Schmoradric Cube



This mornings post flavored non-post is brought to you by my favorite item in Destiny 2…  the Schmoradric Cube.  This is one of the items that you get in place of actual loot occasionally in one of Cayde-6’s treasure map chests.  These appear to be more interesting than they were…  but I am still not entirely certain if they are worth the price tag.  Last night I looted the majority of them in a single sitting without doing my previously back to orbit thing to make sure I didn’t hit the empty chest bug.  Each one rewarded three to four EDZ tokens and a couple of blues and at least one of the “fake” cash items that you can take back to Cayde and sell.  One of the chests rewarded me with a legendary engram and another with an emblem that I did not have.  This is nothing like that one week when I got four legendary engrams, an exotic and a faction exclusive weapon…  but it does feel like you are at least getting something rather than the big fat nothing I occasionally got before.  So if you were one of those folks that decided they simply were no longer worth your time…  they at least feel interesting now.  The real highlight of the night though was getting back the Wolf emblem above, which was a favorite of mine from Destiny 1.


The other positive from last night is that for the most part I am certain that the power mode setting is what was causing my insane freezing.  I talked a bit about this yesterday but for whatever reason during the Fall Creators update to Windows 10, it reset my power settings to power saving mode.  The behavior I kept seeing is that every 10 to 15 minutes Destiny 2 would lock along with anything else going on on my system while the audio continued to play.  After scouring the forums I finally found a post on Tom’s Hardware when I started looking for issues related to the Fall Creators update but not necessarily Destiny 2.  Throughout the night I played some crucible and a lot of planetary stuff and never once encountered a lockout except for occasionally some respawn lag which was something that occasionally happened even during the best of times.  So in theory I cam considering this “fixed” as I was  able to watch videos on YouTube (or in truth listen to them) while grinding out the Crucible Call to Arms last night.  Past that though…  I had one of those nights where nothing went right and it was not until 9 pm that I finally got settled into a computer and playing something.  Tonight is more or less also going to be a non-gaming night because I am going with some friends to go see the Disaster Artist…  the same crew that I watched the RiffTrax version of The Room with.  It should be amazing, but it also means I won’t get home until significantly later than normal.


Xur Week Twelve: 12/1/17


Destiny 2


This is potentially the last of these Xur reviews that I will be doing on this blog.  It is not out of a lack of interest, but more than next week with the Curse of Osiris the reset time is changing and with it when Xur arrives.  Right now Xur shows up in the middle of the night and as a result by the time I shower, get ready and sit down to blog is available for me to talk some shit about what he just brought.  Starting next Tuesday however that reset time will shift from 5 am my time to 11 am …  long after I have already been at work for a significant amount of time.  This is a boon for the career YouTube types so they don’t have to wake up quite so early, but not really for me so alas this is probably the end of my recent Friday feature.  The flash point zone this week is the EDZ which means Xur is hanging out near the Winding Cove drop zone.  There is technically a cave that allows you access to the ledge he is on… but I never can remember where the entrance is and just end up jumping up the rocks to the right of where he is at.


Sweet Business is a really cool sounding weapon that winds up being a horrible idea.  Maybe I am being a bit unfair but in truth I have never been able to get much out of this gun.  Firstly it requires some wind up time while firing before it arrives at its final rate of fire and as such true damage potential.  The perk payday in theory helps with the wind up because you can fire it from the hip relatively well and as such start firing ahead of when you are actually needing to deal damage to a target especially in the crucible.  The magazine size of 99 seems really awesome…  but given how fast this fires you will be empty and suffering the pretty horrible reload speed before long.  Where the gun really lacks however is in the total ammunition you can carry.  Payload might help your magazine but it doesn’t actually seem to help your pool of ammo and when I attempt to run something using this weapon I find myself always starved for kinetic ammo.  Definitely pick it up if you do not already have the weapon, but I am not a huge fan of it.


Do you want to punch things?  Do you want to punch all the things?  Then these might be the gauntlets for you.  In the grand scheme of things they probably are not that good, but are pretty fun to at least play with while running around doing planetary content.  The biotic enhancements per does two things really, firstly it greatly increases the range of your punch allowing you to hit targets at roughly the distance warlocks can.  On top of that it gives you a version of surrounded where the damage your punches deal increases based on the number of targets around you.  This is insanely fun against boss type encounters with a lot of minions and would potentially pair nicely with either the Sentinel or Striker trees that allow you to gain health regen on kills.  Definitely a pick up if you do not already have it… and in truth I am even going to log into the PS4 and buy this since it is the only Titan exotic I am lacking there.


Arc Bolt is one of those grenades that only seems to work in really ideal conditions.  This chest is all about making that grenade be able to chain a little further, giving you some wiggle room on what those ideal conditions actually are.  The problem is… there are WAY better hunter exotics than this one and in truth until Arc Bolt gets some sort of a rework it isn’t exactly worth building an item loadout around.  The positive however is this version does come pre-slotted with an arc grenade recharge mod so at least they realized the only edge case anyone would ever want to use this item.  It’s worth picking up for unlocking but not really much more than that.


Do you like Nova Bombs?  Do you want to always be Nova Bombing?  Me too…  sadly this helmet won’t actually let you do that thing.  The perk Actual Grandeur in theory grants you super energy on Nova Bomb kills.  The rate that I have seen is that if you are able to Nova Bomb and kill five targets, it will take your super bar roughly to the halfway point.  So sure this does a decent job of regeneration but it also falls drastically short of the dream of being some sort of Evil Ryu throwing void fireballs.  In my experience if you are dedicated to Voidwalker you are far better off with Nezerac’s Sin or even the Eye of Another World.  Once again, pick it up for the unlock because Bungie occasionally balances exotics to make them better and you might as well have it in your collection.

Destiny 1


This week Xur is hanging out at the Reef and offering a few items, including a Helm I never managed to get on my Titan.  This week he is offering.

  • Legacy Primary Engram – 31 Strange Coins
  • Eternal Warrior – Titan Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • Young Ahamkara’s Spine – Hunter Arms – 13 Strange Coins
  • The Stag – Warlock Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • Monte Carlo – Primary Auto Rifle – 23 Strange Coins
  • Monte Carlo with Royal Flush Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust
  • Trespasser with Crucible Assassin Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust

Bungie Mostly Gets It



Yesterday I made a post talking about some of my frustrations and some of the frustrations of the community at large.  In lieu of giving the final Bungie Curse of Osiris reveal live stream, they opted to instead give us an extremely dense blog post paired with a podcast episode expanding on the theme.  As a programmer by trade I am generally slow to assign malice to the actions of game developers, especially when said problems get patched out of the game.  There have been so many times in my own life that I have thought something was going to be a really good idea, and in the end it only served to hurt my user base.  As a result I haven’t really talked about the whole XP gain issue because it didn’t really directly effect me.  I essentially told myself there were three reasonable bright engrams that I could get per character and past that I didn’t attempt to go out into the wilds and grind for more.  I didn’t even really have time to participate in the Clarion Call event that was happening over the Thanksgiving weekend because family and reasons.  Also as a programmer I read yesterdays post as a game company attempting to peel back the curtain and show the players the mess that is hidden behind it.  I more or less accept their explanations and I figured this was something I should state up front before I dig too far into the specific issues.  I highly suggest you read both the blog and listen to the podcast because hearing the voices of Luke Smith, Mark Noseworthy and Eric Osbourne explain why things are the way they are…  really drills home the point that they did mean the best.  None of them are really polished orators and there is emotion in those voices that helps to add accent marks to the commentary.


One of the biggest announcements is that there is a brand new tier of weapons coming.  Yesterday I talked about the whole static roll thing and mostly how I was bracing for the return of randomized stats.  In truth I was preparing for the worst because I actually like static rolls on gear because it lets me know directly what I am shooting for, and not always wondering if there is a better roll around the corner.  I feel like they sort of shot down the middle and landed in a happy place that I can accept as reasonable.  Masterworks will be legendary weapons that roll with an extra mode that provides some amount of randomized stats.  The above image is lifted from the Bungie blog post and shows a Uriel’s Gift with a bonus 10 to reload speed and also shows that they are starting to track how many kills you have made with a specific masterwork weapon.  They announced a couple of things about this that make them more reasonable…  firstly you can re-roll the stat node until you get the one you actually wanted.  Secondly you can break down masterwork weapons that you do not want to get upgrade materials to turn your normal legendary weapons into masterworks themselves.  Functionally this gives players what they said they wanted… in the ability to get different versions of weapons but also makes it sane and rational for those of us who actually liked fixed rolls in being able to upgrade our existing stash to the new version.  Also it allows us to slowly work our way to perfecting the roll with whatever combo we were wanting on it by re-rolling that node.


Another big announcement is that they are adding duplicate protection for exotics, so that the game will by nature favor giving you exotics that you do not already have over exotics that you have seen over and over again.  This has been a major point of frustration for a lot of players, myself included…  in that we keep getting the same exotic items over and over when there are still a bunch on the list that we have never seen.  I hit a streak of six prospectors in a row awhile back, and anything to blunt that would be much appreciated.  They also announced the return of Three of Coins in a modified form of just providing a 4 hour buff that gives you an increased chance at exotic drop rates.  I had a love/hate relationship with Three of Coins, and to some extent I like Xur serving more of a purpose each week than just presenting you with exotics you have already seen him sell numerous times.  Lastly while on the Xur front they announced that he would begin selling an additional item called a Fated Engram which decodes into an exotic item that you have not already unlocked on that character.  The above image shows that this costs 97 shards… which is a hefty price but by the time you need this you are probably going to be swimming in them.


Another thing that I was extremely excited to see is that Banshee-44 will start just straight up selling a limited number of mods each week for a combination of Mod Components and Legendary Shards.  Now at first this doesn’t seem a amazing because it is not like we are swimming in Mod Components, however they are attempting to create a bridge for that too.  The biggest problem I have with the mod system is that in theory I need to hold onto every single blue mod in the hope that I get three of them to turn in for the purple variant.  As a result I regularly have no room left for mods because the 50 slot inventory is just inadequate.  Now they are going to make it so with blue mods you can break them down for gunsmith materials but they will also have a chance of dropping a mod component at the same time.  While saving them up for a guaranteed mod is nice… I will absolutely start breaking down every blue i get because I just don’t have the room.  They did state that eventually he will sell Kinetic Damage mods which in truth are the only ones we really have a hard time chasing.  Side notes… apparently Master Rahool will start straight up selling Legendary Engrams to help those chasing Masterwork weapons, and Benedict will redeem raid tokens before you get your first clear.  Additionally faction merchants will only now beckon you…  if you have enough tokens to turn in for a faction package.  So no more every icon in the tower blinking at once.

Functionally everything I have talked about is coming in either the December 5th update or December 12th.  I am going to attempt to list out the various things appearing in each, but I am certain to miss stuff so again I highly suggest you read the blog post and listen to the podcast for yourself.

December 5th

  • Armor Ornaments
  • Gunsmith Selling Mods
  • Blue Mods Occasionally Dropping Mod Components
  • Master Rahool sells Legendary Engrams
  • Benedict allows immediate raid token turn-in
  • Reputation Token Economy changes – way more tokens per activity but slightly higher turn in amounts
  • Cayde’s Treasure Map Minimum Payout
  • … and of course the Curse of Osiris storyline and related stuff

December 12th

  • Masterwork Weapons
  • Selection of Faction Armor/Weapons Purchasable for Legendary Shards
  • Xur Changes – Fated Engram + Three of Coins
  • Zavala/Shaxx sell Gift consumables that give interesting bonuses
  • No More Empty World Chests
  • Vendors leave you alone until ready to turn a package in


All of this sounds great to be honest.  The problem is we rarely get one of these posts like this.  All the player base really wants is to know what is coming down the pipe and roughly when they can expect it.  This is true for Bungie and Destiny but also equally true for World of Warcraft or any persistent game that receives a constant slow trickle of content.  Sure dates may not be final and they can shift and slip… but it is still nice to know what exactly we are waiting on.  I can only hope that this is the beginning of them giving us more information in greater detail… but in truth I feel like this is triage to stave off the angry pitchfork mob.  As players we get deeply invested in these games, and to hear them talk about it as a Hobby is a step in the right direction.  I would love to see one of these posts each time there is a content drop brewing just to let us know what folks are thinking and how they plan on addressing the concerns of the community.  Deej and Cosmo both do excellent jobs of giving us information…  when they are allowed to.  Most of the frustrations with online games in general come from a feeling of not knowing what is going on in this thing that we are spending so much of our time doing.  If we got a monthly post that outlined the timeline of what they were thinking about doing during that month…  I feel like we would be in a much better state and more willing to give the benefit of the doubt.  However this is a double edged sword and they talk about it a bit in the podcast.  They have been so gun shy to say anything because they don’t want an idea they had to turn into a promise when they maybe don’t even know if it is possible yet.  In the end…  its a tricky situation but I think the combination blog post and podcast were the right decision to make at this time.  I’m pretty excited about a bunch of the quality of life changes, and ready to tear into the new content next Tuesday.  My sodium levels have lowered greatly.




Destiny 2 Sodium



To say the Destiny community is a little salty right now is a bit of an understatement, so as a result I am using a screenshot of the emote for today’s post.  We are in this weird situation where anyone claiming to enjoy themselves right now is being angrily labelled a Bungie shill.  The truth is my play time has decreased greatly over the last few weeks but this isn’t necessarily because I am not enjoying myself still playing the game, but instead because I have reached a point where I feel comfortable not grinding all the time towards my goal.  I am a very loot centric player when it comes to MMOs or loot driven games, and now that I have reached the top of the hill…  a lot of my drive to keep grinding disappears.  Sure there are things out there that I want to do and want to obtain…  but I have been grinding Destiny 2 since September 6th when it launched on the PS4.  I leveled a set of characters on console and then hit the PC launch with the same gusto with it happened on October 24th grinding up a brand new set of characters there.  Next Tuesday the latest batch of content will release and I am preparing myself to start the grind all over again as I attempt to top the hill and get to the next loot and level cap.  In truth I am likely just backing off a bit to give myself some breathing room right before the next rush starts.

That said there are a lot of players who have eased up on the play time and this taken with the wave of frustration circulating add up to a fairly disgruntled player base that Bungie is going to have to appease.  The core issue for me at least is that Destiny 2 has seemed to be a sequel to Destiny 1 at launch…  not Destiny 1 in the state at which it arrived during year three after the significant improvements that came with Taken King and Rise of Iron.  My working theory has always been that they started work on Destiny 2 at some point during the release cycle of Destiny 1 and never really took into account everything that happened to massively shift the game during Year 2 and Year 3.  As a result when Destiny 2 launched it felt like it was feature limited and missing a lot of the quality of life improvements that we had come to expect.  Additionally some poor decisions like shaders being consumables kept piling the frustrations and we made our way through the content. So I am going to talk about a few points this morning that either bother me or bother a lot of players.

Forced Throttling

One of the biggest personal frustrations for me is the lack of ways that I can see improvement in my character.  Like I said above I am very loot centric and my core drive in this game as with most loot driven games… is to improve my gear score.  There has always been a final slog to the goal in Destiny but in this incarnation it came way the hell too soon.  Light gain felt really good up until about 265/270 and then the bottom completely dropped out leaving you with a handful of “Powerful Gear” milestones to do each week.  I am absolutely certain that this is a mechanic that they put in place to make it so casual players could hang with the players willing to grind endlessly for gear.  The problem is for those of us who would be playing the game nonstop… it gives us no real reason to keep doing so.  It takes me about an hour per character to grind out the three easy powerful gear milestones each week (crucible call to arms, planetary flashpoint, and clan xp).  So after those three hours of gameplay…  there is really nothing else left for me to do that is going to move the needle forward.  Even now sitting at 305 light…  I would still be grinding and spending my time catching up all of my favorite weapons to the level cap.  The problem is that everything drops 5 levels below your current light level, feeling like a slap in the face each time you see another useless bauble that will never be of use to help you climb the ladder.

Skill Based Match Making

This is a topic of great contention among the PVP haves and have nots.  In Destiny 1 there used to be an algorithm that attempted to match you up with players in your same skill range, and it favored this pairing over connection quality.  With Destiny 2 they reversed this decision and seem to be basing pairings entirely on connection quality and as a result I see a lot of people with Oklahoma and Texas themed names from my digital neighborhood…  but also wind up getting thrown into some pretty horrible match ups.  The number of times I have gotten thrown into a match with a full team of ringers that then proceeds to shred my team of randoms…  honestly represents the majority of my times playing crucible.  It feels horrible to keep being ground up and spit out by a bunch of folks that are queuing together.  While tweaking the calculations for team making they really need to favor throwing randoms with other randoms and teams with other teams, because the current state of the only thing mattering is your connection really sucks.  The only positive is that I have had to get better much faster by being thrown against a wall over and over.  I am still not what you would call good, but I am passable and can usually do my Call to Arms in 4 to 5 matches and that is really all that matters to me.

Static Rolls

In Destiny 1 weapons had a randomized set of stats and perks that could come from a list of possible perks on that weapon.  This lead to the process of grinding an activity on the hopes of getting a “god roll” weapon to drop, with whatever the community had deemed was the ideal set of stats for that weapon.  A prime example of this was my “God Roll” Haakon’s Hatchet from Year 2 Iron Banner that came with Perfect Balance, Counterbalance and Range Finder giving it an insane stability of 80 and an aim assist of 79 making it a laser beam that just melted opponents.  Similarly I had another one sitting in my vault that I never got around to dismantling that only had a stability of 58…  which makes the weapon perform drastically differently.  There are huge swaths of the Destiny community that are salty about the absence of random weapon rolls, and in truth this is one of the areas where I am extremely happy with Destiny 2.  I love knowing that when I finally get Jiangshi AR4 to drop from gunsmith… that it will be the best possible roll of that weapon without having to try for it multiple times.  I love knowing that if I suggest Better Devils to a friend, that I don’t have to specific that you need it with this perk or that perk or it is completely useless.  I have a vault full of sub par Imago Loop hand cannons in Destiny 1 because I never actually got the perfect roll, and the same goes for Eyasluna another weapon I chased hard to always came up empty.  I think primarily the salt is coming from the fact that static weapon rolls removes one more thing that people did in Destiny 1 and was not replaced with a similar grind to serve as a time sink.

Timed Nightfalls

While I have done them several times…  I just do not like the new Nightfall system with its weird timed mechanic.  The truth is there are a lot of people who just want back the way Nightfalls used to feel as being a harder version of the normal strike.  This is compounded by the fact that there are no heroic strikes to serve as a bit of a middle ground.  Personally I am just not a fan of anything on a timer because it stresses me the fuck out.  In elementary school I slipped two groups in mathematics thanks to these stupid quizzes called mad minutes… where you had to get a bunch of problems done in a minute.  I do not perform well when on a timer and as a result I either rushed through and made a lot of errors or had zero errors but took my time.  When you put me on a timer and I know I am on a timer… I am going to perform like shit.  This is in part why I rarely willfully did mythic+ dungeons in World of Warcraft because they stressed me out more than they were worth.  I will do a Nightfall, but they are mostly like swallowing a pill… and now that I have hit 305 light…  I have no real desire to keep doing them.

Strikes are Meaningless

In Destiny 1 I used to spend hours grinding the heroic strike playlist because it was a possible source of gear upgrades but also a way that I could get special unique strike specific drops.  Later on they put in the strike scoring system and it ramped the reasons to keep running the strikes as they were a great source of faction and also rewarded loot from completing the bounties.  The current state of Destiny strikes is that they are largely fun but also completely pointless after you get to 265 light.  There is nothing that you can get from them apart from Vanguard tokens that make them worth repeated running.  Similarly with Nightfall strikes, they are only worth doing once per week per character, and again this adds to the feeling that there is “nothing to do” that players are having.  Its not that there are not things to do…  its that there is a general sense of feeling like there is nothing “worth” doing.  I miss hoard chests at the end of strikes that had the possibility of dropping really interesting things.  There are still weapons in Destiny 1 that came from these chests that I never managed to get, and if I went back to the game it is the sort of thing I would work on trying for when nothing else was going on.  Basically the game as a whole feels like it is lacking stretch goals that players can accomplish reasonably while doing solo play.

Still a Great Game

As you might be able to tell from this post… I have my own issues with Destiny 2, but all of this said it is still a game that I enjoy each time I log into it.  I’ve been on a recent binge of leveling my Orc Warrior in World of Warcraft and very similarly that is a game that I have lots of problems with…  but still enjoy.  Mostly I think for me it is a sense of disappointment because after playing through Destiny 1 I have seen them do certain things better.  Similarly I know that Destiny 1 Year 1 was an awful place and to see where they went over the three years of that game, have taught me that they can in fact improve and pivot while the game is still running.  Today Bungie was supposed to do the final live stream reveal for the Curse of Osiris expansion, and they have cancelled it largely to go back to the drawing board a bit.  It seems like they are instead planning on giving us more information about the future of the game and some of the ways they plan on changing it.  My only fear is that they might over correct and do away with some of the things that I think are working well.  Static rolls are great as far as I am concerned, and I would hate to see them go.  The problem is which players should Bungie listen to and which ones should they not?  All I know is that I feel like I lack goals that are in the distance that I can keep shooting for that also support solo play time when I just can’t handle being around other players.  I’m curious to see where the game goes from here.

Xur Week Ten: 11/17/17


Destiny 2


This week we have a phenomenal week for Xur at least as far as I am concerned.  He brought a bundle full of goodies that I either had never gotten to drop or did not yet have on the PC.  As a result this week is an extremely expensive week for me personally.  As is always the case he can be located on the Flashpoint location and in this case that is Titan.  You can find him in the rig section in a building devoid of enemy spawns.  That said be careful because they will absolutely stand at the doorway and shoot you while you are hanging out and doing your business with your face tentacled friend.  You might need to do a little pre-clear before you duck inside.  Let’s get on with the goodness.


Hard Light as a gun has always been in the marginal category as far as usefulness goes.  It was never a bad weapon but it also never really stood out in the pack.  The year two Hard Light feels better across the board but still is far from the best Auto Rifle that you could be using in your energy slot.  That said the it is still a really interesting weapon because of its ability to shoot around corners and the fact that it lacks damage fall off.  That is however a deceptive thing to say given the way Hard Light works in that it fires a volley of projectiles that go bouncing around as they hit surfaces, meaning you can in theory “curve the bullet” and fire around corners.  While the gun doesn’t have damage fall off there is absolutely accuracy falloff the further from your target you get because you increase the likelihood that it will encounter something else and cause the trajectory of the original round to shift.  All of this is still in the fun and interesting but not amazing category until you bring into play another intrinsic ability of the weapon, and that is to shift the elemental damage type by swapping around your perks.  This isn’t near as handy as the playstation exclusive sniper rifle that has a keybind allowing you to do it on the fly… but it does serve as an excellent prism/match game weapon that can shift to whatever element you happen to be lacking.  If you do not already have this it is well worth the pick up and I know I personally am definitely going to be grabbing this for the PC since I’ve yet to get it to drop otherwise.


The Synthoceps are another fun and interesting item, but maybe not best in slot at anything.  If you are a Titan you probably like punching things…  and these gauntlets improve the way you punch things.  The exotic perk Biotic Enhancements increases your melee range and improves melee damage when surrounded.  That last bit can be a slight improvement if you only have a few targets around you to a massive improvement when you are fighting packs of things like thralls.  If you combine this with something like the striker melee build…  you can do a number of very interesting things and cause massive amounts of damage as a melee titan.  Similarly this would benefit the sentinel spec path that causes you to regain health on melee kill, but not nearly as much given that spec cannot really chain melee abilities in the same fashion as Striker.  This is an item that I had yet to get so I am definitely picking it up for the unlock, and more than likely going to try out a striker melee build around it.


Do you really still want to punch all the things even as a Warlock?  Karnstein Armlets are a set of exotic gloves that are effectively all about punching things as a warlock.  They have a built in version of the devour perk, though as I understand it significantly weaker that causes you to gain health recovery on melee attacks.  Note that it says attacks and not kills so in theory just punching things are going to help slowly regenerate your health.  While doing this punch happy life you are also slowly increasing the regeneration of your melee, grenade and class ability.  I am absolutely certain there is a build out there that could make the most of this… and I feel like double dipping with devour is maybe a great option.  Sometimes you look an an item and think to yourself…  I can build something around this and that is definitely the case with these gauntlets.  If nothing else I wanted to pick them up simply because I did not have the unlock in my collection.


The Lucky Raspberry is a returning item from Destiny 1 that more or less kept the same ability.  Probability Matrix the exotic perk causes your arc bolt grenades to chain significantly further than in their default state.  Additionally dealing damage with your arc grenade has a chance of recharging your grenade.  This means that if you drop your arc grenades in a large pack of mobs, it is extremely likely you are going to get a proc and return your full grenade charge.  This makes this item a beast for doing something like the Nightfall on the weeks where every kill counts towards gaining back time on the clock because you can wait until arc burn and become a mad bomber dropping grenades everywhere.  The rest of the time however you are probably not going to see enough mobs tightly clumped to really make this worth using.  Occasionally in the team shot environment of the crucible you can drop one and take out an entire team…  but that is going to be the exception rather than the rule.  Still a very interesting chest to pick up and at least add it to your collection.

Destiny 1


Xur had a similarly interesting day in Destiny 1 as he brought a couple of my favorite items.  Firstly the Armamentarium is the chest piece that I want back for my Titan more than anything because it simply gives you a second grenade charge.  Right now I am so enamored with striker titan largely because it is the only spec I can have this functionality back.  Similarly once I found the Bones of Eao I never looked back because it started enabling me to quad jump as a Hunter, a piece of utility that beat out every other possible exotic that I might want in that slot.  The Warlock helm is largely forgettable because it is their version of the Alpha Lupi chest that Hunters and Titans have…  but Xur did bring the Universal Remote which is the very odd primary slot shotgun.  Lots of stuff worth picking up if you don’t already have them… and I would say for Titan and Hunter these are absolute must haves.  Enough so that I am legitimately considering grinding out the strange coins so I have them on my Xbox One account.  Here is the full run down of what he is selling.

  • Legacy Chest Engram – 29 Strange Coins
  • The Armamentarium – Titan Chest – 13 Strange Coins
  • Bones of Eao – Hunter Boots – 13 Strange Coins
  • Light Beyond Nemesis – Warlock Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • Universal Remote – Primary Shotgun – 17 Strange Coins
  • Dragon’s Breath and Tigershark Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust
  • Nemesis Star and Meteorite Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust


Snipers and Hellboars



One of the core problems with Destiny 2 is that progression is all about luck.  What I mean by that is especially as you wind down towards the end of the power curve, everything lives or dies upon what you happen to pull from your powerful engrams each week.  Once upon a time SquirrelPope told me that he started getting random world 300 blues when he hit 299.5 on his base light level.  I’m at 299.8 at this point and have yet to see one and nor have I actually seen any of the supposed vendor engrams that go as high as 300.  At this point on my Titan I need a chest and a class item to hit 305, which admittedly is way sooner than it happened during the console release.  That said everything is luck of the draw for me and this week my luck was just about as bad as I could possibly get.  In total I got six sniper rifles among the nine powerful gear packages that I have opened on my characters.  Sniper rifle being the only weapon that I consider utterly useless because I have yet to find one that is even close to being worthy of that power slot.  Grenade Launcher is traditionally a stinker as far as slots go, but even there I have Berenger’s  Memory and Play of the Game that I like using.  If I absolutely had to use a sniper… so far the only one that seems even viable is Gentleman Vagabond from crucible packages but even then…  there are so many other good weapons that I could be using in that slot.

I tweeted this comment out last night and I thought I would post it on my blog as well this morning.  I promise I meant this to be helpful and not ragey, but it does frustrate me when I see players effectively wasting the scorch cannon rounds spamming the crap out of them.  I admit that I did not know this was even possible until I got to run the Wrath of the Machine raid in Destiny year three, so I went that long effectively using them wrong myself.  The scorch cannon at face value looks like a rocket launcher with a lot of ammo, but it is way more than that even though the bosses that use it never actually use them to their full power either.  With Titan being the weekly flashpoint planet, you are going to encounter a lot of scorch cannons considering 2 of the 3 available events on that planet involve Fallen Walkers.  The weapon has a somewhat hidden alternate fire that involves holding down the trigger after you have fired the round and letting the munition grow in size before releasing and letting it explode.  You are going to have an auditory and visual queue to this and while you can continue to let this go and keep gaining strength as Squirrel pointed out last night, my personal experience is that the 4 second rule seems to be the most efficient for killing those walker tanks.  What I do is fire a round and then duck behind cover while holding the trigger allowing the munition to grow in size and about 4 seconds into holding it visually doubles in size.  At this point I let it go and let the damage get dealt while lining up a shot for another round.  Basically doing this will burn your target faster and easier I might add than spamming rounds and also give you more than enough ammo to take out both tanks with a single Scorch Cannon.  The AOE explosion is also fun for dealing with waves of yellow bar captains and such, but unfortunately this is a tidbit of ancestral knowledge that has not yet circulated through most of the population given that I see most players wasting these weapons.  As a result I just wanted to toss this thought out there and hopefully it sticks.


As far as last night goes however…  after my crushing disappointment of being in sniper rifle hell…  I decided to chill out on the sofa with my new favorite orc.  At this point I am just shy of level 64 and am still in the Hellfire area cleaning up the quests.  In theory I should be able to completely skip Zangarmarsh and go to Terrokar, doing the every other zone leapfrog across Outland much like I have done with Legion content.  There is something extremely relaxing about Warrioring it up and all the while chatting occasionally with the Facepull crew horde side.  Mostly World of Warcraft is serving as this super relaxing comfort gaming time for me, and with work being as stressful as it has been lately I guess I am finding I need it.  Right now it is looking like I won’t really get to take much time off for the holidays other than the default days they give us off.  I have too many deadlines crashing in together at the same time, and this is also throwing a massive monkey wrench in my traditional Pax South plans.  Right now unless something massively changes I will not be attending this year which is a bit of a bummer considering I’ve gone every year since its inception so far.  It also means I will miss out on meeting up with friends and hanging out… and the biggest bummer of all is that I just found out my friend Cuppy is on a panel this year.  I would have loved to have seen that, but then again I am absolutely horrible at actually attending panels at Pax.  I tend to miss them while wandering around doing other things.  Even if not for Pax I am hoping to make it back to Austin as some point in the future.

Holy Crap A Sword



This wee the Faction Rally event has been going on in Destiny 2 and as I stated earlier in the week I was absolutely expecting Dead Orbit to win.  They had the worst weapon during the first Faction Rally and won regardless, and I just assumed that was going to be our fate in life from this point out.  However it feels like Bungie attempted really hard to stack the deck in favor of New Monarchy by offering up the only faction based sword weapon as the prize for repping the faction.  Basically in my opinion Future War Cult has the best weapons on average and New Monarchy has the coolest looking gear and shaders…  then Dead Orbit is the also ran faction of having both gear and weapons that look scavenged.  However Dead Orbit has black/grey/white shaders which at least in Destiny 1 tended to make everyone want to faction with them.  Hell I did it for awhile until I started on this whole Future War Cult kick.  Basically I had resigned myself that I would log into the game this morning and we would have a crappy grenade launcher waiting for us to purchase for far too much glimmer.  Instead I have a sword slung across my back and some pep in my step as a result.


Last night we ventured forth into the Leviathan again, and as a bit of a favor to myself and Grace we used a brand new raid seed so that we could get in and at least get some tokens for the week.  Sunday night while I was downstairs playing WoW and watching Walking Dead a crew made their way into the Leviathan and made a repeat performance at dogs, and then put in some work on figuring out the Gauntlet event.  Last night we once again downed dogs, this time on our second attempt and were able to move on to work on the Gauntlet as well.  I like that all of the fights so far feel extremely repeatable, as in once we get the dance down we seem to be able to do it without much effort.  The most challenging part seems to be that the dogs themselves are erratic as hell and seem to behave oddly at times making it a little slow.  I fully expect that once we have the fights down solid we will be able to clear all of the Leviathan in an hour, which means we can do multiple trips in each week to get folks through it without a lot of effort.    I realize we are months behind in doing so… but I am looking forward to being able to beat Calus on our own terms and unlocking raid engrams for the rest of the clan.


The bulk of last night was spent sorting out the mechanics to the Gauntlet and then attempting to refine what we had learned and turn it into something that was effectively repeatable.  The last few attempts were really close to winning and the ultimately challenge seems to be during the “everyone runs” phase of the fight, keeping those of us who have not been running the orbs up to that point alive long enough to get enough orbs through the gauntlet to actually win.  The last several rounds we were getting both runners through the tunnel each time, meaning in theory we needed fewer people to actually make it to the end of the fight successfully.   However the death timer is ultimately what got it as myself or someone else failed to make one of the jumps.  Functionally in my case this is going to be one of those “practice makes perfect” situations because I learn largely through doing.  The other thing that I need to do a little research on is how best to handle the waves of adds because I was doing the Axe platform and it felt like I was just straight up getting shredded by grenades all the time.  I did notice that my adds seems to stop coming out sooner than the other platforms so I am wondering if there is something to that.  The last few attempts Tam and Shiana that were doing the runs were floating to help out the other platforms clear adds and it went so much more smoothly.  I look forward to finishing this fight so we can get started on the Slug Emperor himself.


Lastly I thought I would share this over on my main blog.  For those who are unaware we have another site tied to our AggroChat podcast that effectively rolls up and syndicates all of the content from all of the hosts.  What this means in practice is it is generally my daily posts, perforated by the occasional post by Grace and then our Sunday podcast releases.  For the past two years our banner has not at all represented the cast of the show and there has been a project to fix this getting the always amazing @Ammosart to do individual character shots.  Firstly we have Ashgar as a high tech bear, then myself as a Destiny Year 3 Iron Banner guardian, Grace as the octopus pirate queen, Kodra as Commander Keen, Tamrielo as a Red Mage, and finally Thalen as a sort of futuristic marksman.  Basically I had each member work with Ammo directly to do whatever representation they wanted to use going forward, and I think the set turned out great.  I finally got off my ass and pulled it together in a new site banner and will start using them on the title cards that I create each week for the podcast.

Accidental Orc



Firstly I feel like I need to lead this post with a tweet from one of my friends that I received last night.

I did in fact do this thing.  To be more specific I went on a spree of mass cancelling my MMO accounts in early October.  I went so far as to actually uninstall many of the games, which is apparently the surest sign that you are just about to decide that you are going to want to play again.  Thankfully I have super fast internet and downloading World of Warcraft really is not that big of a deal anymore.  I am not exactly sure how to explain this one other than the fact that I have been playing on and off with a friend in Destiny 2…  that I first knew through my horde guild in World of Warcraft.  I guess in theory this made me nostalgic about that guild and planted the idea in my head that I really should level my warrior over there.  When you combine that with the weekend we had which was dreary and overcast…  and my desire to just hang out on the couch in a blanket cocoon and do some comfort gaming and apparently all of that translates into playing World of Warcraft.


The biggest challenge however is the fact that in the process of uninstalling everything I also nuked my addons.  Playing WoW with the stock interface is just not a tenable solution.  My previous UI was cobbled together out of several dozen separate addon packs that I had to use the Curse Client now re-branded as Twitch to maintain.  I did not want to go through that again so I took this as the perfect opportunity to try ElvUi that everyone has been raving about for years.  It took some getting used to because the set up process was nothing like I was used to.  However I decided to embrace the difference and by the end of the weekend I had gotten used to it mostly.  The thing that likely won me over however was the AFK screen where the camera spins around you and your character dances in the corner.  They didn’t need to do this thing…  but the world is better for them doing it.  Essentially over the last few days I have chilled on the couch and leveled from 30ish to 61 as of this morning.  I am now knee deep in the Burning Crusade expansion content and having a weird nostalgic trip down memory lane.  I have zero clue how long I will be playing or even how often but for the moment I am enjoying myself.


In Destiny 2 news I can now hit 302 on my Titan and in theory would love to either get in a raid tonight or at least the Nightfall on my Hunter and Warlock to potentially get some additional item level movement.  The biggest problem that is effecting me in Destiny is the fact that I just am not a night owl right now…  and that a good chunk of our clan are now on the west coast meaning they are two hours behind me.  One of two things is going to have to happen, either we break into a early evening and late night raid, or we start actually declaring some night of the week to be raid night.  Thus far everything has sorta been on the spur of the moment with whoever happens to be around, and sure that is fun…  but also impossible to plan around.  Last night for example they were wanting to pull together the raid while I was watching Walking Dead, which is literally the only television show I watch all week long.  Other nights the potential start time would mean I would be up until midnight which is just not viable during the work week anymore.  Had I planned for this and maybe taken a cat nap when I got home then it might be doable, but impromptu raiding just isn’t working for me right now.  I want to raid and I want to get through the content but I just need some structure to it.  Hopefully with the reset we can do a better job of planning raid nights.  In theory I am going to try and get one going earlier in the evening tonight so I can at least get some tokens this week.

Xur Week Nine: 11/10/17


Destiny 2


It’s that time again folks…  time to go traipsing through otherwise dangerous areas in search of Xur.  I am very quickly going to run out of original things to say since the limited pool of exotics seems to be generating a bunch of repeat weeks.  This was a huge problem with Destiny 1 as well and made worse by the fact that they do not seem to put the exotics on a rotation of any sort.  There were several that we never actually saw sold by Xur in Destiny 1 and thusfar there is a whole slew that we have yet to see sold by him in Destiny 2.  You can find Xur in the Watcher’s Grave area of Nessus where he is up in a tree.  You can either hop up on the ledge and hop across or run a narrow path up the side of the tree.   He brought a few gems so lets check out his stock.


There are two exotic grenade launchers…  one of which is good and the other is likely the worst weapon in the game.  Thankfully the Prospector is the good one and probably well worth picking up.  It is a bit of a weird weapon to get used to because of the Excavation exotic perk, which keeps your grenades from detonating while you are holding down the fire trigger.  This has a bizarre interaction with the fact that this weapon has auto fire…  allowing you to pump out an entire magazine of eight grenades without actually detonating them and then detonating them all at once.  The only problem with this is that these are not sticky grenades so there is a bit of bounce when you fire them out without instantly detonating them.  The blast radius is rather small as well which again leads this to be a weird option because each grenade is not going to damage a very large area.  As a result this is really good when you can fire them down into some sort of enclosed area and then detonate all of them at once for a massive explosion.  More often than not I simply use this as a decent single fire grenade launcher which gives me more predictable results.  If you are wanting a work horse rather than a gimmick…  I highly suggest checking out Berenger’s Memory or Play of the Game legendary grenade launchers instead.


I actually had yet to get an insurmountable skullfort on the PC side yet so I was happy to see this item show up.  This is one of those situationally good items that allows for a slightly degenerate build.  The primary interaction is between Transfusion Matrix the exotic perk and Code of the Earthshaker path for the striker titan.  The perk causes kills with arc melee abilities to trigger health regeneration…  which is actually the reversal trait from Code of the Juggernaut.  This becomes a great farming build because Seismic Strike and the AOE damage it deals…  means you are going to be getting back lots of melee energy from the second part of this perk, allowing you to maintain damned near 100% up time.  On the battlefield what this means is that you can zoom around slamming into things rather than actually firing any weapons.  There are a few things that you could do to improve the reliability like slotting two arc melee recharge time mods, but when it works… it is insanely fun.  This is mostly a PVE build concept and every time I have tried to shoulder charge in the crucible I have paid a hefty price for it.


I’ve talked about this item at length several different times, so I am not sure what else I can really add.  The Eye of Another World is one of those items that passively all of your abilities work better.  This is the sort of set it and forget it always on item that I tend to favor,  because it requires zero attention to detail.  Unless you are going for a specific gimmick build… this is probably your best all purpose warlock item.  If you don’t already have it I highly suggest picking it up.  If you want more dialog from me on this check out one of the many other Xur posts where I have talked about it.


Similarly the Foetracer is a generally good item and I have started running it lately because it tends to help finish off mobs in Nightfalls.  Relentless Tracker perk visually marks your enemies after targeting them for a short period of time and causes you to deal extra damage when they reach low health.  That last bit helps and it is just enough of a change to make killing things seem faster which is always the name of the game in a Nightfall.  I do however miss my constant tracking radar while using this item, but I am trying really hard to learn to live without it.  Again I highly suggest picking this up, and also once again I have talked at length about this item in the past in any one of the many other times Xur has offered it.

Destiny 1


This week in Destiny 1 Xur is located in the Tower directly across from Lord Shaxx.  He finally restocked his inventory and is no longer bringing the Jade Rabbit, so hopefully you Xbox players picked that up while it was still available.  Interestingly Xur in Destiny 1 seems to be taking a queue from his personal in Destiny 2 because they both brought the Insurmountable Skullfort.  Let’s check out his items this week.

  • Legacy Arm Engram – 29 Strange Coins
  • An Insurmountable Skullfort – Titan Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • Radiant Dance Machines – Hunter Boots – 13 Strange Coins
  • Claws of Ahamkara – Warlock Arms – 13 Strange Coins
  • The Last Word – Hand Cannon – 23 Strange Coins
  • Dragon’s Breath and Tigershark Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust
  • Zhalo Supercell with Not A Toy Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust

Package Farming



Games like Destiny trigger the collector part of my brain in ways I will never fully understand.  Here is an example…  in Pokemon or Blizzard Pet Battles for that matter…  I don’t actually like the act of battling pets.  I do however love the aspect of collecting new critters and not so secretly wish there was a way to skirt all of the other aspects and just let me get shiny new pets.  I feel similarly about Destiny when there is a set of armor or weapons to collect, and right now I will be grinding the Faction Rally until I catch them all.  As it stands I still need the Shotgun from Dead Orbit, Sidearm from Future War Cult and both Scout Rifles from New Monarchy.  At this point I have done my weeklies on the Hunter and Warlock and ground out 20 or so loot packages on each, giving me only 10 more chances to get the items I actually need.  I have a similar number of chances for New Monarchy and have just started working on the Titan going through his weeklies.  The thirty packages cap thing is likely put there for people like me… that would have potentially ground their fingers to the bone trying to get that last weapon.  So at least on some level I am thankful that it exists…  but on a totally different level I am frustrated beyond belief that I might not actually get all of the things.


The truth is however that the shotgun from Dead Orbit is horrible at least compared to Hawthorne’s…  and there has never been a case post Destiny 1 that I have ever said to myself that I want to use a sidearm.  In Destiny 1 I kept an assortment in the vault with various elements just so I could easily complete those kill X targets with X damage type bounties.  There are a few burst and full auto sidearms that are interesting…  but I have yet to see a reason why I would ever choose them over a more versatile weapon in that slot.  So that mostly just leaves me with the two Scout Rifles from New Monarchy that are weapons I would actually use.  It’s bizarre how the precision of the PC version of Destiny 2 has completely flipped me around from not liking Scout Rifles at all, to running with them pretty often.  I am super interested in Good Counsel IX shown above because of the hip fire perk…  given that hip firing weapons is actually a completely reasonable way to play on the PC version.  Stat wise it looks very similar to the Frontier Justice scout I got this week and one that I already know that I like…  so I am going to ultimately be extremely bummed if I wind up not getting it during this faction rally.


Song of Justice VI is a weapon that I have on the console version of Destiny 2 and like it fairly well but it always felt like it was at least under performing slightly.  I am primarily interested in getting this weapon to see how different it feels with the precision of the mouse and keyboard.  I cannot mention enough that the weapons feel vastly different between the console and PC platforms, and there are so many that I did not like at all on console that I know really enjoy using on PC.  It is ultimately my hope that this is going to be the case with Song of Justice.  Hakke weapons in general so far have worked better on PC so I am hoping this continues to that pattern.  In other positive news… today is my Friday so I should be able to poke around in the game tomorrow during the day.  I might even get so bold as to stream a little.  I’m going through a deluge of changes right now and my natural instinct when that happens is to go into super turtle mode.  Piddling around Destiny solo mode has been something I have been doing for the last three years so it is definitely comfort gaming.  That said I really do need to get the Nightfall done and hopefully make some attempts on the raid.  I am going to try really hard to make myself available to shenanigans tonight, but no promises.  In other other news…  I popped into Diablo 3 last night and cleared my mail box in prep for the season start that begins soon.  They have roped me back in with more cosmetic rewards… that of course trigger that collector instinct in me.