Rogue Tanks

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Yesterday another big update happened to Destiny 2 that added Masterwork level weapons.  These are special versions of the existing legendaries that include a single stat boost and the ability for the weapon to generate orbs of light.  In theory these can come from anything that rewards legendaries already, but after spending down my stock of tokens I did not actually see any.  Granted I have not actually started doing my weekly powerful engram grind activities, so I might wind up with one through that system.  That said I think the more important update is the fact that every vendor sells a full set of their unique set of armor that unlocks as you turn in packages.  Additionally they have one weapon for sale that is available for a combination of legendary shards and faction tokens.  This means that eventually there will be a week where Lord Shaxx sells the Better Devils or Zavala here sells the Curtain Call.  Basically this is another way of mitigating bad luck in the RNG systems, and I for one am super happy to see it.  I love package loot but it can be frustrating when you keep turning them in and never get the item you are actually after.  Additionally this can generate buzz for players to go back into the game when there is a week with a really great item up for sale.

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Unfortunately I did not spend much time in Destiny 2 last night because I started the evening in World of Warcraft.  By the time I finished doing the few World Quests that had interesting rewards my friend Cuppy popped online and we decided to run a bunch of heroics together.  Heroics always felt easier than they probably should be, but at the way the power levels are now…  they are insanely easy.  For the first Heroic we opted to run Eye of Azshara where a rogue ran off from the group and solo’d more content than the rest of us managed to kill.  He killed the first boss before we could even get to it.  In the second dungeon I am pretty sure it look less than five minutes to do a full clear, and by the time we finally landed on Blackrook and Darkheart Thicket…  we got something resembling a reasonable group and still had zero issue pulling multiple packs and burning things down.  It was one insanely fun night and once again…  zero drama.  All of the groups were chill and once I figured out I had to use /I instead of /P we actually had a lot of people responding and being rather friendly. I guess I need to run some content Alliance side to see if this really is a difference between the factions or if everyone has just reached a point where they are no longer asshats?  Additionally as is usually the case with my blog… as soon as I complain about something karma steps in to invalidate my comments.  Last night I not only picked up a Trinket, but also got the rest of the relic slots that I had been missing.  As a result that takes my overall gear level to 874 which isn’t too shabby for dinging halfway through Sunday.

Patreon and Awards

Just a fair warning…  this morning I am going to jump around between topics like mad because god knows why.

Game Awards

Since Xur no longer comes at a time when it is reasonable for me to post a blurb about him on Fridays, I am left without a clearly defined purpose for what I should be posting.  Last night was as I mentioned yesterday a bit odd because I wound up going with people to see The Disaster Artist.  I swear if that movie is not decorated with at least a few awards during the upcoming awards show season, it will be a complete travesty.  By the time I got home and settled in The Game Awards were already in full swing but I tuned in for the tail end… only to watch Horizon Zero Dawn get completely robbed by everything else and walk away I believe with zero awards.  We’ve talked about this problem a lot on AggroChat that 2017 was a year that just had too many amazing games.  This hurts from an awards prospect but also from a financial prospect given that each player has a finite amount of money to spend on gaming and probably couldn’t do ALL of them in the same year.  I know personally there are a bunch of games that I picked up but have not actually started, in part because I wanted to assist the financial success of the title…  but have lacked the time to devote to them.  Ultimately that is the real tragedy of this year as far as gaming goes…  we had too many awesome things to play and not nearly enough time to play them.

As far as games that were shown off…  Death Stranding still seems completely incomprehensible.  At this point we have seen three trailers and none of them really help to flesh out what the hell is going on…  something to do with naked Norman Reedus, creepy Babies, and the alien black oil from X-Files.  New game that is now on my Radar that I didn’t know about before…  is Witchfire which unfortunately is getting labelled soulsian because everything apparently has to be soulsian now?  It name checks Painkiller in the trailer and that is precisely what it reminded me of.  I can only hope that it also has the same sort of gameplay as Painkiller did, because that game did something unique that shooters just don’t do.  You would have a flurry of activity and mindless mayhem…  and then a moment of calm until you moved up to the next area through a tangible series of gates.  Another thing that people seem to be super excited about is Bayonetta 1, 2 and ultimately 3 coming to the Switch.  I’ve never played a Bayonetta game nor really know anything about them other than the main character being nonsense and not exactly the sort of character that draws me in personally.  Perhaps in the near future I should change this and try out the series especially now that it is available on the PC.

Patreon

Another thing I sort of wanted to talk about is the Patreon change.  Ultimately I get the why of how they ended up going down this avenue, and I am sure someone thought this was a hugely positive change.  From the aspect of supporting a creator it absolutely is because they will wind up getting more of the face value of your donation.  However messaging wise and the feeling right now that everyone is attempting to nickel and dime us with micro-transactions…  there is a lot of push back happening.  Functionally there are two truths about online payments…  firstly that the processing company is going to take a transactional chunk of every fee.  This has nothing to with Patreon and everything to do with them needing to offset the liability of handling financial transactions to a third party company that does literally nothing but this.  Its nothing new to Patreon and just the way online payments work, so that is part one that is becoming transparent now and the cost is being passed on to the supporter instead of being taken out of the creators cut.  The second piece is that every online service needs to charge something for their time in order to support the growth of the platform and the employees that the company needs in order to keep things up and running so to speak.  Once again this was a feel that used to be obfuscated to the donors and just taken out on the back end from the money paid to the creator.  So ultimately more of your money goes to the creators…  but it also means that you are having to pay more money out of your pocket.  I think of this along the same lines as that ever present $2-3 ATM fee that you just sorta grit your teeth and deal with because if you could actually get to a bank during the painfully limited operating window you would instead of harassing a machine in the back corner of a convenience store.

The problem is that we are wired to think of things in certain patterns and it was very clean to say that you wanted to give a dollar a month to support someone.  It felt like you were helping but at the same time felt like such a minuscule amount  of money that you would never end up missing it.  When you start tacking additional cents onto the end of that for some reason it feels like more…  even though once again it is still a tiny amount of money in the grand scheme of things.  However it gives you just enough pause to think about the transaction instead of handing off your dollar happily in the process.  Now the positive is as far as I understand it… these fees are for the transaction itself…  not for the individual donation.  So if you give a dollar a month to a dozen people…  then you get a single transactional charge on your $12 instead of a bunch of individual fees because Patreon is extracting all of that funding from your account at the same time.  You still end up having to pay a cut to Patreon but giving more than one donation at once tends to blunt the blow…  which is ultimately what their advisement was trying to say.  However it was worded so poorly to make it sound like they were ultimately going to phase out the $1 donations.  I got what they were saying… but I also got that the way they were saying it felt shitty.  As a result I seeing a report of a mass exodus of those $1 supporters that end up slowly adding up to a lot of money for several folks.

I have a mixed relationship with Patreon because I waffle back and forth regarding what I think about it.  There are times where I think it is this great business model and ultimately helps fill the gap between the other monetization vehicles that are available for independent creators out there.  There are times I feel like it is the equivalent of internet panhandling and lump it in with all of the insane gofundme campaigns you end up seeing.  All of the time it really depends on whether or not I value what is being created…  and as a result I try really hard to keep that second reaction in check as a result because I realize my personal preference should not be dictated to everyone.  I’ve even kicked around the notion of starting a Patreon myself, but always stop short of doing so because is it really worth the effort?  I do not realistically believe that I could ever do “this” for a living, because I am too used to the stable salary of a developer and manager.  However there are times I think that it would be amazing for all of this to fund itself…  that the blog and podcast and all of the expenses that go with it could somehow make enough money to be “fiscally neutral”.  The problem is the second you enter into any sort of additional money coming in separate from your traditional W-2 employer process…  you are setting yourself up for a world of Tax time hassle.  Right now I figure I would maybe get three to five dollars a month pledged because folks did so out of some weird sense of obligation and then for that extra $50-60 a year it would cause me more headache than it would be worth.  I used to do a significant amount of 1099 contract development work and at that point I had a whole system of extra bank accounts to handle filtering off what I thought would be my tax liability and keeping it out of the main stream of money so I simply forgot about it being there until Tax time.  That is not a world I am willing to enter back into lightly.  So as a result there is still no “Aggronaut” themed Patreon, nor is there any monetization turned on with YouTube…  because in both cases it crosses a line that is hard to uncross.

MMO Blogging Dead?

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One of the things I have failed miserably at lately is keeping up with my blog feed.  During the heyday of Google Reader I was a voracious consumer of gaming blogs of all stripe, and regularly read through everything in my backlog of posts.  Stuff happened and my attempt to expand my horizons when I was writing a column on the blogosphere saw my feed ballooning to some 700 sites…  a good number of them posting about things that never really interested me on a personal level.  As a result I find myself spending less time reading blog posts and tend to catch up in a flurry of reading on the weekends.  That said I did end up doing a strafing run on Feedly yesterday afternoon and stumbled across a post from Tobold posing the question of whether or not the MMO Blogosphere is still alive.  The short answer is yes, the community is still very much alive.  The long answer however is a lot more complicated.  While there are still a ton of active people that I see when I catch up on my feed, there are also a lot of names and faces that I have not really seen much from in years.  There has been a changing of the guards and I feel like maybe I have done a poor job of catching up with who is leaving the community and who is brand new.  Additionally the “community” aspect is a little on the ropes.  We didn’t have a Newbie Blogger Initiative this year nor did I do anything with Blaugust…  two previously big events that pulled people in.  We barely had a Developer Appreciate Week… and only then because Ravalation was determined to make sure it happened.  I’ve personally failed miserably this year at attempting any sort of outreach into the community because 2017 has been a time when literally all I can seem to manage to do is attempt to keep one foot moving in front of the other.

The other big change I have noticed is we no longer have the big MMORPG game looming on the horizon that we are all interested in playing.  The community as a whole is way more fragmented in their tastes.  In the run up to World of Warcraft expansions, Star Wars the Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, Wildstar or even as far back as Warhammer Online there was a community upsurge of blog sites that sprung up as players attempted to mitigate their hype levels by pouring that excess energy into post form.  That is just a thing that doesn’t really happen these days as the traditional MMORPG outside of South Korean doesn’t appear to be a viable business model that big studios are really releasing these days.  Instead we have the MMO-lite games that have some online interaction capabilities like The Division or Destiny but lack some of the rich imaginative landscape that us bloggers used to feast upon.  Essentially when we started playing MMORPGs it was a novel concept and gave us a sort of interaction that we could not get in any other game.  Now that same concept of being online and playing with a bunch of your friends while working on some long term achievement is no longer really something special… and instead describes almost all of the games on the market right now.  Almost every game has RP elements that allow you to customize or build your character, and almost every game now has an online presence often with some sort of persistent progression system.  MMORPGs no longer really offer something unique that you cannot get in dozens of other places…  that also don’t require the level of community to support them.  The games have changed and with that the amount of effort and time they ask of us… or at the very least the sort of skills that they require.  While I can wax philosophically about the differences between two guns and the way they fire in Destiny 2…  that isn’t exactly something more players even care about.

Lastly I think the players and their habits have changed.  When I started playing Destiny at launch back in 2014, one of my big frustrations was how there were no blogs really dedicated to the game.  Instead that community exists as a combination of Reddit posts and YouTube videos that you then need to somehow knit together to get an overarching picture of what is actually happening.  I wish I could say that this phenomena is unique to Destiny, but it seems more often than not the newer games don’t really have much in the way of a blogosphere presence.  In some ways I think we are aging out of blogs being a relevant experience.  While I have never actually had the “thousands of vistors per day” that Tobold talks about in his post unless some major news site picks up one of my posts…  I’ve had a steady trickle that has stayed pretty stable through the almost nine years I have been blogging.  In honesty my daily readership comes and goes based on what I happen to be posting about.  Each time on get on a Destiny bender, the folks who just do not care about that tend to disappear.  When I pick back up a game they are interested in…  they tend to come back.  Most of our blogs were started during the most fertile period of MMORPG releases to exist… and with that ground turning fallow we are left to turn to other interests.  My blog started as a World of Warcraft Warrior Tanking blog…  with a super narrow focus and over the years has shifted over and over again until finally I don’t really have a “format”.  This blog is me and my ramblings and if you aren’t interested in that you aren’t likely going to be here very long.  I’ve seen many other bloggers shifting to the same sort of thing, and while I personally care about their lives and their opinions…  it makes our blogs harder to digest for those who have not been along for the full journey.

Thankfulness

I have this horrible habit of starting things and then just letting them sorta die.  One of those things was the whole “Month of Thankfulness” that I did back in 2014.  The idea was simple enough and it effectively meant that at the bottom of every post I made a little note about something I was thankful for.  In theory I should have been doing this every year since during the month of November leading up to Thanksgiving.  That however never actually happened and I finally jog my memory about a week into the month and think to myself that if I didn’t actually start on time… then it isn’t really worth doing.  That is not to say that I am not extremely thankful for a bunch of things in my life.  The weird thing about depression is that your brain can contain all of this self loathing at the same time as a whole lot of gratitude towards other people.  However the hell this works I figured that I would make a post on thankfulness on this Thanksgiving Eve here in the USA before I troddle off to work.  In theory I should have taken today off but my work schedule has been crazy.

My Wife

I feel like I can’t really start off a post like this without taking some time to acknowledge how awesome my wife is.  We are an odd pair that on paper doesn’t seem to work that well given that we are both into some very different things.  However her strengths are my weaknesses and as a team we compliment each other in so many ways.  Each of us is stronger as part of the whole than we are individually.  More than that she “gets” me, and even though she doesn’t necessarily get any of the many things that I am super obsessive about…  she understands that they are important to me and as a result supports them.  She isn’t a “gamer”, even though she spends plenty of time playing games on her iPad or phone but gets that all of these related hobbies are at the core of my being.  She has patiently dealt with so many “just a second” moments that turned into thirty to forty minutes and generally taken it in stride.  For the last few years she has sacrificed several of her very limited stock of yearly personal days, just to travel with me to San Antonio for Pax South because she knows it is a big deal to me.  It is impossible to grab words that do justice out of the air how awesome she is and how much I love her.  I am thankful I met her so many years ago and exceedingly thankful for the last twenty one years.

AggroChat

In truth it is less about the AggroChat podcast and more a short hand for a very tight knit inner circle of friends that also happens to involve all of the members of the podcast.  I have this habit of collecting people and over the years much like a hermit crab I have taken a shell encrusted with so many awesome friends along with me on my journey through life.  We often talk about having a surrogate family through our online interactions, but in this case I legitimately mean it.  These people are my family and fate willing will grow old with as we talk on a daily basis about all sorts of important and completely frivolous topics.  Its been weird to watch how this dynamic has shifted and changed as we all aged from being largely a group of people who met during vanilla warcraft progression raiding, and then saw that relationship morph into something else as time moved on.  Others are significantly newer but no less precious, and even though I occasionally go into turtle mode…  and disappear for awhile, I always make a return when it is safe to poke my head out of my shell.  These are my people and I am so happy I found them.

Twitter

Twitter can be a horrible place, and in this year of presidential proclamations occurring in 140 characters…  it seems odd to be thankful for it as a medium.  The thing is…  “my” twitter is a different place and while I see the echos of the larger events going on around me… it is largely the eye of the hurricane filled with a bunch of people who are also taking shelter there.  I originally started my twitter account around the release of this blog back in 2009 and in many ways the original intent was to have a way to communicate with the other bloggers.  We’ve tried so many different platforms to carve out a sense of community, but the only one that continues to stand after shrugging off so many is twitter.  It is that common ground that still contains all of the voices that I want to keep track of on a regular basis.  There are so many people that are so much better at doing this thing than I am, and I love being surrounded by them.  Lately though I go for periods where I just lurk, followed by a bunch of random commentary and I am sure this gets annoying at times.  So additionally I am thankful to all of the people who tolerate my nonsense in this already cluttered medium.  If we are “mutuals” this thanks goes out to you because you make my life richer because of your interactions.

Work

I talk sometimes about how stressful my work is, and it absolutely is there is no discounting that fact.  That said I have some pretty awesome people that I work with on a daily basis and I could not keep doing what I do without them.  While this year saw some significant changes in many directions and saw Rae who previously was on the AggroChat podcast finding another gig…  the folks that remain are pure gold.  We do this performance review process each year, and yesterday I met with each of my direct reports as I completed theirs.  I was struck by just how lucky I am to work with the people that I do.  I’ve always been great at compartmentalizing when it comes to work, and so long as my little silo was doing okay…  I could deal with the rest of the ship being torn to bits.  I have a really great silo to keep my eyes focused on from my upper management all the way to my staff, and especially the various peers that I work with on a daily basis.  There is a sense of dedication to getting things done whatever it takes and I appreciate that, especially when I am going into the first holiday season in a really long time that I have not taken any significant time off for.  Camaraderie through shared struggle is a powerful force and I am thankful for those who fight for me as I fight for them.

My Readers

At this point there are so many things that I should be putting on this list, but I wanted to keep it fairly brief.  I do however want to close out with one more bit of thankfulness.  I am thankful for each and every one of you out there that regularly or just occasionally reads this blog or consumes anything else that I toss out into the world.  For me my blog is as much therapy as it is anything else.  Sitting down each morning and siphoning thoughts from my brain and committing them into text format helps me clear the slate.  If something was bothering me it often makes its way onto the virtual page and as a result I can begin the “getting over it” process.  I often times write like I am not actually talking to anyone other than myself, and as a result I am always sorta shocked when I find out that someone actually read the words that I cast into the void.  Please do not mistake this shock for a lack of gratitude, but instead it is surprise that anything I said was really worth consuming in the first place.  There are so many of you who have been with me in this journey for years, and I don’t always take the time to recognize the other people standing on the deck of this ship beside me.  Thank you so much and lets commence with the exploration of new and interesting worlds!

Xur Week Seven: 10/27/17

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Xur Destiny 2

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This week Xur is located on Io in the Giant’s Scar area.  He is off to the left side of that area inside of a cave.  If you turn around and face away from Xur you should also find one of the region chests if you have not actually looted it.  This week is important because it is the first time Xur is available for PC players, and I have in fact double checked that the inventory on console and pc is exactly the same.  I however took my screenshots console side because I am still in the process of leveling all the things on PC and only have the Titan to 20… and even then I am not all of the way through the main story quest.  I noticed that the exotics were showing as level 19 and 254 instead of the 270 I was expecting, so wondering if finishing the game is a trigger for that shift to level 20 items.  I throw this out there just for folks to be careful when you spend your oh so precious legendary shards this week on the PC side of things.  Xur will be available until the weekly reset instead of disappearing sometime during the night on Saturday, so you have plenty of time to grind out more shards or get through the story.

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This week for the weapon we have D.A.R.C.I. or as I have referred to this every time I have decrypted it from an engram…   infusion fuel.  What makes this weapon interesting is that while aiming you can view the health and other information about your target through your scope with the Personal Assistant perk.  This blends with the target acquired perk that causes you to have better target acquisition and precision damage while the Personal Assistant perk is in action.  My general problem with the weapon however is that I just don’t like medium impact snipers.  This weapon has 55 impact and the snipers I tend to use personally are in the 70-90 range.  Now is the point where I start speaking out of my depth, but I always feel like this medium impact variety has to be targeted at the crucible right?  It has really high stability and handling which should in theory make scoping in on your target extremely snappy.  I just have zero interest in using a sniper rifle in PVP, and if I am going to use one in PVE I want it to pack a bigger punch.  PC players it will probably still be worth a pick up for the power level bump if nothing else.

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As far as armor goes this is a really phenomenal week and includes sort of a greatest hits collection of universally useful items.  Actium War Rig is one of the options that you can get on Titan, and if you are an auto rifle fan like me… it is probably going to be what you end up using.  The Auto-Loading Link perk causes ammo to loaded into your magazine when you stop firing the weapon at a tick rate of roughly one second.  What this means is if you are burst firing your weapon you can greatly extend the amount of time you can put off reloading giving you way more time to mop up enemies.  This works extremely well with weapons that have the rampage perk because you can keep rolling between targets without having to take the time to wait for reload, just allowing the weapon to tick once between bursts of fire.  Definitely going to pick this up for the power level and to have a more current version of this item rather than the level 105 item the game gives you.

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Warlocks have a similarly universally good item in the form of the Eye of Another World helmet.  Similarly this is an item you can pick up on Titan and the cerebral uplink perk causes you to highlight priority targets but also improves the regeneration speed of grenade, melee and rift abilities.  Its rare that an item just makes everything universally work better, but that is in fact the mission of this helm.  Once again I highly suggest picking this up for the power level if nothing else, but for anyone who chose poorly on Titan…  then here is a nice second chance to get that item.

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I’ve talked about this item before and I am not really sure what else I can add.  Knucklehead Radar is one of my favorite pieces of gear from Destiny 1 and I am super happy that it returned to Destiny 2.  The upgraded sensor pack causes radar tracking to be active while you aim down sights on every weapon.  This is just universally useful and is a crutch that I am not willing to give up while playing my hunter.  I used the hell out of the Memory of Gheleon artifact in Destiny 1 year 3…  and similarly I love this item.  Again if nothing else this is a good level boost for those PC players who are just now getting started.  I hope to be able to gather enough legendary shards before Xur leaves on Tuesday to purchase each of these items and have them ready for when I start leveling the Hunter and Warlock.

Xur Destiny 1

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As has been the case the last few weeks, I am also doing the information about Xur in Destiny 1 lest we not all abandon the players who are still enjoying that game.  You can find Xur in the tower next to Lord Shaxx.  This week he brought something interesting…  the Jade Rabbit which was previously an exclusive for the PS4 players.  I had heard that the embargo had been lifted on selling the PS4 exclusive items, but I am guessing this is hard proof.  Here is a quick rundown of what he has brought for us this week.

  • Legacy Helmet Engram – 29 Strange Coins
  • An Insurmountable Skullfort – Titan Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • Crest of Alpha Lupi – Hunter Chest – 13 Strange Coins
  • Claws of Ahamkara – Warlock Arms – 13 Strange Coins
  • Jade Rabbit – Scout Rifle – 23 Strange Coins
  • Hawkmoon and Moonglow Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust
  • Tresspasser and Crucible Assassin Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust

Advertisers Suck

Okay this is going to be a bit of a departure from my normal content.  However one of the things I get sick of as a blogger is dealing with the constant deluge of people wanting me to link to something, or do some sort of half baked paid content scheme to increase their SEO numbers.  I’m feeling a little vindictive today so I am posting the sort of thing that I deal with on a regular basis.

Hey quick question –

I hope everything is going well on your end 🙂

My name is [Dude You Can Google Keywords], and I’m on the content team at [Cloud Storage Company I Have Never Heard Of].

I just finished going through your article here: http://aggronaut.com/category/games/action/. Thanks for the resource!

My colleague [Some Writer At The Company] recently put together a pretty comprehensive piece on cloud storage for photographers. This really is good information for anyone in this realm. There is a ton of information out there; our guide was designed to cut through the noise a bit.

The post is here: [Link to a post about hosting photography]

Would you consider linking to it in the article of yours I mentioned above? I saw you linked to store.playstation.com in there, so I figured I’d see if you’d link to mine as well. Perhaps your visitors find it helpful, but hey, it’s up to you.

Thanks,

– [Dude You Can Google Keywords]

P.S. I respect the relationship you have with your readers, I wouldn’t ask you to link to anything I didn’t think was an excellent resource for you guys.

So firstly…  my blog is not a photography blog.  Secondly he is linking to one of my categories, this one specifically is for action games so nothing to do with photography.  The reason why he suggests I link to it… is because I link to store.playstation.com???  I mean I do this thing because I am talking about how to claim your Playstation Plus titles without logging into your console.  Anyways this makes zero sense given what my blog is.  As is usually my first line of defense I just ignore the email hoping they will go away.  However this doesn’t always work as is the case with the follow up email that I get.

Hey again –

I figured I’d try one more time 🙂

Did you happen to get my last email? If you have a moment, could you let me know what you think about this idea? Or maybe you could put me in touch with the person in charge of content?

I’d love any help you can give!

Thanks!

– [Dude You Can Google Keywords]

Now one of the things I have learned the  hard way… is that if they ever do this…  email a second time…  you are NEVER getting rid of them unless you give them a forceful shove off.  I had one person from a website on e-sports betting pester me on and off over the course of an entire month through a string of probably twelve emails where I kept trying to politely say that I am not interested… and that they kept trying to get me to allow them to post promotional content on my site.  So as a result I have to end up sending an email like this one…

Hey [Dude You Can Google Keywords],

I had not responded to the first email in part because I just get tired of responding to emails like this one.  Tales of the Aggronaut is a personal blog and anything that appears on it means that its there because I personally suggest people checking it out.  I don’t do paid ad placement nor do I link to products or services that I did not find organically and I am not actually using myself.  Firstly you included a link that makes zero sense given that it is the action games category of my blog and has nothing to do with photography.  Secondly…  the fact that I link to Store.playstation.com also makes zero sense giving that its a tutorial on how to retrieve your Playstation Plus games of the month through the web interface without having to log into the console.  Essentially nothing you wrote me fits in any way to what I actually write about.  Clearly you spent exactly as much time reviewing my website as was required to fill in what is essentially a madlibs style form email.
None of this makes me interested in your product.  Had you actually found a way to relate this back to my readers in any fashion, and simply approached me with an offer of “we have this awesome product, is this something you maybe want to review?  Here is an account to check it out.  Let us know what you think and tell your readers if you like it.” then bam that is a reasonable way to approach a content creator.  This just feels sleazy.
Anyways hope you have a good day.
Bel

Here is hoping that I never hear from this person again…  but deep down in the back of my mind I know that I will.  There is a slimy underbelly that exists when you get to a certain point with a blog, where all of these people start crawling out of the woodwork wanting to use an anchor on your site as part of some network to increase their search engine ranking.  Some offer to pay… somewhere between $50-100 for placing an article laden with links to their product on your site.  Others like this schmuck seem to want you to do it out of the goodness of your heart.  One guy claimed that it was unfair to my readers to only show part of the story, because I had linked to Libsyn a hosting provider that I use myself for AggroChat and have zero business relationship with.  I could go to the trouble of writing a rule or flagging it as spam, but that doesn’t stop the constant onslaught of people just like them.  Writing this post more than anything is for me personally… because sometimes I just want to scream obscenities at my email.  Instead I am creating a post which is at least somewhat therapeutic.  Monday we will return to our normally scheduled posts.

Faction Rally 1: DO Edition

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Once again by the time this post comes out it is going to likely be of zero use to anyone, because if I am understanding the Faction Rally correctly…  it would have just ended and we will be entering the phase where a winner will be chosen.  I am doing something super dangerous in that I am staging this content on the weekend to post Monday and Tuesday.  So by the time this actually goes live we should know which weapon we have available.  I took the route of choosing a different faction for each character, and this has also given me the opportunity to collect all twelve unique faction based drops that are available from packages.  Yesterday I wrote about New Monarchy, and last week about Future War Cult… so today is the time to talk about everyone’s favorite chromatically challenged faction…  Dead Orbit.  This faction will always have a special place in my heard due to the fact that the majority of my time playing Destiny… I was pledged to Arach Jalaal desperately hunting that cool emblem with the axes.  In Destiny 2…  I was swayed by just how damned good the weapon offering was in the Future War Cult camp.  That said there is at least one gem in this lineup, but your mileage may vary.

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Let me get this out of the way first.  I do not like sidearms…  they have always felt like crappier faster firing versions of hand cannons.  In Destiny 1 the only time I broke one out and used it…  was when I was working on a bounty that required me to get X number of kills with a specific damage type weapon that was not Arc.  Even then the only reason why I used a Sidearm was simply because of the extreme ammo reserves they tended to have.  With Destiny 2 they introduced a new class of Sidearm that burst fires…  which quickly caused me to start ignoring every single firing gun out there.  So needless to say the Eleventh Hour has a bunch of strikes against it out of the gate, but in truth it does have a few things going for it. This weapon is essentially a fast firing low impact weapon…  that has an insane upwards kick if you are firing it as fast as you can pull the trigger.  That said if you are slowing down and placing your shots a little more carefully this can two precision shot most minions and with a 17 shot magazine… you can pour through a bunch.  Where this starts to become useful is the fact that it has Rampage perk giving you a stacking damage buff each time you take down a target up to three.  I could see this being extremely good for clearing out thralls or something of the sort.  The problem I have though is that there are just dozens of energy slot weapons that I would rather use than this.  If you enjoy using it then by all means do so…  it just doesn’t really have a place in my world and I will likely shard it once I have finished writing this review.

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This is a fairly bizarre shotgun offering, and I am going to try and unpack why.  First off this is an extremely hard hitting, slow rate of fire weapon with abysmal range and reload speeds that are amplified by the poor handling stat.  What it does well is hit really hard…  a single time.  So if you think you can one-shot a target with this shotgun then it is probably going to do a great job of it.  Now if you combine the tactical mag perk… with the field prep perk the equation starts to change a bit and while crouched you can reload this weapon extremely fast.  Now initially I thought… maybe this works while sliding but after thirty minutes of trying to make this work it seems like you just straight up cannot reload while in the slide motion. So functionally in order to do this in the heat of battle I would probably slide behind some cover, reload quickly and then get back into the action.  Where the gun shines however is that it has a pretty deep well to draw from in that if you choose specific perks you can have 6 in the magazine and 12 in reserve.  For PVE this seems like a perfectly reasonable shotgun… but for PVP I think it is going to lose out every time to one of the full auto options.  The best part though is the look and the sound it makes when it fires a shell.

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I feel like Pulse Rifles are just in a really awkward place in Destiny 2.  They have always lived in this weird place between scout rifles and auto rifles… and in the current meta both are undeniably in better places than this weird hybrid.  Three Graves currently lives in the slowest rate of fire and highest impact flavor of pulse rifle, and it brings with it some really nice stability.  What it severely lacks however is handling and reload speed…  giving the gun a really sluggish feel as you shift between hip and ads modes.  The outlaw perk can help with the reload speed because it decreases reload time after a precision kill…  which is relatively easy to do given how much damage this thing puts out and how stable it is.  The thing that never really gets better though is the handling… so for me to feel comfortable with this weapon I would need to slot in some mods to improve that.  The biggest obstacle this weapon has is the fact that I have Innaugural Address the raid pulse…  that just feels better to use.

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Tons of players love The Old Fashioned, in fact it has shown up on a ton of the top X weapons in Destiny 2 lists.  I am not one of those players, and when I first saw Dire Promise in the drop list for Dead Orbit I was not extremely hopeful.  There are however a bunch of tweaks that have been made to this weapon that make it feel vastly different than the weapon that is so commonly sharded by me that I didn’t even have one available to directly compare against.  Functionally you are losing a little impact and range, and gaining a ton of stability and handing as well as a tiny bit of reload speed as well as 2 bullets in the magazine.  As far as perks… you are losing Kill Clip and gaining one of my favorites from Destiny 1…  Triple Tap which is shockingly hard to find on a D2 hand cannon.  If you feel like you can sacrifice a little stability… you can even push this gun into the 13 in the magazine club.  This means that if you can consistently hit precision shots…  you could in theory fire 17 78 impact shots without reloading… meaning that is a ton of damage in a very short period of time.  While I doubt this is going to dislodge either Better Devils or True Prophecy as my Hand Cannon of choice…  this is definitely going to be something I swap to situationally.

Now that you have seen all of the weapons available from the Faction Rally this go round… what are your thoughts?  Do you like me feel like Future War Cult had the strongest offerings or are you thinking I short changed one of the other factions?

Faction Rally 1: NM Edition

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Admittedly by the time I post this it will be of extremely limited benefit given that as far as I understand the Faction Rally should in theory reset on Tuesday.  For the unindoctrinated the Faction Rally is this event happening currently in Destiny 2 that involved choosing one of the three factions from Destiny 1 and representing them.  The goal of the event is to collect tokens while doing almost any activity in the game, and then turn these in 20 at a time to the faction leaders.  For my Titan I decided to rep Future War Cult, and I wrote a post last Thursday about the weapons that were available.  Each faction is offering four unique weapons from their packages and I thought it might be cool to attempt to get them all and do similar write-ups.  Now I had done this a week ago when the faction rally went live… it might be of some significant benefit.  Now however I am largely just doing for the fun of it, and it seems useful info in the long run.

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We are going to start off this New Monarchy edition with what was ultimately the hardest weapon for me to actually get to drop.  This weapon has gone through a name change since it first started dropping occasionally from Cayde-6 treasure caches to when the Rally proper began.  The Song of Justice VI  formerly the Sentencer IV is a nearly max range high impact scout rifle that trades these stats for really low stability and handling.  It is also relatively slow firing in the 150 rounds per minute class until the more popular and broader 200 rounds per minute class represented most noticeably by the MIDA Multi Tool.  It lives in a really weird place, but after spending some time using it while doing patrols and such I can see its charm.  It will probably never take the spot of my Manannan SR4 largely because I love explosive payload more than I can rightly express with words…  it does have a few of its own nice perks.  Armor Piercing rounds is extremely nice for destroying mob shields, which I have not seen on that many weapons so far.  Additionally it has auto loading holster which causes the weapon to reload itself while holstered, making this work extremely well in situations where you are not using this as your primary weapon.  I could see it working nicely on strikes when you are using an energy auto rifle as your primary weapon, and just swapping to this any time you need to snipe something at a distance.

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I am a huge proponent of the Auto Rifle and have loved them since the first moment I got one in my hands in Destiny 1.  In Year Three one of my favorite weapons was the Suros made Genesis Chain, which was a slow rate of fire high impact Auto Rifle…  that looked valuely like this weapon.  I got my hopes up and then they were quickly dashed when I saw what archetype this weapon fit into.  The 600 RPM bracket already has a few really good competitors in it and I think the problem is…  this gun just isn’t nearly as good as either of them.  The key problem is the lack of stability… this gun kicks weirdly and often times unpredictably making it significantly harder to control than Scathelocke or Ghost Primus that both live in this same archetype.  Now if you do not have access to either of those weapons… then sure this is a good option and once you get used to its quirks you can make it perform fairly well.  The biggest problem however is there just is no viable reason to use this over one of the other weapons I mentioned…  other than it just looks aesthetically cool.  However if that is really your thing… then grab a Martyrs Make and slap a New Monarchy Shader on it… because you are going to have a much more enjoyable experience.

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Up until now New Monarchy has been the tale of weapons that are just flat out outclassed by other options.  I think however we are going to finish strong starting with the Royal Dispensation II.  Sub-Machineguns for me at least are the new shotgun… when you absolutely need to wreck someone up close and personal much the same way as I used to do with my beloved Invective.  There are basically two competing categories the 600 rpm class and the 900 rpm class.  In the grand scheme of things I tend to prefer the slightly slower rate of fire because they are much more controllable and easier to keep trained on the precision damage markers.  That said this gun is shockingly stable for as fast as it is firing, and when combined with the Grave Robber perk…  gives you some really up close and personal power.  When I run a submac it is because I am getting up in peoples faces and the fact that if I get a melee kill it reloads part of my magazine… means I can stay there and be effective for longer.  The gotcha however… is with 900 rpm and 33 shots in the magazine…  this thing unloads extremely quickly.  This gun is effectively the Foggy Notion with slightly better handling speed and slightly worse reload speeds…  but that little tweak seems to make the gun feel so much better to use.  Well worth holding onto and playing with to see if you like it, because at the end of the day that is all that really matters.

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Up until this gun entered my life I carried around a pretty heavy crush on Hawthorne’s Field-Forged Shotgun…  because Destiny 1 spoiled me on insisting that if I was using a shotgun that it had to have full auto.  I was honestly shocked that I had not encountered anything else in game that seemed to have it…  and then I saw this weapon.  One of the big problems with the Hawthorne shotgun is the rate of fire…  not that it is too slow but it is way the hell too fast.  I cannot count the number of times I have fired shots into the void because I couldn’t pick my finger up off the trigger fast enough to stop from firing one round too many.  The Unification VII fixes this with its 55 rounds per minute rate of fire as compared to the frankly too fast 90 on Hawthorne.  Additionally we gain a significantly higher impact per shot and slight range increase…  at the loss of some reload speed and one round in the magazine.  What cannot be properly accounted for however is just how badass this weapon looks and how good it feels.  The weapon has High Caliber rounds, which causes it to stagger mobs which is always going to be useful.

I am curious how you feel about the New Monarchy offering this time around?  It has been leaked that each faction has a significantly deeper pool of available weapons than these four, so it is going to be interesting to see what arrives each time this event runs.

 

Xur Week Three: 9/29/17

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Since this is becoming a regular thing I am doing…  Happy Xursday!  This time around he is located on Io given that it is the flashpoint planet this week.  You can find him in the Giant’s Scar area of the planet in a cave off the lefthand side of the path coming from the fast travel location.  Once again the mobs seem not to be willing to follow you into that cave so you can duck inside to relative safety.  This is going to be the week where we see if Xur really does stick around until the reset, or if that was just a bug since we have had a patch since last week.  There was no specific mention of Xur but as is always the case with MMOs…  patches often times have a bunch of unannounced changes.  Lets get into the item rundown.

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Starting off we have the weapon Riskrunner, and for those who played the beta this was the exotic that Warlocks got from Lord Shaxx during the homecoming mission.  It is a really unique feeling weapon given that it fires what looks like an eruption of lightning.  As far as overall usefulness…  it is extremely situational.  The special ability Arc Conductor causes you to deal more damage and gain increased arc resistance…  upon taking any arc damage.  While in this overcharged state, getting kills with the weapon add additional time to the buff.  Without this buff the weapon is largely just another legendary tier sub-machine gun and is quite honestly outclassed by weapons like the MIDA Mini-Tool.  However if you can somehow be regularly taking arc damage…  then you can churn through encounters with this gun and it becomes a formidable beast.  Now if you just like the player fantasy of firing a lightning gun… then screw all of this and use it because it just looks badass.

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Last weekend I leveled my hunter at least in part to be able to take proper Xursday shots rather than swiping them off the interwebs.  As a result I am leading off with the Hunter item this week, the Mechaneer’s Tricksleeves.  These are mobility/resistance arms that have the perk Spring-Loaded Mounting which increases the ready time and reload speed of sidearms.  These are one of the choices you can make during the main story quest, and I thought they were really limited in their utility.  You have to love sidearms an awful lot to spend your exotic slot on an item that improves that one weapon.  That said… there are a fair number of really good sidearms in the game like Last Hope that seems to tear people up in the crucible.  I personally do not like sidearms at all… but I did pick these up this week simply for the unlock.  There is just not a lot more I can say about these… if you love sidearms or you also want the unlock… go for it.

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The Titan armor is one that I have gotten several times from exotics… and keep infusing away to increase my power level.  That is not due to the fact that it is not a good piece of armor but instead just to play the increasing your level game.  For whatever reason I am just not feeling the Sunbreaker Titan as much as I was in Destiny 1, that said… if you do this is an amazing item.  Functionally the perk is giving us back “Simmering Flames” from Destiny 1.  Sunfire Furnace causes all of your solar abilities to recharge faster while you are sitting on a fully charged super, which in truth I seem to do more often than not because I am looking for the idea time to unleash it.  That means more solar grenades and more solar melee abilities which are really the bread and butter of play for me personally.  I went ahead and picked this back up because while I had this unlocked it was at 205 light…  and I had shards to burn.  I might play with it a bit and determine if it is useful enough to start playing more Sunbreaker.

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Do you “Gotta Go Fast” and “Faster Faster Fa Fa Fa Fa Faster”?  These are a weird item that I have used quite a bit largely because they were the highest light boots I had on my Warlock for a good long while.  The perk Strange Protractor causes your sprint to move a heck of a lot faster…  like it is noticeably faster.  While sprinting it also causes your energy weapons to be automatically reloaded.  This again is one of those situationally good items.  I found it really useful in the crucible since I tend to mostly use Uriel’s Gift… and it also meant sprint cancelling a reload caused me to get the full reload.  If you greatly favor energy weapons or just want to go really fast… then these might be the boots for you.  Personally my exotic armor slot goes to Eye of Another World which highlights priority targets and increases the regeneration speed of my melee, grenades and class ability.  If these sound like great boots for you however pick them up, or at least get them so you have them unlocked in your collections.

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What are your thoughts?  Did Xur bring something you really wanted or did I completely miss the special utility of a given item when I talk about them?  I’d love to hear your feedback about this weeks offerings and in truth if anyone is actually finding this a useful thing for me to do on Friday mornings.

Racing Juggernauts

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This is going to be a bit of an odd post, but it is something that has been kicking around in my head lately and something that we have discussed a bit on AggroChat.  Back in 2015 when I attended Pax South 2015… I walked away with one game on my lips…  Gigantic.  It was what I felt at the time a fresh take on the whole MOBA genre and the state at which the game was in at the show… I fully expected it to be launching within the next six months.  Sure Blizzard had just announced Overwatch a few months earlier… but this was here and playable right now.  We scan forward several years… and Gigantic finally launched on July 20th of 2017.  It launched into a climate that has Paladins, Smite, Battleborn, and a plethora of other similar games vying for the same eyeballs on the same screens.  Most importantly though when Overwatch officially launched on May 24th of 2016 it sucked every last drop of oxygen from the room.  Sure there are a ton of differences between each of these games, but in the eyes of the customers…  I am not actually sure any of them matter.  They all fall into this broad category of cartoony stylistic shooter… and the one that gets the most time on the lips of players…  is Overwatch.  I’ve not played Gigantic in a long while in part because there is some nonsense of multiple competing versions for Windows…  but in truth because that moment passed and I moved on to other things.  To be fair I am not playing Overwatch either.

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When Dauntless was announced at The Game Awards in December of 2016, I thought it looked really interesting namely because there really isn’t a great PC resident Monster Hunter experience.  Sure there is Godeater but it is sorta doing its own thing that is not entirely connected to the Monster Hunter fame.  I realize Toukiden also exists but neither has really developed the same sort of following.  At Pax South 2017 I got to lay my hands on the game and give it a shot, and while I was completely horrible at it…  the experience seemed like something that with time I could get into.  However soon I started to see a very painfully similar pattern emerging with this game that I did with Gigantic.  At E3 2017 Capcom announced Monster Hunter World and with it for the first time in the franchise PC support.  At this point Dauntless was on a clock, they either had to get to market first or would have all of their available oxygen sucked out of the room as well.  A few days ago it was announced at the Tokyo Game show that Monster Hunter World would be shipping in all markets on January 26th 2018.  While they say the PC version will follow later…  this still adds additional pressure to Dauntless to release and firms up the time table of when they have to launch.  The game is currently in Closed Beta but has never really had a more firm launch window other than “2017” of which we are starting to run out of months.

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For me personally…  that time is already over.  Once Monster Hunter World was announced to be coming to PC, I for the most part stopped caring that much about Dauntless news.  I was going to get my Monster Hunter game on the PC and it was going to come from Capcom and share all of the traits and lore and history of the Monster Hunter franchise as a whole.  Dauntless on the other hand has to fight an uphill battle of coming up with a brand new IP and then trying to infuse enough into that world to make it feel alive and exciting and not just a sequence of arenas where you fight boss monsters.  Even the monsters themselves are a challenge because they have to come up with a whole slew of brand new creatures with their own mechanics and tactics…  whereas Monster Hunter world can draw heavily on fourteen years of experience and fourteen related games worth of monster battles.  Basically the oxygen is gone for me personally, but if they hope to get Monster Hunter devotees their clock is ticking down quickly because the moment the actual Monster Hunter is available on PC…  a whole lot of the unique gimmick factor of Dauntless goes away.  I might be overly grim here, but I watched this all play out for Gigantic and I have a feeling we are just about to see a repeat of that story.