Nineteen Years

AggroChat 59 – The Shadowrun Dragonfall Show

Last night we got the folks together to record the fourth AggroChat game club show, this time devoted to Tamrielo’s pick.  Shadowrun: Dragonfall is the second game in the Shadowrun: Returns series from the wildly successful kickstarter process.  While the first game focused mostly on getting the engine correct, this game focuses more on weaving an interesting narrative in the Shadowrun setting.  In tonights show we delve deep into the game and talk about the various choices we made while playing it.  Please be warned this is a full spoiler show, and we will talk about some of the plot twists and the alternate choice paths that you can make in the game.  I highly suggest that if you intend to play this game,  that you revisit this show after doing so as not to spoil any of the content.

 

This title is auspicious for various reasons, primarily because it is the first title that everyone joining in the show either beat or came extremely close to beating it.  Kodra and I started recording tonight and during the course of the show actually defeated it.  Ash however is in the final stretch making him only about thirty minutes away.  The other extremely unique thing about this game is it is quite literally the first game we have played that we all were able to give a big thumbs up to.  Join us next month for Kodra’s title as well called There Came an Echo, which is a voice controlled real time strategy game… that is certain to lead to some strange conversations.  Additionally if you played Shadowrun: Dragonfall along with us, please head over to AggroChat.com and drop the team a line with what you thought about the game.

Nineteen Years

It was roughly nineteen years ago yesterday that my wife and I first got together as a couple.  In truth we use May 30th as a close approximation of our “dating anniversary” because honestly neither of us really know the EXACT date.  For the most part we consider it to be the more important anniversary and try and at least acknowledge it every year.  We are not big into gifts and never really have been.  We tend to label things we were already going to get as “anniversary gifts” after the fact.  Like apparently the wooden rocking chair I got my wife awhile back is her anniversary gift, and according to my wife my new SUV and the used iPad 2 I will be getting Monday is my gift.  It seems like I made out like a bandit until you learn how we spent our anniversary.

Friday was the last day with kids for my wife and thus begins the yearly ritual of packing up her room.  This year however it is a bit more stressful for her because she is having to entirely vacate her cubical.  When they moved into the building they created this “collaboration room” for the teachers, and set it up in quite possibly the least collaborative method known to man…  the office cube farm.  This summer however it seems like they finally got the memo and are going to tear down the cube farm and replace it with a much more open shared workspace.  That said she has to completely move out of both her own personal cube and another cube for a program she manages.  So yesterday I spent my anniversary packing up these cubes in boxes and moving them as she worked on packing away stuff in her classroom.  It is not the most glamorous anniversary in the world but it was me helping her be less stressed so I think in the grand scheme of things it was a win.

End of School Stress

There are times in life when I have to fight my nature.  I tend to be fairly protective of my friends and family, and I especially feel protective of my wife.  She is a strong badass of a woman, who does not need me to fight her battles for her… but there are occasions when that instinct still kicks in.  Part of the reason she is so damned stressed right now revolves around an event that happened Friday night.  She is a rockstar of a teacher, and I mean that in every sense of the word.  She will fight for these kids and bend over backwards to try and make sure they are doing whatever they need to be doing.  This week was one of those cases where she bent over backwards to try and make sure one of her students was doing what they needed to be doing.  The problem being this isn’t always appreciated and sometimes misguided parents can add to her stress level.

It is extremely hard for me to see her in the frustrated state she was in Friday.  Every fiber of my being wants to protect her from the people who were stressing her out.  Thankfully school is over and due to the extremely supportive administration things will work themselves out.  But for the time being she has been wrestling with whether she did the right thing, or enough to help her students.  For this reason and many others I am happy to help her try and at least get one stress out of the way.  I know I would not be half the teacher she is, because quite frankly if I had to deal with half of the things she suffers with a smile…  I would have gone postal a long time ago.  She however has a level of dedication that can only be admired and respected.  So I spent our anniversary packing up boxes, moving file folders, and moving it around the building.  It might not be a glamorous chain of events, but if it lightened her burden then I think it was a successful way to spend our day.

Gearing for Heroics

Stutter Gone

DragonAgeInquisition 2014-11-20 19-07-40-672 So as you know over the last several days I have been struggling with Dragon Age Inquisition.  When I initially booted up the game the stuttering was so jarring that it would sound like a record skipping and freeze movement for a fraction of a section… just enough to bring you out of the  game entirely mentally.  Nvidia released and updated driver and this helped the stutter but it was still there, and still just as frustrating to try and play the game with.  Since then I have tried what felt like every possible combination of settings, none of which removing the problem.  That is except for one apparently.  Last night I finally landed on the solution to the problem and the stutter is gone.  For some reason my machine prefers to run games in windowed borderless, this has always been the answer to a performance boost.  I thought I had tried this initially but apparently not… because the moment I shifted things into windowed borderless the hitching went completely away.

DragonAgeInquisition 2014-11-20 19-00-34-952 Now I feel like I can finally play the game in peace and actually experience it.  Unfortunately last night I just was not in the mood for this sort of game and moved on to working on gearing my warrior in World of Warcraft.  That said with the stutter gone the game is a much more enjoyable experience.  There are times the game is absolutely beautiful to behold… I still feel like I need to spend some time tweaking the settings because I had fiddled with almost everything trying to get the game to function…  and now I have a few strange choices picked here and there.  The interface feels a bit cludgy for melee, so it is going to be one of the things that I have to get used to as I play the game.  So far I am not a huge fan of my companions, and even Varrack a character I really enjoyed in Dragon Age 2 is getting on my nerves.  I think maybe I just need to put this game aside and let the frustration from the back and forth with settings fade before I attempt to play it again.

Gearing for Heroics

Wow-64 2014-11-21 06-29-01-629 Last night I had two goals… one of which fell by the wayside.  I figured there was no real point in attempting the silver proving again until I actually had the gear level to matter.  So as a result I crawled through the wowhead item listings and made an effort to complete every single quest in Nagrand that had even the slimmest chance of dropping something that would improve my ilevel.  Additionally I poured the rare spawn and treasure drops to find anything that might give me a little boost.  I also spent some time pouring over the auction house, which was as I would expect completely insanely overpriced for what was actually available.  After hours of painstakingly trying to incrementally improve my gear score I was sitting at 609.  One stinking point away from heroics.

Wow-64 2014-11-20 23-17-57-827My friend Damai asked me to do a weapon enchant for him, we ended up partied as he started pulling together a group to try and help Rylacus get some gear.  A bit later I found myself tanking Skyreach since that had the lowest ilevel requirements, and the only one we were able to queue with Ry.  It turns out there are two quartermasters in the Ashran Town Hall, each of which sell 615 trinkets, and both of which bumped me up just enough to get over the 610 heroic gear requirement.  Running Skyreach however also allowed me to start my Legendary ring quest chain, rewarding me a 640 ilevel tanky ring that was almost twice as good as my previous best item.  Now it is just down to me getting through my silver proving, so that I can be ready to tank heroics for the guild.  I don’t have a lot of fear because I made it through seven of eight rounds last time, and it was really only because I got tunnel vision and stopped paying attention to my own health that I actually failed the first time.  I have gotten quite a bit more gear since that point… so hopefully tonight I can knock that out first thing.

WoW Anniversary

Wow-64 2014-11-21 06-38-34-619 This morning the WoW Anniversary content officially began, but if I am remembering correctly… the actual launch date was November 23rd.  I remember being frustrated that it was right before the Thanksgiving Holiday… which would mean I would be tied up with family and such.  A decade ago I had so many houses to visit on thanksgiving that it lent itself to being a a crazy all day occasion.  We would start early in the morning and travel throughout the day, and then repeating the process to a lesser extent on Saturday.  Its funny how things change in a decade, because now we only have a single house to go to, as everything is happening around the noon meal.  When I logged in this morning I had a Molten Corgi pet waiting on me in my mailbox.  I find it odd how Corgis have become such a video gaming mascot.  The game Rift has at least half a dozen different Corgi pets in game for example.

The primary reason why I have been pushing to gear up so quickly… is that this coming Tuesday we are planning to run the Molten Core LFR as a guild, or as close to “as a guild” as we can realistically get for a 40 man.  The LFR itself will have an ilevel requirement of 615 and completing the event will reward you a helm appropriate for your main spec so for plate it would be something resembling this one.  Completing the event also earns you a Core Hound mount, which looks really cool.  Then there are a few items that have a chance of dropping like a doodad that embues any weapon with the Flames of Ragnaros effect… at least cosmetically.  I guess with this expansion they have made it so you can transmog over enchantment effects, which is cool because some enchants look way better than others.  Basically I want to be  able to participate in all of the Reindeer games… and Damai was gracious enough to move it to Tuesday after telling him that Monday was the FFXIV raid night.

Gladiator’s Resolve

This is absolutely the hardest part of any blog post this month, is to come up with something new that I have not already talked about on the preceding 20 days.  As we near the end of the month I am pretty much going to be grasping at straws here, but I feel committed to carry out the experiment.  Since this morning I am talking about World of Warcraft, I want to say how happy I am to have the Gladiator’s Resolve talent.  Essentially for those who do not know what it does… it replaces battle stance for protection warriors, giving them a brand new gladiator stance.  When in that stance you lose the innate  survival and threat generation benefits of defensive stance… but gain a 20% damage increase.  Essentially this makes you sword and board dps, and from what I have seen in my own tests I deal a TON of damage.

This is essentially what I have wanted the entire time I have played MMOs… to be able to effectively dps while using a sword and shield.  I like the iconic look of the sword and board warrior, and while two handers are cool… they never really fit my personal style.  I used to get frustrated that games would always make shields being entirely about defense… when in real life shields have always been extremely effective weapons.  Now that I have this option…  I actually want to try pvp in Ashran.  In the past warrior pvp for me at least felt impotent, because I couldn’t be the badass heavily armored tank that I was in the dungeons.  This one talent I think changes that.  I am still extremely sturdy, and still have access to all of my protection trickery…  but this time around I can simply deal some damage with my shield as well as my sword.  So this morning I am thankful for someone finally giving me this talent, it makes me extremely happy.

Carried to Greatness

Some days are harder

There are some days where the magic just doesn’t seem to want to happen, even when you feel like you have a lot to say.  This morning I have been sitting around for the last twelve minutes doing everything I could to avoid opening LiveWriter and begin banging away on the keyboard.  Sometimes it happens and this is perfectly okay.  Yesterday there was a series of tweets that I was party to about what happens when you decide you want to go in a different direction than you started.  You would be shocked and amazed at just how many times I start in one direction and then decide that it is not in fact what I want to say.  There have been so many paragraphs sacrificed on the altar of mood swings, and I am here to tell you that this is perfectly okay.

In fact I would go so far as to say this is entirely expected as part of the daily writing ritual.  There are going to be days you struggle to find meaning from your cluttered mind, and it is completely fine for you to jettison one idea in favor of another.  Please do not ever feel obligated to complete a thought.  Just because you get two sentences down on the page, does not mean you have to follow up with the rest of a paragraph.  If you can have sketches in the margin of a notebook, you can surely also have room for the same thing to be happening with your writing.  There are so many things that Blaugust is “about” but one of them definitely is about being comfortable with your own words, and knowing when they work and when they do not.  Not everything you write has to be a masterpiece, and some things are destined only to be pushed out the airlock.

Carried to Greatness

ffxiv 2014-08-07 21-02-33-014 One of the things I have been avoiding doing since coming back to the game is wrapping up my Relic weapon quest in Final Fantasy XIV.  Before we left we had completely a number of the steps as a group.  I went through the extreme cost of getting the base weapon, and getting the two materia fused to it.  Then as a guild we conquered both the Chimera and the Hydra.  Finally I was up to the three Hard Mode primal fights of Ifrit, Garuda and Titan in that order.  A week or so ago I managed to get through Ifrit but I figured that was a fluke considering just how easy of a fight it is.  I also had intimate knowledge of that fight considering we had legitimately downed him as a guild.  The only problem is when we did it as a guild, I was using my bard job and not my warrior one… and did not get credit for it.

Garuda scares the shit out of me.  This was a hard fight for us to learn as a four man team at level, so I could not image just how frustrating and painful it would be as a tank.  I watched as my guildies that were not tanks queued for it and got it taken care of without issue, but still I was pretty gunshy.  Had it not been for Ashgar queuing up as a tank last night and talking about just how easy the encounter was… I likely would still be waiting.  Sure enough upon queuing I ended up getting dumped into a group with lots of folks that were in raid gear, and essentially I became the groups mascot.  Before I knew it we had downed Garuda and I was moving on to the next step in the quest chain that involved a good deal of running around.  All of my nerves were literally for nothing because at this point in the game…  folks have progressed so far past the hurdle that was hard mode Garuda that it became manageable without really knowing the fight myself.

ffxiv 2014-08-07 23-19-55-252 Titan on the other hand was still a challenge.  Once again I was the mascot of the group and really served to give no benefit other than miniscule dps.  The problem with titan is there is so much that goes on between the attacks that knock you off the platform, the attacks that can one shot you, and the crazy exploding rocks that can make you into a venn diagram.  It took my team three tries to get through the encounter, and with each wipe we gained a stack of echo…  which works much the same as the determination buff in World of Warcraft.  After all of the nervousness I was sitting there with all the components I needed to finish my Bravura.  While this is no longer the be all end all weapon… it still feels like a big deal to me.  I honestly questioned if I would ever complete it, so now I am absolutely pumped to be holding it in my hands.  I still need to farm a few more “bookrocks” before I can upgrade it to the next step, but hopefully I will get those tonight.

Nostalgia Crit 9999

Gearing Up to Celebrate 10 Years of World of Warcraft

Something I have been meaning to talk about for a few days is the recent announcement of the World of Warcraft 10th anniversary events.  Firstly lets get the fact that they are announcing them in August when the anniversary is not until the tail end of November out of the way.  I guess they need some good news to be honest considering how most of the community expected to be playing Warlords by now.  For those who have not followed the information they are doing a number of interesting things for the anniversary.  For starters anyone who logs in during the event is going to get a new pet in honor of it… the Molten Corgi.  When I first heard about the pet I honestly thought I had misheard some bit of information and it was related to Rift instead.  It feels weird to have two different MMOs obsessed with the adorable stub legged puppies.  That said it is exactly that… adorable and fiery and sufficiently epic to announce the 10th year of a game.

Keeping with the theme they are bringing back Molten Core, and making it a max level dungeon… and making it a special 40 man LFR.  Anyone who manages to make it to the end of the dungeon will earn a special Core Hound mount.  I have not heard if this is going to be complete-able with a guild group or not, or if this is going to only be an LFR thing.  I honesty feel like LFR is a decent simulacrum for the way actual 40 man raiding felt.  The amount of random fuckery that went on during most 40 man raids as 20 people carried 20 warm bodies to victory, seems like it could only be simulated by the LFR system.  It makes me wonder what all sorts of callbacks will they have.  Will there be a new version of Thurderfury for example?  The updated Quelserrar for example was something I hotly sought after, because I loved the look of that blade.

If all of this were not enough they are bringing back the one and only time that world PVP actually worked…  Southshore vs Tarren Mill.  They are apparently creating a special 100 vs 100 battleground to play out the epic battle of town versus town that used to play out on a nightly basis.  This is seriously the only time in WoW history that I actually willfully participated in PVP, and so many friendships grew out of it that I still keep in touch with today.  This era of wow was one of those lightning in a bottle moments, and I can’t even remember why it stopped.  I am sure it was in reaction to something that blizzard did to screw with the mix, but I remember by the time Ahn’qiraj rolled around no one was actually doing this fight any longer.  Maybe the battlegrounds were the nail in the coffin?  At this point I honestly cannot remember.

All of this sounds awesome and is loaded with so much nostalgia it is like a sucker punch to the veteran players face.  The problem is… we remember these events from the past of WoW as being so much more epic and enjoyable than they actually were.  For years we have viewed the early days of wow through rose colored lenses of a time when “things were right and good”.  When in reality they really were not that great.  The amount of lag that happened in Southshore for example made most of the deaths absolutely random.  The amount of drama and bullshit that accompanied Molten Core and the loss of three hours of your life every week to run it was equally insane.  These are not exactly moments to be heralded as the way things ought to be.  They were us making the best out of a bad situation and enjoying what game play we could find where we could find it.

I came in late to Molten Core after my raid had already broken its back doing the hard work to get it on farm status.  I was carried to my full set of Giantstalker, and then proceeded to run the dungeon every single week until pretty much the end of Vanilla.  I still have large sections of the pulls in that place memorized, as I geared up first my hunter, then my paladin and my warrior running the place for various people who needed able bodied fill-ins.  None of my “good memories” of this time in Vanilla have anything to do with the actual places we were running.  It was the people I happened to be running them with.  You cannot reassemble the raid I cleared Molten Core with, or the social channel that we ran Southshore versus Tarren MIll out of.  Those players have all scattered to the wind and a bunch of random socially inept strangers are a piss poor substitute.

Liore made a post earlier this week about that you can’t go back home, and it is true.  While everything about this event is laced with the drug that is nostalgia…  none of it is real.  How we feel about that time in World of Warcraft is an accumulation of everything that was happening at the time.  It was the people and the places and the fact that there was literally nothing else to do at the time, because WoW was the only game on the market that offered anything vaguely close to this.  No amount of wishing is going to actually turn back the clock and recapture the joy and experiences you had back then.  Don’t get me wrong… I will probably log in during the event to get my shiny trinkets… but I go into it knowing this is a pale comparison to the way things actually were.  There is no such thing as going home, because both you and the place you are going have changed in the process of getting away from it.

Writing Prompts

Now for a few more writing prompts.  I wondered if this would end up being useful but based on the fact that a handful of people have been drawing from them I guess it is a worthwhile cause.  Today’s prompts are all laced with the venom that is nostalgia.

  • What period in a game or game do you wish you could return to?  What is that thing that is now gone that you wish you could be playing again?
  • We all accidentally get rid of something that we end up wanting later on.  What have you deleted/disenchanted/sold that you later kicked yourself for doing?
  • We have all left something unfinished in our effort to move on to something new.  What achievement have you never completed that you always wished in the back of your head you had?

#Blaugust #FFXIV #WoW