Archive for December, 2015

The Gaming And Blogging Postmortem, But First Some More Destiny

⚠️ Don’t forget to watch the feature Let’s Play video above!

Expansion 3 – Destiny The Taken King – And It’s All Good

Where does the time go? Here I am – at the critically acclaimed third expansion of my favourite shooter – and I still haven’t completed the first two expansions [The Dark Below 1️⃣ and House of Wolves 2️⃣]. Not to mention I still haven’t finished the main story of Destiny, but we’ll get into the crux of that matter later.

It is with great pleasure that I come before you now, with my final post for 2015, regaling you with my tall tale as a light wielding Guardian. This is no coincidence – Destiny was my very first blog post so it only makes sense that it be my last. Especially since my first Destiny let’s play video had lots of live commentary audio issues. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours it took for me to finally get my video capture setup just right. All of the testing and troubleshooting that I did was enough to make a gamer throw in the towel, but I powered through and figured it all out. Failure was not an option so I persevered, and lo and behold, I have been producing better quality let’s plays for your enjoyment. But that’s neither here nor there [as far as you’re concerned]. You want to hear about Destiny and The Taken King so let’s do this.

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The Darkness Has Consumed Me

Destiny is, and always will be, a special game in my mind. It’s the first limited edition IP that I’ve ever purchased and the first game that I’ve truly invested countless hours in. I have the Destiny app on my phone that keeps track of the hours (amongst other important in-game data) that I put in so this should tell you that I’m all the way in on this game. I was an alpha and beta test “virgin” – until the summer of 2014 when I opted to participate in both legendary activities – and (needless to say) the addictive gameplay, and shooting mechanics, have hooked me ever since. Did year one of Destiny have some problems? Sure, what game doesn’t? It was very grindy and repetitive, the story was too vague, the progression and reward system had room for improvement, and some of the voice acting (sorry Peter Dinklage) was stiff. The Taken King aimed to fix all of this and it succeeded with flying colours.

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Destiny (2.0) The Taken King

The one thing Destiny has always gotten right was it’s spooky and ominous tone, and The Taken King is no different. Exploring seemingly empty bases and facilities in the dark is as haunting as ever. There are strange and eerie echoes all around making your itchy trigger finger all the more twitchier. I feel like this shooter was made just for me, but it doesn’t stop there. There are also a lot of little tweaks and changes that Bungie made to make year two of Destiny a much better experience.

First and foremost I have to give props for the action packed, Star Wars-esque, opening cinematic cut scene. Good job Bungie because you truly grabbed my attention. The opening still has the main issue of glossing over details about The Traveller, The Golden Age, The Darkness and The Collapse, which (if you ask me) helps expand the world and explain what the hell is actually happening in the game. There’s important back story here – but if gamers just want to ignore all of the story missions from year one – and dive right into year two’s The Taken King, they can choose to do so. The cost, however, is that you forego the beginning of the some-what vaguely explained story. But no matter how vague a story is; can you imagine taking up a story from the third act, not knowing what happened in the first two? This is why I suggest that if you buy Destiny The Legendary Edition 3️⃣; that you play through all of content and not just the latest installment. Get the whole story even if you choose to play The Taken King first and then go back to the previous content after. If you get through all of the content then you’ll be sure to find that The Taken King is much more story driven than it’s predecessors.

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The other improvements that I’d like to call out might seem smaller in scale, but sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way. For instance, to better indicate who’s actually talking to you during your mission, you can now see your quest giver’s name in the upper right corner; just as you would when you hear from your Ghost. Speaking of your floating friend, it’s voice (previously performed by Peter Dinklage 4️⃣) has been replaced by the soothing sounds of Nolan North 5️⃣. Nathan Drake himself is in Destiny and you’ll get no argument from me. Just chalk it up to another move in the right direction for Bungie’s improved Alienbuster. And with your little companion sounding a million times better; you can take him on your numerous quests for bounties, which you now can access from the Quests page. No more hauling ass back to the Tower every time for your rewards. It’s almost like the developers at Bungie care. Not to mention the XP change that had every guardian in the galaxy in celebration. This 2.0 update has made leveling up so much easier than it was before. No more tedious grinding for armour with light attached. Now everything that you do in Destiny increases your experience – which is how it should have been all along. But I guess these are the ebbs and flows of getting a Triple-A title to as close to perfection as a developer can.

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Is The Taken King perfect? I’d say it’s perfect enough, especially for a gaming worker such as myself. Like I said before, this is a special game and it deserves a round of applause for being the ambitious first person shooter that it is. The only real issue [of mine] is finding the time to get through all of the fabulous content, but what else is new? Too many games and not enough time. This seems to be the ongoing theme of this blog; finding adequate time to play The Taken King [or any other game for that matter]. But fear not fellow guardians for I will “Be on my guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; and be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13 6️⃣

And now…

The Gaming Worker Epilogue

So we have now come to the postmortem portion of this article. It’s always a good idea to take stock in any project, especially a passion project such as this blog, so I plan to make this a yearly (maybe even quarterly) tradition. Some people may see The Gaming Worker as nothing more than a fun, little hobby for me to pass the time – and there’s some truth to that assessment – but that’s not all. It’s much bigger than that. This is my brand and hopefully one day the gaming community will get to know it well. I want my blue and orange face logo to be up there [in the spot light] with Twitch and/or PlayStation because these world renown brands are synonymous with the word fun. That’s what The Gaming Worker stands for – injecting fun back into a person’s life.

We all have that one thing that we used to love doing, but for some reason or another we had to pump the breaks on that thing. It was put on the back burner never to be touched again. For me there were a couple of hobbies that fell to the wayside, like playing the bass guitar and drawing comic books, but gaming is the one true pastime that kept on coming back. So I finally embraced what the Universe was trying to tell me and before I knew it, The Gaming Worker was born. You see, as much as I loved playing video games, playing just wasn’t enough. Something inside me was telling me to write about gaming as well, but I needed a hook. I didn’t want to arbitrarily write about any given game. So I meditated (like Don Draper in the series finale of Mad Men 7️⃣) and then it hit me like a duffle bag full of video game controllers. Write about getting through your video game backlog. It seemed like the perfect idea because every gamer on this ever rotating green planet has a daunting backlog of games to cross off of their list, but no one’s really talking about it. Well now I’m talking for as long as the internet will let me.

So have I been firing on all cylinders and producing content consistently? No, but it isn’t for the lack of trying. Creating gaming content (or any content for that matter), in the amount that I want to do it, is a full-time job. Well guess what? I already have one of those which means that time is a valuable luxury that is in short supply. I’m not one who usually gives excuses, but I’m giving them today. I have no other choice because as much as I love to game, and as much as I am committed to this blog, I have other obligations that tend to get in the way. Just like 80% of the world’s population I have to uphold my humanly duty and participate in this amazing rat race of ours – which (as you all know) can leave a person with little to no time for gaming and/or blogging. But we all have bills to pay (right?) and websites to maintain [monetarily] so what can you do?

Finding time isn’t the only challenge I have when it comes to doing a blog like this – although time is a major factor. After twelve months of doing this I’ve come to realize that getting through your backlog isn’t as easy as it sounds. For instance you can’t pick up every game after a long period of not playing it and expect to be as skilled as you were before. There are some games out there that you have to re-learn because after three, six or twelve months of not playing you lose the momentum and dexterity that you once had. At least I do anyway. Another obstacle that comes up from time to time is writer’s block. And I use the term writer very loosely because (and I’ve said this before) I’m not a good writer; I just pretend to be one. I can barely put together a good sentence or paragraph and there are probably spelling and/or grammar mistakes all over this site. Hey, I’m just a graphic designer for Pete’s sake, but I do the best that I can and I sometimes do struggle with getting the words onto the page…I mean screen.

Unfortunately I’m a one man show, and as much as I’m ok with that, it means that I have to wear many hats. I’m the writer, I’m the editor, I record the let’s plays, communicate on social media, Photoshop the images for the blog…you name it. It’s the devil’s work and right now I’m the only handsome devil here to do it. My hope is for this to evolve into something much bigger one day – I’m not exactly sure what – but I want The Gaming Worker to make a dent in this industry. If any like-minded funky homosapiens should cross my path [who are down with this program] then I would happily consider recruiting additional gaming workers for my cause. I want to create a pyramid of gaming workers and together we shall rule the internet! [Insert maniacal laugh] 😆

The game/work balance can also be an issue. Performing a game and doing let’s plays are always fun, but it’s also work. I have to get the marbles out of my mouth and be voice-over ready which is not as easy as it may seem. Speaking clearly, recording clean takes and editing video can be a chore so there are times when I have to step away from the “work” and remember to just game for fun. It may sound silly, but it’s true and very important. As much as we live in a world today where people enjoy watching other people play video games, I have to resist that record button and remember to play (and enjoy) the game the way it was intended. Without the world always watching, just like when I was a kid. There are some gaming sessions that I have to reserve for myself and that’s just the way it has to be. There’s offline gaming and then there’s OFFLINE gaming…capisce.

Question. Have you ever arrived home from work to then eat the warm dinner that your wonderful spouse has prepared for you; then get cozy together on the couch to watch TV, or a couple of shows on Netflix, or a movie; and after all of that quality time you then kiss her goodnight and get ready to get some much anticipated video gaming (or blogging) out of the way; but instead what happens is you sit on the couch staring at the TV, eyelids heavy, not moving a muscle because you’re body is dead tired; so you just end up going to sleep because you have to wake up and go to work the next morning? No? Ok, I guess it’s just me then.

Wait, I have one more flimsy excuse and then I can wrap this up. The number of games in my backlog list keeps increasing. It’s the darnedest thing. You’d think that the industry would stop releasing new games and wait for me to finish the ones I have, but no. Sony and all of the first, second, and third-party studios (and publishers) have to crank out their new IPs to keep the market thriving, thus leaving me always having to play catch up because I don’t have enough time to play their awesome games. So grudgingly new games get added to the backlog – it’s a vicious cycle [that can take your eye off of the prize – but a fun one nevertheless].

The point of this [postmortem] was to shed some light (bitch and complain) on some of the challenges that I’ve faced in my first year of doing this, and at the same time give you a verbal peek behind the curtain. It’s all fun and games being The Gaming Worker, but it’s not easy trying to stay on top of all of this content creation. The one thing that has helped me put more time into this is cutting back on the amount of my over-time hours at my job. That’s how serious and committed I am to gaming and this form of game reporting. Unfortunately there’s only so much time that I can steal away from my job and/or family, so until situations change, this will have to do. But I can tell you one thing for sure; I know exactly what I want to do when I retire as an old man. If video games are still booming twenty years from now (and I think they will – hello PlayStation 7 or 8) I’m going to game – and blog – but mostly game until my thumbs fall off. And when they do [fall off] I will get robotic thumbs surgically attached because by that time (I’m pretty sure) that robotic thumb replacement will be a thing.

Ladies and germs, it’s been a pleasure entertaining you – and for making it this far [down the blog post] I’m going to reward you with one last Destiny let’s play for 2015. Please click on the image below. Enjoy 👍

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