Capped for A Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Wildstar Thoughts

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I am having one of those mornings when I am not entirely certain I have thoughts that are worth sharing.  However because of the ritual that I have built up for myself I am going to share something anyway.  I consistently have a chorus of “no one wants to hear about that” running through my head as I write most of my posts.  I think that is in part why I struggle so hard when someone says something nice to me about my blog or any of the other things I do.  I feel like I really have no clue what I am doing and even more so why anyone would care about it.  I am super appreciative that people do seem to care, but I feel like one of these days everyone is going to pull back the curtain and realize what a boring person I am.  Worse I have an unshakable fear that I am a fraud and that some terribly clever person is going to write a lengthy essay on medium pointing out this fact and cause you all to hate me.  Medium feels like it is a site entirely about writing lengthy essays about exposing harsh truths about the things we love.

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Sometimes I start writing and things just veer wildly off course, and I have a feeling that is precisely what is happening this morning.  Yesterday afternoon at 2pm pst Wildstar went dark as a game and I have some weird feelings about it.  This was not an important game to me personally, in fact I struggled to figure out why everyone liked it so much.  That said I realize that it was a very important game for an awful lot of the people who I care about in my life.  This is in part why I kept trying to unlock the puzzle about what made it feel good to play.  Probably the happiest I was with the game was when I was playing my Chua Engineer and even then…  largely because of the adorable bot army that I drug along with me.  The core problem there is… that the vast majority of the friends I had playing the game on the regular were Exiles not Dominion.  Sure this eventually changed so that you could cross faction until your heart was content… but I think by then it was too far past that golden time in which a game really has to hook me on its charm.

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There was something about the game that caused me to struggle with it.  There was a certain sensory overload that I felt each time I played, with too many things going on with the UI and the telegraphs that just left my eyes feeling immensely tired after playing it for a short period of time.  I realize this is weird given that I have always been one of those people who prefers to have a massive number of UI elements on screen in World of Warcraft, but the combination of this and the action combat proved to be more than I could handle most of the time.  I am regretful that I never managed to make it to the level cap or really experience any of the endgame content.  I had multiple characters largely fall off the face of the leveling curve in Whitevale…  and I am not entirely certain what specifically about that zone caused me to lose all forward momentum.

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All of that said I have to tell you that Wildstar had quite possibly the best housing system I have seen in a game, namely the way you could set up your little pocket dimension to be whatever you wanted it to be…  along with interesting minigames to play.  It also had an excellent cosmetic gear and dye pot system that I hope going forward more games pay attention to.  It was a game that gave its players so many nice systems, and I think that is in part why it had a generally thriving social structure.  There are a good number of people that I met through the game that have become fixtures of my Twitter feed in a daily basis, and I am thankful that I got to meet all of them.  Said feed was completely breaking my heart as I watched so many emotional posts scrolling by in the last hours of the game before they finally shut things down.  I think what probably makes this worse… is the fact that Wildstar lasted far longer than anyone actually expected it would given NC Soft’s track record of shuttering still relatively popular franchises.

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At this point however I am not entirely certain which is worse.  Watching a game get shuttered, or having a game purchased by a company that you are almost certain is going to do bad things to the game.  I watched Hellgate London be bastardized by Hanbitsoft and then get regurgitated back onto Steam in a form that is at times barely recognizable to the original.  Recently Trion Worlds was purchased by a company that has games in its stable with literally temporary inventory bags that expire after seven days.  So I have nothing but the worst fears about how Rift is going to change under their stewardship.  So I am not sure if it is worse to see a game completely close its doors, or to watch it flop around in a zombie state for awhile muddying your memories of it.  As I have said before when this sort of thing happens…  these MMO games that we love are fleeting.  Grab on with both hands and enjoy them while you still can, because eventually…  they are likely going to shut their doors either replaced by something shiny and new or because the players disappeared over time.  In the case of Wildstar we can only hope that a Server Emulator is far enough along to be able to create a fan run server like the thriving Star Wars Galaxies community or the Age of Reckoning Warhammer Online community.

 

 

Lurk Longsword

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This morning is a little bit odd given that I am not at work, but also had to get up at 5:30 like normal.  I guess I technically didn’t but I still have things that need to get done.  My mother in law is going into the hospital today for a lung biopsy, so I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, prayers or just general good vibes channeled her direction.  Our hope is of course that it isn’t anything serious, but just the act of taking a biopsy from your lungs is fairly serious.  A few days ago I wrote about how hardcore mobile gamers can be, and I guess further evidence proves that even more true.  Yesterday I booted up Walking Dead Our World while waiting on a meeting just to check and see what objectives I should be focused on… and found that I had been kicked from the group that I wrote about.  It seems as thought a group leader can see various stats about the players, and it appears that it is common place to purge anyone not killing at least 200 walkers a day.

I am WAY more casual than that… and I had apparently somehow avoided notice for a few weeks before the hammer dropped down upon me.  I don’t even really know the people in the clan, but it was surprising how much it generally bummed me out.  I’ve since joined another group, but I have to say…  the drive to play is largely gone.  Previously I felt like I was working towards something with a bunch of other players, but now I mostly just don’t care as I have to get acclimatized to another group of randos.  I’ve contemplated forming my own group and calling it something along the lines as “Casual AF” and just seeing what sort of players I get to join.  The clan size is limited to 25 players, so if you are in a group of high achievers I totally get why they might want to punt casuals.  The objectives are things like kill 300 armored walkers with a specific character, and in a given encounter you might come across two of them…  meaning at that rate you would have to take out 150 of these randomly occurring encounters to get the objective.  The game is balanced for hardcore players, so also maybe not balanced for me personally.  It was interesting while it lasted.

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One of the things I love about the Kulve Taroth event is the random weapons that you end up walking away with.  Generally speaking there are a few gems scattered in amongst the dross… and one of them is this longsword.  The base damage is a little low, but it makes up for it in the utility of having a longsword with fairly reasonable paralysis on it.  Ultimately I have been using this a lot as I have been taking on the Devil May Cry event quest where you fight four different monsters, and this ends up giving a fairly early proc of paralysis to help out the burn phase.  It also works shockingly well on Kulve Taroth itself, which is goofy given how damned big that is to see it paralyzed.  It does allow for a lot of good burn time whenever it happens which makes me heavily favor the weapon, and if I shifted out my item build a bit I could get quite a bit of white sharpness on it.

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I also spent a good deal of time last night playing Final Fantasy XIV and managed to get off high center in the quest chain.  There was a very specific quest that I was struggling with, that involved killing a bunch of mech suits that cast self destruct.  This stupid thing took me roughly four attempts to finally get through it, and is one of those fights where the NPCs are vulnerable to death… and if they die you instant fail.  I finally figured out exactly what I was supposed to be doing and on the last attempt it felt way less arbitrary.  I will say this is one of the frustrations at times with Final Fantasy XIV…  is that for all of the really good visual messaging… there are at times in the solo quests that they don’t give you much of an explanation of what you are supposed to be doing.  My hope however is that this gets me unstuck and I can continue questing my way through all of the Main Story Quest content that I had missed.

Tiny Samurai vs Eureka

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One of the things that happened over the weekend that we did not talk about on the podcast, nor have I mentioned on the blog… was the reveal of the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion Shadowbringers at the Las Vegas Fan Fest.  I mentioned Fan Fest when I was talking about BlizzCon and how they only hold one when they have a big announcement to give us information about.  As such you go into the experiencing knowing you are going to see something really cool, and while the trailer for Shadowbringers is cool… it was not the big reveal of the weekend.  That said I do find it interesting that we are not going where I thought we were going at various points in the Stormblood storyline.  It seems like in order to restore balance… we are to become the Warrior of Darkness.

The more important reveal however was that of the Blue Mage… aka the MMO class that I questioned if was even possible to do in a multiplayer game.  With it they are introducing this concept of “Limited Jobs” and by that they mean Jobs that you can do… but are purely solo/open world only.  Blue Mage will launch with 4.5 and be locked to a maximum of level 50 in progression.  Like a Blue Mage in any other Final Fantasy game, you will not learn new skills by leveling up and instead learn them by fighting the monsters that perform certain abilities.  So to learn Bad Breath you will need to fight a Morbal and watch it do that move…  or similarly you will need to watch a Sabotender do 1000 Needles to be able to pick it up and start doing it yourself.  I really dig this concept because it allows them to do this class with all of its flavor and power… without having to worry about balancing it against any other class.  Level 5 Death would have been super hard to balance around… and I am wondering if they will start bringing other challenging classes in to the game under this Limited Jobs banner.

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All of this thought about Final Fantasy XIV lead me to patch it up, and attempt to figure out where the hell I left off in the Stormblood post expansion main story quest.  I bounced very hard on Stormblood and I am still not entirely certain why, but after leveling the Warrior and then grinding up the Samurai… I just ran out of steam.  I’ve made a few attempts to get engaged again and similarly bounced out.  Hell recently there have been a few times I logged into the game and then right back out when I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed to do in order to gain traction.  All of this time however Sol has kept Greysky Armada active and there is a group of folks that do a cycle of regular events.  Last night was Eureka night and I decided to log in and join the shenanigans.

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Ultimately it was myself, Mor, eventually Neph and a character that I have seen around but can’t really place a person to…  being babysit by Pix who deserves a hero medal for easing us all into the concept of Eureka.  I remember when this first opened I spent some time solo grinding and managed to make it to level 2 just by killing random stuff.  It seemed insanely grindy and a love song to Final Fantasy XI which itself was effectively the Japanese version of Everquest.  Soloing it was miserable but with a group of friends it felt an awful lot better.  Even more so once we started gathering up the materia shards that effectively gave us a 60% damage boost.  I entered the night at level 2 and managed to push through to level 8 before we finally called it because it was getting late.

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Seriously Pix deserves massive thanks at herding us around Eureka and helping us get the objectives we needed to get knocked out.  Effectively he was out of group and AOE taunting everything onto him… while we sat there killing it down as fast as possible.  As a result I spent most of the night as Samurai and while it took me a bit to remember how to play the class it eventually came back.  When Neph joined us I feel like she went through the same thing with Machinist… which I guess is to be expected for as long as we have been gone.  I know they have other themed nights, like one in which they do crafting maps…  so for the time being I am probably going to be logging in and doing those activities at least until I get my bearings.  I had an awful lot of fun, and I most of it was due to the fact that I was getting to hang out with a bunch of friends that I had not hung out with in a really long time.

Hellgate Disappointment

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If you have read my blog for any length of time you will know that I have a hot burning and undying love of the game Hellgate London.  I played it originally at launch and was of the few suckers who actually ponied up for the subscription plan as well, with its extra events.  There were a whole slew of us that were playing World of Warcraft at the time, that took a break and started playing Hellgate as effectively our primary game.  There was in fact a House Stalwart guild in game that was pretty damned active for awhile…  but sadly a very short while.  The game released on October 31st or 2007, and in 2008…  Flagship Studios filed for bankrupt protection and all assets including the intellectual property of the games they were working on… were seized by Comerica bank.  Namco Bandai kept the servers going through January 31st of 2009 and after that point it was effectively a single player only game.  The assets were eventually sold to T3Fun/HanbitSoft a South Korean game developer who took the unreleased assets and spun up a few new areas of the game centered around Seoul.

In 2014 the game showed up on Steam as Hellgate Global which was being run by a HanbitSoft Connected company called T3Fun/Redbana Corporation.  Hellgate Global was an MMOized version of the game and featured a number of micro-transactions that added some “pay for qualify of life” type features like an item that would identify all of the items in your inventory instead of having to do them one at a time.  Similarly there was an item that would deconstruct every item in your inventory at the same time.  I actually played this game for a bit, and noticed that the difficulty was massively watered down and these mini bosses were added in every so often that served as a loot pinata.  It was entertaining but also nowhere nears a compelling as the original game, and it eventually shut down in January of 2016.  Recently Hellgate once again showed up on Steam as a game that was coming November 15th… and last night I purchased it for myself and a couple of Aggrochat members.  One to grief him because I sincerely doubt he will like the game, but he also once gifted me a copy of Bad Rats.  The other however because I think she will absolutely like the game…  that is if she can get past the frustrations with this version.

My hope was this would be an easy way to get people in and let them experience Hellgate London.  Previously the best way to play Hellgate London was to either Amazon or Ebay a copy of the old game and then install Hellgate Revival to bring it up to more modern standards.  There is even a side project called London 2038 that acts as a server emulator, allowing you to play online with others and restoring much of the functionality of the game.  My hope was the Steam version would bring a lot of these improvements to the game and make it as easy as purchasing and installing to get in and play.  Unfortunately after last night…  the route I just described is still the best way to play the game.

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First of all we have to talk about how HanbitSoft has seemingly changed the story of Hellgate London, by introducing a some equally questionable animation tacked onto the front of what is still the most epic intro sequence from any game.  The original game is largely the story of Doom… rifts from hell open up and a bunch of demons flow into our world and decimate it.  They however shifted it to be a battle between the light and the dark in ambiguous terms, that maybe work better for a South Korean audience than the biblical hell on earth story of the original.  The other big problem is that seemingly this is a game that was taken from the original English…  localized into Korean…  and then has now been localized back into English.  We’ve all seen the memes of what happens when you pass something through google translate too many times… in fact my favorite is a twitter account called Rosewatta Stone that does that with Magic the Gathering cards.

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There is an awful lot of jank going on with this game, from the completely unskippable tutorial sequence that keeps popping up how to do everything… and then will freeze your character in place until you perform whatever the hell they are asking you to do.  To the fact that the textures are extremely muddy and are way lower resolution in a few of the areas than the base install of the original game.  Hellgate London was a game with a bunch of different tile sets for lack of a better term, and they were constructed out of a series of themed prefabs…  and this one in particular seems to have fared the worst which is the cityscape with rubble strewn through it.  Others like the train station tileset, seem to have gotten a much higher resolution texture treatment and as such look significantly better.  The problem is however that this experience feels extremely uneven…  like they got bored while working on the game and only focused on the areas that they liked the most.

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This is effectively the same version that was released as Hellgate Global from what I can tell, and as such it includes a handful of classes that were not available in the original release.  I am however a creature of habit and wound up rolling a Guardian again… which is the class I always tend to play when I play Hellgate.  I am a sword and shield tank, but again you can see the unbalanced nature of the textures.  That shield looks perfectly fine… the armor however is blurry and washed out.  It also has the weird intro sequence where it places you in what used to be the cash shop hub of the game, before sending you to your first destination.  None of the cash shop vendors still exist, but that was effectively a player lobby that allowed groups to gather up, and it seems like there is no real way to get back there once you have started actually playing the game.  It definitely comes off as them quickly singlerplayer-izing what was designed to be a rudimentary MMO cash grab.

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The thing that cracks me up the most is the inclusion of the Korean warnings about play time.  After paying an hour you get the following message to pop up in the chat window “You have been playing for 1hour.  Excessive game play may affect your lifestyle.”  This is one of those loot pinata bosses that I talked about, and when you kill them you get a fountain of loot most of it blue or higher quality to come pouring out.  All of this aside the game was largely playable once you got past that forced intro section.  That is until I started encountering some more serious issues with the game.  Shortly after the hour mark I started encountering some massive slowdowns, and at first I thought maybe there was a memory leak in the client.  However upon restarting the game and getting into a fight the same things started happening again.  I think this might be an issue with one specific spell effect from a specific type of monster, which are the the demons that crawl around and then throw fireballs at you.  The moment one of these sends this spell effect in your direction my framerate bottomed out.  This is coming from me playing on an i7-5820k with a Geforce 1080 ti…  so more processing power than this game ever dreamed about having initially.  I finally had to stop playing last night because it was impossible to do anything…  because I kept hitting these framerate walls.

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Ultimately I still love Hellgate London and I happily played for about two hours until I encountered the issues.  I was hoping that the Steam release would have actually had some effort put into it, but unfortunately that is not the case.  The positive side is that right now it is selling for a little less than $10, so it isn’t like even with the three copies that I bought I am out a significant amount of money.   I am hoping that the modding community decides to fix these issues, because it is probably something as simple as the fact that the game inexplicably dropped Direct X 10 support and is only allowing Direct X 9 for some reason.  If you really want to play Hellgate London, you are still better off digging up an original copy…  installing Hellgate Revival and then using London 2038 to play on the multiplayer servers.  I have a feeling in the coming days I will be doing this thing again just to see how different the experience is.

I hope that HanbitSoft will patch the game to make the experience less frustrating, because I still would love to see the Seoul levels as well as the Hellgate Tokyo content that supposedly was added in to the game as well.  I am not however holding my breath that any of that is going to happen, and more than likely this was just a quick cash grab that I got suckered into by my love of this franchise, and the nostalgia of all that it could have been.  I’ve spent thirty bucks on dumber things, so in the end I will be just fine.

Shock to the System

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Yesterday I had the day off and I am sorta thankful for that.  It means that I missed driving in the first snow of the season.  It isn’t that the roads would have been slick or anything… it is just more a case of folks acting crazy in inclement weather.  As a result I stayed home and dealt with the air conditioning folks doing our winter maintenance checkup on the system.  I also spent a good deal of time playing various video games and also making a batch of Chicken Tikka Masala.  My wife unfortunately did not get the day off and as such I wanted something to warm up her belly when she got home.

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While waiting on the folks to get here, and while they were doing their thing… I played a lot of Diablo 3 on the Switch and have moved on into Act 2.  I like this port of the game quite a bit, but as I have talked about…  mobile gaming just doesn’t fit that cleanly into my life.  If I have access to my other machines I would probably rather play them…  and the switch is just heavy enough to be awkward to play while laying in bed.  However I heard last night that apparently the Switch version is what Tamrielo needed to really get into the game as he now has a Necromancer in its 60s… which is significantly higher than I think he has ever gotten a character before?  The controls feel good, but for someone who is super used to how things work on the PC… it is taking a lot of adjustment.  I equate it to someone reciting a poem you know in a foreign language…  you understand what they are saying but there is a lot of translation happening.

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As far as most of the day… I spent a good deal of time playing Path of Exile…  and I really need to figure out how to leave public channels.  I also decided to spend a little money with the game and bought one of the supporter packs that they are just about to phase out when the new expansion releases.  I figure at this point I have gotten enough joy out of the game that I really should pay something for it.  This gave me a bit of cash shop currency which I then used to get a better looking weapon and shield…  though I am wishing I had gone with something else for the shield because it does not match the outfit at all.  Basically my gameplay tends to revolve around Molten Strike, Blade Vortex and Leap…  everything else is largely superfluous and as such I am completely cool losing W as a keybind to give me back the move forward functionality I am used to in Diablo 3.  I flirted briefly with binding leap to spacebar, but ran into issues with the game needing a close all windows keybind to replace the spacebar I took.  Once I figure out a decent option for that I might go back to spacebar for leap since I prefer having a movement key bound there.

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As far as Monster Hunter World goes…  I am in an odd place where I need some Kirin+ items…  but for whatever reason do not have access to High Rank Kirin.  I spent a good chunk of the night trying various quests to try and whittle down whatever it takes to unlock the High Rank version of the fight, but failing miserably.  Essentially I need a couple materials to get the last of my layered armor pieces from the Kulve Taroth event… and I am not sure if I will still be able to do the turn-ins after the event or not.  I know that I can craft Kulve Armor without issue, and have gathered up more than enough mats to make a full set of that once I farm up the Elder Dragon gems.  I’ve been sitting at Hunter Rank 49 for awhile now, which means that I have to take down a Tempered Kirin.  Last night I made several attempts and while one came super close…  there is always the problem of someone fainting.  In this particular run it was me that failed…  but in others I managed to stay alive 100% of the time and someone else got the carts.  Ultimately I will get through this… but in reality I just want the parts from it and could care less about moving my Hunter Rank higher at this very moment.  Time to research what exactly I need to have already completed to unlock the needed High Rank hunt.

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There are so many games right now out that I’ve not had a chance to really devote much time to.  On the 16th another one gets added to that stack in the form of Let’s Go Eevee…  because Eevee is way cooler than Pikachu.  I need to figure out a better way to spend time with the switch because I have quite the backlog right now…  because I have not devoted anywhere near enough time to Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate or Starlink Battle for Atlas.  The only problem with Switch games is that they look like crap on my 4K setup upstairs, and they are not quite comfortable to play in bed.  So I need to figure out a happy middle ground where I feel comfortable playing the games and will also be willing to give up playing something on the PC.  Yes I realize these are the first worldiest of problems.

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Also in the extreme stack of games that need attention…  Fallout 76 launches I believe tonight?  Look when someone says Midnight I never quite know if they mean which specific night/morning.  I believe it launches tonight at Midnight EST, but when I popped in a moment ago to take screenshots the servers were up.  I am wondering if this was by accident, or if they are just going to let people trickle in that happen to try it.  Sadly I have work, but I can in fact verify that everything from my B.E.T.A. character is there and functional…   minus one turret that I placed on my base.  I am not sure if it got blown up, or if something glitched and it fell below the world or something.  Regardless Fallout 76 is either launching tonight… or has already launched and it will be tonight before I get to give it any attention.  I had a lot of fun with Kodra and Tam running amok, and now I am left with the decision of… do I play my already level 10 character from beta or do I roll something fresh.

Captain K

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

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

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

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

Kulve Farming

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

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

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

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

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

Packed Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glutton Axe

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Yesterday I had the day off and spent a good deal of it playing Monster Hunter World.  I allowed myself to get distracted by seeking out a weapon that was shockingly easy to craft.  Essentially I had been trying to determine which of the switch axes I would go after first.  The clear obvious choice is the Diablos one… the problem there is I really don’t want to go right back to grinding Diablos nonstop to get the parts I would need for it…  which are again are Majestic and Black Spiral Horns.  Instead I decided to set my sights considerably lower, on something I could probably farm up in my sleep.

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The Jagras line doesn’t exactly have a ton of amazing weapons, but in the switch axe department it is a pretty reasonable option.  Its low point is it is only a Rank 6 weapon, but based on its stats it should probably be Rank 7?  It has hidden elemental sleep, and when transformed into sword mode has exhaust damage.  If I remember correct that means that when hitting the head the exhaust damage can KO the monster.  All that it really required me to do was kill a nonsensical number of Great Jagras… since that isn’t exactly a monster I hunt on the regular.  However with minimal farming I managed to get the switch axe crafted and play around a bit with it.  It will at least hold me over until something awesome drops from Kulve Taroth at some point.

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The other mission is still very much active however, and I did kill several Rathian yesterday, enough to I believe get all of the Spikes that I needed.  Now I just have to wait for a Rathian Ruby to drop before crafting that final Gunlance.  As Ashgar posted yesterday, I do probably intend to make the Zorah Magdaros one as well, since I have already crafted the first version of it.  I believe I just need another Zorah Gem before being able to craft the Rank 8 version.  That would give me Long 4 and Normal 4 to play with and get used to both.  Then again I hope I get a decent Wide 4 weapon to drop during Kulve Taroth.  I fully expect to be farming the hell out of that event when it finally goes live.  I think hammer is going to be a much better option to breaking things than Longsword was on the console.