Hammerknell and Keywardens

Nightmare Larva

rift 2015-09-03 17-52-18-84

I had a strangely disconnected evening last night essentially happened in two distinct parts.  My great niece was in town doing a track meet, and we had arranged to meet up with the family for dinner.  Initially I thought I would get home and we would essentially leave right away.  That wasn’t quite the case and we ultimately did not walk to dinner until around 7ish, which left me with a fair amount of time to kill.  I have once again been feeling the Rift itch lately, as I go through every few weeks.  The shiny new mount that I talked about yesterday may or may not have been the catalyst.  So I poked around Meridian for a bit and ultimately decided to do an Instant Adventure.  For those not familiar with the concept, Rift has this really cool thing where you hit a button and get thrown together with a raid group of people and teleported to a specific area of the world.  There you complete a series of objectives, and get teleported to a new place where the process starts over again.  Each time you complete a segment you are rewarded loot just like in a Rift, except this time they are generally caches of gear for your class.

Last night I noticed there was a new option called “Intrepid Adventures”.  I say this is a new option, but I really mean it was new to me… because I had not noticed it before.  That said I have not really run any instant adventures since the launch of Nightmare Tide.  What it appears to be is a Instant Adventure style tour of raid encounters.  I got teleported into the caverns under Hammerknell, where I fought all sorts of tougher but still manageable monsters leading up to several “boss” fights.  I have to say it gives a nice flavor to leveling especially as I have not actually seen any of the raids since Vanilla.  I had a lot of fun and will probably use this option when I return to leveling again.  I am right now about halfway through 62 and the grind to 65 has been slower going than I had hoped.  I honestly have problems with the layout of content since vanilla, or more so I just liked the feel of leveling in Vanilla better.  This is of course personal preference, and since Storm Legion and Nightmare Tides feel really similar… I am guessing they have done the market research that tells them that the Rift demographic wants that style of content.  Anyways…  I have contemplated trying to set up at least one night a week to play Rift.  The problem there is that I am not sure there are enough nights in the week to go around for all of the games I want to be regularly playing.

Hunting Keywardens

Diablo III 2015-09-03 21-39-45-21

 

When I got home from dinner however it was all about Diablo 3.  Before dinner I had managed to pop in shortly and get my good friend Neph invited to our Stalwart Diablo clan that makes finding folks to group with significantly easier.  My friend Shandrah popped on and started the leveling trail for Neph, Damai and Ashgar which was a full group so I happily worked on Season IV objectives.  Right now I am working on the fourth and final chapter of objectives, and I spent most of the night tracking down the various Key Wardens which I had to defeat on Torment I or better.  After a significant rearrange of my abilities I am finding that Torment I is actually fairly easy.  I am essentially doing a variation of the classic “spin to win” Whirlwind build.  I am using Frenzy with the added fury bonus of Berserk as my builder, for the purpose of being able to build fury as fast as humanly possible so I can spend the most time in whirlwind.  From there I use Whirlwind with Blood  Funnel which heals me every time I crit, which is often.  From there I have Overpower with Killing Spree, Threating Shout with Falter, Ignore pain with Ignorance is Bliss, and Wrath of the Berserker with Insanity.  For passives I take Boon of Bul-Kathos, Rampage, Ruthless and Weapons Master.

The end result is a built that can chew thing mobs pretty effectively, but the most important part is that it has really solid “sustain” which seems to be the most important thing as a melee character.  None of my gear is ideal at the moment, and I am not using the right legendary procs because I simply haven’t gotten them to drop.  That said it is a good start and better than the previously build I was working with.  I am still relatively new to the whole Rifts and Greater Rifts thing, and at this point I have two objectives standing in the way of my spiffy portrait and pet.  One of which is “Reach Greater Rift Level 10 Solo” which I find really confusing.  Last night I attempted to do this one and completed a Greater Rift…  albeit without getting the bonus.  But I am not sure if this means that I need to complete the rift with the bonus or if I physically need to manage to get to dungeon level 10 within the Rift.  The last one however will take some doing considering I am in a mishmash of gear right now, and it is to have a level 70 legendary equipped in every slot.  I have been spending my blood shards on gear slots that I am currently missing in the hopes of slowly knocking this achievement out.  In any case… I am close and I am having a blast just killing stuff for loot and paragon levels!

Week In Gaming 8/30/2015

Diablo III 2015-08-29 21-48-57-149

Stressed but Still Here

This week turned out to be a shockingly stressful one, but thankfully all of said stress happened at work… and I could more or less leave it there as well.  There has been a twinge of sadness as well because months ago I had hoped to be able to attend Pax Prime and get to hang out with friends there.  However that didn’t quite work out, and since I lacked tickets to go there…  because AggroChat was not apparently qualified as a media outlet, I stopped pushing quite so hard.  The beginning of the school year is especially rough on my wife, and it would have been even more stressful to be travelling during this time.  As such I am doubting that Pax Prime will ever really be in my cards unless for some reason they decide to move it either earlier or later in the year.  I will always have Pax South however, and I fully intend to go this coming year.  I am going to be trying to talk as many people into attending as I can, and hopefully can organize a meetup or something while there.  There were plenty of people at Pax South last year but I was completely overwhelmed by it being my first real convention, and the internet was pretty horrible…  so I missed most of them.  Anyways…  on with what is I hope becoming a Sunday tradition, where I review the games I played over the past week.

Final Fantasy XIV

ffxiv_dx11 2015-08-27 20-57-20-908

 

Currently “The Rising” event is going on in Final Fantasy XIV that marks the yearly anniversary festival.  This year the quest that goes along with it is one of the most touching quests I have experienced in a game before.  I don’t want to spoil too many details about it, but suffice to say there is a little bit of fourth wall breaching going on.  Diehard Final Fantasy XIV fans have this hero worship for Naoki Yoshida and the rest of the team, and it is absolutely well earned.  It feels like there is very much a symbiotic relationship going on there, and they understand fully just how important the loyal fans are to the continued success of the title.  The game is in this interesting place where it is extremely humbled by the fact that it launched in 2010 and failed to capture hearts and minds.  They are putting everything into the game and leaving nothing on the table, and it shows.  Other than the anniversary event we worked on Ravana Extreme attempts, and I have every hope that we will be able to down him this coming Monday.  Past that I have honestly been taking a bit of a break from Final Fantasy XIV, or at least not really logging in every day.

Diablo 3

Diablo III 2015-08-29 21-48-57-149

 

If you are wondering where the bulk of my game time was spent, you can look no further than Diablo 3.  I am not sure if it was my time playing Hellgate London, or the fact that I finally pulled my head out of the sand and realized there was such a thing as a “season”.  Whatever the combination I have been pumped to be playing Diablo 3 again and have been spending a lot of time with my friend Grace was we worked on pushing up our seasonal characters.  At the beginning of the week I managed to get my Crusader from last season to 70 with the help of Grace and her crazy torment farming ways.  Then Friday when the new season opened I started work immediately on a female Barbarian.  As of last night I am now level 60 and making the final push to 70.  That is really what I intend to spend most of my time today working on, and hopefully by tonight I will be sitting at 70 and starting to work on gearing up for doing torment and beyond.  I am having a blast, and I am not sure whatever mental block cleared that has allowed me to get involved once more with the click to attack madness.

Wildstar

WildStar64 2015-08-26 06-18-02-69

I can’t say that I have made stellar progress since last week, but I am continuing with my new tradition of trying to play Wildstar Tuesday nights.  At this point I am level 25 still in Whitevale but I think maybe I can see the end of the zone.  My hope is to move on past it this week and hopefully into something less desolate.  I feel about Whitevale the way I feel about most desert zones in MMOs.  I have come to realization this week that it is never the biome necessarily that I like or dislike, but instead the zone design.  I was warned that Malgrave is coming up, and a desert… but from what I have seen of the imagery inside it seems like something I will enjoy.  I want to devote more time to this game, but for now I am going to settle with making it a Tuesday night thing.

Hearthstone

Hearthstone 2015-08-27 19-13-43-765

The game that I played that shocked me the most this week was Hearthstone.  I have not really spent much time playing it since release, and with the addition of a new expansion of cards I decided to poke my head in.  This is where I found a brand new game mode called Tavern Brawl.  Apparently you have a different weekly challenge, and this week was essentially playing with a randomized deck.  I played hunter and had a good amount of success.  Playing with a random assortment of cards, including many of the brand new Grand Tournament cards gave me a nostalgic feeling much like the early days of Magic the Gathering.  I used to love the days when I was limited based on the  cards I physically owned and as a result made some odd decks to try and weave in my favorite elements.  In truth I would probably play Hearthstone more often if this random brawl option thing was a fixed item.  I know this coming week there will be a completely different Tavern Brawl, but I will likely poke my head in to see what it is and give it a shot.  This might breathe new life into the game for me, and for that I am kinda pumped.

Fallout Shelter

FalloutShelter_ScreenShot

My week in review would not be complete without at least talking a bit about Fallout Shelter.  Now I have been technically playing this game for awhile now but since I do not regularly use my iPad, the sessions were limited and I went weeks between opening the app.  With the release of Fallout Shelter for android I have been playing it far more often on my phone, and it has now become my default “moment of downtime” game as I check in on my little post apocalyptic ant farm.  All things said I learned a lot of lessons playing it on the iPad that I have now applied to this new vault.  Where Vault 999 was a relative failure, Vault 861 is pretty damned idyllic.  Through a bit of luck of drops, and some careful planning I have managed to create a pretty safe environment that can absolutely shred raider attacks.  I had a random person show up at the vault that was fairly warriorly, and once I equipped her with power armor and a plasma pistol she has been roaming the wastes dispensing justice.  At the same time she has become a major source of income and the gear she brings back I am slowly outfitting all of my settlers in.  I have jokingly started calling the restaurant on the first floor Cafe Death, because the raiders always go there…. only to get shredded by all of my shotgun toting vault dwellers.  The only thing that I feel bad about is that I essentially  have one couple that is slowly populating my vault.  I have left them in the room for weeks now and they have half a dozen offspring roaming around as a result.

Hatoful Boyfriend

hatoful 2015-08-22 09-16-54-74

 

The last game that I played a significant amount of this week was of course Hatoful Boyfriend, and last night we recorded the AggroChat game club show for it.  This was Grace’s pick and I think a lot of us went into this assuming that we would end up hating the game.  We were mostly wrong as the vast majority of us had lots of good things to say about the game. To make it even crazier this is the first game that the majority of us have actually played through more than one… but given that an individual play session tends to only be around the hour long mark that makes sense.   If you want to hear our length discussion about dating “Birbs” after the apocalypse you should totally listen into the show.

[AggroChat] [Direct Download] [iTunes] [Stitcher]

Drag Experience

Youtube Gaming

GoogleGamingInterface

The big buzz worthy thing that is happening right now is that Google is rolling out its Youtube Gaming platform.  It proudly announces that finally there is a youtube for gamers!  Which causes me to pause and ask…  wasn’t YouTube already for gamers?  At least 90% of the content that I watch on YouTube tends to be video game related so… I think it was doing a fine job before.  What gets slightly lost in the marketing spin however is that they are now offering twitch like streaming services.  Which in itself is a big confusing because I have had the ability to stream to YouTube for roughly a year now.  There was even a page in my channel settings that explained how to connect OBS to the YouTube RTMP servers.  I guess the big difference is that people are starting to actually use it.  I played around a bit watching various folks streaming and there were a few issues.  The biggest thing I kept running into was the stream was hitching periodically.  It also seemed that people were confused and simply unprepared to field YouTube chat.  Also it feels strange that when I interact with other people I show up as “Tales of the Aggronaut” which is my YouTube channel and not “Belghast”.  I am wondering if this is a setting somewhere I can configure, but thusfar I have not found it.  In fact there seems to be really limited configuration options for channels in the first place, which means… I sure hope you had your YouTube channel set up how you wanted it before the gaming site imports it!

On some level I find this all interesting, but mostly in passing.  I’ve recently switched from attempting to make Hitbox a thing, to giving up and just using Twitch because I simply got more random viewers.  I felt like Hitbox was the superior service in every way, because the most crucial thing for me is minimal delay between your stream and the channel chat.  It becomes so awkward to try and hold a conversation with someone who happens to be watching your stream where there is a lengthy delay.  Twitch recently put in functionality to help alleviate some of this, and it works…  sometimes.  In order for me to even consider switching to YouTube, there would have to be a set up similar to Hitbox where there was little to no delay.  The problem being that what I am hearing in practice is that the chat delay is often longer than that of Twitch currently.  I guess at some point I will swap the configuration in OBS and give it a test to see how precisely it works.  The other thing that concerns me is that from what I understand your stream gets backed up to your YouTube channel regardless.  I liked being able to pick and choose what I exported from Twitch, keeping my YouTube channel as a cleaner version of whatever I happened to stream.  What are your thoughts so far if you have tried it or watched someone else streaming on it?

Drag Experience

Diablo III 2015-08-26 22-24-28-86

When Diablo 3 2.0 was released the AggroChat folks played it quite a bit.  For the most part all of us had characters in the level 60ish range… that is except for Kodra.  Kodra had not really played much Diablo 3, but we knew that the game granted some extreme experience to folks being drug along with you.  Over the course of a few play sessions we managed to catch him up, but it was an exceptionally fraught experience for him.  Last night after our Final Fantasy XIV raid, my good friend Grace asked if I wanted to tag along as she farmed in Diablo.  She would get bonus loot and I would be able to soak in the lions share of experience.  During the course of an hour and a half I went from level 40 on my Crusader to level 70 gaining about 5 paragon levels after that.  I got to experience first hand the sort of game play Kodra did, and I have to say I understand why it frustrated him.  I would have leveled so much faster…  if I could stay alive.  Grace was farming Torment V which meant if anything even glanced in my direction I exploded in a violent eruption of giblets.  I was simply playing a different game than what she was… which was more akin to dodgeball.  Carefully trying to stay in the part of the screen where the mobs were not spawning, and dodging projectiles as they came in.

Diablo III 2015-08-27 00-07-23-66

The resulting experience however was just silly.  There was no point in ever repairing my completely broken body, because I was leveling out of my gear too fast for it to matter.  Finally when I hit 70 I was able to piece together enough gear to be “passable”.  The biggest problem is just how behind the curve you end up being when you finally hit the level cap.  While I could survive damage for a bit, I lacked any semblance of gear to be able to actually do Torment V style damage.  We did manage to encounter a few bugs that kept us from getting loot.  The saddest of these occasions was when some treasure goblins died just out of bounds and I was able to watch a dozen legendary patterns rotting in a place I could not loot from.  However we also completed a number of bounties, and from those I got plenty of patterns as well.  This allowed me at the end of the night to craft a few legendaries and a green chest piece and get my gear at least to a point where I could function.  I am super thankful for the speed run, because this gives me something to dink around with until the new season starts Friday.  Right now the game plan is to start a Female Warrior, since I love Sonya so much in Heroes of the Storm.  The crusader is awesome, but I am not sure if I want to duplicate that experience again so quickly.

KingsIsle Blaugust Prizes

KingsIsle is Awesome

WizardGraphicalClient 2015-08-20 06-13-01-02

Some of you may know KingsIsle games as the creator of the wildly popular Wizard 101, Pirate 101 and the upcoming mobile monster destruction game Rise and Destroy.  For those who do not they occupy a unique niche in the MMO industry.  They create these awesomely rich cartoon worlds populated with tons of content, and all of aimed at being appropriate for pretty much all ages to play.  I’ve not spent a ton of time playing these games but on a whim one weekend some of the AggroChat folks spent it rolling brand new characters in Wizard 101 and wandering around together.  The game just exudes charm and I had enough fun that weekend that I decided to spend a little money on the game even though I really didn’t intend to keep playing it regularly.  I’ve always heard they have an amazing community, and that KingsIsle in general does a lot to try and foster this.  However I was pleasantly shocked when I was contacted by a representative from KingsIsle yesterday and handed some prizes for our Blaugust event.  They handed me several codes for special bundles in both Wizard 101 and Pirate 101, each bundle having a retail price of between $29 and $39 bucks.  That is absolutely awesome, and I actually spent a bit more time playing my Wizard 101 character yesterday.  For those curious, I dug up the release videos for each of the trailers.  I have yet to decide how I will reward these but it is awesome to have more options in the prize pool.  If you interact with any of the KingsIsle employees, seriously give them a huge thank you!

Grand Tourney Gauntlet Bundle for Wizard 101

HooDoo Bundle for Pirate 101

Exhaustion Hits

Diablo III 2015-08-19 21-31-38-91

Last night is traditionally the raid night for my second static group in Final Fantasy XIV.  However we were missing a significant number of the key players, namely our second healer and tank.  For a bit we considered other options, and were on the verge of just running an expert for the day and calling it good.  Problem being as I sat there at the keyboard waiting for things to happen I kept dozing off while leaning forward, literally waking up when my head banged my boom microphone.  So instead of doing Final Fantasy XIV shenanigans I retired to the couch to peacefully doze in and out of consciousness while waiting on my wife to get home.  I didn’t really want to go to bed for real yet, because once I conk out I am often times dead to the world… and I wanted to make sure she made it home safely and didn’t have car trouble or anything out of the ordinary like that.  Before the attempt at raiding, and a small bit afterwards I continued playing some Diablo 3.  The game worked mostly because I had no one relying on me, and quite frankly I was playing on normal level which means I can doze off for a second here and there and suffer zero consequences from it.  After I beat the normal storyline and unlock the content I will end up dialing up the difficulty as I attempt to level to 70 before the 23rd.

This is really a stupid mission I have set out on…  largely because I really need to be in Final Fantasy XIV instead capping esoterics for the week.  The interesting thing about Season play in Diablo 3 though is it feels like they have ratcheted up the drop rates of everything.  While my profile has not updated to show it yet… at level 13 my crusader already has three legendary drops… including Genzaniku the awesome axe that summons a spirit to fight for you.  When I entered into this seasonal thing I fully expected to lose my character at the end of the season…  because I didn’t actually do any research before saying “sure” and clicking on the seasonal button.  I guess however everything you earn in season just rolls over into your normal characters at the end of a season which is pretty frickin cool.  So even if I don’t make any real progress in season 3, I will absolutely be starting a fresh season 4 character to play as well.  I guess in the coming days I will be popping into Final Fantasy XIV to get in an expert or two and then popping into Diablo 3 because it makes an excellent way to wind down for the evening.  I mostly enjoy soloing over there, but I am always looking for people to chat with while I am doing it.  I finally got around to adding my friend Byx last night to battle.net and I know there are tons of other people that I should as well.  I am finding that I am really enjoying the crusader, but in truth all of the classes I have played so far have been enjoyable in one way or another.  I just find it so bizarre that at this point, World of Warcraft is probably my least favorite Blizzard game.