you might call Real Destiny with multiplayer combat in what I’m prepared to call a “genuinely new idea.”  You don’t even see the opposing team during the round.  Except sometimes.  Read on.

You might say that Gambit features a liiiiitle bit of MOBA genetics, insofar as the mobs you crush in your personal round are like Creeps.  But where creeps are a resource - source of currency and experience that informs the overall round arc, and thus must be apportioned to individuals for maximum benefit - the individual mobs here can and should be murdered by anybody.  What’s important is that you bank the little goodies they drop, called motes, in your bank at the center.  Ultimately, you want to get seventy five of them in there.  That’s what releases the Primeval, something like a Boss.  If you kill it, you win the game.

Here’s where it gets kinda whacked out.  When someone deposits five, ten, or fifteen motes at once - a dangerous risk/reward strategy - it not only closes the opponent’s bank, but also creates a “blocker” mob on their side.  The bank doesn’t open again until they leave.

At twenty-five, fifty, and seventy-five motes collected, a portal flares up on your side and one of your teammates can go attack the other team.  So imagine a situation where you have blocked them, and they’re all running around trying to kill blockers, but they’re plump with motes they have nowhere to put.  Imagine how devastating a successful invasion would be here and, and just take a moment to vibrate at this frequency.

In the strategy we employ, I don’t touch motes unless I do it on accident - I use scout and sniper rifles to generate motes, and it’s my job to clear blockers so that when Gabe comes back with fifteen motes stuffed into his cheeks he has some place to put them.  Also I got a bunch of motes once and what I learned was that I can’t be trusted with motes.

Interesting competitive games often feature “catch-up mechanics,” and creating catch-up mechanics that don’t have a rose emoji, sorta “redistribution of wealth” texture to them is tough.  Gambit has two of them nested within a kind of Noble Helix that allow for ridiculously tense rounds.  The first is that once a team has reached seventy-five motes and summoned their Primeval, they’re no longer sending blockers to the other side.  They don’t even generate motes.  That means if you can accelerate collection, you can do so unimpeded.

The second is that when you send an Invader to the other side while the enemy is fighting its Primeval, every time you down one of them their fucking Primeval eats their soul and heals itself.  Like, a lot.  So a timely excursion while your allies are getting your own Primeval on the field can buy you a ton of time.  Maybe, possibly, hopefully, enough time.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

I don’t know if he actually brought it home or not.  I do know that he is a different person when he’s wearing it.  There’s something about him raising up his left hand to tuck back an errant hair that is so out of place it doesn’t even get filed like extra stimuli; it just coats the top of my brain unabsorbed.

  I have lots of memories that are still condensing out of the show; one that I think is particularly fascinating is that even though so, so many games are there and so, so many people are there, and these two abstract entities commingle in a variety of scenarios, the only game I have heard anyone say anything about is Untitled Goose Game.

It’s a hundred percent.  I know for a fact there were other games - for example, I checked out The Division 2, Artifact, Falcon Age by my friend Eka, all kinds of shit.  Multiple floors of games were on display.  No!  There was a single game there if you ask most people and it is a game about a malevolent goose.

I’m fucking exhausted, I’ll tell you that much.  I don’t close the tag on a PAX until we’ve honored the Enforcers at the afterparty, which was just last night.  They delivered the best convention there is, again.  I’m back on my bullshit though!  Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team is back, at 4:00pm PDT on our Twitch channel.  Join us as our stalwart heroes try to secure a valuable, imperious “Wildcard License” from their loathsome nemeses.

(CW)TB out.

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