WIP: Borderlands 2, The Tribez, The Bureau
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 August 2013, 5:35 am
In the ongoing series of What I'm Playing, these are the games I am currently busy with. This week I finished the first playthrough of Borderlands 2, using the assassin character Zer0. Having done most of the side-missions that got me to level 32, which is pretty much where I wanted to be to play the DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep. So now I'm looking forward to this parody of Dungeons & Dragons re-imagined by Tiny Tina as Bunkers & Badasses. But I also made a new character, a gunzerker, currently at level 8.

A comment on DLCs: I am not a huge fan of DLCs and only buy them sparingly. If it wasn't for the D&D connection, I wouldn't have bought any DLC for Borderlands 2. I consider DLCs to be one of the bad consequences of piracy and used games sales: As the game companies lost control and revenue over the original games, they now only deliver you half a game, and then sell you the other half in a system which makes piracy and used game sales more difficult if not impossible. So they do make some money from the people who got their original game without paying the developers a single cent. The downside for people actually buying original games is that we end up paying twice for our games. Fortunately I got Borderlands 2 at half price from a Steam sale, so the extra $10 is still not pushing the overall price over the top.

Borderlands 2 shares a deep flaw with Diablo 3 in that the best way to get a weapon in the game is not by playing the game. In Diablo 3 you have the real money auction house, in Borderlands 2 you have golden keys available via social media giving you guaranteed epics of your level. As I had 44 of those golden keys it was just too tempting to get a few epics every time I faced a really hard fight. On the one side that is preferable to grinding or endlessly repeating content to advance. On the other side any out-of-game way to get best-in-slot loot seriously takes away from the item gathering motivation of games like these. It is easy to say "if you don't like these ways, don't use them", but even just knowing that the better alternative exists already removes some of the fun of collecting items in game.

The other game I am currently playing is The Tribez on the iPad, a cutesy city-building and economic management game. It is Free2Play, but apart from the occasional nag screen with "special offers" to upgrade your warehouse or get gems at a reduced price the monetization scheme can well be ignored. What is harder to ignore is that the latest patch broke the game on some machines, so curiously it is still running on my iPad, but not any more on the iPad of my wife, annoying her to no end. Patching via the App Store is notoriously slow, so for her the game is already down for over a week. The Facebook page has over 2,000 comments complaining about that, so that is maybe not the best advertisement for that game. But when it runs The Tribez is fun enough.

Currently downloading on my computer is The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, otherwise known as "the XCOM shooter". The game was already released 3 days ago in the USA, but Europe only got it today, so I'll start playing this weekend. I'm well aware that the reviews are at best mixed, but as a fan of XCOM and the 60's setting, I still have to try this.
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