Captain K

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I am all over the map right now when it comes to video games.  I am in this weird holding pattern where I am playing a ton of different games, but none of them for terribly long in a single sitting.  I also managed to garbage out my left pinky this weekend which is making typing surprisingly painful.  Right now my average night involves at least one Kulve Taroth match in Monster Hunter World, and then flipping over Destiny 2 to try and score another powerful/prime engram for the evening.  From there I bounce all over the place… lately that has included some time spent in The Division which actually lead me to hit the level cap of 30 and start unlocking end game activities.  One of the things that I loved about this game was just how detailed its world was, in that it felt like a real place that I was going to visit.  Yes I realize it was patterned off of New York…  but I have supposedly visited New York in a bunch of different games and this was the first time it really felt like an actual place.  The game looks gorgeous at 4k… but then again so far MOST games look gorgeous at 4k.

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I poked my head into Neverwinter as well this weekend and finally claimed my Purple Owlbear mount from Twitch.  This game has a lot of positive things going on, but it is an inventory management nightmare…  which ultimately prompted my little burst of posts on twitter.  Inventory Management is just not something that is fun… and out of the tons of favorites I only got one person who chimed in stating that they actually like cleaning their inventory.  There are games where having a nonsense inventory is enough to make me log right back out, and many times… I feel this way about Neverwinter.  Side note another game that I often feel this way about is Everquest II because so much of what ends up dropping is not terribly useful, and when you can have bags that are getting close to 100 slots each…  you can carry around a lot of junk.  I think the theory is that people get excited when they see loot… but that excitement quickly passes when you realize that 99.9% of the stuff that drops is useless crap.

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Which leads me to Path of Exile… a game where the common practice is to install a loot filter so you just don’t see the useless shit you shouldn’t be looting in the first place.  I am using the NeverSink filter, largely because it seemed to be the one that was most widely recommended.  I will say however… it does greatly improve the experience… even though that I still feel like inventory space is a nightmare in this game.  I spent way more time this weekend playing POE than I expected, and I will say that the game has gotten significantly more enjoyable once I crossed the line into Act II.  Unfortunately I didn’t take many screenshots this weekend…  especially now that I apparently unleashed an ancient evil and blotted out the sun.  POE comes in both Grim and Dark flavors…  but apparently I shifted into Grim Dark mode.  The other issue that I have with POE is that my character looks stupid… which I realize is fixable if I drop a bunch of money on the cosmetic shop.  Right now I am wearing a leather diaper, plate booties, a metal old-timey football helmet…  while wielding a camp axe and a cabinet door for a shield.  This is not a good look on anyone…  and no matter how much gear I swap out I seemingly cannot get rid of the diaper.

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Lastly I am still spending quite a bit of time before falling asleep each night playing various mobile games and one of the ones that I am finding myself enjoying in spite of it not making any sense… is Lineage II Revolution.  During the podcast I talked a bit about this and apparently I completely missed the whole cookie clicker like games thing.  Games that play themselves are apparently a genre… and this one is weirdly enjoyable.  What I found odd though is once I hooked up ADB to play the game mirrored on PC from my phone… it had built in support for WASD so in theory…  this game was designed for a PC interface?  I am legitimately wondering about trying this through an emulator like Memu and mapping it in a fashion to allow for keyboard and mouse play.  At the moment you can do that… but it means you are clicking buttons on the screen instead of having things bound to mouse buttons/keys.  It is weirdly entertaining…  but it isn’t like I can actually suggest it as a “good” game.  It is pretty and some stuff is happening on screen but I am largely just letting it play itself since mobile controls are garbage.  Maybe that is the way these games are getting around that fact…  letting the game navigate for you and then just hit attacks periodically in a sort of on rails shooter type experience.

Kulve Farming

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This morning we return you to your regularly scheduled posts, instead of whatever yesterday’s post happened to be.  I started typing in Google Docs… and it just sort of kept going on and on.  Yesterday was of course election day, and a lot of my staging a post ahead of time was due to the fact that I was trying to get in and out of the polls in the morning quickly.  As far as gaming goes I am still very much all over the place.  Right now as it stands Destiny 2 and Monster Hunter World tend to be the staples that I play at least some of every single night.  Over in Monster Hunter this largely involves getting into a Kulve Taroth group and trying to farm weapons and tickets for the layered armor set.  At this point I still have a ton of pieces left to collect but this is way more of a goal for me than collecting gear, given that I already have enough glimstones for a full set of crafted gear.  I am simply missing the various elder dragon gems needed to craft most of the pieces.  That however can be done after the event.

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As far as weapons go… I have been nowhere near as lucky as I was on the Playstation 4 version.  I have literal pages of blue weapons which are fine… and can provide a specific element if I need one.  However the above image shows off some of the weapons I thought were generally worth keeping around for the long haul.  Probably the weapon that interests me the most right now is the Taroth Blaze “Numb” because it has nonsense Affinity, plus a Defense bonus…  plus 450 Paralysis… and from the look of it it might have some white sharpness if I equip handicraft items.  The other item that I am probably going to wind up using is the Taroth Sword “Mire” just because there are occasionally fights where decent water elemental damage are useful.  I think the Sleep daggers might be useful to play with given how fast you can build up elements with that weapon type.  The Water damage Lance is decent, especially with the level three gem on it.  One positive is it does give me a Charge blade to play with… which is not a weapon type I have crafted any or messed with on the PC.

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Another game that I have been poking my head into is The Division, largely because I wanted to see what it looked like on the new graphics card.  However I noticed that I am really damned close to level 30 which I believe is the level cap.  I really want to see what the game becomes when I finally reach that plateau and somewhere along the line I picked up a handful of set pieces ready to be equipped at that level.  For now I am casually roaming around and killing stuff out in the world, and I find that relaxing and enjoyable.  Previously I was focused on TRYING to level… and getting frustrated that it was going so slowly.  Now I am just sort of running amok in the town and not paying attention to anything past that.  It seems to be working and I have been spending a few hours here and there on it.

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With the Diablo kerfuffle, I have also been exploring some other ARPGs just in case Diablo 4 really isn’t in the cards… or at least to have options to tide me over until it releases in a few years.  The most obvious game directly competing with the Diablo franchise is Path of Exile, but I have never really been able to get into it.  Coming back however it does feel considerably better, apart from the fact that you are given showers of loot…  most of it not useful… and nowhere near enough inventory space to ferry it back to town.  As such the loot itself feels a little frustrating, as does combat at time since it seems to vacillate back and forth between “nothing is attacking me” and “an entire screen of things is overwhelming me”.  Right now however the biggest problem with the game… happens to be its community.  In trying to settle in I started looking up the answers to a handful of questions and for the most part the community answer seems to be some derivation of “go back to diablo noob”.  That is not helpful, nor is it making people want to stick around for very long.  It has really interesting mechanics but a much slower pace, which can be both positive and negative.  The lack of a forward walk button without giving up an ability slot…   is also a little frustrating.

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The game that appears to be more my speed when it comes to methadone for Diablo 4…  is Torchlight II which admittedly is an aging game at this point.  However it is also serving to prepare me for Torchlight Frontiers which looks extremely interesting and fun.  Hey Perfect World folks… if any of you happen to be reading my blog…  hook me up with a key?  I love the setting of Torchlight, for example last night I was going through this awesome clockwork dungeon and since I play an engineer it felt really cool to be busting up mechs with a giant hammer.  This also has the shower you with loot, most of it useless problem… but at the very least you can keep sending your pet back to town to sell it.  This is another high point for this game is it allows me to run around with a Ferret friend.  Super glad I installed it and definitely enjoying poking around in it again… even though I am largely confused as to where I left off in the story the last time I was playing.

Packed Weekend

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I was off Friday and as a result did something that I had been putting off for far too long.  For quite some time now I have had a new case that I needed to shift my main gaming machine into… so that I had enough room to slot the 1080 ti graphics card I picked up for cheap.  The problem is it has been a sequence of two things…  firstly not wanting to have my machine down on the weekends when I spent most of my time using it and doing things like recording AggroChat.  Secondly I have been dealing with some nasty bouts of anxiety and the little voice in my head kept telling me that I would screw something up and be without a gaming machine while I tried to fix it.  As a result I have used the powers of avoidance to keep kicking that can down the road until finally last Friday I took care of it.  It took me about three hours to gut everything from my previous case and install everything fresh in the new case…  with time in between to clean the components before seating them again.

Admittedly I was watching Netflix so was probably greatly slowed down by that as well, but regardless by noon-ish I was up and running and wondering why the hell I waited so long.  As is tradition when I get new hardware… I launch what feels like every game I have just to see what it looks like on the highest resolutions.  I now have officially entered the realm of 4k gaming… and it is glorious.  Sadly these scaled screenshots won’t really do it any justice… but seeing it in motion is gorgeous.  The other interesting thing I found out this weekend is that my beloved Parsec client, takes a 4K signal from my machine upstairs…  scales it dynamically down to 1080p and delivers it to the laptop without losing a lot of the fine detail.  The end result looks like I am running 1080p super sampled to 4k and still providing a much nicer experience than just playing the games at 1080p all without noticeable issues.

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Another thing that happened this weekend is that I managed to get together with Tam and Kodra and play the Fallout 76 B.E.T.A. aka… stress test.  At some point they sent all of us a few friend codes, and I shared one with a good friend and former coworker that was considering getting into the game.  That left me with two codes t hat I offered up to the AggroChat members.  Luckily the test times on Saturday happened at a time we could all be online and…  while I was enjoying the game solo, it really shines with friends.  Just the interaction between three vastly different play styles made it so we were constantly finding different interesting things to get engaged with.  I would find a chest and the other two would come over to see what was in it, or Kodra found a base that we could claim…  that then lead to an event where we had to build up the defenses and fight off a wave of scorched trying to take it from us.  The moment to moment gameplay and little doses of exploration was a glorious thing…  and also it ran great at 4k without issues.  I am really looking forward to being able to set up a private server for the AggroChat crew to roam around on.

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I also spent a decent amount of my time in Destiny 2, and managed to get my light level up to 575 which seems reasonable.  I’ve started getting 580 drops from Powerful/Prime Engrams, and I feel like soon the elevator to 600 will start to slow down a bit as has always been the case in Destiny.  I am mostly logging in and piddling around and trying to accomplish something that will net me an engram or two but have not really been playing very seriously this week.  It feels like there are just too many different things going on for me to really devote all of my resources towards any one of them.  I have the desire to play…  but the lack of focus to really push harder than I already am.

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I still say failure shots in Monster Hunter World are among the most interesting.  Right now the Kulve Taroth event is going on and I am trying to make sure I get in a few attempts each day so I can stock pile weapons.  So far I have gotten a few really interesting things, but I am less shocked each time I get something cool than I was during the running over on PS4.  At this point I have a few useful weapons for pretty much every slot, with the possible exception of Bow.  For whatever reason Bows are extremely scarce, and I remember that being the case on Playstation 4 as well… similarly I always seem to get Heavy Bowguns instead of Light Bowguns.  I do however have plenty of options to play around with, and I believe all of the items needed to make a full set of Kulve gear…  minus the various Elder Dragon gems which I will have to farm later.  My primary focus however is collecting the two sets of layered armor, which simply take repetition since the most tickets I have seen in a single run is 4.

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Another thing I messed about with this weekend was the demo of World of Warcraft Classic.  I started off playing a Tauren Warrior, which is legitimately the first character I ever created during the first stress test I got in back in 2004.  However…  Warriors about level 15 are miserable… and so is the Barrens… which were sort of this poorly thought out dumping ground of content.  Instead I opted to also recreate Lodin my Dwarf hunter and spend time roaming around Westfall.  I talk more at length about this on the podcast, but there are so many things that I remember…  but only after seeing them in person.  Like for example… I did not remember quest text scrolling as slow as it does.  That said I now remember seeing out an addon to speed up quest text scrolling, and that was legitimately the first addon I ever installed.  There are supposedly some tweaks you can make, but I am proud of blizzard in creating a way to legitimately play on a pseudo classic server with something resembling patch 1.12 on the client.  I also applaud them for giving it to the players as part of their normal World of Warcraft subscription.  I am likely going to play something up on a classic server, and I think it would be kinda cool to try some of the older content like Molten Core again.

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Diablo was effectively the game of the weekend… for reasons other than what I am about to talk about.  However I have been enjoying the hell out of playing Diablo 3 on the Switch, and wound up playing for quite a bit last night from bed.  I’ve not spent a lot of time with a console version of Diablo in spite of having Reaper of Souls on the PS4, in part because if I have access to a console… I can just play the PC version of the game I have devoted so many hours to.  However the switch is an interesting case because in theory I could drag it to work and play it over lunch, getting in some demon slaying on the go.  All in all I have enjoying the experience of playing it with the switch, and while blizzon was going on I was largely playing this in docked mode while watching the streams.

As far as the other Diablo news… for the moment I am just going to link to our podcast from this weekend…  because we spent the majority of the show talking about it.  I have thoughts still that I will ultimately put into blog post form…  in fact there were a few points during the weekend when I started drafting something in Google Docs, only to delete it all shortly after.  For the moment I am disappointed in both Blizzard and the Diablo Community, but am generally okay with a Mobile Diablo existing because Dragalia Lost has proved to me that it might be something I would be interested in.  It is going to take me a bit to work through my thoughts fully however because they are somewhat nuanced.  For now however… this is already a massive post so closing things out.

Five Sixty

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I had a really great night, largely because over the last few days I have allowed myself to break free of the turtle a bit and communicate with other people.  Sunday this was me hanging out with Warenwolf doing some stuff in the Dreaming City.  During the first part of last night it was me hanging out on Discord with my good friend Grace while we were doing completely different things.  I am not exactly sure what she was up to but I spent my time running strikes and heroic story missions in Destiny 2 to knock out two more powerful engrams for the week.  I’ve talked briefly about this but it really is so much easier to get geared now than it was before.  There seem to be an endless supply of opportunities for Powerful/Prime engrams to drop.  I am not sure what the mechanics are behind it, but I have a buff that says it allows for the dropping of Prime Engrams, and to the best of my knowledge in spite of getting several of them…  I have never seen it disappear.  Apparently there was something I did called “Prime Attunement” that gave me the buff but for me… it largely just showed up without me realizing it.

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Later in the evening I got together with SquirrelPope who assisted with one of the quests that I had outstanding and taught me the ropes of the Ascendant Challenge much like Waren had with the Blind Well the night before.  Apparently the game took my desire to get a Tigerspite to heart because I now have three of them…  none of them sadly with the god roll.  I’ve managed to get my light level up to 560 which is still a good ways off from the cap of 600…  but nonetheless a lot of progress.  I am still very much in the phase of using whatever gear happens to be the highest light level, and that is probably going to be the case for awhile since I figure the grind will slow down significantly at this point.  I am not exactly sure when Prime and Powerful engrams stop giving the huge boost that they do now.  I will admit a lot of my slingshotting level was was the fact that I picked up Horror Story at 600 light.  At some point I will probably start working on my other classes and that slingshot will be similarly handy for them as well.

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One of the things that I have to talk about briefly is how great the collections tab is.  As you run through the world and get items to drop they flag as being collected.  If said item is a static roll, aka a pre-forsaken item you can always reacquire it from the collections tab at a reasonable light level.  Right now I am 560 light and everything in the collections tab is showing as 540 light for reference.  There are tabs like this for armor, exotics, ghost shells, sparrows, ships…  basically anything that takes up vault space that you may or may not need to keep forever.  At some point I need to have a great cleaning of the vault as I shard tons of items that I can get back from the collections tab.  Similarly I need to start trying to finish the sets, seeing as you can still get most of it from planetary vendors.  There are a few items that I got on the console that I never managed to get on PC, that I would really like to add to my collection.

The Blind Well

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desktop-screenshot-2018-10-28-14-13-26-45This weekend was largely about catching up on the Destiny 2 storyline and progressing to the official end game stuff…  even though I had been at the level cap and slowly gaining gear for a bit.  As I mentioned before, I somehow completely lost the main story quest thread, and did not realize that the quests themselves were being presented as adventures in the Forsaken Shore area.  I have to confess that I largely ignore adventures…  which is a thing I am ultimately going to have to stop doing given that they seem to be a way of unlocking upgrades for the new sub classes.  So if I want to be the superest hammer bro with the superest hammer…  I need to start doing them more often.  Once I got the hang of it I enjoyed the whole choose your own adventure aspect of hunting down the six barons that are in no particular order.  Each of the fights was fun, and a lot of them I failed miserably the first time…  that is until I managed to catch on to whatever the gimmick of the fight happened to be.

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Upon defeating the final boss of the expansion, you are sent on a sequence of events that ultimately reward you in unlocking a brand new patrol zone called the Dreaming City.  The first two screenshots are from areas within this zone and while it is gorgeous…  functionally it reminds me a lot more of the dreadnaught since there a bunch of little activities interwoven within the zones.  I started working on bounties for Petra Venj which lead me to encounter an event called the Blind Well…  which is finally that Court of Oryx/Archon’s Forge style event that I had been asking for.  It however feels a lot more like the opening event of the Leviathan raid than either of those.  It does however seemingly has the chance of dropping Last Wish raid weapons, because on one of the times through it I managed to get one to drop that I will talk about in a bit.  Huge thanks to my friend Waren for helping me get through this, but it also seems like the sort of thing like Court of Oryx that once you coax people into summoning that you end up doing a bunch in a row.  We did several Rank 2 and a couple of Rank 3 Wells before I needed to wander off and do other things.

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Now I had heard a ton about the Tigerspite, and it was on the short list of weapons I wanted to get for certain.  The highlight of the evening however was getting one to drop at 555 from Blind Well.  Unfortunately this is way lower light than my Horror Story but I already love this weapon…  so it is probably going to see a lot of play.  I wish I had enough time to grind out another 600 Horror Story so I could use it as infusion fuel on this thing.  Granted it is far from the best set of stat perks as mine rolled with Dynamic Sway Reduction and Under Pressure which takes an already accurate weapon and makes it feel like a laser beam.  The “God Roll” seems to be Kill Clip and Outlaw, but the thing I have noticed in Year 2 Destiny 2 is that these randomized rolls…  still feel good when you don’t get an ideal combination.  I’ve encountered very few that were just complete garbage…  and honestly its more than specific perks are just not that good…  like Field Prep on anything but a sniper rifle or maybe a scout for example.  While not necessarily hive themed… this design reminds me a bit of touch of malice.

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Currently the highest I can manage to hit light level is 549.3 according to DIM.  As it stands I think I have two more activities that reward powerful engrams…  doing 2 more strikes and doing the Ascendant Challenge in the Dreaming City.  I read up on that last night, but given it was Walking Dead night I didn’t make any attempts.  Supposedly it is soloable…  but I might try and coax someone into helping me through it this week.  The strikes however should be easy enough to grind out whenever I get home tonight.  Pending I get lucky, my hope is it pushes me to a solid 550 which is not bad for my first real week of paying attention to Forsaken content.  I have no clue what level I need to be viable to raid based shenannigans and such.  The Rank 3 Blind Well was a little on the tough side for example, but I sorta equated it to a Rank 3 Court of Oryx…  which if you are not geared enough is doable but not easy either.  I’ve been focusing heavily on getting acclimatized to Dreaming City, but I also feel like this is a bunch of stuff in Forsaken Shore that I have not seen either.

Horror Story

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Last night I finished up the fragmented souls grind and picked up Horror Story, which is in fact as Squirrelpope suggested just a rebranding of The Origin Story.  However that is perfectly fine with me considering that I really loved that weapon in Year 1.  The biggest benefit of this weapon however is that it comes with baked in 600 light level…  which had a significant boost in my gearing process.  That is something I want to talk about briefly…  gearing feels much better.  Sure blues and purples by default drop at relatively low light levels like they did before.  However there are so many more opportunities to get poweful engrams, in fact it seems like there is the daily ability to get something called a prime engram to drop out in the world while doing other activities or in the crucible.  This also drops at a decent boost to your light levels allowing you to slowly ratchet that up in so many more ways than you were able to before.

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In my travels last night I also managed to pick up a new copy of Go Figure, this time with Outlaw in stead of Zen Moment…  which for a Pulse Rifle immediately makes it much better given that Zen Moment really doesn’t work that well for burst fired weapons.  It still has High Caliber rounds and High Impact reserves so for all intents and purposes it is the same weapon with a single perk line swapped out.  Unfortunately this dropped from a regular legendary engram and not one of the powerful/prime versions so it dropped at my then adjusted light level of 506.

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The best light level that I can currently high is 527 since I am literally just getting started on the Forsaken grind.  I’ve technically not even finished the storyline, largely because I am not entirely certain where I need to go with that.  This is one of the problems with Forsaken is that you don’t have quite the clear story path as you did with previous content.  Right now I have a milestone that says “hunt barons” but nothing really outlined on how I should go about doing that.  This probably makes the content feel more organic for your average player, but for me… I tend to avoid doing quests like the plague so when I finally buckle down and start doing them… I want a big freaking blinking arrow pointing me in the right direction so I can get them over with and go back to nonsense free play.

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Another thing that I messed around with was Dragon Quest XI last night, and I have a lot of issues with this game on the PC.  The control scheme is not great…  and what I mean by that is that while sure you can navigate mostly with WASD and Left Mouse click to attack…  there are a bunch of other menus that drive on some other combination of keypresses.  The problem with that is that the game has baked in reminders to tell you to press an Xbox controller button to do this or that, but it doesn’t actually update to tell you the equivalent keyboard command.  Basically it is a poor console port, that while functionally struggles at actually doing things in a manner that PC gamers are used to.

Basically I have two options…  grab a controller which isn’t super interesting to me…  or spend a bunch of time remapping buttons.  The other big issue that I have with the game is that it has a god awfully long intro sequence that is unskippable… and the first two times I attempted to get through it something happened which caused the game to crash out meaning that I had to set through the whole mess each time I tried to get into the game proper.  The other big problem is that saving the game is super obtuse and apart from auto saves… requires you to pray at shrines to manually save.  PC players traditionally expect that you can hit Esc to bring up some sort of a menu system… however in this game it brings up a prompt telling you that you are about to exit the game and lose all of your progress.

Ultimately… my suggestion if you are interested at all in Dragon Quest XI is just to get a console version.  This is available on pretty much all of the consoles at this point, so save yourself the frustration of dealing with the poorly thought out PC port and play it on a platform it was actually intended for.

Chicken Friend

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This is going to be one of those morning posts where I largely talk about a bunch of screenshots.  Last night I managed to max out my Colonel Sander’s Mask, which is of course the best of the Festival of the Lost masks you can get quite frankly.  Who doesn’t want to be Cayde-6’s faithful chicken companion… especially in the light of recent events.  I love the way that they added a perk system that levels up on these masks, because the buffs that they give you… largely make up for having no light level associated with them.  Now it gives me extra defense while in air, which is especially handy when you have the grounded debuff, and it also buffs damage dealt towards all mobs as well as increasing the drop rate of heavy ammo.  So far the furthest I have made it into the Haunted Forest is successfully clearing 8 rounds, which to be honest unless I was in with a stacked group of friends I am not sure if I am going to do better.

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As far as Fragmented Souls… I am up to 86 out of the 120 needed for the Auto Rifle.  I can only seem to manage running a couple in a row before I need to go off and do something else for a bit.  I do however have a multi-part bounty that I should be finishing tonight that will reward me 40 at once, pushing me over the number needed.  As far as Auto Rifles go however… I am in love with The Misfit.  Normally I don’t really go for the low impact/high rate of fire auto rifles, but this one is awesome.  It had reasonable stability as far as that style of weapon goes and because of my roll rather fast reload speed.  It is far from a great roll however, because it has the perk that causes the weapon to reload on critical damage…  which sure is cool but would be so much better if it had pretty much anything else on it.  I think I would ultimately want one with Zen Moment which increases stability as you deal damage… and Rampage that gives you a stacking damage buff each time you take out a target…  since this thing melts minion type mobs.

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Another weapon that I am using that I love…  but is less than optimal other than the Haunted Forest is Go Figure, that rolled with insane amounts of range on it.  This means I can sit back and psuedo snipe things with a pulse rifle.  This is actually decent in the crucible since it has High Caliber Rounds and High Impact reserves and a silly amount of range.  For everything else however I tend to go with Ricochet Rounds for more range and stability.  I think more than anything the weapon just looks badass, and you have to admit it to yourself… that occasionally you use a weapon just because it looks cool.

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As far as heavy weapons go, I have been playing with the Exotic Sword that I got to drop a few nights ago.  This isn’t necessarily optimal, but for the case of grinding Haunted Forest it melts a good deal of the nightmares…  other than the Hydra one which is just a pain in the ass to deal with regardless of how you are fighting it.  I am not exactly a fan of the look of this weapon, because it feels more like a dagger than a sword…  but the whole combo that allows you to hurl the blade towards an enemy is kinda cool.  It has relatively low ammo which is its weakness because it expects you to be using the perk that gives back ammo to the weapon when you perform a kill.  At some point I will stop using it when I find another shiny bauble, but for now it works well enough.

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In the honorable mention category… I really love bows… and while I am not the biggest fan of the look of this bow it is extremely nice.  This one in particular has Explosive Head which cause the arrow to explode shortly after hitting a target, and Rampage which I talked about earlier.  The combination… is that you can just snipe a large amount of targets in a very short period of time especially in a PVE setting.  The Explosive Heads are great for taking out large groups of mobs like Dregs when clustered tight together, and Rampage lets you stack up the buff a bit to take out yellow bars.  This is situational for me… but I like using bows a lot when dealing with story content because it allows me to take down a bunch of the targets before they get close enough to notice me.

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Lastly…  all the wearing of the Colonel Sanders mask…  made me nostalgic so I had to go visit the best Cryptarch…  Tyra Karn at the Farm.  I really wish that she had moved with us to the Tower, because I really do prefer using her…  but it seems like an awful lot of effort to go to the farm just to decrypt the few engrams we get that need decrypting.  Had they mirrored everything at the Farm that they have at the Tower I would end up opting to use the Farm 100% of the time…  but alas the vendors I need are at the Tower.

Nightmare Matrix

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Last night I dove head first into the Haunted Forest activity associated with the Festival of the Lost event.  There is absolutely no hyperbole intended… but this might literally be the best content they have created for Destiny 2.  The only unfortunate part is that it is associated with a limited time event, and it isn’t available for that much longer.  When they first talked about the Infinite Forest I pictured this mode where you go through a random series of changing and shifting segments until you face a boss at the end… that then gives you a chance at loot.  Basically I pictured it working a lot like the Court of Oryx or Archon’s Forge events in Destiny 1… and then was completely disappointed when it released and was ultimately nothing like that.  What we got felt super repetitive and didn’t have any real hook to make you want to keep roaming around in there.

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The Haunted Forest is 100% recycled content, but re-purposed in such a way as we are descending into the nightmare visions created by the Vex that we saw bits and pieces of during Curse of Osiris.  Firstly instead of a washed out digital landscape, we have dark and brooding levels with very sparse lighting allowing for monsters to seemingly jump out from the Darkness.  Additionally there is effectively the stand in for Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head in the form of a giant Hive Knight that is indestructible and chases after places hitting you with a giant axe and doing nonsense amounts of damage.  Each time you dip into the Haunted Forest you are trying to kill a certain percentage of the projections of the various enemy factions within Destiny 2.  When your bar hits 100% you get transported to fight a Nightmare, or a version of one of the Ultra boss monsters that exist in other areas of the game.  Upon defeating the monster a timer starts that gives you a certain amount of time before the Haunted Forest collapses upon itself, and effectively you are trying to see how many times you can get to the Nightmare boss and defeat them before you run out of time.

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There is a reward chest at the end after defeating your final Nightmare that rewards a currency specific to the Festival of the Lost called Fragmented Souls.  These are then used to purchase the paper masks and if you can manage to save up 120 of them… a item level 600 Auto Rifle called the Horror Story.  It is the last item that I am grinding for.  In previous iterations of Festival of the Lost the masks were purely cosmetic, but this time around they have a purpose and can be leveled up through doing content.  So while they add no item level, they do have a bunch of perks that tweak your gameplay in the Haunted Forest.  For example I went with Vampiric Touch that increases damage to challenging enemies and triggers Health Regen on precision kills.  There were three other options and each one was effected by a different type of kill, and I’ve managed to get a single upgrade so far that increases the drop of Heavy ammo, which speeds up the killing of Nightmares.

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It also seems like you have the chance of getting Legendary drops from the various mobs inside of the matrix.  Can we talk about how much better it feels to have engrams decrypt immediately showing you if you got something useful in the process?  I managed to pick up Go Figure a really bad ass Pulse Rifle, and mine rolled with range boost which makes it silly to effectively snipe things with pulse shots from across the map.  It also has High Caliber rounds and High Impact Reserves making it stagger like crazy.  I am super in love with this weapon so far and I thought it looked coolest in the white and black color scheme that I ended up choosing.  So far… I am greatly enjoying my time back in Destiny 2, because things feel “better” in ways that I am not exactly sure how to quantify.  Time will tell if I feel the same once this event is over, but for the moment…  I am grinding Fragmented Souls for that Auto Rifle.

 

Fragmented Gameplay

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This was a busy weekend, largely because I spent most of it not in Oklahoma.  We opted to take a fall break trip down to Dallas, and in some ways it was a really awesome trip…  but in other ways it was not.  When we left town on Friday morning it was raining, and for the most part did not stop raining until some time over night.  This made for a very cold and wet trip, combined with lots of moments when it was raining so hard that I could barely see the road ahead of me.  This became more stressful when I was crammed between two lines of K-Rails and the two lanes of traffic felt super squeezed together.  We made it there safely, but the trip took way longer than it normally would have given the circumstances.  Under perfect conditions with zero stops, we can make it to Frisco where we were staying in the hotel in roughly 4 hours…  we were not under perfect conditions, and we stopped constantly to roam around.  Friday was largely spent meandering around hitting various places along the way.

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This made for a very compact Sunday, trying to get everything that we normally have to do on a Sunday done as well as anything triggered by being out of the house for two days.  This mean’t that most of my gameplay yesterday was in several fragmented chunks which largely involved running Headless Horseman in World of Warcraft on all of my tanks, and leveling in Destiny 2 as I had yet to hit the level cap nor really make much traction in the story.  I am a little weird when it comes to approaching Destiny content in that I prefer to level up independent of the story, and then grind through the story knowing that anything that happens to drop will potentially fuel my later item level grind.  I largely took this screenshot because occasionally I forget that I end up getting paired with local people through Bungie’s matching algorithm that factors connection quality above pretty much anything else.  Notice the player GerthBrooks…  which made me chuckle at first and then was a little disturbed by it.  For the uninitiated, Garth Brooks is also an Oklahoman and while his girls were in High School literally lived in the same town as I do.

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Another thing I found out this weekend is that Escalation Protocol is really damned good for leveling…  as there were groups I managed to get in the same instance with that were farming the level 7 boss.  This thing drops some shaders, but also a chest that requires some sort of key that I am going to have to figure out.  Upon some quick googling it seems like I simply didn’t do much content in Warmind, and as a result don’t have any keys to open these things with.  The truth is that I largely bounced hard after grinding up my second account worth of characters upon the PC release.  I managed to stick it through until the Curse of Osiris expansion, but the repetitive nature of that content left me annoyed.  I will admit however that so far Forsaken seems really cool, I picked up and did some more of the story last night.

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My highest priority however is to sort out how to do the Festival of the Lost content before it disappears.  I had enough of the cash shop second chance currency to pick up this sweet corrupted ship.  Past that I hear there is a better version of the infinite forest that I need to check out, that has a chance of dropping what appears to be a really sweet auto rifle.  I contemplated playing God of War, but with the fragmentation of my play time…  I focused on something that I could drop in and out of quickly rather than something that would require my full attention for long periods of time.  Depending on how tonight goes… will determine if I return to Destiny for Festival stuff, or play some Dad of War.  Regardless I managed to hit 50 the new level cap and am at 500ish light, so now to finish the story and get geared again.  The lack of weapon options are driving me insane right now… but it is forcing me to use combinations that I never would have before.  I’ve been getting a lot of play out of sidearms since they game keeps dropping them for me.

Reluctantly Fury

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This morning is a hard morning, because I am struggling to wake up.  I apparently had a way more active night than I realized, because in my mind I slept all the way through.  However my wife told me a tale this morning that tells otherwise.  Apparently I fell asleep with the television on and at some point during the night she woke up and decided that it should be turned off.  The television remote was on the end table on my side of the bed so she proceeded to wake me up and tell me to turn it off.  Instead of doing this… I apparently proudly proclaimed that “I peed”.  At which point she tried to tell me no.. please turn off the television…  to which I again proudly replied “but I already peed”.

This apparently happened a couple more times before I finally reluctantly turned off the television.  I remember absolutely none of this happening at all.  In my mind I went to bed and slept all the night through without incident, but I am guessing my generally groggy state this morning is due to the fact that I didn’t in fact do that thing.  I have been taking a dose of nyquil before going to bed because I have been fighting this nameless crud, and I am wondering if the sleep inducing nature of that…  lead to my odd behavior.  Regardless it is blogfodder as I call it, and like so many things I probably shouldn’t tell you…  I am telling you anyways.

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Last night I managed to get the Demon Hunter to 114 and finish out the quests in Vol’dun.  At this point I have moved him on to Nazmir which is a zone I never quite finished on the Warrior before getting caught up in the madness of world questing.  As I was winding down on the Demon Hunter I decided to make one more pass on the Warrior to see if there were any quests up that I absolutely had to do.  It was around this point that I decided to try out Fury in proper and get my bars set up.  Now at this point I don’t have a great combo of weapons for Fury as I am have a spear from world questing that came in around 320 and an axe that came from a world boss I believe at 289ish.  It is good enough to get started, but generally speaking I have had hell getting weapons this entire expansion so far.  I was hoping that onehander fury was a thing again and I could just drop some fist weapons crafted by my leatherworker, but that is apparently not a thing.

The shocking truth is…  Fury is amazing.  It feels good and shockingly feels like I have more moment to moment survival than I do as a protection warrior.  Basically this is now my world questing form and will probably run dungeons as such also to help build out the rest of my gear.  This is the expansion where apparently I am maining Fury on the Warrior, however that is not enough of a consolation prize to give up my mission to level the Demon Hunter and tank on it.  It does at least make me feel like maybe I didn’t completely waste the first two weeks of this expansion leveling a character that would be permanently shelved during this expansion.  Maybe just maybe at some point they will apply some tweaks to the way protection feels and I can dust off the sword and shield.

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Another thing that I poked my head into last night was Destiny 2, and for starters the lighting model feels totally different as evidenced by the way this ship looks.  As far as the changes… I am still wrapping my head around what weapons do what.  What I thought was going to happen was that we could put any weapon in any slot.  What actually happened was that weapons are still divided by Kinetic, Energy and Power slots and then to confuse things further…  the weapons are split by what sort of ammunition they use being primary, special or heavy.  Fusion Rifle, Sniper Rifle and Shotgun all now are counted as special weapon types and are divided between the first and second slot.  What I had hoped was that I could run around with Uriel’s Gift in the first slot, Merciless in the second slot, and then a Sword in the third slot.  That is not a thing since Merciless and Uriel’s Gift both occupy the same slot.

None of this works exactly how I remembered them explaining it in the first live stream about Forsaken, however I have also not been following the changes terribly close.  So technically there probably are ways you could have a shotgun in the first two slots, but I am not sure how viable that is actually going to be.  The infusion however works much better to where it is slot based and not weapon type based.  That said we still can’t do what we were able to do in TTK era of feeding trash drops from one class to become infusion fuel to push up another class which is unfortunate.  Supposedly the changes feel really good, but I am on a mission to level the Demon Hunter so I did not give it that much time.  I hope to explore it more over the long weekend break.