Weekend Weapon Haul



Pretty much the highlight of the weekend for me was that I got to join in the shenanigans of the Last Wish raid in Destiny 2.  This mornings post is largely going to be a rundown of the items that I got to drop this weekend.  It was also the farm weekend for the IKELOS shotgun, and unfortunately as of yet I have not seen one drop.  I have lost count on just how many times I have killed the level 7 escalation protocol, but it has been enough that I am starting to doubt it exists.  Like the paranoia in the back of my head keeps telling me that I must not be keyed for getting loot of the boss.  I do however have a huge stack of shaders that drop every single time you down it.  I sincerely doubt that tonight I will get enough kills of Escalation Protocol to make a difference, and in truth it seems to be hard to find anyone actually doing it.  My friend Warenwolf managed to pull me into a group, so I am guessing this is regional?  I wish there was a decent matchmaking option for it.


As far as the raid itself…  it was some crazy nonsense.  One of the things that Bungie does almost better than anyone else is create some interesting and imaginative raid encounters.  I don’t want to go into too much detail but there were of course jumping puzzles and timed burns and of course some relay race sort of encounters to unlock sections of the raid.  All of which seemed doable for me who was a complete nub, but unfortunately…  I am also one of those people who simply does not grok something when someone explains it.  I have to do it myself to be able to understand the nuance of it, and while I feel like I still have a long ways to go before mastering the encounters…  I feel like I would also do a lot better the second time in.  Thankfully none of the jumping puzzles were anywhere near as stressful as the ones in the King’s Fall raid.  An interesting mechanic is that first timers get an extra piece of loot at the very end, and as a result I wound up getting 4 pieces of armor and 5 weapons…  one of which dropped from random trash but that still counts.  Now I am going to play show and tell with each of them.


A really cool looking rocket launcher that I will never actually use because it doesn’t have cluster bombs.  I could say more but really… that is the core problem and I would have used it as infusion fuel if it wasn’t a raid weapon.


This is quite possibly the weirdest feeling auto rifle I have ever used, because it is so freaking slow firing…  which you would assume to be extremely stable and it is not.  On PC with mouse and keyboard controls it is completely manageable, uncertain what controller would be like with this weapon.  It was fun the little bit I played with it, but it also takes the same slot as my beloved Misfit so I doubt it is going to see much play.


This is probably the favorite of the weapons that dropped because it has a decent stat package with triple tap and the ambitious assassin that all of the weapons appear to come with by default.  I used this quite a bit this weekend trying to complete the crucible headshots step of the Cayde-6 quest chain, and had some luck.  The problem with that step is that I am just not good at crucible anymore, but this is a perfectly reasonable weapon to be using.  I also really dig the look and feel of it.


The biggest challenge this weapon has going for it is that it is a scout rifle… and all of the reasons why I would use a scout rifle are largely demolished by the inclusion of bows.  This is likely never going to get play from me because even before the introduction of bows… I was not a huge scout rifle fan.  That said I won’t infuse it because I tend to collect interesting weapons.  It does however have rampage which is a positive that it has going for it if you can get into a situation where you can pick off adds easily.


While this technically didn’t drop from a raid encounter, I saw a shiny golden engram while we were doing the Riven fight and this was waiting in my mailbox after we left the raid.  This weapon has some issues, but the majority of the problem is that this time around this is a heavy weapon.  In Destiny 1 this was a secondary weapon, which would have greatly improved its utility were we able to equip this in the energy weapon slot.  As it stands… it is competing with other Heavy Weapons and comes up very short against both the Thunderlord and the Sleep Simulant that are just better weapons.  What made this interesting before was that it was a fusion sniper rifle…  which I guess became the linear fusion category as a whole.  If they ever tweak this weapon to be energy slot equipped then it will see some play, before then however… it just isn’t worth giving up that slot against arguably better weapons.


I still have not ignited the forge, but one of my attempts over the weekend got me a Two-Tailed Fox to drop, which again suffers from some of the problems that I just talked about.  It is a really interesting weapon that is useful in specific niche situations…  but I can’t see using this over the sleeper or the thunderlord.  Still very happy to check this off the exotics bucket list.


Finally I completed the Nascent Dawn quest chain over the weekend and wrapped up the Polaris Lance.  All in all I dig the feel of this weapon, but I would probably use the Legendary Masterwork version that you get in the quest chain step before the Exotic as it would free up the exotic slot for one of the two heavy weapons I keep mentioning over and over.

We also recorded a podcast this weekend as usual and some of the things we talked about are…  Black Armory, Last Wish, The Game Awards, Hades by Supergiant Games, Epic Game Storefront, Super Smash Bros Ultimate.  If you are someone who likes to listen to podcasts check it out… otherwise zero shame in giving it a skip.  I personally find youtube the easiest way of passing along the link, but in the sidebar of the blog is an RSS feed for those who want to use a traditional podcatcher style app.  Listening to me ramble on is an acquired taste so perfectly cool with folks skipping if that is not your thing.

Destiny Nostalgia



With my general disappointment I have over Black Armory and the direction the game seems to be going now…  with focusing only on the end game and not actually giving us anything new that we can do the moment a content update drops.  It got me feeling notalgic about Destiny 1 and some of the things I miss that have never quite made it over to Destiny 2.  So I am going to take this morning as an opportunity to rifle through my vault and pull out the things I would love to see over here.  This is mostly just me posting a bunch of pictures of weapons and talking about them, so if that is not your thing then today’s post is likely highly skippable.

Legendary Weapons

Destiny was largely a game about collecting the exotics, but there were a handful of legendary weapons that stood out and that I coveted.  I figured a handful of these definitely needed to be talked about.  There were a lot of them that I liked, but these were the weapons that I absolutely loved.


We are going to start things off with the weapon that I bring up so many times…  my perfect roll Haakon’s Hatchet, or at least what I considered to be a perfect roll.  It came from Year 2 Iron Banner and still has one of the overall best looking Iron Banner weapon visual aesthetics.  It had Range Finder, Perfect Balance and Counterbalance so was insanely stable and while relatively short range… it could melt targets especially in the Crucible or Iron Banner.  This also doubled as probably one of my favorite PVE weapons for just dealing a bunch of reliable damage to targets.


The Haakon’s Hatchet was eventually replaced with the Genesis Chain which dropped on my first time through Wrath of the Machine when I was super carried hard by my friends in Tequila Mockingbird.  I admit a lot of why I used this weapon was because it looked cool and it had an interesting perk called Focused Firefly…  which was essentially a much bigger version of the normal firefly that caused targets to explode when you to a precision kill.  It also had this super satisfying noise that it made when you triggered one of these explosions…  which I think is the real reason why I kept using it.  It sounded sorta like the ping of kicking brass out of a Mosin Nagant in all of the WW2 era FPS titles with a bunch of reverb at the end.


I generally hated the look of all of the Year 3 Iron Banner weapons…  there is just something about having a bunch of bits crudely cobbled together that didn’t do it for me.  This is weird because in general the Fallen weapon aesthetic is very similar…  but somehow works with all of its spiky nonsense.  The main reason why I loved this weapon was its absolutely crazy high impact, and the fact that enhanced battery took the available shots up to 6… and with performance bonus it had a chance of refunding some ammo.  This could just straight up melt any target in front of you, and was a pretty good option to help burn elites.


My heavy weapon of choice has usually always been a machine gun because it always feels like you have a lot more versatility due to the larger magazine size… or in the case of most of them drum size.  Once again this gets a strike against it for the horrible asethestic of year 3 Iron Banner weapons, but it has a lot going for it when it comes to stats with Extended Mag, Hand-Laid Stock and Counterblance giving me a fairly high impact and very stable machine gun.  Not much else to say about it… it was very much a utilitarian burn option that wasn’t flashy but got the job done.

Exotic Weapons

While we have ended up with a large number of carry over from Destiny 1 in the Exotics department, there are still a handful that I really enjoyed using that it would be nice to see reborn in one form or another.


I have to give an initial shout out to Hawkmoon, which was the very first Exotic that I ever got to drop.  Now rumor has it that we are getting this back at some point in the upcoming seasons… but for the time being an equivalent does not exist in game.  It was a high damage high capacity hand canon made interesting by the fact that two of the bullets would deal extra damage.  Ultimately I replaced this in my line up with the Eyasluna which was essentially the legendary version of Hawkmoon allowing me more leverage in where I chose to use my exotic slot.  It still bears mentioning however for introducing me to how cool exotics could be.


Another weapon that was also near and dear to my heart that absolutely no one else liked playing with…  was the Fabian Strategy or the Titan exclusive exotic.  I have always been a very run and gun player and as such was regularly closing the gap on a pack of mobs, which triggered crowd control and the front lines perk that increased weapon stability and rate of fire.  The fact that a portion of the ammo was reloaded into the magazine on kills meant I could storm the castle and maintain a killing screen while taking out minions.  This all fits my general play style and made me love this weapon far more than I should have given how many other people kept telling me it was garbage.  Proof again that weapon choice is absolutely a personal preference thing.


Red Death was my go to for whenever I needed to sustain my life in a situation where I knew I would be taking a significant amount of damage.  This made it the ideal weapon for those affixes that would cause your shields not to regenerate normally, or anything where there was a aura effect that would be slowly damaging you over time.  Sure we got Crimson which is effectively a Hand Canon version of this weapon, but it feels lousy to play with in my opinion and as such doesn’t really count for me.  I would love to see the original Red Death back.  Given the storied past of this weapon it feels like the perfect option for a lengthy chain to unlock it.


Now for the weapon that inspired this post…  Thunderlord is awesome and does a great job of melting a bunch of minions because of its arc damage proc…  but the best version of that was on the Zhalo Supercell.  Not only was it a really stable auto rifle, but the chain lightning proc made it perfect for clearing waves of mobs.  It also held a special place as one of the few elemental primaries that survived the year one cull, which made it amazing for arc burn weeks.  I would love to see a version of this gun back with a similar proc, especially given how many horde mode encounters we are getting in the game now.


While I never got to experience the grandeur of year one Gjallarhorn because I stopped playing shortly after launch…  I fell in love with this weapon during Year 3 and it is impossible to make a nostalgic post without mentioning it.  There was just nothing cooler than watching an entire pack of mobs melt to wolfpack rounds.  During much of Year 3 this was pretty much the dedicated exotic that I used for everything because even if it was not solar burn week… it still was the best option for killing all of the things at once.  Sure one might say that made it too powerful, but it was insanely fun to play with so it deserves on this list.


Another weapon that I would love to have back that we will probably never get back… is Invective or the shotgun that regenerates ammunition over time.  Sure this and the Icebreaker the sniper equivalent were a little broken…  but I loved this weapon so much in The Crucible because I didn’t have to care about the meta of trying to camp the special ammo.  It looks amazing as well which as we all know goes a lot way to making a weapon feel good to use.  Party Crasher+1 was the only shotgun I used regularly other than this one, but for most of my iron banner nonsense it was this in the special, Haakon’s in the primary and some machine gun in the heavy slot.


Sure we got a version of this with the Curse of Osiris DLC called Machina Dei 4 but it is nowhere near as good as this classic exotic version.  It also looks nowhere near as cool.  I would love to see a version of the original return, because again… this was an epic quest in the original Destiny and would give ample opportunity to make it a seasonal quest to recover the weapon.  Everyone loved the Stranger’s Rifle and this was just an updated version of that, so would love to see it back.


These next two are largely situational, but I felt like they were unique enough that I wanted to include them as well.  Touch of Malice was a must have raid weapon for the Taken King expansion, given that there were many burn phases where you were given an invulnerability effect allowing you to effectively pour rounds into the target without reloading with this weapon.  It’s special effect allowed you to drain your own life and convert it into a bullet to keep firing after you have essentially emptied your magazine.  This mean’t that it was super useful in a few clutch situations, but also was a great way to kill yourself if you were not paying much attention.  In either case it was fun for the entire family.


Lastly we have Bad Juju that had two situations where it worked amazingly well.  String of Curses did two things… firstly kills caused your ammo to reload and give you a damage buff.  Secondly this effect when procced caused you to gain additional super energy, allowing you to charge your super significantly faster if you could be put in a situation where you had to kill waves of mobs.  This made this the go to weapon in situations where you needed to have your super up regularly, which came in super handy in Prison of Elders and similar activities where you were both fighting a bunch of stuff and also getting additional credit for using your super.  Other than that I was not a huge fan of the weapon, but I liked it because it filled a specific niche in my armory.

What were some of the weapons that you miss from Destiny 1?  I largely excluded the elemental swords because I would have had to have included all three of them… because they were all great in their own way.  Drop me a line in the comments below about your favorite Destiny 1 weapon that we have not seen yet in Destiny 2.

Disappointing Armory



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


Captain K



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


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


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


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

Kulve Farming



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


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


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


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


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