Back in the day I used to have a regular “mail bag” feature that took items from the blog inbox… reader submissions and press releases… that I thought might be interesting. I don’t get much reader email these days and the press releases… where to even start? Leaving aside the non-gaming updates, and the interview offers for random “experts” on even more random topics, the best one I’ve seen in months was about a Hello Kitty mobile app. It even has a video, if that is your thing.
Bullet points though… I can pull those from anywhere. All of which was a too long way of saying we’re back to the Friday Bullet Points thing again.
- Steam Deck
Probably the big PC gaming announcement of the week was the Valve announcement of the Steam Deck.
Basically it feels like Valve looked at the Nintendo Switch and said, “Yeah, we can do that and then some.” No doubt experience garnered with the failed Steam Machine helped them along
It runs on the Linux based SteamOS, plays games directly from your Steam library, has a docking option that allows you to hook up a keyboard, mouse, and monitor if you so desire, and is supposed to be available by December, with pre-orders opening up today.
Pricing is “aggressive” according to the company, starting at $399 for the 64GB base model and rising to $649 for the 512GB top end unit. It seems pretty cool. There are games in my Steam library that certainly favor a controller for input, and $400 for a mini gaming PC seems like a pretty good deal. But I’ll probably wait and see on this one all the same.
Picking additional coverage to link to is tough as literally any web site that has any connection to video games has an article up by now, so there is plenty out there about the device. Still, IGN’s article links to a FAQ they put together with Valve, so I’ll link to that.
- Pokemon Go Fest
Pokemon Go turned five this month and the annual Pokemon Go Fest is this weekend to celebrate. I haven’t really felt the need to buy the $14.99 in-game ticket to join in on the event in the past. Some things, like all the special raids, are there for everybody. But this time around they knocked the price down to $4.99 and have a pile of thing available for those who buy in, so my wife and I spent the money.
It is summer, we can go outside again, and it isn’t like the war in New Eden will miss me for a couple of afternoons. I also have to go feed somebody’s cat on Saturday, a walk which will take me past at least three gyms.
- Pokemon Go Five Year Collection Event
It is lucky for Naintic that we bought the event tickets before we finished the warm up event. For the five year anniversary there was a run to collect all of the starter Pokemon from the first six generations of the game. They were out in the wild, so the first dozen or so were easy enough to collect. But there are always a few who seem reluctant to show up. We found out that the daily tasks related to the event always had one of the starters, so the night before the deadline we were out at the community center, which has a a bunch of Pokestops, doing tasks to try and get the last two we needed.
After some persistence, my wife ended up getting her final catch. I got my final one the next morning… a totodile if you are interested… so we were able to collect the rewards.
They were some Pokeballs (yawn), a few rare candies (decent), and a special encounter. The hope was that it would be something good. Instead it was the anniversary Pikachu.
That would have been cool… had that Pikachu not been littering the pavement throughout the event. They were everywhere. I wasn’t even bothering to catch them. My wife about exploded when she saw the reward for the effort. So here is hoping we get a bit more from the weekend’s run.
- Pokemon Go Raid Achievements
Earlier this month, in advance of the anniversary, Pokemon Go got some big updates on the graphical front. It is no longer either day or night. Dusk and dawn see the light change as the sun moves through the sky. Shadows are also more realistic. When joining a raid there are some splashy new graphics. And, there are now raid level achievements for things like most damage, final blow, and best dressed.
There are, of course, badges for getting raid achievements… achievements for achievements are my favorite achievements I guess.
The interesting one is the traveler award, which goes to the remote raid pass person furthest from the gym. I’ve had one friend from Japan get the furthest I’ve seen so far.
- Diablo II Technical Alpha Updates
I am trying to be cool about Diablo II: Resurrected. We’re not getting it for a while, so no need to get all excited about it.
But then we get updates from the company about how the technical alpha is going and it becomes hard to sit on my hands. I want to play. As a pre-order I will get a chance in about a month I guess. That isn’t too far down the road. Time flies.
- Reserve Bank Keys are Coming
Back when CCP was nerfing ratting by forcing the ESS on it last November, they setup a main bank, which can be stolen from ratters, and a reserve bank, which would require special keys that were not yet available. Since then trillions of ISK has built up in the reserve banks across null and low sec space.
CCP has announced that the reserve bank keys are finally coming. They have put the keys, which can be found in low sec sites, up on the test server so people can try them out.
I expect comedy will ensue. A few keen players will get in, figure out the system, keep quiet about whatever flaws there are, and otherwise position themselves to act the moment that the keys are released on the live server, at which point there will be a rush for them. The winners will likely be the preppers and large groups that will rob their own reserve banks.
I expect that the reserve bank keys will be live on July 27th unless some tragic flaw is found, reported, and actually investigated by CCP. At least they put the ISK payout flow on a timer, made the keys specific to a particular quadrant of New Eden, and gave us two flavors (5 minute and 15 minute) so all the reserve banks won’t be empty in a week of furious activity like they did with structures a while back. And, like the main bank, the payout is in bonds that need to be redeemed at an NPC, so they can be lost even after the heist.