Gaming Round-Up: Overwatch Open Beta, Bounty Hunting in SW:TOR, and More

The last week or so has been quite busy on the gaming front, and there’s plenty to talk about, so let’s get to it!

D.Va with her Scrapper skin in OverwatchOverwatch: A second chance to suck

Blizzard began the month with a free trial open beta of Overwatch, and despite my rather underwhelming first impression of the game, I resolved to make time to play some more of it.

For the most part, my initial impressions hold true. In fact, if anything, I struggled to find my footing even more this time, at least at first. I have at times seriously entertained the thought that I am the single worst player in all of Overwatch.

I have now had the chance to try all of the game’s heroes at least a little, but it hasn’t done much to change my preferences. Genji is a bit more fun than I anticipated, but I’m still fairly bad at him. Pulled off a few good kills with his deflect, but I can’t seem to use his ultimate without killing myself. Kind of like Pharah that way.

The conclusion that I’m coming to is that I can only do okay in Overwatch if I play a support, or Bastion for some reason.

Mercy remains my go-to. I seem to be reasonably competent with her, and she’s pretty fun to play, if a bit physically exhausting at times. On the plus side, teams are always glad to have a Mercy, and Swiss German turns out to be a really pretty language.

I somehow earn Play of the Game as Mercy in OverwatchMy best moment to date came during an incredible close match on Watchpoint: Gibraltar. My time had struggled the whole match; every single checkpoint had been cleared in overtime. It all came down to one final overtime brawl with the payload mere feet from its destination. I died, and as I was running back, my entire team was wiped.

With seconds to spare, I dove in, and in the brief window of time before the enemy team deleted me from existence, I managed to hit my ultimate and resurrect all five teammates, who went on to win the game against all odds.

That somehow still wasn’t enough to get me play of the game, but I did earn PotG as Mercy through a similar situation later on.

I’ve also been trying Symmetra more. I still find her a very odd character, but I like the strategic thinking she requires, and she’s lower stress than most other heroes. I still find it very hard to judge my performance when playing Symmetra, but I seem to have a decent win rate on her, and I’ve even wound up on the scorecards at the end a few times, so I guess I’m doing okay?

There are plenty of other characters I enjoy playing — like Pharah, D.Va, Mei, and Hanzo — but unfortunately I’m just abominably bad at that them.

The Dorado map in OverwatchThis, more than anything, is what’s holding me back from pulling the trigger and buying Overwatch. On the whole I’ve enjoyed myself more this time, but the game will get old very fast if all I ever play are Mercy and Symmetra. It’s so frustrating to love playing a character, but know you’re just a burden to your team if pick them.

One other thing to note is that I’ve also continued to be impressed with the quality of character design in Overwatch. In particular, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a certain brilliance to Bastion, whom I had previously judged to be one of the game’s least interesting characters.

It all comes down to the bird.

Bastion has nearly no human traits. It has no face, no voice, no gender. It’s basically a gun with legs. Yet seeing it study and almost frolic with that little bird shows you that there’s an intelligence in there capable of wonder and whimsy. In a strange way Bastion does more to humanize the Omnics than do the much more human-like models, like Zenyatta.

Oh, and because fate is a cruel mistress, on the last day of the beta I got a lootbox with an utterly awesome legendary skin for D.Va and epic unlocks for both Pharah and Symmetra.

D.Va has the best legendary skins.

D.Va's Scrapper skin in OverwatchSW:TOR: Enter the bounty hunter

As soon as I found out Grey DeLisle voices the female bounty hunter in Star Wars: The Old Republic, we all knew what would happen.

The time came a few weeks ago when SW:TOR relaxed its naming rules to allow character names with spaces. I logged on immediately after the patch, and while some rat bastard beat me to “Nova Terra,” I did manage to snag “November Terra.”

However, I didn’t get around to actually playing the character until this month’s double XP event. I want to get a head start on being ahead of the level curve so I can skip any side content I want; as a bounty hunter, especially, it’s really hard to justify doing planetary arcs from an RP perspective. I’m not even Imperial; what the Hell do I care about the war with the Republic?

Considering I’ve only just arrived on Dromund Kaas and am already in my mid-twenties, I’d say I’ve succeeded in getting well ahead of the curve.

Thus far, I’m enjoying the class more than I expected to. It’s quite strange because I found the trooper fairly dull, and bounty hunter is essentially the same class, but I’m enjoying it more.

My bounter hunter "bargaining" in Star Wars: The Old RepublicAesthetics make a big difference. All the trooper ability animations felt so slow and clumsy, but the bounty hunter is far more flashy and dynamic-feeling. Feels like Bioware had more passion for the class. Feels like they put more into it.

But perhaps more importantly, I’m playing a different spec — what possessed me to think making my trooper a healer was a good idea I’ll never know. This time, I’m a pyrotech, and I’m enjoying it a fair bit. Melee/ranged hybrid is a very interesting playstyle that is far too rare in most RPGs.

Also I like burning things.

The bounty hunter story so far is… adequate. It’s neither the most nor the least interesting class story I’ve seen so far.

I do like Mako. She’s no Vette, but she’s better than most other initial companions, that’s for sure.

My main complaint so far is that it seems difficult if not impossible to play a bounter hunter as anything but a blood-thirsty psychopath. I wasn’t expecting this class to be a paragon of virtue, but I was aiming to be somewhere in the range of true neutral or chaotic neutral — self-interested and mercenary, but not overly malicious or completely bereft of principle.

Burn, baby, burn!Instead, every dialogue option I try seems to be some variation of, “I WILL SLAUGHTER THEM ALL AND BATHE IN THEIR BLOOD AHAHAHAHA.”

At this point I’m wondering if I should just give up and go full dark side. Seems pointless to attempt anything else.

As an aside, I’ve also been playing my inquisitor some, and I’m really enjoying it. Particularly the whole “harvesting the dead” thing.

Black Desert Online: Picking grapes and building heroes

On top of all this, I also explored the free trial of Black Desert, with a little help from our friends at MassivelyOP. My full thoughts will be detailed in a later post, but it seemed worth mentioning. Strange game.

The most interesting thing about it is that I was able to use its character creator to build more recreations of my novel characters, as I did in Aion. Again, the full gallery will have to wait for a later post.

In the meantime, smile for the camera, Leha!

Leha, the Hero of Heart, as recreated in Black Desert OnlineNew articles:

Finally, I’ve got a few more articles up over at MMO Bro. I ponder if Overwatch is missing the mark and if Vendetta Online is an unsung competitor for EVE Online, and I also take a look at the MMOs with the best questing experiences.

No prizes for guessing what I put as number one.

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