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Alan Stock

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

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  1. Got 2 lobby errors last night pushing my login time to about 4 hours. One poor FC member went from 1 place left in queue back down to 7000 thanks to a lobby error! Another FC member says that if you reconnect fast enough after a lobby error you can regain your place in the queue. Anyway, things really pick up after the first dungeon and there's some awesome moments in the following hours. Very much hooked now and can't wait to see where things go. Up to level 83.
  2. Well that's good to hear, I was really worried about them having to cram everything into so few episodes for the final season. Incidentally I had no idea it was coming so soon, they sure seemed to pump it out very quickly, but then with less episodes I guess it was always going to be faster.
  3. Skill-Up's a good reviewer but he is a self professed Destiny addict, so his opinions on new Halo are bound to be shaped by that. I found Destiny's story and premise to be entirely uninteresting. Halo's always had a rubbish overarching story as well, though some good events within the story like the Flood, ODST and bits of Reach spring to mind. To call giving the Covenenant English voices and politics exciting is blasphemous indeed though. I absolutely hated that, in an instant it destroyed any mystery or fear factor about the Covenant. Then they did the same thing with the Flood. Its like taking the Queen from Aliens and having her chat with a load of other Queens about politics (in English) as the introduction to a new film. Oh yeah, that was kind of the Prometheus films. I accept that its hard to introduce a layered story when your basic premise is just marines vs aliens. But don't un-alienify (real word) your aliens!
  4. Are all these reviews for the single player alone, or including multiplayer? We all know the multiplayer's great already so I'm more interested in the campaign (I know the Eurogamer one is campaign only).
  5. That music video is sick! So how does crit build work? Stacking critical damage chance? What weapons does it work well with? I've not touched any of those related skill trees.
  6. I was on PS5 when I got that error last night (Pungee), but yeah that one instance aside the connection and queues have been stable for me on PS5.
  7. Managed to get in around midnight last night, and stayed up till 4am. Got to the first dungeon and because of the time got an instaqueue which was nice, even though my eyes were drooping by then! Its definitely a very slow start to the MSQ, maybe 6-8 hours of world building and exploration rather than much high drama. But I have been happy to just sit back and relax doing it late at night. Since previous expansions I have learned to just take it slow and not get frustrated waiting for big plot stuff/combat to happen, athough I think some people will definitely be put off by this slow start (even relative to past expansions there is very little combat on the main track so far). Looks like things are picking up now pacing-wise though. The first dungeon has some great boss fights and is another example of layering on difficulty for veteran players, which is challenging but refreshing. Its nice for once to not be overlevelled for MSQ content and although me and the randoms didn't wipe, we came close a few times, especially on the last boss. Of course people are trying out the new jobs, our Sage was definitely struggling a bit! One thing I've noticed in settlements is that there is even more variation in NPC ambient behaviour, there's loads of little actions the townsfolk do rather than just stand still, which helps make the places feel a bit more authentic. Like kids talking in a group and running off together, or people coming out of buildings hauling supplies, or pushing trolleys. Dont miss the sightseeing questgiver in the first area, if thats your jam!
  8. Got the lobby error after reaching the end of queue, through 5500 people and 2.5 hours waiting, grrr. Trying again now, it's midnight and the queue is down to 1500 and moving faster. If only Covid hadn't stopped them getting new servers, hopefully this won't put newcomers off the game but it's definitely not a great look. And this is the pre-order version, I wonder how bad it will get when the game's released on the 7th - though presumably the majority of regular players will have pre-ordered.
  9. Took me 3 and a half hours in queue but got there in the end. Pretty chilled so far, similar to Heavensward early pacing. Seen two of the new environments which are really nice, chilled music, plenty of character work. New NPC stuff helps it feel more immersive. Cutscenes have stepped up a little in quality again with more subtleties to facial animation and more with camera angles rather than people just standing around stiff in the non voice acted ones. I like the story that's being set up so far. It's a slow pace especially with the route I took, but I was anticipating that and am all for it, after all we know they usually pay off all the legwork. An enjoyable time so far with characters we like and nice locations to enjoy. Late evening the queues apparently dropped dramatically so if you are a night owl that's when t hop in. Not looking forward to dungeons though, people in Shout chat were warning the queues are insane especially for DPS. There is a serious shortage of tanks and the new jobs are healer and dps. One guy said his mate took him ten hours in queue for the first dungeon! If its that bad, hopefully the Trust system will be up and running so at least we won't be gated by multiplayer restrictions.
  10. Wow those last batches are a lot harder! Guesses:
  11. Are these being generated off the games themselves or what? Anyway, love it. My guesses:
  12. Thanks, yeah I think I will continue deliberately metering out my truck/upgrade progress if that's the case. I read online that the better tyres trivialise most surfaces so I'll probably hold back on them a bit. I've been taking an approach of just using my offroad truck for the things only that can do, and still rolling out the starter trucks for easier tasks to keep up a challenge level. From what I've read half the fun is seeing how the different trucks perform so I'm going to stick to that philosophy, trying them all out. I've been holding off on winch upgrades and the scout auto-winch because I feel they will make the game much easier (plus they are expensive). Also not abusing the economy and just selling things to get the good trucks. I guess eventually I will have to sell stuff as you get so little money overall, but for now I'm doing alright without.
  13. So I've put a fair amount of time into this since the last post. Some general impressions: I'm still really enjoying it for the most part. The environments are lovely, the lighting is superb with the times of day and the terrain feels both convincing and detailed. There is a wonderful sense of isolation, of being out in nature. Sun beams shining through the forest, mist banks over swamps, the trickle of a stream cutting through a snowy hillside. It takes me back to being a kid, when my parents would take us for long walks in the countryside, in forests littered with big rutted tracks left by heavy vehicles and on rocky hillsides. Or when I used to do orienteering in primary school, a sport which is often set in logging forests. I think the devs have done an amazing job with the level design here. Every single route over these huge maps is full of little challenges and big ones. Mud pools, tree roots, awkward track cadences, rivers cutting through the road, deep snow, berms, rocks. Its a masterclass in gameplay design. Then add to this the big variation in vehicles and their strengths and weaknesses, changing your approach to each route. A heavy vehicle or load might might mean you just sink into the mud at that one spot instead of crusing through. I recently bought the heavy crane but it turns vehicles into giant tipping hazards, where deep ruts or roads with a horizontal incline can mean failure in an instant. Then consider the different tasks you have to do on these levels. Last session I had to pull a long oil tank trailer through a series of narrow forest roads. It not only had a wide turning circle and was heavy, but its length meant I could end up stranded between rises in the road, the cabs wheels spinning fruitlessly in midair. I couldn't tackle steep inclines because the trailer stopped the cab from going at too steep an angle relative to the trailer. It completely changed how I had to approach a route I'd already mastered with normal loads. Its just excellent design that gets a lot of reuse out of the same environment - but the maps are also huge. I've still only access to 4 out of 12 maps and that is scary considering how much time I've put into it so far, I can't wait to see what challenges lie ahead. In terms of difficulty/frustration, yes, its been hard and sometimes very hard, but I do really enjoy the challenge and satisfaction in it. I find doing repeated routes tedious, which can be especially galling if you fail 20 minutes into a run and have to repeat sections you have already done. Hence, sometimes the game is best played as a chillout game with a podcast or Youtube on in the background. Once I unlocked road routes in Michigan I found there were too many missions making me take very long routes between places I had already been where I could use vehicles and routes I could breeze through. I found the economy to be punishing as well, although I did read online that you should just sell the starting vehicles, having invested so much into them I didn't want to just sell them and make the game too easy by buying some OP truck too soon. So I did the grind and realised I needed to get out in my Scouts more. That was the key to progression, finding more vehicles to add to your garage by using the Scouts, as well as uncovering more side missions to unlock cash and XP, finding more upgrades. Now I am in a fairly comfortable spot and have finally moved beyond the starting vehicles with my first Offroad truck (the Blue Royal) and a bunch of upgrades for my starter fleet making them at least useable in some offroad situations. So overall I'm still really into this, the progression system is excellent and although the mission structure is very poorly visualised and fiddly, I like how it slowly develops the regions and introduces you to new ones. I guess the one thing I'm afraid of is that these newer trucks will trivialise the game, however after some extended time in Russia it seems I may be wrong. Yes, mud is pretty trivial now, but this truck is very easy to roll over in this uneven terrain, and I'm still running into lots of very devious and nasty obstacles, like proper rivers in the way, roads sloping towards sheer drops, horrible surfaces and so on. Then add stuff like heavy cranes onto your rig and it becomes a ticking time bomb just waiting for a slightly misjudged bit of momentum to send you rolling over. I've been having a lot of masochistic fun in trying to rescue trucks from these failures using other trucks. So far only a few of these missions have ended in success, usually I just end up stranding the rescue truck in exactly the same way, or somehow make things even worse. But its fun! If I get time, in the next post I will summarise my adventures and explorations to date. I've done a lot and learned a lot. Whats amazing is that I'm still scratching the surface, with 8 levels still to unlock and a huge fleet of trucks left to buy.
  14. Really enjoyed that first episode. The main positive is the humour and the gaming content is good. Rab is a quality successor as the host and gets to do some of that Consolevania comedy, I wasn't sure if he would translate well to a more family friendly format but he definitely proved me wong. Trevor is a genius pick and gets some quality lines. Challenges were fun and fortunately the show doesn't waste time overexplaining the games and trusts in the audience that they know their stuff. Self awareness was judged just right. Interviews and audience participation were a bit cringe but that's part of the package. I liked the side content as well. Overall quite impressed and will happily mop up the rest of these.
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