Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chapter 9: Sense and Sensibility

There I was. Standing on the edge of a building that had the floors above ripped off. A small little fellow by the name of "Rob Someone" stood next to the turret. He was a surely fellow who didn't talk at all or explain why he was there. Such mystery! Such drama! Such plot depth! I looked to the skies and saw the creeping behemoth. The Exospector was making an attempt to escape. It was scared. Scared of what could happen to it if I caught up with it. We had the demons on the run. I immediately manned the turret and took aim to the sky. I was about to give London a firework show it had never seen before.

Of course, it sounds much more interesting when I try to make it as such. However, I just pretty much shook my head through the whole ordeal. I mean, what, with some inconspicuous 4-foot-tall man by the name of "Rob Someone" standing next to the turret with no apparent explanation as to what the hell he is or why he's even there or why he still has his alpha placeholder name, followed by an Exospector in the sky that doesn't move at all. Oh, and hey, how about that. There's a turret conveniently placed on an already-rickety structure. So I put a blanket over my head and had some fun.

Well, this was certainly fun. Shooting non-stop for five minutes at this big thing in the sky certainly screamed excitement in every bone in my body.

I keep telling myself: "This has to get better. Please, for the sake of my humanity, this has to get better." I mean, I'm willing for Hellgate to prove me wrong. I'm wanting! So why not prove me wrong? Why lower the bar so low that you end up tripping over it? The game plays like a F2P game, considering how one-sided it is in its game play, and every now and then it tries to change up the mix with this sort of garbage. I mean, it wouldn't be garbage if there was some effort put to it. Why didn't they have a high-time action sequence where you're riding on the back of a truck manning this turret as the truck tries to keep up with the fleeing Exospector down the ravaged streets of London? Now that would be FUN. As a matter of fact, that would indeed scream effort. So would many other sorts of sound effects, or, quite possibly, the ground shaking and buildings crumbling when the Exospector hits the ground. Or maybe bring it up a notch and have Rob Someone driving the truck, spouting out drivel and nonsense as he piles through demons trying to block his way. Then you bring in one of those catchy boss tunes that blare out of your speakers at the wrong time in game play and you have a recipe of effort and win.

Of course, what I just described would take time and effort, two things Flagship Studios has rectified over and over again that those are things they are not interested in. No no! Why do something brilliant and new when you can just press ctrl + v? I mean, I'm only in Act 2. Why the hell does it look identical to Act 1? Yes, yes, I know; it's a city. It's not like it could drastically change. However, having more than five "random" city areas would certainly take away the feeling of piling through a level I've played before.

Then again, time and effort. Alas, poor Hellgate! I knew him, Horatio!

Perhaps what gets me riled up the most is that all these side quests that I am still doing are still not scaling one bit to my character at all. I mean, honestly. I understand that the first quest in a line of quests given by an NPC isn't going to be all that rewarding, but for God's sakes it doesn't give me an incentive to go out and perform it either. I'm sick and tired of being given 30 palladium and 1,000 XP as the first quest reward. I would actually earn more in both departments just by trudging through the areas to collect the damn items needed to complete the quest, only to be offered ONE item type for my class, which usually ends up being worthless junk anyways.

Very slick you cheap bastard. I mean, I DEFINITELY want an 18/17 armor over my 112 armor. Oh, and hey, why don't you give it to me unidentified as well?

I suppose the driving incentive to do these quests is that, eventually, you are offered blue and orange quest rewards. Of course, I've yet to get a blue/orange item from an NPC that I've decided to keep, but they are quite ripe in the department of breaking down items. Apparently this whole new system of nano forging items was too "easy," so Flagship Studios upped the anty by requiring extremely rare items called nanoshards in order to upgrade the items. The catch? Nanoshards can only be obtained by breaking down items and crossing our fingers and hoping that you'll get a shard. Of course, the process is completely random. You "supposedly" have higher chances if the item is blue or orange, but ten to one I usually find myself breaking down orange items and only getting components out of it, which usually leaves me with something like this:

I'd love to be able to keep my volt rifle and take it to me to higher-leveled areas and be just as effective, but without nanoshards I'm up the paddle without a creek.

I don't really understand it at all. This isn't challenging, it's just plain stupid. Why is there only ONE way to obtain nanoshards (short of trading for them)? Why can't we bring in components from all four categories and have, let's say, 50 pieces from normal components and 25 pieces from rare components from each category and have that forge as one nanoshard? Then again, as I am not a subscriber, there probably is a system set up like that for those that have Horadric--whoops, I mean "transmogrifying" cubes. Of course, I thought the idea for subscribing was to have added content, not have an incentive to stop playing with a broken system.

Moving right along. As I spoke earlier of "random" level design, I happened to finally chance across the fabled "new" level design for the streets. It was quite interesting really. I mean, here I was shooting down a continuous pattern of alleyways leading to nowhere, and when I mean continuous, I mean they probably designed about 5% of the level and then copy and pasted it about 20 times. So instead of trying to create something large and complex, they created something tedious and repetitive. I'm sure they fooled some people out there in thinking it was "new."

After about half way through this level, and figuring out it wasn't going to change in looks, I just decided it for the best to run past it all. After all, it's not hard to get to the next area when the level you're in is completely linear.

Of course, along my way I just had to stop for a second and finally talk about the destructibles in the game. You know, all the propane tanks and explosive barrels just sitting around in the middle of the street completely untouched in a demon-ravaged world. Same goes for all those boxes as well. I mean, makes perfect sense, especially when you walk up to a couple of barrels and shoot them, having them explode in your face without a single point of damage, but yet, miraculously damaging your enemies.

Got any questions about propane? Or propane accessories? Or why exactly they don't hurt you?

However, I finally came to an end to the old content I didn't get a chance to test in alpha/beta and found myself needing to delve deep into an Exospector and obtain his heart. I was actually excited for once, expecting to find new content, and such questions as, "I wonder what does it look like inside?" filled my head. Of course, I had a bad feeling about it when I finally came to the scene where the downed Exospector was.

Hmm, a magical portal appearing out of thin air for no logical reason at all. Does that come standard with all Exospectors?

Of course, I'm still trying to be positive here. After all, I still hope that the game can improve. However, my hopes seem to be falling on deaf ears and might just start becoming wishful thinking. Of course, this was more so spurned when I stepped through the portal and thought I had glitched myself to a very familiar place.

Wow, the inside of an Exospector and the mind of Techsmith 314 seem very alike! Gasp! Maybe they are ONE IN THE SAME? BURN THE WITCH!

Honestly, how stupid do they think we are? I was nearly expecting Bill Roper to pop from the side of my screen and say, "Toasty!" It's things like this that bring out a strong consumer reaction in people, and I certainly say they have a right when the developers are insulting their intelligence. If I wanted to treated like an idiot, I'd become a caveman. Of course, until then, I'm sure we'll keep coming across senseless antics of broken systems and repetitive content. Oh well. Here's to looking forward to Act 3.

Analyzer: 25 palladium
Realizing identifying the majority of the items will cost you 5 palladium when you end up selling it because it only jumped up in 20 palladium selling price: Stupid

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