It was a big moment, four years ago when my best friend and I put together my first gaming computer. Sitting there with it actually working, it’s an accomplishment in its self. So it’s no wonder I was sitting there with a, “What Now?” expression on my face. I mean I had this computer with nothing really to play. After burning my self out on the first wave of games I had I was looking for something new, watching Twitch.tv is one of the best ways to see new games and it just so happened to be this time of year. The time for Dota 2’s biggest tournament of the year The International.
I had never played let alone seen a MOBA; I do have a love of Iso-metric RPG’s, and this game I was watching had a similar camera angle to them, but with more of an RTS feel. It makes sense considering that Dota was originally a MOD of the game Warcraft 3 and its history is well documented, as well as branching out as a stand alone success leading to the release of the beta for Dota 2. The game was chaotic and confusing, but from moment one when I saw pro player Mushi single handily carrying his team on a hero named Ursa, I knew this game was something I could get into.
Fast forward three years later and I still have a love for Dota 2, but I don’t find as much time to play it as I once did. But every late July I start getting the itch. Every year around this month it’s time for the big tournament affectionately referred to as TI. The best teams from all around the world gather and compete for their share of what is always the largest prize pool in Esports. This years pool sitting at around $23 million.
It’s truly a spectacle to behold. There are moments of cringe, which one quick google search can lead you down a rabbit hole, and moments of brilliance with incredible high skill plays with heroes you didn’t know were capable of such feats. It’s my favorite event each year and one I spend way too many hours consuming.
With events of this size, there is always blowback and criticism of the tournament most of which is overblown, but ones I find to be truer this year is the lack of production value. The four channels streaming the group stages is missing any post game break downs and with the decision of Valve (the company that owns Dota 2) to mostly have the panel comprised of former players. There is a serious lack of diversity in voice at the event. Now I will concede that it is still just the group stage and some of the talent aren’t even at the event, with the main stage bracket starting next week there is still time to rescue what has been a slightly down tournament in that aspect.
I love TI; it’s the time of year for me that hits max consumption of video games, Esports, and media. The fun of watching a tournament’s meta develop, and see heroes you love that don’t get much competitive play swing games is something you don’t get watching your favorite streamer playing ranked.
So for the last few weeks, as I’ve been taking breaks from FF14, I have been mindlessly playing Marvel Heros Omega. It’s a spiritual successor to the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 games. The game is an isometric RPG and is a Diablo clone meaning your biggest goal is to run around and collect loot and kill things. But instead of playing as your beloved Necromancer, you can play as Captain America or the newly released Carnage. Now I did play this game before the largest update titled Omega but didn’t get very far into it.
As of right now, I have two characters at 60 (the max level), and I’m not entirely sure what to do with them. With most of my MMO and Diablo experience the end game is laid out for you. You hit the cap and then progress into getting better gear so you can run tougher content so you can continue to get better gear. But the end game seems to be lacking, The unintuitive mission tracking system along with no real direction left me turning to the internet and forums to see what do I do next.
After doing some searching, it seemed the biggest piece of content to do was the Cosmic Trials. I felt like I was missing something, to my understanding this game had tons of end game content, which was a driving factor to get those heroes to the max but I felt like I had nothing to do. To be fair to the game the time I had invested in this stage was minimal. There could be content I’m missing, PVP or other means to keep you going at the end game but it isn’t easy to find. I did two legendary quests, and it’s mostly just recycled story content.
On paper, this game seems like it should be a home run, take the grindy formula of Diablo 2/3 and just paste Marvel superheroes on it. You have a predecessor which was loved by the fans so you can capitalize from two ends. But when you play it, the game feels hollow like there’s no soul to it at all. I turned to the steam reviews to see if I was missing the mark and it turns out that a lot of content was stripped away in this newest update. Most of the fans seem to be speculating that it was “dumbed down” so they could port it over to consoles. Which if true is a shame. The limited time I had with the previous versions brought me right back to play Marvel: Ultimate Alliance but in an online setting. To be able to rush through to the ending is something that appeals to me but with no direction seems frustrating.
If you are looking to go down memory lane and play an updated version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance then this game is for you, but if you want a deep, rewarding experience with lots of content, then you ought to look towards a different ISO-RPG. The new season for Diablo 3 is just about to start, and the new update for Path of Exile is also about to be out, both games have the depth you are looking for.
As of writing, I have currently 45.5 hours of play time on the game Factorio, now usually with indie games, I have a burnout rate, and that hovers around 30 hours. At this point I usually make a deal with myself saying, hey I only paid 20 bucks for this game, I’ve gotten enough enjoyment out of it and stop playing it. But with this game, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface with its potential.
Let’s start with some basics, The best way I can describe this game is as a Red Alert or RTS resource manager. Now that may seem a bit too pithy, but that’s just the bones of the game, the frame if you will. There is a single player campaign but one I didn’t touch other than to get the basics of the game. Where this game truly shines is the multiplayer servers. You and 500 of your closest friends can get together and figure out a way to turn iron ore, coal, and copper wire into electronic circuits.
Now I never played in a game that large, I just played with my one friend, and we managed to bumble our way through, all the way to launching a rocket into space and nuking the local aggressive insectoid population. The beauty of this game is the small things. An overused word in our group call was efficiency. I would be running over the transport belts we had laid just hours before and said, “this isn’t efficient” and proceed to change something to make the whole system run just that much smoother or mess up something my partner had set up deliberately to serve some function.
This game is a brilliant example of an experience that makes you want to go back and use the things you learned to make it better each time you play. For example, How do I get this component to the other side of the track so I can feed one line into the assembling machines? And once you figure it out, you want to go back and change all the work you have done. Now, this example is an easy problem, and one that you solve very quickly, but there are tons of these realizations that you come across that change the way you will play the game next time. Not to mention this game has a great Wiki with tons of information, guides, and tutorials to help you out if you are stuck.
In short, it’s a great game; it’s affectionately known as crackorio. So play it and get lost in the fact that you can never make enough iron plates.
Greeting and thanks for visiting my site, just a little background on me. I am a senior at Washington State Vancouver getting a degree in integrated strategic communications. I started this blog as a place to put my thoughts on video games, movies and whatever else I feel like rambling about. The plan for me is about one blog post a week; this post could be a written piece but doesn’t have to be, I do have some ideas for some multimedia projects as well. Lastly, this is mostly for me, a way to strengthen my writing and a way for me to express some creativity.