Capped for A Day

desktop-screenshot-2018-12-02-14-17-39-99

desktop-screenshot-2018-12-02-14-17-39-99

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-12-02-13-51-14-06

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-12-02-11-11-03-40

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-12-01-09-10-40-85

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-12-01-13-48-57-90

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.

final-fantasy-xiv-a-realm-reborn-screenshot-2018-12-02-21-40-17-26

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.

s2e14-forging-ahead

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.

 

 

Lurk Longsword

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-21-06-29-09-20

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-21-06-29-09-20

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.

final-fantasy-xiv-a-realm-reborn-screenshot-2018-11-21-06-42-04-96

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.

Shock to the System

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-12-20-10-44-18

img_20181112_085418

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-13-06-17-56-16

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-13-06-15-37-19

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-12-20-10-44-18

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-13-06-20-58-20

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-13-06-30-12-37

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.

Kulve Farming

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-06-19-36-40-66

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-06-19-36-40-66

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.

kulveweapons

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-06-22-17-34-19

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-05-19-23-58-33

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-07-06-30-55-69

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

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-03-17-19-21-88

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-04-13-12-08-90

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-03-17-19-21-88

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-04-19-21-18-42

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-04-13-58-29-60

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-11-02-17-41-56-28

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.

drnsun-v4aiqygb

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

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-16-06-50-06-27

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-15-15-02-45-80

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-16-06-50-06-27

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.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-15-19-32-15-77

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.

Spectacular Failures

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-14-08-44-07-55

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-14-08-44-07-55

One of the things I greatly enjoy about Monster Hunter World is that failure sometimes looks amazing.  Success or fail, when you end a hunt you get a screenshot.  This is one of the many failure shots from Xeno’Jiiva that I have from the weekend.  However this one is actually well after I had beat the fight the first time, but was forced to keep farming for parts.  Often times the best looking shots come from colossally failing at an encounter.  This one is from when multiple people fighting Xeno and not noticing it was about to explode… so three people got carted at exactly the same time ending the hunt.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-13-10-08-03-64

Immediately upon downing Xeno’Jiiva for the first time I shot ahead to 29, the next level cap.  This is something that happened last time as well given that I did a lot of grinding and hunting while capped at the previous level.  I immediately turned around and got into the hunt for Double Bazelguese at which point I lept ahead to 41…  once again something that happened before since I did a lot of hunting while avoiding trying to fight Xeno.  Now I am slowly working my way up to the next cap of 49…  which is Tempered Kirin…  something I am not looking forward to at all.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-13-14-58-18-14

That said I am slowly watching back up to where I was when I stopped playing the PS4 release.  All of the grinding of Nergigante and Xeno’jiiva was to be able to craft Extermination’s Edge the long sword I had been using prior to the restart.  I talked the other day about crafting the Diablos hammer, and the recent event let me craft Wyvern Ignition another “end game” weapon.  Similarly over the weekend I managed to craft the Fiendish Tower the final form of the Deviljho lance, giving me a forth end game weapon.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-13-09-48-30-37

Right now my mission is to craft another item that in theory will be an end game weapon.  I’ve been farming the hell out of High Rank Rathian because I need an excessive number of Spikes and a Gem to be able to craft Royal Burst.  I’ve seen so many people using this Gunlance, so in theory I figured I would craft it and try it out.  Wide Range weapons seem to be en vogue, however what I am reading is that you cannot get wide shelling 4 without getting a lucky drop from Kulve Taroth.  Instead I am going to give a shot no pun intended at normal shelling.  From there…  the next missing is probably going to be to farm a bunch more Deviljho so I can turn the stage one Sword and Shield that I crafted into the final form by gathering up yet another Gem.  From there… I need to sort out what Charge Blade and Switch Axe that I want to work towards.  Basically… this is Monster Hunter for me…  hunting monsters, making weapons…  hunting more monsters.  Regardless I feel like I am in a pretty great state for when the Kulve Taroth event comes in November.

The Grind Loop

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-11-20-11-35-80

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-11-20-11-35-80

The other day Mailvaltar asked question in a comment on another post about whether I think Monster Hunter World can be enjoyed by someone who generally dislikes grinding.  Ultimately the core loop of monster hunter seems to be… take down big monsters in an epic boss fight, carve off items with varying degrees of rarity, take those items to craft new gear…  to enable you to take down bigger monsters.  The degree to which this becomes a gear collection game is entirely up to you, because I believe almost every single monster is beatable in the gear you start the game with…  it just becomes significantly more challenging as time moves on.  However even with better gear… there are going to be times you fail completely like the glorious screenshot above of my death.  Ultimately I got swiped by Black Diablos, which dizzied me…  which then lead to a full force charge for the rest of my health.  Given that other people had fainted at various points during the hunt…  my failure was the one that kicked us out of the fight.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-11-21-37-26-48

Each monster fight tends to go somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes depending on a bunch of factors, so one of the aspects of the game that no one really talks about… is that you need to be able to shake off the fact that you just spent 30 minutes of time and have relatively little to show for it.  Every so often the stars align however and you get exactly what you need.  When that happens it feels phenomenal…  during this single Black Diablos hunt I managed to pull 2 Black Spiral Horn+ aka the thing I was hunting for one more of…  a Wyvern Gem as well as the Non-Elemental Boost Decoration that I ultimately needed for the hammer I had been working towards.  Basically this final Diablos hunt gave me everything I had been questing for to try and assemble the final form of the Diablos hammer.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-11-21-39-47-69

So what did I do once I got my hammer all kitted out?  I immediately shifted focus to working on parts from Deviljho.  For me personally it is the grind…. the hunt for parts… that keeps me engaged in the game.  The boss fights all feel great (or at least most of them do) and are definitely a reward in themselves.  However it is the acquisition of gear that is always my guiding force in any MMORPG.  It is why I grind in Diablo 3 or World of Warcraft…  and ultimately why Monster Hunter World clicked with me initially.  It is a gear driven game where your personal skill advancement means often times more than the gear you are hunting…  but the ability to build complex mixed sets with just the right bonus traits keeps me moving forward.  Building a set of gear sorta feels like building a really good deck in Magic the Gathering.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-11-20-27-45-23

So last night I spent my evening either hunting Black Diablos or Deviljho… and it was a pretty glorious evening.  Is this mechanical loop right for most people?  Probably not…  however I enjoy it greatly.  Were it not for the release of Battle for Azeroth at almost the exact same time as the PC version of Monster Hunter…  I would have likely been doing this since August.  As far as Deviljho stuff… I am largely down to just needing to get lucky enough to loot one of its Gems, which admittedly is a common place you end up with crafting gear.  The Gem seems by far the most rare of the item drops, and seems to only drop when you no longer need it.  I have a stack of Odogoron and Wyvern gems…  but am not actively working on any gear from either…  though at some point I guess I will make the Odog Scythes and Blunderbuss.  That said there are still a ton of Deviljho weapons I eventually want to craft.  For example I think it is one of the better Sword and Shields out there, and that is a weapon I want to shift into playing more of.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-11-19-35-14-34

The funny thing is… I have the patience to constantly be grinding for loot drops…  but somehow lack the patience to move the quest line forward.  I am still stalled out on Xeno’jiiva because it is generally one of the awful feeling fights in the game.  I might snag my friend Exale and con him into running it with me at some point over the weekend if for no reason other than to just speed the process up.  You have to do a lot more dodging when you are the only player in the arena with Xeno.  I think Monster Hunter World is an amazing game, and especially since it is on steam…  if it goes on Sale I highly suggest you check it out.

Slashing Pickles

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-11-06-13-28-72

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-09-22-07-32-85

Last night I finally took a bit of a break from my vision quest to get the final form of the Diablos hammer.  You can see me in the above photo with the next to last form here, but unfortunately the final revision requires three Black Spiral Horn+ which is proving to be more of a challenge than I realized.  At the time of writing this… I now finally know why it has been so rough and why I keep getting Twisted Horns instead of the component I am actually seeking.  One of the weird things about Monster Hunter World or the Monster Hunter franchise in general… is there are certain components that you can only get by killing a monster and carving it… and others you can only get if you capture the monster.  As it turns out apparently unlike Majestic Horns from the normal Diablos…  you can only get Black Spiral Horn+ by killing the monster and carving it up.  This is unfortunate since the PC culture seems to be capture everything, even when there are similar hammer bros with me trying to get the upgrades.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-10-20-56-03-69

Last night however I went down a different path, that is unlocking Deviljho and starting to farm for some of those weapons.  Namely I really want the Lance, as it seems to be pretty freaking brutal.  Similarly I have been working on assembling a guard set…  that is going to turn around and help me farm the pieces I need from Black Diablos a little more efficiently.  Now that I have broken the trend of “Longsword Everything” I am starting to see that the game is more enjoyable if you sorta treat it like MegaMan.  What I mean by that is certain weapons tend to be easier on certain bosses than other weapons, and as I am starting to shift things up and learn new things…  I am finding it way more enjoyable to just switch to the appropriate weapon rather than to force myself down the path of slow and tedious Longswording.  That said…  I do tend to fight Deviljho with a Longsword.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-11-06-13-28-72

By the end of the night I had crafted this monstrosity, or Grief Lance the first form of the Deviljho lance weapon.  Essentially now I need Five more Tailfangs, a Gem, and two Scalps…  which again only drop if you kill the monster and carve it.  Functionally I am going to have to get good at soloing Deviljho or else be that guy that breaks traps.  I don’t want to be that guy because the PC community is relatively small in the grand scheme of things and I don’t want to get that reputation.  Alternatively I could just start asking people since text based chat is a thing that works easily on the PC…  even though very few people actually say things in it.  I might simply start asking nicely if we can kill not trap on both Deviljho and Black Diablos so I can get the bits I actually need.  I’ve fallen back into my old ways of really enjoying the SOS Roulette lifestyle, which is in part why I have put off downing Xeno’jiiva if only because it is such a prodding long fight.

monsterhunterconcurrency

When I say it has a relatively small community, you have to take that with some perspective…  because it still manages to regularly rank in the top five games on steam for concurrent players.  There is no real way of knowing how many players there were on the PS4 but the community definitely feels smaller.  My personal theory is, that we ended up grouping an awful lot with Japanese players… and while they do exist on the PC there are far fewer of them.  It does however feel way more populated than what I have seen of the Xbox One community, so there is at least that.  Over 45,000 players is nothing to sneeze at, but that has fallen off significantly from the all time peak of over 320,000 players.  I have a feeling however that as soon as the Kulve Taroth event opens up… we will see a lot more activity.  There was a big loss of players surrounding the release of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate on the Switch, so I have a feeling a lot of people are still chewing through that game.  Personally… I just like the feel of Monster Hunter World much better.

Stop Hammer Time

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-08-21-01-56-19

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-08-21-01-56-19

I am deeply susceptible to getting distracted by a side mission.  This is in part why I never found the Thief, Warrior and Mage stones in Skyrim and had to eventually wind back around when I found out I missed something.  I have a bad tendency to wander off the path, and in theory given that I have played through all of this content before…  I should be able to maintain more focus.  However that has not been the case and I keep going off on tangents, like my most recent one of farming Diablos over and over trying to get the pieces for it’s rank 7 hammer.  At this point I need Majestic Horns…  which you only get if you manage to break both of the horns.  I need a lot of these…  some for the Hammer and some for the shoulders as well that grant two ranks of slugger.  The biggest problem I am running into is that Majestic Horns don’t appear to be 100% drop if you break both horns, and instead there is a consolation item that I keep getting.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-09-06-12-43-54

Additionally I am going to need a ton of parts from Black Diablos so I have been trying to focus on the quest where you hunt both at the same time.  I need 3 Black Spiral Horn+ which I assume also comes from breaking Black Diablos horns…  and I need one more of the Black Diablos Carapace which seems to drop more frequently.  Thankfully I already have the Wyvern Gem needed to craft the weapon so I won’t be stalled out waiting for that to happen.  So last night I spent pretty much the entire night jumping into SOS Roulette with various groups, fighting a bunch of Diablos…  focusing on trying to break the horns…  while watching Ozark season 2 on Netflix on my second monitor.  All in all it was a good night… even though Ozark in general gives me some massive anxiety since there is a bunch of stuff that just aint right going on with that show.

desktop-screenshot-2018-10-09-06-11-19-17

In theory tonight will be more of the same.  I crafted the highest pre-Nergigante metal hammer available because it had a cheap enough material cost, and I figured at some point I could upgrade it into the Nergi hammer if I so choose.  It serves as a decent replacement for the Zorah hammer I had been using until this point.  At some point I need to sort out what I actually want my armor set to look like, given that I am gearing for completely different stats as hammer than I would normally as Longsword.  I also really need to farm a bunch of Nergi to get parts so I can craft the final step of that Longsword after I down Xeno’Jiiva.  Right now I just don’t have the patience to take on Xeno since I really don’t like doing that fight solo…  because it seems to take so freaking long.  At some point I will force myself through it so I can at least start moving up my Hunter Rank again.