Digital Manners

youarenotacting

I did not have the best night of sleep ever last night, but I managed.  It started off with startling awake because just as I was on the brink of falling to sleep…  I swear I heard someone trying to open the front door or more importantly the screen door.  I of course had to go check it out…  because occasionally the wind causes that noise but I found no signs of anything.  Basically I assume that I dreamt it, and was some sort of subconscious manifestation of anxiety or some such.  I say this because my wife has had the same thing happen to her and after investigating found that nothing was actually up, so either someone is fucking with us…  or more likely we are just anxious about something and our brains are being assholes.  That said… I do have a fairly crazy neighbor but I went through the lockdown cycle again and make sure all doors were safely locked before finally going off to sleep.

Another random thing I want to talk about this morning is how I have an overwhelming desire to personify technology.  I blame this on seeing 2001 a space odyssey at a fairly tender age and being fascinated by HAL 9000.  The ultimate irony here is that I NEVER talk to my devices be it OK Google, Alexa, Siri, Bixby, Cortana or whatever other digital voice assistants there happen to be out there.  I would like to think this is pragmatism rearing its head in that I can type a sentence roughly four times faster than I can actually speak it.  However I find myself talking to Google instead of doing the thing that the programmer in me knows is proper and stating my question in order of importance.  So instead of saying “Elder Scrolls Online” + “Museum Pieces” I usually type something like “What are museum pieces used for in ESO?”.

I often make random comments on social media without any context.  Last night was one of those moments where I said the above statement, and came up with a bunch of forum posts talking about them and in almost every single one of them there was a person who took the time to say “it’s not that hard you just” perform some action.  A player was asking a very similar question… on a forum… and they told him it wasn’t that hard you should just google it.  Later on another player was stating that they could not find the slots that they were supposed to go into in the Orsinium museum (answers my question)…  and again someone shot back “it’s not that hard you just” then push the action key.  I’ve seen these comments for years… surrounding gaming or programming or any other sort of cloistered geekdom where one person feels the need to assert their intellectual girth upon another person by making them feel like the question that they are asking is beneath them.   This is one of the many reasons the gaming community that like it or not we are all part of… has a bad rap for being assholes.

Diminishing the questions of another person, or pedantically correcting someone when they are off by a few degrees but you completely understood what they were meaning…  is a dick move.  That said I know I have been guilty of both of these in the past, but the truth is every one of us has done a banquet of items that are range from extremely cringe worthy to toxic and offensive as hell.  I have my past and you have yours as well, but the only way we move forward and evolve is by constantly editing our actions to adopt a stance that leaves less of a negative impact in our wake.  I am a different person than I was ten years ago… and honestly a different person than I was last year and that is okay… it isn’t wishy-washyness but instead the constant and natural process of growing as a person.  If you find yourself attacking or correcting others… or just generally shitposting out of boredom…  you may want to take a serious look at your own motivations and determine if this is the person you want to be forever.

youarenotacting

Chances are you are not acting like the person Mr. Rogers knew you could be.  I don’t use this meme lightly because in truth…  Mr Rogers was almost like a third parent to me as a small kid.  I would sit on the floor enthralled and watch each episode as I got home from school.  Mr Rogers and the entire land of make believe crew were my friends, and I would like to think a lot of the simple lessons that he was trying to teach us… rubbed off on me at least a little bit.  No one can realistically live up to being someone as pure and good as Fred Rogers or Bob Ross or Levar Burton…  but we can try.  As to why I decided to devote a post to this today…  instead of any other day when I happen across some frustrating interactions coming from the gaming sphere…  I have no clue.  Sometimes you just wake up and make a post because it is what is in your head and you cannot really dislodge it.

Last night it was likely a combination of the interaction I saw and then stumbling across the above video while I was playing ESO upstairs.  Which in itself is deeply influenced by the general feeling of loss and nostalgia that I have been feeling surrounding the closing of Toys R Us.  Now you get an emotional post to read this morning…  gratz.  Side note…  Thumper from Bambi was apparently also a major influence on me because I have tried really hard to follow the logic of his father…  If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.  I regularly fail to live up to all of these role models… but the intent is there always nagging me to be a better person.

 

Battle Box Playtest

So last night I did a thing… and unfortunately did not stop to take any photos of said thing I did.  I’ve said before that we have a friend in town and have been occasionally meeting him for dinner.  This friend happens to play Magic the Gathering and last night we met up at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants that is not super busy on week nights… and commandeered the table for a significant amount of time.  In theory we got there around 5:30 which means it probably took until 6 for us to get our food and eat it…  then we hung out playing magic for a couple hours leaving sometime after 8.  Thankfully I am in there often enough and tip well enough that the wait staff did not bat an eye at us doing this.

Firstly I am pretty sure that my friend is a way more serious magic player than I am.  I would probably put me in the collector niche that likes to play weird and quirky decks but not really going to make much headroom at a Friday Night Magic because I am not super focused on the meta.  I did not however actually bring my “real” decks but instead something else for us to try out.  Some time ago I watched the above video from the Professor and it planted an idea in my head.  We have a bunch of folks at work that are former magic players or ones that were interested in potentially finding out more about it.  That said most people didn’t really have decks anymore… and most definitely not decks all at the same power level.

The theory was to assemble a series of decks that were of roughly equal power level and try and create a sort of starter magic experience out of it so we could drop in and play a few games over lunch without much effort.  This didn’t really gain much traction until I happened upon the Tribal Warfare Battle Box set from Card Kingdom.  One of the cool things for me personally about the Ixalan block was that it added a bunch of interesting Tribal cards and combinations, since theme decks have always been a thing I enjoyed greatly.  This set of decks included White Black Vampires, Red Black Pirates, Green Red Dinosaurs, and Blue Green Merfolk…  giving a pretty wide range of play styles and card types.  So I assembled this batch of decks into an Ultimate Guard Stack ‘n’ Safe box leaving two of the six slots for counters and dice and created a packaged experience.

I still need to get something to number the decks with but in theory the slots are going to be numbered 2,3,4,5 and each players start by rolling a d6.  Whoever rolls highest chooses “play or draw” but also begins the picking of decks.  There still need to be some working out the kinks but the theory is a little something like this…

  • Roll 1 – You get to choose the deck your opponent is going to play, after choosing re-roll to determine your own selection
  • Roll 2 – You play the deck in slot 2
  • Roll 3 – You play the deck in slot 3
  • Roll 4 – You play the deck in slot 4
  • Roll 5 – You play the deck in slot 5
  • Roll 6 – You get first pick from any of the decks

Now there are some problems with this…  I was wanting to go with the whole “botch” roll concept but it doesn’t seem like it will work out so I might shift things to the slots being numbered 1-4 and 5 being the choose any deck and 6 be choose your opponents deck.  That makes sense given that you want the quirky one to override the other options numerically.  Whatever the case I listed how we played last night and more or less it seemed to work out just fine.  We started off with three rounds of White/Black Vampires vs Blue/Green Merfolk and they seemed like extremely even match-ups with me winning the first one and not quite getting the cards I needed to win in the last two.  Next up we played Green/Red Dinosaurs vs Black/Red Pirates… and once again over the course of the three rounds the two decks felt extremely even.

I am super thankful to my friend for helping me play test this concept and I think it is finally read for prime time to start trying it out at work.  Ultimately the Card Kingdom Battle decks seem really fun, and while they were slower than the decks he is used to playing…  they still had just the right amount of power.  Ultimately what I was hoping was for matches that lasted long enough to allow players to get a feel of the game rather than simply getting shut down on turn three.  Feeling like you don’t have a chance is the sort of thing that makes learning magic against a veteran player an extremely frustrating concept.  These relatively balanced battle decks really do give the feeling that you have all of the power you need…  you just have to get things to work together in the right combination to build your win condition.  Regardless it was an extremely fun night and were the AC not on the fritz at the restaurant we would have potentially stayed longer.

Always a Blink

eso64-2018-06-26-19-18-44-87

eso64-2018-06-26-19-18-44-87

That feel when you catch your character in a blink animation but don’t realize it until you go to post the picture.  Oh well..  you get sleepytime Belghast…  or maybe he is just frustrated that he has to kill another batch of cultists to close yet another anchor.  Last night I continued on with my journeys in Deshaan and wrapped up the main story.  There are still a few areas of the map that I have not explored and turned the black icon to white signifying that I have completed it.  So I fully expect to spend a night doing some basic mop of of quests but unfortunately that likely will not be tonight.  Tonight is the night I am meeting friends to play Magic the Gathering at a local restaurant…  that I am hoping is not terribly busy.  There is a group that meets there to play Dominos…  and I am hoping that it is going to be perfectly copacetic to sit there and play MTG.

eso64-2018-06-26-21-24-40-27

One of the weirdest things about Elder Scrolls Online is the way all of the screenshots end up being my character off to one side and then showing off what is happening in the background.  I mean I could take a shot of my backside…  but this always seemed like a better option to turn and face the virtual camera.  There is always the option of zooming in to first person and stowing my weapons to take a screenshot, but I rarely actually do that.  Instead I do this sorta selfie mode where I have my character to one side of the screen and a pretty picture going on in the background.  In a way it feels more touristy than the standard screenshot faire, like “here is me at this place” sort of feel that I dig.  So much of this game is about me wandering around and finding interesting sights… and because of that especially it just sorta fits.

eso64-2018-06-26-22-24-57-38

I have really enjoyed Deshaan as a zone goes with its main story arc, but I will say about the time I wrap up a zone…  I am more than ready to move on past it.  I honestly thought Eastmarch was next in the sequence but it seems like the quest chain is leading me to go start Shadowfen and check out some disturbance happening at Stormhold.  I am wondering if they shifted the order of things at some point or if I just don’t have a main story quest for the entirety of Eastmarch.  Whatever the case I need to sort out what my next destination will be, and I am still several steps away from The Rift where the Belghast namesake exists.  There is a driving force in me that wants to get past the Ebonheart content so that I can in good conscience start the DLC areas…  beginning with I believe Orsinium.  Still having an awful lot of fun and I guess my goal is to make a significant dent in the game before Battle for Azeroth inevitably and begrudgingly pulls me elsewhere.

Exploring Deshaan

eso64-2018-06-26-06-16-50-84

eso64-2018-06-26-06-16-50-84

This is going to be a bit of a weird week for me personally, and as a result probably a weird week for the blog.  My wife has a friend in town for a conference and as a result it is causing us to vary our normal patterns…  and also as a result there is probably going to be significantly less gaming to talk about.  Now one major exception is that said friend is a Magic the Gathering player and tentatively Wednesday night we have plans to get together and play some casual decks for fun.  That will of course be probably something that I write about and I am going to attempt to take some “board state” photos as the matches go.  I have built up a box of four battle decks from card kingdom that are all themed and roughly the same power level thinking it would be a quick and easy drop in and play magic option.  The grand idea was to bring it up to work for some lunch time gaming, but it hasn’t actually happened yet.

Last night when we got home from Joe Momma’s one of our favorite downtown pizza places, I crashed on the sofa and played some Elder Scrolls Online.  I am essentially doing what I always do which is push into the corners of the map that I have yet to explore and complete whatever quests I happen across there.  I remember this game had a rather frosty reception… but in truth the longer it lives the less I can distinguish it from a normal numbered Elder Scrolls game.  I realize some players approached those games in vastly different ways than I did… but for me it was always about killing monsters, collecting loot, running quests…  and ABOVE ALL ELSE…  wandering around aimlessly and exploring the nooks and crannies of the map.  All of those game play styles are supported in ESO and as a result whenever I pick it back up it sorta feels like returning to an old friend.

One of my favorite parts about returning to the game is something that dates back to alpha.  The original alpha players were referred to as the Psijic Order, and on the official game forums there is still a hidden forum area that never got closed out from that area where we occasionally chat back and forth.  Similarly there was a guild formed on launch day made up of players from this same alpha pool and in truth it is one of the more active guilds that I have access to.  I am super thankful that after all of this time and all of my wandering away and back again that no one punted me from it.  I am deeply connected to this title because of my experiences testing it for so long, and I am happy to for some remnant of that early community that I still have access to.

I am cutting off the post short this morning as it is election day here in Oklahoma.  I am going to attempt to vote before work, and if you too are having a primary I highly suggest you drag your butt to the polls as well.

Shornhelm Resident

eso64-2018-06-24-15-16-16-09

eso64-2018-06-24-22-20-09-71

When I play an MMO a curious thing seems to happen.  There will be one town or public area that I tend to gravitate towards.  In World of Warcraft that was Ironforge which makes sense given that was the location of the only Alliance Auction House for years.  However long after that fact I still visit it pretty often because as far as a city goes it just feels comfortable.  Even when I hang out in Stormwind as the later expansions have pushed us…  I tend to hang out in the Dwarven Quarter because again… it feels right for my character.  I am sure if you were to ask me to cobble together a roleplaying back story it would involve the fact that Belghast was a human living among Dwarves in Iron Forge as a sort of adopted son.

In Elder Scrolls online…  my home is Shornhelm located in the Rivenspire zone of Daggerfall Covenant.  While I chose to play an imperial for the bonuses…  in my mental canon I am from Shornhelm and grew up there.  It doesn’t hurt that I absolutely love the look of this town, but in truth what drew me to it in the first place was the ease of crafting.  There is a Wayshrine a few steps from the Smithy and Lumbermill and around the corner from that is the bank.  A few steps away is the entrance to the thieves guild, and the only thing that is inconvenient is the Enchanter for breaking down my enchants and jewelry.  All told it is just a simple and convenient way to get into town and do my business without needing to run all over the place.

eso64-2018-06-24-15-16-16-09

I spent the better part of the weekend playing Elder Scrolls Online chilling on the sofa.  At this point I have gone through at least half of Deshaan which appears to be a very large zone in the grand scheme of things.  Once I got past CP160 my overall champion rating doesn’t really seem to matter anymore but I believe I am somewhere around 230.  This is nothing compared to the players I see roaming around in their 700s.  One of the things I find interesting about this game is the fact that the champion system helps to buffer things…  but if you are not paying attention and get too much hate from too many targets… you still can pretty easily die.  I of course have Green Dragon Blood cheats which helps me recover from dumb things…  but it isn’t like I can reliably solo the zone mini boss type mobs yet.

I am still largely playing the same way I always have as a sword and shield dragon knight favoring stamina a bit, but in truth a fairly balanced character otherwise.   There are many builds that appear to be faster at killing things than mine, and I am sure I could swap stuff around to get to one of those.  However this one makes me happy and it involves me charging in… debuffing the target and then just wailing on them with my weapon.  I am perfectly fine with that style of gameplay.  Now were I dipping my toes into PVP I am sure I would quickly be confronted with my inadequacies.

eso64-2018-06-24-22-10-19-80

The system that I stumbled onto yesterday that I had never experienced before was the Outfit Station.  I have largely been wearing an disguise that I picked up from some crates since I really dig the whole platemail robes thing that the World of Warcraft paladins had going on.  As a result I have not really worried too much about what sort of gear I was wearing, but eventually wandered past a machine I had not seen before.  This allows you to change the appearance of every slot you are wearing and set three levels of color dye.  One of the things I deeply appreciate is that the same regions on every piece seem to be the same dye slot.  In both GW2 and Rift there are times where the primary item may represent the metal pieces…  but in other items it could be the secondary dye slot.  In ESO it seemed to be reliable that the first slot represented the metal bits, the second the highlights, and the third any underlayment.

Ultimately what this tells me is that I need a lot more dye pots, but I am not really sure how one gets those apart from buying them on the in game store when they are offering up a color scheme you like.  I cobbled together something I am largely okay with however.  That said…  the real win for the night was learning how to dye my disguise so that I could keep wearing my plate robes appearance but just change up the color scheme a bit.  I am having yet another renaissance with this game, and I am wondering how long it will last.  As my friend Squirrel said…  it will likely last right up until some other game catches my attention since I do tend to flit back and forth between every MMO I have ever played.  Really enjoying the story of Ebonheart Pact and it is so much more “me” than what was going on over in Aldmeri Dominion.

eso64-2018-06-24-22-11-52-21

One parting comment… if you are out there playing some ESO feel free to add me to your friends list.  If you friend @belghast it will do so at an account level, making it easier to track if I am on an alt.  The truth is however…  I don’t really play alts.

Champion and Stonefalls

eso64-2018-06-21-21-42-41-22

diablo-iii-2018-06-21-20-20-55-28

Last night I managed to do enough greater rifts to push my three gems of choice to level 35… which means I have now finished the second post chapter of Season 14.  I am now two steps into Destroyer where the challenges get harder as to the prize amounts.  I feel like this is a reasonable place to take a break since my often partner in crime in this Diablo nonsense is having to deal with some real world stuff.  I do however intend to keep running the occasional run to farm up some gold.  I am completely flat broke at this very moment… or at least 600k gold which FEELS flat broke in the Diablo 3 seasonal post game.  I spent a chunk of time transmuting gems for the purpose of trying to slot the best green gem into every item that would take one.

This will be essentially the last performance and damage output boost I can make that does not involving swapping item for item with an Ancient Legendary equivalent.  You can see on the profile of my seasonal character that I currently have four ancient legendaries…  but of those one doesn’t really count given that I am wearing nemesis bracers just for the purpose of burning through Rifts faster.  I’ve been spending all of my blood shards with Kadala on chest pieces in the random hope of getting an ancient version of the Marauders chest, but really at this point it is just picking a slot and grinding on it until luck rewards me for my futility.

I also need to determine what conquest I will plan on going with this season, or technically conquests if I intend to go deep enough in to get the extra bank slot.  The conquests available this season are…

  • Avarice – Complete a 50,000,000 gold streak while outside The Vault and the Inner Sanctum
  • Speed Demon – Complete a Nephalem Rift at Max level on Torment X or Higher within 2 minutes
  • Years of War – Reach Greater Rift Level 55 Solo with the full bonuses of Six of the Following Class Sets
  • Divinity – Reach Greater Rift Level 75 Solo
  • On A Good Day – Level three Legendary Gems to 65

Of those the two most obvious and probably easiest are Divinity and On A Good Day given that those sorta happen in the normal flow of the game.  Figuring out which third one I want to do is probably going to be the biggest issue.  Maybe Grace and I could get fast enough to do a T10 Rift together within 2 minutes, especially if we could find some more people to help us out and just sorta go in different directions during each level racking up kills. Avarice is all about building a specific set for it and then gathering up all of the trash in a specific area and trying to kill it all at once.  I guess I should be holding onto those gold boosting items just in case I want to go down that route.

eso64-2018-06-21-21-42-41-22

The other thing I did last night was run around in Elder Scrolls Online for a couple hours.  I gotta say this game is really gorgeous and even thought Stonefalls is probably the worst zone in the game (though Ashgar would probably fight me and claim that Alakir Desert is)…  it is still breathtakingly beautiful with its alien mushroom landscapes.  I am trying to push through this area because Stonefalls is really the major impediment for almost all of my attempts to level through the Ebonheart content.  As a reminder to my readers… I am stubborn as fuck when it comes to Elder Scrolls Online and am not willing to try any of the expansion content until I have beaten the original content.  That means I started off in Daggerfall and leveled all the way through those zones.  Then I entered the new game plus…  which was Aldmeri Dominion on the same character and have leveled through all of that.  Finally I am in the process of leveling my way through Ebonheart Pact at which point… I will happily begin gobbling up the expansions.

The primary reason behind this is that I know people who worked on this game and feel like I want to see every last bit of the original content.  There is a town in the Rift area in Ebonheart that has namesake characters for myself, Ashgar, Warenwolf, and Audrae…  and while I saw them during beta I want to see them legitimately with my main character.  I feel like maybe I am ready to buckle down and start pushing through the content and finally reach that goal I have been working on since 2014.  Ultimately Elder Scrolls Online is a game I have been playing off and on in one form or another since February of 2013, and the amount of effort that I put into beta testing probably stalled out my eventual post release progress.  That said I am deeply proud of being a member of the Psijic Order… what they called the alpha testers and proud of what this game has ultimately become.

Falcon’s Wings

diablo-iii64-2018-06-20-22-26-35-45

diablo-iii64-2018-06-20-22-26-35-45

Last night was another night in Diablo 3 and I managed to whittle down the remaining objectives in Champion down to one…  raise 3 gems to 35.  This is more tedium than it is difficult since I can do 45 greater rifts pretty quickly…  the challenge is simply not dying and getting that bonus gem level each go round.  Demon Hunter is very much a glass cannon and it gets frustrating sometimes when a single hit can send you to the graveyard, but I am getting better at vaulting to safety.  The challenge however is now that I have swapped over to the grenades build…  there is so much going on with the grenade bounces that it can be extremely hard to actually see incoming attacks that might KO me.

For most of the season so far I have been running the Yang and Rockets build that while it isn’t exactly the same as this one… the one I was running is fairly similar.  Last night was all about finishing out the pieces I needed to swap over to the more appropriate seasonal Manticore/Cluster Bombs build that supposedly has a much higher damage potential.  The one thing I loved about Multishot is that I could hang way the hell away from my targets and just pepper the screen with nonsense, allowing me to pretty safely clear everything without needing to “get my hands dirty” as it were.  This is a play style that absolutely fits the Demon Hunter because it kept me largely safe and at a significant distance to react to incoming damage.

Cluster Bombs however feel like I need to be way closer to the action and as a result spending much more of my time vaulting around the screen trying not to die to poison puddles or explosions.  I am adjusting but I still find it less enjoyable overall than the multishot route.  That said…  Rift Guardians just completely melt at this point when you hit them with a slew of bouncing grenades.  I’ve reached the point where the normal mobs are the problem not the bosses because I have enough stacked up boss damage that they just seem to evaporate.  By the end of the night I had gathered up all of the pieces of gear I needed for the build and am now working on getting those gems up.

diablo-iii64-2018-06-20-22-27-36-10

The highlight of the evening however is one specific drop.  Grace and I were splitting up and doing a full round of bounties for cube materials, when she was not paying attention and apparently opened the chest in Garden’s of Hope Tier 1… that contained the cosmetic Falcon’s Wings.  I thought for certain that they would have only dropped for the people who happened to be in zone at that moment…  but apparently that is not the case.  I ported to Grace and sure enough the wings were sitting there on the ground waiting for me to loot them.  I’ve spent time in the past farming for these without much luck, and it seems to be the way of Diablo 3 that the only time something drops for you… is when you aren’t expecting it at all.

A couple of interesting notes from the Season of Greed double goblins event.  Firstly between the two of us we have yet to see a single puzzle ring drop, and the only time we have made it into Greed’s Realm is when a Gilded Baron opened a portal for us.  Second note…  we have yet to see a single Menagerist Goblin spawn so our dreams of double pet drops have been dashed so far.  Similarly we have yet to see any Rainbow Goblins…  so no whimsydale nonsense either.  We are however seeing a ton of the gem and material goblins…  which are awesome but less interesting than the ones that can drop something really rare.  All in all I am having a blast and spent from 7 pm onwards last night playing Diablo 3…  first solo and then duo’ed up with Grace.  I am having more fun this season than I have had in a very long time.

Season of Greed

diablo-iii64-2018-06-19-21-27-57-47

diablo-iii64-2018-06-15-21-13-02-65

If you have followed my blog for any length of time you would know that I have a deep connection to Diablo 3 and periodically I do the seasonal nonsense.  When the concept was fairly new a bunch of us would get together on the Friday night that the season opened and attempt to push as far towards 70 as we could.  Over time this group has dwindled from having three teams of four players active during its absolute heyday…  to this past Friday just being me and Grace roaming around killing demons.  The truth is I often enjoy the more low key seasonal pushes than the bigger groups because you don’t feel like you are letting as many down if you need to take a quick break.

The other thing that has changed is that our speed and longevity does not appear to be anywhere near what it once was.  There were several times when we would stay up well past midnight pushing hard to get to 70 as soon as possible, and now..  we often tag out around 10:30.  I think this past Friday we managed to make it to 47 before running out of gas for the evening.  I picked up Saturday morning and pushed through to I think 68 before Grace and I got back together that afternoon and passed the finish line.  Thankfully with a demon hunter…  simply passing the finish line to 70 is enough to pretty much finish the seasonal challenges.

diablo-iii64-2018-06-19-21-27-57-47

Often times double demon hunter seasons start out as ones when we are not super into the process…  and are just wanting to unlock the basic seasonal rewards.  This season however we both seem to be interested in pushing a little further than those initial steps.  For the uninitiated there are four chapters that make up the standard seasonal journey, each including several achievements that you have to unlock like killing a specific boss at a specific difficulty or leveling up the blacksmith and jeweler.  These range from trivial to difficult and chapters 2-4 unlock a satchel called Haedrig’s Gift including 2 set pieces each time for a total of the full 6 piece set after completing the journey.  Getting to chapter four also unlocks whatever cosmetic rewards are available for a given season… which this time around was a back banner thingy (yes I know it has a name but I am drawing a blank this morning).

However after this initial four chapters you can unlock additional challenges that go through the ranks of Slayer, Champion, Destroyer, Conqueror, and Guardian.  At this point I have finished the Slayer step and am currently working on Champion and I am honestly not sure if Grace has defeated that step and moved on to Destroyer or is still working on it.  The ultimate reward is an additional bank tab which comes after finishing Conqueror, but this becomes less and less of a thing as you can only get four of these in total.  I’ve not gotten my four…  Grace has.  Demon Hunter with the Marauder set seems to be a reasonable option for pushing higher into the ranks than I normally do in a given season.

diablo-iii64-2018-06-19-20-56-05-39

Traditionally I play long enough to unlock my set and finish the cosmetic stuff and then check out until the next season.  This season started on Friday June 15th and if it goes as it normally does… will wrap up around September 15th.  What makes Season 14 special however is there is an event going on called the Season of Greed which greatly increases the number of Treasure Goblins that you encounter.  Firstly it feels like the encounter rate has been increased significantly…  but when you do find one you will get two copies of the exact Goblin spawned in at once.  This means double the loot every time you can get them down, making it feel extremely good to go out and take on things like Nephalem Rifts that already have a fairly high chance of encountering goblins.

I am admittedly a very loot-centric person and the fact that I have hot and cold running goblins on tap…  means I am way more likely to spend time roaming around and hunting the good stuff.  I’ve already seen myself spending a lot more time in Diablo 3 solo than I ever do during a season.  For whatever reason I am finding it extremely relaxing to get in and tear up a rift, but what I need to be focusing on is bounties since I am still down several gem patterns.  I think tonight is probably going to be all about doing a full round of bounties and then maybe knocking out some of those Torment 10 achievements needed for Champion.  All in all I am still very much a fan of Diablo 3 and I am super amped about the potential for a new Diablo project that they are ramping up the hiring for.

 

forty two

img_20180618_095650-1

img_20180618_095650-1

First I feel like I need to start this mornings post off with a discussion of how completely overwhelmed I am by the birthday wishes yesterday.  We were travelling and each time we stopped I furiously tried to catch up with personal thanks to everyone who sent me something.  I completely missed Facebook unfortunately because I refuse to install the Facebook app on my phone and wound up doing a sort blanket thanks over there when I got home.  Twitter however is my social media of choice and I tried my best to keep up throughout the day.  I think I successfully thanked each and every one of you…  but given how fast everything was scrolling there is a high chance that I missed someone.  If I did I am truly sorry because I am super thankful for all of the awesome friends I have.

For the last several years my wife and I have been doing this little mini vacation to the Kansas City metro.  As the rockstar teacher she is, she signs up to grade the AP Statistics exams…  and for the last several years has been a table leader that is responsible for making sure that all of the essay questions get graded effectively the same way by all teachers.  For those who are having trouble picturing this…  imagine a convention center filled with tables full of teachers… all of them grading essays for eight hours a day in a sort of weird factory type environment.  That is what my wife has been doing for the last week and some change.

Instead of having the AP Board fly her back home I have been driving up on the day she gets released and picking her up.  Then we run around Kansas City that night and the next morning and drive back to Tulsa.  Because we are lame we mostly just hit a bunch of the Half Priced Books stores there and usually the Microcenter since we don’t have one in Tulsa and pretty much anything else that happens to suit our fancy in the journey.  That means as the birthday wishes are rolling in we are usually moving from location to location with me trying to catch up as we go.

img_20180618_095829

I tend to tweet out random things I encounter… like yesterday I made a joke about these being apparently the Amiibos that did not sell, given they were at a Five Below in Olathe KS.  Later I found out that no… these are fairly rare and were Amazon exclusives and who knows how they ended up in the secondary market.  I wished I had picked up a couple because various folks like Pizzamaid really want the Palutena one.  You can find a bunch of odd things that show up at Five Below, which is a discount chain that I wish we had in my area.  The Below part is generally a lie because I’ve seen very few things there that are cheaper than $5.

img_20180617_163943

Another weird thing I stumbled across in my journey was this controller at Microcenter.  There was no way I was going to pay the $70 price tag but I did snap a photo because I thought it was interesting.  Once I got back to civilization I looked it up and apparently it is the Emio 5-in-1 switch controller, but based on the reviews from Amazon it is not a phenomenal product.  Apparently the Switch 5.0 update completely broke this controller like it did so many third party peripherals, but it was an interesting idea with swappable button layouts for the different Nintendo control schemes it is trying to emulate.

Anyways this is one of those rambling nothing posts.  I feel like I should suddenly feel wiser today given that I am not forty two and apparently the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.  Unfortunately I don’t feel much different apart from the fact I woke up this morning with an insane headache.  I remember as a kid anytime I would go through growth spurts my joints would hurt.  I wonder if headaches are just a sign of your mind going through a growth spurt too.  Personally I like that thought better than the alternative explanations.

Upcoming Lapse

tom-clancys-the-division-screenshot-2018-06-13-06-07-09-89

tom-clancys-the-division-screenshot-2018-06-13-06-07-09-89

I don’t really have much of a proper post to make today, but I did want to give my readers a heads up that it is highly unlikely that I make a post before next Tuesday.  Nothing bad is happening, it just won’t be reasonable for me to be posting much.  This makes it all the more inexcusable that I don’t really have much to say today.  I’ve been playing a lot of The Division and have managed to get back into the swing of things after the gear swaps I talked about last night.  Unfortunately I am having hell taking screenshots right now because both Fraps and the Nvidia Experience based fall back seem to not be picking up and taking the shots.  I am not exactly sure what is up but whatever the case I’ve been going into gaming sessions thinking I was taking a bunch of captures but not ending up with anything in the end.

The one new thing I have been playing around with is Survival mode, which was suggested to me by a lot of people.  The premise is you are trying to get to the dark zone in order to extract some cure that was found for the small pox based super bug that started the whole problem in the first place.  This in itself would probably be reasonable but there is a massive blizzard hitting New York and upon approach your Helicopter crashes…  puncturing your hazmat suit and leaving you stranded with only a pistol.  Essentially as you roam around you are fighting two problems…  the extreme cold and the fact that you have been infected and are trying to stave it off.  Either of those things can straight up kill you.

For the cold you wind up moving from building to building or fire barrel to fire barrel trying to stay warm while wandering out in a whiteout blizzard.  For the infection you can pick up medication periodically and use it to pause the timer that is ticking down.  On top of this… you lost your filter in the crash and need to gather up enough materials to craft a new one in order to move into the dark zone, get the cure and successfully extract.  If you choose to queue into a PVP session you are also up against other players who are trying to compete for the same resources and the same eventual cure.  To spice things up… you will also encounter the various factions from the game roaming the streets that will of course start firing on you the moment you come in range.

There are a number of things that you can do to improve your odds, because you drop in with a base set of green gear.  Drops occasionally upgrade your weapons or your armor, but everything is limited to this one survival session starting you back at square one.  The cosmetic clothing increases your survival against the cold letting you stay out longer before needing to run back and warm up somewhere.  The entire process is really interesting because it is basically this intense survival game in the middle of an MMO complete with hunger and thirst meters that you need to keep an eye on.  Basically the entire world is dead set against you and you need to keep moving, keep searching and keep looting to gather enough resources to be able to survive for a long periods of time as you attempt to cross New York, get into the Dark Zone and retrieve your cure.

From what I understand there are also a number of other gameplay modes that show up once you reach thirty… and as I am sitting at 28 I am feeling close enough to the finish line to try and push through this.  Super thanks to everyone who tipped me off to Survival since there were several of you.  I linked a guide video since I didn’t have much in the way of screenshots.