Three Dragons Down

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This weekend was largely about collecting the final bits needed to unlock the layered cosmetic armor from the Harvest Festival in Monster Hunter World and seeing just how much further I could progress.  As of Saturday night I had managed to catch back up enough to be sitting on the “kill the three elder dragons” quest that you can see in my quest tracker.  On the podcast we talked a bit about how Monster Hunter World supports the acquisition of skills and how that is generally more important than the acquisition of gear.  This is a weird concept for me personally since I tend to be a dyed-in-the-wool RPG grinder, that can seemingly perform repetitive tasks so long as there is a shiny gear payout at the end.  My baseline is always to gather more gear to get over any obstacles that I might be dealing with.

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However the importance of understanding how not to die…  is extremely noticeable in Monster Hunter World.  When I managed to get through Pink Rathian without breaking the tale, in one shot with no faints…  and then similarly get through Nergigante on my first shot…  with no faints…  I started to question if I had simply gotten better at the game.  For awhile I thought it was just me having a hammer this go around, but Nergi was sorta the turning point in my opinion.  However the Elder Dragons still served as a bit of a roadblock.  I managed to down Kushala Daora on the first attempt, which doesn’t shock me given I remember taking it down relatively easily before as well.  However I spent the majority of Sunday afternoon working on Teostra and Vaal Hazak.

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When I fought the Elder Dragons on the PS4 version…  I did a lot more prep work than I did here.  I rolled into Teostra with a significant amount of fire resist gear…  something I did not have this time.  The challenge with Toaster as I call him more frequently…  is that he just does an awful lot of damage and likes to get in real close to you before ulting.  I believe in the grand scheme of things it took me three attempts to get through Toasty this time around, and I am mostly okay with that…  it was more about not getting hit than it was about dishing out massive amounts of damage.  I think that is part of where I am at mentally now is I know not allowing yourself to get carted is seemingly more important than getting in and unleashing hell upon the monster…  then opening yourself to a single hit attack that decimates your health reserves.

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Similarly with Vaal Hazak the challenge was fighting…  while having your health bar constantly shredded by effluvial building.  Eventually I will have the parts to make a few pieces of gear that grants me complete immunity from the effects of the Effluvium, but for now I had to employ a strategy of stick and run…  trying to avoid build up for as long as I could while dealing as much damage as I could.  I think in the grand scheme of things it took me four tries to get through Vaal Hazak this go around.  I’ve now entered the realm where I fairly comfortable feel like I can SOS Roulette my way into content, and that is probably something I am going to take advantage of more as I move forward.

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Unfortunately however I cannot SOS Roulette my way through Xeno’Jiiva, because it does not show up in your list of available monsters until you have defeated it at least once on your own.  I mostly got in long enough to unlock him and then bailed last night because I did not have the patience for this sort of fight.  The problem with Xeno is that it is just soul crushingly long…  no matter how well you do there is always going to be a lot of avoiding its movements while banging on its feet…  for a good thirty minutes it seems.  So instead last night I piddled around in World of Warcraft on the Paladin while watching the season premiere of Walking Dead, instead of trying to make progress on the giant blue dragon.  All in all though it feels good to be getting back to around the place where I left off…  I am not looking forward to getting through Tempered Kirin again…  but I will have awhile to deal with that.  I have not been grinding anywhere near as much as I did before, so I expect to defeat Xeno and still have a lot of ways to go until I hit the first bottleneck of Tempered Bagel.

Autumn Harvest Festival

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The Harvest Festival event is now live in Monster Hunter World on PC and last night I spent for the most part the entire evening doing event quests.  The PC community appears to be significantly smaller than the Playstation 4 one, I am assuming in part because there are likely fewer Japanese players available to group with.  I know a lot of my SOS Roulette nonsense was done with Japanese players…  which seem to have a culture of opening up their events to other players as a matter of course.  There have been many times when I tried to find an SOS for a specific monster and came up completely empty, so instead I have started filtering my session by specific types of quests.  So for example I am filtering for groups specifically doing Event quests during the Harvest Festival, and that seems to give me a session with a bunch of players participating in the sort of events I have been trying to.

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I am still not nearly as progressed as I am on the console, but I did manage to get far enough to do the “Every Hunter’s Dream” quest which rewards the crafting bits needed to make Wyvern Ignition…  aka the Greatsword you can see in the above image.  I decided to spend all of my harvest tickets on making the Palico Armor, because not only is it awesome looking…  but it was actually a pretty reasonable upgrade to the Zorah set mine had been wearing.  My goal in coming back and playing a lot is to also get me ready for the inevitable release of the Kulve Taroth siege event.  For whatever reason I was expecting the Greatsword quest to be High Rank… which is why I was pushing lately to get there…  however it is only a 5 star so that last tier before you actually transition into High Rank.

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This event also allowed me to catch up on a bunch of the other quests that I had apparently missed…  namely the Wiggler Head, Kulu Head, Eye Patch and Shades.  I need to run through everything available and make sure I have crafted everything, but for now I think my focus is going to be doing the daily bounties so I can gather up enough tickets to craft some of the harvest gear… or at the very least get the layered armor set.  I probably fall in the Fashion Hunter territory in that I tend to be way more interested in Layered Armor sets than pretty much anything else because I can equip them over top of whatever gear I happen to be wearing.

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I am still very much digging the Zorah hammer, but also now branching out into Switch Axe and Great Sword.  I need to do a bit of farming because I want to craft a Gunlance and a Lance to play with those as well.  On the PS4 I was pretty much laser focused on only caring about Longsword.  This time around however I am trying to branch out and try new weapons, because it is very clear that certain encounters just work better with certain weapons.  Lance/Gunlance seem rediculously powerful so I want to try my best to figure out how to play each of those.  For whatever reason swapping weapons seems to be easier for me when I am already playing using the much more comfortable keyboard and mouse sort of interface.  So much of my time on the PS4 was me eating up brain cycles trying to remember how to use a controller, since that is not a mode I play in regularly.  Whereas with the Keyboard and Mouse I am in my comfort zone and can sort of dedicate those brain cycles to other things.

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If you are around and doing stuff ping me and say hey.  I will warn you though that I don’t regularly play with the chat overlay on through Steam because it has caused graphical issues in the past, and as a result it might take awhile for me to actually respond.

Charm Maintenance

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Last night I had to do some World of Warcraft maintenance, in that I had allowed my Emissary quest to stack up for three days and was about to start losing them.  I fairly joylessly burned through those, then decided to take a chance at a 370 piece of loot from the Warfront that is now open to Horde players.  I still find those pretty fun but ultimately wound up with disappointment in that I got a 370 item in a slot I already had one.  You would think they could factor in the gear that the player has when they give those extremely limited time rewards like that…  because since it is ultimately a shot at loot every three weeks…  please give us something we can use.

From there I popped into Monster Hunter World where I largely did some maintenance there as well.  I spent most of the night farming up zenny so that I could buy the Power Charm, which is an item that takes up a bag slot but gives you a pretty potent damage boost.  I had already purchased the Armor Charm which does the same thing, but for your defense stat.  These apparently open up once you have fought the Zorah Magdaros final form and cost 24,000 zenny for the Armor Charm and 36,000 zenny for the Power Charm.  Later through the magic of crafting you will be able to turn these into Talons…  and then re-buy the Charms again…  but for now I should be set for the early High Rank content.  I’m up to the Tickled Pink quest which is to hunt a High Rank Anjanath, which I simply was not ready to deal with mentally last night and wound up wandering off to do other things.

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Instead I popped over to burn through some quests in MTG Arena, where I seemed to have a ton that wanted me to cast White spells.  I had picked up the Eternal Thirst deck as one of my freebies, and I decided to start playing around with it.  I have to say… for a weird Cats and Vampires concept I am really digging it.  Unless you are also playing against a deck with stupid life gain powers…  you can do some come from behind nonsense with this one.  I feel like I need to tune it a bit and swap some cards, and could ultimately make a super powerful deck out of it.  For the purpose of questing though… it had plenty of white cards so it allowed me to whittle that down in a few turns.  This morning I noticed I had another freebie deck available and unlocked the Blue/Green Merfolk deck…  which included a single copy of one of my favorite cards…  Jadelight Ranger.  I am hoping that one of the decks they end up throwing my way is the Explore matters deck that we originally had in Alpha.  Mostly I don’t want to spend the proxies on rebuilding it if they are going to give me like 90% of the cards in a few weeks as we keep rotating through unlocking free decks.

Hammering Diablos

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This morning is one of those mornings where I am struggling extremely hard.  I’ve been staring blankly at the screen for about thirty minutes now and having one of those “there is not enough coffee in the world” sort of moments.  I got to bed plenty early but for whatever reason it was a very fitful experience.  I woke up so many times because I decided I needed to adjust to get comfortable, kicked off the covers because I was hot, or then woke up shivering because it was too cold.  I also woke up with a sore thought, which I am hoping is going to disappear as the morning goes on.

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Last night I did not do the thing where I did a Mythic for the hope of getting something from a chest… only to be disappointed.  Instead I focused on Monster Hunter World and managed to catch up rather quickly as I downed Diablos, Rathalos and the second outing with Zorah Magdaros before taking a break.  It is shocking how much easier certain monsters are with certain weapons.  For example I almost exclusively played Longsword during my PS4 play though, and this time around I have been endulging myself in a little weapon swapping.  Diablos is so much easier with a Hammer than with a Longsword.  Similarly since I am playing almost exclusively solo…  I am noticing patterns that I never really picked up on the first time around.  I managed to take out Diablos for example without getting carted even once, which is something I am pretty damned proud of.

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I wish that were true with Rathalos…  but alas it was very much not the case.  I managed to capture it while sitting on my last attempt, and while dodging Anjanath and Tobi-kadachi who were in a three way brawl with the target I needed.  Hammer was fine… pending I could knock Rathalos out of the sky, and in those times I could pour on the head damage.  The rest of the time… I was mostly trying to avoid getting hit by nasty business like fire or poison.  I stacked up double poison resistance to help me out a little, which I am sure was a good plan.  I fully expected to have to make a couple of attempts at the fights, so I am fairly proud that I cleared them in one shot each.  I mean Zorah Magdaros is largely on rails so I am not super proud of that one…  but I did manage to get a gem to drop so that is at least something.

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Now I will be moving on to High Rank Pukei-Pukei which I think is the point at which the game decides that I am really and truly able to craft High Rank gear finally.  I am hoping to at least be able to craft a few pieces of Zorah gear, and maybe some HR Bone gear as well to get upgraded quickly.  I expect there to be a certain measure of faffing about as soon as I cross that threshold to get geared enough to be able to take down HR Anjanath and HR Pink Anjanath which if I am remembering correctly are waiting on me on the other side.  Effectively my goal is to be able to farm the Wyvern Ignition event when it starts at the end of the week, along with any of the other interesting cosmetic events that are available.  Expect me to be capturing a bunch of wigglers to get that nonsense helm, as well as the nifty Tzitzi glasses.

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Towards the very end of the night I took a break from the Monster Hunting and ran around in Diablo 3 with my good friend Grace… who admittedly is still mostly carrying me.  I can function on my own just fine… but maybe not quite effectively at T13 levels yet.  We knocked out a few achievement pieces and then focused on running a bunch of Greater Rifts.  All in all it was a pretty great night, and one in which I never bothered to log into World of Warcraft and even check to see what the daily emissary was.  Admittedly I checked this morning and it looks like fox persons for not-order-hall-resources, which would be skippable other than the giant boost to faction.  Largely all of the emissary quests feel skippable… other than the faction hit.  Regardless it was a good night, and I will probably be having more of these good nights in the future as I continue to plink away at catching my PC Monster Hunter account up to my PS4 one.

Hunts, Singletons and Dragalias

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I was all over the place this weekend as far as gaming time spent.  I would say that largely this was the weekend that I did not play World of Warcraft…  but that isn’t entirely true.  I logged in every day and did my Emissary quest, and then last night while watching Fear the Walking Dead season finale I was piddling around on my Draenei Paladin.  Past that however I didn’t end up doing much in the game I had until now been almost exclusively playing.  This weekend saw a major resurgence of Monster Hunter World, in part because they are just about to release the Wyvern Ignition blade quest to the PC crew and I want it.  In fact the Fall Festival event has a bunch of the quests all lumped together at once and I plan on trying to pick them up as well.  That means unfortunately I have to be able to get my way to High Rank, which also means I am going to need to play in a more focused manner than I am used to.

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Weirdly enough I have found myself lately favoring the Hammer instead of the Long Sword.  While I am still maintaining a collection of swords and effectively keeping both weapons up to date…  I am finding that there are just some monsters that become easy to farm with the hammer.  Namely Radobaan is nonsense easy with a hammer, and the stupid spin attack off of a surface is amazing in a whole lot of situations.  Right now I am largely sticking to the Iron line of hammers because it allows me to craft them fairly easily… and also sets me up for a Nergi hammer at some point.  I am up to the point in the quest chain where I need to hunt a Rathalos and a Diablos…  which will be challenging I am sure but also doable given I have beaten both of them multiple times.  Diablos should be considerably easier with a hammer than I am used to with Longsword.  The other weapon that I want to craft at some point in the switch axe, which is something I played with and enjoyed at high level but never really messed with at the lower levels.  If I am remembering correctly…  Zorah Magdaros is immediately following the quest chain I am on and then I will be moving into High Rank territory.  If I put my mind to it I should be able to wrap that up before the event starts I believe Thursday or Friday.

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The other game that I have been playing a shocking amount of lately is Magic the Gathering Arena.  On September 27th they launched the Open Beta and with it in theory the last of the card resets.  Since then I have started tinkering with decks and have a few reasonable options….  but honestly mostly find myself playing Stompy Green/Steel Leaf Champion or my Mono Black Burn deck.  The first I am still tuning but the Mono Black Burn is still performing like a champ, but since it was built before the advent of Guilds of Ravnica it could probably be greatly improved with a few cards that are now available and with splashing another color.  Assassin’s Trophy is still the champion of the new expansion so far, but I am also loving a bunch of cards like the Nullhide Feerox and as far as one drops go… I love Pelt Collector that increases in potency as you start summoning bigger creatures.

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They had a freebie event this weekend that allowed you to create a singleton deck and so long as you got a single win… you got an uncommon or better card.  This netted me several mythics and rares, but also served to keep me engaged and grinding.  Unfortunately they allowed Rat Colony decks…  which by rules can have any number of copies of the card rat colony…  so essentially when you get matched up with one of those you might as well concede out because there is no way your janky singleton mess can keep up with it.  I also had a large number of wins under questionable terms this weekend…  namely there were several times when I got an awful lot of damage out of Llanowar Elves.  I am not exactly proud of this moment when I enchanted one with Blanchwood Armor to ultimately win the game.  Guilds of Ravnica sealed was a heck of a lot of fun and I went 3/3 with my deck…  the prime problem being that my love of black and green keep me from drafting pretty much anything else.  It isn’t that I cannot see the good in other colors… its just that my brain values those colors over pretty much anything else.  I am in fact Golgari at heart.

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In the “Game I didn’t expect to play” category… I was somehow busy enough during the tail end of the week to completely miss Dragalia Lost becoming a thing.  As such on the podcast I was introduced to the game when all of the other members of the show were talking about it…  then was super slow getting the podcast out because I kept spacing out while playing it Sunday morning.  It is an awful lot of fun, but I am struggling with the same problem I have with other mobile games in thinking “this would be so much better if it were not a mobile game”.  I think I largely just hate touch screen interfaces, and while this game is an awful lot of fun… the clunky nature of having to drag your finger around the screen makes it feel extremely awkward.  If this were on the switch I would be completely hooked, but on a phone…  you still have that barrier that I don’t like playing on my phone.  The other problem I am encountering is it completely shreds my battery, so I guess I need to tweak down the settings to try and come up with a flavor that looks less pretty but doesn’t decimate my charge.

Lastly we have the podcast itself, that I named Gacha of Mana since Dragalia Lost reminded me so much of Secret of Mana.  You have a brash guy, a blond girl, and some sort of a sprite thing that provides a lot of the comic relief.  Anyways during the show we talk about Spiderman PS4, Magic the Gathering Arena Open Beta, Celeste, Dragalia Lost… and then a conversation about how the grind in Battle for Azeroth just feels lousy.  The last part is largely why I had a weekend without much Warcrafting, as I am trying to limit my exposure to maybe extend the amount of time it takes me to angrily quit.  I need to spend some time tonight doing Mythics, but in truth I have reached a point where that doesn’t even matter that much to me given it will be a box of disappointment on Tuesday.

Dolly and Dot Are My Best Friends

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Last night was the launch of Battle for Azeroth the new expansion for World of Warcraft, and as I said yesterday it sort of snuck up on me.  Blizzard was doing a global release for the first time in my memory meaning that while a lot of the world did in fact get the game on August 14th…  the United States got it in the evening of the 13th.  So it was in fact midnight CEST on the 14th for Europe but for me personally it launched at 5pm my time.  I was not however sitting at the keyboard waiting for the gates to open as it were…  because it was 5 before I managed to get to town from work.  That then triggered the whole list of things I need to do when I first get home as well as nomming some tasty noms…  finally ending up at the keyboard around 6ish.

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At that point I was pleasantly surprised that I got right in with zero queue or waiting.  There were reports of folks having some issues with the login server, but thankfully I had none of those issues and effectively sailed right in.  I even tempted fate about 8:30 last night and decided to swap from my desktop upstairs to my laptop downstairs…  and even at that point I was able to log straight in without much issue.  I am not sure if this is a smaller than normal launch day, or if they were just really that prepared for the launch.  Whatever the case it went smoothly and collectively myself, Grace and Mor decided to get the desert zone out of the way first and spent the rest of the evening roaming around Vol’dun.

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For my troubles I managed to get my amulet-of-not-artifact-power to level 2 just barely shy of level 3, collected 2 pieces of the upgradeable gear that has talent point unlocks on it, and dinged 111 with about halfway to 112.  I consider it a very productive night given that I did not take any time off from work and really didn’t “grind” that hard at anything.  I believe both Grace and Mor are further ahead than me, but at some point I will catch up and hopefully reach the first dungeon unlock, though in truth I didn’t notice if there was one we could queue for already or not.  I am surprised at just how much story there is in this expansion… like not just text story but I seem to be drowning in really awesome cut scenes.  If the rest of this expansion carries on the same way as the beginning has… it is going to maybe be one of the better expansions in World of Warcraft history even with the questionable PVP narrative.

The above video is going to be a bit of a spoiler, but if you care to watch… it features my favorite moment so far in Battle for Azeroth.  Meerah the awesome Vulpera responsible for driving the caravan around Vol’dun serenades her pair of Alpacas.  Dolly and Dot are the best and are probably going to be the break out hit from this expansion.  It reminds me a lot of the singing Quaggan from Guild Wars 2, and is similarly memeable.  Meerah herself was apparently voiced by the very amazing Deva Marie, so extra awesome bit about the quest.  ~Dolly and Dot are my best friends~  ~they pull my wagon through dunes of sands~  ~they have small teeth and they love to eat…~  then sadly the song is cut off by a mean ole troll who doesn’t appreciate awesomeness.

I am hoping we get a lot more Meerah, Dolly and Dot as I go further into this zone.

Follow Up to Yesterdays Post

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As a follow up to yesterdays post about Monster Hunter World PC… when I took a break to move downstairs to the laptop I decided to fire up the game there to see what sort of settings I would have to play on to get the game functional.  What you are seeing is MHW on Low settings and 720p resolution and even then… I was only managing to see about 25 fps.  For reference the gaming laptop I have is in the top bar of the site but also linking it here.  As far as the stats go… it has:

  • Intel Core i7 4th Gen 4720HQ (2.60 GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2 GB GDDR5
  • 16 GB Memory
  • 1 TB HDD
  • 128 GB SSD

The game is effectively unplayable given that I am only seeing 25 fps in town and even then it wildly fluctuates down into the teens and up into the thirties.  Essentially hopefully you can make your own determinations as to how well the game is going to run on your system between the two baselines I have given you.  Now the positive is…  steam does allow you to return games if you end up trying it out and it simply not working at all.  Personally right now I am streaming Monster Hunter World through Parsec on my gaming desktop upstairs when I am playing downstairs on the laptop.  This is honestly the way I am gaming most of the time these days and is probably going to keep me from upgrading that laptop anytime soon.

 

Monster Hunter World PC Thoughts

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This weekend I played a significant amount of Monster Hunter World on the PC.  This morning I am going to talk a bit about my thoughts related to it and why it maybe isn’t the dumpster fire that the internet seems to think it is.  First off you are not going to get much general Monster Hunter commentary since I have belabored that point at length on this blog.  I love the game and think that for the most part everyone should give it a shot on whatever platform seems most comfortable for you personally.  I played the hell out of it on the PS4 and only backed off a bit when I got bit by the Elder Scrolls Online bug again…  which has moved recently into desperately trying to prepare for the World of Warcraft expansion.  Basically don’t ever take me moving on from a game as a reason not to play it because quite honestly I am fickle as hell when it comes to game.  I play a lot of different things and shift wildly between them as the mood suits me.

You can get a link to my current PC build up in the menu of this site but for those reading via RSS I will summarize the high points.  The relevant information:

I technically have an SSD in this system but have long since run out of space to run games from it…  so for the most part I linked the drive that the game itself is running on.  For sake of reference I attempted to screenshot all of the relevant graphical settings I am using.

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Essentially I set the resolution to 1080p and attempted to max everything out to see what sort of gameplay that would give me.  For the most part I get 60 frames per second, with the occasional dip into the 55ish territory as you can sometimes see sub 60 numbers in the lower left hand corner of these screenshots.  However it feels very smooth given that I personally cannot seem to differentiate between about 40 fps and 60 fps that well.  Ultimately I wanted to throw these numbers out there however  I have a 5th gen x99 setup running a still fairly beefy GTX 980 graphics card.  Your mileage may vary wildly if you are using a system less capable than that, but I am not really sure how far below.

The game looks infinitely better than it did on the PS4 and had I the time this weekend I would have installed it on my laptop to see what sort of concessions I needed to make it get it running on a far lower end machine.  The laptop being a 4th Gen i7 which is the generation of processor in the recommended settings, and a mobile gtx 960M… which given the rules of mobile cards means it likely performs about the same as a desktop 700 series since the desktop did not get the 800 series.  Regardless it is further testing I want to do so that I could give some estimates of what the game would run like and look like on a lower end machine.  The truth is I played most of the weekend on the laptop, but I did so using Parsec streaming off of my gaming machine upstairs.  I still am deeply in love with that software.

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The biggest takeaway for me personally is just how phenomenally good the game looks on the PC.  On the baseline PS4 everything felt very muddy for lack of a better word.  There were lots of moments when everything seemed like there was a thin coat of vasoline on the lens and you couldn’t quite focus on anything specific.  This means that a lot of the vistas in this game were completely lost to me and might as well have been static background images.  However on the PC there have been numerous points where I just stop and stare the the scenes in awe of just how cool everything looks.  I have a hard drive full of screenshots already and according to steam I am only twelve hours into the game.

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It is highly likely that this is an experience that the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro players have already had… but for use plebs still stuck on the lower end machines in this generation…  the difference is extremely noticeable.  Now all of that said…  my awe of the game comes from a console player getting to see the world I already love in much higher detail.  From the general standpoint of a PC gamer… the game still has some wonky stuff going on in the way that the world looks and it is the same sort of stuff you see in a lot of console ports.  Textures don’t always look as crisp as you might expect and what appears to be in focus versus blurred out is all over the place.  Notice in the above image who the background appears so much crisper than the character in the foreground for example, just random goofy stuff that you don’t notice in motion but do notice when the action stops.

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One of the weirder revelations for me personally is that the game is completely connected into steam groups… and seems to rely on your steam friends list and the groups you are a member of in place of the clan system.  This means that I already happen to have a Greysky Armada group ready to go and you can see me up in the gathering hall flying the colors of our guild…  even taking into account the custom imagery we uploaded for it from FFXIV.  The only problem here is…  I think those of us who have lots of groups and massive friend lists at this point…  are maybe bogging down the network?  It seems to take forever to bring up a friends list dialog, or to browse the sessions that your friends are in.  This seems to have improved over the week, but is still way more sluggish than it felt on the console.

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The real problem however is that the network connectivity seems to be extremely fickle, with Match Making generally not working at all…  and the browsing of existing sessions working about as well.  You are going to see this window a lot with a 50382-MW1 error being throw which is essentially the “cannot connect” generic error message.  Spawning your own instance however seems to work reliably well, and joining an instance a friend is in also seems to work fairly well.  I’ve managed to play with my friend Wolfy at several points during the weekend, but just go into the situation expecting things to be less than reliable.  I feel like the PC is a leap forward overall given that it allows you to integrate with your existing list of Steam friends…  but the overall way that grouping works in Monster Hunter World is still extremely awkward.  This is one thing that Dauntless has going for it, is that grouping as a whole just feels more natural.

If you want to see me fail miserably at a hunt and mash the shit out of my keyboard and mouse here is the stream from Sunday morning.  The keyboard is getting more comfortable as I go but I will say it was a challenge to get used to after being fairly comfortable with the PS4 controller.  For the most part I have rolled with the default keybinds, but you can in fact remap most everything.  The only thing that I really have changed is that the initial set up for Longsword was Left Mouse for basic attacks, Right Mouse for thrust, and Ctrl Key for Spirit Blade…  which was functional but not exactly fitting with the priority that I have those attacks.  I swapped Right Mouse and Ctrl to give me something that feels more natural given that I rarely actually thrust, the only negative however is that it makes it more challenging to do the leap out of the way slash attack.  My fingers are long however and for the most part I can hit any ability that I need to.  Your mileage may vary given how comfortable you are reaching into odd spots on the keyboard.  I do however need to sort out something other than F1 + Number to get to the quick bar items because that really doesn’t work for me right now.

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All in all I am really happy with the PC port and especially if you have been waiting in the wings due to a lack of console…  you should totally pick this up.  From what I am hearing it is both the biggest selling Japanese Steam game of all time, and the biggest Steam launch of 2018 so far…  so much of the issues that are happening currently are probably just compounded by that fact.  As the crush of players coming in to hunt some monsters dwindles a bit…  I think a lot of the network weirdness is going to mysteriously go away.  It is 7 am CST and right now Steam Charts is showing 245,535 concurrent players…  with an all-time peak of 329,333 which was also achieved apparently in the last 24 hours.  Basically it is super popular right now and as a result there are going to be some growing pains.  If you cannot deal with that maybe wait a month before picking it up, however the game does always default back to a single player state allowing you to get in and experience the game play regardless of the current network conditions.

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If you found yourself on the fence about this title I hope this post offers some wisdom.  Like I said I need to get in and actually install the game on my laptop to give it a lower end impression as well.  I will try and do that over the coming days…  but not likely tonight given that apparently Battle For Azeroth launches at 2pm CST?  Talk about that game release sneaking up on me.  I hope you have a great day and an awesome week.

 

Moms and Minor Gaming

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This weekend was largely not about gaming, as is often the case when a major holiday is occurring.  In past years we have done the divide and conquer thing when it comes to Mother’s Day festivities, with me getting up super early to go to Mass with my mother and then my wife sleeping in and going to lunch with her mom.  However with the amount of work that my wife has been having to do lately trying to prep her kids for the impending AP Exam…  after missing two weeks of instruction time due to the walkout…  she is more than a little sleep deprived.  I was legitimately concerned about her making it home safely if she was on the road for long periods of time alone.

As a result we crammed everything into one day and left the house around 6 am…  getting home around 6 pm.  However in the middle of all of that I believe there were sufficient moms day festivities for all involved.  It did however lead to a really tiring Sunday experience given that we had lots of driving perforated by various other awkward moments like my wife’s sister referring to the litter box as a “poop bed” or her inviting an aunt that neither my wife or I can stand to lunch with us.  Later in the evening there was plenty of awkwardness as my wife’s brother and father got into some political diatribe that was just flat out factually incorrect and also highly racist.  We made it home in one piece and still have most of our sanity intact…  but I did have a rather fitful night of sleep.

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As far as gaming goes I spent some of my time Saturday working on the weekly quests in Monster Hunter World.  I am down to just needing three arena challenges and I am hoping I can connect with someone before the reset happens to do some.  I can technically solo them, but I really really do not like soloing them.  I solo’d the Pink Rathian arena challenge with longsword and that one in particular is really annoying because you do not have the full compliment of healing items.  I pulled out a victory, but it took a long time and I wound up taking three of my eight deaths in the process.  I am one item away from having enough of the event only Sakura items…  but am nowhere near able to craft the set because of general lack of coins.

I wish you could roulette your way into the Arena Challenges because I really am not a huge fan of playing solo in Monster Hunter World.  Now that PizzaMaid is easing her way back into the game I might try and snag her for some shenanigans, because most everyone else I know that is still active gets online way later than I do.  Grace unfortunately bounced off the game as did Mor and while Thalen and I share a timezone… he is always around significantly later because baby happens.  If it does not look like I will have folks to do this with I will ultimately try and solo my way through it, because I know without a doubt I can do it…  I just won’t really enjoy it.  I also ran quite a few tempered roulettes just for the sake of fun and managed to get a couple of decent decorations from it.

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Over in Destiny 2 I am still roaming around but have made all of the movement I can essentially before the reset.  I am still too low level to get into heroic strikes which is unfortunate given that I need to run several of them to move forward a quest line that I am currently on…  that I am assuming is related to the sleeper simulant.  The highlight of the weekend however was getting the Armamentarium again, which allows me to run around with dual grenades in both void and solar specs.  Unfortunately however it does not give me THREE grenades in arc striker spec.  This would have been a completely awesome item if it were able to do that…  now I am wondering if it is as good as my auto-rifle reloading chest but largely running around with it for sheer nostalgia sake.

I am still largely on the fence with this expansion and am contemplating taking Squirrel up on the offer to get the raid in.  I still have yet to defeat Gaul in the raid even though I have a stack of tokens from our attempts.  Folks bounced faster than we had time to progress our way through it, and while I would love to resurrect a Greysky raid I somehow doubt that will ever really be a thing again.  There just are not enough people active and playing, and part of me is contemplating just pushing the Greysky leadership off on my secondary PS4 account and moving my main back to Tequila Mockingbird so I at least have an active clan of folks to play with.  My main PS4 account never left and has always been in TQMB…  that is unless they punted me for inactivity.

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I am still enjoying the mechanical loop of Destiny 2 again…  but I am also feeling somewhat listless as I don’t have a major goal apart from making my light higher.  I managed to level the Hunter to 30 this weekend but have yet to really touch any of the story content.  I like that Warmind seems to not be connected to having finished Curse of Osiris or versa vicea.  I need to push the Warlock up via event quests so I can at least start doing the milestones on each of them each week to slowly push up my weapon light level that way.

Bad Magic

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Once again I did nonsense to finish out my weekly limited bounties in Monster Hunter World.  The problem is my currently play times seem to be diametrically opposed to the play times of my friends who are currently playing the game.  Most nights I start playing early in the evening… around 6 pm cst and am logging out around 9 pm when folks start to show up.  As a result I have gotten used to doing things is really silly ways involving a bunch of random players.  This weeks was weirdly harder than the 9 star quest in part because at the end of the day…  people will likely always be farming Xeno’jiiva for parts and that quest is really hard to fail.

The 8 Star quest however is more or less Nergigante, Vaal Hazak, Teostra, Kushala Daora, and Kirin.  All six of those have a pretty high threshold for failure so I feel like more often than not players are just doing them solo…  something that I weirdly don’t enjoy that much.  So instead I check the SoS Roulette and see what is available and ultimately managed to get all of them done with random players.  The easiest was weirdly enough Kirin…  which considering how big of a pain in the butt the tempered version was seemed like it would have been the hardest.  The most challenging is generally Nergigante because if you get players who legitimately need to fight him…  they are more often than not simply unprepared for how much harder he is going to hit them than what they are used to.

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The truth is I need to start farming Nergi for parts because there are several weapons I would love to be able to make that require copious amounts of bits.  Last night I managed to craft the first version of the Nergi Sword and Shield, because in truth that is probably the weapon I am most comfortable with if I don’t have my longsword.  I spent some time earlier in the week playing with Gun Lance because also as part of the weeklies I needed to kill a bunch of Fanged Wyvern…  which mean’t I could kill that green punching bag Great Jagras over and over.  I think its a weapon I could get used to with time, and I managed to pick up a couple of reasonable options during the Kulve Taroth event.  Still very much in love with this game and hoping they give us some more surprise events soon…  because I can sorta see an end to what I actually deeply want to be farming.

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The rest of my evening last night was spent poking around with my Fauxlgari Exploratic deck which is a tweaked version of Golgari Exploration…  one of the stock decks that come with MTG Arena.  It is not the most successful thing in the world for me, but I enjoy playing it and if it is not going my way pretty early on I concede out to move on to the next battle.  If everything goes as planned you end up with a few really powerful creatures that keep growing each round, combined with Lurking Chupacabra that you can use to start taking out critters on your opponents side.  It isn’t perfect and I am sure I should tune it some more.  Right now I feel like I am playing with way too much land because I have had moments where all I am drawing is land for way too many rounds in a row.  Regardless I find the whole experience of playing it enjoyable and I can lose hours just plinking away at other players.

I think that ultimately is going to the role MTG Arena plays for me…  just letting me play magic when I want to play it.  For whatever reason MTG Duels and the year branded Planeswalker games always felt really limited in the types of magic I wanted to play.  They were shadowboxed in on a specific number of sets and as a result it felt more limited than what we already have in Arena.  I like just sitting down and playing, regardless of the win condition.  Sure it gets frustrating when you go on a losing streak when you are one win away from being done for the day…  but even then the simple playing of cards makes me happy.  It is something I have missed more than I realized…  simply because I don’t have access to a lot of MTG players right now.  I play to have fun and my version of fun is not exactly drift compatible with the meta.  I enjoy bad magic.

Rudderless

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Last night was largely spent cleaning up quests that I have had in my log for a long while over in Monster Hunter World.  Since the Kulve event is over…  I feel like I don’t have as much of a pressing goal as I previously did.  I could of course just farm things like Nergigante for parts that I need to make awesome weapons, but the Kulve event sorta robbed me of a bit of the drive there.  Apart from the bow… I have a reasonable weapon option of every type right now.  Sure there are things I want to make but the need isn’t there in the same way that it once was given that I have a box full of decent options.  At this point I am hunter rank 70 and the meter is climbing extremely slowly on doing normal stuff.  In theory I should be engaging in a bunch of tempered fights but I really don’t like soloing in Monster Hunter World that much, and I also didn’t much feel like SOS Roulette last night…  so was stuck just wandering around and knocking out things that have been sitting in my log for awhile.

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Monster Hunter World has more or less become my MMO of choice right now, and as a result it is making every other MMO feel really weird to play.  I’ve largely been checked out of Final Fantasy XIV for awhile now, and the Battle for Azeroth changes are making me not that keen on World of Warcraft.  I have the desire to play Elder Scrolls Online…  but I find myself lacking the focus since that is a game that requires all of my attention.  I realize this is an odd thing to say given that Monster Hunter World is way more reactionary than ESO is…  but I also have to play MHW upstairs and with Elder Scrolls I can chill out downstairs with the laptop while watching television.  I find my mind wandering or paying too close attention to something that is on television and end up in a horrible spot in Tamriel.  The other game that is sorta calling my name at this very moment is Star Wars the Old Republic because I really would love to play through the rest of the content I have missed.  I have not done any of Knights of the Eternal Throne, in fact the first quest of that expansion is sitting waiting there on my Jedi Knight for me to pick up and start playing.

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Lately I have been trying to ease my way back into Destiny 2 given that the new expansion lands on Tuesday.  The moment to moment PVE gameplay is still every bit as fun as it ever was…  but my current problem with this game is actually a silly one.  I have been out of inventory space for a very long time and the pain of having to juggle items between characters or dismantle things immediately upon getting them wears me out.  When I have an MMO and my bags are a mess or I am lacking enough bag space in general… I find myself extremely demotivated to play it.  This is in part what is going wrong with Project Gorgon at this very moment…  I have next to no bag space and as a result I am constantly having to play the inventory management game which is the exact opposite of fun.  The expansion is adding another 100 slots and supposedly some of the kiosks we used to have back in Destiny 1 so we will see how this improves my opinion of the game by not having to care quite so closely about what was in each inventory slot.  In theory I would love to push my Warlock and Hunter through Curse of Osiris…  because that is a sign of just how hard I stalled out on this game.  The expansion landed and I only managed to get one character through before legitimately giving up and moving on to other things.

I’m in a really weird space with gaming in general right now and it seems like I spend more time getting ready to play a game… than actually sitting down and playing a game.  There is an intangible wanderlust that has effected me and I am not sure what the cure is.  It is almost as though I am too stressed on a daily basis to actually sit down and enjoy the things I am supposed to enjoy.  I’ve been through these periods in the past and sadly it has also cut off any desire I had to stream or be engaged with other people in any way.  It has been a rough several weeks and I have a feeling that at some point it has to let up… and the clouds will part once more and I will feel like a human being.  Apologies to anyone who is attempting to interact with me right now because I am sure the experience is lacking.