A Month in Gaming
As I suspected in my last post, my gaming activities were somewhat curtailed throughout May due to both my parents being ill. However, the time I did manage to spend in-game was both therapeutic and relaxing. For me, I’ve never really seen gaming as escapism, although I appreciate it certainly is for others. One of the aspects it offers, along with a degree of challenge and entertainment, is a release from stress and the pressures of one’s daily life. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed Sniper Elite V2 Remastered so much, because not only is it a thoroughly absorbing game, it also provides a sense of catharsis. I’ve already written about the game in some detail, along with my thoughts about the ongoing “remaster versus remake” debate. However, I would add that I enjoyed it so much I re-installed the sequel, Sniper Elite III, which I haven’t played since it’s release in 2014. This also proved to be an enjoyable undertaking, again for the self-same reasons.
MMO wise, I continued to focus on The Lord of the Rings Online and Star Trek Online throughout May. I gritted my teeth and progressed through Western Rohan and Wildermore, endeavouring to keep the mounted combat to a minimum. The Epic Story was engaging and most of the time, I preferred to tackle mounted foes on foot, using my Archer skirmish soldier in support. However, I reached at point at level 87 when my Guardian couldn’t progress any further with the Epic Story as the content was more than five levels above. The only way to move forward would have been to grind out the regional quests and gain a few levels. This meant having to endure quite a lot of quests that were specifically designed to be completed via your Warsteed. This was not a prospect I relished. Also the continuous levelling and deconstruction of Legendary Items every five levels was becoming a nuisance. It would be so much better if developers SSG eliminated the scale of LIs from 50 to 100 and just presented you with one at the start of Moria and allowed to simply imbue and retain that for the remainder of the game.
But I digress, faced with a levelling impasse, I decided to buy the Aria of the Valar Upgrade and auto levelled to 105. The intention wasn’t to bypass content, but to allow me to continue to pursue the epic story on my own terms. The gear that the aria provides is of the non-slotted variety and is certainly adequate for all pre-Mordor content. I therefore intend to progress through the Epic Story and over time earn sufficient LOTRO points to be able to purchase nine Anfalas Star-lit Crystals. Then at an appropriate juncture I can acquire a first age Guardian’s belt, sword and two-handed sword, max out and imbue them, then lay the whole sorry LI “problem” to rest. Recent levelling has also raised the spectre of Epic Battles which have to be endured as they’re incorporated into the Epic Story. However, I have learned which ones have fail mechanics and which ones do not, so have so far managed to clear all that I’ve encountered with minimal inconvenience. At present I have got so far as Pelargir and am looking forward to exploring Minas Tirith throughout June.
Again, STO continues to provide a quick fix of gaming with its personal endeavour system. Having reached rank 49 out of 71, the benefits of specific account wide perks being unlocked is now producing tangible results. The latest rep faction (Discovery Legends) provides several new gear sets to experiment with and this years Summer Festival is not far off now and will once again offer the opportunity to earn a Tier 6 ship. I am hoping that Cryptic will announce the restoration of several classic episodes that have been “temporarily” removed from the game to be overhauled, in the months ahead. One of the reasons I’ve stopped levelling several alts at present is due to the overarching narrative currently being out of sync and somewhat confused. I’m also toying with experimenting with my Romulan alt to see if I can contrive a build that utilises their alleged DPS advantage. One of the benefits of STO is the way you can experiment with builds without being 100% dependently on the most optimal gear. The various game systems offer enough scope for small tweaks that can yield improved performance without having to have the resources of an über player.
Again, my long-term gaming aspirations for June will have to be tempered against my current domestic commitments. I’ll probably just focus as ever on my two current MMOs, although I am tempted to buy a new single player game. I’ve been keeping an eye on A Plague Tale: Innocence which seems to have reviewed well and offers both an authentic interactive story set during the Black Death along with a stealth orientated game mechanic. Combat is usually to be avoided and the player is primarily focused on using items and the environment as a means of diversion. The swarms of rats certainly look formidable and I think this sort of measured approach to navigating your way through the game will appeal to me. The other title that is currently on my radar is The Sinking City which gets released, exclusively through the Epic Store at the end of June. Developed by Frogwares, this has the detection mechanics of their previous Sherlock Holmes games combined with a sandbox open world for the wider Lovecraft inspired RPG narrative. It all looks rather atmospheric and intriguing. Again, the seems like the sort of game that you can undertake at your own pace and focus on the detail. That’s the plan for June. Let’s see if that’s how it pans out.