MMOs Worth Playing: Marvel Heroes

Costumed Madness

mmosworthplayingJust as a quick reminder, this series is about me highlighting games that I think are well worth the look.  This is by no means a complete list of games, and there are still a bunch more that I just have not gotten around to talking about.  These are largely titles that I feel like everyone should probably at least give a try once.  I am largely focused on games that don’t necessarily get the press or hype that some of the more prevalent titles like World of Warcraft do.  I figured in honor of Halloween I would talk about a game that is entirely about dressing up in costume and taking out bad guys.

A Tale of Improvement

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In 2013 when Marvel Heroes launched… it was plagued with problems.  Not the least of which was the fact that it was pretty much universally reviewed as a massive cash grab.  The game itself was not that terribly fun, and any heroes or costumes purchased on the store were oppressively over priced.  You can look at any of the reviews from 2013 and they all pretty much say the same thing, that the gameplay is lackluster at best… and that it is ridiculous to have to pay $20 to play as an A list hero like Ironman.  The game has since re-invented itself and gone through a number of changes… before eventually rebooting itself as Marvel Heroes 2015.  Rebranding is one of those fiddly things, but in this case the game that exists now is a very different gameplay experience than the one that launched.

During my time playing the game they have made constant incremental changes to the experience.  Originally the game asked you to essentially pick your free champion blindly, and now you can play any number of champions all to level 10 before finally choosing one to unlock all of the way to 60.  This gives you time to get in and experience the way a champion performs before finally committing to it.  In my case I have found that many of my favorite Comic Book heroes and anti-heroes…  are not necessarily something that I want to play.  For example I have always loved the Punisher, but the game play felt a little lacking since I am not a huge fan of ranged combat.  On the other side of the coin… I have never really liked Captain America as a comic book…  but playing as him is freaking amazing.  He is this massive shield slinging badass that I love playing, and my friend Grace has a similar experience with Iceman ending up being the character that she stuck with.

True to the Source

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Another thing I love about the game is just how integrated it is into the Marvel Universe.  There are so many characters, costumes and team-ups that come from the deep bowels of comic history.  Remember that one time Punisher was a Frankenstein-like monster?  Well Marvel Heroes does… and offers the costume as an option during Halloween.  Remember that time Wolverine was infected by the Brood?  Yup Marvel Heroes also offers that costume.  If there is a movie released, or a big comic event… you can fully expect Marvel Heroes to roll out a special event to mark it.  During the Avengers Age of Ultron release… you got bonus experience anytime you played an Avengers character or grouped with one for example.  Obviously at this same time they offered a brand new pack of costumes representing the way the characters looked in the movie at a “priced to own” value…  but none of it feels like something you have to have to keep playing the game.

My favorite aspect of the game is the way it handles gender swaps for characters.  For an increasing number of the champions in this game, they offer an alternate gender version.  What makes this awesome is the fact that they are once again mining the rich Marvel history to make it happen.  For example if you want to play a female Punisher, you instead end up playing Rachel Cole-Alves a character that has allied with the in comic Punisher a few times and even wore the costume.    Granted this is not the case for every character in the game…  like Lady Loki is just that… a female version of Loki.  However it is absolutely comic book canon that there was one time when Loki was brought back as a woman, so even then… it absolutely fits.  This works both ways…  so in addition to Scarlet Witch and her many female costumes… you can play as Wiccan, or among the many Captain Marvel Carol Danvers costumes… you also have an old school male Captain Marvel as well.

Cost of Being a Hero

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I realize I am not actually talking about the game-play much but really…  if playing a Diablo style game with Marvel Heroes is not enough of a hook for you… then you probably should play something else.  This game is all about the fantasy fulfillment of running around as a super hero and beating up cartoon bad guys to make the street explode into a shower of bright colored loot.  The challenge of the game should be mentioned… because if its default state that challenge is next to non-existent.  They have essentially started calling this base difficulty “Story Mode” and you play through it while finishing the main story.  After finishing the story you can ratchet up the difficulty as you see fit and visit any of the previous areas for leveling purposes.  These later difficulties feel more akin to the harder difficulties in Diablo 3, but it is somewhat sad that unlike D3 you cannot simply play on hard all of the time.  You have to finish the normal mode before you can start anything more aggressive.

The biggest change since the 2013 incarnation is the fact that the game really is “free” or can be pending you don’t just fall in love with anything in particular.  What I love the most about the game is that you can collect these items while roaming in the world called Eternity Splinters, and with them you can purchase specific champions… or do what I end up doing and simply gamble on one of the 100 spliter random hero boxes.  I’ve managed to pull several of the big name heroes that I have like Star Lord and X-23 through these random boxes, and it gives you the feeling of making some forward momentum without a ton of grinding.  When talking about the price of things, that too has changed significantly.  The blade pre-sale for example is happening right now and its $16.19 for the champion and an alternate costume, with a normal price around $20.  Still not the cheapest thing in the world… but not that insane either considering there are fairly easy in game ways to get all of the champions as well.

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Honestly I stayed away from this game for years… because of the bad press surrounding it’s launch.  It was only after seeing a good friend of mine playing it every single night on steam, that I finally decided to give it a chance.  I am extremely happy that I did, and even though I don’t play it all that often it is yet another in a long line of games that has re-invented itself for the better.  I seriously feel like the era of big AAA games is past us… or at least the era of “American” AAA MMOs that is.  I qualify that because it seems like South Korean is going through the same sort of period that we did during the big MMO boom.  In the meantime I am really enjoying watching these older titles figure out how to make their games work, and more than happy to support them finding a new niche.  The awesome thing about Marvel Heroes is the barrier of entry is non-existent.  If you are looking for a fun Diablo style game… head to steam and install it.  If you do, let me know what you think.

 

Blaugust Games of Week – Week 1

Pre-emptive Thank You

Yesterday I freaked a lot of people out by calling it the Blaugust Eve.  As I have explained on twitter, I was accounting for my amazing time travelling Aussie and Kiwi friends for whom… right now IS the start of Blaugust.  For the rest of us at the time of posting this we have a little more wiggle room before the festivities kick off.  I have to say last year was an insane ride for me, as much as it was for the contestants.  The intent was to run everything through the Blaugust Nook but that didn’t exactly happen, and it quite literally made my life hell.  I ended up spending a couple of hours a day trying to sort out who posted what when and in what time zone they were posting from…  and then the people who posted after midnight in their own time zone…  only served to add to the complication.  There were numerous times I tried to track down people on twitter or IM to ask if they meant X post to be on Y day or not.

This year it seems like most everyone has registered on the Nook which is going to help, but what is going to be even more important is advertising your daily posts there with the day number you are intending it to be.  On your side that is a small amount of work, but on my side that is saving me literally hours of scouring… and is hopefully going to allow me to actually read blogs during the course of the event.  As soon as things start I have to flip into book keeper mode, and while I might be “reading” posts I was not necessarily enjoying them last year because of all of the technical foibles.  So I am thanking you ahead of time for complying with the list of rules, because it is going to make my life not horrible over the next thirty one days.  I’ve been a fan of Anook for awhile, so much so apparently that yesterday someone thought I worked for them.  I just think they do a great job of giving me guild forum like functionality but also giving the ability to interact with other gamers.  I am amped this year about them sponsoring the Community Award, and we will ultimately sort out the specifics of that as the event goes on.

Games of the Week – Week 1

Yesterday we launched the writing prompts forum, and I thought it was pretty amazing that Void spent a good chunk of the day yesterday populating it with a bunch of ideas.  I plan on adding a new writing prompt to this post every day during the course of this event, but I wanted to go a little bit further.  Nothing makes more interesting posts than exploring a new game, or revisiting one that you have been fond of in the past.  As such I plan on highlighting three free to play games a week, with an attempt to mix up the styles a bit.  My hope is that if you are lacking inspiration, you can download and install one of these games and find plenty of things to write about.  Lets get on with the games!

Dirty Bomb – Nexon/Splash Damage

dirtybomb This is a game I played a bit in beta but have not really played much after it officially launched, and I am actually looking forward to playing it some more.  I have long been a huge fan of games by Splash Damage, and I spent many an hour playing Wolfenstein Enemy Territory.  Hell I even joined a competitive clan while playing it, but never really did much more than scrimmage other teams.  Splash Damage creates a shooter quite unlike anyone else makes, and they tend to focus on these complex objectives that require multiple classes of players to complete them.  I always focused on the “Engineer” archetype because it made the game play more enjoyable for me as it gave me a higher purpose.  I am not big into “death matching” but I loved rushing headlong into a firefight trying to stay alive long enough to build a bridge or repair a tank.  This game is the logical extension of Wolfenstein Enemy Territory, Quake Wars Enemy Territory and even to some extent the critical failure Brink.  I think I am one of the few people out there that wholeheartedly enjoyed Brink, and lately I have been feeling the itch to play some FPS action… and Dirty Bomb seems like it is going to fit that bill perfectly.

Download From SteamDownload From Nexon

Everquest II – Daybreak Games

EQ2_000008 I will always hold a special place in my heart for Norrath, the setting of the Everquest universe.  When World of Warcraft launched I was torn because part of me wanted to be playing Everquest II.  Instead I went where the bulk of my friends went, but continued to periodically visit the setting of EQ2 throughout the years.  It has some of the best world building I have seen in any game, and the scope of the zones just feel so massive compared to almost anything else on the market.  They innovated in so many ways, and had so many rich systems like one of the best Mentoring systems out there for the time.  As the years have ticked by the game has felt more and more like a dated relic, however there is a simple nostalgic charm to it that I still find appealing.  They seem to be banking on taking this nostalgia to market, as they have opened a time locked progression server allowing players to go back and experience the world as it was during the early days.  This is making me seriously consider re-rolling and starting fresh on this new server, but I have had so many other competing goals that I just have not done it yet.  My goal is this week to roll a character and check it out, but unfortunately that means I am going to have to buy a new character slot on my already loaded account.  If you are looking for a world loaded with inspiration… this is a good place to start.

Download From SteamDownload from Daybreak

Marvel Heroes 2015 – Gazillion

MH_SCREEN_042314_013 Another game that I really enjoy but find myself not playing a lot of right now is Marvel Heroes.  This game provides Diablo II style game play, with a rich class based system in the form of all of the different heroes that you can play.  One of the coolest features of this game is the way that the you pick your first hero to level.  The game allows you to play a long list of champions to level 10, and then you get to unlock one of them and take it all the way to level 60.  This gives you plenty of time to get a feel for how they each play and their different abilities.  I personally tend to be a Captain America player, but there are heroes that fit just about any imagined play style.  The other thing that I really appreciate is the way that for the most part, the game gives me a pathway to unlock the things that I might want without hiding it behind an overly painful grind.  Champions are purchased with Eternity Splinters which drop fairly frequently while doing content in the world.  One of the complaints I have seen from friends is that the game play is extremely easy, and this is absolutely the case while you are playing on normal mode.  However after defeating the main storyline you can ratchet up the difficulty  much in the same way as you can in Diablo 3.  This is absolutely a really fun game and the freemium nature is not egregious in any fashion, so if you want some old school Diablo game play with MOBA inspired style character design…  you might check this one out.

Download From SteamDownload From Gazillion

Daily Prompt

Since I more or less posted a series of games that I have some connection to, or would like to have a better connection with.  The writing prompt for the day is somewhat connected to that.

What game that you are not playing, do you still have a deeply nostalgic connection to and why?

Let us hear what game you keep returning to even if you aren’t really actively playing it… or likely will never play it with quite the same fervor.  For me personally that game is absolutely Everquest II, and I still hold a torch for it even though at this moment I have not really played it over the course of the last two years.

Marvel Heroes Binge

A Truly Amazing Day

avengers-age-of-ultron-art-poster-133238 One of the huge positives about where we live is that we are close to an awful lot of things that are within reasonable walking distance.  Over the last year or so we have tried to take advantage of this fact by walking to dinner more often.  This weekend however I did something I should have done a very long time ago and walked to the movies.  There is a theater literally less than two blocks away from my house, but I’ve never actually walked there before.  Granted when walking to dinner we walk past it all of the time.  Sunday I decided to go to the 10:30 am matinee and watch the new Avengers movie.  The movie itself was pretty great, and i feel like I need to watch it again to really take in all of the sights the movie had to offer.  This is a very “busy” film packed with some absolutely insane action sequences.  I feel like it is a toss up between the Hulk and Black Widow as to who stole the show, but I have always been partial to both of them.

As I was exiting the theater I texted my wife to let her know that I would be on my way home.  However when I poked my head out into the light there she was waiting on me.  She walked down hoping to surprise me, and then the two of us walked over to get lunch.  It was a really beautiful day, and she is constantly telling me that I need to get more sunlight.  While I am still not the biggest fan of the sun, she is probably right because I feel better today after having done all of this yesterday.  We had some errands to run, but by the time we got back to the house we both decided it was nap time.  After getting back up we ran to target really quickly and then she went outside to read in the rocking chair, and I played games.  It was a pretty great day, and I am hoping to take advantage of the movie theater being so close in the future.  There are a lot of movies that I want to see that she has no interest in.  Walking down makes it feel less of a hassle for some reason, and also serves as some exercise.

Marvel Heroes Binge

MarvelHeroes2015 2015-05-03 19-40-14-108 It was probably because of the awesome Avengers movie, but when I got home I ran a quick expert roulette and then logged to play Marvel Heroes.  This game has really grown on me and I am feeling like a massive failure for not giving it a chance before now.  Normally the whole Diablo thing is a bit of a turn off anymore, but for whatever reason the combination of Super Heroes and Diablo works well for me.  I have been accumulating a lot of various boost potions, because they give you plenty of them as part of the daily login reward system.  Yesterday I opted to take several of the various 2 hour boosts and see what all I could accomplish.  I pushed Captain America that has become my main from 22 to 27 almost 28 over the course of those two hours.  Right now there are a lot of things working in my favor since there is an event happening that gives Avengers a boost.  The only bad thing is that the cosmic gear I am wearing has yet to be replaced which bums me out slightly.  I guess I might have to try my luck again at the cosmic boxes from Adam Strange.

I am just starting the Savage Lands which according to my friend is one of the more frustrating areas of the game.  I personally found that the tail end of Stryker’s camp to be extremely frustrating with Sentinels dropping on me every five seconds.  I keep feeling like I should probably play other characters up since I now have this whole synergy thing unlocked…  but really I am still having a blast playing Cap.  His skillset is almost perfect suited for my particular play style.  I can charge through a bunch of mobs taking them out, and then when I get into the center of a pack twirl my shield around taking all but the blue or better mobs out.  Then I just mob up with shield throws or punches and repeat.  It feels very enjoyable, but I am actually looking forward to seeing what the new heroic difficulty that I unlocked is like.  There are absolutely times that the game feels mindlessly simple, so I would be curious to see if Heroic is like hard is for Diablo 3… aka the new “normal”.

Closing in on Botanist

ffxiv 2015-05-04 05-52-41-84 Another thing I worked on last night was pushing Botanist up a bit more.  I really want to finish leveling this to 50, and have felt the need to do just this before really starting in on crafting proper.  I realize this might be a bit strange of logic but it works for me.  I spent my evening catching up on Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley, both shows that I had not really watched for the last few weeks.  While doing this I ran a whole slew of Botany leves and managed to push from 35 to 45 which hopefully means I can finish off the leveling process at some point this week.  I will be happy to have finished leveling the two harvesting professions that I am going to need to most while leveling my other  crafters.  Right now however I have to collect 20 high quality mistletoe to turn in to the quest giver.  This is going to be a fairly daunting task, given that I cannot simply buy my way through it.  It seems HQ mistletoe is in short supply as there was absolutely none on the market board.    As a result I will be spending the next little bit in the Whitebrim area harvesting like mad trying to complete the 45 quest.

The other thing I really want to do soon is push my Arcanist from 22 to 30 so that I can become a scholar.  If I manage to do that I can get to 50 relatively easily doing the fast healer dungeon queues.  Depending on how many leves it takes me to get to 50 Botanist, I might follow this interesting guide posted on the FFXIV Reddit.  Ashgar pointed this out, and it seems like a perfectly reasonable way to level.  I actually like chain running leves because it is also a decent source of retainer tokens.  I would love to see myself level a few more classes to 50 before the expansion, because I have 100 level weapons waiting on them.  I have been dumping my excess soldiery into buying the various weapons, and just have one left to purchase, which admittedly is a little insane.  The problem is… what else was I going to use that soldiery on?  I am actually right around the point where I need to buy the final weapon, which makes me feel like a slacker for not leveling all of those classes to 50.  Final Fantasy XIV has way more content than I could ever hope to do… so at times I just feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that I want to be doing.

Wrong About Wildstar

More Initiates

ffxiv 2015-04-13 21-12-58-11 For as frustrated as yesterdays post was, today’s is all the more hopeful.  Lately on Wednesday nights I have been assisting a fledgling second static group in our free company out.  While it still struggles to get a full eight people, we are making some progress.  As more people level to the cap, more people will be available to join in the raiding fun and hopefully this will smooth the process out significantly.  For the last few weeks we have been working on Turn 5 of the Binding Coil of Bahamut, aka the first major hurdle and the gateway to the second coil.  Last week we made decent progress but were still struggling to get through the dive bomb phase.  That phase seems to be the biggest frustration with the fight, and once you figure out the timing the rest goes smoothly.  While I barded it up last week, this week I tanked it because that was the role that was needed.  Since my health was significantly higher than Damai we swapped roles and I took the Twintania role and he adjusted quickly to dealing with the adds.

Now our first group of the night was less than successful because we ended up having to pug in half of the players.  The positive was that we noticed that the people screwing up were not our own people.  As the evening went on more people got in game and we were able to fill out the rest of the slots with some other seasoned veterans.  From here I think it took four attempts before we downed the 5th turn and keyed a whole new group of players for the second coil.  This is awesome for a bunch of reasons… because firstly it means that second team is progressing nicely apart from issues getting people online at the right time.  Secondly however it also means we can start drawing on the pool of players available for Monday night turn 9 attempts as well.  I know Grace is itching to see t9, so hopefully this will smooth out some of our own attendance irregularities.  It is almost summer after all and with summer comes folks going off and doing summer things.

Wrong about Wildstar

WildStar64 2015-04-22 22-58-27-92 This morning I am questioning if I have been wrong about Wildstar thus far in feeling that the game was just not for me.  Granted we gave it a good shot and played this game at launch but it felt like something was off.  Now coming back and playing it again I am really enjoying myself, but there are a large number of details that are significantly different that I think are effecting my enjoyment.  When the initial video was released talking about the Exiles and Dominion, I naturally felt an immediate affinity with the Exiles…  the problem being most of my friends had that same immediate attraction to the Dominion.  I struggled with this choice until I found the Chua and for the most part enjoyed my time playing an Engineer.  The problem being…  I just did not enjoy that style of tanking.  What I should have played was a Warrior, like I did every time I actually enjoyed myself during the beta.  So this time around I am playing a Human Warrior and enjoying smashing faces and jumping around like mad.  The Exile side has this whole “Firefly” vibe that works for me, whereas the Dominion feel more like playing the Empire from Star Wars.  Both are interesting but at this point in my life… I feel more kinship with the rebels.

The other thing that is helping significantly is due to the whole promotion I have a hover board starting at level 1, which makes roaming around the zones so much more enjoyable.  Additionally thanks to the promotion I have some spending money from selling extra items on the open market.  Knowing my character is set for awhile on upgrades and spending money makes all the difference in the world.  Finally the pace I am playing with makes a huge difference.  Wildstar is the sort of game where piddling around feels more enjoyable than focused leveling.  I am stopping to smell the roses, and boulders, and landmines… well you get the idea.  Additionally I went the Soldier path, meaning I get to smash more things in the face and while I enjoyed Explorer…  smashing things in the face is just more my style.  At launch I had this overwhelming feeling of a need to keep up with everyone else, so that I would be viable for dungeon running.  This time since I am playing all by myself for the most part…  I am taking my time and poking through the content at my own speed.  All of which adds up to a completely different experience for me.  All of this proves that the circumstances you go into a game greatly colors your end experience.  So far I am enjoying playing this game as a secondary “cooling down” from the action type game.

Wrong about Marvel Heroes

MarvelHeroes2015 2015-04-20 21-57-03-00 Another game that I have recently picked up that I am more than willing to admit I was wrong about is Marvel Heroes.  I have avoided this game like the plague because of a whole slew of reasons.  Firstly at its core it is a Diablo clone and while there is nothing wrong with that…  click to move and attack games and I generally do not get along that well.  Thanks to League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm I have learned to tolerate them… but my preferred means of control will always be WASD.  Secondly everything surrounding this game gave the impression that it was a free to play money grab of the worst type.  I played a tiny bit of this game in beta and was not terribly excited about any of the heroes I was able to play, so I filed this away in the “not for me” bin as well.  The thing is over time I have continued to watch people I know and love and respect playing this game as seriously as they have played any traditional MMO.  When I see something like this I start to wonder, what are they seeing it in that I am not.  I’ve had these same feelings surrounding games that I just did not previously understand like Guild Wars 2, and after finally hitting my stride in that game I figured I might as well give Heroes a shot too.

Sunday I ended up playing this game for awhile, and wound up playing it for I think five hours without really meaning to.  I feel like the piece of the equation that I was missing to really enjoy it, comes from the fact that I did not even realize I was in need of that Super Hero MMO fix.  I happily played City of Heroes for about six months before moving on to World of Warcraft.  When Champions Online launched I was extremely excited about that game…  until the first patch wound up killing the combination of abilities I wanted to play with.  With the launch of DC Universe Online that was yet another game I really enjoyed, but struggled to get traction in for reason I still don’t know to this day.  Marvel Super Heroes seems to be just a bout the right amount of depth for me to consume as far as super hero content goes, and the ability to swap between heroes freely helps significantly.  Right now I am focusing on Captain America but by the same token I have gotten rather fond of Gambit and Deadpool.  All of which I really want to play more of, and ultimately this seems like the perfect sort of game to play downstairs on my laptop while watching television and movies.  In fact I am hoping to do just that this weekend, and see what mischief I can get into with my shield bashing self.

Juggling Games

Naeling It

ffxiv 2015-04-21 06-18-03-34 The Monday night raid group has had quite the sequence of strange weeks since patch 2.55 went into the game.  Either we were lacking the right people, or enough people at all to do turn 9.  As a result after what seems like a month we did our first night of second coil attempts.  We were all exceptionally rusty going in, but the spirits were extremely high.  At times I would say our spirits were too high, because holy shit were we slap happy.  I was one of the worse so it is not like I can really complain much.  The positive take away is that we managed to get further than we had ever gotten before last night, and were starting to work on the fire/lightning phase of the fight.  On our best attempt we got Nael to 30% which feels like progress.  Essentially once we learn the phase four dance, we just have to keep that up until the boss is dead.

The only regret I have right now is choosing to get my 1300 poetics weapon on my warrior.  I was torn, he is absolutely my main and I intend not tanking as often as I can.  The problem is on Nael the fight we are struggling with I am having to dragoon it up.  That dps boost would really help, but what is done is done…  just kinda kicking myself for not picking a dragoon weapon first.  That said since 126 is more than geared enough for anything we are doing…  I am considering focusing on getting a 1300 weapon for the dragoon now before I pick up any more poetics gear for the warrior.  He still needs a chest piece and a belt, which I was going to start building towards the chest next.  However since that is still going to take a significant amount of time… I might work on getting that weapon instead.  I really wish that today’s 2.56 patch would have uncapped poetics…  because man do I need a lot of them.

Cap and Storm

MarvelHeroes2015 2015-04-20 22-24-50-34 Last night after the raiding shenanigans Thalen mentioned that at one point he had created a House Stalwart super group in Marvel Heroes as a way of stopping the random guild invites.  So I popped over into game and got invites.  From this point we grouped up for a bit until he needed to head to bed.  I have to say that I thought Captain America’s charge in and shield whirl thing was good AOE… until I ran around a bit with Storm.  While I got to tank bosses, pretty much all of the trash in the entire zone died horribly to a cloud of whirling winds.  That said I am really enjoying the fact that I can tank almost any world boss without much issue by keeping my my defensive buffs.  I noticed last night that there was a difficulty slider so at some point I want to play with that.  There are times this feels a lot like diablo on “normal” and I am wondering if there is a “hard” setting that I really should be playing.

Quite honestly I have not been even vaguely close to death other than last night when I was tanking Gorgon.  There I simply used the occasional med pack and made it through that fight without much issue.  The only reason  why it was dicey at all was because I was essentially soloing him, which is probably something I should not be  able to do at this point.  As of last night I am sitting at level 15 and still really enjoying the game.  I think this is going to be my go to for mindless fun, and I swear there are so many times the zone layout reminds me of City of Heroes.  I guess that might be because when I played that game I kept my camera zoomed out as far as it would go, which made it feel a bit like an over the top game.  The competition for spawns is a bit annoying near the entrance of a zone… but if you wander off by yourself you pretty much get the place to yourself.  When I hit the island of Madripoor it felt like the pack thinned out significantly, so I am guessing most people don’t make it out of the level 10 range before moving on.

Juggling Games

WildStar64 2015-04-17 19-23-24-41 The problem with juggling multiple games is that one of them always ends up falling through the cracks.  Right now I wish I had the time to devote to working on my character in Wildstar and trying to hit 65 in Rift.  Instead I am logging in a few times a day in Rift to run minions… and just not logging in at all in Wildstar.  Honestly my playtime is really spastic right now, because I have a bunch of things that I am trying to do each day.  In Final Fantasy XIV I am playing the mini cactpot each day and trying to stockpile as much MGP as I can.  Then while in game I run at least one daily expert so that I can cap my poetics each week.  I am also logging into World of Warcraft in the morning and at night to run my Garrison missions in the hopes of getting those ever illusive raid gear crates.  I am not 100% sure how they work, other than the fact that they show up every two weeks, so I keep clearing out other missions in hopes of making room for them when they show up.

Something new added to the rotation is logging into Marvel Heroes to get my log in reward.  Similarly I am logging into Final Fantasy Record Keeper for the same reason, and to get my daily item chest.  Record Keeper is one of those games I mostly play while my wife is shopping or I am out eating, waiting on food to arrive at the table.  It is a moment of boredom game more than anything else, but that said I am really enjoying it.  It is scratching an itch that I had not quite found from a mobile game.  Realistically I should be trying to log into Wildstar each day so that I can do a boom box, but I have been failing miserably at that one.  The funny thing is that I am spending a lot of time in a lot of different games but not really playing any of them.  Finally after doing my routine I figure out which game I am actually going to play and run off playing that one.  Most of the time that is Final Fantasy XIV but over the last few nights I have been playing a significant amount of Marvel Heroes.  Basically…  right now I am all over the place.

Frosty Machine

Craigslist Fails Me

I have had a strange relationship with Craigslist over the last few years.  Sometimes it is the source of truly amazing things… other times the source of nothing but frustration.  When it comes to buying laptops for example I have had a high rate of people flaking out on me and simply not showing up with the merchandise.  When it comes to console systems however I have a pretty damned stellar experience getting a PS4 for $200 and a Vita for $100 for example.  Hell right now I am typing on a $150 Logitech G710+ Keyboard that I got for $40…  so generally I have some phenomenally good luck there.  I’ve always felt like if I can keep from taking the initial depreciation hit on an item…  I might as well do it.  I have no problem with second hand goods, and while I don’t get to pepper the internet with unboxing videos…  but I think we are both better off for that.

Several months back I found a Power Color r9 290x for over half off the price it should have been for the card.  I figured it was worth the shot because that was way more video card than I would normally allow myself to buy.  The problem with buying something like a video card is… there really is no way of knowing if the card is good.  It could be burnt to a crisp and unless there are visible signs of damage there is no way of knowing.  When it came time to meet the guy, he said that he replaced the card for a dual Titan Black setup…  so that seemed legit at least as to why he would be getting rid of an otherwise solid card.  I take the card home and install it and it caused my machine to reboot after a few minutes of running any game.  When I started watching the temperature on a monitoring app it would just start climbing, and no amount of manual fan control would bring down the temp.  The card would overheat and freak out my system.

Frosty Machine

At the time I was a bit forlorn but didn’t give up heart.  I ordered a few things to increase the amount of cooling in my case and there they sat in the floor of my office for months.  Part of me didn’t want to install them because deep down I think I knew that I essentially got ripped off on the first card.  This weekend I tore apart my machine and installed all of the extra cooling and I have to say the processor now runs at a frosty 21* C with a recorded maximum of 28* C during gaming load.  I am pretty happy with that but after installing the R9 290X it went through the same cycle as before.  Load up any game and a few minutes later my system is rebooting.  Chances are the guy was using it for bitcoin mining, which quite literally burns out a video card.  I point blank asked him if that was the case he and said no…  but people sometimes lie.

To get a good after market cooler to slap on the card it would end up costing me around $100 for one that fit this particular card… and it just didn’t think it was prudent to throw more money at it when the end result might be the same.  I have mostly stuck with GeForce cards because quite honestly they are what I know.  I know how they perform, I know how to tweak the settings.  This was a brief foray into the concept of owning a Radeon but I am now retreating back into the realm of things I understand.  I ordered a MSI GTX 960 card over the weekend and hopefully if everything works out as planned it will be here Tuesday.  While this is not the screaming card the r9 290x should have been… it is at least stable, reliable and a significant upgrade over the 750 ti I currently have.  I just want games to run without much futzing, and this card should allow me to do that.  Also due to a promotion I apparently get a copy of Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt to play around with on it, a game I likely would have picked up anyways.

Most Improved

MarvelHeroes2015 2015-04-19 23-11-38-80 Marvel Heroes is one of those games that I have avoided like the plague for reasons I don’t fully understand.  I played a tiny bit of it in beta and was not extremely impressed.  However over time it has racked up a wide array of “most improved” titles from the various gaming sites.  I always thought this was a funny concept to be touting… but in truth it is really well deserved.  Earlier in the week I had decided to install the game through steam, because I kept seeing friends of mine playing it.  I figured I would give it a shot and check it out to see how enjoyable it actually was.  The end result was me spending three hours straight playing it last night without really realizing it.  The game has the super hero feel down perfectly, and it actually does a better Diablo than Diablo at this point.  When you start you are given a choice of several heroes, and after reading the descriptions of each of them… it seemed like Captain America fit my desired mode of play the best.

The irony of this is that other than enjoying the movies, I have never really been that big of a fan of Captain America.  At the very least it was not a comic I ever read or spent much time on other than his involvement with the Avengers.  Character wise however he is just about perfect a mix of a solid melee, solid ranged, and lots of defensive cooldowns.  I guess you would assume that a character with a shield as a weapon would end up feeling pretty tanky right?  My favorite thing about him is the shield throw and the ability to use it similar to Sivir in League of Legends to sweep the room and take out a bunch of bad guys.  At this point I think I am level 11 and am actively looking forward to playing more of it.  There are times it feels so much like a top down City of Heroes, so maybe this is the game that is going to finally give me my superhero mmo fix.  I’ve heard the end game can get pretty grindy… but then again so does Diablo, so I guess it makes sense.  In any case I threw some money their way for the X-Force pack through steam and look forward to trying all of those characters as well.