Credits Roll or 100%: When are you Finished with a Game?

As gamers, we purchase adventure and RPG games and play them for hours upon hours until we get some form of closure. For many, that closure is defeating the the final boss/mission, then watching the final cut-scene and the credits roll. For others, it’s doing every last thing there is to do in the game and watching the final trophy/achievement notification pop up. And for some, closure is dying 20 times in a row on a boss battle/mission and deciding the game is impossible and not worth playing anymore (I’m looking at you Ninja Gaiden). Let’s explore the first two examples: Credits Roll vs. 100% Completion.

A Game is Finished when the Credits Roll

While there are plenty of side missions and collectibles in a game, if they don’t help you beat the final boss, they’re not worth it. The same time and energy you spent in Final Fantasy X collecting all eight Aeons could be spent inside of Sin beating the bricks off of Yu Yevon. In this particular case, he’ll actually make you fight all the Aeons you collected, so why bother! Most side missions are just fetch quests for items of little relevance and most post-credit missions are the same things you’ve done just with higher level enemies. There are too many good games out there for you to spend 100 hours in one game completing redundant tasks. Once the final credits roll, you’ve beaten the game. Move on to the next one.

A Game is Finished when you’ve Completed 100%

Most video games today are $60 and to get full enjoyment out of that investment you need to get 100% completion. There are many instances where a side mission is more enjoyable than the main story missions. A side quest like the Samara/Morinth loyalty quest in Mass Effect 2 is way more enjoyable than yet another fire fight with Cerberus goons. Also, if you chose Morinth, she upgrades your squad and can make many of the main story missions easier. The final boss is very rarely the hardest boss in the game; usually that’s someone you can only access after beating the final boss and collecting particular items. There’s a lot of content left in a game after the credits roll and having that platinum trophy/achievement on your account is very rewarding. You’re missing out on a lot if you don’t get 100%.

What is the correct answer?

More arguments can be made for both sides but those are many of the points I hear in my gaming circles. In my last blog on Geek:30, “How to Game when you’re Approaching 30 (or older)” I mentioned how part of my Gaming Queue approach to finishing games includes the step: You cannot purchase the next game on your list until you have defeated the final boss and watched the credits roll in the games currently in the queue. That let’s you know what camp I’m in personally, but I wasn’t always a credits roll kind of gamer. I completed the Pokedex in Pokemon Yellow and collected everything there was to collect in Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I even used to get all the trophies in a sports game like Madden NFL. But as my priorities and interests changed, doing those extra things felt like a chore. Ultimately, a game is finished when the gamer is done having fun with it. Maybe my third example had it right all along…

Written by Alex Dukes - Alex Dukes is a mild mannered marketing professional by day but boss beating badass by night. He can be reached through social media @eRADicator919 on both Twitter and Instagram.

How to Game when you’re Approaching 30 (or older)

 

Growing up in the 90s meant I spent a lot of time playing video games during my youth. I was fortunate enough to have a Gameboy, N64, no siblings and few friends so I had lots of time to play! I guess that last part isn’t true; on any given weekend, we’d pack six people into my small bedroom and play Goldeneye and WWF Wrestlemania 2000, both four person games. Better not come in last or your handing the controller off. Even with extracurriculars during high school and college there was still time to pick up the sticks but then something happened. Once I got a day job after years in academia, I suddenly didn’t have as much time to stop the Reapers from destroying the galaxy or get the best time on Rainbow Road.

Surely, every gamer approaching 30 has had this same scenario occur. We can chalk this up to a number of things: spending time with significant others, overtime at work, your bed is too comfortable, the daily commute (especially us here in DC), the list goes on. Even with this lack of time to game, we still buy $400 consoles and dozens of $60 titles. Real quick, ask yourself how many games do you have sitting on your shelf still in the Saran wrap or uninstalled in your Steam Library? That’s proof that there is a disconnect between our adult priorities and childlike gaming desires but we don’t have “grow up and stop playing video games.” We just have to be more efficient with our time! Personally, I’ve taken two approaches over the last couple years: For multiplayer occasions, we have Weekly Gaming Hours and for solo experiences, I have the Gaming Queue. 

Every week, me and a specific set of friends pick a common time to play an online multiplayer game. Now that we’re older and trained to follow schedules and routines, it’s a lot easier to fit in a few rounds of Uncharted or Overwatch when it’s already penciled in on the calendar. As an added bonus, the weekly gaming sessions allow us to stay in touch even if we’re hundreds of miles apart. 

Now the Gaming Queue is a bit more unique to me; hear me out: I happen to be a big fan of Adventure and RPGs but the combination of me taking my time savoring the games and the prior mentioned dwindling time to play video games meant the next game I wanted to play would always come out before I finished the other. I found myself with a stack of half completed games. As a business professional during the day, I realized I wasn’t getting a good ROI in time or money on these titles so I gave myself the following guidelines:

  • Make a list of current and upcoming games you want to play.
  • You may only play two solo games at a time but one per console. (i.e. can’t play Final Fantasy XV and Watch Dogs 2 for PS4 at the same time)
  • You cannot purchase the next game on your list until you have defeated the final boss and watched the credits roll in the games currently in the queue. 
  • Hold your tongue 100% completionist, we’ll save that topic for another time.
  • Repeat this process until the queue is empty.
  • In the rare occasion the queue is empty, play Star Fox Zero and weep at how bad the controls are.

Using the Gaming Queue approach, I concentrate on fewer games but finish them much faster and since my attention isn’t split across five titles I also enjoy the story more because I can follow what’s going on more clearly. I even get the occasional benefit of a game on my list going on sale while I finish the current games in the queue. 

Ultimately, every gamer has to find out what works best for them to fit in their gaming hours but even with mounting priorities no one should have to neglect their consoles and miss out on all these fun gaming experiences.

Written by Alex Dukes - Alex Dukes is a mild mannered marketing professional by day but boss beating badass by night. He can be reached through social media @eRADicator919 on both Twitter and Instagram.

Has Legion Killed Altaholic-ing?

Author and Altaholic, Justin Buckner, is back with an update on how his "alt army" is faring in Legion.

Welcome back to yet another column from Earthen Ring’s resident Altaholic, refreshing your memory from the last column at Warlords of Draenor's end, I’m the crazy bastard with 35 max level toons and 3 that were raiding in Mythic HFC. So now that Legion has been out a wee bit over a month I’m sure many would expect the most devoted altaholic to be steamrolling through content building the alt army up once again and raking in profits hand over foot… only I’m not, not at all, not even close. I have a grand total of 2 110’s… my Holy Paladin main, Heirbuch, and my Restoration Druid, Heirmoo. I have a few others that are in between; my primary miner is sitting at 103, I have a second Druid that is a miner/herber at 102 (I had briefly experimented with dual boxxing ore/herbs), finally a skinner and enchanter at 101.

So what happened? At this point in Warlords of Draenor, I had 4 max level toons and was well on my way to amassing a silly number of alts, many of which I have no intention of ever really “playing”. Now, as I sit a month in, when I log in each night what keeps me from hopping on my hunter and questing through zones experiencing things through an entirely new relic and class hall? The answer is quite simple: World Quests.

I have always alted for a purpose; be it professions, achievements, convenience... the ends justified the means as I fed mats, gear, and cash to my main to help him in his pursuits. I built alts to fill holes in raid teams, I linked up with a side raid as they were short a healer: “2 Holy Paladins don’t mesh, let me build my Shaman up. Oh we got a new Shaman but don’t have a Discipline Priest? Sure I got one of those too.”

With the advent of scaling world quests and mythic plus dungeons I am reverting back to the older paradigm of feeding my main. Why did my Druid get to 110? I needed Starlight Rose to flask the Paladin for raid and was tired of bumming 1k gold flasks off our alchemists. Plus, I thought it would be nice for gearing up lower geared raiders to have a second healer available for content. My Warrior is next but only so I can feed ore to my main’s jewelcrafting needs. As the expansion goes on we’ll see if the need arises, but for now there is more than enough content to keep me playing my main and only sporadically logging on the alts.

Things may change, but for right now it sure looks like Legion has killed all desire to arm my alt army.

Written by Justin Buckner - Justin is an author and member of the Filthy Casuals raid team on Earthen Ring (US) and helps Alex lead the team.  When he's not playing World of Warcraft, he's... well actually he's always playing World of Warcraft!

 

Geeky Parenting - A Message to Josh

Growing up, I knew I was…different.  I was lucky that I grew up during the Nintendo Entertainment System and, later, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System’s being released.  I saw Optimus Prime (SPOILER ALERT!) die in the Transformers animated movie (as well as watched the original TV series.)  I remember the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation premiering (and what a big deal it ended up being with Playmates selling the action figures and role playing toys), the first Star Wars movie I saw (it was actually Empire Strikes Back, funny enough), and I remember the first comic book that was ever given to me…and it certainly wasn’t my last.  I also remember my father showing me how to program in BASIC on a Commodore 64 that was plugged in to a coaxial connection on the back of a knob-based TV.

I highlight all these points because they were things that helped shape my childhood not necessarily away from being into sports or being a jock, but more-so towards being what could be classified as a nerd, a geek, a dork, a dweeb, or any variation of one who just didn’t quite fit in.  Heck, I still get excited when I log into Star Trek Online and play through the different story lines that occur (PS, just leveled up to Vice Admiral and am dealing with Temporal Agents.  And if you get that, then add me as a friend!)  Or on New Comic Book Day (NCBD/NCD) on Wednesday’s where I pick up my comic pull from a store that’s been around since about 1985.

So why am I explaining all of this?  Well, unlike the argument of which is better, Star Trek or Star Wars, I am an objective nerd.  I am pursuing my B.A. in History and, thus, have always examined History not from a biased point of view (as the diversity in Nerds can consist of,) but as an observer.  Think of me like the Watcher in Marvel Comics, as an example.  And the point of all this is the following:  I am also the father to an 11-month old little boy who has already seen his fair share of nerd stuff.

For starters, he has witnessed as my best friends and I have sat around on our computers and played MMOs together (Star Wars:  The Old Republic) or played Fallout 4 independently while talking about The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and even Supergirl.  Yet I am still trying to figure out the most important thing of all:  how do I raise him to be as objective as I am?  I’m not trying to make him into my little clone (oh, God no!), but I want him to understand that it’s okay to be a nerd in today’s society.  Wil Wheaton said it best in March of 2014 (Regarding Confidence, Compassion, and Bullies) that people saying mean things to you is not cool in any way and, instead, if we try to understand why they are bullies, then maybe they can change.

And not only is he right, but when you look at the things that nerds have done throughout the last century up to, and including now, we can’t count the number of people who would be considered nerds or geeks!  These men and women have done amazing things that transcend race, creed, sexual orientation or preference, gender, religion, and so much more!  In the late 1999 we had The Wachowski Brothers give us The Matrix.  Now, the brothers are no longer Larry and Andy, they are Lilly and Lana after choosing to be transgender. Neil Degrasse Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and is a Black man.  Mayim Bialik is a well known actress, having gotten her start on the TV show Blossom and is most well known for her role as Amy on The Big Bang Theory as a Neurobiologist.  Not only does she have her Ph.D in real life in Neurobiology, but she’s also an orthodox Jew.  Danica McKeller?  Formerly Winnie Cooper and the love of young Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage who, also, just happens to be Jewish?)  She’s got her Ph.D in Theoretical Mathematics.
I could go on and on about who could be considered a nerd or a geek, but the bottom line is this:  this first blog entry was going to be about trying to raise my son as a geek.  Instead, it’s my first chance to put down on “paper” the following message that I want to give him:

Don’t let anyone tell you who you are.  Don’t let anyone tell you what you are supposed to be.  If you become interested in something so much that you love it, then you grab on to it with both hands and you run with it.  You are special, you are different, and you are one-of-a-kind, and you were put on this Earth to share this with others.  If they can’t accept you for who you are, then it is not your job to change.  It is their job to accept and love you.  Because there is no one like you anywhere else in the world, nor will there ever be again.

Written by Andy Edelheit - Andy is a gamer, comic book, music, movie, and TV nerd.  He can talk Trek or Wars and, as many have said, a “Walking Wikipedia.”  His wife’s goal for him is to go on Jeopardy and win.  His goal is to raise his son to be a nerd like him.

Geek:30 Contributor: We Are All Gamers

A familiar voice of the Geek:30 Happy Hour community joins us for an outsider's look on a big part of Geek Culture: Video Games! Chris McIntosh was featured on the 3rd episode ever of the Geek:30 Happy Hour.  You can listen to his hilarious episode here.

The world of gaming has so many different levels. One could say that when you think of gaming you think of people playing first person shooters or RPG's or something to that effect. We picture nerds playing all of these fantasy games while never leaving the comfort of their potato chip covered couches. We often forget an important demographic of video games—possibly the one that makes the most money. Sports video games.

With franchises like Madden and FIFA, gamers are transported from couch to field of play. People could make the argument that these are just as much RPGs as RPGs are. You are playing as your favorite sports figure or sports team and nothing is more role playing than that.

 

So what separates these two types of gamers? Nothing. Whether we are playing Zelda or Madden, we are all gamers. We are all in it for the fantasy of playing out something that we can’t experience in real life, right? People are drawn to hours upon hours of World of Warcraft, doing raids every Tuesday night. And, you can’t reschedule raid night ;). Just like people are drawn to hours upon hours of the Madden dynasty mode.

I, myself, don’t play video games anymore, but I have friends that do—clearly. I actually have two groups of friends that do exactly what I described earlier and, really, they are no different in their love of gaming. The only thing that separates them is the genre that they favor.

So I leave you with this—we are all drawn to different aspects of gaming and that, makes us all, gamers.

Written by Chris McIntosh - Chris and Alex have been like brothers since the age of 4.  They grew up together playing Street Fighter, Baseball in the cul-de-sac they lived in, and watching the movie Heavyweights on repeat.  Chris and Alex have also played in bands together since high school.  Chris continues to be a big part of Alex's life, even though he is not your traditional "geek".

Confessions of a Warcraft Altaholic

In preparation for Legion launching in a week, we bring in World of Warcraft legend and Filthy Casual, Justin Buckner, to talk about his Alt Army.  Enjoy!

The following is satiric and in no way shape or form is making of light of those who struggle with addiction, to all of you out there fighting the need, keep strong and you rock!

Several 12 step programs claim the first step is recognizing you have a problem is admitting it. So here I am; Hello Geek:30 Happy Hour, My name is Justin and I am an altaholic. Well, at least that’s how the greetings go in the movies anyway, not sure about in real life.

An Alt Army is a wonderful thing to have. You want Mimiron’s Head? Invincible? Fiery Warhorse? Love Rocket? All can acquired through aid of an Alt Army, save of course the Love Rocket which is surely a myth. By using clever mechanics a quasi geared well planned Alt Army can help the dedicated altoholic achieve what would ordinarily take weeks if not months to attain.

My Alt Army is 30 strong, 22 Horde (Lok’tar ogar) and 8 Alliance (For the …. I can’t, I just can’t). With the influx of gold in Draenor I have been able to maintain a second account, so most of my alting occurs on Earthen Ring (ER) where my main, Heirbuch, and 19 other max levels reside. Having two accounts under one battle.net account is amazing, two max mages means free porting wherever I want to go. Plenty of support for power-leveling through truly odious low level content (Looking at you Black Rock Dungeons). All professions are covered, in fact, I have 5 tailors pumping out 30 slot bags practically everyday.

But bags and ports aren’t the only benefit, take Mimiron’s Head, that of the 1% drop rate in Heroic 25 Ulduar, for instance. Yogg Sauron at level 100 with moderate gear is not hard to kill, Yogg at level 90 wasn’t all that difficult. What was difficult was taking 30-40 minutes of your life clearing to Yogg and then repeating every week for 100 or so weeks praying to RNGesus every week that he will take mercy on you. Alt Armying makes killing Yogg over and over a breeze.


The trick is to keep a lockout cleared up to Yogg. I did this by dual boxxing (two simultaneous accounts- with one toon on follow) up to Yogg, booting my second account before killing the boss. After that all you need to do is invite the other ten toons from that booted account after both toons are in the instance and the 15 of 16 lockout has been accepted. Making the non lockout toon leader of the group and booting the holder, making sure to extend the the lockout each week. Eleven kills each week for that account, repeating the process with a cross server hordey to run the other 8 toons on my second ER account, I was able to quickly clear Yogg 18 times a week. All of a sudden that mathematical 1/100 chance went from 100 weeks to just over 5. The mount dropped the 3rd week on kill #65.

The reasoning is still sound the more alts you throw at a given item the more likely you are for RNG to fate you with the object you desire. It’s not guaranteed, but at least you know when you exceed that mathematical probability threshold, you’re truly unlucky and not just a whiner.

Happy alting!

Written by Justin Buckner - Justin is a member of the Filthy Casuals raid team on Earthen Ring (US) and helps Alex lead the team.  When he's not playing World of Warcraft, he's... well actually he's always playing World of Warcraft!

Top 3 Games - Reflection on the First Half 2016

Hey guys, Alex here.  I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately on the different video games that came out earlier this year and what I've enjoyed playing most.  Some were just... well... "meh" is the only description I have for it.  But some really stuck out to me and I felt the need to share them with you.  If you're like me, finding time to play video games is precious.  I, unfortunately, have a hell of a backlog of games that I've been getting through.  I hope you find this list helpful, as I'm sure you're in the same boat!

Overwatch

I haven't had this much fun with a first person shooter (FPS) in a long time.  If you enjoy shooters like Team Fortress 2, Quake, and Unreal Tournament, this is the game you've been waiting a long time for.  Overwatch is a fast paced, team focused, objective based shooter where you group with 5 other players for 6v6 mayhem.  Game styles include (but aren't limited to):

  • Capture the Objective: Imagine King of the Hill (no relation to Hank, Peggy, and Bobby).  No wait... that's pretty much it.  Stand on the objective and claim it.  Hold the objective for a period of time and you win.
  • Payload: You're responsible for moving an object on a track from one point to another.  Stay on the objective and keep it moving.
  • Brawl: A rotation of different style mini games.  For instance, committing to one hero for an entire game instead of switching to different heroes.  Or you're only allowed to use a limited set of heroes.  Or Lucioball (Overwatch's take on hit game Rocket League).

You choose from a number of different heroes with different abilities, which keeps the game fresh. Your hero is either a Tank, Support, Offense, or Defense.  A personal favorite of mine is Reaper, which is an Offense hero.  Imagine you're the Grim Reaper carrying around 2 sawed off shotguns and you excel and popping up out of nowhere and annihilating the other team.  Yeah, he's hella fun.  (did I just say hella?) This game is available for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.

If you ever want to play this game, feel free to reach out to me (geekthirtypodcast@gmail.com).    I'm always happy to play with new friends!

Pokemon.jpg

Pokemon Red/Yellow/Blue

Are you on the hype train that is Pokemon Go? I don't know about you, but all of the talk of Pokemon this year got me feeling super nostalgic.  I was super excited to hear about the original Pokemon games being available on demand for my Nintendo 3DS.  I ended up buying Pokemon Yellow (because Pikachu).  I have so many memories of playing Pokemon Red when I was a kid.  Between that and watching the original TV series, my love affair with Pokemon was, and still is, deep.

The game still holds up surprisingly well! If you've been playing the new games, you're probably spoiled by some of the newer mechanics, like the item that shares experience between all of your Pokemon in Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire.  While this old game lacks some of that, it takes away a lot of the unnecessary complexities some of the new games have presented (new evolution paths) and reminds you what a great concept the Pokemon games are at their core.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Ok... you guys... this game is incredible.  If you need 1 reason at all to buy a Playstation 4, it's this.  Uncharted 4, in my humble opinion, is the epitome of an action adventure genre.  Between intense story telling, unbelievably realistic graphics, gripping action, and creative puzzles, you won't find yourself bored with this game.  Honestly, I found myself just staring off into the distance marveling at the scenery and would have to snap myself out of it and say, "dammit, Alex, we have a video game to play!"

If you're not familiar with the Uncharted franchise, do yourself a favor and play the first 3 games before playing this one.  You can play the first 3 in the Nathaniel Drake Collection.  You'd greatly appreciate the story behind it and they're damn good games.  You play as treasure hunter, Nathan Drake, who finds himself on adventures similar to what one would experience in an Indiana Jones film.  There is hardly a dull moment, and you forget sometimes that you're playing a game and not watching a movie.

2016 isn't over yet...

I'm looking forward to seeing what new titles catch my attention later this year.  What are you looking forward to? Leave a comment below!