Clipped Wings

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Last night I had every intent of coming home and playing some Destiny 2…  but instead I logged into World of Warcraft to “check what gear was up on world quests” and never really logged back out.  I’m still very much stuck in “must complete the emissary caches” mode and as a result I had one in Argus for the Argussian Reach faction that I lacked enough quests to complete.  As a result I started unlocking more of the planet until I finally got enough to finish it out.  This however was super time consuming because doing anything on Argus feels needlessly tedious due to the packed base pop and terrain that goes out of its way to keep you from going from point a to b.  For my troubles I got a big fat nothing… or in truth a little bit of gold that feels insanely lackluster given the amount of effort I went through to be able to complete it.  So the real question I ask to you more seasoned players that did not take a massive break after Nighthold…  did they just fucking nerf emissary caches into the ground?  In the past these used to be a significant source of gear upgrades, and also used to drop legendaries like candy.  At this point I have no legendaries and have not seen a single piece of gear from the six caches I have turned in since starting up playing again.  Is this just a bad streak or did they simply remove any reasonable rewards from these things?

I’ve managed to move the needle a little further forward and am sitting at 884 and I think 15 concordance on my two primary weapons.  I still have Tomb of Sargeras LFR to do this week but in truth it seems like grinding Argus is going to be my best bet for gear level movement.  The only problem there is that I hate Argus and want to nuke the planet from orbit.  I mean in all reality it isn’t that bad but it just feels shitty to return to land mounts again after being able to fly literally everywhere else.  The base pop reminds me of a lot of what it feels like to roam around in a Rift zone where everything is super aggro and ready to reach out and thump you if you get too close.  The main difference is that at least in World of Warcraft it is completely reasonable for me to round up 30 mobs and grind them down….  because I did this thing today out of laziness and not wanting to stop.  The only really works if you can keep healing yourself like the protection warrior can, but nonetheless it is a viable option.  In Rift if I had more than a couple of mobs I would have fallen over, which makes the game feel super tedious to play.  If I apply myself and gobble up every quest I can do on Argus each day… I may be able to purchase a single piece of 910 gear which is a slow way to upgrade but potentially preferable to hoping for lucky double platnium bonus warforged gear from LFR.

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Towards the end of the evening while rewatching Force Awakens I did wind up grinding a bit in Destiny 2 and managed to complete the Mercury Flashpoint.  When I turned in with Cayde-6 I managed to get my very first Masterwork item…  and I maybe just almost accidentally called it Warforged.  The positive it is at least an Auto Rifle which is something I will use.  Grace said last night that when she got her first… it was a sidearm…  which is something that no sane and rational person would ever want to use.  I was absolutely certain that the game would give me a sniper rifle or something else that I generally loathe.  Then again if that were the case the decision to shard it and get crafting materials would have been simple…  in this case I have the strong desire to start using it even though Solemn Hymn isn’t exactly one of my favorite weapons.  As far as the perk on mine, it gives a small range boost which is reasonable enough for the moment.  Were it a warforged Better Devils I might work on trying to get the best possible roll, but for now I am okay with a ranged boost.  I have a late night tonight because Star Wars…  but I might be able to hop on when I get home and give it a proper testing.

Deceiver’s Fall

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What a difference a night makes.  I’ve been continuing to work on my Orc Warrior was for the foreseeable future it is likely going to be my World of Warcraft main.  Sure I will continue to visit Belghast and unpack him from mothballs but I’ve never really given Horde a proper chance.  I am also playing way more casually as a Hordie than I traditionally do as Alliance, which seems to help my general enjoyment of the game.  I know were I to start playing on Alliance again as a regular thing… I would be back in the raid before I knew it and being way more serious about the game than I really want to.  Sure on Horde side there are raid options but they tend to be super casual about that sort of thing, and also tend to cram it all into a single night win or lose.  I’ve been focusing more on Fury given that I doubt I will actually be tanking much other than the occasional run with friends.  I got pinged by my good friend Cuppy last night as I was starting to wind down for the evening and it turns out she is a healer, and roughly the same gear level so I foresee some dungeon running in our future.  As of this morning I am sitting at 866 with the only thing holding me back still a 800 heirloom trinket.  I looked at the auction house options for that last night and there is no way I can justify darkmoon trinket prices just to get a very temporary boost in level.

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My focus for the night was getting through as much Looking for Raid content as I possibly could given my item level.  I started the night cherry picking world quests focusing on only the quests that had the potential for gear level increases.  This managed to push me up to the 660 item level breaking point and as a result could start doing the Tomb of Sargeras LFR, thinking in theory that I might get reasonable gear from it.  Unfortunately the luck was not on my side and I wound up walking away empty on most fights.  I did however pick up a warforged breastplate and a set of gauntlets at least making the night somewhat profitable.  I need to ultimately sort out re-roll tokens because I walked in without any.  In the past there was some sort of a catch up mechanic allowing you to get more of the older tier of token, and I will have to figure out if that exists here or not.  I had never done any of the Tomb of Sargeras so it was at the very least cool to see it.  I am certain that the LFR fights don’t actually represent the real fights that well but still interesting and enjoyable.  The main thing I have noticed about being horde side is that LFR seems way less toxic than it is over on Alliance.  People seem to just keep their heads down and do the content without need for much bullshit, and I can respect that greatly.  Maybe I just had a lucky night, but whatever the case I approve.

Against the Legion Again

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This weekend was a majority comfort gaming weekend, and as a result I spent a good deal of my time working on the Orc Warrior.  Sure I played some Destiny 2 and probably have some things to say about the Curse of Osiris DLC but I will save additional commentary for another day.  I did manage to unlock prophecy weapons and grind out two of them in the periods of time when I was not actually playing World of Warcraft.  Most of the weekend was spent leveling and I managed to ding 110 Sunday afternoon.  From there I spent the rest of my time unlocking all of the stuff required to start doing world quests in Broken Isles and Argus all for the purpose of attempting to gear.  After essentially an evening of cherry picking quests and doing the three emmisary caches available to me… I managed to push my level up to 846.  I still have a ton of dungeons to run for the purpose of unlocking my class hall, but I do have through Nighthold LFR open to me and I am considering running that tonight for the purpose of trying to fill out some of the slots that are not amazing.  Right now I still have one heirloom trinket left and that is severely dragging my average down.  The other big problem I am having is that I have horrible relics and that is mostly a case of being unlock in the randomized item quests available in the world.  Lastly my Helm is pretty horrible, but I could spend a little gold to bring it up a bit because its from the class hall.

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It feels so odd to be doing the legion questing thing all over again on a brand new character, and I am not necessarily looking forward to doing all of Suramar or the Broken Isles storylines.  That said if I keep poking around on this character I likely will just for the sake of things to do between the gear based world questing.  It is going to be weird having both an Alliance and Horde main that are warriors, but then again there isn’t another class that I like anywhere near as well as them.  I need to start doing a daily drive by at the deathwing alternate appearance as well.  I am hoping the unlocks I did on my other Warrior will count towards that weapon appearance, but I am somehow doubting if they actually will or not.  It would have been awesome if I just got them handed to me when I dinged on a second warrior, because some of these alternate appearances are worse than others.  Like there is no way in hell I want to do the Corrupted Ashbringer appearance ever again…  and sadly my next highest horde character is my 100 Tauren Paladin.  I am thinking I probably won’t play that character until the expansion lands and just try and brush off all of the artifact madness from this expansion.  In theory I should be focusing all of the classes I never leveled and working on trying to get them a class mount.  Instead I am running up a duplicate class that I already have reasonable geared on the other side of the fence and cursing the fact that the faction wall exists in the first place.  All of that said though… I do find the design of Legion and the micro-goals spread across my map a really relaxing way of spending an afternoon.

Schmoradric Cube

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

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

 

Many Osiris Handle It

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Yesterday was of course the release of the first expansion content to Destiny 2 in the form of the Curse of Osiris DLC.  I was sick yesterday so completely out of it and did not realize until that evening that I could have been playing around in the expansion during the day.  I did however have time to finish the main story line and am now in the after game that involves going around and doing a bunch of adventures on Mercury.  I am not entirely certain what I was expecting but I enjoyed myself and found a lot of the new areas really cool to roam around.  The level cap is bumping up from 20 to 25 and the light cap is bumping from 305 to 335.  This means we all need to spend time pushing up that number once again, and have a whole slew of new weapons to help us with that process.  Based on what I am seeing blues seem to still be bound to the 5 below your base light level as I am seeing 303 drops with a base light of 308.8.  Legendary engrams which seem to be dropping like candy for me are dropping at my base light level and as a result seem to be providing a decent way of bumping up my overall power level.  Unlike before I am not quite as rabidly focused on trying to squeeze the last bit of light out of each week as I have in the past.  I am sure this will change but for the moment I am trying to take things easy as I may or may not have burnt myself out a bit.

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In Destiny 1 we spent a good deal of time exploring the Fallen and the Hive and with Destiny 2 we have spent the bulk of our time dealing with the Cabal.  This expansion sees us taking on the Vex in ways that we have not seen before.  You get a decent idea over the course of the content we have seen to this point that the Vex that essentially hacks time to create the most favorable outcomes for themselves.  However we have not actually really seen this in progress other than the tiny unexplained bits of the Black Garden.  With Curse of Osiris we get to roam around in the massive simulation worlds that the Vex are constantly using to collect data to update their models.  What is really cool about this is that we see simulated versions of all of the other races, that are very similar…  but not quite exactly the same.  Pay close attention to the way that the “Axis” versions of various troop types look because they appear to be almost Vex hybrid versions.  As far as the length of the expansion… I would say it is probably about the same number of missions as the base game.  You spend a lot of time roaming around and trying to sort out how to stop this one Vex simulated future from coming true.

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As far as characters…  Sagira is great and I like the fact that even after completing the main game we occasionally get to hang out with her again.  Osiris was honestly not much of a character, and still remains this madman prophet that we are really no closer to fully understanding than we were going into the expansion.  Brother Vance still has a fanatical devotion to Osiris even though he could not be bothered to pop out to the Lighthouse long enough to even see his acolytes.  There is a nice passing of the Torch of sorts to Ikora, because really she is the Warlock we care about.  Its not so much that the student has surpassed the master… its just that the student is done being a student.  If nothing else this expansion brought with it one of the most badass final boss fights I have seen in awhile, and while it isn’t exactly technically complex it is fun as hell and makes the player feel awesome…  even though it is really Osiris hacking reality to make it happen.  It reminds me a lot of the way the Oryx fight in the Kings Fall raid felt… with this massive imposing figure that you are able to bring down by doing some stuff with some things.  Unlike the main campaign I am actually looking forward to finishing it on each of my alts, as I attempt to get them ready to start pushing up power level once again.

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As part of the main story we get another choice of a vanguard legendary, and I not shockingly went with the auto rifle that looks and feels a lot like the Jiangshi AR4 that I cannot seem to get the Gunsmith to give me.  The bulk of the really interesting system changes go into effect next week with the December 12th patch, but we did get a fresh assortment of weapons to find and an armor ornament system.  I’m looking forward to the next Iron Banner so that I can unlock the requirements to use those with my Iron Banner set.  Additionally there was a refresh of the eververse store and with it a new set of fluff engrams, this time including a set of armor that I think actually looks cool.  I was not a big fan of the weird formal armor set that came from the last batch, and even though I have collected a set of it on my Titan I doubt I will ever wear it.  This time around however it is Vex inspired and looks pretty badass…  but it has some hefty competition with both my New Monarchy and Iron Banner armor sets.  All in all I think I am going to like the influx of content, but I am also not extremely focused on grinding to get everything instantly either.

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Honestly the thing that has most soured me on Destiny 2…  may or may not have anything to do with Destiny 2.  A few weeks ago on patch day I started having issues running the game.  Ultimately this thing would occur where the game would freeze for anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes in the worst cases…  all the while the audio would continue playing in the background.  If I happened to be watching a YouTube video on the second monitor its video would freeze as well, as would my ability to alt tab or interact with anything.  Everything would recover itself and return me back to whatever I happened to be doing…  and if I was in a group activity the game would rapidly catch me up to the same time frame as the other players…  often resulting in my death.  As a result I had been avoiding doing anything serious and anything that forced players to require on me not fucking up.  I’ve searched the forums and crawled through the bowels of Reddit attempting various fixes, until this morning when I found something that is a possible culprit.  Around about this same time I got forced upon me the heaping pile that is yet another windows 10 update.  As a result it force reset a bunch of my settings, one of which flipped my system into power save mode for some ungodly reason.  Before sitting down to write this post I played a bit of crucible because that seemed to always make it happen…  and seemed to be doing just fine.  I need to run around on Mercury a bit to do some further testing but I am hopeful that maybe this was the mystery sauce that was causing all of my problems.  I would love to be able to return to doing group content without fearing that I would be a liability.

Grind to a Halt

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When we last visited my Orc Warrior on this blog I was just about to start the Warlords content, and this week when I have not been poking my head into Destiny I have spent it pushing forward in World of Warcraft.  It’s honestly been a shock just how fast leveling went until I hit Legion content.  The old world was a confusion slog where I jumped zones each time I saw an exclamation point show up on the adventure guide.  This meant I was constantly jumping zones every few levels and most of that journey was a complete blur.  When I started Outland I did the majority of Hellfire Plateau then jumped over to Terrokar Forest for a little bit before finishing up the grind in Nagrand.  From there I jumped to Northrend and did a good chunk of Borean Tundra before jumping to Grizzly Hills and doing most of it and finally leaping over to Scholazar Basin to finish the run out.  From there we entered the Cataclysm zones and did all of the 80-85 grind in Vashj’ir without actually completely finishing that zone.  Then came Pandaria and I managed to do the entirety of the 85-90 grind without leaving Jade Forest.  From there I went to Draenor where I managed to hit 98 by doing the entirety of Frostfire Ridge and finishing up with just a tiny tiny bit in Spires of Arak.

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This is the point where the express elevator has come to a grinding halt and I’ve been confronted with normal speed leveling because all of my heirlooms petered out at 100.  I chose to do Stormheim first largely because it is both my favorite and least favorite zone at the same time.  All of the Norse themed Vrykul bits are awesome, but all of that faction nonsense is not.  It did give me access to another Order Hall champion quickly however so I am down with that.  At this point I have finished both the main story arc of the zone and the faction bullshit arc and am likely to move on to the next area.  There are a lot of things I have noticed… not the least of which is how ridiculously huge this shield is on my female orc warrior.  It is as thought they scaled the shield for the insanely bulky male models and then just called it good enough for the female ones.  The second of which is how much more intricate and slower paced the Legion content is compared to Pandaria or Warlords.  When I leveled through the content it seemed really quick, but what makes things slog a bit in comparison to what came before is how fragmented the quest hubs quickly become.  This might also be an aspect of the map itself feeling so busy with so many world bosses and objectives hidden out there to slow your journey down.  I cannot resist wasting a few minutes to find a chest that is nearby or going after a mini boss, and as a result my leveling pace has gone to hell.

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At this point I am contemplating investing in a set of Heirlooms which will set me back quite a bit of gold.  It isn’t as much about leveling quickly, it is more about not outpacing the gear I am wearing…. and also not looking like I am picking up scraps from the battlefield while I level.  I’ve liked making outfits for my character up until this point and then progressing my way through the content without having to care too much about swapping out items.  In a perfect world Warcraft would have heirlooms for every slot and I could simply level my alts without ever having to worry about swapping gear out.  With the new races coming in I fully expect to be leveling a lot more alts, and in truth investing in plate 110 heirlooms now will probably helm in the long run given that I tend to play plate wearing classes more than any others.  I am still really bummed about the direction they are taking with artifact weapons.  I would have loved to see them turn them into leveling heirlooms much the way that the items that dropped off Garrosh in Pandaria served this purpose.  It would have been a fitting end to a really awesome chapter of the game to be able to then use those weapons to level your alts.  Still having a lot of fun but I am also ready for the ride to be over and for my character to get geared up.

Xur Week Twelve: 12/1/17

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Destiny 2

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

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

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

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

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

Destiny 1

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

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

Bungie Mostly Gets It

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

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

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

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

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

December 5th

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

December 12th

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

 

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

 

 

 

Destiny 2 Sodium

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

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

Forced Throttling

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

Skill Based Match Making

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

Static Rolls

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

Timed Nightfalls

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

Strikes are Meaningless

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

Still a Great Game

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

Seasonal Swan Song

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I talked a bit about progress in Destiny 2 in yesterdays post but I didn’t really want to get too deep into it figuring I would talk more at length today.  Last week I managed to knock out a bunch of accomplishments, not the least of which was hitting 305 light finally on the Titan.  Granted I realize this is all going to be in vain starting next week as the level cap itself is raising and I assume as well that means the light level with it.  Last week was Iron Banner, the second for console players but the very first for those of us choosing to primary the PC version.  Now on the PS4 I managed to complete a full set of Iron Banner armor on my Titan and my goal was of course to do the same for the PC.  I consider myself extremely lucky because I managed to get the full set after turning in thirteen packages.  There are folks I know who have been grinding away at this all week long and are still missing pieces of armor.  In addition to this I managed to pick up all of the weapons but three…  sidearm, fusion rifle and submachinegun.  Of those the only one that I would have actually used is the Fusion Rifle, but even there I have several options that I like already including Merciless if I am willing to give up my exotic slot and Main Ingredient if I am not.  The most important weapons for me were getting the Pulse Rifle, Auto Rifle and Hand Cannon all of which will see use.  The scout rifle might, but I need to spend some more time playing with it.

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The other thing going on is the fact that this week is effectively the last chance to do anything in Season 1.  Now I am not entirely certain what this means from a player perspective other than the fact that we know a bunch of new stuff is going to happen.  All of the Eververse items are changing out apparently, so that only makes the fact that they have apparently been throttling our xp gain towards bright engrams all the more shitty.  In truth I have gotten the few items that I care about…  namely the Ramen bowl emote and Bandwagon ship.  On top of that I managed to pull three of the exotic ships total and two of the exotic sparrows.  All in all I feel like I made out pretty well for season 1, but what I am really curious about is whether or not all of package loot is changing as well.  There are a number of weapons that I have not managed to get that I really walk…  namely the Curtain Call rocket launcher, Jiangshi AR4 auto rifle and Halfdan-D auto rifle.  I would not mind getting a Morrigan-D rocket launcher either considering I believe it is the only one with tracking still intact.  Finally I really want to complete the hunter set from Io on the off chance that maybe those are changing out as well.  Granted I don’t know any of this, but I know in Destiny 1 they started re-rolling the weapons so that is a possibility here as well I would guess.

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Lastly the other big change for us personally… is that our clan will be resetting from rank 6 to rank 1 next week and we will need to begin the leveling process anew.  Supposedly we will be adding a brand new clan banner standard to the mix because we maxed things out in Season 1.  Additionally the perks for each of the clan ranks will be changing out to a new set more relevant to the content we will be doing, that is at least in theory Vex based.  The only thing that concerns me is that we do not have nearly as many people actively playing right now as we did at the launch of the clan, and as a result the grind is going to go more slowly.  The calculations I had done before said that we needed about 20-25 characters reaching maximum contribution each week to keep us hitting the progression cap each week, and I think in theory we will still have at least that.  I know I will continue to keep contributing my 5000 clan XP on three different characters per week and if things get dire I have a set of characters on the PS4 on a secondary account that could add experience as well.  This whole season thing is new concept to me and I am somewhat excited to see just how different the game is from a loot perspective.  That also means that this week I need to do some significant vault purging to get ready for the introduction of new items.  I am hoping that we get some more space… because we need it across the board from vault to shader storage.  If they really want money from me…  I would throw money at the screen for more storage space.