Holy Crap A Sword

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This wee the Faction Rally event has been going on in Destiny 2 and as I stated earlier in the week I was absolutely expecting Dead Orbit to win.  They had the worst weapon during the first Faction Rally and won regardless, and I just assumed that was going to be our fate in life from this point out.  However it feels like Bungie attempted really hard to stack the deck in favor of New Monarchy by offering up the only faction based sword weapon as the prize for repping the faction.  Basically in my opinion Future War Cult has the best weapons on average and New Monarchy has the coolest looking gear and shaders…  then Dead Orbit is the also ran faction of having both gear and weapons that look scavenged.  However Dead Orbit has black/grey/white shaders which at least in Destiny 1 tended to make everyone want to faction with them.  Hell I did it for awhile until I started on this whole Future War Cult kick.  Basically I had resigned myself that I would log into the game this morning and we would have a crappy grenade launcher waiting for us to purchase for far too much glimmer.  Instead I have a sword slung across my back and some pep in my step as a result.

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Last night we ventured forth into the Leviathan again, and as a bit of a favor to myself and Grace we used a brand new raid seed so that we could get in and at least get some tokens for the week.  Sunday night while I was downstairs playing WoW and watching Walking Dead a crew made their way into the Leviathan and made a repeat performance at dogs, and then put in some work on figuring out the Gauntlet event.  Last night we once again downed dogs, this time on our second attempt and were able to move on to work on the Gauntlet as well.  I like that all of the fights so far feel extremely repeatable, as in once we get the dance down we seem to be able to do it without much effort.  The most challenging part seems to be that the dogs themselves are erratic as hell and seem to behave oddly at times making it a little slow.  I fully expect that once we have the fights down solid we will be able to clear all of the Leviathan in an hour, which means we can do multiple trips in each week to get folks through it without a lot of effort.    I realize we are months behind in doing so… but I am looking forward to being able to beat Calus on our own terms and unlocking raid engrams for the rest of the clan.

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The bulk of last night was spent sorting out the mechanics to the Gauntlet and then attempting to refine what we had learned and turn it into something that was effectively repeatable.  The last few attempts were really close to winning and the ultimately challenge seems to be during the “everyone runs” phase of the fight, keeping those of us who have not been running the orbs up to that point alive long enough to get enough orbs through the gauntlet to actually win.  The last several rounds we were getting both runners through the tunnel each time, meaning in theory we needed fewer people to actually make it to the end of the fight successfully.   However the death timer is ultimately what got it as myself or someone else failed to make one of the jumps.  Functionally in my case this is going to be one of those “practice makes perfect” situations because I learn largely through doing.  The other thing that I need to do a little research on is how best to handle the waves of adds because I was doing the Axe platform and it felt like I was just straight up getting shredded by grenades all the time.  I did notice that my adds seems to stop coming out sooner than the other platforms so I am wondering if there is something to that.  The last few attempts Tam and Shiana that were doing the runs were floating to help out the other platforms clear adds and it went so much more smoothly.  I look forward to finishing this fight so we can get started on the Slug Emperor himself.

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Lastly I thought I would share this over on my main blog.  For those who are unaware we have another site tied to our AggroChat podcast that effectively rolls up and syndicates all of the content from all of the hosts.  What this means in practice is it is generally my daily posts, perforated by the occasional post by Grace and then our Sunday podcast releases.  For the past two years our banner has not at all represented the cast of the show and there has been a project to fix this getting the always amazing @Ammosart to do individual character shots.  Firstly we have Ashgar as a high tech bear, then myself as a Destiny Year 3 Iron Banner guardian, Grace as the octopus pirate queen, Kodra as Commander Keen, Tamrielo as a Red Mage, and finally Thalen as a sort of futuristic marksman.  Basically I had each member work with Ammo directly to do whatever representation they wanted to use going forward, and I think the set turned out great.  I finally got off my ass and pulled it together in a new site banner and will start using them on the title cards that I create each week for the podcast.

Weekend Hibernation

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It was a truly bizarre weekend for a whole lot of reasons.  Primarily because whatever illness my wife had seemed to strike with a vengeance during the tail end of last week.  As I said before I was originally planning on going to RiffTrax with work friends on Thursday night but by the time I left work I realized there was no way I could make it through an entire evening.  Instead I begged off and went home and crashed on the sofa in my fuzzy blanket cocoon.  By the time Friday came around I was really doing considerably worse and took a sick day…  which in turn screwed up  our evening plans.  We were originally slotted to do this monthly family dinner thing, but we rescheduled it for next weekend because I was not sure how well I would be to drive.  Instead I returned to the blanket cocoon once more and was as a result available for our normal Friday night Emerald Nightmare clear run.  I wound up tanking it, with the stipulation being that I was not going to talk at all.  In fact to  prevent myself from doing this I muted my microphone…. which lead to a weird run since I am fairly vocal as we make it through the content.  To make it even more odd, we were without the OTHER vocal leader Kylana which meant a whole slew of people had to step up to the plate and help make sure the run went smoothly.  So seriously huge thanks to Mort, Phy, Beist, Bledd, and I am sure a whole slew of other people who also were chatty and helpful but I am not remembering at this very moment.  It was once again a super clean run, and in the end I wound up swapping off for Erry for the final encounter since it generally requires a bit more vocal tank coordination.

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Past that night I spent a lot of time piddling around in stuff by myself.  Namely this meant an awful lot of Final Fantasy XV, and I think maybe just maybe I am finally to the point where I am willing to move on past “world 1”.  As I said before there is a point where the game warns you that if you continue on you might not be able to return for awhile.  I took this warning to heart given that I just came from playing Final Fantasy XIV where this sometimes means that a two and a half hour long cut scene is about to happen.  Instead over the weekend I found out from some of the other folks playing it that at least in this case… the game is talking about a ten minute process and not a thirty hour long one.  In past games these warnings often times meant that you would not be able to return until you found the airship, and I am pleased to find out that this is not the case.  At this point though I am running out of things I can actually do in the starter world, and all of the hunts are of a significant level difference from my current level so I think the game is not so subtly telling me to move the hell on.

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Another thing that took up some time this weekend is that I tore down a chunk of my office and set up my new Xbox One.  For awhile now I have been interested in owning an Xbox One to be able to play the titles that don’t exist on the PS4.  Similarly there is an entire group of friends that I have that are on the Xbox path, and I have not been able to play with them.  Unfortunately there were really no titles that supported Xbox 360 crossplay with Xbox One, so as each of them has upgraded…  my options similarly narrowed.  While I have had this latent desire… I also just could not justify the street price for the console given that I am primarily a PC gamer first… and a Console gamer second.  However on Black Friday I actually partook of a deal on Dell.com for an Xbox One, Extra Controller, Headset, and Five Games:  Halo 5 Limited Edition, Farcry 4, Ryze Legendary Edition, Sunset Overdrive, and Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes all for right at $200.  For this I was willing to jump on it and the box arrived at my house Saturday during the day… and I wound up setting it up after editing the podcast on Sunday morning.  There was another deal on Cyber Monday to pick up a copy of the Destiny Collection for the Xbox One for I believe $25 and I jumped on that too, so while I was installing other things…  I ported over my Xbox 360 copy of Destiny.  Firstly since I am largely a digital only gamer on PS4… I did not realize the whole download after installation was as much of a tedious chore as it actually was.  Halo 5 took a good three hours worth of download time, which I found insane and shocking.  Is this what disc copy gamers on the PS4 have to deal with as well? or is this largely just an Xbox One thing?  In any case… I was kinda happy to see that my PS4 clan tag ported over to the Xbox One, and while I will still primarily be playing Destiny on PS4, I want to level something to hang with my friends playing on the Xbone.

I’ve decided to start linking the podcast on Monday mornings in what generally ends up being a weekend rundown post.  Not that I think there is anyone who doesn’t have access to it… but just in case the youtube version embeds nicely.  The other big take away from the weekend was all of the food that we cooked.  We wound up having a weekend full of comfort food, cooked in the crock pot.  So Friday night before going to bed I threw our breakfast casserole on to cook so that when we woke up Saturday morning it was ready.  This dish consists of egg, cheese, potato, ham and sausage and it amazing.  We wound up eating on it for breakfast and lunch on Sunday as well…  and still have a bunch left over.  My wife had the bright idea to turn it into a breakfast burrito with a little salsa.  We also cooked our Chicken and Cheese Tortilla soup, which we only got two meals out of…  well and an extra helping or two.  Finally on Sunday we tried out this Orange Chicken thing…  that is close but not quite there.  It was good enough but it needs something to make it work properly…  and I think I screwed it up by putting the rice directly in the sauce and letting it cook.  I should have simply made a couple cups of rice and then ladled the sauce over it instead.  In any case…  my wife and I are both largely on the mend but we pretty much spent the entire weekend hibernating.  We started taking some OTC meds when it initially hit and I think it helped out quite a bit.

Kodra the Prodigy

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Last night I had what is going to go down for awhile as one of my strangest dreams.  The root of it was a roadtrip, that apparently myself and the rest of the AggroChat crew were taking across country.  I have no clue at all where we were going, or what we were actually doing.  However we were in a road trip in a car that was probably too small to fit all of us…  but those are the sort of details that dreams just handwave away.  What I do know for certain is that at some point we stopped at a roadside diner, and while milling around and waiting for everyone to finish going to the restroom I noticed this little girl had a cool vintage metroid championship t-shirt.  I commented that I liked her shirt and she showed it to me proudly…  and that is when I noticed that emblazoned across it in a fuchsia with purple shadow version of the Metroid logo was the name “Kodra”.  Round about this time in the dream Kodra comes out of the bathroom and I point out the t-shirt and he is super nonchalant about it.  This is the point where we learn that apparently he was a child prodigy at video games… and “he doesn’t like to talk about that time”.  We also find out that apparently there is this entire internet sub culture that has been trying to find out what happened to Kodra after the championship…  which in itself is funny given that he goes by that game on our podcast.  It is around this point that the dream starts to break down like every dream does, especially given that I am not sure the timing works.  Kodra is quite a bit younger than I am, so not sure what age he would have been when Metroid was even a thing.  In any case… it was one of those strange dreams that I had to commit to paper as it were.

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As far as “me”, I am doing mostly better… or at least on the road to better.  I feel bad about the weird state of yesterdays post, but I just didn’t have any proper fuel to cobble together a post.  I have been stressed beyond belief for reasons I can’t get into.  Just know that for the most part those events have passed and I think I am on the other side of them.  Cryptic as hell I know but that is about all I can really say.  I have not been feeling great, but I think it is just a side effect of the stress.  Last night I wound up going to bed before 10 pm, and then woke up about midnight feeling like I had slept an entire night.  My body does strange things when it comes to sleep, but thankfully I was able to mostly get right back to sleep.  As far as gaming goes last night, I managed to exist in the “organized gameplay” world just long enough to drag some friends into Heroic Darkheart Thicket for the World Quest that rewarded an 850 wrist.  This was unfortunately good enough that it was worth breaking up my four piece world quest set to partake of the level difference.  After that and finishing up my emissary quest for the day I flipped over to my paladin and continued questing out in Highmountain for a bit.  So far leveling as a tankadin is pretty chill and relaxing, and while I would rather run around Justicar Julia Celeste, I have to say Vindicator Boros is growing on me.  It is kinda fun to run around and be Super Draenei Tankbros.  I contemplated actually transmogging to some of the gear he is wearing to make it even seem more legit, since I think I have a lot of that stuff from the Draenor expansion.  However my purple judgement set matches the purple tone artifact so well… that I am leaving it be for the time being.  Over the night Tam managed to ding 110 so my hope for tonight is to grab him and smuggle him into a heroic to hopefully get some gear.

Magical Moose

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Luck and Friendship

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Over in World of Warcraft, there has been an item that has lovingly started to be referred to as the Friendship Moose…. and there are good reasons behind it.  The mount itself is pretty damned majestic, and makes me feel like Santa Claus when I ride it.  It comes from getting the Ahead of the Curve achievement for Heroic Archimonde….  well in truth Archi drops a quest but same basic difference.  The reason why it has become known as the friendship moose is the fact that there have been an extremely large number of people in the WoW Community who are going out of their way to try and get people the mount.  To the best of my knowledge it was originally @Thomicks that started the #FriendshipMoose hashtag, and then it kinda just went out of control from there.  I know @Zelse007 for example has been really knocking these out and as of last night he has gotten 639 Folks their moose.  I won’t lie that the thought of getting a spiffy mount is partially what drove me back into raiding in World of Warcraft recently, but more than anything it was to be able to hang out with Horde friends that I had never really raided with.  Quite honestly I never expected to get the Reins of the Grove Warden.

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The thing is…  I have some really amazing friends.  Earlier in the week I was pinged by Damai to see if I wanted to join in with his raid for a farm run.  The plan was to clear a bunch of bosses on Thursday and then pop in really quickly early in the evening on Saturday and take down Archimonde.  Generally speaking I cannot participate in this raid because it happens to coincide almost exactly with our podcast recording session.  However this time they planned on being in and out of the raid roughly two hours before our podcast was set to go.  I ultimately had to beg off on Thursday, because I kept going into uncontrollable coughing fits, but I was however able to attend yesterday….  which was good enough to get me a moose.  I was carried extremely hard last night, the above image is of me being the only dead member of the raid…. from when I tried to run my fixate to the edge and happened to run right in between two folks firing their lasers.  Not only did I walk away with a moose but I also picked up a couple of sweet upgrades, one of which is REALLY amazing for my special snowflake Gladiator spec [ Worldbreaker’s Resolve,  World Ender’s Gorget].  I gotta say I am happy beyond reason… because I absolutely thought this was far beyond my reach.  I want to give a special shout out to Damai, Errya, Pugnodeum, and the rest of the Praetorian Guard crew for dragging my but along.

No AggroChat

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So now that the warm and fuzzy bits are out of the way… I have to tell you that right now I am feeling like a complete and total failure.  Sure being the only person to die on Archimonde should have done that already, but this is something different.  We’ve been recording AggroChat for a little over two years now I believe, and during that time we have missed two episodes.  This week being the second episode, and for the most part…. this time is completely because of me.  While raiding last night, I was on listen only mode because I quite honestly had no voice to talk with.  Throughout the day yesterday, as it went on my voice kept getting weaker and weaker until the point where I simply became a squeaky whisper.  On top of this…  Tam is out of pocket this week, Grace is out of pocket this week… and yesterday was Kodra’s birthday…  leaving it up to Thalen and Ashgar to hold up an entire show.  As a result throughout the day we simply decided to call it, and I really hate the fact that it was my fault for doing just that.  This crud that I have picked up is driving me insane… I am so ready to be “better” but as the weeks go by it keeps dragging on.

I know last week when I went ahead and recorded… it was probably a bit of a set back.  Because prior to last weeks show I was feeling a bit better…. and then afterwards I was pretty much dead to the world for a few days.  What is killing me the most is that when I am in this condition I just don’t want to do much of anything.  As a result I have been focused heavily on Elder Scrolls Online, which is a game that I am largely playing by myself.  Sure there are a handful of awesome people playing with me like Ammo and Sol, but even then my interaction is mostly that of answering the sort of questions that new players have…. and not so much active grouping.  I can zone out and zone into the storyline… and as a result I am probably enjoying it more than I have since I first played alpha.  Part of me wants to at least push through the rest of the Aldmeri Dominion content before resigning the game to the back burner again.  Another big thing that I want to do at some point is pick up where I left off in SWTOR, and play through the Reven content that I never actually got around to doing.  I have this feeling at least in the near future that I am going to be focused on story games, less than I am going to be on raiding and grouping activities.  The Final Fantasy XIV 3.2 patch might change that, and in part I hope it does…. because I would love to feel the drive to play that game again.  However in the meantime I am going to quietly be piddling over here without my voice.

 

 

Monday LFR

A Good Show

I have not been in the habit of linking AggroChat in my blog lately, but I am going to do it this morning.  It took for freaking ever for the YouTube version of the podcast to finally upload yesterday, but I feel like this weeks show ended up really good.  There were a bunch of topics that branched out but the big one and the one I chose the name the episode was over a discussion about Otome.  A friend of mine Pizza Maid and her equally awesome named friend Sushi Geisha have this podcast called Heroines of the Cherry Blossom, where they talk about Otome games.  This was not a term that even exists in my vocabulary before this week, when they referenced our Hatoful Boyfriend episode on the podcast.  Essentially the side discussion that spawned was about how Tam was impressed with the quality of the writing of these various relatively low budget dating sims that he played in preparation for our Hatoful Boyfriend show.  The general consensus was that we would all like to see this deeply nuanced writing make its way into more mainstream titles as well.

Another interesting side discussion centered around the point in which we all tune out when it comes to an open world or sandbox game experience.  For each of us there seems to be a point where we are just “done” with the game even if we are not truly finished with all of the content.  For me personally I am never really “done” but I reach this point where I have to take a break and play something else for awhile.  But then by the time I return to the game I rarely remember what I was doing at that point and end up having to restart the game…   usually going in a slightly different direction than the original play through.  I know this past week with my focus on trying to chew through the quest content…  I am enjoying Fallout 4 significantly less than when I was just wandering aimlessly.  For others on the podcast they found themselves HAVING to focus on the story, to keep from losing interest.  In any case… we recorded a really content dense episode… which then surprised when editing that it ended up being a fairly short episode at only an hour and fifteen minutes.

Monday Night LFR

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I find myself once again in the unfortunate position of needing to run LFR on a Monday night.  The last chance crew in any MMO seems to always be the worst crew… and unfortunately due to the push in Fallout 4 I didn’t get any of this done earlier in the week.  There are a bunch of reasons why I am pushing last minute raids, but not the least of which is…  I am still trying to build out a tank set on the Cow.  There was a point in last nights raid where they absolutely would have used me in a tanking capacity had I a set of gear.  The problem is largely that I have plenty of armor… but since the Cow was a boosted character… I only went into level 100 with a single set of gear.  Normally as I level up, I pick up both a mix of two-handers for dps… and sword and board options for tanking, but I have had zero luck in getting anything I could use for tanking.  So I quite literally have a full set of gear that would be viable…  minus the sword and shield.  So tonight part of the plan is to run through Blackrock Foundry since it mostly features gear lower than what I need… and set the loot preference to protection, hoping that maybe just maybe I end up with a one handed weapon of some sort and a shield.  I technically have a 650 shield banked that would work well enough for the time being.

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On the other side of the fence I am still using the 670 Blackrock Foundry normal mode weapon that I have for ages… because I never could get any of the heroic bosses we were downing to drop me a weapon.  Similarly I have opened dozens of Garrison boxes… all with zero luck in finding a damned weapon to use.  So in addition to running Blackrock, I also really need to run  through Hellfire Citadel LFR on Belghast.  While I feel like BRF is probably going to go smoothly simply because most people have the gear for it…  I have a feeling that Monday night Hellfire is going to be pure hell.  The only thing that I maybe have gone on my side… is that there are generally more active alliance players on my battlegroup than there are horde, and I can definitely see that still is the case in the difference in my queue times between the two.  At very least I am going to struggle through the first few rounds of the raid because that seems to have the best chance of dropping me a weapon.  I have a pretty decent shield now, so really all I need is that main hand.  I even went so far as to purchase a Baleful Armament with some of my excess stones…  and only managed to get a 650.  In theory if I save up for a bit I could maybe manage to push that to a 695.  The other option is to have my blacksmith start trying to craft me one, but given the silly amount of materials it would take to make that happen…  I am hoping I simply have some decent luck this Wednesday during the raid.

The Villainy

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Extra-Life : Support Liore!

Character-Design-Jessica-500pxWe started out this year with every intention of doing Extra-Life as AggroChat.  However somewhere in the middle of all of this good intention… life happened.  At this point we have done nothing to prepare for Extra-Life and done absolutely no fundraising.  This means…  that AggroChat is not in fact doing Extra-Life this year but will be taking a rain check  in the hopes of rebooting this initiative next year.  In the meantime…  I highly suggest you support the person I am supporting for Extra-Life.  We have joked for awhile that AggroChat and Cat Context are similar enough that we should start having special “AggroCats” episodes where we jumble the cast together.  I feel like the podcast would end up feeling pretty similar.  Liore and Cat Context were so much inspiration when we decided to start AggroChat… so backing Liore in her Extra-Life is kinda like backing us!  In truth if not for Cat Context there would likely not be an AggroChat because that podcast taught me that it is perfectly okay to do a podcast with natural conversation instead of show notes and such!

It is my hope that even though I am not doing Extra-Life I can pop by on Liore’s stream and hang out a bit while she does her thing.  We even talked about potentially playing something that is all multiplayery that we can hang out and chat while doing.  I love the concept of this event, because it proves that gamers can in fact put their hearts in the right place and do amazing things for the world.  It is not in fact all about teabagging… and I was honestly shocked that was still a thing when I encountered it recently in Destiny.  Like people did that in the Quake 3 engine days… and I figured surely by now people had gotten over that “phase”.  I got off track…  anyways I highly suggest you pop by the donation page and throw a few bucks towards the cause.  I will be tuning in for as much of Liore’s stream as I can, so it should be a good time!

Favorite Weapons

Yesterday I decided to do a new sort of video for me, where I go into it with a specific topic…  you know like most youtube videos in existence.  Generally speaking YouTube is just this place where I dump backup copies of whatever I have streamed, and not something I really do intentionally.  This time around I wanted to talk a bit about the weapons I am currently using in Destiny and what I like about each of them.  So during the course of the video I go through my current arsenal:

  • Zhalo Supercell – Auto-Rifle
  • Hakke Zarinaea-D – Auto-Rifle
  • Suros DIS-43 – Scout Rifle
  • Suros Hawksaw – Pulse Rifle
  • Invective – Shotgun

I cannot fully put into words how excited I am that Xur had a Zhalo Supercell on Friday.  Other than No Time to Explain exotic… this was the weapon I wanted most.  This gun is so much fun, and more importantly it does a bunch of interesting things.  Namely it seems to be able to reach around shielded mobs when it procs.  So if you are fighting a Hive Knight or Cabal Phalanx… the procced lightning damage will still damage them even if they have the shield up.  This means this is my go to weapon for most strikes because it will simply decimate so many mobs…  and can drop the shield of annoying mobs like Knights, Captains and Harpies that have those Arc Shields.  I am really hoping that everyone who wants one of these got it this past weekend, because even though it is only 280 I was able to pour enough stuff into it to make it reasonable for most things.  Largely right now what I am lacking is weapon parts… and decent high level weapons to feed into my legendary weapons of choice.  I wish I knew the secret to getting decent drops… because I am equipping every last ounce of light I can before I start decoding, and still habitually ending up with 260-280 items that are utterly useless to me.

New Weapon

Traditionally my Hunter has used the hand-me-downs from my Titan as far as weapons go.  Then if I ended up really liking a weapon… I would end up stealing it from the hunter and giving it to my Titan instead.  I think the above weapon is the first time I am not going to do that.  On my Titan I already have a really capable Pulse Rifle in the form of a Hawksaw, that nicely rounds out my weapon arsenal.  If you want to hear more about it, I go into it in detail in my video above.  The other day I managed to rank up with Future War Cult that my Hunter reps… and the package handed me one of their weapons called the Villainy.  I didn’t think much about it and ultimately it took me awhile to get around to testing it out.  Yesterday during our Star Wars pen and paper session I spent a good deal of time running around in Destiny on my hunter and chewing through the backlog of bounties.  During most of that time I used this weapon, and I have to say… I am liking it.

If you look at the two weapons… Hawksaw and Villainy they stack up pretty closely… but I have to say in almost every possible way the Villainy is just better.  It has significantly more impact, more range, more stability…  similarly reload.  The more I look at it verses the Armory profiles for each weapon… I am guessing I simply just got a really ideal roll on my Villainy.  This is one of the things I like about this game that would end up driving others absolutely insane.  I like that two different weapons from the same family can vary so much, because it makes you feel like this weapon or that weapon are more “yours” because they may not be exactly the same as anyone else’s version of it.  My specific Villainy has Partial Refund, Perfect Balance, and Third Eye… and it is an absolute amazing weapon to use.  Part of me is hoping to get another one just to see how different they might feel.  All I know for certain is that for the time being…  this weapon is the go to for my hunter.  I also posted a picture of my hunter above just because he looks kinda bad ass right now.  I am hoping to get more pieces of the Neuroghast set… because seriously…  that name is fitting for me, and it looks pretty amazing.

 

Day of Destiny

So Much Fireteam

Pause in loading gave a rare screenshot opportunity.
Pause in loading gave a rare screenshot opportunity.

It seems my recent Destiny addiction has rekindled the fires in a handful of my friends.  As a result over the weekend I spent most of it in a Fireteam with Damai attempting to help level our friend Carthuun represented above by his PSN name Saldonas.  Saturday night my wife was freezing, so I got drafted into going to bed the moment our podcast broke up to provide “warmth”.  As a result I had to spend a good chunk of Sunday morning editing the podcast, creating the YouTube version, blogging about it and broadcasting it to the world.  After that I of course has to throw out my own Aggronaut post… which means that I was fairly late getting started on playing anything.  By the time I logged into Destiny Damai and Carth had a fireteam going and were working on the last few missions of the original storyline.  From there we pushed through The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansion content as a group, which honestly had been a bullet point that I wanted to get through at some point.  The problem is with so much new and exciting stuff  to do and gear to get… I never quite got around to making the time for it.  However with Carth leveling for the first time… all of the items you get through those storyline elements were actually relevant.  I finally st0pped grouping around 7pm when my wife got back home, and I went off to fix dinner for the two of us.  At that point I think Carthuun was sitting around the level 25 mark which is not too shabby for a day of grouping.

The big thing that I sorted was how to use PS4 party chat comfortably.  I have a Logitech G430 sitting relatively unused because after swapping to using a Blue Yeti microphone on my machine upstairs, I swapped to simply using a pair of Behringer HPS3000 studio headphones.  The sound output was better and they are nowhere near as heavy as the Logitech pair because they don’t need an attached boom mic.  Ages ago I ordered a few pairs of adapters that take a standard headset and converts it down to the single jack style input that modern phones and the PS4 controller uses.  Yesterday I took the time to dig out my G430 and one of those adapters and after some fiddling and piping all of the game audio through the headset… I finally arrived at something that was fairly comfortable to use.  I don’t seem to mind the fact that playstation chat is mono audio… when I have the rest of the game audio coming through my headphones as well.  Additionally having something other than my dedicated PS4 headset…  makes them far more comfortable to use for several hours on end.  Also this finally allows me to crank up the game audio without frustrating my wife, who has on occasion asked me to turn it down when a really crazy moment happens and the audio is booming.  Now that it is sorted I feel more comfortable using a headset with the console, and am also more likely to just hang out in party chat for awhile.  I am wondering what the upper bound on a party group is, and if you can have more than just the three fire team members.

Swapping Companions

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When I got downstairs last night to prepare for the season finale of Fear the Walking Dead, I of course booted up and started playing Star Wars the Old Republic.  Now that I have finished with my smuggler, I am picking up where I left off on my Sith Warrior.  Through the course of the evening I worked my way through the rest of the Nar Shadda storyline and just now starting on Tattooine.  I have to say it is very nice to finally have all four buffs after beating one of each base class.  I am a bit saddened however that I am finally reaching the stage of the game where it feels like having a healer is a very useful thing.  This means relegating Vette to crafting and spending the majority of my time with Malavai Quinn.  In the grand scheme of things I have no problem with Malavai, because he seems like the honorable Imperial Soldier type.  The problem being that I just like running around with Vette, because I always loved Mission Vao, and honestly for me… she was always Mission 2.0 rather than her own character.  Instead she will farm up companion gifts… that I will ultimately give to her later…  which seems a little strange?

Basically if I have a shot in hell of getting the special legacy unlock thing for beating all of the stories, that means I have to play through the rest of Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent, Bounty Hunter, and Sith Inquisitor all before the end of the month.  I am seriously doubting I will be able to do it, but…. that said if I ONLY focus on the story missions I might be able to make it.  When you only focus on the class story the early planets at least go extremely quickly and you stay at a decent level.  I might need to spend some cartel coins however to unlock more mod gear to throw on my characters.  The plan I arrived at on my smuggler of upgrading my armor every other planet seemed to work pretty well and I would really like to do that with my Sith characters.  The problem being the game is not extremely forthcoming with armor options.  There are sets available for pretty much any level range on the Cartel Market, but each of them cost a fair amount of coin.  So I guess we shall see what ultimately happens.  I guess if I got desperate I could make them wear the free moddable flight suits they give you, but that is not exactly a great option.  I might use the imperial pilot suit for Malavai Quinn however.

YouTube AggroChat

 

The funny thing about AggroChat is that in the grand scheme of things… we don’t actually get that many listeners… or at least not enough listeners to go through the trouble of some of the things that I do.  For example… our YouTube videos maybe get a dozen views a piece.  That said I like doing them, and I am not sure why.  I guess they are just far easier to link to someone when they ask you about the show than linking the actual podcast page.  Also I like embedding a youtube video far more than I liked embedding the Libsyn player.  I feel like I could probably do better about advertising our show.  I tend to do it in a rather haphazard fashion, because I feel rushed to get each show out the door and ready.  By the time I finish editing, uploading, and doing all the other things… I reach this point where I just want to be done with it for another week.  It is not necessarily the most enjoyable period of my week.  I love making the show, but the tedium that comes from doing all the fiddly bits to make it happen…  gets annoying.  So I reach this point where I just want to hurl it out into the world and hope someone finds it interesting.  The hardest part is it feels like we don’t have a lot of feedback.  Podcast listeners tend to listen silently, and while we have a few people that comment here and there…  you don’t get the sort of commentary that you do when you have a blog.  There are weeks however like this week, where I feel like we got into some extremely interesting conversations, and it is well worth listening.  I love the folks I podcast with, because ultimately they are the folks that I hang out with on a daily basis.

 

 

 

 

 

Pax South Excitement

Excitement Grows

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Last year Pax South was quite literally the first gaming convention I had ever been too.  Granted I have been to comic conventions and scifi fan conventions over the years…  but never a gaming one.  I didn’t really know what to expect but Liore gave me some advice…  that as soon as you get in the doors the anxiety fades away because you realize that these are “your people”.  I didn’t really believe her until the convention was actually underway… and absolutely I had this overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be just fine.  I never strike up conversations with strangers, yet I found myself idling chatting with people while standing in the queue room like a pro.  There was just this aura of acceptance that I felt, when quite literally anything anyone was into was awesome.  The only problem was that it was quite literally an overload on my senses and while I technically knew a bunch of people at the convention, I only actually managed to meet up with the AggroChat folks that I had planned on meeting up with… and Lonrem from Anook.  Well I guess that is not entirely true because that Friday I had a bunch of press meetups scheduled to talk with various game devs.  At the end of the two days I attended, I was worn out beyond belief… but I was pretty damned happy with my experience.  I had originally decided to try and attend as many local conventions as I could… but ultimately that fell through for one reason or another.

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After having done a Pax I realized that the highlight for me was not necessarily the show, but getting to hang out with people that I do not normally get to hang out with.  It felt like this giant summer camp for gamers and geeks… and it was fairly magical.  With this in mind I set my sights on Pax Prime…  but nothing really went as I had hoped there.  Firstly I missed out on getting tickets, and second we were not accepted for press passes.  Then thirdly…  August is a really bad time for me.  My wife is a school teacher and Pax Prime happens exactly at the beginning of our School year here in Oklahoma.  It would have been extremely rough on my wife for me to have been away during those first weeks of school, when she ends up having to rely on me the most because she is simply stressed beyond the point of coping.  So while I was sad that I didn’t get to attend, I still had hopes that I could con more people into joining me at Pax South this year.  Since I know what is important to me now…  I know what to focus on, and that is planning on meeting up with people.  The problem we ran into was that on the convention floor the cell service was complete crap.  So my theory is that we will need to figure out meet up points ahead of time this year, rather than trying to rely on some sort of impromptu thing.

More People More Fun

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The above picture was hands down the highlight of my Pax experience, not because I we were playing Gigantic really, but more than the three of us were playing together.  The gravy on top is just the fact that we happened to be beating a YouTube celebrity in the process.  Now we zoom forward to yesterday…  they opened the flood gates and started taking sales for the 2016 Pax South in San Antonio Texas.  This time I managed to get in on the three day passes, which there are actually still a few left.  As of right now I know that myself, Rae, her brother, Ashgar, Thalen, Dallian, Lonrem, and Helkim are confirmed going… or at the very least have their tickets in hand.  I am sure in the coming weeks I am going to start hearing of more people going, and I plan on starting up something to keep track of who is going and on what days so that maybe we can meet up and hang out.  I need to start doing some research into what eating options are there in the Riverwalk area, because I absolutely do not want to try and go to that Chillis again out of desperation and hunger.  I am also hoping we can maybe coordinate hotels, because I really liked the one I stayed in last year… but it was out by the airport.  However if there are many of us it would not be an issue at all to carpool into the convention each day.  I feel like I have the whole parking situation under control after having done it last year.  I have to say I am extremely excited, and hoping this one is going to be bigger and better than last year.  I mean this is the only Pax that does not sell out in a matter of minutes…  so honestly I am fine with that.  The concept of trying to get tickets to any other Pax seems like a stressful situation.  I realize it is still months away, but I want to try and make the best of this coming years show.

 

 

Week In Gaming 9/13/2015

Very Rough Week

As you could probably tell from some of the subtext of my posts this week… it was a pretty rough one for me emotionally.  Work is still being stressful, but honestly that really had nothing to do with this one.  For our country September 11th has some pretty tragic context, but for me it has completely different issues.  Firstly September 11th was the birthday of my grandmother, and she would have been 90 this year.  I miss her an awful lot, and there are days where it is just rough to think about her.  Her birthday always brings back memories of her, which are honestly all good…  but there is a bittersweet melancholy associated with it.  She essentially raised me during the first years of my life, because she was my constant babysitter and companion.  She is also the one member of my family that really seemed to appreciate my wife being a member of the family.  If that were not enough to get me down in the dumps…  this week also marks the anniversary of a pretty horrible period of my life.  In September of 2012 I lost my Grandfather, and the day after the funeral…  September 11th… a pretty horrific event happened at my work place.   It quite literally with zero hyperbole ushered in the worst six months of my life.  Someone screwed up, and screwed up badly…  and I had to deal with the fallout and recovery.  So each time this day comes I get a little gun shy.  So this past Friday I was crawling in my skin as I waited for they day to end.

Demon Huntering

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As far as gaming this week, I had a pretty cloistered time of it.  I am still very much in my “hiding out” mentality, and I guess in part I think it was just me waiting for this week to pass me by, dreading Friday.  I spent some time working on my Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 and I think when I last played I was about halfway through 69.  At some point soon I hope to pop back in and finish leveling him to 70.  I also spent some time farming away on Rifts, Greater Rifts and Bounties attempting to get blood shards…  which I then disappointingly spent trying to get class set pieces.  I have been stuck at 3 of 4 pieces of the set I am going after on my Barbarian for a few weeks now.  I am not sure but Diablo might have worked its way out of my system for a bit.  I finished off the seasonal stuff, but as of last night Grace on the podcast talked about additional seasonal rewards.  I am just not sure if I will be willing to do any of the crazy things that are required to get them.

Star Wars the Old Republic

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The big event of this week was that I apparently have fallen into a Star Wars the Old Republic shaped hole.  I have played this game off and on since release, but this is really the first time I have felt I was actually back in the swing of things.  I’ve played alts a lot in the past, but this is the first time I have actually continued the storyline on my Jedi Guardian main.  As of last night I finished Makeb and am working through the precursor content leading up to Shadow of Revan.  My plan is to finish the story content before the drop of Fallen Empire next month.  Additionally I am taking advantage of the insane twelve times experience bonus.  Last night during the podcast I started working on my Chiss Smuggler and I have to say…  having access to Treek as a tanky companion makes that experience so much better.  Seriously… I hate Corso Riggs so much…  and was completely stalled out trying to play a smuggler because he annoyed me so much.  Treek is simply a better tank.. in that she jumps AT the mobs instead of grappling them back to me.  Who though a tank companion pulling back to the healer was a good idea?  Anyways as soon as I wrap this post I intend to go downstairs and play some more Smuggler… that was how much I was into it last night.  I may or may not have stayed up until 1:30 in the morning playing.

Final Fantasy XIV

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I am very much in a lull right now with Final Fantasy XIV.  I talked about this a bit on the podcast, but it is strange… that even while in this lull I still consider it my home base of operations.  I figure when 3.1 lands which should be soonish…  everyone will be invigorated once more and we will return to logging in every single night.  In the mean time I am playing a lot of other games as not to force myself.  I am still raiding on Monday and Wednesday nights, and this week we managed to get a few more people through Bismarck Extreme.  I really want to defeat Ravana Extreme before the new content lands, but one of the big problems we are having is… that honestly it just feels like there isn’t much content for us to be doing.  When we returned to Final Fantasy XIV July 2013 we had a years worth of content to explore since we had last played.  While we managed to slowly whittle our way through all of it… it gave us tons of small goals to work towards.  In Heavensward there really does not seem to be the much for us to work towards.  We can clear Alexander Normal in our sleep, and are pretty successful with Bismarck Extreme.  We are working on Ravana Extreme and I believe it is in our sights…  but Savage Alexander just isn’t a realistic goal, namely because I can’t bring myself to do the gear grinding that it would require to really be viable there.  I am well enough geared to do all of the content I feel like I could do… and I just don’t have the drive to push towards that bleeding edge.  So instead I play other games and wait for another content drop.

AggroChat 74 – Force Binds Us

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We start of this weeks show by talking about our continued adventures in Diablo 3, and while a some of us have slowed down our progress Grace talks about falling back into the familiar rhythm of chilling out in solo play. With the upcoming September 29th release of Wildstar Free to Play she also talks about spending a lot of time on the test server, and the recent hoverboard racing event testing. Thalen this week spent time venturing into some single player games that had never got around to playing. First we revive our discussion of Wolfenstein New Order and why you should play it for so many different reasons. In a shocker we find out that Thalen never actually played Fallout New Vegas, which spawns a discussion about our appreciation of the game.

Kodra on the other hand spent his week mostly playing a bunch of indie titles and talks about Circa Infinity and The Magic Circle. Magic Circle being the game that he spent a significant amount of time at Pax talking to the Dev about. Additionally we are all jealous of him as he talks about his experience playing Mario Maker, which is essentially Infinite Mario. This spawns a discussion about each of our early attempts at creating content for our friends to play like Excitebike, Wolfenstein, Doom and Descent. Related to Magic Circle, a seperate discussion breaks out about the Stanley Parable and what it says about gamers themselves.

Ashgar is still heavily involved in LBX: Little Battlers Experience and has even gotten in his model kits from last week putting at least one of them together. He helped to clear up some of my confusion that there is in fact a Roleplaying game there, and it is very similar to the style of game that Pokemon is. We also get into a length discussion about Pokemon Go and how the Ingress type game is likely going to change what we are playing next year. There is really no way this is not going to be a huge title, and for the most part we agree that Ingress has been a tech demo leading up to this.

Finally several of us have spontaneously gotten sucked back into Star Wars the Old Republic. Right now it is impossible to go anywhere in the world without being bombarded by Force Awakens merchandise, and after a point I simply could not resist the pull of nostalgia. The best thing about coming back to a game after years of being away is the huge backlog of content available to be played. The current twelve times experience bonus for subscribers helps as well, because you quite literally only have to focus on your class story to get leveled which was always the best part of the game. Ash, Bel and Tam are all caught in the gravity well of this game for the moment, and it sounds like some of our other hosts might have gotten the bug as well. We will have to see next week if we are still talking out it, or if we have gotten it out of our systems.

[AggroChat] [Direct Download] [iTunes] [Stitcher]

 

 

Week In Gaming 8/30/2015

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Stressed but Still Here

This week turned out to be a shockingly stressful one, but thankfully all of said stress happened at work… and I could more or less leave it there as well.  There has been a twinge of sadness as well because months ago I had hoped to be able to attend Pax Prime and get to hang out with friends there.  However that didn’t quite work out, and since I lacked tickets to go there…  because AggroChat was not apparently qualified as a media outlet, I stopped pushing quite so hard.  The beginning of the school year is especially rough on my wife, and it would have been even more stressful to be travelling during this time.  As such I am doubting that Pax Prime will ever really be in my cards unless for some reason they decide to move it either earlier or later in the year.  I will always have Pax South however, and I fully intend to go this coming year.  I am going to be trying to talk as many people into attending as I can, and hopefully can organize a meetup or something while there.  There were plenty of people at Pax South last year but I was completely overwhelmed by it being my first real convention, and the internet was pretty horrible…  so I missed most of them.  Anyways…  on with what is I hope becoming a Sunday tradition, where I review the games I played over the past week.

Final Fantasy XIV

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Currently “The Rising” event is going on in Final Fantasy XIV that marks the yearly anniversary festival.  This year the quest that goes along with it is one of the most touching quests I have experienced in a game before.  I don’t want to spoil too many details about it, but suffice to say there is a little bit of fourth wall breaching going on.  Diehard Final Fantasy XIV fans have this hero worship for Naoki Yoshida and the rest of the team, and it is absolutely well earned.  It feels like there is very much a symbiotic relationship going on there, and they understand fully just how important the loyal fans are to the continued success of the title.  The game is in this interesting place where it is extremely humbled by the fact that it launched in 2010 and failed to capture hearts and minds.  They are putting everything into the game and leaving nothing on the table, and it shows.  Other than the anniversary event we worked on Ravana Extreme attempts, and I have every hope that we will be able to down him this coming Monday.  Past that I have honestly been taking a bit of a break from Final Fantasy XIV, or at least not really logging in every day.

Diablo 3

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If you are wondering where the bulk of my game time was spent, you can look no further than Diablo 3.  I am not sure if it was my time playing Hellgate London, or the fact that I finally pulled my head out of the sand and realized there was such a thing as a “season”.  Whatever the combination I have been pumped to be playing Diablo 3 again and have been spending a lot of time with my friend Grace was we worked on pushing up our seasonal characters.  At the beginning of the week I managed to get my Crusader from last season to 70 with the help of Grace and her crazy torment farming ways.  Then Friday when the new season opened I started work immediately on a female Barbarian.  As of last night I am now level 60 and making the final push to 70.  That is really what I intend to spend most of my time today working on, and hopefully by tonight I will be sitting at 70 and starting to work on gearing up for doing torment and beyond.  I am having a blast, and I am not sure whatever mental block cleared that has allowed me to get involved once more with the click to attack madness.

Wildstar

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I can’t say that I have made stellar progress since last week, but I am continuing with my new tradition of trying to play Wildstar Tuesday nights.  At this point I am level 25 still in Whitevale but I think maybe I can see the end of the zone.  My hope is to move on past it this week and hopefully into something less desolate.  I feel about Whitevale the way I feel about most desert zones in MMOs.  I have come to realization this week that it is never the biome necessarily that I like or dislike, but instead the zone design.  I was warned that Malgrave is coming up, and a desert… but from what I have seen of the imagery inside it seems like something I will enjoy.  I want to devote more time to this game, but for now I am going to settle with making it a Tuesday night thing.

Hearthstone

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The game that I played that shocked me the most this week was Hearthstone.  I have not really spent much time playing it since release, and with the addition of a new expansion of cards I decided to poke my head in.  This is where I found a brand new game mode called Tavern Brawl.  Apparently you have a different weekly challenge, and this week was essentially playing with a randomized deck.  I played hunter and had a good amount of success.  Playing with a random assortment of cards, including many of the brand new Grand Tournament cards gave me a nostalgic feeling much like the early days of Magic the Gathering.  I used to love the days when I was limited based on the  cards I physically owned and as a result made some odd decks to try and weave in my favorite elements.  In truth I would probably play Hearthstone more often if this random brawl option thing was a fixed item.  I know this coming week there will be a completely different Tavern Brawl, but I will likely poke my head in to see what it is and give it a shot.  This might breathe new life into the game for me, and for that I am kinda pumped.

Fallout Shelter

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My week in review would not be complete without at least talking a bit about Fallout Shelter.  Now I have been technically playing this game for awhile now but since I do not regularly use my iPad, the sessions were limited and I went weeks between opening the app.  With the release of Fallout Shelter for android I have been playing it far more often on my phone, and it has now become my default “moment of downtime” game as I check in on my little post apocalyptic ant farm.  All things said I learned a lot of lessons playing it on the iPad that I have now applied to this new vault.  Where Vault 999 was a relative failure, Vault 861 is pretty damned idyllic.  Through a bit of luck of drops, and some careful planning I have managed to create a pretty safe environment that can absolutely shred raider attacks.  I had a random person show up at the vault that was fairly warriorly, and once I equipped her with power armor and a plasma pistol she has been roaming the wastes dispensing justice.  At the same time she has become a major source of income and the gear she brings back I am slowly outfitting all of my settlers in.  I have jokingly started calling the restaurant on the first floor Cafe Death, because the raiders always go there…. only to get shredded by all of my shotgun toting vault dwellers.  The only thing that I feel bad about is that I essentially  have one couple that is slowly populating my vault.  I have left them in the room for weeks now and they have half a dozen offspring roaming around as a result.

Hatoful Boyfriend

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The last game that I played a significant amount of this week was of course Hatoful Boyfriend, and last night we recorded the AggroChat game club show for it.  This was Grace’s pick and I think a lot of us went into this assuming that we would end up hating the game.  We were mostly wrong as the vast majority of us had lots of good things to say about the game. To make it even crazier this is the first game that the majority of us have actually played through more than one… but given that an individual play session tends to only be around the hour long mark that makes sense.   If you want to hear our length discussion about dating “Birbs” after the apocalypse you should totally listen into the show.

[AggroChat] [Direct Download] [iTunes] [Stitcher]