Poor Driving and Change

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Last night I largely spent the night playing Rage 2 and doing a really poor job of driving around the wasteland.  In theory I should use this as an opportunity to test out the little 3D Printed controller wheel that I have…  but instead I am just suffering through the mouse and keyboard controls.  It is funny how even when they do not feel amazing… I will still gravitate towards mouse and keyboard in part just to keep from having to switch between controller and keyboard all the time.  I will always be of the firm opinion that shooters are just better with a mouse…  and then many of those shooters also want you to control vehicles which work best with a controller.  So either I suffer with the shooter gameplay or I suffer with the often side content that is driving.  The problem with Rage 2 however is you spend a lot of time in your vehicle as you cross wide swaths of territory between missions.

So while I did not get a screenshot of this because I was enthralled by the combat…  one of the random events that happened in the world is that I encountered an enemy vehicle convoy…  which I followed around trying to take out.  There were roughly 3 car type vehicles, 3 or 4 motorcycle type vehicles and one giant Semi sort of hauler vehicle that was the primary objective.  I managed to whittle down the convoy to just being this big massive vehicle…  and chased it around through the landscape for a good fifteen minutes slowly plinking down its health.  Often times I would drive poorly and get way off track forcing me to jet booster thrust my way back into gun range.  Unfortunately I only managed to know it down by about half health before I got a verbal warning that I was almost out of ammunition.  I am guessing I need some of the vehicle upgrades to realistically fare well in vehicle to vehicle combat…  but I gotta say… I was completely hooked by the experience.

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Every town seems to have a major problem that you need to deal with for them… before they can turn around and help you.  Last night I made it through one of those missions…  which unlocked another sequence of events that I am going to need to do before they can actually help me.  That is fine… like I said yesterday there isn’t a lot of back and forth in the dialog so I more than expected to keep going on fetch and assistance quests until the storyline culminates in a battle with the big bad of the world.  It is the moment to moment game play and the exploration of new areas that make the game interesting to me personally.  I like checking enemy camps off of my list, especially when they happen to be hiding an ark full of goodies.   As I move forward into the game I keep encountering newer and tougher groups of enemies…  and I have to say…  Authority soldiers are already a pain in the butt because I don’t have an amazing answer to their energy armor yet.

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Last night during the quest I was speaking of in the previous paragraph, I picked up my first new weapon…  which is a really amazing shotgun.  Shotguns are a weapon that I always find deep kinship with, because they are sort of the no-nonsense killing machine option that have been pretty much something I gravitated towards since Doom.  The most recent Doom game had an awesome design as far as shotguns go with some interesting mode switching, and Rage 2 does something very similar.  If you are firing the weapon blindly you end up with a fairly rapid fire short ranged blast option.  However if you hold down the right mouse button and aim the weapon, according to the in game dialog, the weapon melts together all of the shells into one large high powered slug that knocks targets back and has a satisfying thump when it fires.  When it says it knocks things back…  you can get some interesting situations where you hit a single target and it ends up knocking a whole line of enemies down if they are approaching single file through a choke point.  So far this weapon really is my only answer to the Authority troops, and you end up getting it in a mission where things are constantly leaping out of the walls so it also does a great job of twitch reflex killing.

I’m still very much enjoying the game and look forward to playing more of it as the week goes on.  However there is one more topic that I want to bring up.  I will be over the next few weeks moving all of my sites from my current host over to a different host.  I’ve been with my current host for the entire decade during which Tales of the Aggronaut has existed.  Initially I used them because a good friend of mine was one of the system admins, and I could always poke him if I needed something weird done.  However after he left the service has not exactly been that stellar.  Additionally there has been a pretty constantly series of blips in server up time and I am getting tired of it.  I needed to find a good host to use for another purpose… and instead of doing a single one off… I bought a big enough hosting account to hold everything of mine and even do MP3 hosting if I choose to do so and move away from Libsyn.  I will go into more details later as I move everything over depending on how positive or negative the experience is.  I’ve moved a single non-gaming site over and it went pretty smoothly.  This weekend I plan on moving AggroChat and depending on how well that goes might move Aggronaut as well.

Mostly I just wanted to give my readers a heads up that some changes will be coming in my infrastructure and it might wind up with me being down more than I intend to.

Kindle Arrives

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A New Toy

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Sunday I wrote a bit about my troubles with Amazon and shipping recently, and I guess maybe that complaining worked.  Not only did I get additional prime subscription time added to my account to appease me, but yesterday mid day my new Amazon Fire 7 inch tablet showed up.  As a result I spent a good deal of last night fiddling with it, and I figured I would write a little bit about it as a result.  The tablet I am talking about is the one that has been widely advertised as being sold in six packs…. and singles go for only $49.99 so that the marketing can say “under $50 dollars”.  Over the recent holiday consumer madness… they were selling the tablet for $34.99 which finally got me to jump on buying one just to see what it is like.  I already have owned several android tablets, and even got a used ipad 2 since my wife loved hers so much.  After all of that I had pretty much decided I simply was not a “tablet” person.  If I have time to use a tablet… I am probably at home and could just play on my PC, PS4, Vita, PS3…  you are getting the idea.  What I lacked though was a really good device to read on… because the iPad and Android tablets were just too bulk to use in bed comfortably without nodding off every so often and whacking myself in the face.

The first shocker is the size, because really when you think about it… 7 inches sounds like a large size.  The tablet as a whole feels more like a large phone… so something along the lines of a Samsung Note and less like a tablet.  The build quality is solid, and the device feels nice in your hand… but the plastic back makes it feel a little on the cheap side.  Then again this is a tablet that I just paid $34 for…  and in the past that would have gotten me some shanzhai reject and not a perfectly viable device.  There are some caveats to know going into it.  Firstly there is no Google Play store on the device by default, and in theory it is set up in a way to keep directing you at the Amazon ecosystem for music, movies and everything else related.  This is good in one aspect, especially if you are a Prime user… since well it has one of the better interfaces for actually watching the free streaming with Prime.  The whole lack of Google Play would have potentially been a deal breaker since, as someone already embedded in the Android world… I already own pretty much all of the apps I need to function there and have zero interest in repurchasing them from Amazon.  Thankfully I did a bit of research before jumping into this device and apparently it is a relatively trivial experience to load the Play store, it simply involves loading four different android apps on your device in a specific order.  Luckily however the above video shows you the appropriate order and provides what seems to be a clean link to the downloads.  I personally just downloaded them from my device to save having to try and swap them over through a computer.

It Plays Hearthstone

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The other thing that I would really like to do with a tablet is to be able to quickly get into Hearthstone and play it from bed.  Previously most of my Android devices simply performed like crap in Hearthstone, with the best possible version being on my Samsung Galaxy S5… and even then it was super sluggish.  This device however, took a bit of time initially to boot into Hearthstone and sign into Battle.net the first time, but from that point on I have been able to get in and doing stuff pretty quickly.  The interface ends up being a little small, so things like the settings gear can be a bit awkward to click on at first, but the base interface of the game performed smoothly.  I played a few games last night, and experienced real issues, and even as multiple effects were firing on screen I didn’t see any noticeable lag.  So for my purposes the device passes with flying colors when it comes to gaming.  At some point I will throw other games on it and test those out as well, but since I was mostly concerned about running what is normally a fairly intensive mobile game like Hearthstone…  that is what I went with first.  Please excuse the kinda crappy photo but I wanted to take a photo of me running hearthstone ON the device…  which meant taking a photo with my phone since I have not figured out how to do a screenshot on Kindle Fire OS yet and the normal methods from my phone did not work at all.

As far as the other purpose of the device, it also passes with flying colors.  Any device can read a book, so that wasn’t really what I was concerned about… so instead I booted into my Marvel Unlimited account and attempted to read some comics.  I wanted to see if a full comic page was readable with the small screen size and my less than perfect eyes.  I have to say I was pretty happy with the end results, and the slightly strange format as you might expect fits a page size perfectly.  Laying in bed last night I read around a dozen or so comics and my eyes never felt like they were being strained.  The only time things got awkward is when I needed to read a double panel spread, at which point I had to mostly zoom in and move around the screen to read the panels.  These were still awkward as shit on my full sized iPad, so I am not really too shocked about this.  These are one of those things that only really works well in a physical book.  The next step will be to load the puppy up with books, since right now our Amazon account is loaded up with quite literally thousands of books that I have zero interest in… since my wife and her mother are the primary users of that account.  In the past I always preferred reading through Aldiko so I will have to install that and test it out as well.  All told though… I am really happy with my $34 purchase… which after using some built up Discover cash back bonus…  ended up covering the entire cost.

Best Laid Plans

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Last night I had every plan of running a bunch of LFR in the hopes of getting a main hand weapon.  However in the middle of piddling around in Tanaan jungle I got a Baleful Armament to drop for me.  Unfortunately… it turned into the lowest possible version I could get.  That said it is better than nothing and matches the 650 shield that I have as well.  I am at the very least “viable” as a tank, though I need to do some stuff to set up my bars.  It is my hope that at some point I will get a decent sword and shield to drop in normal that I will roll offspec on.  In the meantime I need to get used to tanking as a Paladin, and this at least gives me the ability to run the daily heroic relatively easily for Valor.  As to how much pug tanking I will be doing… that is an entirely different question.  The main problem with last night however… is that I did not really sleep well Sunday night.  So by the time I spent awhile fiddling with the Kindle, my wife suggested that it was bedtime… and for once I agreed.  Admittedly I went to bed and continued to play with the Kindle, but sitting on the couch was invoking the most furious of yawns.  At the very least tonight I want to run the Black Gate on both characters, in the hopes that Tuesday night LFR is still the best possible time to run it.  In theory I should probably do the entire LFR on Belghast in the hopes of getting an upgraded weapon before the Wednesday night normal raid with Jed and crew.