This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The LOWS

Jarred Walton: Easy come, easy go

The graphics card world has been thrown into chaos by the latest cryptocurrency mining boom, with most mainstream cards like the GTX 1060 and RX 570/580 either out of stock or selling at seriously inflated prices. This is all in pursuit of the latest virtual gold rush for Ethereum, Bitcoin, Zcash, etc. The hope of the miners is to strike it rich, but virtual cryptocurrencies are very much the wild west of finances.

This past week, there were not one but two major heists where over 30 million of dollars worth of Ethereum was stolen. Due to the way cryptocurrencies work, that money is basically gone—there’s no way to roll back the transactions, short of a hard fork of the algorithm. What’s worse is that the theft occurred via a code exploit, which is sort of like your bank being robbed, only without any sort of FDIC insurance. Meanwhile, despite the increased difficulty of mining, cryptocurrency remains a potentially profitable endeavor, making this a terrible time to buy a new graphics card, unless you buy at the very top or bottom of the stack, where mining hasn’t had much of an impact. 

Chris Livingston: Missing the Marks

So, Tom Marks has left the building, bound for new adventures, which sucks for us here at PC Gamer but will certainly be a boon for some other lucky enterprise. Tom is both a delight to work with and to know personally, and he will be missed around here more than I can express. He's a great writer, he was the perfect host for our weekly PC Gamer Show, and he was impressively good at pretty much every game I ever saw him play (and annoyingly good when I was playing against him at something like Duck Game or Gang Beasts).

On the plus side, whenever we find ourselves missing Tom we can always watch the documentary Mudbloods, about college Quidditch teams, in which Tom stars. I know precisely jack about Harry Potter sports but Tom is a badass with a broom in that movie. Farewell, Tom, and happy landings.

James Davenport: You gotta roll with it

Tom’s gone and that’s my true low, but he’d want me to be angry online if he were still here, so I’ll honor him by doing exactly that. OK, here we go. Give me a minute. 

So, what’s the deal with Destiny 2’s Hunter class ability? I mean, the Warlock’s AoE helps the team, the Titan’s barricade helps the team, but the Hunter’s dodge pirouette? The only thing it helps is conceited players get away with ignoring their teammates. It’s built for DPS, instantly reloading the Hunter’s held weapon or recharging their melee energy, but teammates will only indirectly benefit from its use. I understand the roll’s purpose, but I can’t fathom how it made the cut in its current form, especially because it was developed alongside a host of changes designed to make Destiny 2’s class synergies much more important. Without changes to make the Hunter integral to teamplay at a high level, PvE and PvP,  I worry my favorite class will become some strange appendage, like a finger that gets to touch but doesn’t have to grab. Awful simile, but I’m right, trust me. Miss you, Tom. 

Tim Clark: Destiny falling

It was time for some Timmy tough love this week, but I took no pleasure in writing about what I saw as the problems in the Destiny 2 beta on PS4. It was like beating up on my own beloved robot son. With just six weeks to go until the console launch, and physical copies getting pressed well before then, it’s questionable whether substantial stuff like player mobility and the weapon loadout structure will see changes (hint: they won’t), but I’m more optimistic about Bungie tweaking ability cooldowns, the super recharge rate, and the ammo drops and damage output for the power weapons. 

The other thing to note is that this really is a very limited beta. We’ve seen nothing of the planetary exploration stuff, and have very little idea of what the endgame actually looks like. I also take some solace from the fact that arriving later means the PC version will benefit from any post-release tweaks made to the console game. So overall I’m still confident it’s going to be my new jam. Am I hyped? Very much so. Which is probably unbecoming of a man on the wrong side of 40, but here we all are.

Andy Kelly: List and found

I’m playing Sniper Elite 4 at the moment, which is a lot better than I expected. A simplistic but well designed stealth game with some satisfying sniping. But one thing I don’t like about it, and many other games, is how it keeps a running count of how many optional items you’ve picked up. There are dozens of things littering its huge maps, and I’ll never have the time or inclination to grab them all. But when I end the mission and it tells me how many I’ve missed, I feel like I’m playing it wrong. Like I’m missing out, even though I’m really not.

Both Dishonored games are among my favourite of all time, but they do this too. When I finish a level with 564 of 610 coins, it niggles at me. I’ll never go back and find the ones I missed, because life’s too short, but why do you have to tell me? I’d be happy if optional stuff was marked on the map in games like this, but not tallied up at the end. Maybe this is just a psychological quirk that most people don’t share, but I’ve definitely seen others complaining about it. It’s time to stop turning games into glorified checklists.

Joe Donnelly: Agents of Meh-hem

Despite enjoying every entry of the Saints Row series to date (yes, even the first), I've found Volition's same-universe follow-up Agents of Mayhem to be uninspiring so far. I should qualify this be saying I'm yet to play any of it, but I've been far from impressed with the deluge of loud and at times brash trailers that've steadily oozed from its futuristic interpretation of Seoul over the last few months. Wes wasn't sold on what he played back in April, and while I/we could be wrong come August 18 (August 15 in the States)—anything more than disappointment will be a pleasant surprise for me at this stage.