This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE LOWS

James Davenport: Suppression depression

Why do suppressed weapons exist in Fortnite? A sneaky approach is never a bad idea, but once the average player realizes that bullets are entering their body, walls go up and the whole silenced bullet thing sort of loses its purpose. Silenced SMGs are also super inaccurate unless you're sitting still and aiming down the sights, which might as well be a submission pose. Against weapons designed for a similar range, they're useless. One accurate pump from a shotty and I'm down, and anyone with an assault rifle slips through the wild spread like air. 

I wouldn't be so upset if incurring damage with silenced weapons wasn't a challenge on this week's Season 4 Battle Pass update, but it is, and so I'm taking defeat after defeat on the chin as I try to figure out exactly what the hell they're for.

Tim Clark: Damn it feels good to be grinder. But also bad

I got the Sleeper Simulant in Destiny 2 this morning! The Warmind expansion definitely has some problems, as it was bound to given the amount of things that needs fixing on the main game compared to the size of the DLC, but I'm particularly liking the re-worked and new Exotic weapons. As I mentioned on our weekly show this week, Graviton Lance has gone from dumpster tier to being a purple joysplosion. Hell, I'm even having fun booping people with my Masterwork Tractor Cannon. 

Nonetheless, I'm going with a low because Bungie still makes some weird-ass decisions. I don't mind that the grind has been deliberately slowed, or even that most of us won't be ready to run the new Raid Lair for a couple of weeks. But what's odd is the new Escalation Protocol horde-style public event. On the face of it, it's one of the cornerstones of the expansion. But almost hardly anyone is attempting it on PC as far as I can tell. That's because the difficulty level has been set higher than anything in the game except for the new Raid Lair. So you get people wander in, have their asses kicked, and then drift off disappointed. I get that the idea is we come back when we're leveled up in a few weeks, but does locking the majority of players out of enjoying the most heavily advertised part of the new DLC make any sense? It'd matter a lot less if there was a way to actually match-make groups larger than three into the event. But that's another low for another day.

Samuel Roberts: Point Partridge

During my time with Two Point Hospital last week—which, by the way, I embarrassingly arrived a day early for at Sega's offices because I didn't read an email properly, which was the true low of last week—the developers at Two Point Studios explained how they originally wanted fictional DJ Alan Partridge to host their in-game radio. I'm not sure how popular Partridge is to our primarily American readership (a bit, I'd imagine) but that would've been really cool, especially since Partridge's own fictional career began at a hospital radio station, according to his fake autobiography. 

The radio station they went with in the game is pretty decent, though, and made me chuckle a few times. Read my thoughts on it, and the game, here

Tom Senior: Aimless

My ability to shoot an opponent in the face in a videogame has deteriorated to the extent that I wonder if I’ll have to retire and only play turn based strategy games and very slow walking simulators. It’s not so much a reaction speed drop as a tendency to flail the puzzle at an enemy and fire many shots that manage to miss entirely. What is wrong with me?

I need a training montage. More accurately I need tips from an Overwatch pro that I can put into the training montage. Expect lots of quick cuts between DPI slider menus, frantic sweeping across various mousemats, and hours spent scrubbing maps clean of bots in every FPS I can find. Only then will I log on and linger in live servers and wait for someone to start trouble, like John Wayne in The Shootist, only without any of the screen charisma. 

Philippa Warr: Battle Ass

Welcome to the awful hydra that is my set of grievances with The International 2018 Battle Pass—Dota 2's annual money pit which spits out digital hats and particle effects in response to players' cold hard cash. I used to feel neutral-to-positive about this yearly wizard farrago and fascinated by its ability to extract cash. That gradually faded (although last year I invested in spite of myself because of the undersea theme). This year I have no such fish-based temptation and am thus free to hate-visit the prize tracker website and periodically lose my temper at the whole thing.

On the one hand: Sure, chuck your cash at what makes you happy and if that's hats for wizards that is fine. I have done the exact same thing. What a lovely and enjoyable time you might have.

On the other hand: OH MY GOSH THAT PRIZE POOL BEING SO BIG IS KIND OF LUDICROUS FOR A SINGLE TOURNAMENT AND UNHEALTHY AND I WOULD EXPAND ON THIS BUT EVERYONE IN THE OFFICE HAS HEARD IT MULTIPLE TIMES AND I AM ONLY SUPPOSED TO USE ONE PARAGRAPH FOR THIS "LOW". 

Also Valve are incentivising players pushing the prize pool up past $30m by dangling the prospect of 20,000 battle points in front of them. Battle points are the things which let you level up the battle pass and get you those hats or emotes or spins of the wheel of fortune or whatever. 20,000 of them get you 20 levels of the battle pass. That's the player benefit in this scenario. 

Valve's benefit is as follows: Subtracting Valve's initial $1.6m prize pot from the $30m community investment target you get $28.4m. Only 25% of what players pay in is used for the prize pool so the other 75% goes to Valve. That's over $85m. Eighty. Five. Million. Dollars.

I cannot.

Chris Livingston: Murder she wrote off

Guess I'm sorry to hear Philippa didn't think so highly of Murderous Pursuits, either. I wrote recently about my love of pretending to be an NPC in games, and this felt like another opportunity to indulge myself. I think I'll probably still give it a go at some point to see for myself, though I have to admit my hopes weren't exactly sky-high anyway. It's a spiritual successor to 2006's The Ship, and I never really enjoyed myself in that game, either. A lot of the issues with Murderous Pursuits sound like they're due to a tiny playerbase, so I'm still hopeful it'll find an audience.