Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Taking it easy

Sometimes it happens that when you push too hard to achieve hobby goals, you end up suffering from a level of hobby burnout. After all the rush around the most recent battle report, this has happened to me. I haven't painted anything, nor have I pulled my models out and played any games. And as a result, there has been no real activity on this blog either.

Obviously I have not been entirely inactive since my last post. Rather than trying to make myself spend time doing hobby stuff when I don't have the drive, I have been playing PC and video games instead. Normally these games and hobby stuff are warring for my time, and often the hobby wins out, either because I am working towards a specific goal or because time spent painting models feels like long-term progress and works better with watching TV shows with my wife. At the moment it's not really much of a decision, though. I might as well catch up on some of the games I've been ignoring.

Given there's not much happening on the blog from a hobby perspective, I figured I might as well discuss what I've been doing with my time.

MechWarrior Online

One game I had been meaning to try for years is MechWarrior Online. As someone who has played nearly every Battletech-related video game over the years, read nearly all the books and played the odd game on the tabletop, it's hard to believe that I have managed to wait 3 years since the game came out of beta before giving it a go. It helps that a number of friends have jumped in alongside me, so I'm not playing it all alone.

I've now played over 70 quick matches, so have something of a feel for the game. There are things I like about it, and things that I don't. The actual execution of the mechanics and the balance of light vs assault mechs feels very good. It's pretty to look at, and satisfying stomping around and shooting at the other mechs. It's free to get into, and by the time you've worked your way through the introductory bonuses, you have enough c-bills to buy one or two mechs. But then the grind begins in earnest if you wish to progress beyond that, and if you chose the wrong mechs with your starting funds, you're locked in with those and the trial mechs for the long haul unless you spend money.

I dislike the game's asking prices for mechs. They're just too steep, especially for the classic Clan omnimechs, which cost $30 US for a few variants, the space to keep them and some bonus stuff. It's a very significant outlay, especially if you want more than a few chassis to drive around with. The other mechs are $20 US, which still feels like too much. The prices would feel more acceptable if they were about half what they are now. I worry that the game is pricing itself out of the market.

My other gripe with the game is the matchmaking, which seems to suffer from a lack of player population. This may be a symptom of getting into the game a few years too late, although from many accounts the playability has improved dramatically over that time. My specific problem is getting into matches as a group. Apparently it's a different queue from individual players for balance reasons, which is understandable. But it feels like you could be waiting indefinitely to get into a group quick match, which I simply don't have time for. Maybe I should paint whilst I wait...

To combat the long queue time, the group of us have taken to chatting separately over Discord, and simply launching as individuals simultaneously on the same servers. We generally end up in the same match, but it makes for pot luck in terms of which side you're on. It's OK, but it's still a frustrating way to have to do things.

To be fair, I've not yet tried the more involved Faction Warfare side of the game, where you throw your lot in with a particular Great House or Clan, and do missions as a team. It might improve the matchmaking situation, or it might not.

For now I am content to keep driving around, shooting things and saving up my c-bills but at some point it will come to the crunch and I will need to decide if I am going to keep playing and actually spend some money.


A group of us have been playing Destiny on the Xbox One on and off for years now, and a new
expansion was released yesterday. So it was time to blow the dust off my Xbox (only kidding, the dust is still there) and jump in to see what is new. I like Destiny, although each time we play for a period before basically exhausting the new experiences, at which point our interest in grinding away for the sake of grinding fades, and we put away our controllers again. I've never really gotten into the multiplayer Crucible side of things, despite having played games like Halo and Call of Duty a fair bit like that. I think it's because I generally did those things with a group of others in the same room, using split screen to let more of us join together. Being forced to use a single Xbox and TV per person kind of kills that a bit, although I have certain plans to address this when my Skreens Kickstarter unit turns up.

At the moment we have not yet played most of the expansion material, so that will doubtless claim some of our time for the near future.

Total War: Warhammer

As people have probably guessed from some of the recent posts, I do enjoy playing Total War: Warhammer. It does a great job of bringing the Warhammer world to the PC. I'm still very clumsy at it despite having spent quite a few hours playing the game, and there is much I have yet to try out in the game. Right now I've spent more time playing these other games along with my friends, but Total War does have the distinction of being the only one of my games that I am likely to play by myself, when nobody else is available.

Rocket League

The only other game I have really played recently is Rocket League, which is an excellent game and good fun with long-term playability. Despite having a copy of the game however, I find that I only play it alongside friends. Which means I don't play it very often, which in turn means I'm really not very good at it. Whilst this frustrates me, I suspect it frustrates my friends even more...

So I've listed several games there, but honestly I don't have time for them all. I'm more likely to play one of the games for several sessions in a row, then maybe shift focus to one of the others.

...And the hobby?

Despite all this video game talk, I am not completely dead in hobby terms. Axemaster is actually coming up on Sunday. This time around it is a 4 game Kings of War tournament. I have decided to take my Ogres, simply because it was one of the easiest options in terms of the models being ready and having used some lists recently for Convic. Looks like there will be 16 players there, which is a good number for a one-day event. We'll see if I can actually finish in the top half of the draw this time around.


  1. Hi...The MechWarrior is a great game for all BT fans; and what about your faction? As a true son of House Liao I can advice you to join TCAF (, it is one of the strongest units and it has not just russian speaking members but also english speaking battalions and allies Liao & Kurita alike.

    1. Hahaha I haven't committed to a faction yet, although it's looking like I might get forced into a Clan given the choice of mechs being made by my friends. If I do end up in the Inner Sphere, I don't think I really identify with the Capellans. House Liao contains just a little bit too much crazy for my tastes... :P

    2. I've been playing Mechwarrior on and off for nearly three years. I dislike the grind too, and the prices are just daft. But it's a great game apart from that, tactical and enjoyable. When you get a decent matchup, anyway, pugging is generally a whitewash one way or the other with few close games.
      Playing scout matches on the faction setting (I'm sworn to Rasalhague, because I like losing underdogs) is my favourite at the moment. Four against four is quick and satisfying, again if you find a well populated server. I'd recommend it.

  2. C'mon Hoodling, let's have some more magical big battles. Throw away the computer games - they'll steal your soul quicker than a castle full of carsteins.

  3. Agree! We want you back, Hood!!