Snipers and Hellboars

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One of the core problems with Destiny 2 is that progression is all about luck.  What I mean by that is especially as you wind down towards the end of the power curve, everything lives or dies upon what you happen to pull from your powerful engrams each week.  Once upon a time SquirrelPope told me that he started getting random world 300 blues when he hit 299.5 on his base light level.  I’m at 299.8 at this point and have yet to see one and nor have I actually seen any of the supposed vendor engrams that go as high as 300.  At this point on my Titan I need a chest and a class item to hit 305, which admittedly is way sooner than it happened during the console release.  That said everything is luck of the draw for me and this week my luck was just about as bad as I could possibly get.  In total I got six sniper rifles among the nine powerful gear packages that I have opened on my characters.  Sniper rifle being the only weapon that I consider utterly useless because I have yet to find one that is even close to being worthy of that power slot.  Grenade Launcher is traditionally a stinker as far as slots go, but even there I have Berenger’s  Memory and Play of the Game that I like using.  If I absolutely had to use a sniper… so far the only one that seems even viable is Gentleman Vagabond from crucible packages but even then…  there are so many other good weapons that I could be using in that slot.

I tweeted this comment out last night and I thought I would post it on my blog as well this morning.  I promise I meant this to be helpful and not ragey, but it does frustrate me when I see players effectively wasting the scorch cannon rounds spamming the crap out of them.  I admit that I did not know this was even possible until I got to run the Wrath of the Machine raid in Destiny year three, so I went that long effectively using them wrong myself.  The scorch cannon at face value looks like a rocket launcher with a lot of ammo, but it is way more than that even though the bosses that use it never actually use them to their full power either.  With Titan being the weekly flashpoint planet, you are going to encounter a lot of scorch cannons considering 2 of the 3 available events on that planet involve Fallen Walkers.  The weapon has a somewhat hidden alternate fire that involves holding down the trigger after you have fired the round and letting the munition grow in size before releasing and letting it explode.  You are going to have an auditory and visual queue to this and while you can continue to let this go and keep gaining strength as Squirrel pointed out last night, my personal experience is that the 4 second rule seems to be the most efficient for killing those walker tanks.  What I do is fire a round and then duck behind cover while holding the trigger allowing the munition to grow in size and about 4 seconds into holding it visually doubles in size.  At this point I let it go and let the damage get dealt while lining up a shot for another round.  Basically doing this will burn your target faster and easier I might add than spamming rounds and also give you more than enough ammo to take out both tanks with a single Scorch Cannon.  The AOE explosion is also fun for dealing with waves of yellow bar captains and such, but unfortunately this is a tidbit of ancestral knowledge that has not yet circulated through most of the population given that I see most players wasting these weapons.  As a result I just wanted to toss this thought out there and hopefully it sticks.

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As far as last night goes however…  after my crushing disappointment of being in sniper rifle hell…  I decided to chill out on the sofa with my new favorite orc.  At this point I am just shy of level 64 and am still in the Hellfire area cleaning up the quests.  In theory I should be able to completely skip Zangarmarsh and go to Terrokar, doing the every other zone leapfrog across Outland much like I have done with Legion content.  There is something extremely relaxing about Warrioring it up and all the while chatting occasionally with the Facepull crew horde side.  Mostly World of Warcraft is serving as this super relaxing comfort gaming time for me, and with work being as stressful as it has been lately I guess I am finding I need it.  Right now it is looking like I won’t really get to take much time off for the holidays other than the default days they give us off.  I have too many deadlines crashing in together at the same time, and this is also throwing a massive monkey wrench in my traditional Pax South plans.  Right now unless something massively changes I will not be attending this year which is a bit of a bummer considering I’ve gone every year since its inception so far.  It also means I will miss out on meeting up with friends and hanging out… and the biggest bummer of all is that I just found out my friend Cuppy is on a panel this year.  I would have loved to have seen that, but then again I am absolutely horrible at actually attending panels at Pax.  I tend to miss them while wandering around doing other things.  Even if not for Pax I am hoping to make it back to Austin as some point in the future.

Week Three Thoughts

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Yesterday was if I am counting correctly the third reset we have experienced on the PC version of Destiny 2, and as a result that seems like an interesting time to take a sort of postmortem of my experiences so far.  In fact I apparently also made a similar post three weeks after the PS4 launch, that could serve as an interesting comparison.  At that point I was sitting at 291 light with the rest of my characters sitting in the 285ish range, and now I am knocking on the door of 305 with my Titan sitting at 304 without completing any of his weekly milestones, and the rest of my characters in the 300-302 range.  In fact it was not until October 18th if I am looking at my posts correctly that I could hit 304 which I believe was somewhere in week six after release.  There are a bunch of variables at work here, namely that I am trying to get a Nightfall every week and I did not do that before.  Similarly I am dabbling in the raid and did not do that before…  however the raid itself is not providing much in the way of gear yet other than a higher than normal level engram every week.  What I am missing however is that after the second or third week I had access to a raid engram every week on the console side and we have yet to finish the raid on PC side but are getting close.  I think when you balance everything out I have had access to roughly the same amount of gear so it isn’t simply that I am getting more of it more frequently.  According to WastedOnDestiny.com I’ve spent 126 hours playing the PS4 version and 84 hours so far playing PC…  so all things considered I have maybe been playing a little bit more on the PC than I was on the PS4 at this point.

Now the piece that is much harder to account for is ancestral knowledge.  By playing Destiny 2 on the PS4 I essentially gave myself an extended beta test period with the game and by playing it as hard as I did I gleaned a bunch of knowledge that I then attempted to share on my blog.  I know how things work and more than that I know how to best spend my time at least in the early game when I probably wasted some potential power gains on doing certain things too soon.  In the console I was in a rush to see and do everything and now I more or less know what I like playing with and what it takes to get those things again.  As a result I am now sitting on stockpiles of tokens that I can then use later as leverage when playing the 300 engram game trying for max level loot.  I for example am sitting on 131 EDZ tokens largely because I know there isn’t much on that loot table that I don’t already have.  On the converse I burn down my stock of Crucible and Vanguard tokens as soon as I get them because I am still looking for weapon drops from those activities.  I could also be doing a lot more, like for example I don’t think I have touched Ikora’s memories at all during the PC launch and they are an additional draw at Vanguard loot that I should potentially be tapping.  Essentially I progressed so much faster than I was expecting to…  and I would chock that up to experience were it not for the fact that a lot of the Aggrochat crew are also progressing at similar levels.  Are they simply getting the benefit of my experience as well, or did the PC game loosen the throttle a bit and let everyone’s item levels drift a little higher than was the case on the console?

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The Achilles heel of the PC launch seems to be something that was almost completely overlooked.  Destiny 2 added this fairly detailed clan system that allows players to benefit from the actions of other clan members…  but does absolutely nothing for helping them communicate.  What I mean by that is that while we have a weird text chat system on the Bungie website… that does not exist anywhere in game.  The only options for chat in game are /fireteam, /team, and /whisper leaving out the very critical /clan.  I mean I realize Bungie is still in denial that they made an MMO but this is the most basic functionality that PC MMO gamers expect from a game.  Blizzard introduced this whole “social” section of the battle.net client…  but that doesn’t work in game either leaving this huge gap for now to glue people together.  Prior to launch I shared out the Beyond the Light Discord as a sort of multi-clan hangout and several weeks in I am still thinking that is going to be the best option to help people connect up for groups.  I feel like they largely did not consider how vastly different the PC community would be and what sort of cultural norms we would expect going into the game.  The end result however seems to be “use voicechat” as the way to connect up with folks…  and there are just times where I don’t want to be talking on voice chat.  My dream for Blizzard games is to have some sort of guild chat that spans across all of their games and allows me to talk to people playing Diablo 3 or World of Warcraft while I am playing Destiny 2.  However that dream is seemingly still a long time coming, but in the mean time…  Bungie please put in /clan.

 

Holy Crap A Sword

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This wee the Faction Rally event has been going on in Destiny 2 and as I stated earlier in the week I was absolutely expecting Dead Orbit to win.  They had the worst weapon during the first Faction Rally and won regardless, and I just assumed that was going to be our fate in life from this point out.  However it feels like Bungie attempted really hard to stack the deck in favor of New Monarchy by offering up the only faction based sword weapon as the prize for repping the faction.  Basically in my opinion Future War Cult has the best weapons on average and New Monarchy has the coolest looking gear and shaders…  then Dead Orbit is the also ran faction of having both gear and weapons that look scavenged.  However Dead Orbit has black/grey/white shaders which at least in Destiny 1 tended to make everyone want to faction with them.  Hell I did it for awhile until I started on this whole Future War Cult kick.  Basically I had resigned myself that I would log into the game this morning and we would have a crappy grenade launcher waiting for us to purchase for far too much glimmer.  Instead I have a sword slung across my back and some pep in my step as a result.

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Last night we ventured forth into the Leviathan again, and as a bit of a favor to myself and Grace we used a brand new raid seed so that we could get in and at least get some tokens for the week.  Sunday night while I was downstairs playing WoW and watching Walking Dead a crew made their way into the Leviathan and made a repeat performance at dogs, and then put in some work on figuring out the Gauntlet event.  Last night we once again downed dogs, this time on our second attempt and were able to move on to work on the Gauntlet as well.  I like that all of the fights so far feel extremely repeatable, as in once we get the dance down we seem to be able to do it without much effort.  The most challenging part seems to be that the dogs themselves are erratic as hell and seem to behave oddly at times making it a little slow.  I fully expect that once we have the fights down solid we will be able to clear all of the Leviathan in an hour, which means we can do multiple trips in each week to get folks through it without a lot of effort.    I realize we are months behind in doing so… but I am looking forward to being able to beat Calus on our own terms and unlocking raid engrams for the rest of the clan.

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The bulk of last night was spent sorting out the mechanics to the Gauntlet and then attempting to refine what we had learned and turn it into something that was effectively repeatable.  The last few attempts were really close to winning and the ultimately challenge seems to be during the “everyone runs” phase of the fight, keeping those of us who have not been running the orbs up to that point alive long enough to get enough orbs through the gauntlet to actually win.  The last several rounds we were getting both runners through the tunnel each time, meaning in theory we needed fewer people to actually make it to the end of the fight successfully.   However the death timer is ultimately what got it as myself or someone else failed to make one of the jumps.  Functionally in my case this is going to be one of those “practice makes perfect” situations because I learn largely through doing.  The other thing that I need to do a little research on is how best to handle the waves of adds because I was doing the Axe platform and it felt like I was just straight up getting shredded by grenades all the time.  I did notice that my adds seems to stop coming out sooner than the other platforms so I am wondering if there is something to that.  The last few attempts Tam and Shiana that were doing the runs were floating to help out the other platforms clear adds and it went so much more smoothly.  I look forward to finishing this fight so we can get started on the Slug Emperor himself.

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Lastly I thought I would share this over on my main blog.  For those who are unaware we have another site tied to our AggroChat podcast that effectively rolls up and syndicates all of the content from all of the hosts.  What this means in practice is it is generally my daily posts, perforated by the occasional post by Grace and then our Sunday podcast releases.  For the past two years our banner has not at all represented the cast of the show and there has been a project to fix this getting the always amazing @Ammosart to do individual character shots.  Firstly we have Ashgar as a high tech bear, then myself as a Destiny Year 3 Iron Banner guardian, Grace as the octopus pirate queen, Kodra as Commander Keen, Tamrielo as a Red Mage, and finally Thalen as a sort of futuristic marksman.  Basically I had each member work with Ammo directly to do whatever representation they wanted to use going forward, and I think the set turned out great.  I finally got off my ass and pulled it together in a new site banner and will start using them on the title cards that I create each week for the podcast.

Accidental Orc

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Firstly I feel like I need to lead this post with a tweet from one of my friends that I received last night.

I did in fact do this thing.  To be more specific I went on a spree of mass cancelling my MMO accounts in early October.  I went so far as to actually uninstall many of the games, which is apparently the surest sign that you are just about to decide that you are going to want to play again.  Thankfully I have super fast internet and downloading World of Warcraft really is not that big of a deal anymore.  I am not exactly sure how to explain this one other than the fact that I have been playing on and off with a friend in Destiny 2…  that I first knew through my horde guild in World of Warcraft.  I guess in theory this made me nostalgic about that guild and planted the idea in my head that I really should level my warrior over there.  When you combine that with the weekend we had which was dreary and overcast…  and my desire to just hang out on the couch in a blanket cocoon and do some comfort gaming and apparently all of that translates into playing World of Warcraft.

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The biggest challenge however is the fact that in the process of uninstalling everything I also nuked my addons.  Playing WoW with the stock interface is just not a tenable solution.  My previous UI was cobbled together out of several dozen separate addon packs that I had to use the Curse Client now re-branded as Twitch to maintain.  I did not want to go through that again so I took this as the perfect opportunity to try ElvUi that everyone has been raving about for years.  It took some getting used to because the set up process was nothing like I was used to.  However I decided to embrace the difference and by the end of the weekend I had gotten used to it mostly.  The thing that likely won me over however was the AFK screen where the camera spins around you and your character dances in the corner.  They didn’t need to do this thing…  but the world is better for them doing it.  Essentially over the last few days I have chilled on the couch and leveled from 30ish to 61 as of this morning.  I am now knee deep in the Burning Crusade expansion content and having a weird nostalgic trip down memory lane.  I have zero clue how long I will be playing or even how often but for the moment I am enjoying myself.

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In Destiny 2 news I can now hit 302 on my Titan and in theory would love to either get in a raid tonight or at least the Nightfall on my Hunter and Warlock to potentially get some additional item level movement.  The biggest problem that is effecting me in Destiny is the fact that I just am not a night owl right now…  and that a good chunk of our clan are now on the west coast meaning they are two hours behind me.  One of two things is going to have to happen, either we break into a early evening and late night raid, or we start actually declaring some night of the week to be raid night.  Thus far everything has sorta been on the spur of the moment with whoever happens to be around, and sure that is fun…  but also impossible to plan around.  Last night for example they were wanting to pull together the raid while I was watching Walking Dead, which is literally the only television show I watch all week long.  Other nights the potential start time would mean I would be up until midnight which is just not viable during the work week anymore.  Had I planned for this and maybe taken a cat nap when I got home then it might be doable, but impromptu raiding just isn’t working for me right now.  I want to raid and I want to get through the content but I just need some structure to it.  Hopefully with the reset we can do a better job of planning raid nights.  In theory I am going to try and get one going earlier in the evening tonight so I can at least get some tokens this week.

Xur Week Nine: 11/10/17

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Destiny 2

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It’s that time again folks…  time to go traipsing through otherwise dangerous areas in search of Xur.  I am very quickly going to run out of original things to say since the limited pool of exotics seems to be generating a bunch of repeat weeks.  This was a huge problem with Destiny 1 as well and made worse by the fact that they do not seem to put the exotics on a rotation of any sort.  There were several that we never actually saw sold by Xur in Destiny 1 and thusfar there is a whole slew that we have yet to see sold by him in Destiny 2.  You can find Xur in the Watcher’s Grave area of Nessus where he is up in a tree.  You can either hop up on the ledge and hop across or run a narrow path up the side of the tree.   He brought a few gems so lets check out his stock.

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There are two exotic grenade launchers…  one of which is good and the other is likely the worst weapon in the game.  Thankfully the Prospector is the good one and probably well worth picking up.  It is a bit of a weird weapon to get used to because of the Excavation exotic perk, which keeps your grenades from detonating while you are holding down the fire trigger.  This has a bizarre interaction with the fact that this weapon has auto fire…  allowing you to pump out an entire magazine of eight grenades without actually detonating them and then detonating them all at once.  The only problem with this is that these are not sticky grenades so there is a bit of bounce when you fire them out without instantly detonating them.  The blast radius is rather small as well which again leads this to be a weird option because each grenade is not going to damage a very large area.  As a result this is really good when you can fire them down into some sort of enclosed area and then detonate all of them at once for a massive explosion.  More often than not I simply use this as a decent single fire grenade launcher which gives me more predictable results.  If you are wanting a work horse rather than a gimmick…  I highly suggest checking out Berenger’s Memory or Play of the Game legendary grenade launchers instead.

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I actually had yet to get an insurmountable skullfort on the PC side yet so I was happy to see this item show up.  This is one of those situationally good items that allows for a slightly degenerate build.  The primary interaction is between Transfusion Matrix the exotic perk and Code of the Earthshaker path for the striker titan.  The perk causes kills with arc melee abilities to trigger health regeneration…  which is actually the reversal trait from Code of the Juggernaut.  This becomes a great farming build because Seismic Strike and the AOE damage it deals…  means you are going to be getting back lots of melee energy from the second part of this perk, allowing you to maintain damned near 100% up time.  On the battlefield what this means is that you can zoom around slamming into things rather than actually firing any weapons.  There are a few things that you could do to improve the reliability like slotting two arc melee recharge time mods, but when it works… it is insanely fun.  This is mostly a PVE build concept and every time I have tried to shoulder charge in the crucible I have paid a hefty price for it.

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I’ve talked about this item at length several different times, so I am not sure what else I can really add.  The Eye of Another World is one of those items that passively all of your abilities work better.  This is the sort of set it and forget it always on item that I tend to favor,  because it requires zero attention to detail.  Unless you are going for a specific gimmick build… this is probably your best all purpose warlock item.  If you don’t already have it I highly suggest picking it up.  If you want more dialog from me on this check out one of the many other Xur posts where I have talked about it.

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Similarly the Foetracer is a generally good item and I have started running it lately because it tends to help finish off mobs in Nightfalls.  Relentless Tracker perk visually marks your enemies after targeting them for a short period of time and causes you to deal extra damage when they reach low health.  That last bit helps and it is just enough of a change to make killing things seem faster which is always the name of the game in a Nightfall.  I do however miss my constant tracking radar while using this item, but I am trying really hard to learn to live without it.  Again I highly suggest picking this up, and also once again I have talked at length about this item in the past in any one of the many other times Xur has offered it.

Destiny 1

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This week in Destiny 1 Xur is located in the Tower directly across from Lord Shaxx.  He finally restocked his inventory and is no longer bringing the Jade Rabbit, so hopefully you Xbox players picked that up while it was still available.  Interestingly Xur in Destiny 1 seems to be taking a queue from his personal in Destiny 2 because they both brought the Insurmountable Skullfort.  Let’s check out his items this week.

  • Legacy Arm Engram – 29 Strange Coins
  • An Insurmountable Skullfort – Titan Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • Radiant Dance Machines – Hunter Boots – 13 Strange Coins
  • Claws of Ahamkara – Warlock Arms – 13 Strange Coins
  • The Last Word – Hand Cannon – 23 Strange Coins
  • Dragon’s Breath and Tigershark Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust
  • Zhalo Supercell with Not A Toy Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust

Package Farming

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Games like Destiny trigger the collector part of my brain in ways I will never fully understand.  Here is an example…  in Pokemon or Blizzard Pet Battles for that matter…  I don’t actually like the act of battling pets.  I do however love the aspect of collecting new critters and not so secretly wish there was a way to skirt all of the other aspects and just let me get shiny new pets.  I feel similarly about Destiny when there is a set of armor or weapons to collect, and right now I will be grinding the Faction Rally until I catch them all.  As it stands I still need the Shotgun from Dead Orbit, Sidearm from Future War Cult and both Scout Rifles from New Monarchy.  At this point I have done my weeklies on the Hunter and Warlock and ground out 20 or so loot packages on each, giving me only 10 more chances to get the items I actually need.  I have a similar number of chances for New Monarchy and have just started working on the Titan going through his weeklies.  The thirty packages cap thing is likely put there for people like me… that would have potentially ground their fingers to the bone trying to get that last weapon.  So at least on some level I am thankful that it exists…  but on a totally different level I am frustrated beyond belief that I might not actually get all of the things.

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The truth is however that the shotgun from Dead Orbit is horrible at least compared to Hawthorne’s…  and there has never been a case post Destiny 1 that I have ever said to myself that I want to use a sidearm.  In Destiny 1 I kept an assortment in the vault with various elements just so I could easily complete those kill X targets with X damage type bounties.  There are a few burst and full auto sidearms that are interesting…  but I have yet to see a reason why I would ever choose them over a more versatile weapon in that slot.  So that mostly just leaves me with the two Scout Rifles from New Monarchy that are weapons I would actually use.  It’s bizarre how the precision of the PC version of Destiny 2 has completely flipped me around from not liking Scout Rifles at all, to running with them pretty often.  I am super interested in Good Counsel IX shown above because of the hip fire perk…  given that hip firing weapons is actually a completely reasonable way to play on the PC version.  Stat wise it looks very similar to the Frontier Justice scout I got this week and one that I already know that I like…  so I am going to ultimately be extremely bummed if I wind up not getting it during this faction rally.

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Song of Justice VI is a weapon that I have on the console version of Destiny 2 and like it fairly well but it always felt like it was at least under performing slightly.  I am primarily interested in getting this weapon to see how different it feels with the precision of the mouse and keyboard.  I cannot mention enough that the weapons feel vastly different between the console and PC platforms, and there are so many that I did not like at all on console that I know really enjoy using on PC.  It is ultimately my hope that this is going to be the case with Song of Justice.  Hakke weapons in general so far have worked better on PC so I am hoping this continues to that pattern.  In other positive news… today is my Friday so I should be able to poke around in the game tomorrow during the day.  I might even get so bold as to stream a little.  I’m going through a deluge of changes right now and my natural instinct when that happens is to go into super turtle mode.  Piddling around Destiny solo mode has been something I have been doing for the last three years so it is definitely comfort gaming.  That said I really do need to get the Nightfall done and hopefully make some attempts on the raid.  I am going to try really hard to make myself available to shenanigans tonight, but no promises.  In other other news…  I popped into Diablo 3 last night and cleared my mail box in prep for the season start that begins soon.  They have roped me back in with more cosmetic rewards… that of course trigger that collector instinct in me.

Guiding Star

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This morning I wanted to take a moment to talk about a few weapons.  Right now the Faction Rally is going on and this time around the various faction merchants seem to have a much deeper stock of items.  It appears like they are offering the original four weapons in addition to more more that include the weapon that was the faction reward last time.  In theory this is probably a bit of a catch up mechanic since they stated that the weapons would be changing with the move to Season 2 starting around the December 5th time frame.  As a result this may be your only chance to get some of these items because I am not sure if the entire loot table is changing, or if there might be a chance that some of the weapons will show up later.  Whatever the case I have taken this notion to heart and have begun grinding to get everything I cared about.  The chief concern this time was the Guiding Star which is a Scathelocke look alike that Dead Orbit is offering.  It took me twenty one packages before I saw one of these, and in the process of getting it managed to get at least one of every other item.  This gun is extremely interesting because it is functionally an extremely high rate of fire variant of the Scathelocke that manages to still keep high-caliber rounds.  I have a feeling this is going to be brutal in the Crucible, but have not given it much of a test because I am still fixated on getting faction packages.  It does however do a phenomenal job of melting mobs out in the world.

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Next up is the Heart of Time pulse rifle that I was ultimately hoping we would get last Faction Rally.  I was extremely happy when I saw this among the list of possible drops this time so I could at least see how well I liked it.  On a base level this appears to be a reskinned Agenda-5 with a handful of tweaks here or there.  The great weakness of the weapon seems to be its horrible range statistic, but if you are using this gun you are using it for the dragonfly perk.  It feels fun enough, but it also feels outshined by a whole slew of pulse rifles that seem to kill things faster.  I have no clue what this feels like on the console because it has a ton of aim assistance, so in theory the experience might be completely different.  On the PC I am way more likely to use one of the slightly slower RPM weapons that packs a bigger punch.  Oddly enough I have gotten to where I like the Eystein-D…  which is a complete trash weapon on console that I shard the second I get, but have found works insanely well with the better mouse and keyboard controls.

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The last weapon I wanted to talk about this morning is Frontier Justice, which honestly is not part of the faction rally at all.  One of the things about grinding packages is that it means you are going to get a lot of duplicate weapons.  As a result I wind up with tons of gunsmith materials, and considering there are still a few super rare weapons that I am after I keep turning them in with the side benefit of getting mods.  One of those extremely rare weapons is the Frontier Justice scout rifle, which I never actually managed to get on the console and honestly have only seen a few times in the wild.  This is an extremely high impact, high range, and slow rate of fire weapon and I have to say I am liking it.  It packs an insane punch and given the slow rate of fire is extremely stable to use.  There is a weapon on I believe this same archetype available from New Monarchy and now that I have gotten most everything I want from both Future War Cult and Dead Orbit I plan on starting that grind proper tonight.  Faction Rally for me at least is all about the weapons and I’ve been super happy to get a bunch of my favorite weapons from the first faction rally on PC side.  Faction Rally and the return of Iron Banner will ultimately take away any minor pangs of remorse about losing some of my favorite weapons, because in theory I will be able to get them again.  The PC has become my platform of choice and now I am getting back all of those trinkets that I missed switching from console.

For Azeroth

So last weekend was BlizzCon and over the last few days I have been dealing with the announcements made there.  On the morning before the festivities started…  I threw out a flurry of tweets of things that I would have liked to have seen, and then one that was my nightmare scenario.  Essentially…  the nightmare scenario is what happened.  As a result I’ve spent the last few days going through the stages of denial and have finally reached a point where I can talk about it.  World of Warcraft for me is a story about being artificially cut off from a chunk of my friends regardless of the decisions I make.  When the game released in 2004 we had a group of players that wanted to play Alliance and a group that wanted to play Horde, and while we attempted playing both sides after a point folks wound up greatly preferring one over the other.  This was a completely foreign concept to me and felt just wrong to have choosing a side mean you were also saying goodbye to a chunk of your friends in the process.  Everquest had factions but they were all personal choices, and even Dark Age of Camelot had Gaheris the Co-Op server that let us all play what we wanted together without the artificially faction boundaries.

For the last thirteen years I have carried a torch in hopes that maybe just maybe the two sides would get their shit together and realize that there is way more at stake than their own petty grievances.  We have come so close so many times as we worked together with the other side to tackle the big bads of the world, but always we are artificially drawn back in to the big dumb red versus blue narrative.  Battle for Azeroth is doubling down on this tired formula and apparently that is what the player base wants.  I have no real faction pride because neither faction has actually done anything that I am proud of.  Sure the cinematic they released for this game is epic, and there are moments I feel shivers of excitement from each side.  I am just wired to be nostalgic about all of this even though it signals the death of the dream I have held for so long.  The faction wall will never fall, and my friends list will always be artificially segregated.  We could do so much more if we were allowed to work together, and bring our Tauren and Orc friends along with our Dwarf and Worgen friends to do awesome things.  I guess that thing that frustrates me is just how tragic and pointless it always is…  all it would take is some communication between the sides and we would stop killing each other and start killing things that deserve to be killed.  Fuck “For the Horde” and fuck “For the Alliance”…  it should be “For Azeroth”…  because the planet is dying while we are fighting .

All of this said…  there are a lot of things that they are talking about that do excite me, but it has been a lot of soak given the first massive blow.  I love the concept of Allied races because it gives the players something that we have requested for so long…  sub races.  From the moment I first knew that the Dark Iron Dwarves were a thing…  I wanted to play one.  The only only problem is that in my perfect scenario they would have been on the Horde.  In truth in my perfect scenario all of the sub races that we are getting…  would have gone to the other faction.  I want to see High Mountain Tauren fighting along side the Alliance and Dwarven fighting along side the Horde.  I want to break down the barriers between the two factions and blend them all up together to where your faction choices are just that…  choices and not something you are locked into.  Basically I am down for anything that degrades the barrier between the camps of players and lets us all do things together.  Unfortunately I am having to come to the realization that it will probably never happen, but in the meantime I guess I am going to be leveling a bunch of new characters to take advantage of the new races.

The biggest obstacle between me and playing the horde was the fact that I didn’t like most of the races.  The reason why I didn’t like the races was the bestial hunch that the male versions of each seemed to be permanently stuck in.  Apparently there is a posture system that is coming that will allow us to go to the barber shop in game and change this…  and in truth that breathes new life into all of these races that I refused to play.  In theory if I can get an upright Orc like the modern Thrall model…  it is going to feel awesome.  Similarly Trolls and Undead become perfectly viable options for me to play.  The number one problem I have with Worgen is that they too suffer from this forced lurch, and I am wondering if maybe just maybe that might be a thing of the past as well.  I love my Horde family, but what always ends up being a problem is the fact that I have years worth of characters on the Alliance side and a handful of false starts on the Horde.  I like being self sufficient, and only on one side do I have an army of alts that can craft anything that I could ever want.  In theory if I enjoy the races more…  I could start working on the same on Horde side.  The draw to either side is the people who play there… not the story.  I am just frustrated that it seems like I will always have to choose one path over the other when I really want to do both at the same time.

 

Weekend Warlock

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I had every intent of writing a post on the Battle for Azeroth announcement from Blizzcon but I still feel like I am percolating my heads into something that is more intelligible than a rant.  Instead I am going to focus on my weekend spent in Destiny, which saw me finishing off leveling my Warlock and getting it properly geared.  I am half convinced that there is some sort of shared internal item level spread across all of your characters, because every time I have managed to push up my third character…  its initial reward cycle has been insane causing it to leap ahead of the others.  This was definitely the case with the Warlock who is now sitting at 294 as compared to 291 that I can manage to hit on either my Titan or Hunter.  At this point I am fairly happy with the cobbled together gear that I have on the warlock because it gives me a stat spread that I like…  3 mobility, 5 resilience, and 7 recovery.  I managed to get the Nightfall done so far on both the Titan and the Warlock and am hoping that maybe I can find some folks to do it with on the Hunter this evening.  There is also talk about stepping foot into the raid again as well, which I am hoping we can pull off without going too late into the night.  Having half of our normal crew on Pacific time and the other half on Eastern/Central time is a pain in the ass for timing any sort of activities.

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As far as the raid goes we managed to get through the bathers event and made some pretty decent progress on the doggos.  Functionally I think that encounter is going to come down to simply executing everything we have done over the course of a few attempts…  in a single go.  I like the raid so far because it feels very much like Final Fantasy XIV… in that it is a dance and once learned you can execute it pretty rapidly.  I have a feeling that at some point we will be bringing four seasoned players and two learners and getting more people in the clan some experience.  Fore the moment however we are shifting bits and pieces of the same handful of people trying to push through and learn it all.  I mean there are raid guides out there that we could be following, but it feels more significant when we sort out things on our own.  If we do make it back tonight I feel like we are probably going to make it through the pleasure gardens… which if my math is right means we have one more encounter before we actually face Calus.  In theory if things go well we might be able to actually clear the raid next week.  Its funny how much of a driving force it is for me to unlock the engram for the rest of the clan.

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Next week is the start of the faction rally, and I am assuming that I will do what I did last go round and support a single faction on each character.  That also means I am likely going to match up the factions with the gear that I would like to see them wearing.  The only bad thing about that is the fact that New Monarchy has the coolest looking gear for multiple classes.  I feel like probably the Hunter set is the best looking so I will be repping them on that character.  Which means I am probably going to go Dead Orbit with the Titan and Future War Cult with the Warlock because I am most likely to wear the respective armor sets.  The real goal for me however is to play just as much as it takes to unlock all 12 dropped weapons and a full set of gear for the Hunter.  Past that anything else is gravy, and I am pretty happy with the gear I currently have assembled on the titan and warlock.  The hunter is going to get a lot of play time if for no reason other than the fact that the New Monarchy shaders are the ones I am most likely to use for weapons.  Basically we have yet another extremely busy week ahead of us in Destiny 2.  The icing on the top is the fact that Greysky Armada should easily hit rank 6 next week.

Xur Week Eight: 11/3/17

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Xur this week is located in the European Dead Zone near the Winding Cove drop zone.  He is located on top of a hill that has an actual path to get up there…  but I never can seem to find it…  so I end up hopping up the rocks.  In some ways this is a disappointing week and in other ways…  for Titans at least it is a potentially exciting one.  This represents the first week I have been able to do the entire screenshot thing on the PC as I now have Titan, Hunter and Warlock up to the appropriate levels to get the items at the 270 maximum level.  Lets get on with the items he brought for us.

Destiny 2

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This weapon is a little disappointing because it is one of the items you can get from the quest at the end of Io.  Additionally it seems to be an acquired taste.  Some folks absolutely love this thing… and others completely hate it.  It is essentially a pulse rifle that doesn’t fire like a pulse rifle, and in order to get the most out of it you sort of have to line your shots up like you were using a scout rifle.  That said it does seem to be considerably more reliable on the PC than it ever was on console.  If you can learn to use it you can shred things, but it takes a lot of getting used to.

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Mask of the Quiet One has become this defacto crucible relic of choice for a lot of Titans.  The perks do a few things…  one of which is actually important and the other not so much.  The lesser of the perks is that Void Ability kills grant health regeneration, which rewards a chunk of health back to your bar when you kill a target with any of your void abilities.  This is useful for Sentinel Titans but fails to trigger on shield slams making it a little fiddly.  The perk everyone cares about however is that when you are damaged you gain melee, grenade and class ability energy.  Again this is rewarded as just a chunk of your energy bar and why this is so insanely popular in the crucible is the fact that you are ALWAYS getting damaged.  Just the act of running around while trying to avoid taking damage… ends up seeing you take plenty of damage to make this item useful.  I picked it up because I do not already have a copy on PC side, and is well worth hanging on to just in case you find it useful.

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We’ve seen Nezarec’s Sin before from Xur and again it is a mid range item that to some extent gets out shined by several other Warlock exotics.  The perk Abyssal Extractors activates on void damage and causes you to gain a tiny sliver of energy back to grenade, melee and class ability.  This is interesting because the item says void damage and not void ability kills meaning you can proc it off of an energy or power weapon if you are carrying one of that type.  The biggest problem with the item is that the tick rate of this ability really is not that fast, and for me at least gets outshined by Eye of Another World which grants 10% increase to your recharge rates for doing nothing.  The only way Nezarec’s Sin would be useful is if you are really married to the voidwalker spec, and even then…  you are probably going to be better off just going with the Eye still.  It is worth getting the item for unlock purposes only.

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Do you love the Crucible?  Do you really like using Tripmine grenades?  If you answered yes to both then these might be the right exotics for you.  If not then they might still be worth just getting the unlock because they look awesome.  These are essentially a worse version of gauntlets of the same name from Destiny 1.  I say they are a worse version because the old ones used to give you an extra tripmine grenade charge, making it extremely useful for trapping up multiple spots in an area.  In Destiny 2 they lost the extra charge and instead gained additional duration which is nowhere near as sexy.  The other interesting benefit is that they now highlight targets damaged in your grenade blast, making it easier to see which players may or may not have been weakened and giving you the ability to track them through walls if you are going to chase them down.  This is a situationally good item for players who really like the crucible and really like trip mines…  if you are neither or these things then you can pretty comfortably pass them up.  They are still largely worth the unlock slot to me however.

Destiny 1

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In Destiny 1 this week Xur is located at the big gate near the speaker in the Tower.  Once again he is offering the formerly exclusive Jade Rabbit scout rifle giving a weird second chance for Xbox One users to get this up.  I am sincerely hoping that this is not going to be what he brings every week from now on since Destiny 1 has gone into maintenance mode.  Of the items available Twilight Garrison is especially interesting because it gives Titans the ability to do a midair dodge attack.

  • Legacy Special Weapon Engram – 31 Strange Coins
  • Twilight Garrison – Titan Chest – 13 Strange Coins
  • Don’t Touch Me – Hunter Arms – 13 Strange Coins
  • Alchemist’s Rainment – Warlock Chest – 13 Strange Coins
  • Jade Rabbit – Scout Rifle – 23 Strange Coins
  • Invective with Storm’s Reproach Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust
  • Zhalo Supercell with Shock Hazard Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust