Week in Gaming 12/13/2015

Blogging is Hard

KnightsOfTheOldRepublicComicjpgI’ve been in a bit of a relative funk this week, and found it extremely hard to get started writing most mornings.  It is like for whatever reason my will to put fingers to keyboard and make important sounding things happen… has been drained out of me.  At this point we are a few months away from going three whole years worth of blog posts, and I guess in a way it is having its toll on me.  At this point I have far more regular readers than I have ever had at any other point in the blogs history, and that is freaking awesome.  The fact that I have so many supportive people with my back…  is ultimately the thing that keeps me moving forward on days like today.  We recorded this insanely huge podcast last night where we took the normal crew of myself, Grace, Kodra, Tam and Thalen…  and included some other friends InkyBrushes, Nephsys and Pizzmaid.  Sadly we were missing Ash but he had his own version of a really rough week.  Combined we focused a single topic… and recorded for over two hours…  which compressed down to just under it.  The problem being… by the time I did even the most basic editing pass…  it was around one in the morning.

I’ve been fighting what I think is largely sleep deprivation most of the week, and it has ended up with me falling asleep as early as 8 pm on a couple of the nights.  Well granted I went to bed at 8pm… and read comics on my new kindle but still I ended up drifting off to sleep about 30 minutes to an hour later.  I have been getting a lot of use out of my Marvel Unlimited account, and largely using it to read the backlog of awesome Star Wars comics.  At first I went through what was available of the modern series, namely Star Wars and the Vader series.  I started on the Princess Leia series but struggled with it, mostly because I simply was not a huge fan of the art style.  Recently though I have been running back through and reading the Knights of the Old Republic series from the start.  I am maybe a dozen episodes in at this point and I am loving it…  this totally feels like I am consuming comics in the same way I binge Netflix shows.  I just wish the lag between print and them showing up on Marvel Unlimited was not quite so great.  The latest issues of the modern Star Wars comic to show up are from August of this year, but what I am really hoping is that they release the issues on a semi-monthly basis just with that lag.  I can totally deal with reading comics late…  I just want to be able to read them with a certain regularity.

World of Shipyards

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This week has largely been about reconciling my differences with the Shipyard system.  I commented last week that they were essentially a worst possible version of the Garrison system…. and in many ways I don’t have a significant change in that opinion.  What did change however is that I realized that after so many of you told me about it…  the Garrison addon I was already using had built in functionality to automate a good deal of the shipyard bullshittery as well.  The end result is that I have somehow managed to learn to live with the Shipyards and they have rewarded me well for my blind submission.  At this point between the three characters that have them…  I have earned a hippo mount, a bunch of hellfire citadel gear caches,  and more left sharks than I could ever have a use for… I seriously have three sitting in the inventory of my MooCowAdin.  The problem with all of this of course is the fact that I now need to feed the beast that is the shipyard, and the only reliable way of doing this… is schlepping out to Tanaan jungle and completing the daily mission.  Now some of my characters have been stockpiling oil from Garrison missions for along time now and won’t really have this problem… but Belghast is constantly struggling to pay his daily upkeep.

Other than this I have been slowly inching up my gear levels on Belghast and Belgrace, and attempting to run the Timewalking event on my alts… that can actually benefit from the 660-675 gear that they can drop.  The funniest part of the week however has been learning that I don’t simply remember the BC era content as being significantly rougher… that it actually really is.  PUG groups are simply not prepared for mobs that crowd control and fear the hell out of players… and are in no way ready for just how hard everything hits.  There have been more wipes from the party finder than I have had in ages… and I am really enjoying every minute of it.  The alliance side…  has been a colossal mess of chain group joins and splits until finally we push through the dungeon.  Horde side on the other hand.. people just buckle down and pick themselves up after a wipe and keep pushing forward.  I guess when you have to wait through a thirty minute dps queue… you are significantly less likely to abandon ship at the first sign of trouble.  Alliance will always be my first home because that is where my army of alts lives…  but I have to say Horde is growing on me really quickly.

Fabian Strategy Lives


I know I spent a good deal of my post yesterday gushing about the new and revised Fabian Strategy… but seriously I am in love with this gun.  It had been roughly a month since I had seriously spent much time in Destiny, and yesterday I poked my head back in.  Apart from being woefully out of practice, I am still amazed at just how fun the moment to moment play is in this game.  I spent a bit of time yesterday trying to play Battlefront, and the gameplay just doesn’t hold a candle to just how good Destiny feels.  Now that I have this weapon that allows me to abuse all of my instincts, I can see myself really settling on it as my main gun.  Now I have said that numerous times… and I know I said it recently with the Xhalo Supercell…  but seriously….  this gun is amazing.  I will always be a Titan at heart, because I want to play like a tank in most games.  This gun makes me FEEL like a tank, because the chance of regeneration upon kill ends up firing a lot more frequently than I think most people realize.  There have been several strikes that I survived entirely because of this weapon constantly triggering my shield regeneration.  It is my goal this week to pop in periodically, and not go quite so long between play sessions.



Shoddy Shipyards

Struggling to Blog

This morning I am struggling a bit to find purpose as I sit down at the keyboard.  As of last night I reached level 58 in Final Fantasy XIV on my Warrior and am not quite to the next level wall.  Things are happening that are enriching the experience, but those same things are massive revelations and spoilers and I am concerned about giving too much away.  As a result I am just not sure what to talk about.  I could break out some more of my existential angst that I can presently only be a tank when someone in guild asks for groups.  I could comment vaguely about how much I am enjoying the story, and how awesome it is going so far.  Neither of which seem all that fulfilling however and as I sit here tickety tacking my keys my mind is a blank page when it comes to other things that I might talk about.

I had these grand ideas that I would stream some more this weekend, but since my wife spent most of her time downstairs… I was inclined to do the same.  I don’t like streaming when I could be disturbing her, so instead I just kept playing.  I really wish Forge did what I wanted it to do… namely that it would take real screenshots to a directory, instead of getting uploaded to the Forge website.  The problem I have run into in the past is that I cannot run Fraps at the same time as Forge, and without Fraps I don’t have my stable source of screenshotting anything that crosses my screen.  I tend to disable the in game screenshot keys and use fraps to dump all of my game screenshots into one standard directory to make pulling from it for blogging purposes easier.  The other problem with forge is that the clip size was too limited to snapshot an entire boss fight.  I also wish there was a way to back up my stream to youtube the same way I can with twitch.  Nonetheless I might give it another shot soon.

Shoddy Shipyards

Wow-64 2015-06-29 05-59-50-60 Yesterday I spent some time in World of Warcraft, for all the wrong reasons.  The night before I had left my phone upstairs on the charger, and by the time I got situated on the sofa and realized that I didn’t have my phone… and as a result did not have access to my FFXIV authenticator I could not be bothered to get up.  The Blizzard client on the other hand authenticates far less often, when connecting from the same machine over and over… and I was able to get in with just my account information.  As a result I played for a bit, long enough to unlock Shipyards and the first and I think second camps in Tanaan Jungle.  The renovations to my garrison however that resulted in the building of my shipyard however were not quite so successful as I noticed I now apparently have a break in my wall.  It was one of those things that I caught out of the corner of my eye as I rode past, and now I cannot keep myself from seeing it every time I ride to the shipyards to check on progress.

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The journey into the jungle is pretty much the same as the journey out of it.  You complete objectives which moves the storyline further, and unlocks an additional base camp.  I am not terribly far into it at this point so I am not sure how long this mission goes.  It was around the time I got to the second camp that I needed to stretch my legs… and while I was up I grabbed my phone so I could play other things.  I have to give Blizzard credit because they do this moving target as you go through a zone thing really well.  There were several moments like this during the leveling process, where you help this or that base to progress the storyline, and those tended to be the best part of this expansion.  If they had somehow managed to create an entire expansion around moving the ball forward and delivered new content on a monthly basis I think I would be significantly happier than I am currently.  As it is right now patch 6.2 just feels like too little too late for me.  Other than the break in my outer defenses, the craftsmanship of this patch seems to be on par with the rest of the content they have released, so at some point I want to finish to see how things progress.

More Mobile Gaming

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One of my biggest complaints this expansion has been that Garrisons turned out the way they did.  I was hoping for player housing, and what I got instead was a mobile game…  that was not mobile at all.  All of the mechanics that go into the garrison and the shipyard as well are the same sort of ploys that go into getting people to keep playing a mobile app.  I have been playing the hell out of Fallout Shelter for example, and it is the exact same sort of gameplay as you find in the Garrison.  You have abilities that you use and then timers that you are waiting out… so you can do additional things… all the while juggling limited resources and trying to find ways to replenish them.  There is nothing really “wrong” with this sort of cooldown based gameplay, because it seems to work phenomenally well in getting us to keep pushing buttons on our phones.  The problem here however is…  we are not on our phones.  In fact we are having to do this sort of upkeep based gameplay on a client that requires a PC to log in and check.  The end result has been me logging into my characters in the morning and in the evening for most of this expansion to do nothing but swap missions.

Wow-64 2015-06-29 06-04-40-07 I think more than anything… this has been what has grated on my nerves this expansion.  These mechanics place me into the game on a regular interval…  but I am not actually “playing” the game when I am in it.  Instead I am juggling the upkeep of a mobile game, without an easy to use mobile interface.  As I have moved forward into the Shipyards it feels like they are taking the whole follower mechanic to the next level with allowing players to customize the ships…  which means you need to go locate the blueprints to make various upgrades, while also locating blueprints for various ships.  It just feels like this would be a really enjoyable experience had they added it to the WoW Armory app as a mini-game that you could either interface with in game… or through an easy to navigate menu on your phone.  Instead the result is giving us something that feels more cumbersome than daily quests ever did, and at the same time extracting us from the game world… and keeping us holed up in our garrison scheduling this next batch of missions for our dozen alts.  This experience makes me question even further if Blizzard actually understands its player base at all… and what made their game great for all those years.