Blaugust and Nephalem

Last Day of Blaugust

As the subheading says, it is in fact the last day of Blaugust and as such very soon I am going to begin tabulating the results.  It has been an interesting month, but also a very quick one.  It seems like just yesterday I was kicking off this challenge, and now we are staring at the finish line.  It has also been interesting just how many people have participated in one way or another.  Even if you did something as simple as retweet a Blaugust post, you are part of this and I thank you.  In truth I was not really sure how the turn out for year two would end up looking.  The biggest surprise honestly was just how many year one folks came back for this year.  You’d think that they would have learned better by the time the second event rolled around.  As I sift through the results it is going to be interesting to see just how many folks have completed both years at this point.

The big take away this year is that we have already reached a point where we are just too big to be planned somewhat “on the fly”.  Up until July I was still questioning if I would actually go through with a second Blaugust.  I was somewhat shocked at the number of people who were looking forward to it.  So I pulled things together and we ended up with this year, that went significantly more smoothly than the first.  As a result I think for the 2016 Blaugust I will be starting to pull things together about four months in advance.  Folks offering to sponsor prizes was a brand new concept to me, and this year we had Anook and KingsIsle Entertainment both chipping in prizes.  I greatly appreciate them both, but I am hoping if I start the wheels moving several months ahead I will be able to get a few more people to come on board.  It would be awesome to get some game keys donated for a sort of “Blaugust Game Club” like our AggroChat Game Club.  Where every Blaugust writer has the opportunity to play a specific game and write about it, because it is super interesting when you collect a bunch of opinions on the same title.  I realize we are just how wrapping up, and folks are I am sure sick of it for the time being…  but I am already thinking about how to make next year better.

Nephalem Ascended

Diablo III 2015-08-31 00-01-16-066

Friday night when I got home from eating with friends I started a brand new Female Barbarian, and as of last around 8 pm I managed to hit 70 securing at least some of the Season 4 rewards.  While I managed to get drug along for a handful of levels, this is still the fastest and most dedicated I have ever leveled in Diablo.  In part a huge chunk of it has been that I have largely been leveling with my friend Grace, who keeps pushing me to go do content rather than just piddling around like I normally do.  Pushing is the wrong word because she was not even insistent… she just gave me a reason to keep grouping up and doing interesting things.  The other big change this season is that I pretty much completely ignored the story line.  In Season 3 I attempted to level my way through the story, which is apparently the worst possible way to level these days.  Instead I largely started adventure mode from the moment I created the character, and the result is as I leveled I tended to always have legendary weapons that I could craft for my character.

diablo3Season4Journey

One of the big changes that came with Season 4 was the introduction of the “Season Journey” interface that serves as a way of unlocking the various rewards.  Just for hitting level 70 on a seasonal character I unlocked the transmogrification pieces, but in order to get the Portrait Frame and the Pet I have to complete all four Chapters of the Season Journey.  As of last night I have completed the first three and they were honestly all pretty easy.  The final element that I needed was to defeat one of the major bosses on Master difficulty or harder.  Since Belial is the fastest to get to on Adventure mode I popped over there and took him out with relative ease.  Now I have to do some of the more grindy things like taking out each of the key masters on Torment difficulty.  I also need to finally use the Kanai cube to extract a Legendary power, but I am trying to sort out what sort of power I want to keep.  Honestly I feel like I need to read up on how exactly that process works before making any decisions surrounding getting powers from it.  I know that once you do this you can choose at least one power as a permanent buff, and I have a few that are really nice.

Diablo III 2015-08-30 21-57-05-55

I really did not spend much time playing Reaper of Souls, and as such I had never actually done a Rift of any sort until this weekend.  Grace on the other hand is an expert at such things and as a result I spent some of my “post 70” time last night with her working on Rifts and then the Greater Rifts that follow.  I have to say they are crazy amounts of fun, and I am trying to sort out how best to use my legendary gems.  Right now I have two of them, and I need to run more Greater Rifts to power up the second one.  The first one is now at level 6, but once again I think I need to do some research in how best to utilize them.  The game is so much more intricate than I remember it being, and in truth I have never played Diablo 3 seriously.  I am having a blast so I guess that is really all that matters.  My hope is that tonight our Final Fantasy XIV raid can down Ravana Extreme… but after that… I hope to put in big ole dent in some of these Chapter IV objectives.

Merry Sith-ness

Last Man on Hulu

While Carol is busy planning their wedding, Phil hosts his bachelor party.Last night I had one of those nights where I was just restless without good reason for being so.  Every activity I considered doing simultaneously sounded awesome and horrible at the same time.  So while I finished my push to 21 in each of my Final Fantasy XIV crafting professions, I didn’t really accomplished much of use the rest of the evening.  I spent a good chunk of my crafting time test driving Hulu and watching the tv show Last Man on Earth.  My assessment of both is rather mixed.  Firstly having never experienced Hulu my very first impression was precisely “what the fuck is with all these advertisements”.  I finally found a blurb on the Hulu website explaining why they have ads which comes down to a bullshit answer of needing to reduce the cost of the subscription.  How about this, how about you charge an “extra-premium” tier subscription that turns off all of that crap and just lets me watch the shows.

Right now my likelihood of actually staying subscribed to Hulu past the free trial is pretty non-existent for this reason.  To make matters worse it is like watching Cable “On Demand” where they play essentially the same four commercials over and over.  At this point I seriously want to burn down the honey bunches of oats factory that is shown on the Post cereal commercial that they kept playing over and over and over.  After having that drilled into my brain all night long while watching an already sub par television show has made me want to vehemently avoid anything products by Post while roaming around the super market.  I feel like that is counter intuitive to their original mission with the advertisement in the first place.  As far as Last Man on Earth…  the first episode was humorous, but then once Kristin Schaal showed up it progressively went down hill.  Which is sad because normally speaking I adore Kristin Schaal, I still find this skit one of the most hilarious things on the planet.  The problem with both Netflix and Hulu is the shows just keep playing without manual intervention… so I think I ultimately watched one too many episodes before finally deciding I had enough of it and stopped it.

Merry Sith-ness

swtor 2015-05-30 01-43-38-91 Around 10 pm last night I opted to try and go to sleep, thinking maybe my malaise was simply caused by being tired.  The problem being the moment my head hit the pillow it is like a flip got switched in my brain and I was instantly in “super awake” mode.  I tossed and turned trying to figure out a way to get comfortable, and chatted with my wife until she fell asleep.  After an hour of struggling to find sleep I opted to simply get up.  Thinking that if I could go do something my brain would eventually shut the hell up and let me go to sleep.  I’ve suffered from bouts of insomnia my entire life, and sometimes the worst thing I can do is try and force myself to sleep.  Otherwise I will have sat there in bed for three hours and ultimately just end up frustrated that I didn’t get up and do something with that time.  I am not entirely certain why I ended up launching Star Wars the Old Republic other than I have really not played much of it, and they have an insane xp bonus event going on.

I would really like to play the continuation of the main storyline on my Jedi Guardian, but the hard truth there is that I have been gone from the game so long that I quite literally have no clue where to start on it.  Instead I opted to log into my Sith Juggernaut that is knee deep in Balmorra hell.  In theory I could do just the class quests and be off the planet, but I feel a deep need to finish all of the things especially since this is the highest Sith character I have mustered to date.  I am not sure if it was surprising or not but I actually enjoyed myself, but the unfortunately thing is that I managed to stay up until 2 am before sleep finally claimed me.  This is going to make for a long evening with our podcast since I was back up again at 8 am.  Hopefully I will be able to sneak a nap in today, but I have a feeling that since it will be nice outside my wife will want to get out of the house.  We have been suffering through absolutely insane torrential rain.  I heard an estimate that over the last week we have gotten as much rain as we normally get in an entire year.

Beautifying AggroChat

AggroChat

One of my failings is that I have done a pretty piss poor job of advertising the fact that AggroChat.com exists and is populated full of good stuff to read.  Ultimately if you are reading Tales of the Aggronaut you are going to be extremely familiar with some of the content, but not all of it.  Essentially AggroChat.com was a vehicle that I came up with as a way to pull together all of the content created by the hosts of the AggroChat Podcast.  Additionally this site serves as a way to connect to each of the authors and a better vehicle for receiving both the AggroChat and Bel Folks Stuff episodes.  We have had some grand plans to eventually expand this site to include people who do not already have blogs of their own.  For the time being however it gives you a one stop shop for the following content…

The takeaway is that through this one site you end up with a ton of content delivered on a regular basis.  I personally blog every single day, and Tam blogs five times a week at least.  I keep hoping to add  more news commentary content and game reviews but we have not quite gotten there yet.  I plan on in the near future creating a special section of the AggroChat Game Club games where you can pull in some quick commentary from each of the folks that played it, as well as a link to the show where we discuss it.  Essentially we are going to keep expanding it, so I should do a far better job of promoting it.  So check the site out, and I would be open to any comments and suggestions.  I’ve tried to set the site up in a way that allows you to drill down into specific content by one of our Authors quickly and efficiently.  As of last week I even went back through every episode of AggroChat and indexed which hosts are on which shows so that they show up in our Author category links.  While there is already a lot of great content here, watch the site because I am hoping it gets ever cooler.

Back But Don’t Play

Supporting Kickstarter

wasteland2 This morning I am going to tackle the second talkback topic for the Newbie Blogger Initiative because it is actually one that has been on the hearts and minds of the AggroChat folks for the last few weeks.  For the April AggroChat Game Club game I chose Darkest Dungeon, and since then the topic of playing “unfinished” games has been somewhat of a recent discussion among us in private.  The fact that the game was unfinished caused numerous problems, not the least of which was the simple fact that we were never quite sure if this or that functionality was intended… or just unfinished.  So I feel like I was not able to give it a really solid testing, because I don’t know what might change between now and when the studio deems the game “finished”.  The prompt however for this talkback is pretty straight forward but my answer is going to be a bit more nuanced.

Early Access and Kickstarter – Do you support unfinished games?

So for the first part… yes I wholeheartedly support the backing of unfinished games.  I’ve backed more than I can count at this point through either Kickstarter or company specific initiatives.  I think Kickstarter is a pretty awesome thing, and it has caused a lot of things that I care about to see the light of day.  I’ve backed both software and physical merchandise projects through it, and have been relatively happy with pretty much every project I have ended up chipping in on.  Kickstarter does a lot of things, but the biggest one to me is that it allows me to vote with my dollar on what I think is going to be an idea worth making.  I rarely back very far into a given product tree, and the end result is me usually getting a cut price copy of the game at launch.  While many of these games offer a double platinum early access alpha program…  that is not so much what I am interested at least not any more.

Tired of Alphas

Once upon a time I wanted to be playing every single game I could get my hands on.  I reveled in the fact that I had alpha and beta tested most of the MMOs out there.  For a period of time this was something that was achievable because at any given moment there were a very limited number of Alpha and Beta test programs available.  Somewhere along the line I noticed that playing an Alpha seriously adversely effected my chances of staying with a game for very long after release.  In essence I would burn myself out playing the Alpha, so that when launch happened the game felt very old and tired to me.  The pinnacle of this problem happened for me with Elder Scrolls Online.  I seriously cared about the release of this game, and I took my Alpha testing duties seriously.  I was told at one point that I was in the top 1% of all bug reporters in the game, and every single time we played I spent most of my time reporting and re-reporting issues I saw.

The problem here is that I had been alpha and beta testing builds of this game for a good year before the game actually launched.  So while I only managed to play about three months after the launch of the title, in truth that was around 17 months of me actually playing the game.  Huge chunks of the content I had literally seen hundreds of times, and remembered each of the different incarnations.  The additional problem is I had trouble letting go of the past.  There were some changes made in that game that I considered “for the worse” and myself and many of the other early testers rather vehemently pined for the imagined “good ole days” of early alpha.  Memory is always an incomplete state, and what we remembered was this or that feature that stood out in an ocean of an otherwise broken game.  The final product was so much better than the one we were requesting they return to, but we got hung up on the minutiae of this or that feature that we missed.  Basically I learned that Alpha testing ultimately ruined my enjoyment of the final product… and it only took me twenty some years to wake up to this fact.

Back But Don’t Play

Ultimately I have a very nuanced stance on Kickstarter.  I am more than happy to donate money towards a cause that I believe in like the creation of a brand new Wasteland experience on the PC, or any of the other games I have backed that let me wallow in the nostalgia of my youth.  Generally speaking I now back just far enough into it to give myself a cut rate copy of the game at launch.  Then when I get said copy and any bonus trappings… it seats neatly in my Steam account until I am ready to play it.  I might boot it up periodically to check on its progress, but ultimately I am not going to start the game for real until I see that note from the developer talking about how the game has launched.  The problem is this also means I am phenomenally bad at tracking the progress of games on Kickstarter.  I almost always have a message that needs to be responded to about this or that game but this is what works for me.  It lets me feel like I am backing things that I believe in, but also gives me the piece of mind of not actually starting a game play session until the game is “finished”.

As far as other games that are in a permanent state of development like Minecraft…  once again my feelings are a bit more nuanced.  Paying to play an alpha does not really bother me, if the experience and the enjoyment itself is worth paying to play said alpha.  I got into Minecraft for example during its pre-beta days when you could pick up a copy for well under $10.  I have gotten easily $1000 worth of enjoyment out of that game.  Similarly while I don’t play them nearly as often I have gotten more than enough happiness out of both Trove and Landmark to recuperate any costs I might have put into them.  Ultimately backing an unfinished game, and playing said unfinished game is not an entirely bad idea… so long as you go into it with the thought process that you are playing something that isn’t quite done yet.  Early Access games are in essence paid betas, and if you can live with that… awesome…  if not wait for the release of the game.  I personally have found that the games I played heavily in Alpha and Beta get more enjoyable over time, and going back a year after launch I end up really enjoying myself.  So that is to say that the games I ruined through Alpha testing…  are not in a permanent state of ruined as evidenced by my recent travels into Guild Wars 2, Wildstar, and Star Wars the Old Republic.  Ultimately you have to figure out what works for you, and the amount or risk you are willing to take.  If I feel like I am going to care about a game, I try my best not to burn out before launch.

Grand Experiment – Year Two

AggroChat 54 – Darkest Dungeon Show

This evening we held the third episode of the AggroChat Game Club where we talk about my pick the early access rogue-like Darkest Dungeon.  I personally chose this game because so many of my friends had been talking about it, and purposefully delayed playing it in the thoughts of this eventually becoming an AggroChat title.  The result is that each of us played the game slightly different, and walked away with a very different perspective and feeling about the game.  Some of us loved it, but even among those that loved it…  we brought with it a completely different outlook and as such a different reaction.  Of course some of us absolutely hated the game, enough to actually Alt-F4 out of the window.

The end result however is what I feel like our most successful game club title to date, because it certainly spurred on some conversation.  Next months title is announced towards the end of the broadcast and I am sure it will be an equally interesting discussion.  As for my own feelings…  I really enjoyed the game, but it seems like I might be the most heartless bastard on the planet when it comes to how I treated my dungeoneers.  Some of my co-hosts developed bonds to their spelunkers and for me… they were just fodder to be thrown at the problem like minions in a Dungeon Keeper game.  Of all the games we have played for the game club so far this is the one that I am most likely to visit and keep playing, but I might be waiting until it exits early access.  There are certain things in the game that I don’t know if they are broken or simply that they have not been finished yet.

Grand Experiment – Year Two

I've Felt Strong Enough to Even Show you Me This Year Two years ago today I set about to change the nature of my blog and embarked upon what I termed the “Grand Experiment” which was more than anything blogging every single day no matter if I had a thought in my mind worth writing down on paper.  Now 730 posts later I continue to question what I was thinking when I started down this road.  The end result has been an interesting ride to say the least.  What has happened more than anything during these last two years is that I have gotten closer with the community of my fellow bloggers.  This has been more important than anything else to me, and it is through all of the various events like the upcoming Newbie Blogger Initiative 2015 that it is happened.  So while I question if I did anything that really mattered over these last  two years, I am thankful for every single reader and peer  that I now have.  There are lots of bloggers that write daily, and they have not made a big deal about it… but for me this was huge.  If you scan back through my blog there are several six month long lapses in content… and very rarely did I actually make it through a month without having a week with zero posts.

It has been so much more than just writing a blog for me personally.  I have allowed myself to open up more about myself and my life than I ever had to date online.  I’ve talked about my personal struggles, and shared with you my excitement and joy.  I’ve let you all into my life, and while I still for the most part am scant on the details…  you are seeing the impression of something very real that is happening.  I figured out early into this process that there would be days when I simply don’t have anything game related to talk about.  There would be days that I would have something on my chest that I needed to get out there, right or wrong… and I am thankful that you all have supported me.  I’ve been told that for many people my blog post is now part of their morning ritual, and if they get to work… and don’t see one they start to worry if something happened to me.  The first day I was late with a post and I had a deluge of people pinging me over twitter and IM to make sure I was okay…  was absolutely overwhelming.

Year Three

Not My Cat - But I Have Decided it is my Spirit Animal :) So tomorrow I begin the third year of this journey.  There are days I question myself why I am doing this… what exactly I am trying to prove.  The thing is I don’t really have an answer for either of those things.  I enjoy this connection that I have to my readers, no matter how ephemeral it might be.  There are days that I am doing this as therapy, other days doing it to share my excitement that I might burst if I don’t get it out onto the page… and in other days…  the days I cannot seem to find the words, I am struggling forward for you.  I feel like we have this contract, that I will write and you will read and together we will have this connection.  I don’t want to be the one to sever that connection.  I don’t want to be the one who lets down my end of this contract.  So I will keep living and experiencing and doing my hack job of sharing that experience with you.  This time next year I have no clue what I might be talking about… but I hope to still be talking and looking forward to our next journey.

Now I ask something of you.  Since we have been sharing these moments each morning for some time…  tell me about what you have done over these two years.  Granted a lot of you have blogs of your own and they are in my RSS reader that I consume at irregular intervals like drinking from a giant firehose of words.  But some of you out there have been with me this entire trip, and have never commented.  I would love to hear from some of you, and let me know how your life has changed over these last two years.  I might not even know you yet, but I would like to.  What major changes has my readership gone through while I have been on this journey.  I’ve upset a few people along the way, some of which have blocked me out of their lives…  but I have gained several orders of magnitude more friends along the journey.  That is the really important thing to me… all of the friends I have to show for my trip, and that I still keep in contact with on a weekly basis.  You are the ones that give me the drive to keep moving forward, and hopefully this next year will be a fun trip shared together.

Darkest Dungeon

Twitch and Hitbox

Yesterday was a bit of a strange day in that I recorded two different podcasts that were not AggroChat on the same day.  Early in the day I recorded another episode of Bel Folks Stuff, that was completely on the spur of the moment since I was off for Good Friday.  Right now I am tenantively planning on releasing this on Wednesday.  Then in the evening I guested on an episode of the Multiplaying podcast.  While talking on that podcast or actually I think during the “after party” we were talking about Twitch and Hitbox.  During yesterday morning I did my first real test of using JoiCaster to stream to both Hitbox and Twitch at the same time.  Other than some technical difficulties it largely worked and I was able to produce a video of myself playing Darkest Dungeon.

The problem is that I had like five times the number of people watching the twitch stream as I did the hitbox stream at the same time.  So much so that I stopped watching the chat on Hitbox and wound up missing a few comments.  Last night I realized something, that my love of Hitbox is somewhat clouding my judgment.  Me trying to make that happen is kind of like trying to make MySpace happen because you happened to like this or that feature better than Facebook.  At this point Twitch is ubiquitous, everyone has an account and it is widely supported by lots of third party sites.  There are several things about Hitbox that just feel better, but there just aren’t the number of people there that there are on Twitch.  In theory I think I am going to abandon this whole multi-streaming thing and just stick with Twitch from this point on.  It pains me to say it, but Hitbox as cool as it might be… is just too late to the party.

Darkest Dungeon

darkest 2015-04-04 09-27-22-60

As we announced last week during the AggroChat episode, this month I chose Darkest Dungeon as my round robin pick for the game club.  This is one of those games that I have seen circulating in among my friends but I largely avoided it, so that I could go into it fresh as a game club pick.  Yesterday I played it for the first time, in the block above you can see the result of my stream.  I have to say even though the game is pretty unforgiving… I am really enjoying the hell out of it.  At its core it is a rogue like RPG dungeon crawler, with a really awesome woodcut art style… and an interesting sanity mechanic.  So in part it feels a bit like playing Call of Cthulhu.  Everything seems to have a chance of effecting your sanity, and when your characters get too stressed a saving throw is triggered.  If they succeed this internal roll they gain a positive trait, and if they fail it… they gain a negative trait.

darkest 2015-04-04 09-20-40-67 The cool thing is… these are not just passive debuffs but they actively change the way the character starts interacting.  For example in the above play session my Vestal gained the “greedy” negative trait… which oddly enough made her far more blood thirsty in combat.  There were a number of times where she just attacked without my say.  This morning when playing the game a bit one of my highwaymen got the fearful trait causing him to periodically retreat to the back of the pack, changing what abilities you could actually use to attack with.  The only real negative so far is that “the only way out is through” meaning once you start a mission it seems like the only way to leave the mission is to either finish it successfully… or kill off your party.  The positive there is that party members are roughly as disposable as they are in Rogue Legacy.  There are always fresh recruits available through the wagon in camp.  At this point I have lost one entire party… and a few single characters here and there and it feels like I am still making forward momentum.  I feel like this game is going to generate some interesting conversation at the end of the month.

Alligator Pears

ffxiv 2015-04-04 10-05-39-77 Yesterday was a very strange day for me, largely because I was trying not to get too terribly involved in anything.  With the two podcasts, and not really knowing the scheduling of the second one I stayed out of the mix for most things.  This means that the vast majority of my time online was spent working on Botany.  At this point I have managed to take it to level 35 which is the beginning of the more grindy levels.  Thankfully I have for the most part a full allotment of leve quests to get me through them.   Working on harvesting has become my “during podcasts” activity, because it is slow paced and proding and does not require much attention.  So while recording both Bel Folks Stuff and Multiplaying I slowly worked my way through harvesting a ton of stuff…  namely Alligator pears.  I am not sure exactly what they are… but I certainly did manage to gather a dozen stacks of them.  In truth I kind of expect they would look a bit like an avocado in real life.

Now I need to figure out what item I need for my level 40 Botany quest and start collecting that.  So far that has been how I have leveled, I focus fire whatever item I need for the next quest and then when I collect enough of those I start doing Levequests.  Botany seems so much more peaceful than mining was, and I guess it is in part because it almost exclusively takes place in the games extremely beautiful forest areas.  There is just something relaxing about walking around, listening to the music and chopping down trees.  Today however I really need to spend some time working on getting actual content in that can earn me poetics.  I did take a break from the harvesting for awhile yesterday to run some new folks through Tam-Tara Deepcroft.  Tanking low level content is always enjoyable, and it gives me a chance to break out my sword and board and paladin it up.  The constant trickle of new players still manages to floor me, but everyone seems happy and well adjusted which makes me happy in turn.

#FFXIV #DarkestDungeon #Twitch

AggroChat Game Club

Failure to Random

Wow-64 2015-02-03 20-26-50-70 Last night was our second night of raiding in Blackrock Foundry, and our second night of attempts on Oregorger.  This boss has become the pinnacle of everything I love and hate about Blizzard raid encounter design.  The thing I love is the fact that it is a really inventive fight that lets us play pacman as we gobble up crates of ore throughout the arena before Oregorger can get to them.  What I hate about it is the fact that there are some serious RNG elements to the fight.  After our first night of attempts the raid lead and others poured over the logs, and did some serious research finally finding a video showing how the process worked.  In theory Oregorger will always choose to go a direction where there a boxes  So the theory goes that if you clear boxes in a certain order he will favor a specific path over others.  The problem in practice is even then… there is still a large amount of RNG into the encounter as to which specific direction he will turn and charge.

You can watch the video we stumbled onto purporting to have the solution.  The problem is no matter how many times we watched the video, no closely we aspired to follow the golden path…  something went wrong.  It is moments like this that I get frustrated since really I have no clue what is going wrong.  If we can ever figure out the magic behind the box phase we will down this fight because we are now doing the first phase flawlessly, or what appears to be flawlessly.  Largely this has always been one of the problems with World of Warcraft raid design.  They tend to view “random” as a positive thing, and to some extent I get it…  but don’t make these random occurrences raid wipes.  The Oregorger encounter is long enough as it is… to have a single mechanic take out half of your raid.  I guess I find myself preferring the Final Fantasy XIV raid design ethic of extremely difficult… but follows a predictable pattern.  That way when you fail you know it is because you didn’t do something…  not because the random element decided to screw you over this try.

Hans and Franz

Wow-64 2015-02-05 21-10-55-04 When we took our break half way through the raid, we opted to switch gears and shift to the Hans and Franz encounter.  The mob names are Hans’gar and Franzok, and I find it absolutely hilarious that they a reference a skit that came out when I was in elementary school…  and large swaths of our raid was not even alive when it was a “thing”.  But I am told apparently there is a State Farm commercial bringing the characters back… so I guess it makes sense.  The encounter is in a room filled with conveyor belts with thin strips between them that don’t move.  At the start of the fight the belts are off, but when it enters the environmental damage phase they turn on making it harder to avoid the obstacles.  The first phase is avoiding the “pop tarts” as they have become referred to by the raid… which are these molten metal slabs that come into the room.  The second phase of the environmental damage is avoiding the metal stampers, that come down from the ceiling in a certain pattern.  There seemed to be four turns of a specific pattern before the encounter picked a new pattern.  Granted it could potentially pick the same pattern twice in a row for eight turns.

Wow-64 2015-02-05 21-28-57-86 There was also a tank swap mechanic happening, but as DPS I never quite grasped what was actually occurring.  There was a point in the fight where a specific tank in the rotation needed to have an external damage cooldown cast on him while being slammed to the ground.  The rest of the fight was simply avoiding damage that could be avoided, and pouring damage into the boss during the few times when they were standing still.  This meant that you wanted to make sure you blew your dps cooldowns and took your second potion during one of the windows where you could stand on the non-moving sections and pour damage in.  Everything about this fight is like a better designed Oregorger, and what I mean by that is… there is still a fun quirky mechanic, there is still an element of randomness…  but the randomness is predictable and something you can adjust for quickly.  I will admit on the first pull seeing everything play out felt like madness, but it was simply to adjust after that to match the pattern in play.  As a result we downed Hans and Frans last night and I managed to pick up two more drops…  one of which again I won’t be using.

AggroChat Game Club

I figure at this point… the statute of limitations on the podcast we announced our first AggroChat Game Club title.  As a result I am going to talk about it today for anyone who happens to read my blog…  but not listen to our podcast.  One of the ideas we kicked around for awhile was to have a single title that all of us played during the course of a month.  Then during the last show of that month we dive into the  game completely with no concern about spoilers.  The idea is for us to talk everything about that game, what we liked, what we didn’t like and how we felt about the major plot points.  During Episode 41, we deliberated about a long list of games and finally decided to go with a consensus title for the very first one.  As such we chose Citizens of Earth by Atlus, and over the course of this month all five of the AggroChat members are going to be playing it.  To make things even more interesting… this is a title that is available on Steam, 3DS and Vita and in actuality we have folks playing each of these versions.

Citizens Of Earth 2015-01-25 21-28-37-29 What I want from you… is to play along with us!  I thought it would be fun if we also collected some of the best comments sent into us by listeners to the podcast that are also playing.  So pick up the game on whatever platform you choose, play the game, and then send in your comments.  We will try and pick out several of the comments we receive about the game and mention them while recording our podcast.  The show in which we are recording is February 28th, so please try and have the comments to us by the 26th to make sure we have time to read them.  Each of us are already knee deep in the game, and I look forward to this little experiment.  For those wondering… all of the titles mentioned during AggroChat #41 that did not receive a “hard veto”, are still technically in play.  We are sorting out how this club will work from this point on, but more than likely we will be round robin picking future titles from that same list.  Hopefully you will join in the fun, and don’t forget to let us know what you think.