Lobbing SIVA Charges

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Last night did not go entirely as planned, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a pretty amazing night.  The original plan that I had in my head was an attempt at completing the Nightfall bounty on as many characters as I could for shots at the Icebreaker.  However as the day went on that plan slowly morphed into going to my very first Wrath of the Machine raid.  So around 8pm last night we managed to pull together the six players needed for the raid and I shifted into full on learner mode.  Destiny is one of those games where I am constantly amazed at the level of dedication the community has.  A raid in Destiny is this complex sequence of events that have to be completed in a specific way…  and the first time I step into one of the encounters it is full on information overload.  I find it interesting how fast the community as a whole crowd sources the solution to the fights, sharing tidbits of information and ultimately mapping strategies for how to complete them.  I say this because the fights themselves are actually messaged somewhat poorly as to what you should be doing at any given time.  Since I am very much a “learn by doing” player, it means for the first few raids I ultimately feel completely lost.

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What is extremely interesting about Wrath of the Machine versus Kings Fall is that the “roles” are not necessarily fixed.  In Kings Fall you could essentially put your most seasoned player on the job of doing whatever was the most important task on a given fight.  While there was a certain measure of randomness, like who got chosen to run the spark on the invisible platforms…  others like the person getting Golgoroth’s Gaze were very much something you had in your control.  As a result to some extent it was much easier to carry a new player through and allow them to see the fights in motion, before they were ever expected to take up a key roll in the fight.  That is very much NOT the case in Wrath of the Machine given the game shifts the roles around quickly and while you might be dpsing one moment, the next you might be needing to toss SIVA charges at fixed markers.  The hardest of these fights for me to grok was the Aksis encounter where the raid divided up into three sides, and the game randomly empowered three players at a time…  sometimes requiring you to shift around quickly to cover a side if it did not have an empowered player.  The end result is that new players ultimately have to learn quickly because you never know exactly when that key role is going to fall on your shoulders.

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There were several points during the night where I absolutely know I failed at various mechanics, but while moving through the content I started to get a feel for what I was doing wrong and how to correct it.  Now with Kings Fall, most of the encounters were fairly easy…  but it was the jumping sequences that were the bane of my existence.  With Wrath of the Machine, the encounters themselves seem to be the challenge, and while I died a few times during the much shorter jumping sequences they didn’t see anywhere near as nerve wracking as disappearing ships over of a giant open chasm.  Last night was also important because it marked the first time I had really done large group content with Tequila Mockingbird my clan.  It has been over six months since Axioma clan was dissolved in a fit, and [TQMB] was formed out of the ashes.  It definitely feels like we wound up with the absolutely best natured of folks for the reboot.  Within minutes I felt right back at home, which I guess is a strange statement considering I have been proudly sporting the clan tag since the moment the reboot happened.

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So while I had no real intent of raiding last night, I am super happy to have seen the content now and to have gotten some of the really awesome stuff that drops there.  There seems to be a massive problem with duplicates from the SIVA key caches.  On the first boss encounter I got the Ether Nova fusion rifle… and then turned around and got the same thing from the cache.  From the second encounter I managed to pick up Arms, that I am extremely happy about given that they have the crazy heavy ammo trait.  From the third encounter, I picked up an Artifact which is decent but it is really hard to get excited over an artifact when I am apparently now swimming in 400 light ones.  From the final phase of the Aksis encounter I walked away with the Genesis Chain auto rifle, and then spent a key and got an exact duplicate.  Past that I wound up with three exotics from the run:  4th Horseman, Hereafter, and Crest of Alpha Lupi.  The first two turning into shards since I don’t really like either weapon, and the last from an engram serving as infusion fodder for the Twilight Garrison I had yet to upgrade.

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I spent a bit of time after the raid running around in the Plaguelands patrol zone to play with both the Auto Rifle and the Fusion Rifle and I like both.  The Genesis Chain feels really awesome when you get headshots and cause the firefly to proc since it has a unique sound effect that goes with it.  The Fusion Rifle… largely just feels like a competent Fusion Rifle.  I sincerely doubt I will be giving up either The Branded Lord or Saladins Vigil for it, but it is nonetheless a reasonable weapon that is probably going to get ferried off to one of my alts.  I have heard it works really amazingly in Crucible, so I will have to give it a shot there.  It is bizarre how I have gone from being someone that NEVER used Fusion Rifles, to being someone who largely now favors them over Shotguns for close to medium range engagement.  The other really awesome thing that happened is that I am now flagged to do the Outbreak Prime quest, which honestly could be an entire post in itself.  It turns out that Lexy is also stalled on this quest, so that gives us Hunter and Titan… and we just need to find a Warlock to ride along with us since that quest requires you to group up all three classes to progress.  Wondering if maybe some point this weekend we can knock out the required pieces so that by the time the reset rolls around we are working on the final step which is the run the raid again.

 

Combo Breaker

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Ending the Streak

The other day I talked about how the three plus year streak has been looming over my head like this impassable object.  After long thought I’ve decided that the sooner I break it the better, and as a result I will not be making posts this weekend.  I mean that is in part a lie since I will be posting over on AggroChat Sunday morning in the form of our weekly episode.  However tomorrow morning I am going to chill out, and eat my breakfast in peace with zero thought of what the hell I am going to post that morning.  That is at least the theory… I have a feeling that in practice it is going to be a lot harder to NOT post than it is to post.  The end goal is basically to reach a point where I am posting a new post every workday morning, so I can continue the routine of drink coffee and write about stuff.  That means weekends and holidays I get to myself, or more than likely it just means I start gaming a little earlier on those days.  My hope is that some time off is actually going to present topics that I want to talk about, rather than trying to wrack my brain for a new post.

I have to tell you I am a little nervous about this “new experiment” following up the previous “grand experiment”.  It makes solid sense to just post week days since those are the days that folks generally read on.  However at this point I am just used to the comfortable routine.  So in theory the next time you will hear from me is Monday morning.  As far as my weekend plans…  I think I have a pretty chill one ahead of me.  Tonight may or may not be a thoroughly awkward family dinner, largely because I have not decided if I am actually going or not.  We just had one of these a few weeks back, but there is a family member in town that folks have not seen in some cases years…  so folks are pulling together an impromptu dinner.  Past that I am hoping the report of non-stop rain is exaggerated and I get to spend a little time out on the back porch.  I have bubbles that need blowing.  Last weekend I went to a birthday/adoption party and they had bubbles for the kids…  and it made me remember just how damned much I love blowing bubbles.  So I bought myself a small bottle of the soapy mess for hanging out on the back porch.  Viva adulthood and the ability to buy your own damned toys!

Light Level Cap

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It has been a little over a month since I last set foot in the Kings Fall raid, or at least it seems like it.  There was a bit of a change around that ended up with Squirrel trying to start an earlier raid team beginning at 8 pm which is more sane and rational for those of us who get up at 5 in the morning for work.  However that never really took off in the fashion that we had hoped, and it also lead for the official “rookie” raid night to get moved to Wednesdays.  As a result of this switcheroo I simply didn’t raid for several weeks, and this week was my first time signing up again largely on the promise of a “guaranteed” 335 artifact from the War Priest Challenge Mode.  Unfortunately that Guarantee like oh so many things in Destiny, was not really set in stone and I wound up getting yet another damned 334 item.  I did however have a lot of fun running the raid, and after some time away from it all of the jumping puzzles that stress me out so much didn’t seem quite so bad.  I even managed to run the orb on sisters without screwing up too badly.

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Last night Squirrel, Jex and I had what has become somewhat of a tradition… a night of Challenge of Elders and whatever the hell else any of us happened to need.  So on paper this should have been one of the easiest weeks, with precision shot bonus experience.  However in many cases we struggled to survive and I think it was largely the inclusion of “fresh troops” into the mix.  I died so damned many times last night, and we were just shy of being able to get to the 90,000 bonus in two rounds.  I would have felt bad about my performance were it not for the fact that both Jex and Squirrel died quite a bit as well.  The frustrating thing about CoE is it has become one of those “unskippable” activities each week because it is one of the few reliable means of getting 335 loot.  I say that… however almost every single item I got this week was a damned 334, which is completely maddening.  There seems to be some bug that hits where instead of giving you upgrades it starts giving you side grades.  That said I did manage to get a Titan Mark as end of match loot, and then after CoE we went to the Dreadnaught for some Court of Oryx.  After summing three Tier 3 events… the final one dropped my 335 Artifact taking me to the current light level cap.  This is extremely exciting for me, because this represents the first time in my history playing this game that I have EVER been capped on light.  Special thanks to Squirrel, Jex, Wet and the entire Axioma Clan for helping me get here.

Rising Light

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Unintended Kings Fall

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The original plan for last night was to chill on the sofa and play some Ratchet and Clank over the PC Remote Play application.  However as the day went on yesterday I noticed that there was a new raid scheduled for last night that my good friend Sagacyte would be attending.  Since the Tuesday night Rookie Raid… now called the Squirrel Squad didn’t make due to the patch and too much newness for folks to be exploring, I thought it might be a good idea to pop in and at least get some boss kills for the week so I had a shot at loot.  Things went pretty well overall, but I think I blew all of my jumping skill early on.  I managed to make it through the ship puzzle without falling and even make it over onto the ledge that leads up to the chest.  However by the time I got to the wall puzzle, I was apparently out of juice because I fell so many times trying to get over to the exotic chest.  There was one jump where I kept bouncing off the damned wall.  The jumping is the only thing that I dread each week when I run Kings Fall, and while I seem to be improving… there are times where it feels like I can simply do no right and either land too hard, or can’t quite get over the gap.  In any case I eventually gave up and headed to the end of the puzzle and managed to do that without much issue.  It was just the ledges leading up to that chest that I seemed to be having problems with.

As far as the raid itself things went really smoothly other than that time that I got torn during sisters… and had no clue what platform I was supposed to start from.  Now I know however that you apparently look up and find the orb and then start counterclockwise to it.  While we wiped on that round we managed to pick it up and wreck them on the next.  Probably the best moment however was one-shotting Oryx doing it the challenge mode, especially considering how much issue we had with him in the previous few weeks.  I failed to get back from the exploding balls in time, but we still managed to get the kill.  The best best part however was getting a bunch of loot that were upgrades, and finally getting a Red Death.  Smite of Merain has been my go to weapon for awhile now, and I ended up picking up a 318 version of exactly the same roll.  Getting Red Death however was the icing on the cake since that was one of those exotics that I had been hoping to see.  All in all the run went really well, and while Squirrel keeps trying to tell me that I am no longer a Rookie, I still very much feel like one.  I know the fights, but I still feel like there is a certain amount of skill that I am lacking.  The fight I feel the most comfortable on is Oryx oddly enough, because I really like the bubble titan duty there.  Above is a gallery of all of the nifty things I picked up throughout the evening of playing.

Rapid Increases

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The thing that has felt insane for me is how I floundered at sub 300 light level for the better part of a year, and over the last two months I have shot up to as of last night 318.  I guess it is like any game, that if you have access to raiding your gear levels increase rapidly.  Early in the evening I spent some time with Broken and Squirrel running the Challenge of Elders, which was one of the new pieces that went in with the patch.  The idea is that once a week you grab a scorecard from Variks, and then there are two challenges that need to be completed.  The first is to finish the three round Challenge of Elders while earning at least 30,000 total team score.  We failed barely to get this on our first go, but on the second and third attempts we blew the score completely out of the water.  The second challenge is to get a weekly total accumulated score of 90,000 which we easily hit within three outings in the area.  Each match rewarded some decent infusion fodder, and at the end we managed to score a guaranteed weapon for the single match objective, and a guaranteed armor piece for the cumulative challenge.  Unfortunately the roll on the helm and machine gun that I got were kinda crap, but they did serve nicely as infusion fodder taking my Iron Companion helm and my Bretomart’s Stand to 318.  I have to say the Challenge of Elders was really damned fun, and I look forward to doing this one at least once a week.

Quite honestly all of the Prison of Elders content has been great, and it is the sort of thing that I am not really going to turn down if anyone is looking to run it.  Squirrel mentioned that he plans on running Prison of Elders quite literally all day Sunday and that doesn’t seem like a horrible idea.  I am wanting to see how doable the level 41 version of the event is to complete with total strangers.  I am assuming that you can queue for a group like you can for a strike, and after experiencing it… it seems like it would be doable with strangers.  As far as for farming gear this seems like a decent way to go since every match I ended up walking away with at least one if not two legendary engrams with a chance of one of the special legendaries to drop.  Honestly the thing I am enjoying the most about this patch is it feels like I have lots of different ways that I can be increasing my light level.  I’ve run a handful of crucible matches and each time I managed to get something at the end.  The getting nothing problem seems to have either been fixed or greatly reduced, because now the consolation prize seems to be coins or a few motes… and the best option is some infusion fodder.  Either way I am down with it, and will probably try and use crucible to farm a few more motes before Xur disappears this week.  I need to replenish my stock of three of coins.

 

Iron Banana

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Iron Banner

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The strange thing about this week is that we just finished one Kings Fall raid on Monday night, only to start a brand new one fresh last night.  It gave a certain Deja Vu feeling to the whole doing Oryx fight, especially given that it was so damned hard fought on Monday night.  However I will talk about that a little later.  First I want to talk about what seems to be me going completely off my rocker.  If we had talked months ago I would have told you I was a Diehard Carebear, and that if pressed I could probably shoot rainbows out of my belly in a pretty mean Carebear Stare.  Over the last few months however something has happened and I have come to realize that I actually do enjoy doing PVP in limited situations.  Those limited situations appear to largely be “Destiny” and “The Crucible”.  I am not exactly sure what makes this game different… it could be that there are relevant items that I can be earning that help me in PVE content, or it could be that it simply feels like there is no negative to doing it.  Whatever the case doing the Crucible is one of those activities that I mix in when I want to do something… but don’t want to do bounties or be bothered with grouping up for a strike.  The other interesting thing is… that I don’t really mind that I am ultimately bad at the content.

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Now I have heard stories of much toxicity from the Xbox Live community, and folks leaving crucible matches only to have nastygrams waiting for them from other players complaining about their performance and questioning their parentage.  So far the PSN community has been pretty chill about such things, and nobody actually uses the voice chat for public groups either.  The end result is that I can just zone out and play some Crucible without fear of retribution, and this zero pressure setting has made me actually enjoy it quite a bit.  So much so that while I know this is far from the first Iron Banner… it is the first one that I actually care about and will be trying to rank up to level five during.  Largely I am looking at it as a way of maybe getting some infusion fodder, and maybe just maybe a decent legendary hand cannon or machine gun out of the process.  As of last night I am closing in on Rank 2, and have managed to complete several of the pieces of the bounties that I never expected to….  like getting highest score among all the players in a match.  I’ve been warned that I should hold onto my brown weekly bounties until later in the week to turn in, because I guess they become worth more points as the weekend goes on.  I am however trying to complete the three dailies each night, and in theory when I get home from work tonight I should be able to knock those out and put in a bit more work towards the weeklies.

Melting Ogres

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Like I mentioned at the top of the post, it was a little strange stepping back foot inside Kings Fall given that we just finished Oryx the previous night.  Before the start of a new raid I end up with quite a bit of anxiety that is not fully alleviated until we get past both the ships and the piston wall jumping puzzles.  I am just bad at both of them, and end up falling so damned often that I feel like a moron.  I had a significant better run last Tuesday, and was back to my fumbling prime last night.  That said in both cases I was not the last person through either puzzle, so I guess I don’t feel too awfully bad about my performance.  For months I have listened to folks in the Destiny community complain about the RNG in the Kings Fall raid and how it never seems to actually give them any upgrades.  I feel like I have crested the new and shiny portion of the raid and am entering the valley of slow and prodding forward movement.  Which is to be expected given that at least armor wise I have every available drop… but still have a bunch of weapons I have yet to see.  The odd thing there is that I have gotten two of the pulse rifles, and two of the auto rifles…  but the rest of the primary weapon types I have not seen yet.  Given that last night was only my fourth trip to the raid… I feel like I have plenty of time.

Of the drops that I did manage to get… the only piece of armor that I might use is the chest piece and even then only because it has intellect on it.  The fist and auto rifle will absolutely be used as infusion fodder to push something else up.  The Suros Regime will replace the 280 one that I picked up off Xur some time ago, and the 310 Thunderlord will replace my previous 290 dropped version.  One of the things that I am coming to realize quickly is that apparently my first two times into the raid were flukes.  Granted all of the encounters still for the most part melt before us… but those first two Oryx kills seemed effortless.  They just worked flawlessly without much issue and while they still took a couple of attempts…  they only took a couple of attempts.  Monday and last night both seemed like a battle of wills as we kept plugging away at the fight, only to be waylay’d by this quirky bit or that.  I am not sure if I would truly elevate the problems we were having to the glitch tier, but definitely things felt like a battle and not like a loot pinata.  We managed to get Oryx on what we had deemed was the “last try” because several of us needed to go to bed, and even then we failed at doing the challenge mode variant…  finally deciding to go ahead and finish up “as is” just to get the kill in.  Supposedly I can walk in and do challenge mode at some point during the week and still get the bonus chest.  In any case… content lag or not… I am loving this game more than pretty much anything else right now and looking forward to the big April patch.

Glitchy Oryx

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Rookie Revenge

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Last night was one of those nights that went in a completely different direction than I was expecting.  If you remember last Tuesday we had a combination of one of the smoothest runs for me personally in Kings Fall with the jumping bullshit.  That then quickly became one of the glitchiest runs once we hit Oryx, and though we put up the valiant fight we simply ran out of time for attempts.  We had agreed to meet up last night, given that it was the night before reset… and give taking down Oryx another go.  We had a checkpoint already saved sitting at that encounter, so in theory it should not have taken terribly long.  That was at least my line of thought going into the night.  However we ran into a myriad of issues, but in part that is why this “Rookie Raid” exists is to get folks through the fights and teach them the things they need to succeed.  I absolutely resemble that remark given that this week was just my third time into the Kings Fall raid at all.  There is still so much about the raid and the various encounters that I simply don’t know… but I am trying to assimilate information as fast as I can.

One of the things that threw off the rhythm of the raid early on was that Wet had to rush to the hospital with his mom.  Jex filled in admirably, and instead of snuggling with Wet in the middle I got to snuggle with his Titan while doing bubble duty.  For leadership we had an alternating mix of Jex and Squirrel depending on the situation, and they both did a great job stepping up to the plate and helping folks through the Oryx fight.  That said there is something almost talismanic about Wets presence, and when that is gone it is noticeable.  It is almost like we need his snarky commentary as a good luck charm to get us through the encounters.  We tried our best to fill in with talk of “MacGuffins” and “Tummy Wumzles” but it just didn’t quite feel the same.  So Wet if you are out there reading this you were definitely missed.

The Haul

On the positive side though it took us an hour and a half worth of constant attempts we managed to get down Oryx.  This was made even sweeter when we all realized that this was Warman’s first Oryx kill after apparently having gone to various Kings Fall raids for the last year on an almost weekly basis.  That right there is why the Rookie Raid exists, to get folks access to this sort of content and I am super thankful to be part of it.  I had wanted to raid myself for ages but never really had the opportunity, and then Squirrel, Wet, Jex and the rest of the Axioma Clan stepped in and bam… I am now doing awesome stuff in Destiny.  I am also falling off things quite a bit because I can’t jump for shit.  My biggest need right now is simply raw light levels, which I am working on a little bit at a time through exotic farming.  Unfortunately I seem to mostly get the same slots… that don’t really need leveling up, however I figure during this weekends Iron Banner I should get a few more exotics.

As has been my habit of late, now the haul for the night.  I was sitting at 25 moldering shards so apparently the “bonus loot” business is in full effect now.  The portion that I did not realize however is that it seems like the moldering shards are consumed upon getting said bonus loot?  I ended up getting three drops from Oryx plus additional shards, but it takes my total shards to 7 so it means that I guess I got two off the boss.  Anyways the awesome thing about last night is that I have a full “set” of armor from the raid and can now look like a Hive Knight.  I also picked up a second Smite of Merain which will just serve as either a spare copy for an alt… or infusion fodder to try and get my Mida Multitool up in level.  What I am looking forward to this weekend however is the return of Iron Banner which supposedly also has a decent chance of dropping me some upgrades.  It seems like the clan as a whole is planning on running stuff with it, and hopefully even though I suck at PVP in general I can get in on some action.  It would really be awesome to be able to hit rank 5 so I can start getting the good drops.

Sometimes We Fail

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The Rookie Raid

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For a little bit now, one of the highlights of my week has been the Rookie Raid night with my clan in Destiny.  I think mostly after playing the game for roughly two years… I was really wanting to raid, and getting to step foot in Kings Fall each week has been a blast.  There are still a lot of things that I absolutely screw up, but I feel like I am getting better.  I have always been one of those people that learns by doing, and it simply takes several repetitions before something actually gets cemented in my head.  The highlight of the night was the fact that I actually made it through the ship jumping puzzle on the very first time… and it only took me two tries to get over to the wall and get into the chest nook just after the ships.  This is serious progress because some of those jumps on past attempts took me dozens of tries to actually get.  Similarly I seemed to make it through the piston wall without a ton of issues this week which also felt good.  I ended up jumping to the final platform…  and then got confused thinking I went the wrong direction.  So I guess even I shocked myself that I had made it through with I think two deaths this week, instead of the literally dozens in previous outings.

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I’ve had to develop the practice of sitting down with my character once I have reached the final platform of a jumping sequence.  I wouldn’t go so far as the say that I am afraid of heights, because in real life I can look out over balconies or off the roofs of buildings without much issue.  I can climb up on things without much issue either…  well apart from the fact that I have zero dexterity.  However for whatever reason in video games… I get disoriented and almost dizzy when dealing with jumping sequences.  There are certain games that have triggered this feeling more than others, like Mirrors Edge.  However there are other games that are just as parkoury for lack of a better word… like Dying Light that don’t seem to bother me at all.  It has to be something about the perspective or some technical detail that does it… but whatever the case…  Destiny absolutely triggers these feelings.  So as stupid as it sounds, I feel like every time I don’t fuck up a jump… it is a pretty major victory for me.  It takes so much mental stamina to get me through one of the jump sequences that when I finish… I am constantly afraid that I will do something stupid that leads to me plummeting back down below and having to do it all over again.  So my little practice of sitting makes it seem like it is far less likely for me to somehow get bumped and fall.

Oryx Cheats

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One of the cool things about this week is that I got to learn a few slightly different roles during the fights.  Namely I moved from platform duty to Ogre duty, which is way more my style.  When our group does Oryx we do it “challenge” style which involves making sure the Ogres do not move before they die, allowing all of the blight orbs to spawn in essentially the same place.  This allows us to pop them all at the same time, and deal almost all of the damage to Oryx in a single turn.  That is at least when things work out.  As one of the Titans assigned to this duty, we run complimentary bubbles making sure Weapons and Blessing are both up and dropped in the same place.  This allows us to take advantage of our Touch of Malice and keep from killing ourselves in the process.  The goal is to dip back into the shield between ogres to replenish the shields and give us more life to spend while pummeling the adds.  This works great… until we have to go into the fight without a super bar.  We somehow managed to make it through that round but it was getting super dicey as far as the whole “not killing ourselves” part.  It was during the Oryx fight however last night… that shit just got weird.

I had heard before of the bugs in the Kings Fall raid… but luckily in the previous two weeks we had never really encountered any.  This week however they struck back with a vengeance, starting with several of us mysteriously dying to “misadventures”.  Other times the platform sequence got messed up, or our runner was unable to grab the orb for some reason… having the platform disappear beneath them before the transfer actually happened.  The scariest was when we saw an ogre appear in the default T state that models are generally modeled in… and then disappear quickly… coming up through the ground with the normal animation.  Essentially there was something seriously wrong with the server, and even though we tried several different tricks to right the ship… we ultimately had to call it to time.  The goal right now is to pop back in Monday night and see if we can wreck Oryx given that we have a check point right at the boss.  Sometimes we fail… but even in failing I had a really good time.  The loot on the other hand is starting to get more scarce, and I got some relatively low light level versions of things…  but I did manage to pick up another much needed slot in the arms.  I’ve posted a gallery of the various things, including the 310 Armamentarium chest that was waiting on me at the mailbox.  I am not really sure where along the way that dropped but  but it is much appreciated because I love having the extra grenades.  However as long as I am running Defender, I kinda feel like the Saint-14 helm is a must have.

 

Deforestation

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So Much Change

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So one of the things you will pick up on if you have read my blog for terribly long, is that I don’t exactly handle change well.  I can do pretty well with juggling new information or new ideas… but when it comes to fundamental changes in my home or work lives it stresses me the hell out.  Basically I need a place of stability somewhere, and right now that is very much not home.  There has been this sequence of changes that are all positive, but all worrisome for me personally.  The worst of it was during the renovation work on the house, namely the fact that it drug on as long as it did and that there were constantly other people inhabiting my space.  Last night however…  it reached a new point when I got home from work.  We’ve never done much of anything with our backyard, and this year we are trying to change that.  We set up the patio off the new door to our bedroom, changed out the deck boxes, got a bunch of new chairs…  and even a wind chime (something I have always wanted) all in the name of making the backyard space more usable.  I don’t have a great “before” picture of my back yard, but I will be using one from this winter as a point of reference.  You see the trees that we have around our back deck?  Those are apparently not trees at all, but are intended to be a hedge.  The hedge in the photo is supposed to be about a foot and a half or so tall in front of the other hedge that is now a tree.  As a result of this we talked to a friend who does landscaping with the hope that he could sort things out for us and get things back under control.

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The problem is I was not exactly prepared for the reality of what that meant.  There is what looks like the limbs of an entire forest dotting the backyard, and this panoramic shot was taken before they were actually finished.  They have since taken out the bulk of the second tree and cut it back hoping that it will start greening up again in a more manageable fashion.  Neither my wife or I were really prepared for the fact that we went from having lots of green blocking the view of the green belt behind our house and the neighborhood across the way… to having almost zero.  I have faith that things will grow back and the end result will be much better…  but man does it look like shit right now.  I guess this is what happens when plants are allowed to grow unchecked for twenty years.  At some point I guess I need to learn how to trim things like I probably should have been all this time.  I grew up in a house without any real landscaping so I guess I just assume that things needed to be left alone and allowed to do whatever they hell they wanted to.  This just adds one more stresser to the pile that seems to be growing.  On a positive note that garage is awesome again, and I have been going out each night to work out in our gym…  that we have not really had access to for a decade it feels.  I even went out quickly for a bit after the raid last night to work out some of the excess post raid energy, which was kinda awesome.

War Priest Challenge

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Last night was also my second time attending the Axioma Clan Rookie Raid night.  I have to admit I have been looking forward to this since going to the last one on the previous Tuesday.  While I have been enjoying The Division, there will always be a special place in my heart for Destiny and I have been logging in and playing for a bit pretty much every day.  I have to admit part of this has been easy access on my laptop while downstairs using Twisted’s Remote Play app.  The only problem that I have so far is the fact that there is no way to really chat over PSN party chat, which means that while I can do random strikes with strangers… I can’t really group up with friends reliably.  Otherwise the connectivity is good enough that I could in theory use it all of the time.  Now I doubt I would want to trust it for something like the Kings Fall raid when timing is extremely tight on things like the jumping puzzles.  Speaking of that I failed considerably less this week… at least on the ships.  On the annoying bit where the giant penis shaped pistons push you off of the wall…  I think I actually did worse but I am choking that up to the fact that I am normally in bed by the time we got to that area.  The raid itself started an hour and a half later than the previous week, which was a bit of a thing… given that I get up at 5:30 each morning, and my friend Squirrel had to get up at 4.

Regardless I had a great time last night, and I felt like more of a useful member of the team.  I still failed quite a bit at various things… like for example on the Daughters fight I ended up getting torn, which meant I had to do the jumping puzzle.  The only problem there being that I had never done the jumping puzzle before.  I sadly failed and wiped the raid, but I feel like I could probably do better next time.  Of all of the dumbass things that I did the cake is the fact that apparently in the two years I have been playing this game… I never realized that a Titan could cancel their jump by pressing x in midair allowing you to pretty much drop straight down at will.  All of this time I have been doing jumping puzzles by trying to time just the perfect amount of momentum to carry me over a gap and still be able to land safely on the other side.  Once I was told this…  and actually Grokked what people were saying…  the jumping puzzles seemed way easier.  Once again the loot gods were favorable, because I managed to pick up a bunch more items… the highlight of which is probably a 310 raid sniper rifle.  I also managed to pick up a 308 fusion rifle, but given that I have Telesto… and I don’t really even like fusion rifles I will probably eat it to power up another sniper rifle.  A couple of the other items will likely get fed to my hunter or warlock to help them get their light up.  Now that I can hit 304 light, I need to apparently farm all of the strikes in the hopes of getting Exotics that should have a fairly decent chance of dropping at 310, that I can then turn around and use to power up my other gear.

 

 

 

The King Fell

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The Ship Boss

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Since the launch of Destiny I have had a desire to do the raid content…  because that is the sort of thing I would do in any of the MMOs.  Unfortunately Destiny never really gained the sort of traction that I would have liked among my circle of friends.  Initially Tam and Ash and Kodra all played…  but petered out pretty quickly.  With the launch of The Taken King there was a bit of a resurgence, but similarly did not last terribly long.  Another friend that would have probably happily joined in raid time fun… plays on a completely different console.  I had gotten to the point where I kept considering trying to brute force a raid to happen by coaxing various friends who I know that play the game casually into joining me for madness.  Then out of the blue my good friend Squirrel almost strong arms me into joining the raid with his clan Axioma, which in truth I jumped at the opportunity.  Last night was that raid and I have to say I am hooked.  Firstly the group of folks I went in with are amazing, and super chill about newbie failures.  I cannot fathom how the first people to do this raid figured out some of the crap that you need to do.  I swear it took me a solid thirty minutes to get through the ship encounter, where you have to jump from one ship at the right time as another one is fading from underneath you.  All the while Wet was super supportive and coaxing me through the process, and while I felt horrible to taking so long to grasp the jumps…  it was kinda awesome that they were willing to let me keep attempting it.

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The entire night I was admittedly largely clueless and doing everything I could to listen to the directions and execute them to the best of my ability.  When playing with a new group of folks, there is always the strong desire to “not fail miserably”.  That said I still managed to cause us to wipe a few times, and regardless of the situation everyone was really relaxed and just kept plugging forward.  I have to say this has done more than anything to validate my decision to follow Squirrel and jump clans, because it seems like this really is an amazing group of folks.  I am just floored that I have gone from being a pre-raid super casual, to having defeated Oryx in a single night.  I fully expected the rookie night raid thing to be a much harder slog, but I am guessing we had more than enough ringers to make the entire process feel more manageable.  I would happily sign up for this every week, and while the loot is a huge draw…  I really enjoyed the process of doing the fights and want to see them keep going more smoothly.  My favorite of the fights was probably Golgoroth just because there is something special about taking down a jump sized Ogre.  We managed to do the “challenge” version of Oryx… which suddenly makes me wonder just what the challenge versions of the other bosses are.  I somewhat doubt that I will be able to attend the hard mode content, but I have to say normal mode was a freaking blast.

Shining Light

 

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I think the thing that I appreciate the most about the King’s Fall encounter is the way that even though I was a first timer… I was still forced to do “real” mechanics.  Sure the fact that everyone else was adept at the fights gave me significant more wiggle room, but I still had to do a job in the encounters.  Being “carried” is not nearly the thing that it is in other games.  For example when I got my Moose in World of Warcraft…  my friends in the Praetorian Guard straight up carried me to victory.  You could have completely removed my warm body from the equation and none of the fights would have gone any differently.  Last night it felt like I had a purpose and I had a role to play, and when I failed to complete my assigned task…  we wiped or at the very list struggled for a bit.  I think this is largely because of the small raid size of only having six players.  The bigger the raid the more padding, and just like in a ten player raid in WoW everyone has to be on point to succeed at a fight.  We apparently took roughly three hours to clear the entire raid, but I have to say that the time flew by because all of it was fresh and new and exciting.  I am sure the more you do this the less that will be the case, but for right now I am completely enamored with these encounters.

More amazing than pretty much anything however is the fact that I am finally off high center in this game and now have breached the 300 light barrier.  You have to understand that I have been struggling bit by bit to get over the 300 light barrier for roughly six months in this game.  Now admittedly that is not six months of constant play, but at very least I am spending a little bit of time on my titan every single week.  Honestly after having played this game for as long and as often as I have… I am not sure there really is a viable way to hit 300 light apart from the raid.  Above is a gallery of the items that I ended up snagging.  The only thing not shown is a 300 ghost shell, which I have subsequently passed on to my hunter since I had a better option already on my Titan.  The highlight of the evening however is the two weapon drops from Oryx.  I guess because we did the challenge mode we were guaranteed a weapon, and I just happened to roll well and get one from the other chest also.  Having both the raid Pulse Rifle and Auto Rifle would have honestly been the two weapons I would have chose had I been able to snag any of the ones available.  Those tend to be my two favorite weapon types in Destiny, and while I have heard that the Auto rifle is less than amazing…. I want to give it a shot for myself.  Basically over the next week I need to spend some time leveling all the new stuff that I managed to pick up.  It was one hell of a night, and I greatly thank the Axioma Clan folks for taking me with them.