Backlog Battle Report (15th Jan 2018)

This week’s report is sponsored by sleep; appreciate what you get of it, because you probably are more rested and feel better for it than I do presently. In conjunction with a big sleep deficit, I’ve also been very fickle and have jumped from game to game pretty rapidly, meaning we’re back to having a wide assortment of titles listed today. So here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

Heroes of the Storm (PC)

I’ve eased up a little bit on the relentless Heroes games over the last week, but it’s still seeing at least a game or two from me on most days. As suggested, the latest patch went through last week and attempted a few balances to keep the games from being snowbally stomps. It also introduced the newest hero: Blaze, a Firebat from Starcraft. Betcha that name took a while to come up with. There’s also been a handful of buffs/nerfs and another rework for Malfurion.

I haven’t played Malfurion just yet so I can’t speak on how that treated him, but I can talk about Blaze and the other changes. So, did the changes make the game less early game centric? A little bit. Towers and keeps hurt a bit more so minions won’t completely bulldoze them if a specialist walks up to them with a wave and a funny look, but they’re still not the threats of yore. Things are a little slower and late-game is a thing, but it’s certainly possible to keep rolling through and win fairly easily. Probably could use more tweaks, but we’ll see. As I said last week, I don’t really mind the faster pace of the games.

So, Blaze. At long last, the long awaited and anticipated Firebat enters the field. With his release, every leaked hero from a credible source has now hit the Nexus, which means anything further from here is new ground. No idea who’s next, which is always a fun place for speculation… but even if the next release is a way off, I’ll probably need that long to fully acquaint myself with Blaze.

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Backlog Battle Report (8th Jan 2018)

Aaaand I’m immediately back dating the first article. Figures, right? Well, in my defence, it was half finished on Monday evening and then continued to prove larger and more unwieldy as the week progressed. There was also nearly a month of material to go back through, a lot of which I’ve cherry picked for the sake of preserving briefly played games for Right Click to Zoom related articles. This isn’t a comprehensive list, far from it… and reasons for that will quickly become evident.

Anyway, with that said, here’s the bulk of what’s gotten my playtime in the new year.

Heroes of the Storm (PC)

(Addendum: This was the first game I covered for the article, and since it’s been a while since writing, there’s been an update patch and the Firebat hero Blaze has been released. That wasn’t the case when this was written though, as it was still a day before the patch. Thoughts and feelings of the patch and new hero next week!

…The Hanzo buffs, though. Oh god, the unnecessary and powerful Hanzo buffs…)

The inevitable constant and semi-dependable comfort game in my library, Heroes of the Storm was a given to be listed in any recent playtime. It might shock people to know just how damn much I’ve been pouring into this game over the last few weeks, however. I’d normally play a couple of games to in a week, usually in one or two sessions with friends.

By contrast, I began December as account level 830, and I am now 885 at the very least.

To those who don’t play, it’s worth explaining that account level is derived from the total level of all heroes. Those levels start out fairly swift, and you’ll probably get level 2 with a new character on all but the fastest, worst games imaginable, but it becomes increasingly tougher. Once a character is level 12, the experience needed remains constant, and will usually take about four or five games (provided you have an experience boost, which I do).

There were two characters in this patch I played from 1 upwards, that being Hanzo and Alexstrasza, but everything else was about level 6 or higher all the way up. You can do the math there if you’re really interested, but we can sum it up as “Delfeir played a ton of Heroes of the Storm to close out the year”.

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Delfeir vs. 2018

Been a little while, hasn’t it? So much so that the calendar ticked over yet again, faster than ever. Well, now seems as good as any to get this project back on track and give an update.

First things first: If you’re reading this, thank you immensely for your time, interest, patience and dialogue. I’m not exactly standing on a large podium and reaching a significant crowd, and my name doesn’t exactly carry any weight online, so consider yourselves the few and the proud. All that said, it seriously means a lot that people take time out of their day to read what I have to say and take that discussion up with me or to other places. Might be fairly typical to thank everyone for it, but it is what it is, so thank you guys very much.

With that said, what’s been happening with the blog? Well, I was only planning to miss one Backlog Report largely due to not actually playing anything of note that week. It was fairly quiet and was filled pretty much only with Heroes of the Storm or games that I was going to be reviewing in full soon after. Unfortunately, that continued into the next week as I stopped playing interesting games so much as sticking to comfort picks during the busy end of year period. Since everyone was occupied with wrapping up their year, I just turned that into a break from which I am now returning.

I was also playing games for the sake of research for future Right Clicks, many of which I didn’t dive into that heavily individually but instead was looking at the genre or platform as a whole. The research phase is now mostly done so I’ll hopefully be coming out with a couple of articles on those topics soon, but as usual with Right Click, I don’t have a solid timeframe for you and will release it when it’s ready.

The Backlog Battle Reports, on the other hand, will be resuming their usual spot on Mondays (give or take a few hours that I might stealthily backdate) starting on the 8th. They’ll be functioning much as they always have and will give snippets and thoughts/discussions I have on the stuff I’ve been currently playing. Nothing new or groundbreaking there, but it’s a fun little exercise that I want to keep maintaining, so there we have it.

For other projects, I’m still writing up my own little “Top 10 Games of 2017” to be released over the coming days. I don’t have a specific day that those will start, but each entry will be a full sized article of its own for each game, so there’s a fair bit to talk about and write for it. Given my tendency to overshoot the mark, I’m writing up a buffer of a couple of entries ahead of time so that I can keep them posting consistently once I begin. We’ll see how that pans out, and I’m aiming for the first to be up sometime in the next week.

That will be 11 articles, with the last being a list of honourable mentions, and there’ll be a mini-update like this one accompanying it to list my personal rules and criteria on what makes a game qualify. I was also considering including a worst of list, buuut… with all the outrage and frustration that a lot are feeling at the games industry as a whole after 2017, I strongly believe it’s better to look at the positive and give due credit and attention to where it’s deserved. The failures and mistakes can rot out of the limelight: we’re here to talk about stuff worthy of being talked about.

Lastly, reviews. I’m still going to be writing and linking to the reviews I do for Switch Indie Reviews as always, and my work for them continues. I like the group there and what they do, so I’m going to be doing my utmost to see that site continue to grow and expand.

Now, there was a second website I was going to be writing for, but during the busy December months I had to look at my workload, health, and other factors and determined that trying to maintain all of those was probably too much for me right now. As such, I quietly withdrew from that project for now, so SIR and this blog are the only places I’m writing for currently. Once I feel I’m able, you can be sure I’ll be looking for new prospects, if not just expanding this site further; expect to see a review or two here for non-Switch consoles, just because.

I think that covers everything from the writing perspective, so that should about do it for this update. Once again, thank you everyone reading this. 2017 was, for all its faults and flaws, quite possibly the best year I’ve personally had in quite some time. Lots of positive improvements and changes were made and I’m doing a lot better than I have been in a while, and all of that was furthered by being able to write about some truly awesome video game experiences. Here’s to hoping 2018 sees the same kind of positive trend and good games.

See you soon for more!

Backlog Battle Report (11th Dec 2017)

Yep, okay, this one’s late. It’s been a week, and I’ve got no excuse. Doesn’t matter, it’s here now, so let’s get into it. Not a lot of games this week but here’s what’s been there nonetheless.

Realm Grinder (PC)

Need to bring this one up first again because, quite frankly, it’s becoming a problem. Addiction to the notion or sensation of progress isn’t uncommon for me, and I’ve bounced around between a few idle games offering similar stuff, but something about this one is keeping me checking on it to the point that it’s actually inhibiting my other gaming or writing.

It’s seriously gotten to the point where I will set up things or do what seems like a maximised build for this run, then sit and see it through. I’m not spam clicking the entire time or anything, but I’ll be watching Youtube or chatting on Discord in between managing that when I should be doing other things. It’s not entirely to blame for my hold-ups and delays, but it is a factor and I need to start really limiting how I go about maintaining this.

All that said, I’m a way into Reincarnation 6. More upgrades and challenges are right around the corner of unlocking, I think. Seems like more aspects of the game go quite a way back if you keep running it… which I will probably do, but in the background. Or offline.

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Backlog Battle Report (4th Dec ’17)

Home stretch of the year, which means I’m quietly compelling a bunch of arbitrary awards of which I can laud upon the many storied games of 2017 for nobody in particular to comment on. It’s a hobby, everyone does it, and I’d like to look back on what has been a stellar year in game releases (albeit less so in industry developments) with some positive words. That’s coming soon, but for now, here’s the week’s gaming.

Heroes of the Storm (PC)

So last week I spoke about how Blizzard had introduced a PvE Brawl into the game, but commented that I felt it was too easy and would have liked to see multiple difficulty settings or more challenging versions. Well, this week the Brawl is the same, but on Heroic difficulty, and it is pretty much exactly what I was hoping for.

On the basic difficulty, you could pick pretty much any composition and have people run to all corners of the map and still likely pull through. On Heroic, going on your own is a death sentence if people aren’t on hand to save you. Enemy heroes will slaughter you if they CC chain you well, it’s pretty easy to get overrun, item effects are necessary for easing your way and the final boss is challenging no matter how you set up your team. Speaking of which, there’s numerous team compositions that I’d imagine would just have no hope.

In about a dozen attempts with various friends or people accompanying me, I’ve only cleared it once or twice. We had a full group of five at one point in voice comms, messing around with various group makeups and trying to figure out a way that suited us. We didn’t clear it, and sometimes we just messed up and got brutally beaten, but we were all laughing and enjoying ourselves immensely. It’s a lot of fun, and having to band together and focus like that is a welcome challenge.

I don’t know how much it would affect the game’s overall population, queue times, and so on if this style of mode became permanent. But if it was, I’d likely play it a fair bit. This is great, and kudos to Blizzard for trying it out. I hope to see more stuff like this soon.

Beyond just the Brawl, there’s been a few normal games but nothing too much to write home about. I’m working once more on getting as many heroes as I can close to leveling without actually doing so, since the Christmas event is right around the corner. I might as well aim to get as much limited time loot from chests as I can, and it worked out pretty nicely for me last time. Hoping to get one of the Christmas Valla skins. I’ve also got the gold ready for Hanzo and almost for Alexstrasza in addition. Should be a fun time.

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Backlog Battle Report (27th Nov ’17)

I’m thoroughly embarrassed with myself this week. I’ve worked on some pretty critical games, mostly on the Switch as usual. I’ve published both my Blaster Master Zero review and Ittle Dew 2+ review for Switch Indie Reviews. Overall, things are pretty good. But there’s a lot of playtime in one game that… well, see for yourself.

Realm Grinder (PC)

Cookie Clicker has so much to answer for. Alternatively, I’m trapped in here somebody please send help.

So Realm Grinder is an idle/clicker game, where you can click the screen repeatedly to generate coins, which you then buy buildings with to generate more coins… rinse and repeat to absolutely ludicrous examples of scientific notation. There’s a little more to do, but not really a lot; just spend your coins, leave it idle for a bit, and return every so often.

There’s very little game, and most of the time I don’t actually bother clicking it or doing much, but I’ve been checking in on it for the past week and leaving it open for a staggering amount of time. Even though I could just let it run for extended periods, I can’t help but check in it compulsively way too regularly. I’ll often be juggling it while eating meals, watching videos, or waiting in Heroes queues.

It’s bizarre why I stick with it at all, but I don’t know. I get some kind of twisted satisfaction watching the numbers creep ever higher. It’s the illusion of progress and advancement, I guess. I tend to be drawn to MMORPGs for the exact same reason, though this is far more blunt and pointless about it.

I’m curious just how far I can get it going. More “features” and aspects to manage do become available as you advance, but it’s usually a case of waiting for days to make it so. I suppose it’s harmless, but again, I’m embarrassed at how much time I’ve sunk into it even just to tune in and build things.

Anyway, there’s my secret shame. I’d give a progress report in it for those interested, but I honestly don’t really know how I’d gauge such a thing. Again, we’re at pretty stupid numbers of zeroes appended to everything already.

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Backlog Battle Report (20th Nov 2017)

I know it’s late and it’s not the 20th anymore, hush. Still counts for that day. Anyway, it’s been a long week (but overall a good one), and it significantly impacted the variety in my games played throughout. Let’s jump right in and you’ll see what I mean.

.hack//G.U.: Last Recode (Vol 1) (PS4)

Not too much progress on this front, but this remains one of my go to games of the past week when I want to wind down. I’m still not entirely sure why this game has drawn me in so much, but it’s comfortable enough to pick up chip away at a couple of dungeons or story events.

At the moment, the plot has me grinding Arena battles a little bit. Since I was mostly just going through the story missions where possible, I took this opportunity to have a breather and go grinding for a while. A few dungeons later and I should be good to proceed smoothly for a while to come.

Curious to see how the story of this will pan out, not just in this one game but in all four of them. Mostly, I’m just curious to see how they’ll handle the transition from volume 1 to volume 2, how much has changed and improved, and so on. That’ll be especially curious once I reach volume 4, since that’s completely new. How much will have changed given the 15 years of game design improvements in that time?

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