Ah, The Ol’ Redirect

So since I got this PC, I’ve also upgraded to Windows 10 and with it, have gained the function to record the last 30 seconds of my gameplay and save it as a video file. As somebody who loves sharing their gaming moments, this is like crack to me. Initially, I simply uploaded the videos as 30 second soundless gifs to my Twitter whenever I wanted to share something, but Twitter is an unreliable snowflake and this would often take many attempts to upload without crashing.

After a quick bit of problem solving, I commandeered an old, abandoned Youtube channel of mine and repurposed it. If you want to see gaming clips from yours truly, head on over to this channel and have a gander. I must stress, however, that the context for these clips will usually be in an accompanying tweet, and subscribing to the channel on its own might not yield enjoyment. So if you’re interested, maybe look at my Twitter instead.


Well, that wasn’t much of a blog post.

Okay, so the issue is that since last week, all I’ve been playing is more WoW and Saints Row, so I really don’t have anything to talk about. Like, at all. So I must apologise for the lack of a proper gaming blog post this week. This is usually the easier of the two blogs to write for!

Speaking of two blogs, I did write a bonus blog post this morning, if you’re interested in that. Here is a linkeroo.

This time next week, the new World of Warcraft expansion will have been out for two whole days. Assuming that the launch has gone well, you’ll likely be hearing about it, so just a head’s up if that’s not your cup of tea! I might try to fit in a bonus blog post about another game sometime in the next 2 weeks, lest this blog become scarce of content.

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Murder Time, Fun Time! (Saints Row 3 and 4)

Default Male Voice 1 is the most charismatic and likeable mass murderer I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing in a videogame. Whereas some series, like GTA, strive to make the characters likeable during cutscenes and dialogue, this often fails to represent their actions when you play as them in the game world. The Boss of the Saints / President of the United States is a casual mass-murderer and he knows it, and yet radiates none of the painful insane vibes that other games which go for the character realism tone do. Saints Row is a videogame. It knows it, you know it, and so we can all go about our business and enjoy the characters we play as and with. And honestly, the characters in these two games are one of the main reasons I love to play them so much.

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No, no, we can’t be having that!

I’ve played through all of Saints Row 3 on PS3, and around half of Saints Row 4 there, too, but when I got my new PC I was finally able to play them on my favoured platform (for I’d already bought them on a laptop that, it turned out, couldn’t run them.) There aren’t many games nowadays that I can sit and play for hours on end, but Saints Row 3 is one of them, and it was with much enjoyment and merely a few long sessions of gaming that I completed, for the third time, the story of Saints Row 3. I also got to play the DLC for the first time ever; Gangstas in Space was very enjoyable and probably my favourite, whilst The Trouble With Clones was fun and Genkibowl VII fell surprisingly short of expectations, perhaps because it lacked the (albeit ridiculous) narrative I strive for.

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So like… where’s my front bumper gone?

I debated completion, but that one challenge to taunt 50 gang members (and thus get a gang wanted level and have to clear it 50 separate times) before completely taking over the city somewhat put me off. And besides, I’d already completed all city takeover gameplay once, on the PS3. Without further ado, then, I hopped on to Saints Row 4, where the story fully embraces the absurd direction it was taking in its prequel and introduces aliens into the mix, as well as turning your character into the President of the United States… with superpowers. A lot of people didn’t like the direction that Saints Row 4 took, particularly due to it revisiting the same open world as the previous game, but I personally enjoy the shit out of it and think that your powers open up new elements of the map and how you interact with it. It’s one of the best superhero games going, and I’ll never turn down a sci-fi comedy. As with its predecessor, I can play Saints Row 4 for hours on end, and personally prefer the city takeover gameplay in this title.

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Ah… it’s good to be the President.

I also own Gat Out of Hell, and I’ll surely be giving that a go when I’ve completed Saints Row 4. I remember seeing a developer preview of the title and while it certainly looks different, I’m sure I’ll enjoy playing it all the same, even if I will miss playing as Default Male Voice 1. Erm… I mean, as the President of the United States.

 

Finally, Content! Sweet, Delicious, Content! (World of Warcraft: Legion Pre-Patch)

I know that I originally said that if I wrote about the pre-patch, it’d probably be as a bonus blog post… but I’ve not played much else since they released Demon Hunters, Invasions and the Broken Shore scenario yesterday. So without further ado…

The first thing I did yesterday morning after jumping out of bed and forcing myself into some state of a presentable human being was hop on WoW and make my Demon Hunter. I’d settled on the name of my Demon Hunter months ago, and had reserved it, even though the chances were highly unlikely that anyone else would go for the same name.

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I later changed his tattoo colour to green, as it clashed too much with the green-themed armour. I chose blue hair as a callback to my very first character made in 08!

Virizard, then, charged onto the front lines of Mardum and started chopping demons apart without hesitation. Having read the ‘Illidan’ novel prior to the release of Demon Hunters (which goes over their origins and their general state of affairs), I found the DH starting zone an absolute delight. The plot felt substantial, the characters believable, and the scenery… well, it was reminiscent of Outland in the best of ways. I cannot wait to return here for our Class Order Hall in Legion.

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Shit’s in space, yo. (Well… The Twisting Nether, which is essentially space-hell.)

The actual gameplay of the Demon Hunters themselves is wholeheartedly refreshing. (Keep in mind I’ve only played Havoc, the DPS spec.) Sure, you’ve got the base rotation of an attack which builds up your resource, an attack which spends it, and all sorts of bits and bobs between. But you’ve also got Fel Rush, Eyebeam and Blade Dance, turning you into a lithe, bouncing, beaming bastard of bloody murder. And then there’s Metamorphosis which turns you into purple Satan. The simple inclusion of double-jump and gliding is not only a useful utility in PvE and PvP situations, but is also a fun time-waster; I’ve spent many hours already parkouring around the rooftops of Stormwind, Darnassus and other major cities whilst waiting in a queue.

But there’s more than Demon Hunters in the pre-patch. Besides the initial pre-patch’s updates to every class specialisation’s abilities and rotations, yesterday’s update gave us Invasions and the Broken Shore, giving us some relevant content with which to test out our new abilities on. Both the Demon Hunter starting zone and the Broken Shore scenario lead into Invasions, so I won’t be giving any spoilers despite discussing them first. The Broken Shore scenario was an exciting narrative introduction to Legion, with the Alliance and Horde leading an assault on the portal which has allowed these demons to enter our world. As has not been a secret, we get royally messed up, and the performances from the voice actors were, erm, horrifying… but in a good way! You also get a pretty sweet weapon at the end of it, so that’s nice.

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This safari got ugly quickly! And I’m not just talking about the Orcs.

Invasions are excellent. Zones such as Dun Morogh, Westfall, Hillsbrad Foothills, Azshara, Northern Barrens and Tanaris are being assaulted by more than a couple of big angry demons, and through defending these bastions of wonderfully re-purposed twelve-year old content you get Nethershards. There’s plenty to be bought with Nethershards, such as an (admittedly rubbish) pet, four sets of transmog, some armour and, if you’re a Demon Hunter, your Invasion weapon. Each class has a unique Invasion weapon, which will only be obtainable (for use and for transmog) during this event. There’s also a few Feat of Strength achievements up for grabs, which I’ve already nabbed for posterity.

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This one hit like a truck. A, erm, horned, hoofed, fel-infused truck.

And there’s plenty more! The Dark Whispers event is periodically turning people insane in Stormwind, Dalaran has inconspicuously appeared above Karazhan (probably so the residents can play card games), and there will apparently be Legion prologue quests that are released episodically in the weeks leading up to the expansion! This is in addition to the treasure trove of narrative content that Blizzard has already released in the weeks leading up to the pre-patch, such as comics, a video series, and a fantastic audio drama, all with unique plot points and keen topics of discussion.

All in all, it’s a good month to be a WoW player.

This Beautiful Beast

Picture, if you will, a child, of say, eleven years old, flicking through gaming magazines and seeing the hype surrounding the Playstation 3 before its release. Here was a games console that had unparalleled power when compared to its predecessor. Here was a games console that looked like it belonged to me. And yet, we didn’t exactly have the most money to spend on gaming consoles as a family, and it wasn’t until I was eighteen that I finally acquired the now almost outdated console of my childhood dreams.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly wasn’t ungrateful, and I loved the thing. But a few months later I picked up a laptop with decent specs for university (and Minecraft), and accidentally fell off of console gaming entirely. Now, being a laptop, it didn’t quite have the processing power necessary to fuel modern-day triple-A titles, and I often ran into walls where I’d purchase a game, and be unable to run it. This was before the newly revamped Steam refunds that actually allow you to return a game for such reasons. So when my laptop started running into severe issues a few months ago, I considered more and more the viability of taking the plunge and investing in a proper gaming PC that could do everything I wanted to do.

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And it looks pretty sweet, too! I keep it on my desk for fear of cat sabotage. The thing beneath my keyboard prevents rattling that echoes downstairs.

 

Well, I play a lot of World of Warcraft, and I can run that on its highest (and most recently updated) ultra settings and reach 100fps whilst idling in Stormwind, so that’s one box checked. Of more noteworthiness (oh hey, that’s actually a word), I can run DOOM (2016) on High and achieve a safe 60fps. DOOM came free with my monitor, an unplanned but necessary purchase to be made after my TV turned out to function about as well as a monitor as the sun does for treating faulty eyesight. DOOM was on my newly formed wishlist anyway, though, and whilst I’ve only completed the first three missions so far, I can already confirm that shooting armies of demons with my explosive fucking shotgun makes me as giddy as a ten-year old vampire when it snows blood on Christmas day.

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The fact that I can easily glance in through here and see the innards is somewhat unsettling!

One of my other instinctual installations was Saints Row: The Third. I’ve played it and its sequel on PS3 before, and had previously bought the game on Steam during a sale when it was dirt cheap. My reasoning was that I wanted to go achievement hunting on the only gaming platform that I actually cared about. When my laptop tried to run the game on its lowest settings, it farted, fell over and wept. Now, Saints Row: The Third isn’t exactly a newer game, so I can run it with ease… but I’m just happy that I’m now able to play the damn game without resorting to plugging in and setting up my PS3. Plus, 1080p + 60fps is simply a nicer gaming experience.

Returning to the subject of the monitor, I have to say that 1920×1080 took a little getting used to. It’s not that the text is small or unreadable (which would be somewhat alarming given the amount of pixels now in a single size 11 letter), but that I’m not used to seeing so much web page on the screen at once. It’s a little beautiful. When I launched WoW for the first time on this monitor, I was first pleased with the minimal space that the UI took up, but eventually resorted to scaling the UI up in the settings for a little ease of use… and maybe a little homesickness. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not huge, or to the same scale that it appeared on my previous 1366×768 resolution, but it feels more comfortable this way.

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The default size of my WoW UI before rescaling.

I’m currently tasked with suppressing the desire to leap on everybody who says hello to me and telling them all about this PC. It’s a little pricey (to the point that I felt the need to justify my purchasing decision at the start of this blog post), and not everybody is as lucky as I am when it comes to material possessions. I most certainly will not be taking this machine for granted, and I honestly doubt that I’ll ever make such a purchasing decision again, or at least not very often in my life. But some people go out drinking, or buy a car, and some people fly abroad and chill in the Bahamas or wherever. Well, this is my equivalent. And I am loving every moment of it.

UPDATE: So I missed the most important part. The specs:

Intel Core I5 4460 3.2Ghz Quad Core Processor, NVIDIA GTX 960 2GB DDR5 Graphics Card, 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM and a 240gb SSD. I still need to buy a bigger hard drive but I’m shit out of money, go figure.