JohnHQLD Blatherings Episode 4 – Online Multiplayer and Sea of Thieves

JohnHQLD's Blatherings Podcast

When is a fun game not a fun game?

Hi everyone and thanks for joining me on JohnHQLD Blatherings number 4!

Today I will be talking about some recent online multiplayer experiences, most specifically Sea of Thieves and Destiny 2.

This is the second ‘What I am thinking about’ JohnHQLD Blatherings episode, and as usual, comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.  I would love to talk about your experiences as well!

Apart from that, I hope you are having an amazing long Easter weekend!

JohnHQLD

A little bit of everything today – Games, Movies and YouTube.

Sea of Thieves Finding Treasure.jpg

Sea of ???

So I still haven’t been able to play Sea of Thieves. Day one I knew that I wouldn’t be able, but it’s on my PC ready to go! Last night I tried to jump in, and after about 20 minutes trying to log in I just gave up.

Rare is on it and trying to be supportive and helpful:

One thing that has probably not helped the load is the inclusion of Sea of Thieves in Microsofts Game Pass program. This means a lot of extra players ready to fire it up just to have a look for free, especially as a flagship release for Game Pass. On top of the potentially hundreds of thousands of players frothing to jump on and play Sea of Thieves after the hugely successful stress test streaming, this meant day one meltdown. We have all experienced it, we know it’s a thing, but we all hope that day one is just perfect. With any luck, issues will be resolved soon, or I will just be one of the lucky ones that get in to play this weekend.

Box of fire

The quickest bit of news ever – Dragonfire has arrived! See why I am keen to try Dragonfire here.

Dragonfire Arrives

I will be looking to play this over the weekend for the first time, maybe two or three times depending on Sea of Thieves issues 😀

The Karate Kid saga continues – 34 years later!

So MANY years ago, I still have memories of enjoying and copping a lot of flack over The Karate Kid. Studying martial arts at the time, enduring all of the ‘Wax On, Wax Off’ jokes got a bit tedious. But for a kid-friendly 80’s movie it was enjoyable at the time, and over time remains a nostalgic watch on the odd occasion. The sequels not so much overall though, until possibly now.

Cobra Kai is an upcoming YouTube Red series that picks up with the original Karate Kid Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and protagonist Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) 34 years later. Johnny has fallen on hard times, and Daniel-san has become a car salesman. In a twist that I quite enjoy, the trailer shows Johnny coming to the aid of a bullied teen, potentially becoming the new ‘Miyagi’ after years of growing up. With newfound purpose (the trailer doesn’t say this, but hey they are cliches for a reason) Johnny reopens the Cobra Kai dojo, teaching a new generation of Cobras. This seems to anger Daniel, and an old rivalry reignites.

This time though Daniel seems to be the hot-headed one picking a fight for the sake of fighting, possibly showing how he has lost his way without Mr Miyagi. Again the trailer doesn’t show this explicitly, but with the care that seems to have gone into building this series and use of the original actors, I cannot see a replacement for Pat Morita being bought in.

Cobra Kai premieres May 2nd, but check out the trailer below.

Just let them fight

So today this little movie opens up.  You may have heard me talk about it before.  There are even games starting to pop up.  Something about huge robots punching huge monsters?

I don’t think it will last :p

I am going to try and see this on the weekend.  Stupid work commitments on premiere days 🙁

Sea of Thieves comes out today! Play it on PC for almost nothing!

Sea of Thieves Logo

I always said the Shenanigans are eternal here 🙂

So the chances of me playing Sea of Thieves today is incredibly small.  I didn’t give in to temptation and buy the XBOX One X, and I have a work thing tonight so I won’t be playing then either.

But I thought to myself I can put it on my PC at least!  And for free(ish) as well.

I already technically have an XBOX account, as it’s just a normal Microsoft Account.  Now Sea of Thieves is kind of an XBOX exclusive, but it is a Play Anywhere title with their new initiative so as long as I have a Game Pass and probably XBOX Live Gold for multiplayer, I should be all set.

So this morning I set up for the 14-day Game Pass trial.  Done no issues, painless experience.  I don’t set up Gold, wait and see if I need it (which I probably will).  Go to the Microsoft Store, and there waiting for me:

Sea of Thieves Install

So by the time I have to go to work today, I will at least have Sea of Thieves preinstalled on my PC to give it a go.  The store seems to be being a bit hammered this morning though, I am downloading about a quarter of what I should be getting from the store, but it’s day one release and all and a preinstall so I’m not worried.  Be careful if you’re waiting to do this and play straight away though, you could have a wait.

Sea of Thieves Installing

Hopefully, sometime in the next couple of nights, I will be able to play and see what Sea of Thieves is like for myself.  But if you can try it out (especially with the essentially free 2 weeks with the possible exception of XBOX Live Gold) please do and let me know what you think!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Sea of Thieves revealed the risk and reward of the bargain seas

Sea of Thieves Logo

Sea of Thieves used to be my nickname for the legal department. Well alright it still is, but…

So this morning I remembered that Sea of Thieves comes out ‘Soon’. Now for me, ‘Soon’ is indeed a magical time that can be tomorrow (it happens) or 2 years ago (e.g. Star Trek Beyond). So I fired up the Google and this time, ‘Soon’ means in about a week – March 20th to be exact!

Sea of Thieves looks like a great bit of fun. Online streamers have been showing how much of a great time they have been having in the beta for a couple of months now. It’s one of those times when I can have gameplay happening in the background while I am working, and simply enjoy the sounds happening off to the side.

I am not going to describe Sea of Thieves too much, as I am pretty sure anyone already interested in it will already know about it. For those that need a catch-up, the ‘Be More Pirate’ trailer should bring you up to speed quickly enough:

Most of my video game time has been playing Destiny 2 with a mate. It’s been fun, but I think we are both hitting the Destiny ‘again’ grind wall. Bungie has disappointed me and indeed a large portion of the Destiny fanbase by making the same mistakes as the original Destiny, and while it’s still a fun game, my eye has been wandering a little.

I am not an online multiplayer type person as a general rule. But playing regularly with my mate and indeed the clan has been a much great experience, so I want to keep it going. While I enjoyed a few rounds of Splatoon 2 on the Switch and we could both get around the voice chat limitations easily enough, I wouldn’t suggest he buy a Switch just for that game, and Sea of Thieves seemed to be something we could both be interested in. And so, the irony begins.

Sea of Thieves Art

My next Google search this morning was ‘sea of thieves how many players per ship’. The idea was to see what a max crew count was and put the word out maybe to a couple of other people so we could start with a full crew straight off the bat. It looks like four people, meaning we want maybe 6-8 for a mix of players for when availability drops, or just to have access to two fully crewed boats.

Then I looked at the price. Normally I just log straight into EB Games, but for some reason, I hit the Google this time. It was here that a piece of news I had all but forgotten about was placed right in front of me – XBOX Game Pass.

XBOX Game Pass

The idea behind the XBOX Game Pass sounds great – about $10 a month, and access to a huge library of games, and day one access to Microsoft exclusive games, including Sea of Thieves.

I had mused with the idea of grabbing a second-hand XBOX in January to try out the Game Pass and see how it faired. XBOX is a console I skipped just like the early Nintendo family. XBOX didn’t overly interest me as I have always had a fairly decent gaming PC and very few exclusives on the platform interested me.

I always understood why the people that bought both consoles did so – if you can have both, why not? But it wasn’t for me. But just like the mini Nintendo consoles give me a window of opportunity to games I missed in the past, I thought the Game Pass might do the same for XBOX. Looking through the library, it was certainly a possibility.

XBOX Game Pass Library

So then I finally jumped onto the EB Games site and had a look at their console deals. I could pick up various flavours of the XBOX One S brand new for under $400, which under the circumstances is more than fair. I decided for that price a second hand wasn’t even really worth it.

But if the Game Pass included upcoming new exclusives, surely the XBOX One X would be the preferred platform? Beefier hardware, better performance overall, maybe it would be worth making the extra investment now? That’s when the banner swung to this:

XBOX One X EB Deal

Now the extra controller is worth $100 on its own, and it works with Windows 10 out of the box with Bluetooth. I have a Steam controller, and while it works well,  it has never really struck me as the most comfortable of controllers. I can plug in my PS4 controller, but somehow to me that has always felt wrong. Not physically – the Dualshocks have always fit well in my hands, but making the mental mind mapping from the flashing ‘Press B’ on the screen to the circle button on the controller.

So $650 was looking like quite a reasonable deal for essentially $200 worth of controller and a beefy mid-range gaming PC. Of course, being XBOX means I need XBOX Live Gold so I can play multiplayer, so add another $80 to that so I can play online for a year. Then, I would need the actual Game Pass itself – another $11.

It’s then I realised what had happened. I went looking for information on a game with an RRP of $100, and came close to talking myself into a purchase of almost $750 AS A GOOD DEAL!

Sea of Thieves Finding Treasure.jpg

It’s no secret that Playstation won this console generation. Don’t get me wrong – Nintendo has an amazing and well-deserved amount of success with the Switch, and I love mine. For a lot of games, I can see the Switch being my console of choice going forward, and this means that both Microsoft and Sony will have a lot of catch up when the next console generation is announced. That particular topic I can talk about a fair bit, and may another time.

But for this future catch up with both Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft has started the journey with some great strides. To turn my interest in a single game to highlight the ongoing value proposition of buying their hardware now is a great feat, and this value will only increase as Microsoft continues down this path.

Of course, that’s assuming Microsoft does continue down this path. It’s not like they have a history of dropping the ball at all.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD