Of Klingons and Bats

Folks who have followed this blog for any extended period at all know by now that I am not a PvP guy.  The appeal for me, I’ve said, just isn’t there anymore.  I lost the edge, the desire, the need to destroy other people at about the same time I stopped working in retail.  (I’m sure that’s just a coincidence in timing.  Really.)  There was a time when I did the big action games like Doom and Quake and Duke Nukem (if you can’t remember those, I’m older than I thought).  The last big action game I played was Jedi Academy, and that was honestly more because of Star Wars than anything else.

So it seems very strange to be saying that I spent a chunk of time recently in two very action oriented styles of play.

Back when STO rolled out, when it was revealed that the Klingons were going to be primarily PvP, I hesitated, but eventually decided that I wanted to experience as many aspects of STO as I could-even if it turned out that I wasn’t that hot at some parts (I’ll save my comments on the STFs for another time on that subject).  And that meant PvP.  And since that was half the point behind Klingons (remember, this was before the whole PvE aspect was put in for the Klingons, which is still nowhere near par), it seemed like a natural place to experience PvP.

I admit, it’s a lot easier for me to get into the mindset for PvP as a Klingon than as a Federation officer.  The ships themselves look predatory-you have no problem seeing yourself as out to blow up Federation weaklings.  The Empire is about strength, about conquest-why wouldn’t they go out and look for trouble?  There’s plenty of incentive for a Klingon to engage in PvP, too-lots of their missions give rewards, for victories AND defeats.  This may be one of the only games I’ve been in that has missions that require you to die to another captain x number of times, and give you skill points and credits.  That’s right-even losing can help you advance, which is a big draw for those of us who honestly stink at the whole PvP thing.

On the other hand, it seems that I’m not on the “stink” end of things.  Of course, it could be because I don’t get alpha struck, or that I’m at the LCDR levels of play (at grade 5 there-I really want to get to CMDR to get my preferred style of vessel; folks who know me will have no problem guessing which one has my attention); I’m told at higher levels, the Federation gets much more dangerous.  That makes sense to me, as they’ve got the full array of powers, equipment, and experience in this sort of thing.  On the other hand, I’m also told there’s a lot of spawn camping going on at the high levels too.

I’ll concede that the PvP I engaged in for the most part has been space combat.  I haven’t done too much ground PvP, and I do considerably less well in those.  Maybe I adapt better to space conflicts?

Eventually, the Klingons will get their PvE, beyond the current “exploration/conquest” missions; episodic content similar to the Federation.  They may never actually get as much as the Feds, but hopefully it will be enough to mix with the PvP so that it doesn’t feel like it’s PvP or die.

But that’s just one aspect of the action play I’ve done lately.  The other is, shockingly, not an MMO.  Given the fact that I haven’t played seriously any non-MMO since SWG came into my life, that’s saying something.  That game is Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I’d heard was probably the very best Batman game EVER produced.  I’d heard right.  Now, I’m no console gamer-well, not since the Atari VCS days.  But it was available for Windows, and I had a machine that could handle it, and it was roughly half the price as it was when it came out, so I figured, give it a try.

And, good lord, it was awesome.  I admit freely, I played on easy difficulty-I know my skills, or lack thereof.  I wasn’t interested in having my hind end handed to me so I never got to see the end of the game-that could come later.  I was interested in the “Batman Experience”.  I wanted to see if the character translated into a game format in a manner that I could say, “Yeah, that’s Batman”.  And it did.  The fighting style was as smooth as anything I’ve ever seen (granted, limited exposure here, but still…).  The “wonderful toys” had wide and varied uses-between using explosive gel to blow holes in weak walls or as concussive traps for mooks, to using a grapple claw to tag a mook and yank him forward into a very, very deep pit (make fun of Batman, will they?), to using the grapple to reach high places to prey upon the criminals, I felt I had the tools I needed for almost any job.

Then there is the stealth aspects.  Batman tended to reduce the odds by sudden ambushes, hit and run.  Sneak up behind a mook and take him out from behind, silent and deadly.  There’s something very satisfying about hearing the mooks react to the slow diminishment of their numbers, as they start hitting panic mode.  Yeah, that’s the Batman feel, all right.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Batman without familiar villains, like the Joker, Poison Ivy, Bane, and (the guy I came to hate the most) Scarecrow.  Lord, Scarecrow-that fear gas did all kinds of things, and dealing with them drove me bats (pun intended).  And it also represented the scariest part of the game to me:  not any mood or trauma inflicted on Batman, but a transition that for a moment made me think that my video card had melted!  But instead it was just one more mind screw by the Scarecrow, which made the final battle with him much, much more satisfying.

Two action oriented activities, and both surprisingly enjoyable for a guy who figured those kind of days were long behind him.  Life’s a funny thing sometimes, isn’t it?

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