Borderlands 1 – Completion Update

I don’t have anything lined up for today, but I did use some extra free time to push forward a bit and figured I would take inventory.

I managed to successfully kill Crawmerax, though it was a bit of a pain to do so. The boss and the adds all hit for my entire shield and most of my health. There’s a trick that can animation lock the boss for a bit, but I still had to trigger him and finish him off the old fashioned way. I managed, but it was barely. Unfortunately I didn’t get any cool or useful loot to help me wrap up the rest of these. Still, it was one I was really concerned about and it’s out of the way now.

This is what’s left. I don’t think the top one is an issue. All I have to do is find someone who has it already and join their game.

The brains mission is apparently an optional one that I overlooked when I did the zombie DLC. It’s not in my quest list for either playthrough, so I’ll have to do it from scratch. All tiers combined it’s about 435 brains. That’s a lot of headshot zombies, but that’s how it is.

Those next four I’m not sure about. I haven’t touched them in a very long time. I’m hoping that the higher end gear I have now will make it less dumb. If it doesn’t seem doable any other way, I’m not above enabling demi-god mode if they’re all I have left. I’m considering that a last resort option though, but it’s still possible to die and they take a good bit of time to complete.

The completionist should be easy enough. I was working on this a bit on my higher level playthrough, but it looks like it will be easier to go finish it on Playthrough 1. I’ll have to take out Crawmerax again, but some of the other quests such as the Circle of Duty colosseum quests are proving absurdly difficult at max level. I’ve managed to clear about four out of five at max level though.

My desire to get all this done by 160 hours was apparently a bit optimistic. I’m at 159.9 hours now, and I have at least another 8 hours to go. Oh well, maybe by 175.

As of right now, I’ll still in the mood to move on to Borderlands 2 when I’m done. My oldest child has expressed an interest in joining me, though I doubt he has the patience required to do 100% I’ll take whatever help I can get though, and it’s always nice to have those shared memories.

Y’all take care, onward and upward.

Not About Borderlands 3 – It’s 2 Instead

I have made some grave errors in judgement, it would seem.

Since I seem to be tied to the overall franchise hype train like a skag to a bandit wagon, I figured I could go over some thing I have learned in the last 24 hours. Things that make me feel like I never really understood the second game at all.

For starters, the last 5-10% of the game is completely foreign to me. Specifically everything after The Bunker. I did stay up fairly late last night, and managed to finish the game’s “Normal” difficulty. What this tells me, though, is that my belief that I had finished the game at least once before seems to have been in error.

Now as someone who spent at least 126 hours on BL1 PC, according to Steam anyway, I was familiar with it’s “multiple” playthroughs. It’s technically only a Normal followed by a New Game+ kind of mode where the enemies are scaled up, but there’s an additional semi-level after you finish the story the second time where everything scales to your level instead of having a fixed one.

Now, my impression of BL2 is heavily influenced by the fact that I’ve never done any of the DLC content. It has three full playthroughs, called Normal Vault Hunter Mode (VHM), True VHM, and Ultimate VHM. The DLC apparently added additional scaling beyond this, Overpower levels 1 through 8. I obviously can’t speak to these all that well, but it looks like it mostly scales enemies up while you remain level 72. It’s all very reminiscent of the Diablo series. The actual content itself isn’t really changing, just the number balance and by extension the challenge.

This comes with additional levels of gear that also have their own OP level requirement. It looks like it can be cheesed a little. You can start a quest on a high OP level, do it on a lower one, then turn it in again on the higher one and get the higher level reward a little cheesy, but whatever. You still have to reach the higher level first anyway.

The Pre Sequel kept the main three but omitted the Overpower mode. Funilly enough, the underlying engine is the same and OP1-8 gear from BL2 can be save-edited into TPS. Things brings up an interesting point in that TPS is missing the endest of end-games that existed in it’s predecessor.

Not that I’ll every see OP, I don’t think. The amount of time I’ve already spent on BL2 just to clear NVHM feels excessive and like it’s inhibiting my ability to get other things done, including having something else to actually talk about. Still, I’m enjoying the experience, so it’s not all that bad.

Speaking of getting other things done, if I’m doing a Something New post tomorrow, I gotta slide off here and get to it. Y’all take care, and maybe don’t car like Crazy Earl. He ate one of Scooters cars once. Just, like, with a fork.

Why am I still talking about Borderlands 3?

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I’ve been following the Borderlands 3 news, both out of interest in the game itself and out of general curiosity. Admittedly, my concerns about something like a Borderlands Battle Royale currently seem unfounded, at least in the context of the base game itself. In fact, they seem to be sticking pretty close to “the formula” for better or worse.

Unfortunately we’re still pretty light on details, but they seem to have at least mixed the character archetypes up a little bit, as I couldn’t immediately imply what the role of a given character would be. Not that they were exactly tied into hard and fast roles anyway, but historically they had The Soldier, The Siren, The Assassin, and The Brute, especially in the original two games.

In the third things are a little more confused. The melee features and stocky build of the brutish character have been given to the siren, the character with the most soldiery appearance took on the title of “gunner” and has a large robotic mech thing. By and large the beastmaster seems to be the most unique of the lot, but we’ve seen a variety of pets in every game from hawks, to turrets, to robots. What makes it unique is that it’s implied to have different and/or multiple pets. The operative guy, well, just another assassin I guess? Time will tell.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that I can say I have more than gotten my value from this series, I can’t say that I’ve ever paid more than maybe half the original retail price for any of them. I don’t really feel compelled to do so now, either. I have several… concerns.

The first is the nature of the development cycle. They kept the lid on this so long that I can’t rightly judge when production actually started. How do I know it’s not experiencing a problem similar to Bioware’s Anthem, where the desire to make it unique instead led to a confused and unfocused development cycle.

We’re also in a very different world for games now than we used to be. Gearbox whole-heartedly embraced the season pass and DLC model, most of which I’ve never personally experienced. Honestly the DLC for the original wasn’t all that bad. This game and its formula are just screaming for lockboxes containing random cosmetics and gear, something players everywhere have expressed joy and admiration for. Sarcasm really doesn’t translate well to text.

Which as usual brings us back the the “billions of guns” statement. Yep, great, more junk to sell that I don’t need. What would make this meaningful would be the ability to disassemble, remove, and/or switch parts between weapons in order to create a customized piece of gear instead of one that occurs accidentally. I’m worried this might break the formula a little, but it simply shifts the focus from “grinding for a better weapon drop” to “grinding for a better part drop.”

It’s also worth noting that it announced itself with no small controversy. The PC release will be Epic Games Store exclusive until April 2020, six to seven months. This has naturally upset the internet, which has decided that platform exclusives are pure evil. I wouldn’t say it’s the best option, but at least they gave everyone a time table up front.

“So many titles have been released and hailed as a major paradigm shift within the genre, only to make the same mistakes as their predecessors. Furthermore, publishers have frequently mismanaged their players needs, failed to address problems groups and have generally eschewed any real responsibility for the communities they’ve contributed to creating. And then there is the egregious monetisation and the woeful mismanagement of loot boxes and similar mechanics.” – Mr. Peril – A Lack of Excitement

I saw a recent post from Mr. Peril mirroring a similar sentiment to my own. At the end of the day, my willingness to take any of the things I’ve seen so far as anything but advertising leaves me a little wary of any new product, even the ones I want to experience and see succeed. I like the Borderlands franchise. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time playing it, including at least two different platforms. I am, however, unwilling to emotionally commit to it without seeing the final product. In the last several years, I only recall being involved in three pre-orders, only two of which I personally paid for. X-COM 2, Monster Hunter World PC, and the Shadowbringers expansion for FFXIV.

All three of these were chosen because I was extremely confident that I would at least get the monies worth out of that product over its lifetime, regardless of how poorly it turned out. MHW, the one that wasn’t pre-ordered by myself, already existed on other platforms and really wasn’t a risk. We knew exactly what we were getting.

I don’t feel that confident in Borderlands 3. They also have an ill-timed release. The week before my wife’s birthday is not a good time to spend money on a new game. Not saying they should care, just not well timed for me personally. Hopefully it will be a great game, with a great development cycle and it’ll come out and everyone will love it.

Y’all take care, maybe wait and see what the hype train’s destination is before you board.

Ancient News – Borderlands and Codehunters

Whew, I have got to get back on track here. Been arguing with the crud and scheduling issues and everything feels like it’s wrong now.

I noticed a headline yesterday that I wanted to go back and take a look at, if only because I’ve discussed the Fortnite dance case previously. It was one about Epic Games responding to someone saying they stole art. Found it on Forbes. Between then and now the article has been updated to say that the artwork and facebook page have been removed, and that it was allegedly fake. I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me, given what day it is.

This did include a link to a much older article from 2013 about the original Borderlands and the short film Codehunters. It was already old news then, it would seem, as there’s a Kotaku article from 2010 referencing a presumably older reddit thread.

I watched the first few minutes of Codehunters, and if I remember I intend to watch the whole thing in its entirety once I get home. There are certainly some strong similarities, the opening scene with the bus bear some strong resemblance, as does the art style and some of the characters and movement. It also shares some scenes with the opening of Borderlands 2, though I’ll have to actually go back and watch it again to be sure.

The underlying question would be if Borderlands stole these scenes or were inspired by them. The art style itself is of little consequence, since I’m fairly sure you can’t copyright an art style itself, and an art style could include more than just visual appearance, but also character shape and movement. In a way it almost feels like saying Cyberpunk 2077 is ripping off Shadowrun. Dystopian cyberpunk is a pretty recognizable style.

I can’t quite pin down what style Codehunters or Borderlands would be though. I don’t really have a name for it. In fact, I just assumed Borderlands was inspired more by Mad Max and was mostly a combination of luck and good timing in it’s success.

I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere with this, though. I seem to be running in circles. I found a version of Codehunters posted by the animation studio. Watch it and decide for yourself. This is old enough that I suspect any legal challenges that might could have been brought are now moot. I just thought it was an interesting view at how one thing came to be.

Y’all take care.

Borderlands 3 Update Post

I went down a weird lore rabbit-hole with FF Tactics, XII, and XIV the other day, and I’m working on a post for that. Unfortunately it’s going to take a little time and I just couldn’t make it happen for today like I had meant to. Suffice to say, there’s a lot more of Tactics and XII built into XIV than I realized. Even as far back as 1.0. As someone who adored and played, for that matter still plays, Tactics, I like it. Unfortunately I’ve never played XII. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll consider picking up on Steam some day when it’s on sale.

In reference to yesterday’s post about Borderlands 3, they did actually announce that. Looks like it’s pretty much the same sort of deal as before, which is a good thing. I’m actually watching it, with sounds this time, as I write.

Their boast regarding “billions of guns” reminds me of the honest game trailer.

“With a gun creation system that can create millions of unique weapons, aaand hundreds that are actually worth using.”

Hopefully they’ll be doing something to make the uniqueness of individual weapons somehow relevant. The ability to mix and match parts would be absolutely wonderful, even in some limited manner. Might undo the very looter shooter nature of the game though.

They also announced an HD remaster of all three of the previous entries in the series, available next Wednesday. Might be a good time to go back and get those 11 achievements I’m missing from the first game, assuming that they carry over, of course, and don’t add a bunch of new ones.

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There’s someone noticeably absent from the Borderlands 3 trailers though. Maybe that’s intentional, maybe it isn’t, but I think a it warrants a moment of silence.

Borderlands – Upcoming Announcement and Concerns

It’s strange really, to be looking at an announcement, looking forward to it even, and realizing that I don’t really care all that much. In this particular case, I’m referring to the much anticipated “Borderlands 3” reveal this afternoon.

Of course, we don’t know exactly what is being revealed, but it all feels wrong. I watched the teaser trailer and have this little nagging feeling that it’s most likely a Battle Royale or at best a Borderlands themed Overwatch. As beloved as the franchise is, Gearbox does not have a particularly good reputation.

I’m also keenly aware that I have nobody to play it with, would be almost universally unwilling to pay full price for it, and I’m just not the same person that enjoyed previous entries in the series. I still like them, all of them, even the Pre-Sequel, though for different reasons. The first was just a weird wacky adventure. The second took that and refined it and gave it something resembling a coherent narrative. Pre-sequel was basically just the same thing but on the moon. It stood out because it took the super villainous Jack and managed to make him human enough to evoke sympathy. Of course, Pre-sequel wasn’t technically made by Gearbox.

I’ve also played and quite enjoyed Tales from the Borderlands as well, which isn’t even necessarily canon.

Still, there’s a place for it, I think, market-wise. Depends on what exactly it is, I think. If it sticks to the more traditional formula, then it’s basically a really wacky version of the Division. A franchise that has had two iterations developed and released since the last installment of Borderlands. If it tries to become something more… online… then it’ll be, I dunno, Destiny but goofier? I might could actually convince some of my friend to play that, at least. I think that’s the single best possible outcome, followed by sticking to the standard formula.

God help us all if it turns out to be a battle royale game. They could possibly pull off a Borderlands IP version of Battleborn, but I don’t think it would fare well either.

Honestly the battle royale things scares me. Everything is currently aligned to make that sound like a good idea at the business level, and I could interpret the teaser trailer that way if I wanted to. I’m just not sure, with everyone so wound up for “Borderlands 3” that it would go very well. Diablo Immortal comes to mind. Oh hell, I hadn’t even considered mobile gaming.

Hopefully all my concerns are misplaced and they’ll do exactly what everyone expects them to do. The fact remains that I’m interested, but have no intention of buying it, and nobody to play it with. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll be on sale enough post-Shadowbringers that I would be willing to check it out.