Frying Pans and Nora Braves



Over the last few days I have had a hankering to play some State of Decay.  This was a game that I originally started playing on the Xbox 360, then picked up when it was eventually released on the PC.  When the Year One Survivor Edition came out I picked that up too…  as well as buying it for a friend that I thought would enjoy it.  Since I had not actually tried streaming from my Xbox One, I decided to pick the game up on that platform and give it a go.  Basically Undead Labs is an awesome developer and I have no problem supporting them by picking it up on multiple platforms.  We don’t officially have a release date for State of Decay 2…  but based on the trickle of activity I am hoping we get some more news soon.  My hope is the sequel takes everything that worked well about the first game, but adds in the ability to hang out and explore the zombie filled landscape with friends.

Watch Hanging out playing some State of Decay YOSE on Xbox One from Belghast on
So as a result last night I fired up the stream while testing out a few new screen elements and bashed some zombies.  If you are for any reason interested you can check out the Twitch VOD here (or click the embedded player above thanks to Jaedia), but it involved a lot of me stumbling around trying to figure out what to do and a few gloriously brutal deaths.  I also may or may not have run over the NPC that was following me around and bashing things with a frying pan.  The kinda cool thing last night is I had a bunch of folks that were completely different from what I would consider the normal crew of people who take pity on me and hang out while I stream.  It’s really bizarre for me to have someone pop in the channel that I don’t actually know.  It was a surprising amount of fun to just hang out and publicly fail at playing a video game.


Right now I don’t have much in the way of stamina as far as “being on” goes.  I lasted a little bit over an hour before needing to go do something else with less of an audience for a bit.  I am not sure if it was just that I was tired dying in State of Decay and wanted to play something else for awhile, or if I was tired of interacting.  I need to sort out a proper way to swap games when I am just not feeling the one I am playing, because in truth I wound up logging into Monster Hunter World and farming content and it would have been nice to have a little company doing so.  I originally logged in with the goal of doing a little SOS Roulette, but noticed a note in the Login Bonus about the Aloy event going live.  For those who are curious, the quest is titled “The Proving” and shows up under events as a 6 Star High Rank mission that requires the player to be Hunter Rank 11, so you may need to do a little bit of progressing to get there.

There are two pieces to the set, a full suit of armor similar to the Ryu gear that literally transforms you into the Aloy character model.  Additionally there is a version of Aloy’s bow that can be upgraded to a Rarity 7 weapon with some elder dragon bits.  The gear can be upgraded a total of 10 times allowing it to remain fairly relevant for a long while.  If you want to craft the gear you are looking at collecting the following….

Aloy Armor

  • Nora Brave Trophy – 4 – Obtained from Event Quest
  • Anjanath Pelt+ – 14
  • Anjanath Nosebone+ – 6
  • Anjanath Gem – 1
  • 30,000 Zenny

Aloy’s Bow

  • Nora Brave Trophy – 2
  • Anjanath Fang+ – 3
  • Monster Keenbone – 5
  • Anjanath Plate – 1
  • 16,000 Zenny

Aloy’s War Bow – Upgrade to Rarity 7

  • Nora Brave Trophy – 3
  • Anjanath Scale+ – 7
  • Elder Dragon Bone – 3
  • Wyvern Gem – 1
  • 32,000 Zenny


Now it should be noted that the only part of this that you absolutely have to collect during the event are the Nora Brave Trophies which drop at least one per mission… and there was one time I lucked out and got four in one shot.  The rest of the bits can be gained from either normal High Rank Anjanath hunts or in the case of the upgrade by taking down Elder Dragons to get those bones.  I ran the mission a total of five times last night and got everything I needed to craft both the base rarity 5 bow and the rarity 5 armor.  The cool thing about this is that it not only makes you look like Aloy… but you also MOVE like Aloy.  Not really sure how to describe it other than that, because it feels like you are playing Horizon Zero Dawn set in the Monster Hunter World setting.  I have no clue how long this event is going to run, but personally I knocked mine out doing good ole SOS Roulette.  That said more than willing to help folks get their parts if they need them.  Honestly I might farm it a bunch while it is available because it seems to be a really good way to get High Rank Anjanath parts.


Bathtubs and Nonsense



I’ve been partaking in some serious nonsense of late, not the least of which has been Dragon Quest Builders… and streaming me playing Dragon Quest Builders.  I figured I would lead off with this screenshot because it is absolutely amazing.  My townsfolk decided to build me a bath tub…  which I immediately installed in my private master suite.  So the funny thing about Twitch in its most modern incarnation is…  it makes it silly easy to be an Affiliate.  From the moment you start streaming it starts ticking off little achievements, which in some bizarro world way made me want to get them.  One of them is called “Path to Affiliate” and it shows up as a little quest of sorts in the sidebar of the achievements page.  It includes…

  • Stream 8 hours in the last 30 days
  • Stream for 7 unique days in the last 30 days
  • Reach 3 average viewers in the last 30 days
  • Reach 50 followers

The last one was easy because I have had my account so damned long that I have more than 50 pity follows at this point if nothing else.  In theory once you qualify and get that achievement checkmark… you are done.  Lately I have been dabbling around with streaming, and one by one each of the boxes got checked… and now I am apparently an affiliate.  I am not entirely certain why I did this thing, but it happened.  Now I actually sorta want to try and come up with a proper schedule, which is super difficult because with my managerial duties my arrive home time is super variable, as is whether or not I feel like playing any games in “live” mode.


This did force me to contemplate what would happen if someone actually subbed to me.  As a result I named them appropriately to attempt to encourage people that this is not a thing that they should actually do.  I keep expecting Twitch to lower some hammer on me for discouraging people from giving them money.  Basically I would feel super awkward to actually take any money from anyone.  This is mostly a thing I did for myself… and in part because it will allow me to create a spiffy twitch emojii if I so choose.  I am not even sure what else Affiliate includes otherwise, mostly it was just…  a thing I felt like doing because it was available.

Now however I find myself involved in all sorts of other nonsense as a result.  I talked yesterday a bit about StreamLabs OBS… or SLOBS as apparently people are calling it…  why people why.  I’ve also been dabbling with their custom Chatbot that is apparently what happened when they gobbled up Ankhbot.  As a result I now have the beginnings of a custom channel bot named MrAggroBot that will do some of the basic functionality you see in chat bots… and at least in theory also works on Discord.

Similarly I have set up a “BelStreamTime” Discord with the sole purpose of joining it while streaming, and as a result allowing anyone else who cares to hang out with me join as well.  I realize no one actually needs a new discord to join…  but I also did not want to dirty up any of the other discords I am part of with my streaming nonsense.  The highlight of the night had to be getting everything actually working so that the Chatbot joined my quickie Twitch test stream, accepted commands and also announced that I went live through the Discord.  It was more proof of concept than anything useful but I sorta felt like Doctor Frankenstein bringing life into the world…  if that life was complete and utter nonsense.


As far as doing actual gaming stuff…  I grouped up with Grace and took down some low rank monsters.  I never really reached the point where I farmed Low Rank content the way I now do High Rank, and as a result I am missing a ton of parts to make lower level items required to make the higher level versions.  I’ve been working slowly on building a Tobi Kadachi Longsword for its lightning damage, and we wound up farming Tobi a bunch of times for parts.  From there we started doing more esoteric hunts, like an Anjanath and a Pukei Pukei with a 30 minute timer in which I tried to hammer.  I am not exactly completely effective as hammer, but it was a lot of fun.  Unfortunately I apparently completely phased out the fact that Tam was trying to invite me to a party and wound up heading to bed around 9:20.  It was a fun night, but also one where I did a bunch of silly things with minimal use to anyone.  So yeah… I am apparently a Twitch Affiliate now and am starting to build up the infrastructure needed to do “stuff and things” on that platform.


Week In Gaming 11/15/2015

Fallout4 2015-11-11 22-09-05-62

Two Times the Monday

I’ve mentioned this before, but this week we got off in the middle of it for Veterans Day.  While I completely support this holiday, I question the good of cutting a week down the middle.  What it basically created for me at least was a whole lot of time I seemed to be occupying space in a chair but not getting much accomplished… because individuals smarter than me ended up taking either the entire front half of the week off… or the entire back half of the week off.  Those people apparently did not coordinate well, which meant there was a skeleton crew on board and few of the people you actually needed to talk about this item or that available and ready to discuss.  My hope is this coming week we can make up ground for all of the perceived lost time from this fractured week.  On the gaming front though… this was a week entirely about Fallout 4.  However while prepping the AggroChat episode I watched another sequence play out on twitter that I am going to get into towards the end of the post.

Irrational Desire

Wow-64 2014-11-26 17-35-51-85

I am admitting here again that I am still struggling with an irrational desire to log in and play World of Warcraft.  I think part of it is simply because I know that as much as I loved Gladiator… it will be going away in the coming expansion.  Part of me wants to spend some more time playing as a DPS sword and board warrior while it still exists.  Then the rational mind kicks and tells me that there is still nothing really there for you.  The raid is gone, the guild is mostly gone…  there just isn’t an infrastructure to return to.  Similarly I realize that other than faffing about and running old content… there is nothing much there that I would really want to do.  This reached its peak over the weekend while I was anxiously wanting to play Fallout 4, but not able to do it yet without VPN hackery.  The problem is even though I am wallowing fully in the goodness that is post apocalyptic Boston…. there is still a bit of nostalgia tugging at my coat tails telling me that I would really like to log into World of Warcraft still.  I have a slew of new content to go experience in Final Fantasy XIV as well, so hopefully between it and Fallout 4… I will slowly quell this desire.  I am still really damned interested in seeing how Legion feels, so not giving up hopes on maybe being able to wrangle a beta invite somewhere…  but unfortunately I think my past points of access are no longer available.  If I had them I would have definitely tried to exercise one for access to Overwatch.

Viva New Vegas

FalloutNV 2015-11-15 10-19-13-40

Monday night I got so low that I booted back up Fallout New Vegas and spent a good deal of time wandering around there.  I only managed to get as far as the Vikki and Vance casino before finally attempting to get Fallout 4 going.  I have to say…  it might be nostalgia talking… but I still absolutely love this game.  I even popped in for a bit this morning to get this screenshot… and there is absolutely a direct lineage between Fallout 3, New Vegas and 4.  The world feels the same… albeit considerably prettier in the newest incarnation.  I guess this is why in part folks who hated Fallout… still hate it… and the folks that loved it… are having some of the best times of their life.  New Vegas really raised the bar for the way the world felt, and it seems like Bethesda rose to the occasion and answered this narrative call.  That said… there is a part of me that kinda hopes that we end up with a DC Metro and New Vegas reboot using the Fallout 4 engine… much the same way as we have one of those under works for Morrowind and Oblivion using the Skyrim engine.  I would love to be able to roam around these areas with the fidelity that the new engine provides.  Even then…  I could still see myself returning to New Vegas time and time again…  and loving every moment of it.

Critical Mass

Fallout4 2015-11-11 22-09-05-62

The bulk of my week has been spent wandering around the Massachusetts area in the new Fallout 4 on the PC.  Firstly I have to say… I am pleased and amazed at just how good this game looks and how well it runs on my fairly aging hardware.  The game auto selected Ultra for me, and I have been playing on that since… with limited hick-ups.  The game runs between 50-60 fps at all times and just works flawlessly.  Folks are reporting all sorts of bugs… and honestly I haven’t really seen them other than the usual floating objects type issues when you are dealing with a complex open world game.  For example… if you remove a table out front under a vase…  there is a chance the vase will just hang there indefinitely rather than fall to the ground.  This sort of stuff does not bother me at all, and I come to expect it when a game has physics and the ability to place objects.  That said there are apparently a number of the traditional day one Bethesda bugs but I am happy to say that I have not encountered any of them… game breaking or not.  Maybe I am simply lucky, or maybe I just have not gotten far enough into the game to experience them.

According to steam I am roughly 50 hours into the game… the problem with that is that I accidentally left it running one day while at work… so you can discount about eight hours of that time as that event happening.  The rest of the time however is absolutely real… and I have built up at least partially every settlement that I have come across.  That is the part of the game that is the real hook for me… especially now that I have trade routes going between the towns.  I’ve said this before, but my big take away from why this game is more enjoyable than the previous incarnations is that it feels like I am actively making the world a better place.  In other Fallout games… you were the good guy, simply because you were killing off all of the bad guys in the world.  There was very little you could do to actually improve the lot of the other denizens of the wastes other than the occasional donation of money or fresh water.  In this game… from the very beginning you are actively improving segments of the world and making it a decent place to live in.  Sure the world is dangerous… but you are making it far less so for a group of settlers.  That right there is the hook, and when I am out in the wastes… every hotplate  and desk fan… excites me because I can go back and build something really cool with the parts.

Streaming and Games


While prepping this post today I watched a little exchange on twitter.  Essentially one of my friends challenged streamers to do more with the games they are streaming.  That it would be nice to have streamers take a mostly educational stance on either showing other gamers how to do something… or working through problems.  While I think that might be pretty cool, the truth is that is not at all why game companies seek out streamers.  I am going to give an analogy that is going to be a bit long winded, but stay with me.  I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, and in this part of the land there are few things more important than High School sports.  I have my own damage thanks to this fact, and having no interest in sports at all… but that is a tale for another day.  In a small town the team is the center of pride for the community… and while high school athletics has the possibility of making money for a district… in a small town it is mostly a giant hole that you pour money down.  So when it came to maintaining facilities, it was always a struggle… and knowing this soft drink companies would often times ride in on a white horse to save the day.

There was not a small town anywhere near me that did not have either a big Pepsi logo or a big Coca-Cola logo on their score board.  Of note I have no clue who’s scoreboard this one actually is, but I am just using it to illustrate my point.  They would offer to sponsor the scoreboard, make sure the school district had a free supply of cups, lids and straws… brand new pop machines…  and a discounted rate on the soda itself just so long as they would sign an exclusive contract with the brand and only allow their products to be sold at school events.  The schools needed the goods they were offering… and could make money selling the product which then would end up supporting the school.  Pepsi got advertising out of the deal and more than likely converted a good segment of the townsfolk into loyal Pepsi or Coke drinkers for life.  My small town had Pepsi and it is probably no small coincidence that I grew up in a household that drank Pepsi and still drink predominately Pepsi products.  The indoctrination works, and goes back for generations… so much so that when a school changes affiliation there is often times an uproar in the community.

But What about Streaming?

So you are asking yourself… Bel… you just told us an elaborate story… but you said it was about streaming?  This is precisely what is happening with game companies and streamers.  There is a natural symbiosis at work.  The gamers need a fresh supply of whatever happens to be the hotly contested games to stream, in order to keep the eyeballs on their channel, and the companies need to have their games placed strategically on as many channels with as many eyeballs as possible.  So even if there is no payola happening under the table… the streamers are actively promoting the products of these games companies.  In fact there is a not so subtle desire on the part of the streamers to keep from burning any bridges with a company… because that could very well mean that they would lose their privileged access to new releases.  On the part of the company… all they really want out of the deal is for this streamer to look like they are having a really good time playing their product, that way someone leaves the channel and gets convinced to subscribe or pre-order because it looked so appealing.

Sure it would make sense for them to serve a greater educational purpose… but honestly…  the big popular streams aren’t doing this.  The popular streamers are entertainers first and foremost.  They are selling themselves playing this game more than the game itself.  They build up loyal followings because the people are interested in the person, not so much what they are doing.  The advertising still works however because it is subtle.  They might have their back wall decorated in products of the company they are streaming for, or be wearing branded merchandise that the company provided…  or even giving away items for the game on their streams.  While all of these seems fairly natural and filters into our subconscious as benign… it is absolutely planned branding and ultimately we are the dollars that the companies and the streamers are trying to get.  Once upon a time… game companies cared deeply about what the blogosphere was saying about their game.  That time unfortunately is over, and over the last few months I have come to realize something.  Blogging is not dead by any means…  and nor is Podcasting really…  but in the gaming sphere neither are they growing.  Once you leave the land of MMO gaming… you are hard pressed to find ANY blogs devoted to games.

For example I have crawled the internet trying to find a source of news and information about Destiny other than Reddit.  There is simply no one out there blogging on a regular basis and producing content explaining how the finer points of the game work.  There are however hundreds of YouTube channels and streamers devoted to this niche.  There are almost no blogs devoted to Call of Duty, but similarly there are thousands of channels devoted to it.  While blogging was the comfort zone of my generation that grew up reading game forums…  and podcasting is the natural extension of that…  the next generation no longer really cares about it.  They are completely connected to YouTube and Twitch as their game information sources, and as a result…  I feel like the bloggers really don’t have much sway.  I am not trying to do this as a living, so in the grand scheme of thing it doesn’t matter too much other than the fact that I don’t have much of a shot in hell of getting into this exclusive alpha or that limited beta.  The companies know exactly what they are doing… and quite simply they are playing the numbers.  They are putting their product in front of as many eyeballs as they can, and doing so in the medium that has the largest majority of those eyeballs…  Twitch and YouTube.



Drag Experience

Youtube Gaming


The big buzz worthy thing that is happening right now is that Google is rolling out its Youtube Gaming platform.  It proudly announces that finally there is a youtube for gamers!  Which causes me to pause and ask…  wasn’t YouTube already for gamers?  At least 90% of the content that I watch on YouTube tends to be video game related so… I think it was doing a fine job before.  What gets slightly lost in the marketing spin however is that they are now offering twitch like streaming services.  Which in itself is a big confusing because I have had the ability to stream to YouTube for roughly a year now.  There was even a page in my channel settings that explained how to connect OBS to the YouTube RTMP servers.  I guess the big difference is that people are starting to actually use it.  I played around a bit watching various folks streaming and there were a few issues.  The biggest thing I kept running into was the stream was hitching periodically.  It also seemed that people were confused and simply unprepared to field YouTube chat.  Also it feels strange that when I interact with other people I show up as “Tales of the Aggronaut” which is my YouTube channel and not “Belghast”.  I am wondering if this is a setting somewhere I can configure, but thusfar I have not found it.  In fact there seems to be really limited configuration options for channels in the first place, which means… I sure hope you had your YouTube channel set up how you wanted it before the gaming site imports it!

On some level I find this all interesting, but mostly in passing.  I’ve recently switched from attempting to make Hitbox a thing, to giving up and just using Twitch because I simply got more random viewers.  I felt like Hitbox was the superior service in every way, because the most crucial thing for me is minimal delay between your stream and the channel chat.  It becomes so awkward to try and hold a conversation with someone who happens to be watching your stream where there is a lengthy delay.  Twitch recently put in functionality to help alleviate some of this, and it works…  sometimes.  In order for me to even consider switching to YouTube, there would have to be a set up similar to Hitbox where there was little to no delay.  The problem being that what I am hearing in practice is that the chat delay is often longer than that of Twitch currently.  I guess at some point I will swap the configuration in OBS and give it a test to see how precisely it works.  The other thing that concerns me is that from what I understand your stream gets backed up to your YouTube channel regardless.  I liked being able to pick and choose what I exported from Twitch, keeping my YouTube channel as a cleaner version of whatever I happened to stream.  What are your thoughts so far if you have tried it or watched someone else streaming on it?

Drag Experience

Diablo III 2015-08-26 22-24-28-86

When Diablo 3 2.0 was released the AggroChat folks played it quite a bit.  For the most part all of us had characters in the level 60ish range… that is except for Kodra.  Kodra had not really played much Diablo 3, but we knew that the game granted some extreme experience to folks being drug along with you.  Over the course of a few play sessions we managed to catch him up, but it was an exceptionally fraught experience for him.  Last night after our Final Fantasy XIV raid, my good friend Grace asked if I wanted to tag along as she farmed in Diablo.  She would get bonus loot and I would be able to soak in the lions share of experience.  During the course of an hour and a half I went from level 40 on my Crusader to level 70 gaining about 5 paragon levels after that.  I got to experience first hand the sort of game play Kodra did, and I have to say I understand why it frustrated him.  I would have leveled so much faster…  if I could stay alive.  Grace was farming Torment V which meant if anything even glanced in my direction I exploded in a violent eruption of giblets.  I was simply playing a different game than what she was… which was more akin to dodgeball.  Carefully trying to stay in the part of the screen where the mobs were not spawning, and dodging projectiles as they came in.

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The resulting experience however was just silly.  There was no point in ever repairing my completely broken body, because I was leveling out of my gear too fast for it to matter.  Finally when I hit 70 I was able to piece together enough gear to be “passable”.  The biggest problem is just how behind the curve you end up being when you finally hit the level cap.  While I could survive damage for a bit, I lacked any semblance of gear to be able to actually do Torment V style damage.  We did manage to encounter a few bugs that kept us from getting loot.  The saddest of these occasions was when some treasure goblins died just out of bounds and I was able to watch a dozen legendary patterns rotting in a place I could not loot from.  However we also completed a number of bounties, and from those I got plenty of patterns as well.  This allowed me at the end of the night to craft a few legendaries and a green chest piece and get my gear at least to a point where I could function.  I am super thankful for the speed run, because this gives me something to dink around with until the new season starts Friday.  Right now the game plan is to start a Female Warrior, since I love Sonya so much in Heroes of the Storm.  The crusader is awesome, but I am not sure if I want to duplicate that experience again so quickly.