This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Evan Lahti: Over it

I can't seem to get back into Overwatch. The PvE event seems fun, and that new Genji skin almost makes me want to drop everything and main him. But the fact that many of Blizzard's updates take the form of temporary events continues to rub me the wrong way. 

If I'm putting time into a game, I want to know that the investment that I'm making will have lasting meaning. I'd much rather Blizzard take the time to build a deeper, permanent PvE mode, but clearly this goes against its strategy to create urgency by bundling new, time-limited cosmetics with new, time-limited maps or modes. I wonder how it feels as a developer to spend weeks or months making something like Insurrection, then have it vanish for 12 months or however long it'll be until it's reinstated.

Tom Senior: Unsporting

Look, Sparc might be a good game but before it has a chance to get started, I’m here to put a stop to the word ‘vsport’. We have enough problems with ‘esport’ as it is. Every time it appears in an article people start saying “it’s not sport”, to which the answer is “that’s why we used the word ‘esport’, not the word ‘sport’.” Then a pointless semantic debate occurs and the shockwave of pure tedium it generates kills millions.

I’m saying let’s spare out sanity and kill the word ‘vsport’ before it even has the chance to replicate and spread. We’ve identified patient zero: CCP, now we just have to carefully flamethrower every instance of the word we find until no trace remains, starting with this Low of the Week, which will be summarily burned once it’s live on the site long enough to serve its purpose.

James Davenport: Prepare to whine

Bandai Namco dropped a teaser trailer for an unnamed project this week to be announced on the 20th, and it dangerously invokes Dark Souls and Bloodborne in tandem. FromSoftware’s name isn’t anywhere in the trailer despite making a vampiric play on the Prepare to Die slogan and looking like a Bloodborne game from beastly tip to gothic toe. This can take two major paths: we either get a new Souls game, maybe a Bloodborne sequel (though it seems a bit too obvious) or we don’t. 

The former option worries me because the trailer is a bit too Hot Topic edgy with its stark contrast and sketchbook aesthetic. It doesn’t feel like the type of first impression From would want to make, more garish than subtle. The latter option means we’re not getting another Souls game, which is fine. The series is dead tired. But if it’s not a Souls game, that means Bandai Namco thought appealing to a very critical fanbase would be their best bet for a new title. Unless whatever this game ends up being is a masterpiece, I can’t imagine the reveal going well. 

Tuan Nguyen: Windows Creators Update

So Microsoft dropped a huge update earlier this week called the Creators Update. It’s the biggest update for Windows 10 since launch. Much anticipation. Much hype. For the most part, we liked what Microsoft delivered. No one had really mentioned any problems with the update—at least from what I’ve read. So I recommended my friend in Germany to install the update. It’d at least provide him with Game Mode, since he plays a lot of games. It was going to be epic.

Except that it wasn’t. After downloading the update, he installed it and rebooted. That was the last time he was able to see his desktop. The well-oiled gaming system gave into the ghost and he landed on a black screen with a lonely mouse cursor. We tried looking at solutions of people with similar black screen problems. Nothing worked. We tried doing a system rollback, but no rollback points existed. We tried console hackery and editing files into the wee hours of the night.

He ended up spending the following day wiping the whole thing and reinstalling from scratch. I’m sorry, Alexander!
 

Chris Livingston: Primitive Minus

Well, well. Looks like Ark's official mod Primitive Plus is getting an update. Finally. A number of things in Primitive Plus have been broken since January's Tek Tier update, and while we don't have patch notes yet I'm hoping to see the return of birds dropping poultry and the long-overdue appearance of scissors so we can cut our beards and hair.

At least, I would have been hoping for that. See, the delay in updating Primitive Plus was so long that my tribe got tired of waiting for it, and the server we had the mod installed on has since switched over to Scorched Earth. It's a shame: I was genuinely enjoying the enhanced crafting in Primitive Plus, far more than I do in vanilla Ark, but a naked caveman can only wait so long for things to get fixed before he has to pack up his dinosaurs and head elsewhere.

Tom Marks: Stacked decks

I am running out of room for card games in my life. I respect that a lot of PC gamers don't care about digital card games at all, but paper CCGs have been a deep passion of mine since I was in elementary school, and the recent renaissance of digital options Hearthstone spurred was extremely exciting for a time.

Now it's daunting, even for me. I'm still enjoying Duelyst, and I'm learning to love Faeria. Eternal and Shadowverse are both worthy of my time in their own ways, and Gwent is extremely appealing for how different it is. Meanwhile, Hex is still good but expensive, Tim is still playing The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Shardbound is doing some interesting things with Twitch Streaming, and I don't even know what Krosmaga is trying to do, but I want to find out!  

Hearthstone's coat tails are torn and tattered from all the people riding on them. Card games are the new MOBA, and it's having a negative effect on the image of all of them. Some of these games are seriously worth playing, but it's now extremely hard for anyone to tell which ones. If there's one thing I can take solace in, it's that I've been out of the Hearthstone game long enough (and it's gotten so expensive) that the urge to return is completely gone. At least I can scratch that one off my list. 

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