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.

First Week on PC

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This is one of those mornings when I am not even sure where to start the post.  It is like I have all of these disconnected thoughts in my head and am having a very hard time wrangling them together into something that follows any manner of logical progression.  Destiny 2 released on the PC last Tuesday and since then I have played a significant amount of it, only really taking a single night off to go do something else.  According to WastedOnDestiny.com I’ve played 32 hours of the game since release…  which is officially more than I played Destiny 1 on the Xbox One.  On the PS4 I managed to make it to 267 in that very first week, and on PC I managed to break the 265 cap and push on to 271 which makes me happy.  I am nowhere near as lucky as my friend Raz was…  who is sitting at something crazy like 282.  There are ways to do this…  but they involve madness and way more grinding than I was able to get in this week or really wanted to do.  Additionally I started working on secondary characters and managed to push the Hunter to 18 while recording the podcast… and finished leveling it to 20 and making it through all but the final quest last night.  I also started up my Warlock and got her to level 8, which was mostly about getting my 5000 clan xp to help level Greysky Armada.  We managed to hit rank 3 which is extremely awesome and is largely made possible by the fact that myself and Wolfy started leveling the clan a bit on PS4 before the release of PC.

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On Friday night we decided to give the Nightfall a go, which in truth I was uncertain about given that I only actually completed the Nightfall once on the PS4 side… and even then it was a bit of a pain in the ass.  I also remembered us being significantly higher than the 250ish we were when we tried it.  Together Tamrielo, RustySpork and I managed to get the boss down with about 3 minutes left on the clock, which is not good enough for the rat king…  but makes me happy nonetheless.  Yesterday afternoon I gave it another attempt with Mor and Grace and once again finished…  but just barely with me taking down the boss via a couple of pulse grenades and auto rifle fire at about the 1 second left on the clock mark.  Mor was just barely at the 240ish requirement for zoning in, so I feel like in the future so long as we are bringing in 260s we should be fine for this.  This week also was a bit of an aberration in that it was extremely easy to cheese the objectives because of the modifier giving us insane grenade and melee regeneration.  Striker Titan with double grenades meant I could clean out a bunch of adds almost as fast as I could throw them.  They still hit insanely hard though and I just don’t have the recovery yet that I really should for doing harder content.  This largely comes from just wearing a bunch of scraps instead of something resembling a full set of gear.  I am really hoping in a few weeks I can get the full set of Titan Iron Banner gear again because it makes for a really excellent base for shenanigans.

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I would have finished the Hunter but instead I took a lengthy break Sunday afternoon and worked on doing the weekly milestones on the PS4 side of the pond.  I have to say after playing so much PC…  the console version just feels sluggish and odd.  Everything seems to move more slowly, which makes the crucible much easier…  but everything else feel really odd.  Not only was the visual fidelity much lower than even my laptop running at greatly downgraded settings…  but just the movement speed of my character felt slower.  I noticed this when doing some of the intro missions where you are limping through the city…  on the console there was a specific point I could make it to before my character was forced to pause for a moment.  On the PC I could make it considerably past that point before I was forcibly halted, so my running theory is that the PC version just has faster movement speeds.  Weirdness aside I did manage to get used to the controller again and finish up Clan XP, Call to Arms and Flashpoint milestones which were enough to finish pushing me to 305.  I feel much better hibernating the character now that it is sitting at the level cap rather than being just slightly under it.  I will probably keep logging in at least once a week to finish off these easy milestones however because I feel like I need to keep contributing some Clan XP to TQMB in addition to all the work I am doing PC side with GREY.  Eventually once I have gotten my PC characters to a more manageable state I am sure I will start doing those three main milestones on six characters…  3 on PC and 3 on PS4.  It takes me roughly an hour to do all of the things needed to earn those three luminous engrams, and after a point that becomes my routine of logging in a new character each night and getting their progress.

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I am absolutely loving playing the game on PC because it fits my play style considerably better.  With the console it forced me to be in the room I have my PS4 set up in, but with PC  I can either be playing it on my gaming desktop or downstairs on my laptop.  The laptop doesn’t run it perfectly and I am having to throttle it down to 720 p and a few other considerations…  but it runs well enough for me to be able to do almost anything I might need to do.  For something like a Nightfall where there is a timer on the line I wouldn’t want to push it…  but It is more than fine for some strikes or crucible.  My activity of choice however is still doing public events and random token farming through chests and patrols.  My goal for tonight is to attempt to push the hunter through the various things needed to unlock her three easy luminous engrams, and then to maybe get her through the Nightfall.  From there my goal by next weeks reset is to have my Warlock finished off so I can start triple dipping on the powerful rewards front.  While it has been a pure joy starting over on the PC…  I do still want to arrive back at where I left off…  and hopefully in a much faster time frame than the seven weeks it took to get me there on console.  I am booned by the fact that the game seems to have traction among the AggroChat crew and with that means that there is likely going to be raiding before too much longer.  I am assuming the raid will open up tomorrow much like it did on the console side, and then I am assuming next week we will have faction rally once more.  Destiny 2 on PC is pretty much everything I had hoped it would be.

Ready For Launch

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With the launch of Destiny 2 on PC tomorrow I mulled around at great length over this extended weekend on how to best commemorate the moment in blog form.  Over the course of the last seven weeks since the launch of Destiny 2on the PS4 my blog has been filled with a bunch of information about the game in general.  For the most part I have tried very hard to stay the hell away from story spoilers, but inevitably some of them will have made their way through that mental filter.  As a result I thought today I would sit down and write out some general tips about the game, links to tools that I use, and the sources of information I consume.

The Classes of Destiny 2

One of the most important decisions that you are going to make from the moment you fire up the game is what class best fits your play style.  Ultimately you are probably going to roll one character of each class because your vault is shared between all of your characters.  However you are still going to likely end up with one you consider your main.  For me I have been maining Titan since the moment I set eyes on the class and nothing so far has caused me to stray too far off the path.  However I have friends who feel equally passionate about the Warlock or Hunter.  Essentially each class has a core fantasy that it is based around and I am going to take a few minutes to talk about each and their specializations.

destiny_2_titan_parade_emblemThe Titan

The core class fantasy is the “Space Tank” for lack of a better term for it.  This is a beefy class that benefits from increased resilience.  Among the guardians these are the front line defenders and have a storied history surrounding the defence of the last city on earth and the Tower.  It has specializations based on each of the three core elements in the game.

  • Sentinel “Void Captain America” – this class wields void energy and can form it in a shield that they can then use to attack enemies.  This can be thrown as a ranged attack, used as an enhanced melee swing or consumed to generate a protective bubble.
  • Sunbreaker “Super Hammer Bros” – this class wields fire energy and uses it to hurl flaming hammers at their opponents.  There are various tweaks that can be chosen like one that causes the hammers to leave flaming puddles on the ground.
  • Striker “Hulk Smash” – this class wields arc energy and uses it to slam down at the ground causing a giant area of effect attack knocking enemies back and dealing damage to them.  Additionally there are tweaks that let the class crash into opponents when running at high speed and general a much smaller but equally effective version of the slam.

destiny_2_warlock_parade_emblemThe Warlock

The core class fantasy is the “Space Wizard” and you are going to wield magic energy and sling it at your opponents.  The core stat for the Warlock is recovery causing them to bounce back from damage quicker, and they also serve an interesting role as a sort of field medic by being able to drop a shield regeneration puddle on the ground.  Once again they have specializations based on each of the three elements.

  • Dawnblade “Flaming Angel” – this specialization sees the Warlock equip a flaming sword and sprout wings of fire allowing them to hover in the air for short periods of time hurling down fireballs with each swing of their sword.
  • Voidwalker “Void Nuke” – this specialization involves channeling the void into a giant ball of energy that they hurl at their opponents.  Additionally they have the ability to devour energy with their melee hits that they can then use to regenerate their shield.
  • Stormcaller “Emperor Palpatine” – this specialization channels the arc energy into bolts of lightning that fly forth from their hands as they float in the air.  There are some tweaks that allow them to teleport while in this state leaving puddles of electricity on the ground.

destiny_2_hunter_parade_emblemThe Hunter

The core class fantasy here is something along the lines of a “Space Ranger” they combine aspects of rogue, gunslinger and the traditional gambler archetype into one class.  The core class attribute is mobility which will allow them to have a slightly higher base movement speed, and similarly they can dodge out of harm’s way.  They have potentially the widest variety as far as their specializations go.

  • Gunslinger “Three Shot Wonder” – This fire sub class allows them to fire “golden gun” which are three shots that effectively one shot any player and take off a sizeable amount of damage from bosses.  Additionally the class gets the interesting perk of being able to use a ranged melee attack in the form of throwing knives.
  • Arcstrider “Pole Dancer” – This class has the most interesting weapon in the form of a staff made of arc energy that it then uses in a combo system to cause extremely high damage melee attacks.  If you can master the class you will be able to leap across the battlefield and do some really impressive things.
  • Nightstalker “Void Archer” – This specialization literally allows you to materialize a bow out of void energy and fire it at your opponents.  When fired at something other than a player it leaves a ball of void energy on the ground that tethers and blinds targets nearby causing them to take extra damage.

General Tips and Thoughts

  • Get Your Unlocks Out of the Way – There is going to come a point in the main story quest where a number of the NPCs start giving you side quests.  Each one of these is something you are going to want to do because they will ultimately unlock the endgame activities. Especially if you are not level 20 yet these are a good boost of XP when they finally unlock.
  • Trash Your Early Exotics – You will get a few exotics through the main story quest but they will be locked to a specific power level and you will out level them.  You could in theory infuse these up, but remember that you can always rebuy your exotics at 205 power level from the collections tab in your vault for only 10 legendary shards.  I found it easier just to pick them up again once I hit level 20 than to keep infusing them.
  • Save 5 Blue Scout Rifles – Once you hit 20 there will be a planetary quest chain that will require you to dismantle 5 blue or better scout rifles.  When you hit this point you are going to be in a mad dash to get them to drop unless you simply start banking them while you level.
  • Adventures Give Unlock Points – generally speaking while you are leveling the various planetary adventures give you unlock points for your subclasses just like leveling up.  Make sure you check each one and I highly suggest hitting up the ones that have a skill point waiting for you.
  • Do Public Events and Lost Sectors – You will be handed one specialization for your class, but in order for you to get the other two you have to unlock them through drops.  These come from doing stuff on planets like Lost Sectors and Public Events.  If you happen upon an event I highly suggest doing them so you can finish unlocking these specializations.
  • Learn How To Convert Public Events to Heroic – One of the interesting things about public events in Destiny 2 is that they all have some trigger that allows you to push them into a Heroic version where the rewards are significantly greater.  I highly suggest you check out the guide I wrote some time ago on how to convert each of them.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to convert an event when some player is actively working against you without likely meaning to.
  • Hold Off on Powerful Rewards – There will be milestones that state they reward “powerful rewards” that ultimately give you what is called a Luminous Engram.  You want to hold off on using these for as long a possible because they are going to be your single best way to get power level increases once you have hit the 270 soft cap.  Once you have finished a milestone you can hold onto the reward without turning it in and at the end of the week when reset happens they will be automatically mailed to you.
  • Multiple Classes Multiple Rewards – Ultimately if you want to maximize your luminous engrams you are going to probably end up rolling one of each class because they will all get their own set of milestones to turn in.  While armor does not swap between classes, you can swap your weapons via the vault or some of the tools I will share with you below.  This will allow you to keep bumping up your power level by doing multiple sets of turn ins, each time swapping your best gear onto the next character.
  • Keep Returning to Tess Everis – As you level your character Tess Everis the Eververse vendor will keep giving you free packages.  When you reach the level cap of 20, each time you fill an experience bar you will get a “Bright Engram” aka one of the same loot boxes that are sold with the cash currency.  You gain a rested buff that will allow you to get three of these easily each week by doing stuff in game.  As a result the cash shop option really is not needed or that appealing.
  • Save Legendaries You Like – unlike the exotics mentioned above… there is no way to reclaim a lost legendary other than to hope it drops again.  The infusion system allows for you to take a weapon that you loved while leveling and bump it up to current levels.  More importantly start looking out for gear with legendary mods on them, because they will help you bump your power levels up more than normal gear.  Ultimately gear is going to be personal preference, test everything and keep the things you love.
  • Join A Clan – This one I almost forgot but joining a clan is going to unlock a bunch of things eventually.  However up front joining before you have leveled is going to help you in two ways.  Firstly your leveling experience is going to count towards clan experience and help level the clan.  Secondly you will gain more than the 5000 xp needed to unlock the first clan luminous engram, which is going to be your easiest powerful gear reward each week.  Additionally once the clan has leveled it is going to unlock a bunch of perks on the clan banner item Hawthorne is going to hand you.

Powerful Tools

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Destiny Item Manager is the single most powerful tool that I use with the game because it does a few things that you just can’t do without third party intervention.  Say you are going on a strike but your forgot your favorite weapon in the vault.  Using the game interface this would require a trip back to a social space to retrieve it and then having to requeue for the activity.  Destiny Item Manager allows you to swap gear in and out of your vault and between your characters while in game… even in the middle of an activity.  Additionally it has some really interesting tools that allow you to filter and compare stats on gear as well as a really badass duplicate item finger to help clear that vault clutter.  If you so choose you can create weapon loadouts and swap them in and out of your character with the click of your mouse.  It is also remarkably mobile friendly so I highly suggest checking it out.

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Destiny Sets is a relatively new tool that I just started using.  Functionally it shows you every single piece of gear in the game and where it comes from.  More than that it also keeps track of the items you have and the items you still need.  When you are running three characters this becomes extremely useful especially if you get an item… and are short on inventory space and cannot remember if you needed it or not.  This gives you a quick at a glance rundown allowing you to get back in the action quicker.  This was super helpful during both Iron Banner and Faction rally in trying to track what I had and what I was missing on each character.

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Destiny Tracker is the defacto tracking and statistics site.  It harvests information from the bungie api and keeps track on all sorts of stats.  This is heavily used by PVP players and even has a tool that lets you track what is going on in the current game.  Until recently this was how I was sorting out how much time I had spent playing this or that activity.  However a current bug is causing the API to return the incorrect amounts of time, and this has affected both this site and Wasted on Destiny.

Informational Sites

  • Bungie.net – the official website for Destiny and all Bungie games.  This is especially useful for the This Week At Bungie column that usually appears on Thursdays.
  • DestinyTheGame Reddit – if you are on a low sodium diet then I would probably suggest staying away from this site or the next site.  However the official/unofficial reddit is still a decent source of information.
  • Destiny Official Forums – this can have gems especially if you are having a very specific problem with the game.  However for the most part it is a good deal of angry players lashing out at whoever they can.  I highly suggest you maybe limit your time here.

One of the problems with the Destiny community is that there really isn’t much of a blog presence.  I guess in truth this is only really a problem if this is your preferred method of informational intake.  I am honestly likely the closest thing we have to a dedicated blog… and I am not dedicated to ONLY Destiny.  Instead you find yourself venturing onto YouTube to get your drip of information and analysis.  I preface this section largely because you will need to shift your thinking and effectively treat these sources as though they were blogs.

Helpful YouTube Channels

  • Arekkz Gaming – While he plays a significant number of other games his Destiny 2 videos are some of the best on YouTube.  They are will scripted, informationally dense and are extremely timely.  This is probably your best condensed source of the news without a lot of extraneous commentary.
  • Unknown Player – This is still an excellent source of news but since he is primarily a PVP player it is going to more of a focus on the crucible and trials meta than a lot of other sources.  Still definitely someone I listen to on a reasonable rotation.
  • Mesa Sean – As a fellow “old man gamer” I love this guy because I relate to him on several levels.  He makes an effort to be a positive voice for the community and shrugs off a lot of the salt when it is floating around.
  • Patrick Casey – aka Holtzman – Patrick used to do a good deal of the videos for planet destiny, namely the deep dive technical videos and when he left that channel…  it was clear that he was the real force behind that information.  Now his channel is packed full of the most technical and in the weeds information but sometimes you want to deep dive into the performance of a specific weapon.
  • My Name is Byf – While still a great source of news, the reason why I go to Byf is for the lore behind the game.  Before the console launch he did this amazing two hour long video explaining the majority of the lore behind the original Destiny game and I highly suggest you check it out if you have the time.
  • Myelin Games – This is a very lore centric channel and does some amazing deep dives and speculative journeys that piece together what we know and theorize about what we don’t.  If you get hooked on Destiny and want to know more about the universe, then by all means check this channel out.

I feel like I have just dumped a ton of information on you.  It will take some time to synthesize or even decide if you want to synthesize it.  The Destiny universe is a rich one with so many different rabbit trails running off in interesting directions.  Similarly the Destiny community is extremely awesome in building tools or sharing information.  If you find yourself having issues in your PC launch journeys feel free to drop me a line and I will try and answer whatever questions that might arise.  Either that or join the Beyond the Light discord community that I have created for the PC launch.  I have so much love for this game and I am ready to share it with all of the new people just getting to play it for the first time now that it is on PC.  If you are curious how I actually plan on leveling myself after already experiencing the game multiple times…  I also wrote up a post about that.

Treadblades and Grenades

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A good chunk of this weekend was about me riding the high that was the Destiny 2 gameplay reveal panel.  I wrote about my feelings Friday, but I am still extremely hyped.  What I find interesting is that there are some hardcore Destiny players that walked away disillusioned by the announcement.  For me I largely wanted them to take the same Destiny mechanics that I love and apply them to a much more open world.  From the sounds of it that is precisely what we are getting.  However it seems like the competitive PVP scene walked away frustrated, because they were expecting ladder brackets and things like that to support their specific play style.  While I love the Crucible, I am anything but serious when I play it…  and as a result I largely am okay with a more casual PVP focus.  What is funny about this is that it is the same community that got super frustrated when they were only being matched against similarly skilled players, and have been the biggest proponents of moving away from skill based matchmaking.  I can at least see one of their complaints, which is largely that they were expecting the game to move to a server/client structure rather than the peer to peer setup that we have today.  I feel like the currently crucible matchmaking algorithm does a decent job of weeding out the “redbars”, and it has been a really long time since I have been in a match with more than one of them.  That could however be based on the fact that I am living in the center of the United States and have solid pings to either coast though.

What all the Destiny love created however is a strong desire to play the game I currently have my hands on.  Over the weekend I spent a good deal of time upstairs playing around, and picked back up my Xbox One character since it allowed me to experience the full circuit of Destiny emotions.  All of my PSN characters are comfortably at 400 light, and all I am really doing there is upgrading additional gear to that level.  So there is a missing chunk of the experience… the brief joy of seeing a higher light level item that you can then use to infuse into your gear.  So as a result I opted to spend most of the weekend playing my now 378 Titan.  On PSN however I did spend a bit of time working on achievements, and that meant a lot of chain running of SIVA Crisis Strikes for the purpose of trying to get super kills.  This also meant rocking my Bad Juju, because for me at least it seems to be a much better super energy magnet than the Zhalo Supercell.  I think right now I am 5 super streaks away from finishing up one book, and then I can start in earnest on the modern Age of Triumph book.  I am still a little bummed that they came out and dashed my hopes of “cross save” functionality between the various client versions.  I would have happily purchased Destiny 2 for all available platforms if this actually happened.

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On the World of Warcraft front, I indulged in something I had been wanting to for awhile.  With the recent spike in token prices I opted to purchase one and it sold for roughly 130,000 gold.  I then took that gold and purchased the Champion’s Treadblade… which I always thought was a way cooler design than the Warlord’s Deathwheel.  This also jarred me off center in being less of a lazy engineer.  I never actually got around to crafting the original Mekgineer’s Chopper.  It was one of those things I always intended to do… but never wanted to spend the money on.  functionally no matter how much faction discount you have the end result is always going to be 12,000 gold worth of parts.  I used this influx of cash from the token however to serve as a reason to go ahead and finish this off.  I happened to have pretty much everything else needed to craft it laying around on various alts, so it was simply a matter of flying out to Storm Peaks and buying the few vendor items.

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The last major event of the weekend is that I finally decided what to use my character boost on.  I have not really touched much of anything this expansion on the Horde side.  My friend Grace has reverted back to her Horde ways, and as a result I figured I should probably have at least one character that I like to be able to play with her.  As a result I took the Deathknight that I rolled on her server and boosted it to 100, and started leveling it last night.  The thing that I didn’t realize about the 100 boost… is just how lousy the gear is that they give you.  I remember I started Legion sitting in mostly 710 gear on my characters from the pre-launch invasion events.  My newly boosted Unholy Deathknight was equipped in a full set of 640 gear…  which if I remember correctly was the required level to queue for heroics in Warlords of Draenor.  As a result this is the first character I have taken to the Broken Shores invasion scenario that I actually had trouble surviving.  I died about four times during this invasion…  but that also could simply be because this late in the expansion there was only one other player actually doing it.  Whatever the case I clawed my way up from the frustrating gear level and am making progress in Azsuna.

Light Rising

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I’ve been on a bit of a Destiny kick lately, and that has involved trying to do at a minimum all of the Rise of Iron bounties that Shiro hands out each week.  These largely involve running around the plaguelands and doing “stuff” like specific patrols and participating in world events.  I’ve also recently discovered the bounty that is the Archon’s Forge.  I admit I was a little intimidated for awhile, given that when you enter the forge it essentially locks you out of leaving.  My ultimate fear is that this place would murder me with great prejudice given my relatively low light levels.  That fortunately was not really the case, and I was also pleased to see that the same sort of “key trading” behavior exists in the forge as it did in the Court of Oryx.  I’ve been playing entirely solo so far since the launch of Rise of Iron, mostly because I am playing in short bursts rather than hanging out and making myself available to the clan for shenanigans.  However pretty much any time I have rolled down to the Forge, there have been people there waiting and willing to summon stuff for us to fight.  I still have trouble with the “purple” quality keys, but both green and blue ones seem largely feasible.  Unfortunately it seems like you have zero control over what sort of key drops for you, and at this very moment I happen to be sitting on a purple key myself.

The forge is quite literally a modern day version of the “loot cave” because after thirty minutes or so of running keys back to back… you end up with a full mail box.  This is not actually a screenshot from last night, but one I had laying around from one of my previous trips into the Forge.  Last night however it became significantly more lucrative for me personally.  Patch 2.4.1 did some juggling of things in preparation for the release of the Heroic Mode raid.  As a result the light economy of items got bumped up a bit, allowing folks a slightly easier time catching up.

  • Rare Engrams will now decrypt up to 365 Light
  • Legendary Engrams will now decrypt up to 385 Light
  • Exotic Engrams will now decrypt up to 400 Light
  • Faction packages will now provide drops up to 390 Light

So as a result to these tweaks… I entered last nights play session at 554 and exited at 560 and on the cusp of pushing over the line with several 361 items.  In the first screenshot I am decked out in Future War Cult colors… because I picked up some quest asking me to do a bunch of content both PVE and PVP repping the FWC.  I have no clue what that actually will lead to but I am interested to see.  The moment to moment gameplay of Destiny still feels as great as it ever did, and I am pumped that I can pop in for an hour and do a few things and feel like I moved the needle forward.  I am super loot centric in my games, and so long as I am progressing my gear levels I feel like I am making meaningful progress.

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The ultimate short term goal is to get to 365 so that I can join in all of the reindeer games…  namely have access to the normal mode of the raid.  I’ve heard amazing things about it, but I have just lacked the drive to grind things out in the strike play list.  In fact I have yet to run a single strike since the implementation of Rise of Iron…  which seems a little odd given how often I used to run them for nothing more than burning Three of Coins.  I feel like I am torn in a bunch of different directions right now and trying to juggle actively playing four different games:  Destiny, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV.  As a result I am doing a somewhat shitty job of keeping up in any of them other than World of Warcraft, where I seem to be spending most of my time.  That said in WoW I feel like I am bumping up against the ceiling for the gear levels I can realistically achieve other than through my Wednesday night raid… so some of my drive there is siphoning off.  At the very least I am not really doing the world quests like I used to, because I know there is shit for gear out of them at my levels.  This excess time seems to be getting funneled right back into Destiny, but I do need to steal a little bit of it and work on my gearing in Final Fantasy XIV as well.  I am absolutely holding our group back from doing some of the new content because I am about 15 item levels short of being where I should be.  If only I could clone myself… and keep those clones at home all day long playing all the things I want to be playing.

Flowers and Rank 5s

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Backyard Whim

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One of the interesting developments that has happened this summer is that we are spending a good deal more time outside than we have ever before.  I mean we have lived in our house for seventeen years now… and we’ve never really taken advantage of our backyard.  My wife and I tried to sort out why this was, and I think in truth it was that the back of our house looked bad.  Before moving in during the inspections they found a lot of termite damage on the wooden siding, and the bulk of this was located on the back of the house.  The repair job looked adequate at first, but as it aged… the back wall ended up looking like a patchwork quilt that even with a fresh coat of paint just looked “wrong”.  So in many ways I think it just put us off from being outside and having to look at it.  With the recent renovations and new siding, we also had a door installed off of the bedroom.  Years ago we created a quick and dirty patio with pavers, and now it feels like everything has finally come together.  Sunday morning for example by the time I had woken up and gotten out of bed, my wife was already on the patio off the bedroom reading.  There have been many times during the weekends that we end up eating lunch on the back patio as well.

Now I am not exactly certain where it came from… but recently we have talked about trying to put flowers sprinkled around the backyard.  Granted we have always had a brown thumb, but this resurgence of backyarding…  has made us want to at least try it.  This reached a boiling point Saturday when while running errands we found a couple of planters that we really liked at Sam’s Club, and you can see one of them in the foreground of the above image.  Given that Sams always has a rotating stock we went ahead and picked them up, thinking that if we waited they probably wouldn’t have two of the color we wanted later.  Now I had zero intention of doing anything with them this weekend… I mean because I had Iron Banner and Diablo Season 6 to play.  However before I knew it Sunday we were making a trip to go get rock and potting soil, and plants.  We are massively cheating in that the start of each of the pots is a hanging plant, but so far so good.  Now we just have to make sure they keep watered, but the hope is that since we are spending so much time out in the backyard anyway…  that it won’t be that big of a deal.  For those that are curious I created a nifty panoramic shot of the entire back yard.

Rank 5 For All

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Even though we spent a chunk of the afternoon working on flowers and such, I still managed to make it upstairs on the PS4 by around 4pm.  This allowed me some dedicated time to play the Warlock, and push forward towards Iron Banner rank 5.  I closed with the weekend with my Titan and 333 light, Hunter at 324 and Warlock also at 324 which is significant movement.  I have a feeling that those last two points of light on the Titan are going to end up being pure hell.  However on a similar photo from the 22nd… I was sitting at 324 on the Titan, and 314 and 304 on the Hunter and Warlock respectively.  So I have to say… I am pretty damned pumped about the rapid progress.  The Iron Banner as a whole was very good to me, especially in the equippable gear and infusion material categories.  I managed to get all of the available gear for this week, minus a pair of legs for the Warlock.  There are numerous copies of the Auto Rifle, Rocket Launcher, and even managed to pick up a sidearm and sniper rifle from Rank 5 packages.  It has been interesting playing all three classes this weekend, and I have to say that in truth… I think maybe the Warlock and Hunter are just inherently better at crucible than my Titan.  It feels like they have a lot more tricks up their sleeve, whereas the Titan is just pure brute force.  Warlock Blink seems to be the best escape method for getting out of an engagement, and Hunter throwing knives seems to be the best finishing move ever.

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As far as the sniper rifle goes that I managed to pick up, I am not exactly a huge fan.  It has Eye of the Storm, Speed Reload and Spray and Play which in theory would make it an insanely fast sniper rifle, but given its low impact…  I question how useful it really is.  For crucible at least you would have to land so many shots to make the kill, and it is hard enough to nail a single shot let along multiple at range.  I will probably end up holding onto it just because it looks really cool, but I have a feeling that sooner or later this will get infused into something else to bring up its light levels.  As far as new snipers go, I am still a much bigger fan of the 333 Her Fury that I managed to pick up from my Challenge of Elders this week.  High impact, paired with Triple Tap and Armor Piercing rounds makes it something enjoyable to use.  Tonight I have plans to hang out upstairs at least for a bit and try my luck at getting more of that tasty Iron Banner loot.  It would be amazing if before the end of the weekend I manage to get more of the 335 items to help push up other gear.  As far as the rest of my Destiny schedule for this week it feels a little up in the air.  I did not set foot into Kings Fall last week, and I would really love to remedy that this week.  The thing that sucks is that I am now in a position where the only benefit I will see is from a hard mode run, given that all three of my characters are now over the 320 light level that normal drops.

Crusaders and Guardians

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Season Six

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While I greatly enjoy the concept of the Developer Appreciation Week… I am always somewhat happen when it is over.  During the week I feel like I have to be making posts along that them, so when things happen that I want to talk about…  I end up pushing them down until the week is ultimately over.  Now as I sit here for the first unfettered post in awhile…  I am finding it super hard getting started.  The biggest happening of this weekend is that Friday evening at 7pm my time the newest Diablo 3 season began.  For season six I opted to roll a Female Crusader, because I had so much fun playing as one last season.  I have this general goal of getting a male and female of each class eventually, but that also means that someday I will have to finish playing that mage and attempt to play a witch doctor.  The only problem I am running into is that it feels like what made the crusader so amazing last go round… was the fact that the Invoker set was just phenomenal.  Now that I have my six piece Akkhan set, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as powerful as I did last season.  In fact while the set dungeon was a breeze for me last go around, this one is only causing chain wipes.  Granted I am not nearly as geared as I was at this point last year, in part because I am not getting drug by Carthuun.

When the season started we ended up with six people on the guild discord, and as a result we split into two three player teams.  Ultimately ending up with me and Grace playing together, with Solaria and Kodra joining up for short periods of time.  Towards the end of the evening Kylana was with us as well as the other three player team ultimately disolved with Ashgar got pulled away for work, and Callalil went to bed.  I myself only lasted through level 60, because that was ultimately the point at which I was starting to fall asleep at the keyboard.  So I went to bed around 11pm and the rest of the group pushed onward.  Yesterday morning Grace and I ended up playing together, and she helped me get the rest of the way to 70, and unlock my gear set.  She was sitting over 100 paragon levels, which means that more than likely Carth is sitting around 300ish.  At some point I will join in his Torment X shenanigans because I really need some gear.  All in all it was a great start of the new season, and at some point I will sort out my spec and with gear should be able to solo more stuff.  Right now the challenge is finding thorns on gear, and I have ended up burning through all of my materials trying to enchant away useless stats and turn them into thorns.

Banana Split

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Another awesome happening this weekend is that yesterday while waiting on folks to show up for the AggroChat game of the month show, I managed to push my Hunter to rank 5.  This is the first month that I managed to get to characters to rank 5, and I’ve since started working on getting the warlock there as well.  My hope is that after I finish knocking out this blog post I will head upstairs and work on that.  Iron Banner has been really damned good to me, letting me amass a lot of gear and weapons that will ultimately either get used as is or serve as infusion fodder.  In theory I should probably be doing matches on my Titan with the hopes of getting more 335 items, but it feels good actually working on my other characters.  After playing the hunter I can absolutely see why they do so damned well in the crucible.  Throwing knives are amazing, and I had so much fun yesterday finishing off people with them.  I still feel like golden gun however is the least exciting of the supers, but I am getting used to using it to optimal efficiency.  There was one point where I managed to get three kills in a row with it and earned the way of the gun trophy.

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Over the course of the week I have picked up so much gear, with the latest acquisition being a 335 Tormod’s Bellows.  The only challenge here is that I am not sure if I will keep it or infuse it into one of my heavy weapons.  I could really use a 335 sword… just saying.  The funny thing is… I got the 335 drop on my absolute lowest level character while working on the Warlock yesterday.  So I am wondering if maybe the buff in faction that you get for pushing up additional characters does something as well to the chances of getting max light drops as well?  In any case another Iron Banner has come and almost gone, and I have loved every minute of it.  I finally sorted out why I like PVP in Destiny and never have in other games.  There is something about getting real loot at the end of matches, as opposed to a currency in lieu of loot that can maybe someday add up to be enough to get something interesting.  I love random chance, and I love being rewarded with interesting stuff.  More so than that… I love getting not quite perfect items… and then trying to figure out how to use them to my advantage.

Purple Hand Cannon

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Challenge of Connection

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There are some nights where things don’t go quite as planned but ultimately work out okay in the end.  Last night was one of those nights.  The original plan was to do some Challenge of Elders with Squirrel and Sagacyte.  I got home at my normal time, but I couldn’t really commit to doing much of anything until after we ran some errands.  So the plan was once my wife got home, we would go run errands, and then grab dinner on the way home.  After munching some food it would be challenge time.  Unfortunately my wife got home significantly later than I had expected, and then our errands themselves took significantly longer than expected…  and when we went to grab food there was a longer line than expected.  The end result meant I didn’t actually get upstairs on the PS4 until a little after 8 pm.  By that time Squirrel was having all manner of connection problems.  While sitting in voice chat together we were getting only every third word he was saying, making it damned near impossible to understand what he was trying to say.  We gave it the good college try and made an attempt at doing the Challenge of Elders without him on voice chat.

However a few minutes into the match he disconnected which lead Saga and I to end up having to try and solo Sylok the first boss.  We attempted to duo the Cabal boss but had absolutely zero luck there, and ultimately went to orbit.  It was around this time that in the clan channel that Broken and Havel were asking for a third for their own CoE shenanigans.  I felt like a dick leaving Saga, but he assured me that I should grab the open spot.  Last week the bonus was primary ammo headshots, which was super easy and lead to allowing folks well below the suggested 320 light to be able to complete it without much issue.  This week however the bonus was grenade kills, making it significantly harder.  I went in as Sunbreaker because the Simmering Flames perk meant that so long as I had a super ready my grenade recharge was greatly increased.  To that I ended up swapping all of my gear so that I was sitting around 360 discipline.  On top of that I wound up getting a 324 Armamentarium moments before the first attempt at the Challenge, meaning that I also had double grenade charges going in.  Both Broken and Havel did similar steps to allow them to get super grenade action, and as a result we managed to get 108k score over the course of two matches.  So while it sucked that I didn’t get to run with Squirrel and Saga… it is pretty awesome that I managed to finish on my titan regardless.  During the course of the weekend my new goal is to make sure that both Squirrel and Saga get through as well.

Spoils of War

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The result for me is that I walked away with an interesting Hand Cannon that I am not quite sure if I will actually use.  I spent the rest of the night doing bounties with it to see if it was something I actually enjoyed using.  For ages I swore by the Hand Cannon, but then I got used to Auto and Pulse Rifles… and quite simply never use them.  The state they were in after the serious round of nerfs held me back from really enjoying the experience.  During year one I used the hell out of the Last Word, and then for the first part of year two I largely rocked the Hawkmoon… enjoying both weapons greatly.  As far as Her Revenge goes… I like how it feels and it has an interesting sequence of perks so for now I plan on leveling it up and seeing how I enjoy it in its final form.  As for my armor piece, I ended up getting a 328 chest piece…  which was below my current 329 so instead of keeping it I wound up shipping it off to my hunter.  As I talked about yesterday, there has always been a pecking order when it comes to gear… which generally falls in line with Titan > Hunter > Warlock.  My hunter is closer to being viable for things like Challenge of Elders so my goal is to buff him up enough to be useful when it comes to the current “end game” content.

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That said I did also manage to throw a few handmedowns onto the Warlock, bringing the light level up by a few points.  If I can keep stair stepping them up with no more than a 10 light level difference between them I think life will be pretty grand.  I think the mission for tonight is to try and run some content on either the warlock or hunter with the hopes of bringing their light level up a bit.  The biggest thing I need right now are legendary artifacts for both.  The best route to that is of course the Court of Oryx, but neither of them has an antiquated rune to make that possible.  I do have a few skyburner keys and wormsinger runes… so in theory I could burn through those hoping for some drops.  The other awesome thing from last night is that I managed to get another Sublime Engram which takes my set piece count up to three… with 2 chests, 1 helm, and now 1 Titan Mark of the new Jovian Guard set.  I really love the look of that thing, and while I am not sure it would win out over my Iron Banner set… it is still something that I would proudly rock.  Speaking of Iron Banner, Bungie has apparently announced the next bits of gear that will be available and I am super pumped.  I should finally be able to get legs to complete the Iron Banner look, and it also seems like I will be able to get a Titan Mark in the process.  Other than that this round is offering the Auto Rifle and Rocket Launcher, both things that I am super interested in.  Right now the goal is to push both the Titan and Hunter through, so I will be trying to do daily bounties on both of them.

Light Improving

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Catching Up

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One of my favorite things about the April patch is that I finally feel like I am catching up to all of the folks who have been playing since the dawn of time.  More important than that… I feel like I have a clear path to be able to reach 335.  There are things within my control that I can do solo that will allow me to slowly but certainly make progress.  Namely one of the big ones right now is faction packages.  Many of the factions have the code that make sure an item that comes from that package is better than your current light level.  So this means I am constantly getting upgrades that I can either use as is, or infuse into my existing item from doing Vanguard and the three Tower faction missions.  This also means that those daily bounties are more important than they have ever been, and the same goes with the crucible bounties whenever I am feeling my Wheaties and decide to do some serious pvp.  More importantly than any of this… I feel in control of my own “Destiny”…  pun intended.

Much of my early frustration with this game is it felt like there were missing rungs on the ladder that I had to have someone show me where I should be climbing.  Now I feel like there are objectives that I completely understand that I can be knocking out regularly to better myself.  At this point as the above image shows I have managed to take my Titan to 321, Hunter to 310 and as of last night Warlock to 302.  The Warlock and Hunter will likely always be second stringers for me, but I do want to spend more time pushing them up.  Namely I would really like to unlock all of the stuff on all three sub classes but that simply requires a lot of play.  As for now I am still very much enjoying the process of infusing up old weapons and dusting them off to enjoy them once more.  I have a lot of really great weapons, that were just lacking light level to be used on a regular basis.  At some point however I am going to have to reconcile a bunch of the stuff and figure out which versions of which weapons I intend to keep permanently.  For example I have six different Havoc Pidgeons sitting in the bank and five different 1000 Yard Stares…  as well as a large assortment of Zarinaea-D.  I don’t really need ALL of them…  just keep the best rolls and swap weapons as needed via the web site or mobile apps.

Pipe Dream

Every so often I come up with an idea that while I lack the technical know how to actually build it… I know it is functionally possible.  Within the server services world.. there is a marvel of modern science referred to collectively as the IP KVM or remote keyboard/video/mouse switch.  While remote desktop is a thing that works great most of the time… there are times when you need to literally lay hands on a box because something has hung on boot up.  This is where the IP KVM steps into play, because it emulates sitting physically at the keyboard from quite literally anywhere on the network that can reach it.  The other awesome thing about them is that generally speaking they are almost as good as sitting on the box with many of them getting to the point where you can hardly tell the difference.  What I want is for some budding entrepreneur or kickstarter campaign to come up with this technology… but for consoles.  Sure PS4 Remote Play is cool, but I also want to be able to play remotely from my PS3… or even say older analog systems.  The idea would be a rack mounted type system so in theory you could dump all of your consoles in the equivalent of a server room.  Instead of harddrive arrays you could build special four unit high rack cases that allowed you to plug in a whole slew of console games and have them selectable remotely.

The other idea would be that each console had custom hookups and the hardware KVM device would allow you to configure emulation of the devices.  So you could remake your Nintendo controller to be fully functional from something like a PC connected Xbox 360 controller.  Now there are oddities like the Wii/Wii U that would be difficult to emulate but in theory most controllers work just fine for other controllers.  For years I’ve loved this idea of having all of the games I want to play “on tap” and thanks to both the Twisted and official PS4 Remote Play app I am using the hell out of this functionality.  It is cool as hell to be able to sit downstairs on the sofa with my laptop and have full access to all of my PS4 games, and be able to play them with minimal latency.  I just wish this same concept worked with everything.   It feels like this is the sort of thing that would be doable, just no one has tried to make it work.  Even if you started with only consoles that supported USB controls and HDMI output… that would give you a decent base unit that could then maybe be expanded with retro modules that daisy chained onto the base unit.  So here you go… I give this idea freely to the world… just someone make it happen because I want to throw money at you.

 

The Banner Falls

Plans Change

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When I left work I had every intent to go home and play Iron Banner on the Titan all night long, in the hopes of getting some really awesome drops.  That didn’t exactly happen, but I did end up playing Iron Banner up until the point when I decided to go to bed a little early.  The change however was that I ended up playing on my Hunter.  There is a clear pecking order between my Destiny characters.  The Titan gets all the really good stuff… the Hunter gets the next tier of stuff… and the Warlock survives on scraps from the other two.  Since I had already gotten the Titan to Rank 5, I was curious just how fast I could get the Hunter up there in levels.  I had heard there was some sort of an alt bonus, that helped to push your second and third characters up faster, as well as now having access to both the rank 5 shader and emblem which also increase reputation gain.  I made significant progress and after a half dozen matches I was sitting at Rank 3 staring down the barrel of Rank 4.  Had I stayed up a little later I might have been able to hit Rank 5 all in one night.  The big part was that I simply did not have the skill or the time to be able to complete the “brown” bounties on the Hunter since they take a lot of repeated effort.  In theory next Iron Banner I might work on the daily bounties for both the Titan and the Hunter each day, and by the end of the week I should have enough progress to turn in those weekly bounties.

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The huge positive however is that thanks to the gear that managed to drop while running matches, I can now hit 302 on the Hunter.  In total I managed to pick up both a chest piece at 306 and a set of arms at 285… the later I will probably push up whenever the infusion changes happen.  I really like the Iron Banner armor look, and I have a feeling that before long that is what my characters will be decked out in.  However the upcoming taken look stuff, will probably be what I put on my Hunter since of the three looks that is the one I like the best.  Honestly of the Taken  gear the only one that I really don’t like is the Titan, and that is largely because of the dumb helmet.  The horns on that helmet look like the radar array off of a cruise ship or something.  This gets into a complaint I have with Destiny as a whole.  It is MMOish but only sorta… and the thing I wish it offered was a true cosmetic system where you could actually customize your appearance without changing your gear.  That is one of the things I like the most about The Division is the ability to change my look and have it largely be independent of what I happen to be wearing.  Sure there your only options are various pieces of clothing, but in Destiny you could create some really unique armor sets.  However I guess with the lossless infusion system, it will make customizing your appearance significantly easier.

Ponytail Titan

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Tonight is yet another Rookie Raid and it has become that night of the week that I really look forward to.  There is of course a certain amount of trepidation as well, namely when it comes to the damned jumping puzzles.  As I have said before Destiny manages to trip my vertigo worse than any game since Mirrors Edge.  However I push through it in order to be able to get the tasty drops.  This go around what I am really hoping for is to be able to walk out of the raid with the machine gun.  I realize that I just put a bunch of effort into pushing up my Bretomart’s Stand to make it raid viable…  but I just keep hearing that the raid machine gun is pretty much better in every way.  You get hooked on guns with the Cocoon perk, and knowing that whenever you swap weapons there will never be an awkward situation where you have to reload.  This would definitely make dps time in the light bubble on Oryx more efficient since you could swap weapons and pour shots into him while waiting on the machine gun to load itself.  Cosmetically I am going with a sort of White Knight meets Hive Knight look, and I dig it… even though I kinda wish I had the rest of the Iron Banner gear.  When the infusion changes go in I will likely be swapping over to the Iron Camelot shoulders that I picked up from Saladin.  I am hoping next go round he brings boots so I can finish out the appearance.

The only regret from this past week is that I didn’t actually connect with any of my friends to talk them into helping me finish my sword quest.  It is not like I can actually use it in the raid, since on several of the fights I actually need to use an exotic primary.  However it would just be nice to know that I am done with it.  I also missed another opportunity for the Black Spindle, because I believe that was last Friday night.  I was so focused on Iron Banner that I didn’t even notice until I got an email from another friend asking if I was around to make attempts on it.  I have a bit of a mental block now about that mission, since I have failed so many times at it.  The other side project that I would love to work on is finding someone to recruit, so that I can get those sweet sweet recruit a friend bonus items.  I absolutely want a Tron Sparrow, but unfortunately I can’t just do the World of Warcraft thing and set up a second account.  A lot of the achievement steps require you to be doing stuff together.  I’ve wondered for awhile now what it would take to get my friend Vernie hooked on this game… because I think he would absolutely like it.  The only problem is he is a die-hard keyboard and mouse guy… just like I was before the siren song of Destiny.  The thing is… all the joy I used to have playing PC shooters when we would do LAN games after work…  I am having with Destiny.