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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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]

The Family I Know

Of Large Families

I grew up Catholic which also means I come from a long line of extremely large families.  My Grandfather was one of five children, and each of them for the most part had five or six children of their own.  My mother for example is one of six siblings, and my “aunt” that just passed away is one of five.  The end result is that the get-togethers on that side of the family where relatively massive.  As a child I was completely comfortable with the way that “mom” and “dad” worked and “grandma” and “grandpa” but most of the other relationships just baffled me.  As a result pretty much any adult female that was not either my mother or my grandmother ended up being my “Aunt”.  No one decided to correct me so it stuck.

My Aunt Marilyn while technically my first cousin once removed, was an Aunt in every since of the word that actually mattered.  She was this quiet presence in everything that happened in my life from the occasional little league game, to getting my eagle scout and to countless band concerts.  She had a way of showing up at exactly the right moment.  She also had this magical way of knowing exactly what was hip and trendy and whatever us kids might be into at the time.  This morning I woke up to an alarm clock that she got me when I was 12 or 13, and every time I wake up to it I think of her.  It was little things like that, something that she knew I would need but I didn’t even realize myself that just baffle me.

The Family I Know

At the Rosary on Tuesday night I got up to talk about my Aunt which is something I had wished I had been able to do at my Grandmothers funeral recently.  I had regretted not saying something then, so I figured I shouldn’t pass the occasion now.  In many ways this is the family I knew the most growing up and as a result they feel most like home.  As kids my mother and my aunt Margaret Ann decided that me and my second cousins would be closer than that.  As a result they tried to create as many opportunities for us to get together and play.  Growing up I spent huge swaths of time either at their house or them in my hometown.  When my wife and I decided to elope, it was my cousin that I called upon to stand up for me on the spur of the moment.

As we have all gotten busier we have drifted apart but seeing them yesterday was an extremely good thing.  We exchanged the most current cell phones and promised to make plans to get together, and I sincerely hope we will.  My generation is just going to have to start putting out the effort to make occasions to get together just like my parents generation did.  As each of these members of the previous generation passes on what is going with them is more than their life.  What is leaving is the glue that held us together.  We will have to step in to make sure that bond doesn’t break.  Each of us has reached a point in our lives where we are more or less stable, so it is time to start trying to see each other more often.

Down the Rabbit Hole

ffxiv 2014-08-27 15-13-35-284 When I finally got home and put out a few fires, I was able to log into Final Fantasy XIV and check out the festival that started today.  It seemed fitting that while I had been remembering family, the game had been having an in game remembrance event called the rising.  For those that do not realize it, “A Realm Reborn” or FFXIV 2.0 is both literally and figuratively rising from the ashes of the previous game.  When 1.0 came to a close they destroyed the world with the dread comet Dalmund and the arrival of the Primal Bahamut.  The Rising event commemorates the rising of the world out of the ashes of the previous one.  There is a single relatively short quest,  that comes long with an extremely charming bit of storyline.  Completing the quest gets the players a “Huzzah” emote that at least as a warrior causes me to jump up high into the air with my axe held aloft.

My focus over the last few days has been on getting my White Mage to thirty four so I can cast stoneskin.  The problem is I have noticed I am sorely lacking another ability that comes from Thaumaturge.  There was a point last night when I was healing a dungeon that I simply could not cast fast enough to save the tank who had moved out of range of my healing.  If I had swiftcast which is a Thaumaturge cross class ability I likely could have saved him.  Seeing the need for it I opted to start working on my Thaumaturge to at least get him to level 26.  This is the way that everything seems to go in Final Fantasy XIV.  In order to be truly efficient in one thing, you need a whole bunch of other things leveled as well.  For the moment my goals are gearing the Bard through the hunt quests, and then working on Thaumaturge to 26 so I can continue onwards with my White Mage to the level cap.