As mentioned last time around I got Destiny 2 patched up when it was made available for free at the start of November, and Melmoth took advantage to introduce the game to Mini-M (not quite so Mini any more…) We hopped around together, I had a splendid time, and with the Forsaken expansion discounted I thought I might as well grab it. The first two pieces of DLC felt rather slight, one of the reasons I didn’t hurry to pick up Forsaken immediately on release, but I’d sunk a good amount of time into the original game and enjoyed it
Forsaken has a bunch of tweaks to weapon categorisations, the modification system, perks (now randomised) and what-not, nothing too radical. It freshens up the gear grind a little, by and large it used to be a case of getting one particular set of stuff you liked the stats or (more importantly) the look of, then using random drops to infuse and boost its level up. Now infusion is much more costly, a last resort rather than the default option, and something of a dilemma when you have one coat that looks really good but has sub-optimal perks compared to another strange bundle of rags. There’s a new competitive PvE (with a bit of PvP) option, Gambits, quite fun; quick PvP Crucible matches are now 6v6 instead of 4v4. I’m not sure if it’s the increase in numbers, change in the weapon meta or just general rustiness, I used to be at least adequately mid-table most of the time in the Crucible but find myself frequently and frustratingly blindsided now. Perhaps the most important change is that I have a new emote to deploy. Until Forsaken I more or less exclusively utilised the Bureaucratic Walk, a pretty reasonable effort at John Cleese’s classic Python Silly Walk; I can now pair it with Silly Salute, a fine demonstration of a Rimmer Salute. I’m hoping for a couple more options to fill the entire emote deck with British comedy, perhaps cocktail shaking in the style of Stephen Fry as a starter.
At the end of the day, though, it’s still a game of Gradually Making Numbers Go Up, with the same capricious loot gods balancing every shower of useful items with another evening that ends with three almost identical pairs of boots and not a decent weapon in sight. It’s enjoyable enough making those numbers go up, though, so I imagine it’ll see me through at least until the new year.
Elsewhere the usual gaming suspects continue to tick along – War Thunder, mostly the naval combat; Neverwinter, though lack of time means I’ve barely done more than the odd daily dungeon; Battletech is even more neglected, I really must get back to overthrowing the usurper (or usurping the overthrower, or… some Bad Sorts needing taking care of one way or another, that was the gist of it). Fallout 76 seems to be having a rocky old time of it, a prime candidate for the Six Month Rule after which it should (hopefully) be beaten into slightly better shape, or if not then at least heavily discounted (or part of a Humble Bundle) for a curious nose around.
Away from games I’ve managed to catch up with a few books. If deciding on a game is tricky, picking a new book to start massively ramps up the paralysis of choice. I used to grab things from jumble sales or charity shops with suitably interesting titles or covers – “don’t judge a book by its cover” is fine as idioms go, but presents no useful alternative when riffling through a stack of paperbacks as to how they should be judged; number of pages? Font choice? I guess you could read the first couple of chapters, but the people at jumble sales got in a bit of a huff if you unfolded a picnic chair and took up residence for the afternoon. Anyway! A table full of books could be skimmed over pretty quickly, and for 50p or less it didn’t really matter if it wasn’t much good. Digital distribution gives a nigh-infinite choice now, and though there are various reviews and suggestions on top of the thumbnail image of a cover to assist with selection they can only go so far. My new version of the jumble sale rummage is the sub-£1 filter on various web stores where heavily discounted great works rub shoulders with overpriced tat. Most of what I’ve picked up is… fine. First books in fantasy or sci-fi sagas that are decent enough but don’t inspire me to rush into the rest of the series and end up swirling about in a generic stew of wizards and spaceships and swords somewhere in the back of my brain. Police procedurals, secret agents, vampires, secret agent vampire police… Seldom bad enough that I’ve given up entirely (though there have been a few) but not too much worth shouting about. 99p is probably no more sustainable a price for books as it is for games, but at least compared to charity shop purchases the author gets something (at least I hope they get something and it’s not all swallowed up by the platforms) and, as with the old system, when I find something I like I’ll go and buy more from the author at a sensible price. Recently I found a gem in Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson, near-future espionage set in a Europe fractured into hundreds of micro-states, great stuff, I’ll be picking up the rest of the series forthwith.