Disappointing Armory

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Yesterday the doors of the Black Armory opened…  sorta.  One of the problems with hype cycles is that you can often build something up in your head to be way more than it actually ends up being.  Destiny has this traditional of releasing a DLC and with it comes some new storyline and a bunch of new activities, and at some point they decided to get off that train.  I heard the words that they said… but I guess I didn’t take that to mean what we got?  The Black Armory is effectively what would be termed as a “Minor Patch” in literally any other MMORPG, where you effectively get a new activity to do similar to a Holiday event.  This however is supposed to be the major selling point of the Annual pass, that incidentally came with my super duper deluxe version of Forsaken.  Had I purchased the annual pass separately I probably would think I got ripped off.  I’m just setting the tone of the post ahead of time so if you are having an awful lot of fun with Black Armory and the Volundr Forge then by all means skip the rest of my post.

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Effectively the Black Armory DLC adds a new area of the tower that is locked behind a door…  that you apparently need to get a key from Spider to open.  So your first mission is to go over to the Tangled Shore and talk to spider…  or what I call a Forsaken purchase check… meaning it starts in an area that you cannot get to unless you already own the Forsaken expansion.  You take your purchase acknowledgement back to the tower and you will find that there is a door you can now access buried in the bowels of the tower industrial complex…  because apparently no one had a key to the door directly adjacent to Ikora Rey until today.  We get to meet Ada-1 a surly robot that gives us a lecture on Guardian privilege before sending us out into the world to use said privilege to re-ignite the forges that she apparently had stolen from her.

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There is some faffing about in the EDZ as we collect some bits with some rather obtuse directions about how to get a weapon core.  To save you all the hassle of trying to figure this out here is an image of what you are looking for, since when you go out there yourself it is likely going to be farmed down…  and you wind up wondering exactly what it is you are hunting for.  To drop the shield you kill the single drone thingy orbiting it and then can loot the weapon core from it.  The other piece will be to kill some Fallen and in truth by the time you get to this location…  you have probably passed enough to complete the quest.  I found my cache in the outskirts near the bridge leading to the area where those first Hawthorne missions occurred. There is supposedly an area in the Gulch that also has caches but I didn’t find any there myself in part because I had no clue what I was looking for.

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There is a bit of killing Hive and getting Multikills with heavy…  and then some High Value Targets…  but essentially you can complete all of this with a few rounds of escalation protocol.  From there you travel to the Volundr forge to create this weapon that you just gathered the parts for… and it is also a new area tacked onto the map.  This time you head to the Sunken Isles drop zone in the northwest area of the map, and head into the tunnel complex which will eventually lead you to a new area of the map shown in the above image.  You would think this works like the various other public events, in that you can just happen into a group completing it and join in the fun… but you would be wrong.  Bungie gave us match making… that inexplicably we have to travel to the planet and wander around a bit to actually enter.

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Interacting with the doodad in the world will dump you into a matchmaking queue, and here is where the frustration begins.  With Black Armory the light cap moved from 600 to 650 which is to be expected, but this first activity you encounter has a suggested light level of 610 which in itself is a bit misleading.  Basically they have thrown us at something that we really can’t successfully pug on day one.  Sure there are folks who are forging their weapons but I would hazzard a guess that it is a really small minority.  Squirrel who is among the most hardcore of my Destiny friends failed out just as surely as I did, in part because the minion class mobs are just bullet sponges and it takes two full reloads of shotgun blasts to take down one of the special glowing mobs that drop items needed for the event.  Essentially you have a minute to ignite the forge by killing glowing bastards that drop the ubiquitous orbs we are constantly transporting… and toss them at  the forge that is conveniently shaped like a four square goal.  Each time you dunk a donut you get back some time on the clock, and to progress to phase two you need to have collected twenty of these mcguffins.

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Unfortunately this is where the bullshit starts a bit because while the suggested light of wave one is 610, it increases difficulty… and the final phase includes a boss that has a suggested light level of 630.  So essentially read this event as something that we are not supposed to be caring about until 630 unless you are willing to bleed copious amounts of blood on this cutting edge content.  The problem is… this is our expansion content…  a few quick quests and then an activity that we are not supposed to be doing until we have pushed our light up significantly already.  It feels like if Warmind had ONLY included Escalation Protocol and nothing else…  because that is sorta what happened here.  We got another world event that this time has a match making system, but nothing much else to show for it.  Maybe in their heads they were counting all of the stuff we got at the start of season 5 as being “part of the dlc” but it feels super hollow when we already got to unwrap that gift, and now all we have left under the tree is a squishy package of socks.  Notice how EVERYTHING is disabled on ADA-1 until I complete this first step of igniting the forge.

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After completing a handful of Powerful rewards bounties/challenges and getting a few Prime Engrams I have managed to push my light level up to 604 in the first night.  That is still woefully short of being within striking range of making a real attempt at this event.  Conversely I remember rolling up in the Archon’s Forge event and succeeding for a few rounds on the first day it opened.  Right now Black Armory feels horrible and if this was how they were going to supposedly fix the Engagement and Monetization issues that Activision talked about in their conference call…  then I think they are mental.  If this is what a DLC is from this point out…  then the Annual Pass is not worth it in the least.  Sure this will be a lot of fun at some point, but when you add tasty pie into the game you expect to be able to at least have a single slice by the end of the night.  The pie unfortunately is mincemeat, and tastes like sadness and soggy raisins.

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So instead of doing the thing that just went into the game… I instead did the thing that I had been neglecting terribly.  I had to do some Vanguard strikes for the poweful reward anyway, so I opted to take along my Ikelos weapon and knock the “do five strikes” step out while  I was chaining them.  From there I went through the process of unlocking 15 memory fragments…  which weirdly enough I happened to have just enough Resonate Stems from grinding random stuff on Mars to be able to craft all 15 keys.  Essentially once you have those it just becomes a scavenger hunt which took a little over an hour to get to all 15 locations.  From there I ran the special quest…  and Xol becomes trivial with the Thunderlord and I finished my night with a shiny new Sleeper Simulant that I immediately infused a 610 rocket launcher into to make it viable for shenanigans.  All in all I still had a good night, but I am sorely disappointing in The Black Armory… and concerned for the state of the game if this is what a DLC means from this point out.  Prior to last night I said that Destiny was in the best place it had been since initial release…  now it feels like this one action took us a massive step or two back.

Haphazard Huntering

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A blank screen is probably the hardest thing to confront when you are not exactly feeling up to doing a proper blog.  I am feeling a bit better than I was yesterday but still not really amazing.  In fact my fingers don’t seem to be in unison this morning and I keep having to backspace to fix issues where I hit the wrong letter in the wrong order.  As such be warned there are probably going to be a bunch of spelling errors.  For much of my day off I was dealing with email that never seems to stop even when I am out of the office, and for whatever reason yesterdays volume seemed to be more extreme than normal.  However in between the email arrival sounds I sat on the sofa playing Destiny 2 and watching a marathon of American Pickers on History Channel.  I grew up as an only child and my default mechanism for not feeling alone is to turn on the television and largely use it as background noise.  Given that for the most part I had whittled down all of the engram options for the Titan I spent my time on the Hunter working on pushing its level up enough to someday be relevant.

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By the time the PC version of Destiny 2 released… I had already ground up three characters to the then level cap of 305 light and struggled to do the same on another platform.  As such my Hunter and Warlock have long been neglected with both having completely the Red War campaign but nothing past that point.  As such I worked my way through the Curse of Osiris content and a few missions into Warmind yesterday when I finally decided to start pushing the story instead of doing nothing but public events on Titan.  I still stand by that as an amazing way to level, because I have a stack of token to turn in on that destination if I ever get this character up high enough to make use of them.  There is something relaxing about playing Destiny as a whole and I can happily run loops around a planet because the moment to moment game play feels like an extension of my mind with little to know translation involved.  I can just perform the actions that I want to without thinking about doing it… the only challenge is getting used to the three vastly different jump patterns.  I still am of the firm belief that the Titan jump is the best, but pretty much every other class devotee would fight me on that.

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Past that I spent a bit more time running around in Final Fantasy XIV and doing some more Palace of the Dead.  It is like I suddenly forgot that no one runs anything higher than 51-60…  because I kept trying to figure out why my 91-100 queue was so damned long.  Once I switched up my tactics and started pushing the 51 bracket over and over the progress sped up significantly.  The only negative is that I had a bunch of runs where we encountered no hidden treasures along the way.  One of my favorite things about Palace of the Dead was how often I wound up with interesting transmog bits as a result.  I am looking forward to pushing the Dark Knight high enough to be able to get into Heaven on High to see if there are also interesting transmog bits there as well.  I figure I will grind up through the brackets at least once to be able to unlock everything along the way.  I remember in Palace you needed to have beaten 100 to turn in any of the weapons, and I figure Heaven does the same shtick.

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Lastly I didn’t share this in yesterdays post because I am not entirely sure what I am doing with it.  However I figure since it is a slow morning I will talk a bit about it here.  I had this weird revelation when someone jokingly referred to me as “Old Man Bel” that all three words had three characters and could be stacked in a pleasing pattern.  So while I was fiddling with making all of the sidebar images this weekend I also knocked this out.  I am not entirely sure what I am going to do with it, but I made it so I thought I would share it.  The illustration behind the lettering is of course by the amazing AmmosArt, and I talked a bit about her ESO Bel commission from awhile back.  I have more commissions that I want to get made, especially a Monster Hunter Belghast but I have to sort out exactly what weapon I want to be using and which of my armor sets to have equipped…  the truth is probably my favorite look is a weird mix of the Dober set and the original Samurai layered armor.  Like I said I have no clue what will happen with this branding, especially since I don’t actually stream on a regular basis.  That is still something I hope to do more of, but I find myself completely out of spoons most nights by the time I get home… so much so that for the better part of this year I have completely avoided voice chat in any form.  It doesn’t help that the majority of my crew are time shifted by 2 hours… and are getting online as I am going to bed.  Regardless I did a thing and I am sharing a thing.

Capped for A Day

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Morning folks… I am struggling today.  Both in the waking up department because there is simply not enough coffee in the world… and in the illness department because I seem to be coming down with whatever the hell is going around the office.  I’ve yet to decide if I can make it to work today, so we will see what happens between now and finishing this post but I am taking a breathing treatment as I type.  As far as the weekend I did a bunch of assorted gaming because that seems to be how I roll right now.  Instead of focusing hard on one thing I seem to be splitting my time between a bunch of things, and as a result I spent a good deal of time making tiny images and updated my “Recently Playing” sidebar.  It mostly follows the post I made last week with the major exception of me apparently forgetting to include Elder Scrolls Online which I still dip my toes into occasionally.

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In the Destiny 2 front I spent a good deal of the weekend knocking out anything that could get me a Powerful/Prime Engram and wouldn’t you know it… I reached 600 light the current cap.  This is a cap that I will enjoy for another whole day…. because when the black armor DLC releases on December 4th the cap is going up to 650.  The truth is I am fine with this.. because the last cap was quite the stretch to get to from the levels I was sitting at when Curse of Osiris released, which is unfortunately the last time I really seriously played the game.  Sure I got in and did the Warmind story content and a little bit of planetary stuff but I really was not pushing myself to cap out at that point.  Additionally Forsaken made it way easier for someone to play casually and reach the cap, so I am looking forward to Black Armory and some of the new open world “Forge” content as I have always dug things like the Blind Well or Archon’s Forge and Court of Oryx from Destiny 1.  I need to get serious about trying to wrangle folks for the purpose of having a raid night… Squirrel keeps volunteering himself but at my count that still leaves us down four people.  So if you are interested in that sort of nonsense on the PC platform drop me a line.

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Since this is the first post of December I thought I would talk a bit about InPiPoMo which just finished.  For years I had not joined in because I largely considered my blog cheating given the nonsense number of screenshots that I post.  I apparently have a problem because the goal was to hit 50 “pictures” during the month of November to parallel NaNoWriMo and its 50,000 word count goal…  since a “Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”.  During the month without really attempting to do so I posted 93 screenshots if my quick count was correct, so yeah…  that is a thing I do.  Like this morning I had a screenshot of Diablo 3 on the Switch that I wanted to post but nowhere really to post it so I sort of shimmed it into this paragraph.  Huge thanks to Chestnut for keeping this going this year and you should totally check out her blog Gamer Girl Confessions.

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Over in Monster Hunter World the Winter Star festival is going on and with it a set of gear that you can farm.  For both PC and Console players this also means that almost every event that has ever been active is active once again allowing you to farm anything you might have missed.  That list is considerably smaller for PC players unfortunately, but it does let you get things like the Wyvern Ignition Great Sword and cosmetic nonsense like the Wiggler head.  From what I can tell the only event that is not active is the Code Red event tied to the Devil May Cry cross over potentially because it just ended right before this event.  You can however farm Kulve Taroth again until your heart is content.  There is a set of lackluster armor that you can craft, or you can do what I did and cash in your tickets towards the layered armor set so you can make ANY gear look like Santa Claus.  I plan on farming up enough tickets to also be able to purchase the super adorable Snowman Palico outfit… or Snow Woman in the case of Kenzie who regardless of the game is canonically female.

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I’ve talked about how awesome the screenshots are at the end of fights, because they always capture you doing something interesting.  In this case it is me dodge rolling out of the way of a line of lightning while everyone else is apparently downhill engaged with the monster.  When you hit Hunter Rank 49, in order to make forward momentum you have to face this monster in particular…  Tempered Kirin.  It took me forever to manage to get this on the console and in truth it was probably only because I was getting carried super hard by Shiana that Ashgar and I wound up getting it at the same time.  On the PC I’ve been dipping my toes into these waters for awhile now, and I have reached the point where it is not me that is fainting and causing us to fail…  but regardless still end up failing out most of the time.  Monster Hunter does this thing where the screen freezes and it can mean either you beat the encounter or someone other than you got carted and caused the whole group to fail.  When the screen froze at this point… I just assumed we failed it… but in truth it turns out with one life left to go we managed to take down Tempered Kirin.  I will probably NEVER fight this again…  that is unless someone who has recently started the PC winds up needing help to get through it.  Super happy to be moving again on the other side… which caused me to instantly shoot up to 58.

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I also spent a good chunk of the weekend fiddling around in Final Fantasy XIV… which frustratingly has started doing this thing where it does not exit cleanly and strands a black fullscreen window that seemingly has the power to block task manager.  This is really only a problem for me personally… since I have been streaming every bit of gaming recently from gaming desktop upstairs to my laptop downstairs.  When this happens I have to go upstairs and fiddling with it in order to restore functionality, which can be a bit maddening considering how regularly I am hopping games in a given evening.  Regardless I have reached my first wall gear wise in the Main Story Quest and it requires me to get to 335 I believe which means I either need to buy my way out of that hole or start doing enough content to farm up some gear.  I am probably going with the later given that I never was rich in Final Fantasy XIV terms.  In the meantime however I have decided to revisit my old friend the Palace of the Dead to push my Dark Knight up high enough to be able to do the Heaven on High content the rest of the way to 70.  Probably a significant amount of my time will be spent catching up classes so that they are ready when Shadowbringer releases tentatively next summer.

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All Things  Geekery is a great podcast by my friends Detached and Victus that among other topics tends to be a great source of Destiny 2 related conversations.  They have been doing this thing recently where they highlight a member of the community at the beginning of their show, which I thought was a really great idea when they started this concept with the very amazing Chestnut.  However I am now starting to question their mental state because apparently they saw fit to include me in this construct as well.  This week I apparently am leading off the show, but really you should probably just fast forward past that and listen to their interesting discussion of Red Dead Redemption 2… a game I am super interested in but waiting to see if it releases on the PC given that is my platform of choice and I have a bad habit of rebuying games for it.  You can find the podcast at…

Finally there is of course the podcast we recorded this weekend where we talk about Final Fantasy XIV, Monster Hunter World Winter Star event, what happens when MMORPGs close down, Tetris in Virtual Reality and a few other topics shimmed in between.  I tend to be really bad about promoting the thing that I actually do, so I should get in the habit of talking about it more on this blog so there is some cross pollination.  I am still shocked anyone reads this thing… let alone listens to me ramble on the other thing.  At this point I have decided to stay home and crash this morning because I had very few things on my calendar for today.  If I had a packed day of meetings I might have struggled through it and probably infected the rest of the office.  Now I am going to get in some fuzzy pants and forget the world exists.

 

 

Bright Engrams Revisited

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Over the last few nights I have been super engaged with the start of the new Destiny 2 season.  One of the things I dig so much about it is how I can focus in on a different activity each night and vary up what I am doing…  but still enjoy whatever it is that I am doing.  I am not so much into the Crucible so I have not touched that this week yet, but one night I focused on the Planetary Flashpoint, another I really focused on Gambit, and last night for example I mostly focused on completing stuff in the Dreaming City including a bunch of Blind Well.  At some point I am sure I will at least do 3 strikes and 3 heroic story missions to get the powerful engrams included.  The only complaint I have to be honest is the fact that I keep getting Helmets instead of pieces of 600 gear that I actually still need for a given slot.

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One of the things that came up in my little social community was some comments about loot boxes and how a friend of mine did not like the Destiny 2 implementation.  On one level yeah… it is less than optimal, but after living with it for awhile and having them tweak the formula… I no longer feel it is anywhere near as heinous as some of the loot box schemes I have seen.  What changed is there are a bunch of tweaks that were made, not the least of which is the fact that once you have earned an item you can always go into your collections tab.  This is any weapons that are static rolls, so basically anything pre-forsaken…  any ghosts, sparrows, ships, shaders, etc so essentially anything has less need for permanence which is making me way more liberal at scrapping things.  As a result I almost always have a decent balance of Dust… which you can see in the above picture is like 6044.  This morning I opened one of the Bright Engrams and got a skin for one of the Titan exotics, 3 shaders, and a bounty note.  The skin could be scrapped but I have not collected it yet so that was not going to happen, the shaders scrap at around 10 dust per… and the bounty note is turned in for Tess Everis specific bounties that reward glimmer and dust.

Essentially I feel like the game is giving us a bunch of options to get cash shop goods without spending any real world money.  There is always the problem that everything coming from a Bright Engram is super random…  but that is mitigated by the fact that each week during a given season Tess is offering a bunch of items for direct purchase.  Last week they had a ton of the exotic items but this week it looks like they are mostly selling legendary stuff…  2 emotes, 2 sparrows, 2 ships, 1 ghost shell, one armor piece and a couple of the exotic weapon skins.  Basically this helps to mitigate the randomness of the engrams and allows you to just straight out buy the item you were wanting.  Unfortunately this also means you need to be logging in each week to check out and see if Tess is selling that one thing you really wanted.

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In a night of casual play I tend to get one or two engrams as the bar feels like it fills way faster than it used to.  You can see in the above shot that I am pretty damned close to getting one, and that happened to be the one I opened this morning and screenshot its contents.  One night this week I got 3, and last weekend there was a really heavy play day that I got four of them in a single day.  Essentially I am saying that they are way more generous with said loot baubles, at least compared to how it felt when the game initially launched.  This isn’t a “Belghast Luck” thing because experience game is experience gain for everyone, and sure maybe the fact that the first engram I opened this season gave me the sweet ghost rider sparrow…  is luck.  Anyways I just wanted to take a moment to talk about the cash shop in Destiny 2 and how it has gone from really horrible… to completely manageable.  Having a cash shop in a game is always going to incur some problems, but the tweaks they have made since launch have turned this one into a completely manageable situation.  The biggest change for me personally was when I realized I could re-buy shaders… which has made me way more cool with scrapping them knowing that if I really want a specific color I can buy it again.

Season of the Forge

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For the last few days I have been on the cusp of coming down with something I think, but the problem is my schedule does not really allow me to take a day off right now to recuperate.  If I were to take off right now, deadlines would suffer… so as a result I have been taking some over the counter stuff to try and limp along until I can collapse.  Last night however I probably should not have taken that NyQuil, because this morning…  I am groggy as hell.  Last night however was the beginning of the 5th season of Destiny 2 and it seems like they are mixing things up a bit.  For the last few seasons in Diablo 3 there has been an overarching theme to a new season… and it seems like maybe Bungie is borrowing this concept.  The latest “This Week At Bungie” blog post goes into more detail about this, but there is a fairly packed roadmap content wise that we can look forward to.

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As far as last night…  I focused on starting the Pinnacle Weapon quests that I actually feel like I have a shot at getting before the end of the season.

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Pinnacle Weapons are more or less a unique weapon that you can grind for during the season.  There is one tied to Vanguard Strikes, another tied to the Gambit event, and another tied to how far progressed you make it rank wise in the Crucible.  Given that I love Autorifles because I am a noob…  I decided to spend a good deal of last night working on trying to get the Gambit based weapon called Breakneck.  I think in part I just like the old world feel of the weapons that The Drifter offers.  As you can see you need to play a minimum of 40 matches of Gambit, and also do a bunch of other things in the process.  Now my hope is that by the time I have played my 40… I will have long since completed the other objectives.  My goal is to play a handful of rounds of Gambit and run a few Strikes every night to begin whittling away at this objective over time.  The truth is that will probably hold for a bit and then I will spend a weekend grinding nothing but that activity so I can get the weapon.

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With a new season, comes a new set of cash shop engrams… and throughout the night last night I unlocked four of these…  one of which happening to give me this sweet Ghostrider themed sparrow.  I also pulled an exotic ship that is themed after Warmind/SIVA but it isn’t anywhere near as cool looking.  This however immediately became my new main sparrow as I ride around on flaming nonsense.  All it is missing is a bunch of skulls.  I really like the Scorn as a faction, and I love how all of their tech seems even more improvised than even that of the Fallen.  All in all it was a good night and a largely quiet one as I slowly whittled away at collecting powerful and prime engrams.  I have finally reached the point where I am pretty regularly getting 600 light items…  so my hope is in the next few days to be able to hit that item cap before Black Armory bumps it up by 50 again.  It really is a great time to be playing Destiny 2.

If you prefer to consume this information from a Bungie Vidoc… they also have you taken care of as a nice one released yesterday attempting to differentiate between the content players will be getting for free and the content locked behind the Annual Pass.

Powerleveling Gun

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Last night I did not join in FFXIV Eureka shenanigans, largely because I was not feeling terribly sociable.  This is was and will probably continue to be a trying week, as is often the case when we come back from a significant break.  In my case I was out five days, and while I spent a good chunk of the first day at the hospital…  it was still enough time to get thoroughly out of the habit of going to work on a regular basis.  Instead I spent my night roaming around in Destiny 2 and doing puttering sort of activities, in part because I had knocked down the vast majority of the major stuff over the weekend.  The thing I did not realize however is that yesterday was also the final day of the season, and I am a little bummed out that this was apparently the first season that Greysky Armada will not have maxed out guild rank… and will not be earning the banner pole.  I myself have done next to nothing to contribute to this, so in the grand scheme of things I am okay with this… just a little sad.

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Instead of doing things on my Titan main, I opted to instead piddle around on my Hunter who has not really been dusted off since the launch of Curse of Osiris.  It is really weird to have the start of three different content blocks…  Curse of Osiris, Warmind, and Forsaken all on the director map.  I play this game incorrectly… and what I mean by that is my preference is to level to the new numerical cap before starting any of the story driven content.  My thought process is something like this…  if I grind the levels on something like strikes or heroic public events… I can use the story as a light leveling experience, meaning anything I happen to get along the way is actually useful gear instead of something that I immediately relegate to the shard bin.  This may or may not be worthwhile but it is the pattern that I find myself falling into over and over again.

Traditionally I have focused on doing nothing but Titan public events, since by the time you down one of them there is often times another one just about to spawn on the other half of that relatively small map.  With the advent of planetary bounties, I have started focusing on those instead and knocking out a full round of the planets that I have access to.  Each time you turn in one of the bounties it appears to be a significant jump in experience and as a result I am sitting at level 37 out of 50…  and wondering if the Black Armory is going to bump up both Light Level cap and Level Cap.  Grinding in Destiny is my jam, and I find it extremely peaceful to roam around and knock out patrols and public events.

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This process has been bolstered by the fact that apparently the gun I ground for during the Halloween event, may not have a minimum level cap to equip or at least it is equipable at my lowest level which is 30.  I was swapping gear around through DIM…  and if you don’t know about Destiny Item Manager you should totally stop what you are doing and check it out.  Without really realizing what I was doing I swapped my 600 item level Horror Story over to my Hunter…  and it equipped without issue.  This means that immediately I started getting gear that is way higher than I probably should at the equivalent level.  Sure some of it isn’t necessarily usable due to level restrictions… but some of it is and as such this weapon that is an arguably worse version of the Origin Story…  serves as a light level booster.  Similarly I tried it out on my 289 Light Level Warlock… and once again I could equip it just fine.

With the opening of a brand new season….  I will likely be putting the Huntress to bed once again, however the sheer fact that I am interested in playing my alts tells you a lot about the improvement to the current state of Destiny 2.  When the PS4 version released I ground up all three of my classes to 305 light, and used them as a sort of spring board each week to help me level up my weapons…  which in turn then drug up the level of my armor.  With the PC release… I only had the oomph to get the three characters leveled… but never spent time gearing them other than the Titan.  I lost steam… and Curse of Osiris did not really help that, and at which point I seemingly became a player that only really played my main.  Now I am back in the mood to fiddle with the other classes and see what sorts of trouble I can get up to with them as well.  Essentially the desire to play is greater once more than the total package of content available to me on any one character…  which is saying an awful lot given that there are so many opportunities for Powerful/Prime engrams.

Like I have said before…  Destiny 2 is in its best state ever, and one that I feel probably rivals the state of Destiny 1 during Year 3 (and honestly the current state since it has largely been frozen in time).  If you have access to the game I highly suggest checking it out again.  If you have any questions or need help, feel free to holler at me through one of the many channels folks have to holler at me through.

 

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.