Trapping Anjie

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Watch PSO2 Nonsense because Sol requested it from Belghast on www.twitch.tv
Last night when I got home I fired up the stream and played a little Phantasy Star Online 2.  Over the weekend Sol made a comment over my Stream discord that I really should be streaming as I played…  I assume so she could see what the game was about.  The core problem with that is I am guessing based on some of the things I have seen is that the early game is very much not entirely like the late game.  One of the reasons why I loved PSO back in the Dreamcast days is that it was essentially “Space Diablo”.  Essentially you had a randomly assembled corridor dungeon crawler set on a series interesting tilesets that involved killing everything and getting loot drops as your reward.  This core design loop seems to be in place in PSO2, and while I absolutely knew what I was getting myself into…  I am not sure if most other gamers would view the title the same way I do.

There are certain aspects of the game that feel very dated from the relatively chunky terrain to the fact that everything is essentially a tightly closed in circuit.  Sure you can do more with your terrain than you used to be able to do…  like jump…  I don’t think you could jump in the first PSO.  This is actually used in many cases to hide secrets in the verticality of the level design… but as is also seen in a sequence in my VOD from last night it adds to frustration because the jumping mechanics are also relatively low fidelity.  There is a point where I am trying to jump between the individual islands of rock in a chain surrounded by lava, and I am constantly failing to hit the terrain at exactly the right spot allowing me to hop up onto the surface.  While the game is only five years old at this point… but in some ways it feels older.

One thing of note… it took me a bit to realize that my microphone was muted so for the first little bit of the VOD I am completely silent.  I was talking up a storm, describing the various things I was encountering…  all wondering why the folks watching were not responding.  Then I noticed the blinking red light on my Yeti telling me that I had muted it at some point.  I think I have this revelation about ten minutes into the video where I correct it and apologize.  I am not really sure how often I will be playing PSO2 but I am nonetheless glad I went through the process of installing it.  It is a fun game and the core mechanical loop of killing sci-fi monsters for fun and profit is one that I enjoy greatly.  Just not all that sure how fun it is to watch me doing this thing.

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The tail end of my evening was spent in Monster Hunter World hanging out with my friend Grace and working on getting her the last few tickets needed for The Proving quest.  I had originally hoped to grab Thalen as well and help him out, but he was nowhere to be seen last night.  Generally speaking I am assuming he had pressing family matters, which I hear is a thing when you are a parent.  I mean I sometimes have pressing family matters too with my cats, but they are on I feel a completely different plateau of general needs.  Usually what I am dealing with is Kenzie prancing around in front of me trying to make sure I see the rubber band that she just dropped on my desk…  that she wants me to fling out into the hall so she can chase it.  If you ever hear the sound of a rubber band zinging through the air while I am streaming…  then I am doing precisely that.

The whole Anjanath farm thing had a side benefit in that I had really wanted to create Flammensucher the crazy flame axe that passes for a sword and shield.  During our final run of the night I managed to get the last of my fangs allowing me to craft it… and I have to say while I love it…  I am having a little bit of buyers remorse.  The problem is not the negative affinity, because it deals more than enough fire damage to make up for that.  The core problem so far is that it has completely horrible durability and I got down to orange sharpness while killing ten Gajau for an investigation.  I am used to being able to fight the boss through two changes of venue before dropping out of blue sharpness…  so this is a significant change for me to get used to.  The positive however is that the fire damage is still potent regardless of the base sharpness.

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At some point I need to get back on the wagon and work towards downing the final boss of the game.  I’ve been sitting on that step since this weekend and have yet to really give it an attempt.  I think that is in part because I have a screenshot directory full of things that look like the above…  with me failing various elder dragon fights.  Granted I tend to fail upwards and learn from my mistakes, but it also takes a lot out of me.  This combined with the fact that I have zero burning desire to “finish the game” means I tend to languish around in the doldrums leading up to final boss fights most of the time.  My friends like Void/GrnMushroom have a deep burning desire to defeat games that propels them forward into throwing themselves against fights until they eventually batter them down.  Me… I just like to wander around and constantly find myself actively avoiding finishing things…  even in a situation like this where I know it is just the beginning of a whole new playstyle.

I do however want to uncap my level…  at least until 49 where I have to fight another roadblock…  and start farming elder dragons for bits and pieces to make interesting sets and weapons.  I really need to start throwing myself at Nergigante until he is no big deal and something I can down regularly.  The weird thing is…  I would far rather throw myself into the nonsense that is SOS Roulette most of the time than actually solo something in this game.  I am not sure what it is about soloing that feels bad to me, even though my palico does an amazing job of tanking the bosses and keeping me alive with a constant string of vigor wasps.  It just somehow feels better when I am running around at minimum with another player, and at best with a full party of varied weapons.

Sure it gets frustrating when folks are fainting and there is nothing you can do about it…  it even causes me to curse very loudly sometimes…  but the fights are interesting because I am having to deal with all sorts of random elements.  This weekend when I was attempting Teostra I was starting to feel like I needed to stop calling myself a positivity gamer given how much I was cursing.  However Sita hung out with me and we Duo’d the fight…  but even that took a few attempts.  Basically Monster Hunter World feels best when it is a game played with other players be they friends or completely random strangers.  As a result I doubt I will stop the madness of SOS Roulette any time soon.

 

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle

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Last night was all about Monster Hunter World as I had made plans ahead of time to run around with Grace and do the various events.  First out of the gate we worked on the Wiggler quest that grants this truly questionable helm.  It truly is the stuff of nightmares and honestly would have been a pain in the butt had we not realized that you could register multiple wiggler catches at once.  We quickly fell into a pattern of sneaking up on the wigglers and getting one in our sights… then coordinating over voice a 3, 2, 1, GO! to capture both at the same time.  Sure it took three shots at the quest to get all of the tickets needed to craft this monstrosity but here we go…  I have a goofy helm that I wasted some zenny on crafting and will likely never actually use.

From there we spent some time doing the “The Proving” quest that involves killing a fairly beefy high rank Anjanath.  We ran into all sorts of problems with PSN connectivity which made it significantly more challenging than normal.  Throughout the night I kept getting disconnected from the quest with a “Left Quest” message.  At first Ash suggested that Grace was just going off and leaving us… but I think it was more than that considering Ash and Mor both got punted out of the mission after having successfully joined with no ability to get back in.  We struggled through two kills and called the process done for the moment moving on to other things.

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Grace is in that awkward in-between step where she is officially a High Rank player… but still is using a significant amount of low rank gear.  Considering her next quest is the Pink Rathian, that is probably something she needs to fix and as a result we farmed Zorah Magdaros a bit for parts.  I am still to this day wearing the Zorah gloves for the hidden element ability, and honestly its an easy farm considering the event mostly just finishes itself.  Now when I was farming this I SOS Rouletted my way into full groups that allowed us to quickly complete the event which for those who need Zorah bits is a completely viable option.  The biggest challenge I ran into… and why I kept running it was that Zorah is super stingy with gems which are unfortunately needed for the gauntlets.

As far as starter High Rank gear goes… I am way more in favor of the Alpha Bone set because it has a lot of good stuff as well as 10 fire, 10 dragon and I believe 10 lightning resistance.  All total to craft the full Bone Armor set you need…  12 Quality Bone, 10 Monster Bone +, 2 Warped Bone, 3 Monster Bone L, 3 Boulder Bone, 3 Coral Bone, and 3 Ancient Bone.  Basically you need to kill a few big monsters and run amok harvesting bone piles in most of the zones to get it.  The end result gives you a set with Health Boost, 3x Attack Boost, 3x Entomologist, Slugger, Horn Maestro, and Master Fisher.  Not all of those are winners…  but Entomologist can be super useful if you are farming bug parts.  All of that said I still think its a great starter set for High Rank shenanigans.

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The highlight of the evening however was getting a Tailrider Safari with Grace’s Neutrino and PizzaMaid’s Aria.  Normally I just send Tailriders out from my room back in Asteria, but for this combination I made the trek to the Research Base so I could get the cutscene.  I am also realizing that I need to trade cards with Pizza and Grace because neither of them are actually using these outfits anymore.  The PS4 always has a bit of a delay when you attempt to take a screenshot so I am super happy that I was able to catch a decent one of this party going out to fight.

Tonight however I am thinking about kicking back and streaming some Final Fantasy XV on the PC… all depending on how well today goes.  I will be in training and in theory will have homework tonight because I am going through one of those cram session courses.  As a result my brain may be too broken to do anything interesting.

Flame Broiled Defeat

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Last night I met my first real defeat in Monster Hunter World and completely failed a quest.  That quest was me attempting to beat Anjanath in the Ancient Forest, which admittedly I am super happy I did the tracking work I already did for this mob in spite of what everyone has told me.  I managed to find it super fast and now we get into the part of the show where I talk about my horrible ideas.  I have thought this thing was serious business since the first moment I saw it… and as a result I went ahead and threw up a flare to see if anyone wanted to join me.  Within moments I had a full party of people tasking on this monster and in the grand scheme I thought it was going pretty well…  then I started noticing other players fainting.  It was around or about this point that I remembered that you get four faints per party…  not per person.  So when I finally fainted myself…  it happened to be the fourth one our party had gotten and the quest immediately failed out.  In theory I should have just tried this on my own because I was managing to land some significant hits in on the big guy but I guess the truth is I just sorta like running with party tactics going on.  I have been joining other folks quests and enjoying trying to learn how to play off of the strengths and weaknesses of the other weapons.  Mostly I am wanting to learn how not to trip up other players with the Longsword which has been a problem that other people have reported with the weapon.  As far as I could tell this was not actually happening because I tend to favor surgical strikes rather than just flailing away with R2 sweeping attacks.  My goal for tonight is to seek revenge and down a flame breathing dinosaur.

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My enjoyment of this series is way more focused on playing with my Palico than probably any other element.  So much so that the first thing I do whenever I drop down on a map is find where the free roaming tailrider Palicos are and go get one.  I love the sequence of events that happens when your Palico meets one out in the wild.  They get together and then high five and cheer…  and moments later you have a new friend following you around and helping you.  This is literally the best part of monster hunter and the most purest joy I feel in the game.  Last night I found a Palico wearing the Horizon Zero Dawn Watcher suit and I just about lost my mind.  It too had the Pukei-Pukei bow equipped so it was an interesting combination of two mostly ranged characters helping me out.  My weapon development is sort of stalled out at the moment because I am not exactly sure what I need to get the next ranks as I have been using the Bone Shotel III for a few nights now.  I can in theory make an elemental version… but its base attack is slightly lower so for the moment I am sticking with what I have.

I will close out this mornings post with a video of one of the varied Monster Hunter World cooking sequences.  I just cannot explain how happy the Palicos and the Felyne chefs make me.  I find myself getting a meal cooked even when I am just going to go wandering around in the wastes doing nonsense for an hour completing bounties.  There are a lot of people who lament the change in the cooking song, but I never knew the previous one so its not like I am missing anything particular.  What I love is the completely over the top cooking sequence…  which admittedly was also one of the things I loved about Final Fantasy XV so maybe I just like digitally rendered food?  I’ve tried to play Generations again but find it particularly hard to control the game with my existing 3DS XL…  which is still way too small for my tastes.  As I have talked about in the past… I have large hands and a lot of controllers just feel awkward in them.  I play PS4 with the Hori FPS Plus which itself is a way larger controller than the default PS4.  It really makes me wish that Generations existed for the Switch because I think I could get into the game there knowing I had the option of playing docked if I want to…  which admittedly I play switch docked 90% of the time.  Side note…  I consider the default Xbox One controller a little small as well and similarly have found an aftermarket alternative that I love in the form of the  no longer made Power A Fusion Pro.  Thankfully I have managed to pick up a couple of those… one for PC and one for Xbox One off Ebay for way cheaper than that Amazon listing.

Bone Bunny Cat

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I spent a good chunk of my weekend roaming around aimlessly in Monster Hunter World.  I was not terribly certain about this game…  until I unlocked expeditions.  I’ve talked a little bit about my aversion to timed content, and I was deeply concerned that everything I had been picking up from the quest board involved some sort of a timer.  While I had managed to complete most of them well within the time limit…  my initial Great Jagras hunt was roughly 27 minutes out of the 50 minute limit.  The problem is knowing there is a timer hanging over my head keeps me from doing the things I want to be doing…  which is largely exploring and learning the map.  Once I realized there was a mode of gameplay that worked much like patrols in Destiny 2…  I was all on board with this concept especially since it meant that I could still hunt the big monsters freely on my own time table there.  I’ve been spending most of my effort trying to learn the longsword and at this point I have upgraded to the Bone Shotel II…  and need a M class monster bone to upgrade to the third step.

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My biggest challenge however is now that I have found expeditions…  my desire to do any other than bounties has pretty much dropped off the face of the planet.  I know I should be progressing the main story through the quests, because I realize I am on somewhat of a timer to complete the Horizon Zero Dawn quest before it disappears.  I’ve heard you can join missions from folks already doing that quest and just get your six parts that way, but I would actually like to reach the level required to properly do it.  As of last night I got a full set of Bone Armor equipped on both me and my palico and have upgraded all of my pieces to rank 2.  I did what so many others seem to have also done… and named my Palico after my real life middle cat Kenzie.  It’s fitting because if I was going to go out adventuring with one of my animals… it would absolutely be her.  She is my shadow most of the time and can deliver quite a wallop with her paw if she needs to.

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If you look at my card it looks like I have made ZERO progress in the game, but I am just sorta doing it in my own style.  At this point I have fought Great Jagras and Kulu-Ya-Ku and have been training up tracking on Pukei Pukei and Anjanath which I will tackle before too much longer.  My biggest problem right now is the fact that I know going into a big monster fight is a serious time commitment, and as a result I am reluctant to start one because I am not entirely certain when I will get pulled away from my screen.  My wife needed my help with something in the middle of the Kulu-Ya-Ku fight yesterday and I was trying desperately to finish it off quickly.  Side note…  until last night I had no clue I needed to be sharpening my weapon in the middle of these fights so in theory things might go a little smoother next go round.  There are so many of those little things that I am starting to pick up this time… that I absolutely did not in Generations.  It almost makes me want to go back and give Generations another go…  but I realize a big part of why I am starting to grok this game is the fact that it isn’t on a tiny handheld screen.  I am definitely not bouncing the way I have in the past and I want to spend more time getting into this title…  but also I still have the desire to play other things as well so it is a bit of a juggling act right now.  At some point soon I hope to meet up with Stormrazer in game and join his Squad.  The whole grouping thing feels like it could have been a lot more transparent and still feels like it was designed for handheld interactions where you are sitting across the room from the people you are playing with.  Hopefully they will tweak it over time and make it less obtuse.  All in all though I am enjoying myself quite a bit, and I am happy to finally grasp at least the basic concepts of the game that allow me to hunt things without fainting all of the time.