Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Blaaagh: on the long dark month, kickstarters, Sword Coast Yawns and other stuff

As October rolls to a close I can only say thank goodness....ever since I moved to the more demanding/more rewarding position of my current company I have found October a brutal challenge, as this is a "major activity" month for me. It's one of the reasons I haven't done an October Movie Month for a few years now, unfortunately. Things don't really calm down at my job for a while....but October is the worst month for me, so the subsequently horrible November and December still don't look as bad by comparison (my staff might disagree).


So for this month I tried backing three Kickstarters. Tome of Beasts is looking strong with more than six times it's Kickstarter goal and the amazing talent at Kobold Press behind it.  The Dungeon Crawl Classics 4th printing looks cool but I admit part of me wonders if there's as much point to backing it as I felt the cool alternative cover art work the extra money when XMas is closing and I need to plan to buy a ton of loot for my kid (who has a Birthday on the 25th of November, too)? Will I ever actually get to play DCC? It seems like such a great game, but it is fundamentally dependent on my ability to focus my GM style on its requirements, while finding a group of players who are intrigued at what it brings to the table.

Maybe just enjoying the collection and reading of DCC will be enough in the end.

And finally there's the Borderlands Provinces Kickstarter from Frog God. On the one hand I am keen to support any 5E development they want to aim for. On the other hand, it's having some trouble hitting the goal, and in wondering why I realized that their many updates on the Kickstarter have been less exciting than I might have hoped. Not "less exciting" in an objective way, but rather that they made me realize I probably won't use this setting. I love the modules Frog God makes, but I have never been interested in Lost Lands as anything other than a world sufficiently generic and portable as to make it easy to run the scenarios in the setting in my own worlds. It's hard to tell from this project, even with all the updates, if it will have much "ease of conversion" to mine for ideas. I may end up backing out.....we shall see. What I'd really like them to do is another monster book or two and more Book of Quests tomes.

Sword Coast Legends

Sword Coast Legends arrived on PC earlier this month and while it was fun for a little while I really lost momentum....there's just none of the actual "D&D feel" you'd want in a game that purported to be a direct successor to the best of the previous era of D&D gaming. They made a crucial error by trying to simplify the character design system and streamline it to be more action RPG friendly in feel....almost every competing game on the market in the same general niche has more to offer and a abetter overall experience as well, which is in many ways even worse; people who like SCL are likely enjoying it because they haven't played other, better games like literally everything else out there, unfortunately are more forgiving than a guy like me with too many choices of entertainment (and too little time). For SCL to work for me they needed to make this a turn-based tactical RPG, like Divinity: Original Sin, or study what Pillars of Eternity did. Or better yet, WotC needs to license the brand out to a real game development studio, one which knows how to make a really good RPG. As it stands, SCL is better than Daggerdale, but still falls way short of every other CRPG based on D&D out there.

I'd ranted a bit earlier this week about my inability to focus on isometric RPGs. That is certainly a thing, but it really doesn't help if the RPG isn't ultimately interesting enough. I want to see SCL's story.....but I just don't want to suffer through the tired, simple gameplay to get there. I think the only isometric RPG that is holding my attention right now will remain Pillars of Eternity (and Shadowrun on my Nexus 7).

Either way, if you like SCL then don't let my lack of enthusiasm affect you! Remember, I'm the guy who can't get enough of Halo 5, so my tastes in the world of video gaming run far afield these days of what SCL offers, anyway.

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