Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dragon Age Retrospective: Finish

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den!  Today, I finally complete my Dragon Age Retrospective.

Now, the reason it has taken so long is because I have completely and utterly lost interest in the franchise.  My loss of interest is so complete that I've actually sold my games.  Even the ones that I used to like.  Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Awakenings, Dragon Age 2...all sold because I just don't like the franchise anymore.

And the reason why? Inquisition.  I didn't like it before, but when EA decided to cut off DLC for the Xbox 360 and PS3, it gave me a reason to stop liking the franchise.  And while the Titan DLC had a good story from what I saw on youtube, what really turned me against the franchise is the final DLC. Vivienne, Sera...even the characters that I used to like, like the Iron Bull and Blackwall, now piss me off to no end.  And don't even get me started on Solas' genocidal BS.  Whether you were on good terms with him or not, whether you romanced him or not, he shows how much of a real bastard he is when you finally met him and get his answers.

And the bad thing is that I sort of liked him before. I knew he wasn't telling us the whole truth, but I never thought he'd turn out to be doing that.

I had planned on comparing the Mass Effect trilogy to the Dragon Age one, their DLC story arcs and the gameplay moments, but I can't bear to compare a series I like to one I so ardently despise.  I can't bear to speak of Commander Shepard's efforts and what I had to put up with for Inquisition in the same post.

And the worst part is that Solas had planned spoiled the lore of the previous 2 games for me.  I used to love the Dalish origin in DAO, but now, my hatred of Solas' plans have spoiled my roleplaying mindset for that character.  I can't help but make a Dalish Warden utterly despise the Dread Wolf because of Solas.

So yeah, fuck you Solas.  You made it nearly impossible to enjoy the story that came before.  You've reminded me that Bioware's great game days are numbered thanks to EA's control of their company.

Don't get me wrong, though. I am still enjoying SWTOR KOTFE, still looking forward to what's to come there, and I am still looking forward to ME:Andromeda when I finally get my PS4.  But I won't be buying another Dragon Age game.  To much anger at that franchise.

But for now, look forward to picture updates to my SWTOR characters, as well as pictures of companions that I have some great new looks and weapon loadouts, and stay beautiful freaks!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Assassin's Den Reviews: SWTOR Knights of the Fallen Empire Expansion

Welcome back, my beautiful freaks, to the Assassin's Den! Today, I'm going take a look at the latest expansion to Star Wars: The Old Republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire.

KOTFE is a return to the story driven aspect of Bioware game making that has been sorely missing over the last two expansions.  It introduces a time jump very early on, which allows for a LOT of leeway in storytelling possibilities.  You begin as the Outlander, who is the class you have chosen to go through the expansion, and take on the role of the hero of the story.

Now, KOTFE is planned for a year long narrative in 2016, and had 9 chapters dropped on release day.  There is a LOT of story to go through at the start, and each class has different aspects of what happened in the 5 year time jump.  You are also introduced to 6 new active companions, and once you reach chapter 9, you start to get back old companions are both specialists and as combatants.

Now, I got early access to this, so I've been able to play it for some time.  I really enjoyed the story, as well as the consequences of my actions within it.  And I'm liking the new antagonists that are Arcann and his sister whose name escapes me at the moment.

KOTFE also introduced some changes to the core gameplay.  First off, all the old combat stats, Aim, Strength, Willpower and Cunning, have been folded into 1 damage stat, Mastery.  That means you can no longer have the wrong stat for your class.  So now, for example, a bounty hunter and a smuggler can use the exact same blasters, since they share the same damage stat.

Companions have been changed, too.  Some have had weapon changes, like Jorgan now being a sniper rifle user to fit his story better and Corso being a pistol user now to let him use his blaster Torchy, but there are two massive changes that have been made to them.  First, their stats no longer matter; their stats are based on your level, your presence score and your reputation with them.  That means all weapons and armor are completely cosmetic.  And for me, this means "go hunting on the GTN for gear to give them a specific look". 

The second biggest change is the fact that all companions can now perform all roles.  Every single companion is now a healer, tank and damage dealer.  You simply have to change their role in combat to whatever you want it to be.  And they're all good at their jobs now, too! So that means that, since you don't have to drag along a character you don't like simply because you want their role in combat.

They've also modified the influence system and how the conversations work; you don't need to make them happy to talk to you.  Once you reach a certain point in the story, they flag as active for conversation.  So now, influence is used solely for boosting companion combat effectiveness and making them better at the crew skills.

Lastly, they introduced level sync, which caps your stats at two levels above the planet's maximum.  However, this doesn't change the way you'll play, since you retain your higher level abilities, so you're still stomping mobs into the ground.  The second upside to this is that you no longer have diminishing return on experience and drops from mobs.  So a level 60 character could go to the starter planet and still get level 60 tier experience from level 1 mobs.  But don't story bosses on low level worlds; they're synced to the level of the planet, just as you are.  So, in effect, level sync only changed the background math, but not the way we play the game.

All in all, KOTFE has made the game slightly easier, which means it is FAR more marketable for EA.  And with it being far more marketable, that means it will be much easier to keep new fans who will, and are, coming in due to the new movies.  I can see a LOT of growth in the next several years, and these changes will make it so the game will remain profitable.  And that means more great content from Bioware to come.

But for now, stay beautiful freaks!