Friday, December 21, 2018

Reader Submitted: Game Review - Farm Simulator 17

by Rita Mariner

Have you ever wanted to be a farmer?  Well in real life, I had several relatives who were, so playing this new addiction, was like coming home for me.  I saw a couple of my Second Life friends playing this on line video game and finally decided to check it out, on Steam.  Farm Simulator 17 ( it is up to 19 now).  I started to play and once you figure it out, can be quite addicting.

First off the game does have a bit of a learning curve and the game tutorials suck, so don't waste your time with them.  Go up on You Tube and watch actual videos done by actual players and see how they play the game.  It will save you a lot of screaming and pulling out of fur.  Trust me!

You can play the game, either as a single player, or in multi-player, your choice, You also get a choice of maps to pick from to play on.  I have only done Goldcrest, so I have no idea what the others have to offer.  You can grow crops of 10 different types, raise livestock or doing logging, depending on the farm you pick.

You start out with a basic set of farm equipment, I have three tractors, cultivator, sower, harvester, pickup truck, tipper, a house you can't use. a silo and some sheds and out buildings. You also start out in debt, $55,000.  Each day at midnight, you are hit with vehicle maintenance, land maintenance and debt maintenance, so you better start earning some money off your 3 fields right away.

Fortunately, crops grow fast and they start you off with your first set of seeds and fertilizer, as part of your setup.  You get to pick what crops you can grow, based on the equipment you have available.  You can't grow all the crops available, some require specialize and expensive equipment.

Now if you decide to start off on Goldcrest map, there is an interesting feature to that map.  100 Gold Nuggets!  If you find all 100 Gold Nuggets, the game will credits you with 1 Million in game dollars.  To help you out, you only have to find the first 10, once you stumble across them, which really isn't all that hard.  The first one is in your Chicken Coop.  The other 90 will pop up on the map and you just have to move to them to collect them.  Most are fairly easy to collect.  Others are more difficult, you will need one of your tractors, so you will have a means to climb up to get to the roofs of several of the buildings where the nuggets resided.

How you spend you Million Dollars, once you get is pretty much up to you.  I spent mine, paying off my debt and then buying all the Baling equipment I would need. Also picked up a 4th field and added a couple of upgrades to my land, to boost my income.  Like Bee houses and Solar panels.

You will find as you play,  you will have a lot of work to do, more than you would like, but the game has provided you with an assist, or Helpers.  Remember this though, the Helpers are dumber than a box of rocks.  So they can handle only the simplest of tasks.  Plowing, Cultivating, Sowing, Harvesting anything else and they look at you funny. Also they are easily blocked by anything and can't figure a way around it.  So you will have to do many tasks yet, yourself. As well as, bailing out helpers that get blocked.  The one advantage Helpers have over you.  They can work in the dark!

As you play, you will unlock achievements, I have completed about half of mine, going broke is one I doubt I will make, since I always have a positive bank balance.

Plus to make extra cash, in between harvesting your stuff, you can look at the map and see what other fields around you need work and hire yourself out to them for money..  Now these other job are time time sensitive, so you need to complete them within the required time, which usually isn't that hard.  I usually get them done ahead of time.  I not only get the regular payment, I get a time bonus.  Also the more you work a field around you, if and when you decide to buy it, the cheaper it is.

So if you looking for a game that is relatively slow paced, yet has some challenge to it, Farm Simulator 17 or 19 might fit your bill.  It's a nice way to spend a couple hours, racing around a field at 6mph!

Rita Mariner

Monday, December 17, 2018

Reader Submitted: Game Review - World of Tanks

By Rita Mariner

I first got introduced to on line video gaming, with World of Tanks.  I have always loved tanks, ever since I was a cub. So here was a game made to order for me.  I downloaded the game, which you can play for free.  Ran through the tutorials and then proceeded to play my first tier one tanks..

Now the tanks are divided into various nations and then into various tiers, from I to X. Each tier getting more and more powerful, and expensive, in XP and credits needed to get it.  Each nation is usually divided into subgroups as well.  Light Tanks, Medium Tanks, Heavy Tanks, Tank Destroyers and Self-Propelled Guns (artillery).

Teams are made up a mixture of these tanks that total 15 tanks/SPGs to a side.  Object is to kill all enemy tanks or capture the enemy base.  There are a few different variations of this scenario, but they usually end up the same way,  players usually don't play as they should.

Wargaming has put in many patches to World of Tanks.  Many of which are in my opinion, stupid.  They have buffed already hard to kill tanks to the point, that unless you are willing to actually dip into your pocket and BUY Gold ammo, you will not be able to damage some enemy tanks, meanwhile they have no problem, blowing the turret off of you.

My biggest issue with Wargaming was when they bent to pressure and nerfed the SPGs to death.  They took away our penetration, damage, they said they gave us stun damage, which means nothing, reduced our reload time 10%.  Our reloads are so long now a couple seconds is nothing. Improved our accuracy.  Not by me, I hit less now.   I had one battle I fired at one tank five times, didn't hit it once.  In another battle, I hit a tank seven times and only knocked it's Hit Points down 40%.  If I had not been nerfed, two hits and the tank would have been scrap.  The real kick in the teeth after this was they kept the cost in XP and silver the same to buy the SPGs, which were, at best , 40% of what they use to be.

Now they keep adding new tanks and nations to the game, which was a nice touch, until you start to play them and find the lower tier tanks of the  tree, aren't all that great and it is a pain to play them.  Play them you must, to grind your way through, to earn enough XP and credits to unlock all the modules and finally the next tank in the tier.  Only then do you find, it too is a piece of c**p!  You repeat the process again and again, until you reach a high enough tier, that the tanks no longer sucks too badly.

When I first started the game, the only real issue I had were the Russian Tanks and their Stalinium armor.  They seemed immune to hits.  Which for a real Russian tank was impossible, they were junk, until you realize, the game was designed and is headquartered, in RUSSIA! Do'uh!  Once I got that bit of trivia through my head, I just got down to trying to kill whatever got in front of me, or die trying.

So for the next four years I played constantly, all day long, happily pouring real money into the game, to speed along my advancement and to buy the occasional premium tank.  It was the after they destroyed my artillery and added so many new, nearly impossible to kill new tanks into the game.  Almost making it a Pay to Play/Win game, I lost interest.  I still occasionally will fire up the game and play a couple hours, here and there.  Nothing like I used to play however.  Also I absolutely refuse to spend one more dime on the game, until they fix it, back to they way it was, which means probably never!  Oh well.

Rita Mariner

Editors Note:  Having played a number of Russian tanks in the game, as well as against them, it seems the easiest way to blow one up is to drive it into battle yourself.