Advanced Spellcraft

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I’ve talked about quite a few things that I experienced at Pax South, and this mornings post is going to do some more of the same.  I feel like this year more than others I walked away with a treasure trove of things I wanted to talk about.  I guess in theory it is because I approached the convention significantly differently than I have in past years.  In the past I largely only stood in line to play the games that immediately seemed to be in my wheelhouse, and as a result I am sure I robbed myself of a whole slew of interesting things.  The game I want to talk about this morning is a prime example of not being able to rely on our instincts and tastes.  If you have read my blog for any length of time you will know that I do not handle “finger wigglers” that well… or to clarify my own personal slang…  spell casters.  So when I walked past a booth demonstrating a game where the main character is slinging spells left and right, my first instinct is to keep moving.  However as a group we stopped and listened to the intricate tale that CEO Louis-Félix Cauchon had to weave.  Admittedly what make this game so interesting is just how detailed the spell system is.  We got to watch a twenty minute demo covering nothing but how the spell system works, before even getting into the awesome pedigree of the storytelling.

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Functionally your character has four spells, which in itself doesn’t seem like a lot.  However each spell can be modified with what I have been generically calling “mutators” to change the way it responds.  So you might have a spell that at face value is a small point blank spark, however by equipping a a behavior you can make it fire out like a fireball…  or by equipping an augment you can make it veer to the right after firing it.  If you suddenly decide that you don’t want to throw fireballs… but instead iceballs, you can simply go in and change the base element of the attack.  Over the course of this demo of the system we got to see personal shields turn into charge attacks, and glorious cascades of rock from the ceiling in place of a traditional blizzard spell.  Now you might ask yourself why on each you would need this level of detail for a spell system apart from the simple “wouldn’t it be cool” aspect.  Functionally the magic not only serves as a weapon, but also as a complex puzzle system.  So there might be switches that you cannot reach unless you modify your fireball to arc in a certain way in order to hit the trigger.  The spellbook also allows you to save off several different configurations of a spell, and in the final version you will be able to give them unique names allowing you to quickly recognize which version of a given spell is your avalanche and which is your frost barrier.  The only immediate limit to building insane combination spells is your imagination, and of course your mana bar.  Each trait that you give a spell increases its cost, and while it was described that this matters less and less as you go through the game… it does limit your early tinkering.  Additionally as you play through the game you find modifiers along the way, meaning your palette of abilities starts small and grows as you progress.

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Up to this point we have literally just talked about the technical spell casting system, which in itself is a pretty amazing game.  On top of this however they have added what is sure to be a pretty great story.  Ed Greenwood of Forgotten Realms fame has penned the story for this game about epic spellcasters, which only makes sense given that he gave us the character of Elminster.  Functionally I heard the game described as Harry Potter meets Zelda and that seems fitting, with a huge alteration in that there seems to be a lot more physical puzzle solving with your spells.  I find it so bizarre though that I am looking forward to the release of a game about magic users, and that includes absolutely zero armor clad characters for me to bash baddies in the head with.  At face value this game is traditionally far out of my wheelhouse, but it was also quite possibly the freshest feeling game concept I saw on the Pax floor.  We’ve done so much for martial combat and making it feel interesting and nuanced, but have done so little to bring that same level of nuance to weaving complex spells.  Most games give us the option of push button throw fireball, or push button create bubble…  but this is the first that I have seen that lets you take that bubble and then project it outwards or trigger another spell after the bubble casts.  I have this feeling that in many ways it will have an almost metroidvania feel in that each time you unlock a new ability to give you spells it is also going to open up new ways to solve puzzles and allow you to move deeper into the content.

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The game right now is targetted for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One and does not have a firm launch date… but we heard March or April mentioned which I largely translated into a “Spring” launch window that might be plus or minus a month.  They are doing something extremely interesting to get us into the world ahead of the launch by releasing a comic that updates Tuesdays and  Thursdays and explains the world and setting.  I love it when I experience a game like this, not necessarily because “woo spellcasters” or anything of the sort, but because this is clearly the love child of a bunch of folks who care deeply about it.  Talking to Louis-Félix Cauchon within second it was clear to see just how passionate he was about this game, and the work and imagination that went into creating it.  That in truth is what makes the convention experience special.  You get to meet the creators face to face and see just how much they love what they are doing.  In many ways it feels like Pax South recharges the spark inside of me each year, and gives me fuel to keep going throughout the year.  We spend so much time on the negatives, the little details that bother us about this game or that.  However seeing a game like Mages of Mystralia shows me instantly that there very much still is magic out there…  pun only slightly intended.  I would definitely add this to your watch list and check it out when it ultimately releases.  I find it so bizarre that of all of the games I have experienced, this one ranks insanely high on the list of “wish I had early access” titles, if for no reason other than to play with the spell crafting system.  This is the first release from Borealys Games, but if they can pour this much passion into every project they are going to be a studio we see lots of amazing things from in the future.

Kittens and Gaming

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Tiny Babby

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It was a good weekend, if not a very rainy one as a whole.  This made for an extremely humid evening last night for fireworks and festivities.  Our plans largely backfired because in the past we have been able to see the fireworks from the comfort of our back yard.  This time around however they apparently switched locations, and the bulk of the fireworks were hidden behind a stand of trees.  All of that aside however the highlight of my weekend was the little guy that I am feeding above.  Now to clear up some confusion… we did not adopt him but did however drive like an hour and some change to go up and see him.  My Mother-In-Law found this little guy abandoned, but I am a bit fuzzy on the details.  All I know is zero sign of mother and probably about a week old when she found him.  She has been nursing him with a bottle as pictured, and at this point we think he is somewhere between two and three weeks old.  Completely sweetheart who seemed to really like my beard.  He would curl up under it and start kneading the underside of my chin.  My wife took lots of pictures of me feeding him…  as to why it ended up with me feeding him that is anyones guess.  He seemed to take the bottle better from me, and growing up we had barn kitties… who sometimes were not that keen on being a proper momma.  So I remember occasionally having to nurse a litter by hand so I guess that muscle memory just kicked in.  We have no plans to adopt this little guy because he seems to be in just fine hands already.  Though I will admit… it was hard not to try and take him home with us.

Forty Five

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I spent a good deal of my weekend playing ArcheAge and as of last night I am level forty five.  This means that for the last two zones I have been leveling exclusively in the mixed faction regions that are more or less open PVP.  This was a huge point of anxiety around launch that ultimately I could not hit the level cap without venturing out into zones where folks could gank me.  As it turns out…  everyone seems to have something better to do with their time.  I’ve spent many an hour out in the mixed zones and while I have seen a ton of “red” players not a single one has bothered me.  Granted that might be simply because I am higher level than they were, or it might also be that they are focused on more important things.  So essentially I have leveled the same as I did before, and enjoyed questing…  with just the slightest awareness in the back of my head that I am not entirely safe.  Largely I just shifted to a point of view where if I am going to go afk… I go find a Nui shrine to do so near because of the peace aura surrounding them.  As far as leveling goes… I am slightly ahead of the curve more than likely thanks to the Patron buffs.  I am largely ignoring crafting and spending a meager pittance of labor points on opening lootbags and gear, which has kept me outfitted and is a shocking amount of experience.  I tend to let the bags collect while I am working on a quest hub, and then before moving to the next open them all and stash the crafting materials in the warehouse before moving on.  I had honestly wondered if I would hit a wall when I moved into the open pvp zones, but so far the game is just as fun as it was beforehand and I am moving along smoothly.

Taming Familiars

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Another game that I have been poking around in is Riders of Icarus after talking about it over the week with the AggroChat crew.  The character on the right is my Beserker, and the character on the left is Tamrielo’s rogue of some sort.  It is shocking how when left to our own devices… we end up creating pretty similar looking characters.  In both cases we even purposefully decided to go with a hairstyle that is unlike what we normally choose…  yet we still seemed to have chosen the exact same alternate appearance.  The game as a whole is doing some interesting things, with the central feature that makes it special being that you can go around taming mounts and combat pets.  Unfortunately unlike ArcheAge you cannot have both a mount and a combat pet at the same time… or at least I couldn’t figure out how to make that work.  There are certain aspects of the game that remind me of a whole slew of other games, but more than anything they seem to be focused on the player fantasy of mounted combat…  namely mounted aerial combat with a crossbow or lance.  This so far is the least enjoyable part of the game for me, because well… so far I suck horribly fighting in the air because it feels like I lose all situational awareness and often back into another mob while dancing around the one I am currently fighting.

Launcher 2016-07-04 23-39-04-29  Last night I managed to get to some sort of a proper dungeon and was pleased to see that you could complete it in a solo fashion, or with a full group.  The feel of the zone is extremely similar to Ragefire Chasm in World of Warcraft, but nonetheless fun and interesting.  I am wondering if on higher difficulties you have more than the single boss at the end of the cavern which is the golem pictured above.  I’ve played this game quite a bit and I am still not sure if I like it or not.  I think I might need to play the Guardian tank class a bit to see if that is maybe more my speed, because generally speaking I enjoy playing dps… but my heart is never really in it.  The game can be set up to run in a traditional action bar combat method or through left/right mouse button action combat style.  What I find personally works best is a bit of a hybrid between the two… namely setting the game into Action Mode but also using hotbar combat.  The biggest challenge for me right now is the fact that all of my attacks are fairly slow… and animation locked so dodging and avoiding attacks becomes a challenge.  I am enjoying the game enough to keep playing, but just not sure if it is different enough from the other games I am playing to keep my attention for the long haul.  If you are out there playing Riders of Icarus feel free to throw Belghast a friend invite.

Crafting Away

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As for Rift I am stuck in a bit of a holding pattern for the moment.  Each night I focus largely on completing all of the daily crafting quests for the various purple, blue and green currencies.  However I guess I have reached a point where I should probably venture into the world for real.  Over the weekend I managed to cap both the purple and blue currencies, and even though I spent them down a bit… that tells me that maybe I have focused too intently on this one aspect of the game.  I’ve been making almost nightly trips out into Goboro Reef…  that I found out from Captain Cursor I have been calling by the wrong name all of this time.  The zone was one that I did not really like a first, but for Karthite and Sarleaf farming I find it extremely relaxing.  At some point I need to just break the pattern and focus on pushing my way further into the Planetouched Wilds.  Either that or start up with the running of experts again, because I am still far from ideally geared.  However I am not sure if Experts or Intrepid Adventures are the better option at the moment.  I am really looking forward to the change to the Warlord soul that is up on the PTS, because I have always enjoyed playing it… at least significantly more so than the Paragon soul that I am currently using.  I always liked the rhythm of landing Piercing Thrust after a combo point dump attack.  It feels good to see a single attack deal that sort of damage, and supposedly the PTS changes restore the soul to general viability, which I am absolutely looking forward to.

 

How to Survive 2 Impressions

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Sandbox/Mission Hybrid

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Roughly a month ago a friend of mine hooked me up with a copy of How to Survive 2, because she knew I was a fan of the whole zombie apocalypse genre and it was a game she was enjoying.  I had all of these plans to write up a proper impressions piece, but got sidetracked by all things The Division.  This game was a whole lot of the reason why I survived the lead up to the launch of that title, because it gave me something fresh to piddle around with.  The basics of the game are that you are a survivor in a world long after everything went to shit thanks to the zombie outbreak.  Since I did not play the first title, I feel like there is probably some background story there that I am missing.  What I do know however is that this title is set in the coastal region of Louisiana.  There are no real recognizable landmarks however, but instead the world simply borrows a swampy feeling Tileset.  The game has both single player and multiplayer game modes, but I have largely spent my time playing single player.

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Within moments of starting a new game you are introduced to the character of Kovac, a man that at first you only know as a voice coming through some sort of a speaker system.  He serves as your guide as he attempts to teach you the basics of surviving in this world.  The game itself is divided into two basic chunks, the large open world area that allows you to freely roam and explore, and very tight and controlled missions with specific objectives.  The missions themselves are repeatable and you can crank up the difficulty to give you better rewards and experience.  One thing of note, and why I am doing an impressions piece is that the game is in early access, and there are a lot of things that are simply not in the game yet.  Much of the tutorial that walks the players through how the world works is simply missing, so I had to rely on my friend and what I could google to figure out a few things.

Level Your Camp

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One of the big things that I was missing was how one actually levels up.  The game has two parallel systems that are designed to level up together, that is your “camp” that you are building in the open world and your character itself.  Both of these have levels associated with them that are purchased through the spending of experience gained through doing activities.  The fastest way to gain this experience for me at least, seemed to be to repeat one of the early missions with the difficulty slider cranked up as far as I was allowed to.  The reason the whole camp leveling thing was a bit confusing at first, was that the character level is locked to the camp level.  So in order to level up your character you have to first level the camp, and you will continue to stair step the two progressions from that point on.  In addition to raw level however there are numerous perks that you can unlock… some of which are absolutely must haves like the ability to open lock picks.  Others are improve the efficiency of using weapons or items, and I assume are also really important once you get a good idea for how you want to build out your character.

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The thing I have noticed is that the difficulty of encounters ramps up pretty quickly, especially in the open world.  For quite a while all I encountered were the generic slow zombies, however once I got to around level three or four the game started to throw in those “track star” zombies that have become popular in the more modern and edgy zombie films.  Around level five I encountered this games version of the boomer… the fat bloated corpse that explodes when you get it low on health.  I am sure as the levels continue to ramp up I will keep encountering other mixes of bad guys each one with their own way of dealing with it.  The only real problem is that in the bit I have been playing my only ranged option so far is a crafted bow.  I am wondering when exactly I will encounter guns, because while I have found a small bit of ammunition.. I have yet to find anything to use it with.

Fallout-Esc

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There is a certain nostalgic feeling to playing this game that I have a hard time really putting into words.  In many ways the game reminds me of the original Fallout games, in that much of your interaction is happening in smaller closed maps that are tightly designed around a single mission.  There is a big of fog of war going on as well as you explore because you can only actually see a small section of the screen at a time.  This is magnified as you go into buildings because there is a forced zoom that happens allowing you to see finer detail inside.  This also makes it much easier for a zombie to sneak up on you and there have been a few moments especially on the night missions where I genuinely jumped when something lumbered out of a corner that I had not been looking yet.  Wandering a cityscape with only your flashlight to see with…  is unexpectedly tense given that this is a top down isometric game.  I definitely had moments of trying really hard to bait everything out of buildings before actually going in to explore them for the fear of getting overrun especially on higher difficulties.

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The game is very much not finished, but what is there was really enjoyable to play and helped to get me through those Division withdrawals.  I would really like to play this game with friends because I think it would be extremely awesome to explore larger cities together.  The game is targeting PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and I could absolutely see this being an enjoyable console co-op experience because the movement feels like it would translate well to a twin-stick controller setup.  The big thing to remember about this game is that it comes with the same early access concerns as always.  The game is not finished, but they seem to be updating pretty regularly.  They have a beta branch that has more frequent updates, but also likely is in a less polished state… and then the normal branch is largely stable.  I had quite a bit of fun playing the game, and I intend to pick it back up again.  It is the perfect thing to pop into do a mission, and then exit feeling like you accomplished something or at least moved the experience bar forward.  While going through all of my recent home renovations there were many occasions where I simply did not have the time to get into something terribly detailed.  Instead I booted up How To Survive 2, and poked around for a bit and got my quick gaming fix before returning to the fray.  I liked it and look forward to seeing how this evolves.  At some point I feel like I really need to poke my head into the original game since this one doesn’t really provide much backstory.

Victor Vran Review

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Secrets Abound

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One of the hardest parts about getting steam gifts for folks… is trying to pick a game that you think they will really like.  I know in one case every single game I thought “man that is perfect” for a friend of mine, it turned he had… and had already beaten.  Every now and then someone completely nails it though, and I think this year my friend Ashgar did just that.  As a kid I envisioned this game that I wanted to create, that was a lot like Castlevania in setting, but while adventuring you might see something in the background of a level.  Then through doing a specific ability sequence you would be able to enter the background and find secret areas.  The concept was pretty straight forward, and I’ve mentally conformed it to lots of different genres.  The game I have been playing however… Victor Vran… does this thing and does it extremely well.  You cannot imagine how exited I was the first time I played the game and saw it doing pretty much that thing I had always wanted to do.  The game has old school secret areas, that are accessed by blowing up walls, jumping over seemingly impassable objects… or sometimes wall jumping your way up to a higher game field that you didn’t notice at first.

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The gameplay itself is this strange amalgam of Diablo, with a setting that feels like the love child of Witcher and Castlevania.  The monkey wrench into the traditional Diablo model is that the Z axis exists… you can jump and even deliver jump attacks.  In many ways there are aspects of the game that remind me of Guild Wars 2, where there are several different types of weapons you can pick up and wield:  sword, rapier, hammer, lightning gun, shotgun, spellbook, scythe, and mortar.  There might be other weapons available but these are the ones that I have seen so far, and each of them comes with a specific main attack… as well as two special attacks that are bound to Q and E if you are using the keyboard and mouse controls.  In addition to this you have two demonic power slots, which serve as spells that you pick up while playing the game.  These are extremely varied and do everything from hurling down fireballs at the opponent, to shielding the player… to throwing you into a frenzied rage increasing your melee damage…. but also causing you to take more damage yourself at the time.

Your Destiny

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Finally you have a series of Destiny cards that tweak your character in certain ways.   At level 18 I have 11 Destiny points worth of cards that I can use at any given time… and as I open chests, kill monsters, and complete quests I often times have the chance of picking up additional cards.  These vary greatly in their effect… so for example The Sun that I have equipped gives me a chance of proccing a huge explosion anytime I “overkill” a mob… meaning deal more damage than is needed to kill them in a single hit.  Others like Hope simply increases your hitpoint pool directly, and others still add additional combat traits like The Vampire which causes all of your attacks to life steal.  The game feels like it has just enough customization to let you feel like you have some measure of control on how your character feels, but not so much as to cause a quagmire of possible build options.  Diablo almost suffers from this at times, and it feels like in order to really play your character efficiently you need to do a lot more planning than I really want to do while playing a game.  In this game I often fiddle with my equipped items in the middle of levels just to see how it feels differently, and the ability to hot swap between two different weapons comes in extremely handy when dealing with different monster types.

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The aspect of the game that most endeared me, was that every single area of the game feels like it is part of the larger game as a whole.  What I mean by that is that there is one big play field for an area, and then linked off of that are a bunch of smaller sub dungeons.  Then those dungeons often times are cross linked to other dungeons as well, giving the progression of play field an almost MMO like quality.  Sure this exists in Diablo, but it feels almost accidental rather than “these are the building blocks of this zone”.  What I like quite a bit is the fact that you can get a preview of a zone before you actually enter it.  The above screen is an example of that, it shows what the new zone is, some examples of what kind of critters might be found in it… as well as a listing of all of the challenges.  So in the above example I know that I probably want to have a scythe at the ready, so I can swap to it in order to kill a certain type of mob in the zone known as the “Volkavs”.  I know the area has three secrets to find, and that I want to try really hard to power up my demon abilities so that I can kill lots of mobs with them.  Then while going through the level each time you trigger one of those objectives it spawns in some sort of a reward.  Finding all of the secrets will reward lots of gold, or slaying the champions will spawn a banner that starts to spit out experience globes for example.  Each of the symbols out beside the objective means something different.

Not Perfect, But Fun

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When I initially looked at this game, there was a lot that made me interested…. but the big turnoff was that you seemed to be playing a single character named Victor Vran that almost felt like this generic demon hunter character.  Now that I have gotten into the game, the setting itself is way cooler than I gave it credit, but at the same time… it does feel a bit like a heavy metal video.  You are a lone demon hunter entering a city that has fallen to the demons…  one that has been a death trap for so many other hunters.  As you go through the zones you are constantly seeing reminders of other hunters fallen and dead, and as the plot unfolds you get an understanding of why exactly this one city has been so besieged.  There are so many common tropes here that the story itself could be a bit of a turn off for many players.  The gameplay and moment to moment fun of the game however is amazing.  You end up picking up a “Bob the Skull” like companion that serves as a voice in your head… and a running narration of your actions.  There is a moment when if you don’t head towards the clear objective… but instead wander around trying to make sure you have cleared everything out… he accuses you of going in the wrong direction…. and then begins to sing the “Brave Sir Robin” song from Monty Python.  So at times this ever present narrator feels like it does in say Thomas Was Alone or Bastion.

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The other negative is… you are stuck being Victor.  You don’t get to create your own demon slayer, but instead are dumped into the role of this existing one.  So much like playing Uncharted where you are always going to be Nathan Drake…  you are always going to be Victor Vran.  I mean I get why they are doing what they are doing, because it makes a much cleaner and more simple narrative path for the game.  That said you encounter other cool characters, that I had hoped maybe you would be able to take them out adventuring instead.  You meet another Demon Hunter pretty early on named Irene, who eventually serves the role of selling advanced gear back in the castle.  It would have been really cool if when you met her… you could have chosen to take her out adventuring instead with Victor guarding the hunter stores.  Similarly you bump into a royal guard, that I could see taking out for a spin, or a grumpy old military adviser or priest.  The feeling that you are adventuring with a team and rather than just one dude with a sword would have been welcome.  I guess they are still adding content and planning on releasing expansions, so here is hoping at some point they will flesh out some of that.

Team Play

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Last night my focus was less of working through my own story, and more on hanging out with Grace and Thalen who now also have the game.  At first it felt like there was not much challenge at all, but I think maybe the game has trouble scaling up content the moment a new player joins.  As we started moving around more the challenge level seemed to increase to something of an average of our levels.  So for Grace and Thalen the mobs probably felt really rough, and for me… since I was as eight levels over the next closest player in the above example…  it felt something on the easy side.  What I enjoyed the most about group play, was that even though I had already completed the objectives… I was still able to get rewards from helping Grace and Thalen complete them.  Additionally “Kill X” type tasks… count for the entire group so every hammer kill counted for a hammer kill objective… regardless of who got the final blow.  The game seems to use Diablo style personal loot, and the exploration aspect was really cool when one of us would figure out how to get up to some secret… then have to show the others how to get there as well.  My only real complaint about grouping was that there is no trade system.  I would have happily dropped some decent weapons on my friend when we first started, because I personally have ended up favoring a specific set of weapons that is different from what they ultimately ended up enjoying.  All of this said…  the game works well, is gorgeous to play through… and controls better that I would expect.  If you are looking for a fun dungeon crawler with some unique twists on the Diablo model… I highly suggest you check it out.

 

 

Lost in Infinity

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Upgrade Day

For whatever reason I have been putting off the upgrade to Windows 10, even though all of my machines have been asking me to do it for some time now.  Essentially I keep telling myself there is always something looming on the horizon that is way to important to risk having a machine down.  It is either the Monday or Wednesday raids or the impending Saturday session for recording AggroChat.  However this week I told myself… that as soon as I finished with the AggroChat festivities Sunday morning that I would exit out of everything and upgrade.  So roughly 9:30 in the morning yesterday I took a leap of faith and performed a Windows 10 in place upgrade.  I have to say I am shocked and amazed at just how smoothly things went.  The only major issue that I have run into so far is the fact that I had no sound… which isn’t terribly shocking because I use an Asus Xonar sound card.  After some quick digging I found out that the Unified Drivers that I had been running all along updated to fix this issue.

The best surprise however was something that I had been concerned about for some time.  The account that I use to log into windows, and have used for awhile is my outlook.com account.  I like using this… as it makes more sense than my previous windows account.  That said my Xbox 360s as well as the old Games for Windows are configured to use a completely different account that is based on one of my second gmails.  So my biggest concern was how the Xbox Windows 10 app would work.  However it seems like Microsoft has thought of this problem and allows you to sign in a different account.  When I did this bam… my Windows login account is now bound to my Xbox Live account and cross linked allowing me the best of both worlds.  I don’t have an Xbox One, but if I did I am sure it would be handy to have this set up in such a fashion.

Lost in Infinity

Asoka and Adorable Wookie Youngling

While upgrading Windows I ended up playing Playstation 4 pretty much all day long, and inadvertently falling into a Disney Infinity shaped hole.  This time around the hub world feels much more interactive than it did in 2.0.  Additionally you have all of these really cool sidekicks to collect, and I am guessing the majority of which are gained through doing side quests.  While working on the Twilight of the Empire playset I managed to find four younglings that I could then use as sidekicks when I got back to the toybox.  I of course chose the Wookie youngling because who doesn’t want to be followed around by a tiny Wookie.  I’ve spent a lot of time playing both Asoka and Boba Fett, but Asoka is by far the furthest progressed.  Namely I don’t think I have Boba Fett as an option for any of my playsets that are available yet.

There are so many aspects of this game that are absolute crack for me, like collecting bits to decorate my house.  I added on a bit to my house which is basically a combat arena that lets you fight level appropriate baddies while in there.  You talk to a tiny side kick form Agent Coulson and bam he spawns a whole bunch of stuff for you to jump down and fight.  At this point I have only actually made it through a few areas of Twilight of the Republic, but I am now on Coruscant and just checked into the Jedi Temple.  I am just shocked that I quite literally lost from about 9 am until 3:30 pm yesterday afternoon playing this game.  The gameplay is pretty damned fun, and much in the same was as I enjoyed running around in Ratchet and Clank beating things up for bolts… the same sort of mechanic is in place here for Sparks that can then be spent on items for the toybox.

Waiting for Sleep

My First Rayman Game

Last night when it came time for bed I was getting choked up again from my allergies.  So I took some Benedryl and went upstairs to wait for it to kick in.  Since I did not really feel like futzing with my PC I opted to fire back up the PS4 and piddle around on it.  Would you believe that until last night I had never actually played a Rayman game?  I mean they always looked interesting enough, but there was something about the arms and legs floating in the air that bugged me about the character.  There was a recent flash sale and I managed to pick up Rayman Legends dirt cheap for the PS4, and since I had always wanted to give it a shot… it seemed like an awesome idea.  So far it seems like a fun game, but for whatever reason didn’t hold my attention for long last night.  I made it through one level  before popping out and trying something else.

Home Sweet Tower

Instead I settled into a game of Destiny and spent my time fiddling with gear and trying to sort out the things that had changed.  It seems like most of the really cool stuff is already available to me which kinda shocked me.  I’ve not picked up Fallen King and was not really planning on doing so any time soon.  However when I started working on leveling my character with their much streamlined system… all of this loot flagged with a Taken King icon started dropping.  I spent a lot of time on Mars working on a few bounties and kept running into fallen corruption zones where corrupted Vex and Cabal would spawn in.  These things were extremely nasty but had a chance of dropping some pretty nice stuff.  The biggest thing I noticed is that it seems like the drop rates are greatly increased when it comes to pretty much everything you can do.  I walked away with more weapons than I had seen in a very long time… since maybe launch.  Also it seems like engrams are more true to their color… if I got a blue engram I pretty much got a blue item out of it.  Maybe I was just exceptionally lucky last night, but it did not seem like I was pulling greens out of them like I did before.  I need to spend more time playing Destiny, I enjoy it still and I have a lot of fun running around with my Hand Cannon.  I still have yet to play any of the expansion content, so I need to do that at some point.

 

Week In Gaming 9/20/2015

Allergies Suck

This week has been a tale of the universe conspiring to kill me… otherwise known as horrible horrible pollen count.  When you go to one of those sites that tracks air quality, my neck of the woods has been bright red for the last several weeks.  As a result I have been walking around in a bit of a stupor.  Friday I felt like I was coming out from behind a fog, but this morning after running around yesterday I am once again feeling miserable.  Essentially it seems like my best option is to huddle inside and forget the world outside exists.  The biggest problem I have is that the only allergy treatment that seems to really work is Benedryl…  which puts me to sleep.  So as a result I take a cocktail of other medications in the hopes of blunting most of the things going on… and then combining that with copious amounts of caffeine in the hopes that somehow someway I will be able to function as an adult.  Adulting is really damned hard sometimes.  In spite of all of my time hunkered down this week, I really don’t have a wide variety of things to talk about.

Star Wars the Old Republic

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Treek is a Badass

Once again this week my primary source of gaming entertainment has been Star Wars the Old Republic.  As I mentioned last week during the recording of the AggroChat podcast I started working on my Smuggler, and I have continued that process throughout the week.  As of last night I am now on Alderaan and level 34.  The extremely level gap that I had on the content is starting to shrink and as a result things are getting more difficult.  I need to look up and see when the next upgrades are available because I am starting to feel like I need to spend some commendations on both myself and Treek to get some more gear.  I had been trying to do this every other level range, so that I skip one upgrade step but the levels have not been coming nearly as fast as they were on Taris and Nar Shadda.  I am however rolling in the commendations because they just seem to keep coming quickly.

I am absolutely enjoying the smuggler storyline because it feels so vastly different than any of the other storylines I had experienced.  The Jedi Knight and Jedi Consular stories interweave as you go throughout the game, but it seems like the Trooper and Smuggler don’t really work this way.  I am very much on my own mission through the galaxy with my own cast of characters to interact with.  I am still really happy I made my choice to go with Treek over Corso Riggs, because even listening to him running Crew Missions is enough for me.  I’ve managed to unlock three of the faction story bits with Treek and I am wondering if she has a special mission at the end or not.  She just seems genuinely happy to roam around the galaxy killing things, and I am happy to keep her in business.

Tron 2.0

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Yesterday I went through the steps outlined in this video link to attempt to get Tron 2.0 up and running on a Windows 8.1 system.  It took a little bit of fiddling but I finally managed to get things running.  I have to admit right now I am struggling a bit, because quite honestly it feels like a decade old game.  The controls are not nearly as responsive as I have come to expect from a shooter, also it returns to an area without functional auto-save.  This means that yesterday I died…  after playing the game about an hour, realizing that the last time I had saved was during the tutorial when the game specifically asked me to do so.  The combination of wonky controls, and not having auto-save to lean on… is going to mean that I have to shift the way I think about the experience.  I’ve decided already that when I restart the game I will be lowering the difficulty and skipping the tutorial since I already saw it once.  Here is hoping that I can manage to get through it before the AggroChat show next week!

Final Fantasy XIV

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This is going to be the first week period that I have not actually logged into Final Fantasy XIV.  Allergies and generally feeling like shit kept me from raiding on both Monday and Wednesday nights, which was unfortunate.  I’ve been in this holding pattern waiting on the 3.1 release to come in and sweep me off my feet with overwhelming love for the game again.  However over the weekend at the Tokyo Game Show they announced that we can expect the 3.1 patch in November.  That seems a really long ways away… considering that people are desperate for content right now.  The only thing we can think is that maybe the pet battle system might be what is delaying it… but honestly it would seem like a much better call would be to bump pet battles to 3.2 and get some fresh content now.  This is precisely the problem we went through at the launch of 2.0 and ultimately why many of us quit playing when we did.  We got tired of grinding the same two dungeons over and over.  In the mean time  I will have SWTOR and Wildstar to entertainment.  I don’t plan on quitting the game, but I will probably not be playing a lot of it until November to be brutally honest.

Disney Infinity 3.0

Boba Fett is Overpowered

The other thing that I have started playing with yet again is Disney Infinity.  I managed to catch a silly deal on the Disney Infinity 3.0 set while only spending $15 out of my pocket on it.  This gave me the 3.0 base game with five figures… the exclusive Boba Fett and then Luke, Leia, Anakin, and Asoka.  The 3.0 interface itself is much refined from the 2.0 version and features an almost MMO like feel to it where you have various hubs in a persistent main world.  Additionally there seems to be some sort of arcade feature that allows you to connect to players around the world and play with them.  I have not really explored much other than talking to each of the quest givers off the main hub, and unlocking their specific area.  Boba Fett is pretty damned overpowered as he has rockets that pretty much destroy anything they hit.  The only negative that I see so far with the Star Wars characters is that unlike Iron Man or Thor none of them seem to have flight abilities.  I halfway expected that Boba Fett could use his jet pack, but instead that is just used as a sort of charge attack.  I am guessing that also means that most of the play sets will be built in a way where they don’t need flight in any fashion.  Right now there are really only the two playsets that I have seen for 3.0 but I am sure more will be coming shortly.