Nineteen Years

AggroChat 59 – The Shadowrun Dragonfall Show

Last night we got the folks together to record the fourth AggroChat game club show, this time devoted to Tamrielo’s pick.  Shadowrun: Dragonfall is the second game in the Shadowrun: Returns series from the wildly successful kickstarter process.  While the first game focused mostly on getting the engine correct, this game focuses more on weaving an interesting narrative in the Shadowrun setting.  In tonights show we delve deep into the game and talk about the various choices we made while playing it.  Please be warned this is a full spoiler show, and we will talk about some of the plot twists and the alternate choice paths that you can make in the game.  I highly suggest that if you intend to play this game,  that you revisit this show after doing so as not to spoil any of the content.


This title is auspicious for various reasons, primarily because it is the first title that everyone joining in the show either beat or came extremely close to beating it.  Kodra and I started recording tonight and during the course of the show actually defeated it.  Ash however is in the final stretch making him only about thirty minutes away.  The other extremely unique thing about this game is it is quite literally the first game we have played that we all were able to give a big thumbs up to.  Join us next month for Kodra’s title as well called There Came an Echo, which is a voice controlled real time strategy game… that is certain to lead to some strange conversations.  Additionally if you played Shadowrun: Dragonfall along with us, please head over to and drop the team a line with what you thought about the game.

Nineteen Years

It was roughly nineteen years ago yesterday that my wife and I first got together as a couple.  In truth we use May 30th as a close approximation of our “dating anniversary” because honestly neither of us really know the EXACT date.  For the most part we consider it to be the more important anniversary and try and at least acknowledge it every year.  We are not big into gifts and never really have been.  We tend to label things we were already going to get as “anniversary gifts” after the fact.  Like apparently the wooden rocking chair I got my wife awhile back is her anniversary gift, and according to my wife my new SUV and the used iPad 2 I will be getting Monday is my gift.  It seems like I made out like a bandit until you learn how we spent our anniversary.

Friday was the last day with kids for my wife and thus begins the yearly ritual of packing up her room.  This year however it is a bit more stressful for her because she is having to entirely vacate her cubical.  When they moved into the building they created this “collaboration room” for the teachers, and set it up in quite possibly the least collaborative method known to man…  the office cube farm.  This summer however it seems like they finally got the memo and are going to tear down the cube farm and replace it with a much more open shared workspace.  That said she has to completely move out of both her own personal cube and another cube for a program she manages.  So yesterday I spent my anniversary packing up these cubes in boxes and moving them as she worked on packing away stuff in her classroom.  It is not the most glamorous anniversary in the world but it was me helping her be less stressed so I think in the grand scheme of things it was a win.

End of School Stress

There are times in life when I have to fight my nature.  I tend to be fairly protective of my friends and family, and I especially feel protective of my wife.  She is a strong badass of a woman, who does not need me to fight her battles for her… but there are occasions when that instinct still kicks in.  Part of the reason she is so damned stressed right now revolves around an event that happened Friday night.  She is a rockstar of a teacher, and I mean that in every sense of the word.  She will fight for these kids and bend over backwards to try and make sure they are doing whatever they need to be doing.  This week was one of those cases where she bent over backwards to try and make sure one of her students was doing what they needed to be doing.  The problem being this isn’t always appreciated and sometimes misguided parents can add to her stress level.

It is extremely hard for me to see her in the frustrated state she was in Friday.  Every fiber of my being wants to protect her from the people who were stressing her out.  Thankfully school is over and due to the extremely supportive administration things will work themselves out.  But for the time being she has been wrestling with whether she did the right thing, or enough to help her students.  For this reason and many others I am happy to help her try and at least get one stress out of the way.  I know I would not be half the teacher she is, because quite frankly if I had to deal with half of the things she suffers with a smile…  I would have gone postal a long time ago.  She however has a level of dedication that can only be admired and respected.  So I spent our anniversary packing up boxes, moving file folders, and moving it around the building.  It might not be a glamorous chain of events, but if it lightened her burden then I think it was a successful way to spend our day.

Botany Mastered

A Very Cardgamey Show

It seems when I think we have nothing to talk about… we end up talking for two hours finally having to force ourselves to stop talking to close out the show.  Last night was one of those night as I was joined by Tam, Kodra, Thalen and Ashgar.  Sometimes a clear theme is presented and last night inadvertedly this happened.  As we rambled through the various things we have been playing, it turns out that a lot of us had been playing card games in one form or another.  We got this interesting peak into the secret underground gaming scene of Seatle that Kodra has now apparently gotten his ticket into.  He recorded this weeks AggroChat on a quick jaunt away from this all day gaming event that was happening in a nearby hotel.  The kind of event that isn’t advertised, and that you apparently have to know someone to get into.  This is not starting to sound like fight club at all is it?

Other than that I shift things around a bit in the show and I actually go first.  Usually by the time we get around to the games I have been playing my co-hosts are bordering on being asleep so I opted to talk about my stuff first.  Which was a large course of Echo of Souls, and beating Wolfenstein The Old Blood which is an absolutely enjoyable but exceptionally short version of the original Wolfenstein game redone in New Order style.  Machinegames has somehow created this magical mix of the glory days of the 90s era shooter mixed with the narrative power of modern gaming.  Ashgar once again is going through his DS collection and playing things that he had not beaten before, this time jaunting down a time travelling avenue.  Thalen extolled the joys of Hand of Fate, and Kodra rediscovered Heroes of Might and Magic 3.  More than that however we talked a lot about card games and board games in general.  Was a fun and chill show to record and hopefully that comes across in the production.

Botany Mastered

ffxiv 2015-05-10 10-28-39-32 Last night while recording the podcast and editing it I spent my time in Final Fantasy XIV working on Botany.  For some time I have been working on pushing up the two critical harvesting abilities Mining and Botany before actually starting the Disciple of the Hand push.  I figured having the ability to go out into the world and gather things would be beneficial when making the push to level all the other things.  The Disciple of the Land classes also gave me a bit of a buffer to psyche myself up for diving headlong into the pit of madness that is crafting.  At this point begins the money grind and thankfully I am up to almost 2 million gil to help support this push.  I guess the first order of business is to level all of the professions to 15 so that I can get the best cross class abilities to help with the rest of the grind.  My original thought was to take everything to 15 in no particular order, and then start walking them up 5 levels at a time.  So take everything to 20, everything to 25 etc.  This also allows me to convert all of the crafting gear along the way hopefully keeping my vaults from overflowing.

Another thing that I really need to start doing is working on my beast tribe daily quests.  One of the things that Ashgar talked about on the podcast was the interesting quest that comes at the end of maxing each of the factions.  There is apparently a storyline that somehow joins up all of the rebellious beast tribe factions into a “Justice League” of sorts.  I would really love to see this storyline before Heavensward launches, but at this point I have right around a month to accomplish all of this.  I am not sure if I have given myself enough time, especially given that I keep dinking around in other games at the same time.  I am starting to feel under the gun with wanting to accomplish so many things before I officially say goodbye to “A Realm Reborn”.  So far FFXIV 2.0 has been an amazing ride and I am amped about what Heavensward and 3.0 has to offer.  I guess tomorrow night the 2.57 patch will be going in, and I am wondering what exactly it will bring as well.  I would be extremely happy if they uncapped Poetics gains… but I somehow doubt that will be the case.

Bad At Shadowrun

Dragonfall 2015-05-09 14-21-57-95 Yesterday I spent a good chunk of time working on Shadowrun Dragonfall and I have decided that I need to just start over.  I spent too much of my time on my main character too focused on a specific tree.  I was planning on going all melee all of the time and quite frankly that is a poor choice to go with.  I spent most of combat running around the room chasing down mobs that would move away from me and attack from ranged.  Additionally I am going to have to throw out some of my instincts because I straight wiped my party trying to stay and fight against unwinnable odds.  All of that said there are aspects of the game I am really enjoying, but right now I am just pretty horrible at actually doing it.  I also need to learn to save far more often because this game will straight kill you at times with a smile.  It is going to be an interesting show when we ultimately talk about this game but I am really wanting to make it further than I did with the previous games.  I would love to beat this one because in many ways the gameplay reminds me of the Fallout series.

The thing is the game gives you one of every classes so I guess what you end up playing is just for flavor.  I will probably go Street Samurai once again because that was always my favorite character to play in the actual Shadowrun campaigns I have been in.  I didn’t really care that much for the little dwarf I rolled so I will probably go something more generic like a human this time around.  All in all I was a fun several hours I spent yesterday, and as it is raining insanely outside… I plan on going downstairs and hanging out on the sofa all day while watching Netflix.  Shadowrun is precisely the perfect kind of game for a day like today.  So I will either be doing that or be working on tradeskills in final fantasy.  In any case I have a gloriously lazy Sunday ahead of me.  These are the types of days that gaming was made for.  This massive lung infection has gotten me out of having to travel for Mother’s Day so right now we are planning on having a re-roll there next weekend when the world is not actively trying to kill us.  Hopefully you have an awesome day too.

5 Settings Prime for MMOs

I know there are several folks out there that really hate it when an franchise gets turned into an MMO.  This is not a post for you in the least, so I will probably only serve to frustrate you this morning.  For me… I love MMOs, it is my favorite type of game, and comprises of the vast majority of games I play.  If you check my Raptr profile you will see that the majority of all the high consumption titles are massively multiplayer online games.  However every now and then there is a setting that feels like it screams to be an MMO.  These are the five settings I want most in MMO form.

5 – Rifts

Rifts cover

For those who have not been hanging around game shops most of their lives… this title could go completely unnoticed.  It never really had the big money marketing that for example Dungeons and Dragons had, but it represents a good chunk of my childhood.  I love the palladium system, not because it was some great feat of gaming.  Quite frankly the rules are pretty lousy if you get down to it and and extremely cumbersome.  What always drew me to the system was the promise of being able to create damned near anything you can think of.  Rifts took this earlier concept of the palladium system and infused it with so much personality.

Rifts sets up an earth where the magic has returned and caused leylines to blaze open across the planet.  When two intersect there is a chance of a dimensional rift opening and spilling forth all manner of crazy into our world.  This alone would be enough for me… but additionally they have set up all sorts of great opposing forces… the Splynn, the Coalition, the Federation of Magic, the Triax, the NGR, the list literally continues on and on as there are over 30 separate sourcebooks each filled with its own list of opposing forces.  Additionally there are some pretty amazing character classes like Glitterboys, Juicers, Cyberknights, Techno Wizard, Ley Line Walker, Psi-Stalker, and again these go on and on.  There is just so much world to wrap a game around, and almost unlimited content to explore for expansions.

4 – Shadowrun


This is another long time dream of mine to see Shadowrun in a massively multiplayer setting.  This was a huge system as I was growing up, and while I never actually played a lot of it, I owned most of the books.  Similar to Rifts it is a setting of an alternate earth, where magic and technology clash.  Drawing upon the William Gibson novel Neuromancer it adds the element of the Matrix and cyber warfare.  I thought this could lead to some really interesting gameplay.  Where part of your party is physically running a dungeon while your decker is going along with you in cyberspace trying to remove obstacles from your path.

Recently the Shadowrun console games have been revitalized in the form of Shadowrun Returns… which is cool but I would much rather have a huge living and breathing world to explore than to do so in a top down tactical setting.  Once again there are tons of source books over the run of this system that could be drawn upon to keep the world going for years.  There is also a similarly long list of really interesting classes to play, with lots of different gameplay styles to explore.

3 – Mass Effect


This one will likely never happen after the tale of Star Wars the Old Republic and how it struggled to find an audience.  But I think we all can admit that Mass Effect as a whole is a much better universe to explore than that of SWTOR.  The ME saga, or at least up until the very end is one of the better science fiction storylines I have experienced.  I would love to see a serialized television show chronicling the exploits of Shepard.  As far as an online universe would go, we would have to set the game significantly earlier than the events of ME1.  Essentially from that game forward there is an apocalyptic destiny set in motion, and that really does not give much room for growth.

In order to make this work we would need to set the game either before or after the main trilogy, and really don’t think ANY of the endings to ME3 gives us enough room to move within game wise.  As a result I would set the game a few years before the events of Mass Effect.  This should allow the game to evolve along the normal course of events that happen in the main trilogy.  Similar to the LOTRO game, you would be different characters in the same universe watching the events play out around you.  There are so many different cultures and opposing viewpoints that it just begs for a MMO to be wrapped around it.

2 – Fallout


War, War Never Changes.  Every time I hear Ron Perlman utter those words I get this massive nostalgic wave of feels was over me.  I love everything there is about the Fallout setting, and have been a series diehard since I saved up the cash in college to buy the first one.  I missed the boat on the whole Wasteland thing, so I am hoping the Kickstarter will give me a taste of what that world would have been line.  I want a Fallout MMO so badly, but more than anything… I want one that CONTROLS like Fallout.  I want so much to like Fallen Earth, but I just cannot get past the control scheme, and it destroys the game for me.

The whole post apocalyptic wasteland is such fertile ground for an MMO.  Especially a huge sandbox setting like Fallout.  As far as classes go, I think you would have to do the same sort of open ended treatment that you already have in Fallout.  Mainly I would be happy with just allowing a persistent and co-operative version of the existing Fallout games.  There are already so many different competing interests in the wasteland, and I feel like you could pretty much plunk another game down at any point during the current storyline.  Mainly I just want to join the brotherhood of steel and wander around the wasteland in power armor like I always do.

1 – Elder Scrolls


Okay I admit it… this is absolutely cheating since we all know there is already an Elder Scrolls MMO on the way.  However until it releases sometime next year, this one stays at number one with a bullet.  There has never been another series that has captured so much of my imagination as has the Elder Scrolls Series.  I love literally everything about the world.  The absolute vastness of it all, the lore, the Aedra and Daedra.  Nothing inspires me more than having a game with a fully fleshed out world and its pantheon of gods.  I think that more than anything is what glued my attention to Everquest and Norrath, and the complex relationship between the various gods in Tamriel makes that setting seem simplistic.

More than anything, I love the freedom of the Elder Scrolls settings to completely abandon my quest chain and wander off into the world exploring freely.  I love that there is always something to find hidden in this nook or cranny.  I love almost more than anything that there are tons of books in the games, each with their own story that only serves to make the world more rich and three dimensional.  You have some amazing races, each with their own deep background and other races that no longer exist like the Dwemer have have littered the landscape with their former greatness.  I just hope that the MMO version can gather up all this great lineage and give me vast tracts of interesting to go off and explore.  This is the game I am most looking forward to, and you can bet that when it releases I will pretty much forsake everything else at least for awhile.