Be The Battery

c4twpwzvyaamxbd

eso64-2017-02-09-19-22-33-78

Yesterdays post was a little more bleak than they usually are, and the bizarro thing is…  I think writing it helped a lot.  It helped putting the frustrations and dread into a single post and sending it out into the world.  Its almost as if typing the words lessened the hold the malaise had on me.  Then again the activities of last night helped quite a bit as well.  However I will get to that shortly.  First off I want to show off my home in Elder Scrolls Online.  I went back and forth on a few different homes before finally settling on Mournoth Keep in the Halcyon Lake area of Bangkorai.  I remember being extremely fond of the main campaign in Bangkorai so that fit for me as well as the fact that since I chose Daggerfall Covenant as my original faction… I wanted something to call home in the same area.  In truth I have not done much with it since getting it, largely because I have not had much luck in getting pattern or furniture drops.  I am being told that looting furniture seems to be the best way to do that.  In theory I could resort to stealing, or instead just fine one of the many towns controlled by enemies and run amok looting there.  I have a feeling through with the focus on housing there is going to be a lot of competition for lootables.

c4twzaiukaa05di

Now on to the events of last night and how they seem to have turned around my spirit.  For awhile now Squirrel, Jex and myself have had an informal Thursday night thing where we go off and do small group content in Destiny together.  Originally this was the night when we took on the Challenge of Elders, but more recently we have been running all three of our characters through the weekly nightfall.  I have yet to get an icebreaker, so I largely think they are humoring me until I actually get one.  Whatever the case it is a lot of fun, but due to the bizarre schedule since coming back from PAX it had been a few weeks since we last did one of these nights.  In truth I had not actually played Destiny since probably January 19th now that I am thinking about it.  I was extremely rusty, and by the sheer number of times that they had to rez me it showed… but regardless I think we all had a lot of fun.  This week the Nightfall is Dust Palace which is something that has been in the rotation since year one… and that everyone has memorized at this point.  As a result we were able to run through three characters worth of Nightfalls in way less than an hours time.  During the Nightfall runs they asked me where I was on progress on the quest line to unlock the Outbreak Prime weapon, which requires you to group together in a fire team with a Titan, Warlock and Hunter to make forward momentum.

c4twpwzvyaamxbd

The truth is I had not really made it terribly far other than picking up the occasional progress from our Thursday night runs when the stars happened to be aligned and we wound up choosing to play different classes on a given run.  Like they often do… they set out to change that and we ran a sequence of Archon’s Forge to finish out the step I happened to be on since those apparently count as “public events”.  It was around this point that we realized that we did not have three characters with the devices needed to do the decoding step of the quest chain.  There is a phase that needs to be completed in a social area where a titan, warlock and hunter input a sequence on this item that drops from the quest chain.  If all three sequences are correct you can click through and get to the next step.  After a little shuffling we realized that Jex’s warlock had already completed the quest, and Squirrel’s hunter was on the step I had just completed.  So we continued on to catch Squirrel up in the process and ran a sequence of three heroic strikes, and then three public events to get us all on the same stage of the quest.  After that back to the social area to complete the matrix and move on to the next step.

c4twnqdumaeosts

It felt like the night was still relatively young, so instead of hanging it up for the evening we pushed on into the next quest which involved collecting a bunch of SIVA tech by killing splicers.  This also required us to run the Sepiks Perfected strike, which we knocked out in short order by simply doing the 320 light version.  From there it was back into Archon’s Forge to complete three events, and farm up the rest of our SIVA Tech fragments.  All of which went extremely quickly and before we had finished the three events, we had gotten 100% of our fragments.  Watching those things scroll by 2 at a time on the right side of the screen was madness as we tore apart the forge event.  Finally it was another trip back to a social space, this time to solve a four by five matrix.  It took a half dozen attempts but we finally got the right numbers on all three of us, allowing us to move to the final step.  Now both Squirrel on his hunter and myself on my Titan are on the step that requires us to simply kill any three bosses in the Wrath of the Machine raid.  Then I will have my very own Outbreak Prime pulse rifle, and can do silly damage to SIVA targets with my nanites.  All it all it was exactly the sort of concentrated fun that I needed to pull me out of my funk, and even though I am staring down the barrel of what will almost certainly be an extremely stressful day…  I suddenly found a new packet of spoons with which to confront it.

Finding the Forge

c1adk5tusaay80d

bel-colorsFirst off I have to start this mornings post by talking about the surprise I got last night.  For awhile now I have had my friend AmmosArt working on a series of avatars to use for anything AggroChat related.  When I do the title cards it always somewhat bugs me that we don’t have a set of Avatars drawn by the same person, because I think that would end up looking a lot nicer.  As a result I commissioned her to create a set for the main cast, and we kicked it off with mine…  however I think she has a few of them waiting in the pipes as well.  Since I have “Fantasy Bel” thanks to the project that Tam started, and now “Realistic Bel” thanks to the prize commission from Faebelina I thought it would be kinda cool to have a “Sci-Fi Bel”.  So when she asked me what I wanted drawn for my AggroChat avatar I sent her this overly complex idea for me wearing a bunch of named armor pieces from Destiny.  Here she has expertly rendered that idea with me, a giant flaming Iron Lord axe, my Sunbreaker hammer and Nolandroid.  I could not be happier, and while she was concerned about how the fire effects would feel… I think they work amazingly well.  Thanks once again Ammo for taking mad ramblings and converting them into a picture format.  You should also check out some of her other works on her website or on her daily art tumblr.

I have to say… it is truly bizarre getting back to the task of blogging in the morning.  It is 6:23 and I have consumed my first cup of coffee and am trying to get on about the business of blogging like I know what the hell I am doing.  Today is a day I have been dreading because it means that I have to give up the comfort of my sofa blanket cocoon and venture forth into the cruel and now very chilly world.  Of note… I have been off work since Friday December 23rd.  So I have had two blissful weeks that have allowed me to get completely out of the habit of functioning on any sort of a schedule.  Those weeks have been shockingly busy with only a couple days where I could truly hang out dawn til dusk in my flannel pajama pants and pretend the world didn’t exist.  During that time we dealt with a handful of crisis that involved changing out a leaking faucet in our bathroom… and then ironically rushing some big air mover fans to my mother in law who had a major leak in her front bathroom.  In between that there were numerous Christmas celebrations, and an attempt to properly recognize my father’s birthday…  which also coincides with New Years day.  I have not even really gotten around to making some proper resolutions, and while I don’t really buy into them much, the New Year is a decent time to start new things.  At the moment however my mind has turned towards preparing for Pax South which is coming up in a few weeks.

The Forge Trick

c1ado8iuqaecmyo

Yesterday I posted a mammoth Destiny guide of sorts that I had been meaning to create.  I have a number of friends in various stages of getting sucked into the game… and when I try and give them advice it often comes off as mad ramblings filled with a bunch of topics that they don’t quite understand yet.  The guide was my attempt at writing something for someone just getting started but also still focused on pushing through the light levels as quickly as possible.  As I said yesterday…  I failed to do 99% of the things mentioned in the guide but I am following a similar thought process on my Xbox One account since it is largely starting from zero.  One of the things I mentioned doing was Archon’s Forge… and you might of thought to yourself “But Bel, that is a Group Activity… how did you solo it?”.  Some time ago my friend Shadoes gave me some tips on how to reliably make Archon’s Forge spawn with a group in progress.  Firstly you have to understand how patrol zones in Destiny work in order to make this happen.  Each named area is essentially a match made zone that the game tries to pair you with other players also in that area.  However you usually zone in and out too fast for the game to effectively do this, so there are things you can do to force the game to match you up with other players.  Inside of the Archon’s Forge there is a path behind the forge that leads down to an area that a number of missions and patrols send you to, but is effectively open at all times.  You can see this path as the opening with the ride SIVA cables coming out of it in the above image.

c1adgouuqaam7h_

What I find works is to run down this tunnel to the next area, you will be able to tell you have transitioned by a title card coming up identifying that you have entered “The Warrens”.  From here I tend to kill the various splicer mobs that spawn in… which may include a handful of 2-4 Vandals, 2-4 Stealth Vandals, 2-4 Dregs… and potentially a Captain.  The mix varies slightly, but essentially I spend enough time in this area to clear out whatever happens to have spawned.  From there I slowly walk back up towards the Archon’s Forge, and for me personally it helps for me to crouch while walking just to force myself to slow down.  In Destiny I am so used to constantly sprinting that I find myself doing it without realizing it.  Essentially you are trying to give the game plenty of time for it to notice that you are entering an area with an event… and that it should match you up with additional people.

c1adk5tusaay80d

If it works, you should hear the familiar Fallen Klaxon as you near the tunnel leading out of the area and into Archon’s Forge.  If you make it to the Forge without getting matched into an open world group…  then simply head back down to the Warrens and start the process over.  I would say 99% of the time by the moment I reach the top I hear the Klaxon and am up and running with a viable open world team doing Archon’s Forge.  The longest so far it has ever taken to get matched is three trips up and down the tunnel but your mileage may vary depending on the time of day you are trying and your platform.  I’ve not tried this on Xbox Live, but considering the person who tipped me off to this method plays there I am going to assume it works fine as well.  Basically doing this method is going to allow you to hop into the Plaguelands and farm the forge until your heart is content, just remember to keep going to orbit every so often to make sure you are not losing loot.  Your mailbox can only hold 20 items… and while it takes longer for your inventory to fill up now that greens turn immediately into materials…  it still happens frighteningly fast while doing the Forge.

Archon’s Forge Love

Destiny_20161025223227

Destiny_20161025223227

This morning I am going to talk a little bit about my love of the Archon’s Forge area in Destiny, and we will see where things go from there.  I know I have talked a bit about this in the past, but the Archon’s Forge for me personally alone is worth the price of the expansion.  You have to understand that I love milling around in patrol zones, as in that is pretty much my default “I want to play some destiny” mode because it allows me to putter around.  So far my favorite patrol zone to date has been the Dreadnaught, because in many ways it felt like an old school MMO dungeon.  Back in the days of Everquest and Dark Age of Camleot, dungeons were these sprawling places with no clear path that you were supposed to travel.  As a result the community developed designations to break apart an otherwise huge zone into “camps”.  The Dreadnaught was similar, with various sections of the map labelled as you zoned into them, with the coolest area being the Court of Oryx.  This was an area where you could summon groups of Hive and Taken in the form of mini-boss fights, with the chance of there being decent rewards at the end if you were the person that summoned it.  What I liked about it was the fact that three or four players who were not actively grouping, could work together on a shared objective and get pretty reasonable rewards as a result.

Destiny_20161026232601

Archon’s Forge is very similar but also manages to work in one of my OTHER favorite areas of Destiny…  the Prison of Elders.   The backstory behind the area is that this is the place where the Fallen come to prove their worth in combat.  We as players collect Siva offerings, that you can get by doing various things including Public Events, Patrols and occasionally off Majors.  It is a random chance sort of thing, but I wound up getting one pretty quickly.  From there you go into the Archon’s Forge area, and there is a terminal that you use the offering on.  These come in Green, Blue and Purple varieties which denote how difficult the mobs are that are going to spawn as a result.  Unlike the Court of Oryx, the Archon’s Forge actually locks down while the event is going on, so you have to be fairly quick to duck inside in time to participate.  Essentially you end up fighting waves of mobs, culminating in some sort of a boss like encounter… generally centered around a major or handful of majors.  The two things of note that make this extremely awesome are that first…  it seems to be equally rewarding for the players just hanging out and participating and those that are actually giving up the Siva offerings.  Secondly it seems to be self perpetuating, in that the encounters themselves drop a fair number of new SIVA offerings…  allowing you to pretty much keep the process going indefinitely so long as you have three or four people.  Essentially everyone keeps key trading, summoning the next round to keep the loot machine rolling.

Destiny_20161026224308

The other night after the Final Fantasy XIV raid, I poked my head into Destiny and then spent the next hour and a half at the forge doing short events.  What is awesome about it is that not only is this a flood of greens and blues, but I managed to pick up eight legendary engrams during that time period.  Additionally I’ve gotten several pieces of armor, ghost shells, artifacts and I am pretty sure at least one of my recent guns dropped in the forge because I have no recollection of getting it otherwise.  The big loot comes from killing the mini-bosses and just appears in your inventory much like the end of strike/crucible items do.  My only concern is that I believe there is a limit of 20 items in the mailbox… meaning I really need to head to orbit more often while doing the forge.  I am probably loosing a ton of loot as a result.  I also probably should strip down myself to only the items I need to participate to create more room for said loot, and spend time between matches deconstructing greens.  In any case regardless of those logistics… this is one of my favorite places to hang out because it is so simple to just hop in and start doing stuff.  I SHOULD be doing strikes… and I managed to finish one of those last night that I had two quests for.  The problem is right now my Destiny time is pretty sporadic, and Archon’s Forge seems to fit the perfect amount of “engagement” for me.

Light Rising

Destiny_20161014094304

Destiny_20161019061424

I’ve been on a bit of a Destiny kick lately, and that has involved trying to do at a minimum all of the Rise of Iron bounties that Shiro hands out each week.  These largely involve running around the plaguelands and doing “stuff” like specific patrols and participating in world events.  I’ve also recently discovered the bounty that is the Archon’s Forge.  I admit I was a little intimidated for awhile, given that when you enter the forge it essentially locks you out of leaving.  My ultimate fear is that this place would murder me with great prejudice given my relatively low light levels.  That fortunately was not really the case, and I was also pleased to see that the same sort of “key trading” behavior exists in the forge as it did in the Court of Oryx.  I’ve been playing entirely solo so far since the launch of Rise of Iron, mostly because I am playing in short bursts rather than hanging out and making myself available to the clan for shenanigans.  However pretty much any time I have rolled down to the Forge, there have been people there waiting and willing to summon stuff for us to fight.  I still have trouble with the “purple” quality keys, but both green and blue ones seem largely feasible.  Unfortunately it seems like you have zero control over what sort of key drops for you, and at this very moment I happen to be sitting on a purple key myself.

The forge is quite literally a modern day version of the “loot cave” because after thirty minutes or so of running keys back to back… you end up with a full mail box.  This is not actually a screenshot from last night, but one I had laying around from one of my previous trips into the Forge.  Last night however it became significantly more lucrative for me personally.  Patch 2.4.1 did some juggling of things in preparation for the release of the Heroic Mode raid.  As a result the light economy of items got bumped up a bit, allowing folks a slightly easier time catching up.

  • Rare Engrams will now decrypt up to 365 Light
  • Legendary Engrams will now decrypt up to 385 Light
  • Exotic Engrams will now decrypt up to 400 Light
  • Faction packages will now provide drops up to 390 Light

So as a result to these tweaks… I entered last nights play session at 554 and exited at 560 and on the cusp of pushing over the line with several 361 items.  In the first screenshot I am decked out in Future War Cult colors… because I picked up some quest asking me to do a bunch of content both PVE and PVP repping the FWC.  I have no clue what that actually will lead to but I am interested to see.  The moment to moment gameplay of Destiny still feels as great as it ever did, and I am pumped that I can pop in for an hour and do a few things and feel like I moved the needle forward.  I am super loot centric in my games, and so long as I am progressing my gear levels I feel like I am making meaningful progress.

Destiny_20161014094304

The ultimate short term goal is to get to 365 so that I can join in all of the reindeer games…  namely have access to the normal mode of the raid.  I’ve heard amazing things about it, but I have just lacked the drive to grind things out in the strike play list.  In fact I have yet to run a single strike since the implementation of Rise of Iron…  which seems a little odd given how often I used to run them for nothing more than burning Three of Coins.  I feel like I am torn in a bunch of different directions right now and trying to juggle actively playing four different games:  Destiny, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV.  As a result I am doing a somewhat shitty job of keeping up in any of them other than World of Warcraft, where I seem to be spending most of my time.  That said in WoW I feel like I am bumping up against the ceiling for the gear levels I can realistically achieve other than through my Wednesday night raid… so some of my drive there is siphoning off.  At the very least I am not really doing the world quests like I used to, because I know there is shit for gear out of them at my levels.  This excess time seems to be getting funneled right back into Destiny, but I do need to steal a little bit of it and work on my gearing in Final Fantasy XIV as well.  I am absolutely holding our group back from doing some of the new content because I am about 15 item levels short of being where I should be.  If only I could clone myself… and keep those clones at home all day long playing all the things I want to be playing.