Many Osiris Handle It

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Yesterday was of course the release of the first expansion content to Destiny 2 in the form of the Curse of Osiris DLC.  I was sick yesterday so completely out of it and did not realize until that evening that I could have been playing around in the expansion during the day.  I did however have time to finish the main story line and am now in the after game that involves going around and doing a bunch of adventures on Mercury.  I am not entirely certain what I was expecting but I enjoyed myself and found a lot of the new areas really cool to roam around.  The level cap is bumping up from 20 to 25 and the light cap is bumping from 305 to 335.  This means we all need to spend time pushing up that number once again, and have a whole slew of new weapons to help us with that process.  Based on what I am seeing blues seem to still be bound to the 5 below your base light level as I am seeing 303 drops with a base light of 308.8.  Legendary engrams which seem to be dropping like candy for me are dropping at my base light level and as a result seem to be providing a decent way of bumping up my overall power level.  Unlike before I am not quite as rabidly focused on trying to squeeze the last bit of light out of each week as I have in the past.  I am sure this will change but for the moment I am trying to take things easy as I may or may not have burnt myself out a bit.

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In Destiny 1 we spent a good deal of time exploring the Fallen and the Hive and with Destiny 2 we have spent the bulk of our time dealing with the Cabal.  This expansion sees us taking on the Vex in ways that we have not seen before.  You get a decent idea over the course of the content we have seen to this point that the Vex that essentially hacks time to create the most favorable outcomes for themselves.  However we have not actually really seen this in progress other than the tiny unexplained bits of the Black Garden.  With Curse of Osiris we get to roam around in the massive simulation worlds that the Vex are constantly using to collect data to update their models.  What is really cool about this is that we see simulated versions of all of the other races, that are very similar…  but not quite exactly the same.  Pay close attention to the way that the “Axis” versions of various troop types look because they appear to be almost Vex hybrid versions.  As far as the length of the expansion… I would say it is probably about the same number of missions as the base game.  You spend a lot of time roaming around and trying to sort out how to stop this one Vex simulated future from coming true.

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As far as characters…  Sagira is great and I like the fact that even after completing the main game we occasionally get to hang out with her again.  Osiris was honestly not much of a character, and still remains this madman prophet that we are really no closer to fully understanding than we were going into the expansion.  Brother Vance still has a fanatical devotion to Osiris even though he could not be bothered to pop out to the Lighthouse long enough to even see his acolytes.  There is a nice passing of the Torch of sorts to Ikora, because really she is the Warlock we care about.  Its not so much that the student has surpassed the master… its just that the student is done being a student.  If nothing else this expansion brought with it one of the most badass final boss fights I have seen in awhile, and while it isn’t exactly technically complex it is fun as hell and makes the player feel awesome…  even though it is really Osiris hacking reality to make it happen.  It reminds me a lot of the way the Oryx fight in the Kings Fall raid felt… with this massive imposing figure that you are able to bring down by doing some stuff with some things.  Unlike the main campaign I am actually looking forward to finishing it on each of my alts, as I attempt to get them ready to start pushing up power level once again.

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As part of the main story we get another choice of a vanguard legendary, and I not shockingly went with the auto rifle that looks and feels a lot like the Jiangshi AR4 that I cannot seem to get the Gunsmith to give me.  The bulk of the really interesting system changes go into effect next week with the December 12th patch, but we did get a fresh assortment of weapons to find and an armor ornament system.  I’m looking forward to the next Iron Banner so that I can unlock the requirements to use those with my Iron Banner set.  Additionally there was a refresh of the eververse store and with it a new set of fluff engrams, this time including a set of armor that I think actually looks cool.  I was not a big fan of the weird formal armor set that came from the last batch, and even though I have collected a set of it on my Titan I doubt I will ever wear it.  This time around however it is Vex inspired and looks pretty badass…  but it has some hefty competition with both my New Monarchy and Iron Banner armor sets.  All in all I think I am going to like the influx of content, but I am also not extremely focused on grinding to get everything instantly either.

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Honestly the thing that has most soured me on Destiny 2…  may or may not have anything to do with Destiny 2.  A few weeks ago on patch day I started having issues running the game.  Ultimately this thing would occur where the game would freeze for anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes in the worst cases…  all the while the audio would continue playing in the background.  If I happened to be watching a YouTube video on the second monitor its video would freeze as well, as would my ability to alt tab or interact with anything.  Everything would recover itself and return me back to whatever I happened to be doing…  and if I was in a group activity the game would rapidly catch me up to the same time frame as the other players…  often resulting in my death.  As a result I had been avoiding doing anything serious and anything that forced players to require on me not fucking up.  I’ve searched the forums and crawled through the bowels of Reddit attempting various fixes, until this morning when I found something that is a possible culprit.  Around about this same time I got forced upon me the heaping pile that is yet another windows 10 update.  As a result it force reset a bunch of my settings, one of which flipped my system into power save mode for some ungodly reason.  Before sitting down to write this post I played a bit of crucible because that seemed to always make it happen…  and seemed to be doing just fine.  I need to run around on Mercury a bit to do some further testing but I am hopeful that maybe this was the mystery sauce that was causing all of my problems.  I would love to be able to return to doing group content without fearing that I would be a liability.

Archon’s Forge Love

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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.

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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.

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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.

A Mixed Bag

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Now it is time for me to finally sit down and write the post I have largely been avoiding writing since Thursday.  For those that have been living under a rock this week, or otherwise disconnected from the internet…  Thursday was the time at which Blizzard broke with tradition and announced a new World of Warcraft expansion at a convention other than Blizzcon.  For awhile now I had made the comment that if they had a shot in hell at keeping players interested… they could not afford to wait until November to announce what was coming down the pipe.  Looking at the convention calendar the only slot that really made sense was either GamesCom or Pax Prime…  and since they were planning a significant presence at GamesCom that was my theoretical choice.  The truth is while I said this… I never actually expected it to happy until last week when they actually verified that was the case by posting the moment the announcement would happen.  Thankfully for me it happened over my lunch hour and I freely admit I went into this announcement with a bunch of emotional hype.  Deep down inside of me there is still a player that hopes someday for World of Warcraft to turn into the game I really want to play.  You can’t be engaged in a decade long relationship with a game without having some glimmer of hope.

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A few days ahead of the announcement I posted my list of “serious” predictions… that in truth only had one valid prediction.  After watching the final cinematic for Warlords of Draenor, there was literally only one place this expansion could go.  We were going to be taking on the Burning Legion in a new invasion of Azeroth, and sure enough as the teaser rolled and showed our old buddy Gul’dan pulling another of our old friend Illidan out of some kind of green crystal prison… it pretty much set the tone of the show for me.  At face value the idea of a Burning Legion expansion is pretty cool, but it also has a very “repeating history” feel to it.  In truth this entire expansion is a tapestry of cobbled together ideas left on the cutting room floor from previous games that lore fanatics have been begging for.  We are going to get to see the remainder of the Broken Isles and the Tomb of Sageras as well as finally finding out what is going on in the Emerald Dream.  These are all awesome components on their own…  but just because I love Peanut Butter and I also love Alfredo Sauce…  doesn’t necessarily mean that putting the two together is going to be even more awesome.  I am in this strange place because as much as I did not want to play a “Dances with Orcs” expansion… the Warlords reveal gave me all manner of warm fuzzies up and down my spine in spite of not really wanting them.  This reveal on the other hand, had all of these elements that I should love… but left me not really feeling anything but skepticism.

Demon Hunters

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The biggest feature of the expansion is that we are adding another Hero Class to the game, meaning that they will start somewhere between 95 and 100 according to further elaboration in a similar manner to how Deathknights did in Wrath of the Lich King.  This is a class that I have wanted so badly since I first knew there was going to be a World of Warcraft.  Illidan Stormrage is quite literally the only Elf in the Warcraft universe that I like, in part because he looks badass and runs around with the Twinblades of Azzinoth.  It seems that there is going to be a tank option as well for the class… which should make me even more excited to play them.  I admit the whole angry half demonic tattoo’d elf thing largely works for me, and I’ve always thought the blind fold thing looked badass.  I just feel like I should be more excited than I am about it.

Melee Hunters

I have images of me that I have posted her tanking Scarlet Monastery on my Hunter back in Vanilla.  For better or worse I spent a significant amount of my time meleeing as Hunter, in part because I was frankly too cheap to restock bullets constantly.  When I ground out the faction with the Firbolgs… I did pretty much all of it with a two-handed weapon and my pet.  Is it wrong that the announcement that Hunters are actually getting a melee spec was the point at which I have gotten the most excited for this expansion?  It seems that Beastmastery is going to work pretty much how it works today, and that Marksmanship is going to be losing the pet but essentially getting Lone Wolf like buffs.  The problem has always been that survival did not feel sufficiently different from the other trees other than the reliance on traps.  Now apparently Survival will be up close and personal in melee range while still keeping the pet, which makes it sound a lot like the Beastmaster soul in Rift.  For a long while that was my dps soul of choice, because it let me run around beating on things… while having a really cool cat pet at my side.  This might seriously be the best news for me personally in the expansion, because I love the idea of a hunter…  I just never really enjoyed being ranged dps.

Class Order Halls

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This is another really cool idea, but one that I am deeply skeptical.  Essentially the plan is to create special areas that only members of a specific class can go to.  Inside of it will be the givers of specific class based quests, and a whole new follower system that allows you to go out on adventures with fledgeling members of your class order.  All of this sounds pretty kick ass because I loved Archerus as a Deathknight, and having a specific area I could go to just for my class.  The problem there is that it never really became a “hub” for players, and as Blizzard has moved on past Wrath it progressively became a bigger and bigger pain in the ass to have to keep going back there to Runeforge new weapons.  My biggest fear however is that in WoW 8.0 this will become yet another awesome idea that has been relegated to the dustbin just like the Halfhill Farm, and soon to be Garrison and Shipyard.  The WoW team is exceptionally bad at creating constructs that will leave on with the game past a single expansion.  One of my key frustrations with the game is that it is a series of loosely connected disposable content packs rather than one seamless living and breathing world.  While Class Order Halls might be fun for an expansion, I full expect they are already planning on the next new thing to replace them.

Artifact Weapons

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Apparently the Relic Weapon quest from Final Fantasy XIV is coming to World of Warcraft, but they are taking it further.  If I am reading an interview correctly it sounds like there simply won’t be weapon drops in the Legion expansion at all.  This is honestly not a horrible idea at least from a game design perspective because it means that content becomes so much easier to balance.  Upgrading your weapon in any game tends to be the single biggest power boost a player can get, since it has a function…  increasing your damage/healing/survival rather than simply being a random collection of stat boosts.  By assuring that players evolve this power over time through the completion of content, this gives you a measured gauge to scale against rather than somehow trying to make things doable with crappy white quality weapons… but at the same time not an absolute train wreck when done by anyone with epic quality anything.  Again they are making a stab straight at our nostalgia by having us reforge classic weapons from lore.  The example they give is that we will be quite literally collecting the fragments of Frostmourne and reforging them into a new weapon.  I have to admit this sounds badass…  but the problem once again is… this sounds like a system that they will be all too happy to abandon come 8.0.  If they promised that from this point out, we will be able to keep upgrading our weapons with ever more intricate designs and quests backing them up… then I would probably be extremely amped.  I just lack the faith that this is going to be something that will be around for awhile.

It Could be Awesome

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I freely admit that the raw material of this expansion that was announced on Thursday could end up making an extremely awesome expansion.  The problem being that I just do not have faith any longer that Blizzard will create a game that I want to play for the long term.  I absolutely enjoy playing each expansion and leveling through the content.  I fully expect that I will purchase Legion when it launches and enjoy myself while leveling a few characters.  The problem is that the game doesn’t have enough that I want to do once I have gotten three characters to the new level cap.  Three seems to always be the number, it was the case in all of the recent WoW expansions, and was the case in Rift and SWTOR.  Once I have seen the content that third time… I am just done with it for the time being and ready to move on and do something else.  The systems that are there just are not sticky enough to keep me logging in on a daily basis, and the majority of my time in Warlords was spent logging in for ten minutes to fiddle with my Garrison and then logging right back out.  Now they hinted that they are trying to come up with reasons for us to run dungeons even after we have hit the level cap… and I look forward to seeing more detail on this one.  That was ultimately the thing that kept me going in Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King and the thing that ultimately felt pointless in most of the expansions since.  It honestly feels like they are trying to borrow some ideas from Final Fantasy XIV… which is absolutely a good thing… pending they actually took the time to understand why those ideas work in that game.  Right now I have zero faith…  but there is a tiny fire in side of me that wants to be in love with Azeroth again.  So here is hoping as we move closer to the likely Q2 2016 launch window that something will rekindle that fire.

WoW 7.0 Predictions

I didn’t want to do this as an “official” post, so instead I am making a bonus post today which is a truly rare occasion.  With tomorrow being the day we find out what the new World of Warcraft expansion is, I thought I would jot down some ideas.  Some of these are in fact serious ideas… others are absolutely not, and I can’t be bothered to differentiate between the two at this point.

  • During this expansion Thrall will have to stay home with the kid, which leaves Aggra to go out on adventures and be the “big damned hero” for a change.
  • Yrel comes to Azeroth from Draenor and deposes Varian Wrynn as the leader of the Alliance.
  • With a strong woman at the helm of both the Alliance and the Horde they realize how childish and futile it is to continue making up wars over essentially nothing…  and instead decide to join forces and usher in a new era of peace allowing people to do whatever the hell they want with whoever the hell they want to.
  • Unfortunately our time bending shenanigans have punched a hole in the fabric of space and time, and we have ended up in the world of The Nexus.
  • All of the zones in this expansion as a result will be vaguely square in shape and consist largely of three large fields of play where all the quests will be located.  The dungeon for each map will be conveniently located at the far end of the map.
  • Because we broke time we can now have a raid tier consisting of Arthas, Illidan, Diablo, Tassadar, and Sgt. Hammer.
  • Bolivar Fordragon has decided that his butt is cold, and has finally climbed off the Frozen Throne and now begins rampaging across Azeroth with his army of Scourge.  The game will become a gritty survival game about fighting for resources in a world plagued by the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • We figured out yet another way to bring Onyxia and Nefarian back… and they are doing something in a dark dungeon with lots of lava and orcs or something… we will figure it out as we go with this one.
  • We are absolutely going to have an Old God in this expansion, because everyone loves crawling through Titan Dungeons right?  We’ve had Norse and Egyptian mythology based Titans…  now we are just going to remove all of the illusions here and make a H.P. Lovecraft themed mythology…  every world needs for nameless tentacled things right?
  • Mentoring will be introduced but you can only do it on patch day while the servers are down.
  • We will have roughly half of our abilities removed so that it can fit on an Xbox controller…  which will lead the way to World of Warcraft breaking onto consoles for instant improved relevance.
  • Gnome Druids…  kitten form, bear cub form, baby seal form….  and Parrot form.  We will make it work lore wise…  something about digging too deep and hitting the Emerald Dream or something.  Hippie Gnomes.
  • Bards…  will not be in the expansion because while it would be awesome…  we really don’t want to have to add a fourth role to the holy trinity.
  • World of Warcraft will no longer be a game, but a carefully curated selection of designer snacks…  delivered monthly to subscribers.
  • We voyage to the South Seas and discover a kingdom of Murlocs…  player character Murlocs!  Except they can’t use text chat other than Murloc noises.
  • The Burning Legion…  seriously it is probably going to be about The Burning Legion.

Dark Knights and Brayflox

AggroChat 52 – FFXIV Story Spoiler Show

Since August 2013 Final Fantasy XIV has been a fairly significant part of our lives.  While we had a break in there, we have been in place for at least the last eight months soaking up every ounce of content that Square Enix can throw at us.  Throughout this game the story of the game has been a constant topic of conversation among the aggrochat crew and friends.  Each time a new tidbit of story was released it would start rampant speculation as to where the story might be going.  As we made our way through the current patches content, I think it is safe to say that none of us could have guessed how this would have ended.

As the credits rolled on the conclusion of the 2.0 storyline… the first reaction is that you absolutey have to talk to someone about it.  This week we do a complete no holds barred spoiler filled romp through the Final Fantasy XIV storyline to date, talking about its conclusion and some of the elements from previous patches that might play into the future of the Heavensward expansion.  If you have not reached the climax of this story arc, then I highly suggest you file this show away and return to it later.  During most shows we try really hard not to directly spoil any content, and we will be returning to that next week.  This week…  we need to get this out of our systems, and if you have finished the storyline, chances are you do too.

Dark Knights and Brayflox

heavenswardjobs We talk about this a bit at the end of the show but yesterday they had a big live letter at like 3 in the morning my time, going over more details about the Heavensward expansion including some concrete details about the new jobs and how they would be starting.  For some time they had said that they would not be starting at level 1, and that they did not have classes backing up the jobs.  We speculated what that meant, and started to wonder if this would mean like other jobs they would start at level 30.  Sure enough as per the slide above this has now been confirmed that new jobs will in fact start at 30, which means these new classes will be cutting their teeth on the likes of Brayflox.  Another interesting tidbit is that apparently in order to experience these new jobs, or the new Heavensward content…  you are going to have to have completed the main story through the conclusion in 2.55.

This is quite honestly a shocking devotion to their storyline and one that I stand behind whole heartedly.  One of the things that frustrated me about the Warlords of Draenor launch is the fact that it felt like they were essentially abolishing everything from the previous expansions from both a class standpoint by giving everyone a free level 90, and from a crafting standpoint in that you can level from 1 to max level through the garrison system.  Sure this is going to create a barrier between new players and the content that players are now playing…  but I have a feeling that Square Enix like always is going to find a way to make the old world content relevant.  One of the slide bullet points that I have not been able to find much explanation about says something to the effect of “2.0 content adjustments”.  So I hope this does in fact mean that we will have reasons to keep returning to older stuff.

Decisions Decisions

eightnewdungeons One of the slides that I saw that made me the happiest was that there are apparently eight new dungeons with the launch of the content.  Now I have no clue how many of these will be “leveling” dungeons and how many will  be “end game” dungeons.  We also know that the expansion will be launching with the Alexander raid, and two primal encounters Ravana and Bismark.  I know that over the course of 2.0 they introduced something like 18 new dungeons and I believe 16 trials.  So I feel like eight dungeons is a pretty good place to be launching considering how much content gets added over time.  Right now I am finding myself pretty torn in that I am not sure which direction I really want to take.  I have waned to play a Dark Knight since the moment my friends first started trying to convince me to play Final Fantasy XIV.  Now that I have it however…  I am just thinking about much much fun I have running content as a warrior.

I know without a doubt that I will have both at 60 and well geared, but I am not really certain which one I am going to push up first.  So quite honestly right now… a lot of this is going to depend on how much enjoyment I get out of the Dark Knight once early release starts.  I doubt we are going to get any sort of a test realm to play with them on.  I wish that were the case because I feel like Dark Knight is eight going to be a class I immediately love, or a class that I can’t really stand to play.  The whole spell tank thing can go in either direction, but if it ends up being more akin to the Shadowknight or the Deathknight…  then I am all a bout it.  If the end result feels very casterly… then I will most likely just stick to smashing things with my axe.  Basically I feel like either this is going to be the class that I have always wanted to play… or the class that Tam has always wanted to play.  However I feel like one of us is going to end up disappointed.