MMORPG Social

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mmorpg-social

Over the last few days I have found myself playing around with Mastodon quite a bit more.  For those who remember I wrote a series of posts about Mastodon, talking about its potential as a twitter replacement.  The two posts of note are probably “Adventures in the Federiverse” where I largely botch the agreed upon “Fediverse” name, and a later one where I talk about the customs I wish I knew about going into it.  I still have a lot of hope about the concept, but I also found myself largely falling out of frequency in using it.  Nineties.Cafe had this great run of regular activity and then almost simultaneously we all sorta wandered off more than likely because we got busy.

This recent flurry of activity has in part been do to the very excellent Gazimoff aka Gareth Harmer and creating the MMORPG.social mastodon instance.  At first I thought this was something connected to MMORPG.com since well you know… he is one of the writers there.  After some digging however I guess the root is with the loss of Wildstar, the idea seems to be bourn out of trying to create a neutral non-game based MMORPG community that lets people continue to stay in touch.  This is something I can definitely get behind, plus the launch of a new instance is an awful lot like the launch of a new MMORPG itself… and everyone appears to be happy and busy and active.

The only negative is that I seem to be leaving ground strewn in my wake full of past instances.  For those who have not followed my madness I have ended up unintentionally being a bit of an instance jumper.  Thankfully Mastodon by default has a system that allows you to forward users from one profile to another… but they are effectively disconnected personas.  MMORPG.Social is my fourth experiment with the platform…  let me run through them all.

  • @Belghast@Mastodon.Cloud – my first attempt and I only started here because Mastodon.social the flagship was full
  • @Belghast@Elekk.xyz – I rapidly realized that this instance had way more of “my people” on it and jumped because of its game focused local.  I still sub to the Patreon to help support it.
  • @Belghast@Nineties.Cafe – I jumped yet again when my good friend Liore founded this instance to create a permanent niche in the mastodon network that we had a bit more control over.  The truth is I don’t plan on abandoning this but over the last several months it has become pretty inactive.
  • @Belghast@MMORPG.social – Finally I am here because I thought this was a really interesting experiment and thusfar has been a very charming local to hang out and talk MMORPGs with.  At the moment it seems to be very FFXIV focused, but folks have commented on some of my Destiny related posts as well.

Now can I say with certainty that I won’t jump again?  Nope not at all, but the cool thing about Mastodon and the ActivityPub based Fediverse is that you don’t have to care much about it.  You can export the people you follow from one instance and move them forward with you to the next.  You are by no means limited to communicating with your local pool of users, but can instead drink from the firehose and go out into the much larger global fediverse and interact with hundreds of other instances each with their own specific goals and purposes.

I think the biggest challenge that Mastodon has is we keep looking to it as a replacement for Twitter as a whole.  That is a lot of responsibility to be placing on a fledgling network, especially given that personally I have been actively using Twitter since April of 2009 and racked up in that time some almost 58,000 tweets.  My gut reaction when something happens is to still hop on Twitter and say something about it.  There is a lot of inertia there to overcome, and if you go into it expecting it to be the new thing that everyone is going to use…  it is more or less just setting it up for failure.  Instead I am largely angling for the stance of “This is something else fun to use” and setting myself for those expectations.  I know that I will never convert the critical mass of twitter folk to take up the banner of tooting…  but instead I am finding it interesting to branch out and meet some new and interesting people there instead.

I have goals of sorta tweaking each of the four profiles I have on Mastodon to be different things, because I still want to use Nineties.cafe, but probably as a more personal account, and MMORPG.social will become the account I use more to talk about gaming stuff.  I know several users who have done an excellent job of separating the streams, and each account gives me access to a totally different Local feed.  I just need to sort out a better Android client to use that has good multi-account support since Tusky as much as I like it… requires you to log out completely to log into another instance.

 

Forging Stuff

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A couple of weeks ago I talked about my general disappointment in The Black Armory and how it does not really have any content that players can participate in immediately.  That much is largely true but as far as disappointment it is waning.  Once I hit 620 light the Forge Ignition sequence went from nigh impossible to pretty much a guaranteed thing.  The actually event itself is honestly pretty great, I just wish it would have scaled in a similar fashion to the way that strikes appear to, giving players a brand new activity to do at a much wider variety of light levels.  Now at 630 light burning down the final boss feels much like burning down a Public Event Boss…  somewhat time consuming but largely trivial.  Granted I have yet to ignite any of the forges other than Volundr, but I am up to the point where I should be doing Gofanon tonight.  I could have in theory done it last night but I spent my evening trying to mop up any remaining powerful gear rewards that I had available.

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The Hammerhead is your first reward for taking down the boss and while I didn’t get an amazing roll…  I didn’t get a horrific one either.  I’ve since ignited the forge a few more times to get some of the blue weapon frames which apparently end up as one of a handful of weapons per type of activity being completed.  I did one that required doing three lost sectors on the Dreaming City and another that required taking down a couple high value targets in the Gambit and in both cases it rewarded a weapon from the pool from those activities.  I am working on one for collecting a bunch of materials, and as a result I am assuming it will be rewarding one of the planetary weapons as a result.  Now for some quick show and tell of some of the weapons I have picked up from the armory either as drops or as frames that I forged.

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This is the weapon that I forged from a blue frame that involved running three lost sectors in Dreaming City.  I have to say I love this weapon so much in both look and the way it feels to use it.  I’ve infused it up a bit and it has more or less become my new main hand canon to go to.

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The other weapon that I got from forging a blue frame is Bygones…  which weirdly enough is a weapon I had yet to get from any of my Gambit packages.  This one comes with kill clip and full auto and so far has been a blast to use because it honestly feels like you are firing a really slow rate of fire super accurate auto rifle.

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As far as random drops…  Bad News was never an amazing Hand Canon to start with, and this way cooler paint job version isn’t necessarily amazing either.  The roll I got has explosive rounds and range finder… which is okay-ish but the reload speed largely precludes me from using this very often.

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Baligant is also not an amazing shotgun in general but this version with Field Prep and Moving Target seems particularly bad…  I mean I guess you could slide to reload but not really my cup of tea.  I tend to ignore all shotguns that are not full auto.

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Lastly I finally wrapped up my Hand Cannon Headshots in Crucible… and then completed the rest of steps and unlocked my Ace of Spades.  Yes I realize this is like six months behind the curve but whatever…  it knocks another exotic quest off the list.  I still have several that I need to do including the Rat King which simply requires me to go find some other people with the Rat King and do activities.

Have you gotten anything cool or interesting from the Black Armory Forges?

Prison Break Problems

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First off I need to start this mornings blog post with a spoiler warning.  If you have not played through the first mission in the Destiny 2 Forsaken expansion, then there are going to be spoilers included.  Granted probably nothing more than was already spoiled with the Forsaken trailer, but I just felt like I needed to throw that out there.  This weekend I spent some time playing Destiny 2 and while working on the Heroic Story mission queue I noticed one of the missions was “Prison Break” the first mission in the Forsaken storyline, and something I had not played through in awhile.  I remembered really liking it a lot and opted to go replay it for powerful gear credit.

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It was around this point that I realized the core problem with Destiny 2 and its story.  It functionally operates in two modes…  pretending that you never played Destiny 1 and re-educating you in all of the basics of the universe, or assuming completely that you were a Destiny 1 lore hound and giving you a big ole deep dive with little room between the two.  The “Prison Break” episode plays out completely differently for players who were new to Destiny with the PC release and players who were veterans of the original game on the consoles.  This disconnect begins from the very moment that you are treated to a cinematic between Uldren Sov and Cayde-6.  This really hit me at the moment of the above screenshot…  the “How’s your sister?” line either is extremely powerful or makes no fucking sense depending on your perspective.

“Prison Break” is a mission that almost exclusively references things that happened in Destiny 1… and worse things that were never introduced up to this point in Destiny 2.  Sure if you went around scanning everything your ghost indicates you can scan you might have gotten snippets of information here or there but if you base things entirely upon what you see in the normal flow of Destiny 2 there are a bunch of problems.

  • The player has no clue who Uldren Sov is – we last saw him in the introduction to Taken King expansion for Destiny 1
  • The player has no clue who Mara Sov is… because again we last saw her in the introduction video to Taken King in the big Oryx space battle
  • The player really has no clue what the Reef is
  • The player has no clue that the Awoken were working with the Fallen and have no clue who Variks was/is
  • The player has no clue what exactly the Prison of Elders is
  • The player has no clue who Petra Venj is and why we already seemingly know her

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These are all things that make this mission extremely confusing if you view it through the lens of a “brand new to Destiny 2” player.  For veterans however this mission is a big romp as you roam through this place that you only managed to see a piece of before when doing trials for Variks.  This is a destination I think that we all wanted to see more of and I was completely staggered by the sheer scope of the place when I first played the mission.  For those who are not already familiar with it… it is just another busted ass location that is being blown up for some reason and that is largely hand waved away.  There is no time spent on explaining what it is other than a Prison, and no time spent explaining who Petra Venj is other than someone who can apparently levitate her knife.

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This is the core challenge of this expansion and why I think it had such split reactions.  For me it was an amazing romp through places I had been and quite honestly miss greatly from Destiny 1, and for others… it is just another string of locations that were never really explained.  The game does a really bad job of telling a cohesive narrative that does not require you to have watched every single Byf or Myelin lore video to understand.  I was one of those players that gobbled up every little bit of lore about the first game… and as a result I sounded like a madman half of the time when I talked about it trying to defend it to the rest of the AggroChat crew as being this deep masterpiece.  The game doesn’t just let players know these things, but instead requires them to jump through a whole bunch of hoops to be able to interact with the content.  The Book of Sorrows is really interesting science fiction horror reading…  that thankfully has been collected into an easy to read PDF or EPUB format…   but to get it initially you had to roam around the Dreadnaught in Destiny 1 collecting over 40 Calcified Fragments.

The problem with this style of storytelling is it sets up a dichotomy of players.   You have players like me who are willing to track down the story and chase it across various in game assets and other websites that help to summarize and condense the content into easily understandable chunks.  You also have what I feel is the majority of players who just straight up bounce off of the story when it never quite pays off on the deep secrets they have heard people talking about through its storyline.  If you were a lore hound, you immediately understood who the frozen hive were and why it was super exciting to see them.  You also understood a lot of things about Rasputin and at the very least knew who Ana Bray was enough to be interested in meeting her.  You also knew all sorts of things about Cayde-6 and his background and how someone becomes an Exo, and why Clovis Bray is the home of some really dangerous technologies.

 

As a new player… which is especially true for the PC crowd given that there was no option of playing Destiny 1 on that platform, you are simply treated to a list of names that have no real meaning.  These are proper names which is at least an upgrade from Destiny 1 which treated you to “the traveler”, “the speaker”, “the exo stranger”, and “the darkness” among others.  The names themselves however don’t have meaning attached to them if you didn’t dig for said meaning.  Sure for the right kind of player this sets up a delectable puzzle that they are going to go digging for to find the answers, but you can’t expect EVERY player to want to do the leg work required to make any sense of it all.  In the end I will defend the story that is being told as ground breaking, because the sum of all parts is amazing…  but the game does no favors in actually helping players find it.  It took me a long time to really see this point of view, but replaying through “Prison Break” was a bit of a wake up call to them simply not explaining why we should be caring about anything in this game.

Digital Fragmentation

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There has been a significant amount of consternation surrounding the recent activities of Epic Games…  which I still feel like I need to cram the Mega in there.  There are those that herald this as a new era in which Steam actually has proper competition.  There are others that signal this as the end times for PC Gaming because players will be fragmented across many platforms.  There are others still that are complaining largely because they don’t want to have to install the “Fortnite Client” to play their games.  For me however I am somewhat amused as I sit back and watch the events unfold  because it all has a sense of deja vu.

Epic is a company that had a game that was a big enough success… that they decided they were able to askew all of the traditional norms and funnel everyone through their own infrastructure.  If you removed the word “Epic” and replaced it with Valve the above statement would still be completely true.  Steam started out more or less as the digital distribution mechanism for Half-life 2, and a good number of us only got our steam accounts largely because of this.  Prior to Steam I had dabbled with a few services like Direct 2 Drive which was at the time a side project by IGN, in fact my original Mass Effect 2 copy was through it.  However round about 2008 I standardized on Steam as my platform of choice since it was clearing winning the early digital distribution battles.

Since around 2010 I made the decision to go entirely digital if possible, and that carried forward onto not only PC purchases but also with consoles as well…  which has lead me to swap out a few hard drives to upgrade them in the process.  The funny thing is… you accumulate a lot of digital games scattered across different platforms.  When I purchased a video card a few years back I got a copy of Witcher 3 for example…  but it was only redeemable on the GOG Galaxy client.  Each month as part of my Amazon Prime subscription, Twitch Prime gives me a slew of games…  that are only available through the Twitch client.

I just did some looking this morning and not counting single game clients…  I have the following Multi-Game Launchers installed on my system…

  • Battle.net
  • Bethesda.net
  • Epic Games Launcher
  • Glyph
  • GOG Galaxy
  • My.Com Game Center
  • Origin
  • Perfect World ARC
  • Steam
  • Twitch Client
  • Ubisoft UPlay
  • Wargaming.net Game Center
  • Windows Store

That is thirteen clients, not counting Discord who also seemingly wants to get in on the action but that I don’t have any games through.  So to the point of those being concerned about fragmentation…  what difference does one more store make giving that eleven of those clients I had installed prior to the launch of the Epic Games store.  This isn’t taking into account the three online stores that I also interact with on Microsoft Consoles, Sony Consoles and Nintendo Consoles.  The funny thing is…  I can think of a couple other clients that I no longer have installed that would have bumped that number up even higher.

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What makes it even more disturbing is the number of games that I am accumulating that I will probably never actually play.  Originally this was just the realm of Humble Bundle… when I purchased a bundle deal because of one title that I wanted… and got fifteen more that I didn’t.  However since then there are Xbox Live Gold and Playstation Plus which I largely just consider to be the upkeep costs of owning a Microsoft or Sony console…  but that also give away games each month that I feel obligated to log into their respective store fronts and claim just in the off chance that I might want to play them at some point.  On top of that Origin gives away games on the regular… which I am admittedly less connected to regularly grabbing because Origin is hands down the worst client.  But now Epic Games is determined to start giving us new games every few weeks, and Twitch Prime offers up a deluge of new titles each month.  Ultimately I need some way of keeping track what I have on what platforms and the only real options I have found are completely manual.

Basically what I am saying is… we have been fragmented for a very long time and while I respect the notion that folks don’t want to sully their systems with yet another launcher I am also not that sort of a purist.  Disk space is cheap and I like the concept of having a lot of games “on tap” and ready to play when the mood hits me, and as a result I have all of these damned launchers scattered throughout my system doing whatever launchers do.  It is an unfortunate reality, but it is a reality I long ago accepted as something that I am going to have to deal with.  The only two clients that I really take issue with are Origin and the Windows Store, but one of those I can’t uninstall because it came with the operating system… and the other I am resigned to use because I still care about Bioware games.

When it comes to making game purchases however that is a completely different situation, and as it stands now…  I am not opposed to the concept of buying games on the Epic Games store.  The interface currently is way better for finding games than that of Steam… but that is only because it has a handful of games on it at the moment.  Steam is a victim of its own success and its generally hands off approach that they have had in attempting to manage their platform.  As such potential gems are embedded in among of shovelware asset flips, making it extremely hard to find those things that you maybe have not heard of yet… but probably should give a shot.  I guess time will tell how Epic decides to combat that with their own store front.  For the moment however I don’t think some sort of a PC Gaming Apocalypse is upon us…  nor do I really care about having to install another client.  I think things are going to move forward much the way they always have …  and by the end of next year I will probably be forced to install a few more vestigial clients in order to keep playing the things I want to play.

One Crazy Sled

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Yesterday I talked about the initial quest of delivering cookies to Zavala to cheer him up, but the rabbit hole goes way deeper than that.  When you turn that quest in you pick up a second one from Eva Levante to get a secret blueprint from Amanda Holiday for a new sort of sparrow.  I also covered all of the recipes yesterday but the quest asks you to deliver Vanilla Blades to Shaxx, Chocolate Ship Cookies to Amanda Holiday and Eliksni Birdseed to Hawthorne as well as bake a grand total of 12 gifts.  Now I am not sure if these need to be unique gifts or if you just need to bake twelve in total.  Regardless I set about making one of everything yesterday and delivering them, and currently the only gift that has not been delivered is the one for Xur who of course will not be available until Friday.

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Your reward for baking one of every possible recipe is that you can “Masterwork” Eva’s Holiday Oven.  This essentially lowers the dawning essence cost from 15 per item to 10 per item…  which is nice…  but still it seems like this holiday is way more about grinding dawning essence than any of the other individual components.  It does make it way easier to craft individual items once you have learned all of the patterns which show up in a drop down as I am showing off in the above screenshot.  Something interesting of note… the counts seems to be tied to your account and not individual characters because as soon as I collected the quest on my Hunter this morning for the purpose of getting screenshots… I was able to Masterwork the Holiday Oven and showed that I already knew all of the patterns.

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Once you have baked all of the cookies and delivered them to everyone needed in Eva’s quest you can go to Holliday and get your Dawning Cheer sparrow.  It does in fact look as silly in game as it does in this screenshot and it has a bunch of seemingly unique animations that make it seem way more cumbersome to drive than various other options.  Now the thing with this sled is it is not quite complete when you get it… there are three talents that you have yet to unlock and those are started by completing a few quests for Amanda Holliday.

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I’ve photoshopped them all together so you can see the requirements.  Essentially in order to get all of the talents you are going to need to start making a TON of gifts…  120 in total but thankfully they seem to be cumulative and not separate achievements.  This is one of those situations where I am not sure if this is also account based, but I plan on getting the hunter through the first part and getting her sparrow tonight as a test to see if you can effectively bake them on all of your characters and count towards one total.  Essentially you are going to need to at a minimum give another round of Gifts to Ikora, Sloane, Devrim, Asher, Banshee and Failsafe…  and then a bunch more gifts on top of that to whoever you want until you reach the magic 120 in total.

Now the positive is each time you turn in a gift you get a chance at getting interesting gear…  as I picked up a new roll of the Avalanche HMG that I talked about yesterday by turning in a package to Sloan last night.  All in all I like this version of the Dawning quite a bit, but I miss the sparrow races greatly.  They really need to bring that concept back to Destiny 2.  I am however enjoying doing stuff… and then getting random bonuses from doing said stuff…  which in truth is going to keep me engaged in this event way longer than it probably should.  I want the nonsense tricked out sparrow that causes glitter to spawn when you do stuff…  so I guess I will be baking 120 gifts?  So far Crucible and Gambit seem to be the best use of my time for the purpose of farming Dawning Essence…  and I have objectives that I need from both of those so I might be farming those tonight.

 

 

The Dawning Arrives

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As I assumed yesterday, the Dawning was in fact waiting on me when I got home from work and logged into Destiny 2.  For the uninitiated The Dawning is effectively the Destiny universe Christmas event, covering the tail end of December and the beginning of the new year.  It has meant a lot of different things, including really awesome sparrow racing in the past.  Unfortunately that event did not make a return, but instead we get a fun mini game that asks us to go out into the world and do various things.  It also signals getting bonus seasonal bright engrams each time you level up, so doubling the opportunity for bright dust and related rewards.  Unlike past years however this feels way more rooted in game activities and not just another attempt to pry money from us in the cash shop.

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The event signals the return of Eva Levante to the Tower, who for those of us that date back to Destiny 1 will remember was the shader and emblem vendor.  Weirdly in Destiny 1 she was associated with the Festival of the Lost more than The Dawning… but I vaguely remember her also being the starting place of this event back in the day as well.  What Eva asks of us this year is to collect various ingredients and make baked goods for the denizens of the tower and all of the various NPCs scattered throughout the solar system.  She also offers a series of daily bounties that reward ingredients and at least one of them rewarded Powerful Gear, but I assume that is a weekly or one time reward only.

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Eva has given us a portable oven that fits in our inventory and asked us to go out into the world and start collecting ingredients.  She starts us off by giving us the ingredients and a recipe to make Gjallardoodles for Zavala, to sort of show us the ropes of how the system works.  After finishing that we are asked to collect the ingredients for Vanilla Blades for Lord Shaxx and Eliksni Birdseed for Hawthorne, and both of the quests tell us specifically what ingredients to go collect.  Effectively every recipe has three parts, a common material that drops from a specific enemy type, a rare material that drops based on the sort of damage you are dealing to the mob, and then dawning essence which drops from various activities from Public Events on the planets to match made activities like Gambit or Crucible.  Here is a quick rundown of the drops for various mobs and damage types.

Common Items (Green – Mob Based)

  • Cabal Oil – Kill any Cabal Enemies
  • Chitin Powder – Kill any Hive Enemies
  • Dark Ether Cane – Kill any Scorn Enemies
  • Ether Cane – Kill any Fallen Enemies
  • Taken Butter – Kill any Taken Enemies
  • Vex Milk – Kill any Vex Enemies

Rare Items (Blue – Kill Damage Based)

  • Bullet Spray – Kills made with “Machine Gun” type weapons – Auto Rifle/SMG/HMG
  • Delicious Explosions – Explosive kills aka Class Grenades/Rocket Launcher/Grenade Launcher
  • Electric Flavor – Arc Damage based Kills
  • Flash of Inspiration – A kill that generates an Orb of Light – Supers or Masterworks
  • Impossible Heat – Solar Damage based Kills
  • Null Taste – Void Damage based Kills
  • Perfect Taste – Precision Damage Kills – aka Headshots
  • Personal Touch – Melee Based Kills or Melee Abilities like Thrown Weapons
  • Sharp Flavor – Sword Kills… not sure if Hunter Knives can proc or not

These are then combined with Dawning Essence which drops from pretty much anything, and crafts an item that begins a quest chain.  Now a lot of these won’t show up on the map as a quest but it will cause the icon for a given vendor to start blinking.  You turn in the baked goods and get a package that usually includes some Dawning Essence and a Blue or Purple.  There are Triumphs associated with finding each of the recipes and delivering it to the respective NPC.  As I said before you are only given three recipes from the start, but as you experiment with putting different items together you start unlocking the specific vendor items.  If you put together two items that don’t make a tasty treat…  you end up with Burnt Edge Transits which Master Rahool will take off of your hands.

Recipe List

Collecting materials can be time consuming… since they do not by any means drop every single kill.  So as a result here is a list of all of the recipes, since if you are like me you are going to ultimately want to craft one of each to get the triumph for the holiday event.  All of the recipes will take 15 Dawning Essence to craft so not listing that, just know it is a requirement for everything.

  • Alkane Dragee Cookies (Sloane – Titan) – Chitin Powder and Bullet Spray
  • Burnt Edge Transits (Master Rahool – Tower) – Any two ingredients other than those of the recipes below aka the failure state item
  • Candy Dead Ghosts (The Spider – Tangled Shore ) – Dark Ether Cane and Flash of Inspiration
  • Chocolate Ship Cookies (Amanda Holliday – Tower) – Cabal Oil and Null Taste
  • Dark Chocolate Motes (The Drifter – Tower) – Taken Butter and Null Taste
  • Eliksni Birdseed (Hawthorne – Tower) – Ether Cane and Personal Touch
  • Gentleman’s Shortbread (Devrim Kay – EDZ) – Ether Cane and Perfect Taste
  • Gjallardoodles (Zavala – Tower) – Ether Cane and Delicious Explosion – This was a freebie though and the mats Eva gives you
  • Ill-Fortune Cookies (Petra Venj – Dreaming City) – Dark Ether Cane and Impossible Heat
  • Infinite Forest Cake (Failsafe – Nessus) – Vex Milk and Impossible Heat
  • Javelin Mooncake (Ana Bray – Mars) – Chitin Powder and Sharp Flavor
  • Radiolarian Pudding (Asher Mir – Io) – Vex Milk and Electric Flavor
  • Strange Cookies (Xur – Varies Weekly) – Taken Butter and Electric Flavor
  • Telemetry Tapioca (Banshee-44 – Tower) – Vex Milk and Bullet Spray
  • Traveler Donut Holes (Ikora Rey – Tower) – Cabal Oil and Flash of Inspiration
  • Vanilla Blades (Lord Shaxx – Tower) – Cabal Oil and Sharp Flavor

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Now yesterday I was musing exactly how we would be getting the Legendary Heavy Machinegun associated with this event, and if it would be some sort of a grind like the Haunted Forest was during Festival of the Lost.  It apparently is super easy to get because it becomes your reward for essentially doing the very first quest which is to craft Gjallardoodles for Zavala.  Aka you can get this weapon on pretty much all of your characters “just for participating”.  As I thought however it drops at 600 light the same as the Festival of the Lost Auto Rifle, but it appears to not be equitable by lowbies the way that weapon was.  I am going to try doing the intro quest tonight on some of my alts and seeing how this weapon varies.

One minor thing that I have noticed however is that it is impossible to deliver every recipe if you do not have the DLC content since  Ana Bray is associated with Warmind, Spider with Forsaken… and Petra Venj with having beaten Forsaken unless you can turn in to one of her earlier incarnations that hangs out in Spiders Lair.  The season of giving challenge however asks you to deliver 12 baked goods… and with Master Rahool not counting towards this because it is a failed state of the quest…  that leaves 15 possibilities…  so they have effectively made this available to folks without the expanded content.  You just cannot get all of the triumphs/achievements associated without expansion access.  Largely good on them for allowing vanilla players to be able to get all of the rewards.  Ultimately you are going to spend the majority of your time farming Dawning Essence since you need so much to craft any given item.

 

Last Minute Shotty

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This morning I don’t really have a lot to talk about because it seems like I do this thing where Monday I make a gigantic post…  and then Tuesday I am always somewhat lacking for content.  I posted about this last night on twitter, but now you can see a new screenshot with a shader applied.  This is the IKELOS shotgun, which is gained by defeating the boss at the end of Escalation Protocol Wave 7.  Each week you are given a different boss that drops a different weapon…  with one week giving a shot at dropping all of the weapons.  I have been farming this week because it was Shotgun week and I largely wanted this because of the fact that it has 8 rounds of ammo capacity…  which I feel is a huge benefit to the various forge modes.  Now this is not what I would call an easy farm because it requires a bunch of circumstances to fire just right.

Firstly you have to find a patrol zone on Mars where people are doing Escalation Protocol…  and even more than that you need to find one willing to build up from Wave 1 all the way through Wave 7.  Better yet if you can find one that is willing to farm Wave 7…  because after killing the boss you have the ability to drop back down to 6 and work back to 7 again.  All told I spent a significant amount of time on Mars this week and probably got in somewhere between 20 and 30 boss kills.  I had largely given up on getting it and thought while waiting on my wife to get home… I would give it one more shot and helped a group work up from Wave 1.  As my wife was pulling into the driveway this thing dropped and you cannot fully encapsulate how much joy I felt in seeing it drop.  Now I am trying to decide if I want to try farming the other weapons for not to collect the complete set.

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The Dawning event gear showed up on Tess Everett, so I am guessing today when reset happens we will begin to see those events happening in the tower.  The Dawning is legitimately some of the weirdest looking gear you can get…  and the Titan set looks like some sort of crazy rhino beetle?  There are a few exotic ships again this time, one of which that looks really freaking cool.  More than that however there is a legendary heavy machinegun that we can grind for and that is pretty much going to be my central focus.  They did this for the Festival of the Lost, and I am wondering if this one will be similarly max light and equipable by all of your alts.  Even if it is just 600 light it will be a good option for alting, and truth be told I need a legendary HMG since I have yet to actually get through the forge.  I am so damned close but burning the wave three boss is now the problem.  I may random into more of that nonsense tonight.

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Lastly I have been playing a little bit of Super Smash Bros Ultimate…  but the truth is I have no clue what I am doing.  The jumping mechanics feel really bad so I need to sort out if there is a better way to configure the controls… because it feels like it has way more play in the jump than a traditional fighting game.  All in all right now I am playing Marth, but also largely just playing World of Light.  In theory I could unlock the characters faster through other modes, but I kinda like playing this as an adventure game.

Weekend Weapon Haul

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Pretty much the highlight of the weekend for me was that I got to join in the shenanigans of the Last Wish raid in Destiny 2.  This mornings post is largely going to be a rundown of the items that I got to drop this weekend.  It was also the farm weekend for the IKELOS shotgun, and unfortunately as of yet I have not seen one drop.  I have lost count on just how many times I have killed the level 7 escalation protocol, but it has been enough that I am starting to doubt it exists.  Like the paranoia in the back of my head keeps telling me that I must not be keyed for getting loot of the boss.  I do however have a huge stack of shaders that drop every single time you down it.  I sincerely doubt that tonight I will get enough kills of Escalation Protocol to make a difference, and in truth it seems to be hard to find anyone actually doing it.  My friend Warenwolf managed to pull me into a group, so I am guessing this is regional?  I wish there was a decent matchmaking option for it.

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As far as the raid itself…  it was some crazy nonsense.  One of the things that Bungie does almost better than anyone else is create some interesting and imaginative raid encounters.  I don’t want to go into too much detail but there were of course jumping puzzles and timed burns and of course some relay race sort of encounters to unlock sections of the raid.  All of which seemed doable for me who was a complete nub, but unfortunately…  I am also one of those people who simply does not grok something when someone explains it.  I have to do it myself to be able to understand the nuance of it, and while I feel like I still have a long ways to go before mastering the encounters…  I feel like I would also do a lot better the second time in.  Thankfully none of the jumping puzzles were anywhere near as stressful as the ones in the King’s Fall raid.  An interesting mechanic is that first timers get an extra piece of loot at the very end, and as a result I wound up getting 4 pieces of armor and 5 weapons…  one of which dropped from random trash but that still counts.  Now I am going to play show and tell with each of them.

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A really cool looking rocket launcher that I will never actually use because it doesn’t have cluster bombs.  I could say more but really… that is the core problem and I would have used it as infusion fuel if it wasn’t a raid weapon.

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This is quite possibly the weirdest feeling auto rifle I have ever used, because it is so freaking slow firing…  which you would assume to be extremely stable and it is not.  On PC with mouse and keyboard controls it is completely manageable, uncertain what controller would be like with this weapon.  It was fun the little bit I played with it, but it also takes the same slot as my beloved Misfit so I doubt it is going to see much play.

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This is probably the favorite of the weapons that dropped because it has a decent stat package with triple tap and the ambitious assassin that all of the weapons appear to come with by default.  I used this quite a bit this weekend trying to complete the crucible headshots step of the Cayde-6 quest chain, and had some luck.  The problem with that step is that I am just not good at crucible anymore, but this is a perfectly reasonable weapon to be using.  I also really dig the look and feel of it.

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The biggest challenge this weapon has going for it is that it is a scout rifle… and all of the reasons why I would use a scout rifle are largely demolished by the inclusion of bows.  This is likely never going to get play from me because even before the introduction of bows… I was not a huge scout rifle fan.  That said I won’t infuse it because I tend to collect interesting weapons.  It does however have rampage which is a positive that it has going for it if you can get into a situation where you can pick off adds easily.

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While this technically didn’t drop from a raid encounter, I saw a shiny golden engram while we were doing the Riven fight and this was waiting in my mailbox after we left the raid.  This weapon has some issues, but the majority of the problem is that this time around this is a heavy weapon.  In Destiny 1 this was a secondary weapon, which would have greatly improved its utility were we able to equip this in the energy weapon slot.  As it stands… it is competing with other Heavy Weapons and comes up very short against both the Thunderlord and the Sleep Simulant that are just better weapons.  What made this interesting before was that it was a fusion sniper rifle…  which I guess became the linear fusion category as a whole.  If they ever tweak this weapon to be energy slot equipped then it will see some play, before then however… it just isn’t worth giving up that slot against arguably better weapons.

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I still have not ignited the forge, but one of my attempts over the weekend got me a Two-Tailed Fox to drop, which again suffers from some of the problems that I just talked about.  It is a really interesting weapon that is useful in specific niche situations…  but I can’t see using this over the sleeper or the thunderlord.  Still very happy to check this off the exotics bucket list.

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Finally I completed the Nascent Dawn quest chain over the weekend and wrapped up the Polaris Lance.  All in all I dig the feel of this weapon, but I would probably use the Legendary Masterwork version that you get in the quest chain step before the Exotic as it would free up the exotic slot for one of the two heavy weapons I keep mentioning over and over.

We also recorded a podcast this weekend as usual and some of the things we talked about are…  Black Armory, Last Wish, The Game Awards, Hades by Supergiant Games, Epic Game Storefront, Super Smash Bros Ultimate.  If you are someone who likes to listen to podcasts check it out… otherwise zero shame in giving it a skip.  I personally find youtube the easiest way of passing along the link, but in the sidebar of the blog is an RSS feed for those who want to use a traditional podcatcher style app.  Listening to me ramble on is an acquired taste so perfectly cool with folks skipping if that is not your thing.

Shotguns and Game Awards

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desktop-screenshot-2018-12-06-21-07-33-63Last night was a night about two things…  farming Escalation Protocol in the slim hope of getting a shotgun…  and watching The Game Awards.  I didn’t even realize that the later was happening until Pete mentioned something about it on Twitter.  I am not really a follower of awards shows in general because traditionally speaking they don’t actually reflect my interests in quite literally anything.  The academy awards tend to focus on artsy films, and the grammys tend to focus on pop music…  neither of which are really my jam.  I still remember the Grammys where Metallica Performed and was nominated for the new “Hard Rock” category…  against Jethro Tull…  and Jethro Tull won.  Basically I have always sorta considered the awards scene to be grossly out of touch with anything that interested me.  I can’t really say that the Game Awards are all that different given that I don’t really play a lot of the games that they talked about.

It has been however super interesting to watch the show evolve over time.  Each year the “realness” has escalated significantly and last night… it legitimately felt like any other big budget awards show in existence.  Hell they even have a proper theme now, which was kinda cool and did a good job of showcasing the different flavors of gaming.  I also enjoyed how they have this blend of reveals and awards, as well as a meaningful pre-show that instead of watching the “red carpet” used that time to give out the less glitzy stuff like lifetime achievement awards.  There was also a reasonable blend of traditional celebrities, e-celebs, and legendary game devs… all treated as peers to create this weird blend of everything that makes the community interesting.  For example I don’t care about Ninja necessarily, but I do know he is a big deal in the Fortnite juggernaut, and probably a significantly better ambassador to the “normies” than Pewdie Pie.

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The twitch screen had up this “Worlds Will Change” logo prior to the pre-show actually starting, so when we opened the Game Awards with Shawn Layden, Phil Spencer, and Reggie Fils-aime from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo respectively all sharing the stage I momentarily got my hopes up.  I wondered would they reveal that finally all games on all three platforms would be cross play by default?  Sadly however it was just a gesture of togetherness rather than anything meaningful, but still very cool to see that happen as they all appear on effectively neutral ground.  They still need to hammer out those details behind the scenes so that we can all play together without boundary, which is ultimately the thing I think most gamers really want.  Truth be told I just want the consoles and PC versions to cross play given that I am almost always going to prefer the PC version the best.

As far as reveals go the one that was the most interesting to me personally was The Outer Worlds by Obsidian, which appeared to be a Fallout style game set in a Wild West Space Opera sort of world on the outskirts of the universe.  I am always down with scifi blended with westerns blended with what appeared to be bioshock style advertising branding.  It is Obsidian, so we know the story is going to be good… that is the thing they do really really well.  It will also probably be very buggy, because that is another thing they do really really well is generate bugs.  Regardless I am now really looking forward to this game after only having seen a little bit of trailer.

We got a much longer trailer for Psychonauts 2, which is something we already knew was coming but also something that is going to be excellent.  I fully expect to be replaying the previous one prior to this game coming out so I can sorta blend my way into the new story.  It has been a really really long time since I last played Psychonauts.

I am also really interested in Far Cry New Dawn which to the best of my knowledge is the first game in the Far Cry series that is a direct sequel to the previous one?  It also makes me want to play Far Cry 5 if this is where we are going to end up.  There were lots of other reveals and they have posted most of them on the official The Game Awards Youtube, which is super handy.

What games were revealed that you are looking forward to?  Drop me a comment and let me know.  I will be spending the weekend on a mix of still farming for the shotgun in Destiny 2 and splitting time between two big alphas that are also happening.

Destiny Nostalgia

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With my general disappointment I have over Black Armory and the direction the game seems to be going now…  with focusing only on the end game and not actually giving us anything new that we can do the moment a content update drops.  It got me feeling notalgic about Destiny 1 and some of the things I miss that have never quite made it over to Destiny 2.  So I am going to take this morning as an opportunity to rifle through my vault and pull out the things I would love to see over here.  This is mostly just me posting a bunch of pictures of weapons and talking about them, so if that is not your thing then today’s post is likely highly skippable.

Legendary Weapons

Destiny was largely a game about collecting the exotics, but there were a handful of legendary weapons that stood out and that I coveted.  I figured a handful of these definitely needed to be talked about.  There were a lot of them that I liked, but these were the weapons that I absolutely loved.

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We are going to start things off with the weapon that I bring up so many times…  my perfect roll Haakon’s Hatchet, or at least what I considered to be a perfect roll.  It came from Year 2 Iron Banner and still has one of the overall best looking Iron Banner weapon visual aesthetics.  It had Range Finder, Perfect Balance and Counterbalance so was insanely stable and while relatively short range… it could melt targets especially in the Crucible or Iron Banner.  This also doubled as probably one of my favorite PVE weapons for just dealing a bunch of reliable damage to targets.

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The Haakon’s Hatchet was eventually replaced with the Genesis Chain which dropped on my first time through Wrath of the Machine when I was super carried hard by my friends in Tequila Mockingbird.  I admit a lot of why I used this weapon was because it looked cool and it had an interesting perk called Focused Firefly…  which was essentially a much bigger version of the normal firefly that caused targets to explode when you to a precision kill.  It also had this super satisfying noise that it made when you triggered one of these explosions…  which I think is the real reason why I kept using it.  It sounded sorta like the ping of kicking brass out of a Mosin Nagant in all of the WW2 era FPS titles with a bunch of reverb at the end.

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I generally hated the look of all of the Year 3 Iron Banner weapons…  there is just something about having a bunch of bits crudely cobbled together that didn’t do it for me.  This is weird because in general the Fallen weapon aesthetic is very similar…  but somehow works with all of its spiky nonsense.  The main reason why I loved this weapon was its absolutely crazy high impact, and the fact that enhanced battery took the available shots up to 6… and with performance bonus it had a chance of refunding some ammo.  This could just straight up melt any target in front of you, and was a pretty good option to help burn elites.

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My heavy weapon of choice has usually always been a machine gun because it always feels like you have a lot more versatility due to the larger magazine size… or in the case of most of them drum size.  Once again this gets a strike against it for the horrible asethestic of year 3 Iron Banner weapons, but it has a lot going for it when it comes to stats with Extended Mag, Hand-Laid Stock and Counterblance giving me a fairly high impact and very stable machine gun.  Not much else to say about it… it was very much a utilitarian burn option that wasn’t flashy but got the job done.

Exotic Weapons

While we have ended up with a large number of carry over from Destiny 1 in the Exotics department, there are still a handful that I really enjoyed using that it would be nice to see reborn in one form or another.

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I have to give an initial shout out to Hawkmoon, which was the very first Exotic that I ever got to drop.  Now rumor has it that we are getting this back at some point in the upcoming seasons… but for the time being an equivalent does not exist in game.  It was a high damage high capacity hand canon made interesting by the fact that two of the bullets would deal extra damage.  Ultimately I replaced this in my line up with the Eyasluna which was essentially the legendary version of Hawkmoon allowing me more leverage in where I chose to use my exotic slot.  It still bears mentioning however for introducing me to how cool exotics could be.

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Another weapon that was also near and dear to my heart that absolutely no one else liked playing with…  was the Fabian Strategy or the Titan exclusive exotic.  I have always been a very run and gun player and as such was regularly closing the gap on a pack of mobs, which triggered crowd control and the front lines perk that increased weapon stability and rate of fire.  The fact that a portion of the ammo was reloaded into the magazine on kills meant I could storm the castle and maintain a killing screen while taking out minions.  This all fits my general play style and made me love this weapon far more than I should have given how many other people kept telling me it was garbage.  Proof again that weapon choice is absolutely a personal preference thing.

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Red Death was my go to for whenever I needed to sustain my life in a situation where I knew I would be taking a significant amount of damage.  This made it the ideal weapon for those affixes that would cause your shields not to regenerate normally, or anything where there was a aura effect that would be slowly damaging you over time.  Sure we got Crimson which is effectively a Hand Canon version of this weapon, but it feels lousy to play with in my opinion and as such doesn’t really count for me.  I would love to see the original Red Death back.  Given the storied past of this weapon it feels like the perfect option for a lengthy chain to unlock it.

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Now for the weapon that inspired this post…  Thunderlord is awesome and does a great job of melting a bunch of minions because of its arc damage proc…  but the best version of that was on the Zhalo Supercell.  Not only was it a really stable auto rifle, but the chain lightning proc made it perfect for clearing waves of mobs.  It also held a special place as one of the few elemental primaries that survived the year one cull, which made it amazing for arc burn weeks.  I would love to see a version of this gun back with a similar proc, especially given how many horde mode encounters we are getting in the game now.

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While I never got to experience the grandeur of year one Gjallarhorn because I stopped playing shortly after launch…  I fell in love with this weapon during Year 3 and it is impossible to make a nostalgic post without mentioning it.  There was just nothing cooler than watching an entire pack of mobs melt to wolfpack rounds.  During much of Year 3 this was pretty much the dedicated exotic that I used for everything because even if it was not solar burn week… it still was the best option for killing all of the things at once.  Sure one might say that made it too powerful, but it was insanely fun to play with so it deserves on this list.

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Another weapon that I would love to have back that we will probably never get back… is Invective or the shotgun that regenerates ammunition over time.  Sure this and the Icebreaker the sniper equivalent were a little broken…  but I loved this weapon so much in The Crucible because I didn’t have to care about the meta of trying to camp the special ammo.  It looks amazing as well which as we all know goes a lot way to making a weapon feel good to use.  Party Crasher+1 was the only shotgun I used regularly other than this one, but for most of my iron banner nonsense it was this in the special, Haakon’s in the primary and some machine gun in the heavy slot.

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Sure we got a version of this with the Curse of Osiris DLC called Machina Dei 4 but it is nowhere near as good as this classic exotic version.  It also looks nowhere near as cool.  I would love to see a version of the original return, because again… this was an epic quest in the original Destiny and would give ample opportunity to make it a seasonal quest to recover the weapon.  Everyone loved the Stranger’s Rifle and this was just an updated version of that, so would love to see it back.

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These next two are largely situational, but I felt like they were unique enough that I wanted to include them as well.  Touch of Malice was a must have raid weapon for the Taken King expansion, given that there were many burn phases where you were given an invulnerability effect allowing you to effectively pour rounds into the target without reloading with this weapon.  It’s special effect allowed you to drain your own life and convert it into a bullet to keep firing after you have essentially emptied your magazine.  This mean’t that it was super useful in a few clutch situations, but also was a great way to kill yourself if you were not paying much attention.  In either case it was fun for the entire family.

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Lastly we have Bad Juju that had two situations where it worked amazingly well.  String of Curses did two things… firstly kills caused your ammo to reload and give you a damage buff.  Secondly this effect when procced caused you to gain additional super energy, allowing you to charge your super significantly faster if you could be put in a situation where you had to kill waves of mobs.  This made this the go to weapon in situations where you needed to have your super up regularly, which came in super handy in Prison of Elders and similar activities where you were both fighting a bunch of stuff and also getting additional credit for using your super.  Other than that I was not a huge fan of the weapon, but I liked it because it filled a specific niche in my armory.

What were some of the weapons that you miss from Destiny 1?  I largely excluded the elemental swords because I would have had to have included all three of them… because they were all great in their own way.  Drop me a line in the comments below about your favorite Destiny 1 weapon that we have not seen yet in Destiny 2.