Garden Warfare Redux

This article about microtransactions in Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is a few days old now, and the option to purchase coins has already appeared in the game. Definitely not worth it to me at those price points, but YMMV. Also, I’m unemployed, so if I want to buy the chance at some nifty stuff, I just play a few rounds of Gardens and Graveyards. But that takes time.

In any case, my main concern about this change is that it would fuel the jerks who go beat up on people on the Welcome Mat, but I don’t know if that’s a problem or not. Again with the prices; I don’t think it would be worth it to any serious player. The thing is probably too big to tell.

I’ve spent some quality time with this game this week, and my initial reaction of “what?” has become the inability to put it down. I got obsessed with leveling a couple of characters. I got obsessed with my Vanquish to KO ratio. Hell, I just plain got obsessed.

And why? Because this is a good game. It’s well put together, there’s a nice balance of characters to choose from, and in my case the sheer silliness of the thing makes the transition into multiplayer shooters somehow more gentle. I really am still a newbie, Titanfall love aside.


I have never played an online multiplayer shooter of any kind, unless your *really* want to count Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, which is sort of an example of the genre and sort of too goofy for it to feel like an example, even though you are indeed there with the idea that your team is out to kill their team, or that you’re defending a given point. Which sounds an awfully lot like the sort of game I said I’d never play after watching a friend get his ass kicked playing one of the Battlefields, and I’ve steadfastly resisted it up until now.

But Titanfall. Oh, Titanfall.

You lured me in with your graphics and your robots and your awesome tutorial that made me feel a hundred times less lame. Then you charmed me with your gameplay and all of the ducking around corners and shooting the bad guys and then leaping up into this enormous mechanized killing machine. I never thought I could be seduced by a game where I can step on the enemy, but the power of the Titan is enough to make me giddy. And being able to let my Titan go auto? Sublime.

The control scheme is smooth, it plays like a dream, and even my newb ass is succeeding well enough to keep me coming back again, looking to do a little bit better, to kill more pilots or destroy more Titans or merely die less than 10 times in a match. And each time I get a little bit better. Well, except when luck keeps me spawning right next to the enemy. That just sucks.

In any case, I’m hooked. And the worst part is that I’ve been playing on a friend’s Xbox One. I don’t have one of my own. So no Titanfall for me until I can steal his for a few hours again. Damned depressing, that.

Am I a cheater?

Interesting article that points to another interesting article. I love it when that happens.

Anyway, I play games for pleasure, and for me that doesn’t necessarily mean a perfect performance. In fact, it usually means a good-enough one;  for example, unless I’m after a specific achievement, I tend to play on easy. The story for me is generally more important than the challenge of blowing things up. (A notable exception is Skyrim, where combat is a different animal than the games I’ve been playing recently.)

I cheat. I cheat where I can’t figure things out and I can’t advance the storyline until I do. Puzzles I can’t solve usually get half an hour or so of my beating my head against the wall before I peek at a walkthrough. And yes, achievements I can’t seem to achieve? The folks who post their methods to YouTube are occasionally my heroes. It really doesn’t feel like cheating when these things are so amazingly weird and obscure that I’m amazed anyone ever figured them out at all.

On the other hand, I almost never go back to a prior save, which is weird because I don’t consider it cheating. I just have a hang-up about time and what happened having happened makes it irrevocable, like it is in the world we live in. Pity, too. I could save myself a lot of trouble that way. When I, like the author, shot a guard in Markarth, I decided to battle it out. It was entertaining, but the authorities were ultimately unimpressed. Funny thing is that I’m usually so polite in that game.

In any case, I’m in awe of the folks who never do any of these things, even though I have no desire to ever be that good at it.

Elder Scrolls Online

I have an invite for this phase of the beta, but I haven’t taken advantage of it yet. I’ve never played an MMORPG before and frankly, I’m intimidated by it. It’s very different from the gaming I’m used to doing and OMG the people! Are real! Gives me social anxiety like whoa. Not to mention that I’m a console gamer and all thumbs on the PC.

OTOH, this account of an hour spent beginning the game has got me a bit intrigued. Nice to see a review of sorts from someone who is not already an MMORPG fan. Judging by the amount of interesting/amusing/awkward/awesome she managed to encounter just getting started, I might be inclined to give it an hour myself.

Besides, I can’t resist a good escape.

Garden Warfare

Too early here–and too impossibly cold–for the war between the flowers and the weeds, but who needs that when there’s another war between the Plants and the Zombies? Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare came out this last Tuesday, and though I haven’t had a chance to play it, there’s an extensive review here that’s worth a look if you’re interested. I’ll likely skip buying it, but only because I have a PvZ-crazed 6 year old who will want to play online. Best not to give him the temptation, methinks.