I used to write blogs trying to write blogs. They're gone now, hidden from the world. I'd rather write with a bit more feeling. It's going to result in much less information being delivered with a lot more rambling, but isn't that better?
I also do the FNF thing. Talk to me if you want to be a part of that.
Some people feel like they don't get enough dosh in Grand Theft Auto Online. That's okay. They went into it with certain expectations while I with others. The numbers, though, and the contents of our garages, seem to indicate that I actually am getting more money than them. If you want to be pretend, video game rich like me, here are my suggestions.
▪ Wear a mask. This is the only one I'm going to second from Mags' front page tips. If you remove your mask when out of sight of the police (vision cones and blinking stars), your wanted level will be reduced by one. One or two stars isn't so bad, but one goes away more quickly than two. If you need a quick grand and knock over a shop for it, that's a little less time you spend trying to get away. The real benefit is taking a three-star down to two. Three stars means helicopters, and helis are an enormous pain to escape. Never an attack an armored car without a mask.
It's easy to change these accessory equipments in the quick menu accessed with select on PS3 or back on 360. The mask shop is on the beach.
▪ Get a four door car. If something is going to cause you problems in a mission, it's getting singled out. This goes especially so for playing in free aim mode (which you should be, because you aren't a filthy casual). I don't usually appeal to reality in video games, but I think it stands as a fine bit of realism that jumping out in front of three men with machine guns means you get shot up and die. I like it. It's good to have a game with a harsh damage model, but it means tearing off on your own ride is a good way to get yourself killed and failing means less income for your time.
A car that carries four instead of two will mean you can bring the whole crew for the average mission all in one vehicle. That's one person who can focus completely on driving and three that can properly aim and shoot at the quarry you're chasing or the SUV full of assholes that's chasing you. It doesn't have to be the fastest car in the game to escape from the cops, and a controllable speed can often be more advantageous when it comes to breaking line of sight than a land-rocket that crashes all the time.
This is a good one to pick up for your tutorial car, getting a free tracker and insurance. I recommend a Sultan, Buffalo, Fugitive, or hard top Felon. All of those can be picked up off the street for only the price of a tracker if you've already gotten into the game. Upgrades for the more "mid tier" cars are also more affordable than those on the fancy sports cars and super cars.
▪ Get the functional upgrades first. Yes, I know. You want sweet rims and words on your tires. You want to paint your car metallic pink with green pearlescence. You want spoilers and tinted windows. Always buy insurance first. Never buy any other upgrades before insurance. Buy the armor. Buy the bulletproof tires and never worry about spike strips again. Buy the engine and brake upgrades before painting it. Yes, brakes. Control is vital when trying to escape the law. I don't care how much you want it to be a different color. Having a car that looks boring but works great for a couple of missions will help you find success more than making it your favorite color, and then you'll be able to paint it without handicapping yourself.
You're going to need to do races to unlock some of these upgrades, but races will also get you some money to buy them. I suggest turning off catch up and only racing your friends, where you can agree not to be complete shits about it. The alternative is being actively punished for being ahead of someone else.
▪ Don't pay for guns. When you reach the necessary level and can purchase a gun at Ammu-Nation, don't do it. Do not go buy it. Go pick one up from a dead enemy instead. The survival missions are a good place to do this, but I believe this works with any instance or pickup. That's thousands of dollars saved. Saved only once, sure, but it's now money you can spend on something else.
For this to work, it seems you need to not have the particular weapon in your inventory, reach the level to unlock it, then pick one up. I'm not sure if that's just a narrow path for success or if that means doing this is some manner of glitch, but it's earning the weapons in a realistic way regardless of the mechanism. Sounds fair to me. Instead of buying the gun, spend less money on an upgrade for it and be further along.
▪ Don't buy a garage (right away). "But I want to store some cars, Trev." Good for you, but those cars will always be around. You can own one property at a time and when you buy a new one, you get back half the cost of the old. If you try to progressively upgrade your garage, you're going to waste tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars on property that you move away from.
Lester informs you, fairly early on, that you will need a "high end" apartment to plan heists, and the least expensive option there is which satisfies that is $205,000. It has a ten-car garage. There isn't a reason to buy a garage before this. In fact, I'd call buying anything sooner a complete waste of money. On top of that, a big cause of having no money is dumping what money you have into things like extra cars that aren't seeing use and apartments you are going to move out of.
▪ Don't max out your ammunition. Every time you increase in rank, your ammo capacity goes up. If you go to an Ammu-Nation to buy ammo and press square (or X for those on 360) it switches from buying an individual magazine's worth of bullets to filling your capacity for that type. Keeping it filled will probably cost you $1,000 per weapon type, per level, minimum, for no actual benefit because you aren't going to use 6,000 SMG bullets in a single mission.
In addition, you don't seem to pick up ammo from enemies if you have more than 1,500 to 2,000 anyway. Clearly, as a game balancing method, this stops someone with pockets overflowing with ammo from grabbing it all, accidentally or otherwise, and leaving people just scraping by with nothing. All you have to do to take advantage of this is not waste money buying it for yourself.
▪ Don't repair your car. Start a mission instead. Your car gets repaired for free when you start and finish an instanced event. You also get the income from finishing the event. You get paid for, instead of paying for, your car repairs. That's it. That will avoid repeat $500+ repairs every couple minutes when you smash it up screwing around.
▪ Do the optional events. You can get up to $20,000 out of an armored truck and $4000 out of a crate drop in addition to guns or bonus RP. You can easily find cars that sell for $7-9,000 (Cavalcade, Baller, F620), with only the rare Felon GT selling for slightly more. You can sell one of these every in-game day (48 minutes real time). Keep an eye out for texts from Simeon, because he pays more for those requested cars than the mod shop would for the same model and it doesn't count as a sale. That's a potential $10-15,000. If he also puts a "high-priority vehicle" on the map, you can deliver one of those in addition to a requested model from the text and a mod shop sale for another $10-15,000. You can get over fifty grand just dicking around between missions. You can do multiple crates and armored trucks without waiting to further increase your income.
There are also hidden-yet-common-sense ways to get some cash. An example of such is the mission Out of Court Settlement. Martin Madrazo sends you to kill a lawyer. This lawyer is in a fancy, upgraded Felon GT. The game doesn't tell you this, but you can just see the car he's driving. You can put it in your garage if you have one or have your partner hold onto it (and stay far enough away not to get pulled out of it by the cutscene) while you complete the mission. Then you can sell the dead lawyers car for $22,000. He won't be using it any more, will he?
I decided to take note of what I did in one in-game day.
- Delivered Hummer: $8,000+
- Sold Baller: $9,000
- Hit armored Car: $11,000+
- Delivered High Priority Fusilade: $8,000+
- Sold Dubsta: $7,000
Total: $43,000 and change in fifty minutes. Admittedly, that's just over a day as I was able to sell two cars, but I wasn't even really focused. I put down the controller to pay some bills online, go change my clothes, and eat. And then I bought $25,000 rims for my fully upgraded Ferrari just to get the red text on the tires because they go with the red paint. No other reason. Even buying stupid shit, I put a bunch of cash in the bank because I take advantage of everything I can.
▪ Don't get obsessed with prestige items. This last one is more of an attitude adjustment than a gameplay tip. Someone I play with regularly, who will remain unnamed because that's not the point, declared the Banshee "my car" the first day we played and has referred to it as such several times since. "Zilcho's in my car." What's the problem? The Banshee can only go into your garage if you buy it from the in-game dealer, while the Shyster Fusilade has a better top speed and handling and can be picked up from the street for free. The two areas where the Banshee is better, braking and acceleration, are both improved by upgrades while top speed is not. Someone frequently outraged about not having enough money is going to blow $105,000 on a statistically inferior prestige item when he could have a Fusilade with $105,000 worth of upgrades on it. He just wants it because he thinks it's cool. You know what? That's fine.
However, he wouldn't want it if it was easy to get. If everyone just grabbed one off the street and made it theirs, it wouldn't be special. You want a free car with amazing stats? Get the Elegy by signing up for social club. It's amazing, but nobody will give a single shit that you have one because everyone and their dog can get the same car. I think it's important to consider whether you want this fancy car or apartment because you think someone will be impressed, and would they still be impressed if it was as easy to get as you seem to want.
Even among prestige items, there's unnecessary spending. I want a Cheetah because it goes fast and looks cool. I bought a Feltzer for about a fifth of the cost and it works nearly as well, with the differences being imperceptible in an actual police chase or mission. I will have a Cheetah eventually (i.e. whenever I stop blowing money on other things).
It's also important to consider that the police have a ceiling on their capabilities. You don't need a Cheetah, Feltzer, or Banshee to escape from them. This really goes back to getting an effective, four-door car instead of something flashy though. You may not feel like you're getting anywhere because you set your first goal in the stratosphere. If you have any experience with the series, you know that GTA has never been about getting everything you want immediately.
As I write this, at least this part, it is four in the morning. My dtoid friends and I have just completed an enormous session of Payday 2 that started all the way back when The Last of Us was supposed to, because our excitement for a new game overrode the desire to play a slightly older one. It ended on this sour note, of the game not letting us play what we wanted to play. If I'm hosting the game on my console and my internet connection, saving the cost of dedicated servers, I would like to be able to at least select what I play so the evening doesn't end with heavy sighing and oppressive boredom, because that is what currently happens.
We sat, in the wee hours of the morning, waiting for the mission we wanted to play to come up on the random selection. It didn't. It was then I realized I was about to say "Let's just quit for tonight"--exactly what I predicted someone would say in that situation when the mission select was first described to me. I don't mind if there's an available map for missions with special bonuses, but the current system is just arbitrarily restrictive.
Dear Overkill, why can we not just select a mission?
Someone will say it is so we can't just farm the same mission again and again, but we're capable of doing that anyway. If that was taken away, I'd probably start looking for a way to get a refund for the game.
Only tangentially related, but still important, is the realization that you are given an experience penalty if you complete a mission the game has decided was too hard for you. That's right. Doing hard missions at low level makes the game reduce the amount of experience you get to force you to level up more slowly.
Dear Overkill employee who thought of that, I'm sure you're a good person who loves their job, but fuck you.
Harsh? They might not like reading that, but I don't like seeing -12,000(!) experience middle finger because I was good at the game. I was told I was not worthy of that accomplishment so they took some of my accomplishment points away. Just having everything unlocked from the start might lack progression, but there's a point where I don't like getting jerked around by a game, and this is way past it.
Payday: The Heist is one of the long-standing staples of late night FNF. Many an evening event has been shown out with a parade of crime starting from the First World Bank. It was like a tradition. Oh, First World Bank, you are probably one of my favorite missions. After several sleep-depriving play schedules, I can say without a doubt that Payday 2 is stifling, and I know exactly what's to blame: the whole game is built around a desperate and detrimental attempt to make players keep playing by restricting access to things. It is a poison coursing throughout the game's classes and customization.
To start, all the weapon attachments and mask customizations are hidden away behind an endlessly aggravating three-card monte game. You get a shot at this game after every completed mission and, despite the illusion of choice created by selecting a card, the rewards are entirely random. It is a system which cannot be manipulated to get what you want. I specced into the Ghost skill tree because I thought sneaking around would be fun, only to learn that there was no way at all to acquire a weapon suppressor under my own power. I was almost level 50 before I got one. There is no guarantee you will get items you want or even get accessories for guns you own. You can get multiples of the same, unwanted item, that you can only put on a gun you don't have, and there is no way to dispose of them. This results in two things: one, players constantly running the quick and dirty missions as fast as they can to farm attachments in the hopes of getting something useful; and two, utter boredom of being stuck with the same, stock guns for hour after hour of game time with no feeling of progression. Worst of all, where other games let you earn enough to finally unlock the item of your dreams, Payday 2 only allows you to buffoonishly stumble onto it, robbing any satisfaction from acquiring something you want. My response when I finally got a suppressor wasn't one of excitement, it was "maybe now my entire skill tree won't feel so wasted." It was like fighting a hard boss over and over, but only winning because it glitched out and froze in place. There was no reward.
Then there is the cost. If I want to put the sight I got for preordering (thank god, because it took 30 levels to get another sight of any kind) onto a gun I own, I am charged $12,500. Twelve thousand five hundred dollars to put a sight I own onto a gun I own, both of which are modeled using a standardized rail system. In reality, this would be something you slide into place and fasten in place with thumb screws. That's nothing, though. It cost $213,000 to attach the "milspec" sight I acquired from the cards. The weapons themselves can run over half a million dollars. This is a lot of pretend money to sink into something to find out you don't like how it handles, and there's no way to test them out ahead of time. Three quarters of a million dollars in to find out that the gun has too much recoil for the sight's magnification. And just to be clear, if you get an attachment, like one of those sights, from the card game, you get an attachment, a sight. One. You can put it on one gun and no others. Yes, you can remove it from one gun and put it on another, but that costs you the asinine attachment fee all over again.
The mask customization, though, really takes the cake. You get masks (the base shape/model), materials (essentially a base color and finish), patterns (additional texture overlay designs), and colors (for the patterns) from the card game, and once you use them, they are permanent and indelible. I acquired a mask called Greek Tragedy. It's got a hell of a look to it and it would be great to combine it with the shiny "oxide bronze" material I also have in storage. Were I to do this, I would lose the oxide bronze material and be unable to put it on any other masks, and the amazing mask model would be then locked out of customization until I got a second one from the card game. The mask customization is as much a money sink as the weapon customization, costing insane amounts ($400,000 to apply the gold material) and impacting nothing in the game. You might say it's for showing off to other people, but I can tell you I hardly look at anyone's mask while we're playing. It's just not something there's time to look at. Moreover, why would I ever throw away precious, rare items when it effectively destroys them in the process? We are a group that has spent hours at a time shooting the shit and painting armor in Space Marine and we love doing it. We'll never enjoy Payday 2 that way because, at best, we might waste a mask or color that we like and may never get another one again.
Dear Overkill, grinding is boring and shitty and has made your whole game worse.
The game feels like it was meant to be free-to-play and goad you into microtransaction purchases. Instead, it's just a retail game with a pathetic attempt to extend play time by keeping things out of the player's reach. This feeling is only exacerbated by there being certain items being labeled as "infamous" rare items. "Ooh, look at the extra special bauble that the game dained to bestow upon you through no effort or merit at all! Don't you just want to burn pretend money to consume it?" You'll totally find out the answers to all your questions in the next episode of LOST! Bleh! To the intelligent, hardworking, kind person that thought up this entire system: this ploy is goddamned insulting. It is a gigantic, marring issue that bleeds into and taints other parts of the game, killing variety and spoiling the feeling of victory. I've been at the level cap of Payday: The Heist for months, maybe even over a year (I forget because I lost all my progress when my save died with the harddrive it was on). We were still playing it and having a great time. We always start the crime spree with a warm up round on First World Bank, because we all love playing FWB. There is a culture of people that this better-luck-next-time bullshit will keep stringing along, the CODience, who unlock everything and then quit and measure value of a game by how long that takes. They're going to quit when Ghosts comes out anyway though. All that was really accomplished was making it more likely for me, a long-time player, to quit early and find a game that doesn't seem to go out of it's way to crush my spirit.
Dear Overkill, I'm basically playing your game out of spite so my money doesn't feel wasted. Do you think I'm going to buy DLC?
For any new players, who are wading into the gun market rubbing their hands together in anticipation of snapping up a new gun, here is my advice: buy the CAR-4. The AMCAR is a confetti firing pile of ass and recoil. The CAR-4 is as well, but it will hold you over until you can get the Renfield 880 shotgun. Money spent on any of the other things is generally wasted. Without enhancing attachments, many of the guns feel ineffective and difficult to use and that applies especially so to those early assault rifles. Yet again, this is why the three-card monte game and cost of customization is such a major point; if upgrades were easier to acquire, it would be easy to just deal with a sloppy gun for a few missions and then feel like it was being improved.
There are also some hit detection issues with the game, where enemies in animations like stumbling or vaulting may become invincible, which doesn't help the feeling of a gun's effectiveness.
Just going down the list of problems now, the storage space you are given for weapons and masks is pathetic and clearly another part designed to make players waste their money and keep grinding. You can store nine primary weapons, nine secondary weapons, and eight masks (because one space is taken up by "default" character masks). Admittedly, I haven't filled up my inventory on any of them yet, but that's only because I refuse to. If you have your three-by-three inventory full and want to try out something new, you have to sell something you have. Something you may have already spent a million dollars customizing has to go in the trash if you want to try a new unlock. Then you buy that new gun, pay to attach the new attachments, find out it isn't any good, and have to buy all your old stuff back. Hope you had a spare three million sitting around.
Dear Overkill, here's how to fix your game: -Add a mission select like in Payday: The Heist so players don't have to get bored sitting at the menu waiting for the one they want to play.
-Remove the insulting "we don't think you were good enough to complete this mission" experience penalty.
-Remove the cost of applying attachments that are already owned so players can experiment with weapons
-Let players simply buy attachments (the cost is already fucking absurd, but I'll meet you halfway on this one) so players can feel like they've earned their upgrades.
-Make mask assembly free.
-Let players disassemble masks and keep all the component masks, colors, patterns, and materials so they can enjoy designing new masks.
-Give players more storage space for guns and masks. What we have is not enough.
Now that I'm eighty hours and four different classes into Dragon's Crown, enough to get a paycheck were it an employer, I've come to a realization that's going to surprise some people: Not only is the game not sexist if you are capable of anything but the most superficial of evaluations, it might even be fairly progressive and intelligent in it's solutions to problems plaguing female characters in games today.
Perhaps you're expecting this to be in defense of the Sorceress. It's not, but she's still worth mentioning. In the game, despite jubbly animation, she's downright adorable. Especially the way she holds onto her floppy hat for attacks and flying. She's not portrayed in a sexual way. Some women have large breasts, and you're just going to have to grow up and deal with that. Even the voice actress for the Sorceress, owner of large breasts herself, has spoken out on the topic.
Today we're going to talk about the Amazon.
She may be the most powerful character in the game. Her berserk, adrenaline, punisher, and brandish abilities, all aggressive and powerful sounding are also aggressive and powerful in operation. To a shocking degree, in fact. Once you build up some steam, your damage output gets ridiculous to an extreme I'm having trouble describing. No individual hit will be as powerful as the largest spell the Wizard or Sorceress is capable of, but they can't approach the frequency of the Amazon's attacks. Soon you're pounding out hits for near a thousand damage with only a fraction of a second of delay between them, then doing an invincibility-granting spin. At only level thirty. There are sixty more to become even more powerful. I have soloed bosses with my Amazon and killed them more quickly than I did with parties of dtoiders. Beating a team of three at damage output is no small feat.
She is strong but not masculine. The reason characters, such as Roland and Amazon, don't wear much is to show off their physique. If they were dressed conservatively or practically, you wouldn't be able to see their muscles. Whether you think that's about power or sex is irrelevant. Fit people are sexy. That's not going to change.
There's another issue floating in the middle of this, specifically that the slim and ripped body that is used to indicate strength isn't actually how strong looks, but that isn't exactly relevant to the discussion here.
One of the issues with a physically powerful female character is making them look powerful. If you give them the big shoulders and biceps that would go on a male character, then they look like a man. Men have big upper bodies. The solution was remarkably simple: strong legs. While the Amazon still has muscly arms, focusing on her lower body has maintained a more feminine figure. They're also some of the most powerful muscles in the body, and put to use with some killer kicking attacks when she plants her poleaxe with a power attack. Bonus points for not sacrificing nice hair. Again, not practical, but it's swords and sorcery.
And for those questioning her walk cycle:
It's hard to make hefty muscles invisible, and then they're cartoonishly depicted, making it even harder.
She likes to fight. When you start creating a new character, you are given a menu in the form of the adventuring party seated around a table in the inn. Each of the characters are giving off a certain personality. Amazon looks bored, resting her chin in her hand and waiting for the rest of them to stop getting drunk and/or being nerds.
She has a husky voice and a brash personality. Each character has a voice clip for when enemies are appearing. When other characters would say "enemies" or "they're here", she says "come at me." However, much like the real Sam Wright in the video above, the Amazon retains femininity while depicting physical power through the use of contrasting animations. Her attacks are booming things with lots of momentum and she isn't depicted as afraid to give it everything she's got, but they didn't have to make her a guy to show that.
So, there it is. She's a confident, able female portrayed in a setting-appropriate way that is directly comparable to a male character in appearance. She's strong without being masculine. Mechanically, she may be the strongest character in the game, so there's no -4 STR here! How great is that? Probably not very, if you're too hung up on the amount of skin shown to appreciate anything about the actual character. The rest of us, though? We got the character people have wanted for a while now.
As usual, and I've noticed it is quite usual, a feminist made a snarky, aggressive video telling someone to fuck off, told people criticizing it to fuck off, threw around accusations like racism and misogyny, then retreated to the warm embrace of Twitter for affirmation. This happens so regularly, you're probably expecting this to be about Jim Sterling, Anita Sarkeesian, or any number of Kotaku writers. It's not. This time, it was Videogamer's Matt Lees and a rant about how "gigolo mode" meant Suda 51 should quit developing games.
I've only recently started following Videogamer, but it seems that they aren't free from the intensely blinkered trappings of internet feminism. Engage all your ad blocks and give yourself some context for what's coming next.
The first thing I think needs to be addressed is taking Suda 51 straight and seriously. When is the last time there's been a Suda game that didn't have a surreal, satirical bend? I'm honestly asking; I can't think of one myself. I don't like to resort to "you just don't get it" as a defense, but I sincerely doubt that Suda has made a perv simulator with no deeper meaning. It's not his style. In fact, when I heard about it, I was excited about what it might lampoon.
Where it really went to hell is the repeated declarations that Suda's career is now dead and that he needs to "turn in his badge and gun." Suda 51 could fuck off, just like racists, to paraphrase one of the comments left by the Videogamer account. Yes, making a game that offended their sensibilities deserves the same level of contempt as racism, while calling for the end of someone's career is about acceptance and feelings. Sorry, I must have misunderstood. Based on little details, like all the words he said, I thought it was about publicly mocking and shaming someone for producing game content of which he did not approve.
And then the man gets the sex he is so clearly owed.
Really, it's the hypocrisy that gets me. I don't know how people can be this way and remain unaware. You want him to stop making games because they offend your worldview. See the problem?Apparently not.Maybe they aren't unaware, and they've just hugboxed themselves into a sense of infallibility. It just doesn't jive, not unlike the idea that one does not get to be free from criticism coming from someone that goes on to dismiss criticism and say he'd rather have a great community (read: one that agrees with him) than a large one. He calls games people enjoy trash, accuses them of deep character flaws for liking those things, and declares the maker's career over because it has displeased him, and then seemed surprised when people, with no need to soften their opinions through the anonymity of the internet, said nasty things to him.
And he hadn't even played the game! He starts out mentioning that he has merely read a preview. What a massive embarrassment for Videogamer as a whole. Apparently their preview is just factually inaccurate (Thanks, Dtoid forums for showing me that link) and they're a-ok with an ignorant, sputtering followup. If this is how they're going to go about it, maybe it's time for Lees to retire. He's made something that offended a bunch of people, that many didn't like; it's not well done and it's misinformation. Is he, by his own standard, now undeserving of any respect? Perhaps he should turn in his gun and his badge.
Or not. Instead of that, I think I'll just respect both Videogamer and Lees quite a bit less. You'd have to be quite a tool to start dictating what someone should do with their career just because you don't like what they produce.
Some knew it was coming, but now I am too. While ZOE 1 remains sadly unmodified, the horror show that was ZOE 2 HD has been patched, though to call this sort of change a mere patch, I think, does not do the improvement justice. I got a call from work because an admin for one system had decided to fuck around with a system that wasn't theirs and fucked up a web server. That's not the best way to start a day, but it soon got better.
Rather than go back to bed for an hour and a half, since I was already entirely awake from dicking around in Remote Desktop, I started to browse. I had been at it for scarcely a minute before I saw this news. Coinciding with the equivalent of a "greatest hits" release in Japan and, conveniently, the PSN sale of the downloadable versions here in the US (sorry Europals, I don't know the status there) a five hundred-odd megabyte version 2.00 patch has been released. It does everything. Of course, with nothing better to do at that hour of the morning, I had to try it for myself.
ZOE 2 (and, you could say, ZOE 1 as a package deal due to the cliffhanger ending) is one of my favorite games from the PS2 era, if not simply over all and I am not disappointed. If you wanted to play this in HD but were unhappy with the performance, give it another try. Do it. Hexadrive is staffed by wizards.