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Has Days Gone come to an end?

I finished the main story of Days Gone in the very early morning hours of this morning after having stayed awake all night playing the game to avoid the serious levels of stress that I have been feeling lately and I have to say that I am not at all dissapointed by this game.

The game was not quite your usual run-n-gun zombie shooter type of a video game.Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of run-n-gun happening, especially if like me you are unfortunate enough to be trying to outrun a hoard on your bike when you hit a stray tree and crash your ride. There is serious levels of running, downing a makeshift energy drink, then running some more all while shooting what you can when you can and, if you have to, swinging your supped up Loiusville Slugger at as many heads as you can until your staminia will let you run some more. It’s not easy to outrun a hoard that is intent on making you their afternoon snack, but I have managed it more than a few times for various “oh shit, RUN!” situations.

The story is over, for now, but I am hoping that I can pre-order Days Gone 2 when it is made. I know, I know, no proof yet that there will be a second game, but man do I hope there is. This game was exactly what I’ve thought for years that video games should be- an interactive action adventure movie.

Back in the day (yeah, I’m old) the Resident Evil game caught my attention with an introduction that was video footage. Other games merged movies and games to various levels of success, but they all seemed to run into various issues. Mostly it was the technology was not advanced enough to blend video footage with gameplay. Hard to take a 32-bit character and make them look realistic enough to blend film footage with player controlled gameplay.

With todays advances in the computer field and home entertainment hitting its stride, however, I can see a future where we are sitting watching a movie and can pick up the controller and make our own decisions on what the hero will be doing. There would, of course, still be a directorial control on the overall story, but imagine if you would the possibilities.

We had novels in the 1980’s that were Choose Your Own Adventure books, paperback novels that had a brief scene that ended in several choices. You picked a choice on what to do, then turned to the page indicated to continue on your adventure. I recall some adventures ending in a rather gruesome death, and keeping track of where I had come from with a finger while I “peeked through each door before me before deciding which to open”. I was adicted to choose your own adventure novels when I was in my teens.

AsI got older I got more into video games and found games like Final Fantasy and the open exploration gave me a freedom that other games like Centipede and Asteroids just … lacked. I wanted to have what I did matter in my games. I wanted to experience the story, not just play a mindless shooter.

Advance the years a bit more (not too far, I’m not that old… well, I am, but – just take it easy on the exact number of years we’re talking, okay?), advance the time a bit and we started getting games like Dragon Age. I can not easily express how much I fell in love with Dragon Age when I first played it. The ability not only to shape the game’s outcome but to shape how the other characters reacted to my character. It was, and still is, an amazing experience for me.

I can see a future where games are loosly guided movies that can be played out to one of several endings. Games like Dishonored have already brought us to that level of entertainment, and as I said Dragon Age and Mass Effect have given us not just multiple endings, but actual real world changes on how our companions in the game react to our decisions. 3D and advances in the power of computers used for home gaming has given us films like Final Fantasy’s Kings Glave, and some breathtaking cutscenes, but we are advancing more and more toward a level of realism in games that will one day, (and I hope I live to enjoy it), games that look like a live action movie or TV show, but where the player can control the story.

Imagine tuning in to your favorite series one day and taking control of your favorite characer for a few hours. I’m not talking about something like the 2009 movie Gamer, where game players controlled real people. No, I am talking realistic 3D characters in a game, but one with an underlaying story to it that we can opt to simply sit back and enjoy watching for a couple of hours, or we can take control of characters to try our own hand at the fight scenes and driving around.

Days Gone did a wonderful job in blending a movie with a video game, and I am only sad that I had not been able to pre-order this wonderful game like I had planned back when I had first heard about it.

My hope for Days Gone is that we get a worthy sequel or a continuing experience in the game world. Games such as Final Fantasy XIV have shown that it is possible to just keep adding new areas and expanding on a base game with releases of content and a new area added every year or so. To be able to play through Days Gone and open up an option to drive out to Nevada and see what’s going on in Reno, then head back to Oregon… and what about California? There was a lot of talk about that area in the game. Portland had something serious happen to it, serious enough rumors were the place had been nuked, but the characters in Days Gone note that they would have seen the cloud if that had happened. Something happened, and I would love to go see what.

Hell, I would love to just keep drifting around enjoying the game. I’ve intentionally left a few remote maurauder groups just so I don’t wipe them out and stop having random encounters with the groups.

This has gone on longer than I had planned it to, so I will wrap it up with just saying that no, Days Gone has not come to an end. I have watched the movie embedded within the game, but I am hopeful that there will be much more to the movie soon and will be pre-ordering Days Gone 2 as soon as I am able to. Until then, I’ll be drifting and doing hit and run attacks on hoards as I try to make this small part of Oregon safer for the few humans left in it.

In closing, my wish list for Days Gone:

  • I want more NPC interactivity – I want my choices to have an impact on how the NPCs react toward my character.
  • I want a customizable community where I can rebuild things like I did in Fallout 4, build defenses against the hoards and raiders with real environmental control over clearing out junk and building new structures.
  • I want a crafting station where I can opt to stash junk and materials to actually have Deacon make his gear rather than just “poof he has a baseball bat with a saw blade in it.” It would also be cool to have Boozer messing around at a work station creating things rather than just “they’re in the box” pickups of things I never see him working on. Maybe I drop off items and tell Boozer what I want and come back later on to pick up the items? I know that sounds tedious to most of you, but I would kind of like the emersion option, so let player make the choice of slow build by Boozer or “instant weapon” that we have now?
  • Abilty for Decon to sit in a chair when I want, not just in cutscenes. I’d like to have had Decon sit in a chair by Boozer at a few points, but such things are not an option. Maybe it’s my childhood of playing with dolls, but I like to sit my characters in a chair when I am going afk, or have them sit down to eat when I leave the game to grab food for myself.
  • And speaking of food – I know this will be unpopular with a lot of people, but I would like the food to matter. Resource management for food and safe water and reliable electricity would make for so much more to do in the game. Allow those who despise that sort of thing to shut it off maybe, but I’d kind of like to have to stop and make sure that Decon’s had food and something to drink so his health is not impacted. Keep camps supplied to avoid them being attacked. Red Dead Redemption 2 did a good job with the “must eat and dress properly” mechanics, and The Division 2 did a good job on managing resources for checkpoints.

I know I am asking for a lot in one game, hopefully Bend Studio can find a way to let us add various elements to the base game, mods made by Bend Studio sort of thing? Just something that would allow for the base game to be reshaped a bit for survival, resource management, custom settlements, and NPC interactions.

What do you think? What did you think of Days Gone and what would you like to see in a sequal or expansions? Where do you think video games are headed in the future? Please, leave comments with your thoughts and opinions (no spoilers please) and as always, enjoy the game whatever game you’re playing.

Days Gone: Survivor Options [spoiler warning]

So, in Days Gone there are survivors that can be found hiding in cars and apparently ones that have been captured by bad guys. There are options for where you can send these survivors and after sending a few to one or the other of the two places I have unlocked as camps I decided I should look more into the options. I’m not sure I like either of these camps to be honest. The leader of one is an asshole and the leader of the other is borderline slave driver for a reason I can not make sense of yet.

So, I decided to look a bit more into things. Spoilers ahead!

It seems like there really is no difference on where the survivors are sent, it just changes how frindly the camp is and how many goodies I can buy for my bike or as weapons. One camp focuses on weapons, the other on my bike, and the third (which I have not yet found) focuses on both.

I had been concerned I might be strengthening one or the other to fight the other camp, but it looks, in the little I have poked about, like it has no long-term game effect other than the parts and weapons I can buy. I’ll keep going and sending them to whichever camp has what I need at the moment (bike upgrades for now), then I’ll see what happens later on and let you know if I discover that the game does have hidden consequences I am not yet aware of for where to send them.

Days Gone combat mechanics

I finally got the playable portion of Days Gone downloaded and I am thrilled at the game’s combat, so much so that after getting into a couple of fights I actually semi-acted out the moves as I was explaining the fight mechanics to my nephew.

I’ve come to determine that the people who have said that the game has hard mechanics are the kind who like to just tap one button and shoot the enemy, maybe aim and shoot… but if you want a really nice comprehensive fight style where you need to think about the combat and use several buttons to alternate attack types and dodge and free yourself from holds when grabbed – you’ll like this game’s fight mechanics. I am absolutely loving it, even if I am fumbling a bit as I learn the combat and commit it to muscle memory.

Oh, and as for the people who complained you can’t save – you can save, you just can’t save during a mission. I’ve had no issues with the save feature for this game, or the quicksave when I am by my bike.

So glad I bought it and can’t wait for the whole game to finish downloading.

Days Gone, is it worth buying?

I’ve decided to treat myself to a new game, and since my nephew just got Red Dead Redemption 2 for us both, I have decided that I am going to pick up another game that has had my attention for some time now. Days Gone.

The first reaction I got about the game when I told my nephew I was going to get it was a warning that I should not buy it. It has looked like a good one to me back when it came out, so I was confused on why the warning. He said he’d just heard a lot of complaints about it having bad controls and such. Well, it was on sale and I am not one to fully trust what I am told about if I would enjoy a game compared to others enjoyment of it, so I looked more into it.

The reviews at Amazon were not good. Lots of complaints about the game being too tough, not having save points, being hard to understand the fight mechanics… it sounded tough. Well, I’ve beat Jake’s campaign on No Hope in Resident Evil 6 just for the fun of the challenge, so I see no issue with hard combat mechanics – especially when part of my interest was in the fact the game was more stealth survival than combat from what I had seen.

So, I went ahead and picked it up and we’ll see how I like it.

Final Fantasy Ishgard Restoration Progress Report

On Friday Balmung became the first server to finish the Mendicant’s Court restoration phase of the Ishgard restoration project in Square Enix’s popular online game Final Fantasy XIV.

Below is a listing of the completed projects, in order of completion, as of
10:00 am, Alaska time zone (-9 GMT), November 16, 2019:
(Note: Timestamps are for the Alaska timezone -9 GMT)
(NA) = North American
(J) = Japan
(E) = European
#. World (Data Center) (Server) (time of competion)

  1. Balmung (NA) (Crystal) (11/15/2019 12:31 am)
  2. Tonberry (J) (Elemenal) (11/15/2019 12:07 pm)
  3. Shinryu (J) (Mana) (11/15/2019 5:00 pm)
  4. Hades (J) (Mana) (11/15/2019 5:10 pm)
  5. Mandragora (J) (Mana) (11/15/2019 6:00 pm)
  6. Anima (J) (Mana) (11/15/2019 7:54 pm)
  7. Cactaur (NA) (Aether) (11/15/2019 9:17 pm)
  8. Odin (E) (Light) (11/15/2019 10:48 pm)
  9. Gilgamesh (NA) (Aether) (11/15/2019 11:00 pm)
  10. Shiva (E) (Light) (11/15/2019 11:25 pm)
  11. Garuda (J) (Elemental) (11/15/2019 11:53 pm)
  12. Bahamut (J) (Gaia) (11/16/2019 12:32 am)
  13. Fenrir (J) (Gaia) (11/16/2019 12:37 am)
  14. Alexander (J) (Gaia) (11/16/2019 12:39 am)
  15. Cerberus (E) (Chaos) (11/16/2019 3:20 am)
  16. Carbuncle (J) (Elemental) (11/16/2019 3:29 am)
  17. Ragnarock (E) (Chaos) (11/16/2019 4:13 am)
  18. Mataeus (NA) (Crystal) (11/16/2019 4:44 am)
  19. Leviathan (NA) (Primal) (11/16/2019 5:06 am)
  20. Titan (J) (Mana) (11/16/2019 5:18 am)
  21. Chocobo (J) (Mana) (11/16/2019 5:33 am)
  22. Ixion (J) (Mana) (11/16/2019 5:36 am)
  23. Excalibur (NA) (Primal) (11/16/2019 7:18 am)
  24. Gungnir (J) (Elemental) (11/16/2019 7:28 am)
  25. Belias (J) (Mana) (11/16/2019 7:47 am)
  26. Ultros (NA) (Primal) (11/16/2019 8:17 am)
  27. Pandaemonium (J) (Mana) (11/16/2019 9:27 am)

41 worlds have not yet been listed as completed as of this posting.

Balmung World First in Final Fantasy XIV Ishgard Restoration

In the 1987 movie The Princess Bride there is a standoff between the hero and one of the villians, Vizzini, where the villian sits across from the hero, Westley, and tells him:

“You’ve fallen for one of the two classic blunders! The first being never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly lesser known: never go in against a cicelean when DEATH is on the line!”

Last night, I paraphrased that quote as I called out:

“I’d just like to note that we did better in the challenge than Vizzini, and… Never go up against a Balmungian when HOUSING is on the line!

Housing is not stated as one of the rewards for the rebuilding of the firmanment, but there is a strong hope that drives man workers that a residential district in Ishguard might be a hidden end result of the reconstruction effort.

The stated rewards are awesome, particularly the new lean emote and the new workers outfit. And those who strive to work on the rebuilding and to earn the rewards get the added perk of gaining levels on their gatherers and crafters. So, whatever the end result of the reconstruction progress it is a wonderful addition to the game and one that I am proud to have participated in and been present for the final stage of the reconstruction of Mendicant’s Court.

As I write this the feelings of acomplishment are strong for the workers of Balmung that achieved world first on completion of the project’s first stage. Way to go, Balmung! Let’s keep this achievement up and prove to everyone that you don’t go up against a Balmungian when HOUSING is on the line.

Tips on Writing a Fantasy Adventure Story

Someone asked for suggestions for writing a fantasy adventure novel, which is part of my chosen genre; I write fantasy thrillers with high levels of drama and adventure.

Things I try to keep in mind while I am writing:

1. Magic needs to remain consistent and have a purpose. Decide what limitations your magic has and stick to those limitations, do not break your magical laws just to avoid having to think of a non-magical solution to your story problems. Also, make sure that the magic can in some way be important to solving story problems. There is no reason to have magic if it never benefits the story. Also, consider how magic will impact the adventure: If the hero can fly, then a chasm in the path is no obsticle – not unless dragons live in it and will fly up to eat anyone flying over it.

2. The story is about the adventure the character is on, not about the boring stuff that the characer has to do to get to the adventure. Leave out boring stuff like the character waking up unless they are in a wayside inn and wake to the sound of enemy troops searching the inn for them. Shorten travel times by indicating a long journey – look how far the Hobbits traveled in Tolkien’s stories, not every mile needs explained.

3. Consider religious and political things and how they might impact the adventure. Is the character needing to go onto forbidden grounds that the king or local religious group has forbidden anyone to go to? Does the characer have connections in high places that allow them to call on the king’s troops for help when needed?

4. DO NOT build your whole world before you start writing it. You can spend years building the world and never use 99% of it. Build the world as you go, then add details to it when you revise your novel. I built a wonderfully detailed port city once, mapped out the streets and many buildings I thought I would need, even started making it in Blender (3D program)… then when I started to write I discovered my city is too high above the ocean to have a port. That map is on my wall now as a reminder to write the story THEN build the world.

If you have any questions please, ask in the comments and I will do my best to help you find the answers you need. Also, please feel free to leave your own suggestions on writing fantasy adventure in the comments, I would love to hear what you think and what you enjoy to read in the fantasy adventure genre.

Getting used to Bifocals

I remember when I was a kid, my dad complained about having got a new pair of glasses that were a bifocal prescription. At the time I though I had understood the irritation that he was experiencing as he tried to get used to he new alernating focus of his glasses, but there is a level of annoyance that one just can not really undersand without having actually experienced it.

It seems simple enough- look though the upper part of the glasses when looking at something in the distance, and through the bottom part of the lense when looking at closer objects.

They sort of forget to mention that there is a band in the middle of the vision that is always blurry as your eyes track back and forth across it. It is this band, I think, that causes the issues such as headaches, balance issues, and what people define as objects ‘jumping’. I noticed right away that the new glasses were making walking more difficult, particularly in situations where I had to navigate steps or look down to step over something.

I’ve overcome that literal obsticle by just… not looking. I don’t look at the path for any longer than it takes to see where my foot is going, then I just navigate the obsticle.

The headaches are the harder thing to overcome, but according to what I have read will stop being an issue with time and adjustment to the way bifocals work.

Web MD suggests building up a tollerance by wearing the bifocals for a few hours each morning, not moving my head or eyes when reading, and looking sttraight ahead when walking. For now I am just trying to limit how much I switch between the two focal types until I am more used to how the glasses work and am glad that I can watch TV and work on the computer, things I could not do with the first pair of glasses I had got.

Bed is all set up

Got my new mattress at long last yesterday and got it all set up. I really did not want to get out of bed this morning, ended up sleeping until afternoon. I’m not sure it will help me sleep any more easily, but I think I am going to be getting a more restful sleep when I am able to sleep.

FFXIV Freecompany Leadership Change

I have found myself in a position that I am not used to being in- in fact, I’ve never been in this situation before.

Let me start at the beginning, though.

I have an alt that I did not want to use for roleplay, she was intended to simply be a character I could play the story on and not worry about any need to develop a backstory or do roleplay with her.

Shortly after making her I saw someone shout for members to join their freecompany and decided “why not?” The freecompany was not a roleplay focused one, and it would give me the experience buff for leveling her, without the need for me to be asked by others to roleplay. Seemed like a good fit for her.

Everything seemed to be going okay, aside from members kept leaving the freecompany. Then the few who were in the free company stopped logging in. I kept trudging along, leveling up my character. Then today, the free company dropped out of the leader’s posession and into the posession of my alt.

It is a rule by Square Enix that if a freecompany leader does not log in for 35 days, then the freecompany changes ownership to the next person in the ranking that has contributed the most to the company in the previous seven days. I’ve been the only one contributing anything so even though I was the lowest rank, I ended up being the new leader for the freecompany.

Now I face a “what do I do?” I want to rebuild the freecompany, but… is there a certain timeframe one needs to wait before they declaire an abandoned freecompany as actually being theirs to rebuild? I’ve been getting a few suggestions on that in my looking around, most of the suggestions seem to be that as soon as the freecompany changes hands it’s the new leader’s to do with as they please. But I plan to give a bit more time on it.

Any thoughts on this are welcomed. What seems like a good hold period before a new leader can start rebuilding an abandoned freecompany as their own?