Tag Archives: Aggrochat

On Digging Implements

Shovel Knight was a game that hit Kickstarter right around when “Kickstarter Fatigue” was setting in for me. I took note of it, saw that it looked mildly interesting, and resolved to get it if it ever came out. Fast forward about a year, and I found myself in possession of Shovel Knight on Steam. this became a bit of a topic for conversation in the podcast, which you can find below.

Thoughts, Extended

But that’s not the end of the story. Shovel Knight is a pretty awesome game, playing like a strange cross between Mega Man and Ducktales. Kodra also would throw in Zelda 2, but that’s before my time. The world map looks (and in some cases acts) like Super Mario Bros. 3. The game proper involves traveling to 8 stages and defeating the robot masters Order of No Quarter by hitting them and bouncing on their heads with a pogo stick shovel. After doing so, you can travel to the final stages and defeat the final boss and beat the game.

Meanwhile, there’s a bit of progression in a Zelda sort of sense. You get an inventory of relics that can be used for both combat and traversal. You can buy health upgrades, and different colored armors that grant different bonuses. You can even get two bottles Troupple Chalices that you can store potionsichor in. Relics are used in the same manner as subweapons in Castlevania.

shovel drop
References to games you may or may not have played aside, the game is incredibly fun. Learning how to use the shovel drop and the normal swing (and later, the charged swing) makes for compelling gameplay. The platforming asked of you during the levels (especially the final one) is very reminiscent of the early mega man games, including a tendency to put insta-kill spikes in unfortunate places. I highly recommend picking up Shovel Knight if you like any of the games I mentioned in the opening, or old-school games in general.

polar knight
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On Launches

You would think that there would be some good solution by now for turning the servers on and letting people in to these online games. But time after time, games launch with troubles. All things considered, WildStar’s launch wasn’t really that bad, but it still creates a lot of frustration when everything doesn’t go smoothly.

First, they dramatically underestimated the number of players who would be interested in playing on a PVP server. As a result, all of the PVP servers at launch had queues, some of them several hours long. In addition, the number of English realms for EU was too low in general, so those also had long queues. More servers and free server transfers seem to have addressed the problem over the weekend, so it isn’t all bad.

Despite the complaints, it really isn’t all that bad. SWTOR had similar queue issues, but it’s a better illustration of a different problem. After launch, there were too many servers, leading to server merges and the general unhappiness that accompanies that. FF14 (Realm Reborn version) had numerous issues on launch, including not having queues (so you had to retry login until it worked) and during head start, having the instance servers (which were required for quest and character progression) frequently fail to work entirely. WildStar is at least ahead of both of these cases.

On the other end, ESO’s launch had fewer issues. Quest bugs were particularly bad during the first week, but at no point did I ever have trouble logging in to play. WoW’s original launch wasn’t great, but their expansion launches are pretty good at this point, even though the rush is usually at least the size of a typical MMO launch [citation needed]. TSW also managed to remain mostly functional (again with quest bugs) during its launch. I think the traditional servers are presenting scalability issues for games that use them, and something else (like TSW) might serve better in the long run.

Aggrochat and More

This week’s Aggrochat is out, and the usual cast is missing Rae, but joined by Tam. About halfway through we switch to discussing massive spoilers for Transistor, so I recommend stopping there if you haven’t finished it. (We don’t talk about anything else after.)

As an additional note, registration for the Final Fantasy V Four Job Fiesta is now live, and you should sign up for this wonderful charity event. Ongoing documentation of my pre-fiesta run is here, on YouTube. If you are in Alliance of Awesome, you should take a look, as there is an extra bit of charity money riding on your registration. (If you’re not, you should still register, and then consider poking into what AoA is doing in various games.)