Cyberphile

the love of all things electronic.

What’cha Playin’? 11/23/16 — November 23, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/23/16

Thanksgiving break is finally upon us, so I’ll have plenty of time for some gaming. Yesterday I made some decent progress in advancing the main story in Daggerfall; previously I was only really doing odd jobs trying to advance my reputation in an effort to unlock potion making, but it takes FOREVER to raise your rank, so I stopped once I could at least buy potions. Daggerfall is neat and huge, but sometimes the randomness of it weighs on you. Sometimes in a good way, especially when you’re not sure what to expect, and sometimes in a bad way when you realize you’re doing the same things over and over again, just in different randomly generated locations. Maybe I’ll talk more about this tomorrow.

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What’cha Playin’? 11/22/16 — November 22, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/22/16

Over the weekend, as you may know from the review I posted yesterday, I downloaded Clustertruck. It’s great fun, and I highly recommend it, check out my review if you haven’t. Over the weekend I was able to go home and hang out with my friends, so we played some original Super Smash Brothers on the N64, and I got a chance to check out Gauntlet: Slayer Edition, the newest Gauntlet game. It’s really fun, and gives me a Diablo sort of vibe, which is a very good good thing. Since getting back into the Elder Scrolls series, I’ve been really into high fantasy, so the new Gauntlet strikes a good chord with me. In fact, I really want to go back and play the older Gauntlet games. Maybe I’ll be able to talk about those more in depth soon.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

 

What’cha Playin’? 11/17/16 – The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall — November 17, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/17/16 – The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall

So, I started Daggerfall. I’m a big fan of the in-depth level of freedom for building your character, and dialogue is a huge step up from Arena. Graphics are better and a big bonus is mouse look, even though I was so used to the somewhat clunky controls from Arena. I know I said Arena was huge, but Daggerfall is huge in a completely different, and seemingly much more populated way. I’m not very far yet, and I’m kind of stuck looking for something to kill for a quest in a huge and confusing dungeon right now, so… I’ll have to say more about it later on.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena – Review — November 15, 2016

The Elder Scrolls: Arena – Review

My the Elder Scrolls: Arena review is now live. You can read the full review from the Review page, or by clicking here.

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Here’s the bottom line if you don’t have time to read the full review:

Pros

  • A challenging pen-and-paper experience.
  • The story and dungeon crawling will have you craving more every time you set it down, with a great payoff at the end.
  • Neat ideas like realistic travel times, a randomly generated (and HUGE) open world, and holidays set new standards for RPGs.

Cons

  • Difficult and seemingly unfair sometimes.
  • You practically have to read the manual.
  • Lack of variety, especially as you near the end of the game.
  • Glitches and bugs.

Final Score: 6.5/10

Ultimately though, the Elder Scrolls: Arena is strangely addicting. The fun comes mainly from exploring every corner of a dungeon, and early on, the bartering and finding your way around town is fun. They did a really good job at making it feel like you were playing a pen-and-paper RPG, even if there was little to deviate outside of the main story. Finally, the ending has a great payoff, and you really feel like you’ve weathered a journey by the end of it. I think it’s flawed for sure, but don’t let the lower score fool you; if you’re in the mood for a DOS RPG and up for a challenge, consider giving Arena a shot.

What’cha Playin’? 11/14/16 — November 14, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/14/16

I’m very close to finishing the Elder Scrolls Arena. I have 7 of the 8 pieces of the Staff of Chaos, and I have the area open to get the last piece. I’m so so close! The game gets really difficult and unforgiving, especially when you get closer to the end. If you’re unprepared, the game will absolutely punish you. You need to make sure you can deal with magic and status effects, mainly, as magic will kill you very quickly, and status effects like paralysis and disease will kill you slowly. If you’re not playing a character who can cast the very useful and sometimes broken magic(I’m playing a rogue, for instance), you better make sure you have plenty of enchanted gear or potions to keep you in the fray for extended periods of time. At any rate, wish me luck! Hopefully I have a full review out for it soon!

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Playin’? – 11/11/16 — November 11, 2016

What’cha Playin’? – 11/11/16

Pretty much just the Elder Scrolls Arena. I figured I could talk about the mechanics and what you can do in TES: Arena today.

The game is played in first person. You can move using the arrow keys, or the mouse if you point and click on the screen which direction you want to walk(awful control, just use the arrow keys). There are a number of buttons along the bottom that you can click on to enable you to pull up/sheathe your weapons, check your map or quest log, cast spells, use items, and steal/lockpick. These are also bound to keys, like m for map. You can also access your character sheet and manage your inventory by clicking on the portrait of your character. Attacking is performed by readying your weapon, then holding the Right Mouse Button and swinging the mouse the way you’d like to swing your weapon. Certain actions do more damage but are less accurate than others, which is a neat touch, but most of the time, you’ll probably just be swinging and hoping for the best. There is also a jump ability (j) and you can jump forward by holding shift and j, which you’ll need to clear gaps, though you could also just climb up small cliffs or swim across the gaps if you’d prefer.

When you’re in dungeons, you pretty much just kill stuff and find treasures. When you’re in town, you can talk to people for directions, as towns are absolutely ENORMOUS, inquire about rumors for story bits or for some work, and as such, a bit of coin, or just engage in some friendly conversation. Inns will allow you to pick up quests, buy drinks, or rest. Sometimes the nobility will have a quest for you in the palace as well. The Mages Guild will allow you to find out the enchantments on any of the equipment you have that is undiscovered, create and/or purchase spells, or buy magical items and potions. Blacksmiths will repair your gear and also sell weapons or armor. They are also the only place you can sell your unwanted items as well. Finally, there are temples that can heal you or bless you based on your donations.

It’s pretty challenging, but also very fun. I have a feeling I’ll be telling you more about it next week too.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

 

What’cha Playin’? 11/10/16 — November 10, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/10/16

Now that I’ve got a bit more experience, I’m really enjoying the Elder Scrolls Arena. Just one thing… You HAVE to read the 90ish page manual, or you’re kind of in for a rough time. The manual (which I have in PDF form and can be found easily online) has all the answers to the questions that aren’t in the game, like which classes can do what, what you can do in town, etc. There is a lot less hand holding, which may be obvious, but the freedom is liberating. I find myself checking the manual every now and again (especially when I get some weapon or armor with a usable spell bound to it), I just wish I had it in physical form; that would be cool. I’m still on my way to find the first piece of the staff of chaos, as I’ve been hunting down some artifacts first, powerful items that can help you advance quickly.

If you feel like giving it a try, you can download it for free from Bethesda’s site, but you’ll need to use DOSBox to play it. You’ll also want it to run at around 20,000 cycles, because otherwise it may run slow. Maybe tomorrow I’ll talk more about the mechanics.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Playin’? 11/9/16 The Elder Scrolls: Arena — November 9, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/9/16 The Elder Scrolls: Arena

Everyone was worried about the election, and I was just pondering whether I should go Imperial or Stormcloak. At any rate, congratulations or my condolences depending on who you voted for, but that’s all I have to say about that; I’m not a politics person.

While the TV was being taking up by news, I started the Elder Scrolls: Arena. I gotta say, despite being old and aged and on DOS, I’m actually having a pretty fun time with it. When you start, you find yourself in a prison (as is par for the course for the Elder Scrolls) and learn that the Imperial Battlemage, Jagar Tharn, has banished the Emperor to a plane of Oblivion, and is masquerading as the Emperor, releasing monsters to the land and ruling over it. Unfortunately, everyone in an important position to do anything about it is also replaced or killed. In fact, a woman, Ria Silmane is the only one with any answers and can only turn to you, as a lowly prisoner wouldn’t be under any suspicion. In fact, nobody even bothered taking your weapons away when you got thrown in the cell! Ria promises to give you guidance in your dreams, as she is dead, and only her magic binds her to the world. She informs you that the only way to save the Emperor is to find the eight pieces of the Staff of Chaos that Tharn has broken and scattered across the land. Once you’re out of the prison, you get teleported to a random town in the province that your character hails from. From here the game opens up as you either hunt down the Staff of Chaos, or do whatever it is you want to do. I’ve only just gotten into town (Where you can ask around for directions and rumors and things) and bought a few things (I love the ability to haggle prices, which that was in more games) so I can’t say too much more, except for that I’m digging it.

I’ve also, of course, been playing Skyrim. I’m nearly level 50, and between 60-70 hours but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface! I guess that’s what Skyrim is, since the game is so huge.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Playin’? 11/7/16 – The Elder Scrolls — November 7, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 11/7/16 – The Elder Scrolls

Sorry for the lack of a post on Friday, but things have not been super interesting, unless you’re a big Skyrim fan, as I’ve pretty much just been playing that. I can give you some details on my current character and where to go from here though, that’s for sure.

Okay, so, normally when I play an Elder Scrolls game, especially Skyrim, I play as a sneaky, light armored character, eventually toting some magic, mainly illusion and some restoration. I sneak around, get huge sneak attack bonuses, go invisible, or make the enemies attack each other before sneaking in and eliminating the final guy. It’s crazy fun. Any weaponry I end up using usually goes for dagger and bow, for maximum sneak attack damage. I usually go Wood Elf too, because, what can I say, I’m a fan of Wood Elves.

Anyway, I wanted to try something different and just go for a brute-force tank character. So I’m toting heavy armor, shield and sword (actually usually an axe, but I prefer the sword). But I maxed out my One-Handed ability so now I’m working on leveling up my Two-Handed skill. I have this badass Ebony Battleaxe. Run in, beat stuff up, move on. No magic, though I did use some restoration magic early-game when health potions were scarce. This guy is mainly a good guy mercenary sort of thing, so he’s doing the honorable thing, so, no Thieves’ Guild or Dark Brotherhood, and no Mage’s College, as magic isn’t really his thing. I did do the Companion’s story line though, and I plan on joining the Imperial army and completing the main story with this guy; he’ll be the majority of my trophies, but I do plan on making a character quite like the one I usually play to clean up some of the trophies I won’t get with this guy.

Finally, Skyrim has re-sparked my interest in high fantasy, and so I’m interested in trying the other Elder Scrolls games I haven’t played, starting with the very first game, Elder Scrolls Arena. It’s officially free on Bethesda’s site, and they even include a guide on how to set it up with DOSbox in case you’ve never used DOSbox before. I’m currently reading the 91 page (!) user’s manual that comes with the game to learn what all the stats and stuff mean before jumping head first into it. I have to say though, I’m actually kind of excited to go back to the Elder Scrolls roots.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately. What kind of character do you usually play in Skyrim? What high fantasy games, movies, books, anime, or manga should I check out? I’d be interested in seeing what anyone has to suggest!

What’cha Playin’? – 11/2/16 – Skyrim — November 2, 2016

What’cha Playin’? – 11/2/16 – Skyrim

Skyrim is not a game that you can really experience everything in in just a few short hours; You need to play it for the long run. If you’re completely unaware, the game takes place in the land of Skyrim, the northern part of the continent of Tamriel, the Elder Scrolls world. Once you start up a game, you find yourself a prisoner (an Elder Scrolls staple) on the way to the headsman’s block. Just before you can get put to death with the rest of the rebels, a dragon, which hasn’t existed in Skyrim for hundreds of years appears, and throws things into chaos, giving you just enough time to escape. Once you do escape, you can do pretty much anything you’d like; head for the main questline to warn others about dragons, or do any of the hundreds of other sidequests, explore, craft armor, weapons, and potions, join a guild… The possibilities are nearly limitless; it’s not unheard of to put hundreds of hours into Skyrim.

And that’s what I plan to do; I’m already 20 hours in, taking things slow, reading all of the in-game books (there are many and most are quite interesting and tell a lot about the lore of Skyrim and Tamriel), and talking to everyone. It’s great, relaxing at times, but super fun all of the time.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.