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Tycho / 2 days ago

This, or something very close to it, really did happen.  It’s a brand that brings people together, forging a connection between them, even if they should be discussing the infection that is - even now - gnawing at the root of his lifespan.

The thing people always said about the first Division game was that enemies were “bullet sponges.”  This wasn’t a huge surprise to me.  No matter what the metaphor is, in this case one where players constitute an elite sleeper cell of extrajudicial murderers, when you reach higher levels there will be more elite enemies and those enemies will have more hit points.  Comically so, in challenging versions of the game’s content.  But it never affected my enjoyment of the game - I ran with two light machine guns sporting over a thousand rounds between them, and I was geared so that when I stowed one and drew the other it reloaded the one I’d put away, obviating the drawback of the weapon class.  Training that twin apparatus on elites was more or less my job, for as long as it took.  It didn’t break my suspension of belief because I never believed it to begin with.  I played for months and never had to charge my watch once - that bothered me.  There should be a place in the safehouse where you can charge your watch.

What they appear to have determined here is that the “bullet sponge” issue is largely a UI/perceptual issue, and they’ve tried to counter that by visually establishing when you’re hitting an area likely to soak up a ton of damage.  Once you’ve broken through big armor, there’s typically a visual cue coupled with the fact that they just… melt, after that.  You know how when you’re installing something on iOS and you’re staring at the bar and staring at the bar until it get close to the end and then finishes super fast?  It’s like that.  This stuff didn’t bother me before, but if it bothered you, that coupled with more robust weapon feedback might advocate on its behalf.

The only thing I haven’t enjoyed so far is the story, which is so thin that - were I inclined to be charitable - I would say “it was not a priority.”

Except… the original Division had a cool story, and they told it well, with firm characters who made sense and didn’t always agree.  These characters, the ones I have just described, were performed with expertise and I bought what they were selling.  They told asynchronous stories with their ECHO system that were, in some cases, exceedingly clever.  I found things at the end of missions I didn’t truly understand were missions in the first game, borderline magical shit, little blooms of light peeking up through the martial law.  I think I like this game better, and I know why I’m doing everything, but it’s such a striking deficiency here in the first half that it makes me want to wrassle on account of bein’ all fired up.  Looking at the roadmap, the story isn’t actually complete until much later, in content that arrives as a free update.  I’d like to say they’re keeping their powder dry, which has nice synchronicity as a wartime metaphor, but I’m not holding my breath.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / 4 days ago

Kirby’s Epic Yarn was cute and fun back in the day, that’s a game I played with a younger iteration of my daughter Ronia, and the Extra version is similar except that it also allows you to play the game while driven by the very whips of hell.

I’ve been in The Division 2 pretty much every night since it was came out, which for me was a little early because I bought one of the dumb versions.  I’m not proud of it but that’s where we are.  I bought the one that had some kind of pass or something and I was surprised to learn that I could play it a couple days early.  I’ve never been able to parse those charts they put out where they tell you what you get at different times, like, with the grid, and to be frank if I see a grid like this there’s a chance I might not buy it at all because it creates a little vibration somewhere in my consciousness that I resent.

I went in to look at the play button so that it would be grayed out, and instead, but it said Play instead.  Then I clicked it, assuming that it would not work, and instead I was playing The Division 2. Except it was already like eleven thirty at night so I made a dude I didn’t hate too much and got to a place I wouldn’t mind starting from the next day.

It’s going to be something we talk about a few times, so I’m only going to operate the introduction here - but it’s go no right being where it’s at right now at launch.  I think The Division is one of the most underrated games out there, bar none, and they spent the back half of the entire project giving people free content while - and this is key - figuring out a legible endgame experience for itself and the franchise going forward.  I think it’s good solo, bruisingly difficult but good, but the amount of enjoyment created by each additional teammate isn’t linear - every time you add another piece, it’s like adding another floor to a building.  It changes what’s possible.  It changes what you can see.

(CW)TB out.   

Tycho / 1 week ago

One of the the things I like about Games Workshop’s 40k shit is that one of the fundamental tenets of the grim darkness of the far future is that nobody understands how anything works.  Not really.  This doesn’t mean that they are ineffective, or that they constitute non-factors in the events that surround them.  Quite the contrary; it’s just that the range of expression available to human beings is very narrow.  Society has essentially been distilled into a weapon. It describes a culture where all of its points are in one thing.

I was talking to Ryan Hartman about this, he’s been playing The Division 2 with our friend Kris Straub nightly, and he’s expressed some incredulity about the state of Washington, D.C. only seven months after the Dollar Flu.  Except I think this is about right.  Set the lethality of the Green Poison aside for a minute, even though that’s a crucial factor is this kind of breakdown.  The way it works now is that the lives we have are made possible by hours upon hours upon hours of other people’s invisible, functionally elfin labor.  I have one or two useful skills, but virtually all of them require electricity.  I buy, at a fundamental level, the idea that entropy has things to teach us about the baseline and it can offer this instruction with terrifying swiftness.  The game is functionality about reclaiming an urban ruin; the environment is doing it too, but trying to reclaim a society where the trash isn’t higher than your head is one of the things happening here.

PAX East is fast approaching, and with it a spring basket of exclusive merchandise.   

If I said there was a place where an atomized workforce toils without worker protections in sound isolated chambers they themselves pay for, their only task being to make commercials for consumer products, you’d tell me that was Cyberpunk As Hell and I would say that’s actually just regular Twitch.  I’m here to do my part:  I’ll be digging into the fascinatingly meta Baba Is You from 2 to 4pm PDT this very afternoon.  Gabriel succumbed to what can only be called a “Viral Hit” that involved a lot of shivering and sweating, so I sent him home.  That means that I - and a creature of my choosing - will jump on our stream and try to make our way in a game where the rules are physical objects you manipulate in order to find success.  See you then.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

Shirt(s)

Wow!  Huge refresh on the AI shirts, with custom character art by Gabe, plus some real inside baseball at the end for the true connoisseur.  I’ll have you know I spelled that correctly the first time.



















Fly, you fools!

(CW)TB

Tycho / 1 week ago

Gabe’s “Brightgrave” campaign continues apace, revelations have been… revealed, and he literally had a point where something big happened and the Title came up.  This is some pretty meta shit: it required describing, as an object inside the shared hallucination of the game world, a word materializing and then hanging in the air.

I think “cheeky” is the term.  But I absorb the after-action reports with rapt attention; he’s killing it in there.

I lost myself quite easily in The Division 2 last night, caught in a kind of loop where I explored, earned resources, claimed territory, and then supported the claimed territory with resources.  Gabriel tried to get into the Division, both of them, and even though he gets it and I think respects the games themselves as “mechanical devices whose purpose is the generation of amusement” it’s not something he can invest himself in long term and it doesn’t have much to do with whether or not it’s “fun” or “good.”

People use the term “Power Fantasy” without much care for its granularity, which is to say, they misuse it.  What manifests such a fantasy for Gabriel isn’t the same as it is for me.  He already feels capable, so he doesn’t need the device to reinforce that.  He wants to look cool, which can be correlated with Capability but isn’t synonymous.  Success for me in a game, “power” to deploy the crudest possible nomenclature, is a sense that I am capable.  Maybe I’m saying too much here.  For me, the functional garb, buckles, clips, and above all pragmatism of Division gear - which leans into techwear fetishism and high-utility, purposeful design as you get into Gear Sets - that works for me.  I love my Warlock, don’t get me wrong - love, rapidly accelerating toward like-like - but that Fallen-themed Bond I’m wearing would pierce my heart if I tripped.  I would die several times over.  My Ghost would have to take a break.  There isn’t a carabiner to be seen.

In The Division, I look like I’m ready for some real shit or I just got done with some real shit.  That works for me.

We have three new shirts coming out today, all sharing a kind of Acquisitions Incorporated: “C” Theme, if you will, appropriate because this is Wednesday which is the day Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team runs.  Specifically, it runs at 4pm PDT on Twitch and Amy‘s back so yay.

(CW)TB out.   




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