For the most part we hung out around the house yesterday and devoted most of the entire day to working through the mountain of laundry. As the day drug on, my wife had a few errands that she wanted to run so around 3 pm we got ready and took her vehicle as it needed gassing up. For some time it had been squealing mercilessly, but she took it to an auto place Thursday and they replaced what I believe was the main serpentine belt assembly and tensioner. At this point I am just parroting the talky words they told us, because I am very much not one of those guys that knows anything at all about cars. Miraculously the squealing went away and we were super happy to no longer have to listen to it. Yesterday for the most part was the first time we had driven it since that day.
As we were heading back to the house we were driving along our street and a pickup truck passed us, and at the same time we heard this noise. To me it sounded like when you drive over a hot tar road and some of the chat flies up into the undercarriage. I didn’t really think much about it, and my wife thought maybe the truck threw something out at us… until she noticed that the battery light came on… and at the same time our engine started overheating. We were really close to the house so we limped along and pulled in. The engine fan was working harder than I had ever heard one work, so when we got in the driveway I popped the hood to let it get more air. Thankfully there wasn’t the smell of anything burning, so I think that part at least is good.
We were maybe a block from the house when it happened, so we decided to go walk down to where we heard the noise to see if we could find any evidence. I was already overheated at that point and the walk did not help. We found no evidence of anything in the road, but while walking my wife called the auto place that we took it on Thursday, and they said that pretty much the only thing that could have happened was that the serpentine belt had broken. Now we have to have the vehicle towed to this this morning so they can work on it again. Luckily since they did the work, pretty much everything should be covered. I am just thankful it happened while we were running errands and not while my wife was driving 45 minutes to work… stranding her on the side of the road. Thankfully we have AAA and they will tow us for free, we just have to arrange that to happen this morning.
For me finding the Divinity Franchise has been like discovering that Fallout or the Elder Scrolls had been hiding under my nose all this time. One of the things that drives me forward in games is the rich setting, and Rivellon has been built up to be this really cool thing over the course of several different games at this point. While I have not played the original Divine Divinity and Beyond Divinity… you are given a lot of the lore that comes from that game in Divinity II as you play through it. So essentially I know the basic elements that happened, as you are dealing with the ramifications of them throughout your play as the Dragon Slayer. Friday during the day I pushed forward with Divinity 2 and go to the end of the game.
I don’t want to give any spoilers, because you really need to pick this game up on steam and play through it yourself. But I have to say the ending is an absolute sucker punch. I did not see it coming, nor did I expect any of the ramifications of it. That said thankfully Divinity II: Flames of Vengeance quite literally picks up moments after the ending of Divinity II: Ego Draconis. The only problem there is that after the fever pitch of the ending of the first half of the game… I just could not take playing any more in Rivellon for a bit. So after beating it I played a little Bioshock Infinite and then Saturday I worked my way through as far as I managed to get in Tomb Raider. I know at some point soon I will pick up Flames of Vengeance because I want to know where the story goes from there.
Back to Rivellon
Saturday I returned to the setting of Rivellon, this time decades before the events of Divinity II during the war that ensued after the death of the King Sigurd. Essentially all of the half dragon children of the king fought for control of the land, and you play a nameless, faceless character under the tutelage of the greatest wizard of the setting… Maxos. If you want a full and proper review you should totally check out my SteamPowered Sunday feature on the game from yesterday. As I said in my review… the game is deeply confused as to what it wants to be. At times it is a Civilization clone, other times a Starcraft II clone, and in still other times a dragon air combat game. All of these disparate parts are wrapped together in a really interesting narrative firmly rooted in the conflict and setting of Rivellon.
I feel like Larian had this story that they wanted to tell about the period of strife after the death of King Sigurd, and didn’t quite know how to tell it. Since they have never really been bound to only creating one specific type of game or another… they opted to use the best vehicle for them to tell the story of a war… and that is the 4X and RTS genres. The game is deeply rooted in the roleplaying fabric of their setting, and as you move through it you make decisions that effect your council of generals and the allied races assembled. Additionally for the first time you get to see a proper map of what the world looks like and which races control which territories. There is so much fertile ground here for future games and setting that have not been explored in any fashion.
Shortly before our eventful trip out to run errands I managed to finish the main storyline. Unlike many other conquest type games, there is no big cinematic however as you wander around the ship you get to listen to how each of the various members of your crew feels about the events. The overall experience was enjoyable for me, but I don think it would have been had I not had a firm grasp of the lore of the game before sitting down to play it. This is very much a conquest game for Divinity fans, and nothing else. It is enjoyable enough on its own and the assemblage of parts leads to a fun game play experience… but the hook for me is the storyline and nothing mechanically that I am doing. The real payoff in playing this game is that it filled in a few more puzzle pieces in the evolving narrative of Rivellon.
After the excitement with the automobile, we were so ungodly hot after our hike that we went for a swim. When I got back upstairs I wanted to chill out a bit, so I broke the “turtle” for a bit and hopped on voice chat. Kodra was online and we decided that we should try and play Divinity: Original Sin as a duo. This apparently is the superior way to play the game, and since the release Tam and Ashgar has been working their way through the content talking about how awesome it was. The game uses steam for match making, but doesn’t actually use steamworks as a server. Instead one player starts the game and controls it, and the other player connects into that game. This means that the player that begins the game will be the one that saves, and has the actual game files on their machine.
I created my traditional “Belghast” character based off the fighter archetype, and was pleasantly surprised that even with the limited customization options I was able to create a character appearance I was happy with. Another surprise is that as a fighter, apparently I also have one of the better heals in the game with cure wounds. So not only would I be the tank for our group but also be a healer when we needed one and could not rely on potions. We set off into the world and decided to do the tutorial dungeon. For the most part everything was going really well, and then the connection issues started. At first I got disconnected from Kodra’s server, and when I reconnected I was sitting in the boss chamber with no way to return to him.
I didn’t even make it through the dialog before I got another disconnect. We manages to get through the boss fight, and open the door for him to make his way into the encounter to join me. On the way to the first town I got disconnected again. At this point we ran a ping test for both of our connections. Mine tested out almost perfectly 0% packet loss, 21 ms ping and 1 ms jitter whatever that means. Kodra on the other hand kept getting varying results and the second time he ran it he was up to 3% packet loss, and 15 ms jitter. Additionally while my ISP was rated at 4.39 out of 5 for quality, his is rated at 2 something. So while so many of his problems were in fact coming from a six year old machine… there is also most definitely an ISP component happening there as well. Rather than continuing on frustrated… we just gave up on the co-op notion for the night.
I created my own game and started playing through the tutorial. I have a feeling that Divinity: Original Sin is really Larian’s magnum opus. This game is so ridiculously content dense that I cannot fathom just how many hours of playtime it will take to be able to see even vaguely close to everything in it. I spent a good two hours faffing about, and I have quite literally done nothing past the first town. I am still meeting and engaging with every single person in it. This game brings back the proud RPG tradition of talking to everyone being important. One person in a line of four might have a single tidbit of information the moves your quest forward. Additionally you want to barter everything that has the option, because you never know what someone might be carrying and willing to part with. I’ve seen otherwise generic NPCs carrying around blue quality items already. This game is going to be a blast, and is likely going to cause me to stay out of the MMO scene for a little longer at least.
#Divinity #DivinityOriginalSin #DragonCommander #DivinityII