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.

 

A Matched Set

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Holiday Goals

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270 After Sifting Through Bank

There are a lot of folks that have goals going into the holiday season, for me… these tend to involve some gaming feat that would normally take a silly amount of time to do.  One Christmas break I played through Mass Effect 3, and then started over from scratch and played from 1 to 3 again trying to control the outcome.  The Christmas break that SWTOR was released I leveled as part of a duo from level 1 to 50.  Other years my mission has been to level a character from start to finish in World of Warcraft, and I made a decent dent in that with pushing the druid from 1 to 40 so I could use that Yeti mount.  This year one of the things on my list has been to finish leveling my Warlock who before this week was sitting at level 30 from the last time I got the urge to level.  I am not exactly sure why but I have wanted to have a matched set of level capped characters in Destiny for awhile now.  I think largely it is because when I am farming exotics, I hate the concept of items going to waste… and I pretty regularly got exotics for Warlocks in spite of not having one.  So sitting in my bank I had 3 exotic helms and 1 exotic chest that were warlock only, as well as a few legendary warlock only items as well.

Throughout the course of yesterday afternoon, while the ice was falling outside… I was sitting upstairs in the warmth of my office plugging away at my warlock.  Originally I started doing the House of Wolves content, since I tend to like it better than the Dark Below.  However I quickly noticed that I was leveling way faster while simply working my way through the back log of bounties I had accumulated.  As a result I spent most of my afternoon meticulously narrowing down the number of bounties I had until finally I was a sliver away from 40.  I hopped down to Mars and completed a few missions and dinged.  After sifting through my bank and spending a few legendary marks, I managed to push my overall light level up to 270 which is not too shabby for a fresh 40.  The only negative is… some of my exotics are really specific to sub class and the only one I have made ANY movement in thusfar is Voidwalker.  I really like jumping up into the air and throwing down three bombs at people…  but at some point I need to push up sunsinger because for group activity that seems to be the best option.  Self resurrection is slightly overpowered, but I figure it is something you save in reserve for when it looks like your group is going to wipe.  However it should do well to feed Tlaloc whenever I get one.

Matched Set

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One of Each

It feels nice to have a matched set, and the funniest thing is…. every single one of my characters is an Exo.  Mostly I had issues with not liking the other races character creation options.  The humans were out because they lacked a beard…. because seriously…  I cannot ever bring myself to play a human that doesn’t have a decent beard.  The Awoken were out because well…   space elves…. and I have a pretty deep hatred of most things elven.  I am fine if other people want to play them… but they are very much not my thing.  The best elves ever… were both from the Elder Scrolls setting… because Cannibal Wood Elves and Nasty Vile Dark Elves…  are the only ones I can embrace fully.  That left me with one race left to play… and since Destiny ultimately reminds me of playing Phantasy Star Online… and Exo is about as close as I can get to my Cast it was the clear winner.  The awesome thing is though that each of my classes has a very fitting look and feel for their class, even though they are all technically just big robots.

I’ve not dwelled on it too much, but I really think that Phantasy Star Online being my first MMO… has greatly shaped how I feel about Destiny.  The games have a very similar feel, with a lobby system of sorts being the tower…  which equates pretty similar to the tower like area you ran around in PSO.  Then you go out on missions that involve you going to planets and often times retracing the same areas over and over with slightly different features and creatures dependent upon your mission.  I played the hell out of that game, up until the point when I got hooked on Everquest.  The funny thing about it is, that as melee heavy as I was in other games… in PSO I always played a Cast Ranger.  So the fact that I really enjoy Destiny doesn’t seem that shocking.  It feels very much like the spiritual successor, minus the anime skin.  At some point I really want to get into the raid in Destiny, but similarly to WoW….  I mostly just want to do it for the gear.  Downing new content is cool and all, but the force that always drives me forward in these types of games… is the acquisition of new and cool things.  When you take loot out of the equation, like in Final Fantasy XIV it is a serious hit to my enjoyment.  Most of my dungeon running in FFXIV was in an attempt to complete cosmetic sets, and ultimately was still gear driven…  just gear as an appearance not necessarily as function.

Next Mission

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At this point I really need to buckle down and finish Fallout 4 main storyline, because this coming weekend we need to record the review show.  I am not sure what exactly has happened but I have simply not been playing Fallout much over the last few weeks.  I think we can blame most of it, on my re-entry into World of Warcraft and my desire to play “catch up”.  Then this week has been a bit of a resurgence in Destiny, this combined with the only machine I have that plays Fallout 4 well enough is my upstairs computer.  Over the course of our movie and television marathons I have largely been downstairs on the sofa in my comfy blanket cocoon.  This has meant that Fallout sadly has been abandoned for the moment.  I tried last night to play it some over steam in home streaming, and once I sorted out the many technically difficulties, I finally got it up and running.  The only problem there was that the video stream would artifact out anytime I encountered much action, making it questionable if it is really worth playing it on my desktop… or if I would simply be better playing it on my laptop with greatly reduced graphical fidelity.  My laptop will run it after all, but with a somewhat potato quality.  In any case… I need to pick up where I left off and make some forward movement.

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

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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.

 

 

Spindle Envy

Game of the Month

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This month for AggroChat Game Club we decided to do something a little different.  This was the brain child of Tam, who wished we had the time to really dig in and explore a much larger game.  If you’ve noticed we tend to pick relatively short games for the Game Club because it gives us a shot in hell of beating it before the end of the month and we record the show.  We also tend to pick relatively cheap games, making it easier for all of us to pick the title up…  which a lot of times limits us to Indie titles.  Instead this month we are digging wholeheartedly into post apocalyptic Boston…  in Fallout 4.  Since we are hitting that time of the year when people start to have conflicts, and we have decided to make Fallout span two months.  So the plan is to have it be both the game of the month for November and December, with a bit of a preview show at the end of November to talk about our progress so far.  Then around Christmas a tell all show talking about our feelings about the game and more importantly our experiences.  This is the sort of game where everyone who sits down in front of it will have slightly different experiences, and at least to some extent I plan on trying to keep a running journal of what all I find in the wastes.

Fallout and I go far back, and I can honestly say I have been a huge fan of the series since its launch.  I remember going to the local Wal-mart to buy a copy for the PC shortly after it launched, and pretty much losing all sense of time playing it.  I wish I could say that I went as far back as Wasteland, but alas I did not.  I remember the game, I remember people talking about it… but when it existed I simply did not have a computer.  Fallout is one of those games that changed the way I felt about PC gaming in general.  In the years prior to it, I was pretty much heavily a Super Nintendo gamer…  thinking that Final Fantasy and the JRPG thing was the superior gaming experience.  Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment…  changed all of that and I started moving heavily away from the consoles and focusing almost entirely on PC RPGs and eventually allowing myself to get sucked into the MMO world.  So it is with zero hyperbole that say that Fallout shaped the way I feel about gaming, so when a new one releases…  I end up almost vibrating with excitement.  I realize in the coming months I am pretty much going to be dead to the world apart from poking my head into the occasional game here or there.  For at least the first several weeks my blog is pretty much going to be entirely devoted to my travels in post apocalyptic Massachusetts.  I am hoping that you will join me in this adventure, and we will sort out how best to convey your experiences so we can talk about them on the podcast as well.

Lost to Light

Yesterday the mission in Destiny called “Lost to Light” was the daily heroic, and as a result that meant Black Spindle the exotic sniper rifle was once again available.  I had plotted and schemed all day long about this being the night we would actually go do this.  I was so phenomenally wrong….  but we at least made an attempt.  I grabbed Carthuun and Squirrel Pope and we made a valiant attempt.  Earlier in the day Squirrel had actually managed to get through the quest with a group, and while we didn’t succeed we didn’t do that horrible in the grand scheme of things.  Basically I think we are still slightly too low light, but that seems to be the general problem…  because I have no clue how to get over 300 reliably other than run the raid.  Everything was going pretty smoothly, we destroyed the Ogre which started the sequence where we run through the hive fortress and branch off to go up onto the Ketch instead.  Once on the Ketch we did fairly well for the most part, other than the room with all the snipers.  It took us a lot longer in that room than it probably should have, which made everything feel that much more stressful.  We were sitting roughly at the 5 minute mark when we set foot into the final room to fight the taken version of Taniks.  From there… things just went bad… we died a lot… we failed to knock out one of the blights in the far back of the room… and we simply were not doing enough damage to the boss fast enough.

From there we decided to lick our wounds and head into Nightfall, because according to Squirrel it would be far easier than what we just went through.  I am not disappointed mind you in our progress…  it at least gives us a goal to work towards.  Nightfall had a few frustrating moments but we took it nice and slow after the rushed experience of trying to clear to and defeat Taniks in ten minutes.  When we finally downed Alak-Hul I got lucky enough for him to drop his unique helmet, which I am now rocking after some fiddling with it.  I really love collecting these unique items, like the arms with the chain fist from the bond brothers strike.  For the Nightfall itself I was awarded a 4th Horseman, which sadly I already had…  so it pretty much immediately became an exotic shard which is never a bad thing.  I’ve talked about this before but as far as shotguns go… I just cannot think of a situation where I would want 4th Horseman over Invective.  From there we attempted to run a few heroics… which we got through the first one without issue…  then during the second one Carth disconnected.  He has been having some internet issues lately… and I forgot to set the group to “locked” so the game filled for us…  and we ended up finishing the restorative mind with a stranger.  All in all… which we had some frustrations it was still a really fun night, and I am hoping to be able to get in again tonight and do some more fun stuff.