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.

Destiny Roegadame

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I had this post that I was contemplating making this morning, but I’ve decided that maybe today is not the right day.  I woke up with a headache that sort of feels like my brain case is trying to split in two…  so it maybe isn’t the best time to be getting into subjects that require a delicate touch.  So instead this morning you are going to get to see some of what I did this weekend over in Destiny 2.  Firstly you get a shot of my current Warlock outfit…  I am in the one in gold and black with the crazy horns.  Now it was announced last week that they nerfed the luminous engrams for multiple characters of the same class.  I am beginning to think that maybe they also nerfed said rewards for ANY characters.  I spent a good deal of time on the Warlock completing the few “easy” engrams…  namely the Weekly Flashpoint (Titan), Clan Experience Reward and Call to Arms Milestone.  The last two line up neatly because you get a predictable 500 xp per crucible match, which helps to chew away at that 5000 xp needed to get the Clan reward.  I held all of the engrams until I had completed all three and then equipped my strongest power gear and turned them in one at a time so I could in theory adjust as needed.  Now when I do this on my Titan I usually see a significant jump in power…  and when I turned in on the Warlock they all for the most part dropped at the same light level as me or maybe one higher.  Ultimately I am not sure if doing multiple luminous engrams per week is really worth it…  but if I can get my Hunter through the main story in time I might try at least one of hers to see if I get the same results.

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That brings me to the fact that I started my hunter this weekend, and wound up deleting my Destiny 1 character and re-rolling as a Female Awoken.  Some interesting things to note…  that even though I deleted my character I got specific story hits as though I was a legacy character.  I am guessing those flags are set at an account level and not a character by character level, so I still got referenced based on my past deeds even though I ultimately deleted my previous hunter.  My Titan being Exo is really the important part of the equation, and the fact that my other two characters were Exos…  was largely due to the fact that there are no beards in Destiny.  Since Hunter is such a nimble and graceful class, I always thought in the back of my head that I probably should have rolled a female character… and in part I am just correcting that original error.  As far as rolling Awoken…  this is the closest I can get in Destiny to having a Roegadame…  which is always the correct choice if you have it.

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This is ultimately a test run for how I am likely going to level when the PC release happens.  I quested my way through the European Dead Zone to unlock Titan, and did the first quest there which unlocks the planet as a whole.  From there I ran public events until I reached 20, which for the first 10 levels took a single event per ding… and afterwards took roughly 2 per.  So if I functionally get to titan around level 5 that means within 25 public events I should be sitting at the level cap.  The reasoning behind this is that you get an awful lot of random gear drops while doing the story content.  Now the specific rewards like Exotics have power limits and will not float up as your level increases…  but all of these random drops absolutely will.  There is a significant part of the leveling process that is going to involve grinding something until you hit 260 light… the cap that you can get to with blue items.  From there you will need a stockpile of faction rewards to get to 265…  and in this case I had a fat stack of Titan tokens to turn in when I got there artificially by equipping the chest I had purchase from Xur and all of my Titan’s weapons.  I started the Hunter around 11 am yesterday afternoon and wound up dinging 20 around 5 pm…  with time between to do laundry and cook and random tasks like that.  Now I just need to finish out the main story, which in theory I should be able to do tonight.

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When I logged my character in earlier to take a few screenshots I noticed that my Clan has defeated the Raid.  When this happens everyone in the clan gets a specific engram that is a level 10-15 version of one of the raid weapons.  I just so happened to have a base 290 pulse rifle sitting in my bank that I sacrificed for science…  and infused to bring the weapon up to usable levels.  All in all I like this pulse rifle quite a bit, and while it is going to take some getting used to the action and the sounds it seems to be really solid.  The important thing however is that I am super proud of my clan for defeating the angry penis head…  which if you have seen Emperor Calus…  it is a fairly apt description that I sadly cannot claim as my own.  I am not sure which team specifically got the kill, but awesome work because I know it took a lot of people over the course of two weeks to really nail this all down and get the fight across the finish line.  Now the rest of us casuals have some shiny baubles as a result.  I think tonight I will be working on the Hunter main story so that I can at least test the flashpoint engram to see what sort of levels I get it to decode at.

Warlock and Worm Gods

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I don’t have a whole heck of a lot to talk about this morning.  I had a relatively chill night playing Destiny 2 without a whole lot of focus on any more serious adventures.  The first part of the evening I finished a milestone that involves doing a bunch of challenges.  Most of these I got yesterday morning while doing a little crucible, but I wound up finishing up in the EDZ knocking a few out there.  After that I picked back up with the main story quest on my warlock and leveled my way through the end of the EDZ, all of Titan and Nessus and have the starting quest for Io.  The only problem there is that I have been way less meandery this time and am sitting just shy of level 10.  In order to accept the IO quest you need to be 11…  so I am going to spend some time wandering Nessus and taking down stuff there I think.  Titan as a whole is not really a great event running zone, given that things are so broken up due to the various platforms that everything happens to be on.  Nessus and EDZ seem like they are for the long run going to be the best spots to get pick up events, but even then…  now that Nessus is the flashpoint it seems to be way less active than the EDZ was last week.  That said there are still a ton of people running events in the EDZ, which might ultimately be the best place to settle into.

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The other thing that I wanted to talk a bit about this morning is something I had seen in a video before.  There is a mission on Titan where you end up essentially going down into an underwater base.  There is this one place where you drop down to a platform below…  and if you are following the flow of the mission you are focused on the objective that is behind me in this screenshot.  However if you turn around and look behind you…  you see this translucent bank of windows and can see something swimming by in shadow that is massive…  and has tentacles.  Now if you have not read the Books of Sorrow this probably will mean nothing to you.  If you want to know the lore of the Hive, then I highly suggest either watching the video series by Byf or the one I actually watched ages ago from Myelin games.  If you prefer to read it yourself, then the full text can be found here as well as I believe all of the Grimore cards from Destiny 1.  I like the video options because I am a sucker for dramatized radio play style text readings…  which is probably why I am a fan of podcasting and public radio in general.  Now we are going to enter some spoiler territory so if you do care to experience the Books of Sorrow yourself come back later.  In the books you find out that the Hive long ago crashed landed on a Water Giant world that they refer to as “The Fundament”, and they ultimately sought the help of the worm gods that lived deep under the water and were creatures of darkness.  I think it doesn’t really make sense that Titan would be “The Fundament” because otherwise we by all accounts should have had to deal with the Hive in full force long before they actually found us.  Instead I am wondering if what we are seeing underwater swimming up against the arcology is a similar Worm God.  Others have talked about this maybe being an Ahamkara, but everything indicates that they were dragon like…  not Leviathan like.  I would say that maybe all of this is for nothing and this is just native life…  but few things that Bungie does are for no actual reason.  I have seen time and time again how they have planted the seeds of something that is yet to come…  in the background of something we have already seen.  During several of these missions the Ghost says that these Hive are different than the ones we had encountered before, which makes me wonder if a certain character that keeps getting mentioned…  has sought out more Worm Gods to make a pact for more power.  Again if you have not dove pretty deep into the lore of Destiny not a damn word I have said today will make much sense.

Flawless Royal Warlock

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Last night I had every intent of attempting to get a Nightfall going.  As a result when I first got home from work I grabbed some food and popped upstairs to fiddle about on my warlock.  It is odd how my order of enjoyment has shifted when it comes to my alts.  Nothing is ever going to dislodge Titan as my primary class in Destiny, but the other two appear to be in a state of flux.  Originally speaking my secondary character was always my Hunter, and my Warlock generally sat in this realm of just one or two steps removed from “afterthought”.  However with Rise of Iron and even some of the late Taken King content…  that sort of shifted around and I tend to enjoy my time spent on the Warlock far more than the Hunter.  I think part of it is that the movement options for the Hunter seem awesome at face value…  but double jump just feels more limited than either the Titan or Warlock jumps.  Admittedly I have constant issues with the Warlock jump because it essentially works backwards of that of the Titan.  However in both cases it feels like I can get where I am needing to go more easily than trying to time a bunch of jumps in order to get up to anyplace high.  On the Hunter I feel like there is never a situation where I do not want to be using the Bones of Eao…  so much so that I question if it would not simply be better for the class if that Exotic were phased out and that function just defaulted.  I still wish there were artifacts that allowed you to switch which jump your class had… because in truth I would still give everyone the Titan jump if given the chance.

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Now I said I had every intent of running a Nightfall last night, but instead when my wife managed to make it home I popped back downstairs to fix her some dinner.  After doing so however instead of filtering back up to my office, I decided to chill downstairs on the sofa with her…  which mean’t no PS4.  I realize I am one of the only people on the planet for which “sofa gaming” does not mean a console, but I have all of my consoles hooked up next to my gaming PC in my office so I can capture from them easily… and also that is where the Television that I can dominate lives.  Before long I was on the laptop and playing some more Diablo, and eventually connected with some friends chain running Rifts for fun and profit.  All in all it was a really good night for me and progression, because firstly… managed to get all of my gems to “Flawless Royal” level.  Additionally I managed to knock out a few more items from my set build namely that I now have the right armor and “weapon” in my cube.  I am now down to a place where the only things I am missing are my jewelry…  but these are also some of the more expensive items to buy from Kadala.  There is a more powerful Legacy of Nightmares build that I am working towards, largely because I have never actually tried doing a build using that pair of rings.  The game apparently wants me to try it however since I wound up with an Ancient version of one of the rings last night.  However I am in the very awkward place of needing Justice Lantern, both pieces of the Endless Walk jewelry set, and the ever present Convention of Elements in the cube.  On a positive note last night I managed to pick up a pair of Nemesis Bracers which I can swap with my Heart of Iron in the cube to make farming runs go more smoothly.  Additionally I managed to get all three of my primary build gems over level 25 so they finally start doing interesting things.  All of these things combined seem to now allow me to pretty easily farm Torment X content, which means that 7/10 of the next Seasonal step is knocked out…  with the only truly heinous thing left being mastering the set dungeon.  For that I am largely going to need to tweak my build because I don’t actually use consecrate anymore, although it is definitely worth trying given how bed of nails works with it.

Tonight however… will most definitely be a night for Destiny because in theory it should be easier to get two characters through Nightmares on reset day 🙂

Warlock Banana

Last night did not go exactly as expected, but I am pretty pleased with the results anyways.  Last night was a good night, and it started from the moment I got home and got a bunch of things accomplished while waiting on the rice cooker.  After a furious round of chores, my wife and I sat down to eat and then I was off to play some PS4.  With my leg in its current mauled state it hurts to sit on the couch given that in order to use my laptop I need to use the recliner.  This ends up putting pressure on the four wounds and while I can take it for a few minutes… it doesn’t exactly make for comfortable gaming.  As a result I am largely upstairs right now, and other than being isolated from my wife it does give me access to my gaming consoles and my legit gaming desktop. The original goal for last night was going to involve running around and doing stuff  with some friends in Destiny, but while waiting for that to happen I decided to start doing Iron Banner on my Warlock.  I had not actually touched the Banner on either the Warlock or the Hunter during Year 3, and as a result I had the Lady Efrideet quests to complete which also reward some gear.  I managed to exit the week long even with my Titan main at 393, Warlock caught up to 391 and my Hunter lagging a bit out of disuse at 389.

I’ve tried a whole slew of weapons and honestly nothing makes me nearly as happy as my Year 2 Iron Banner Auto Rifle… the Haakon’s Hatchet.  So for the most part playing on my Warlock meant swapping this over via Destiny Item Manager.  For those who are not using this I highly suggest installing the chrome plugin, because it greatly improves the utility of being able to swap gear while playing the game.  Essentially I swapped my Auto Rifle and my Gjallarhorn over and was off to the races.  There is a part of me that is sad that this Auto Rifle just simply doesn’t exist any more.  I wish there was something you could do, like a weekly bounty for Lord Saladin that rewarded the year two weapons… just a random draw at the huge vat of available options.  Range Finder is one of those perks on a weapon that I feel like gets overlooked a lot, but given the normal crap range on this weapon… with that perk it allows me to melt targets an entire map away it seems.  Counter Balance and Perfect Balance on the same weapon always makes it feel great and I think a huge part of why I keep favoring this weapon… is that I have used it so much that I can predict exactly how it is going to behave in pretty much every situation.

Throughout the course of the evening I managed to go from Rank 0 to Rank 5 and complete all four of the bounties on my Warlock along with the three one time Lady Efrideet quests.  That meant I saw an awful lot of gear as a result.  Most of it was largely “more of the same” but I am picking out a few items to talk about.  Firstly I am not a huge fan of Sidearms, but I am trying to learn how to use them.  They play this interesting role of operating somewhere just outside of shotgun range but largely something you swap to when you empty your primary.  Normally speaking I would just infuse this into a weapon I am more familiar with but for the moment I am holding onto it largely because I think the perk package looks interesting.  With Hand Loaded and Range Finder… this means my side arm is going to have a massive operating range, and with Quickdraw I will be able to swap to it extremely quickly.  Combine this with the already insane Stability and Rate of Fire on the weapon… and it might be useful if I can learn to use it well.

One of the strange things about Iron Banner is that your drops seem to be extremely character dependent.  For example this time around the drops that were available were Class Items, Helms, Artifacts, Ghost Shells, Scout Rifles, and Fusion Rifles.  On my Titan I got Fusion Rifles almost exclusively, save for a single Distant Star Scout Rifle drop.  On my Warlock…  the Scout Rifles were raining down upon me.  I still think that more than likely I am going to be using the vendor roll which includes Full Auto… giving me a crazy high power auto rifle hybrid thing.  However I did manage to get a few other interesting rolls, including the one above that I thought were worth talking about.  Firstly to spec this out I would end up taking Braced Frame… which I really don’t like doing because it reduces the magazine size.  For the second pick I would ultimately take High Caliber Rounds to give some stagger and a bit more impact, and lastly would probably go for Firefly…  just because right now I don’t have a decent scout rifle with that on it.  For the un-initiated Firefly makes it so that when you kill a with a headshot… it causes it to explode dealing damage to all other mobs around it.  Firefly does a really great job at helping with wave clear and it is just fun to watch all of these things explode.  All in all it was a pretty great week in the Banana, and I am hoping the next time it comes around I can maybe push my army of characters up to 400ish.

Space Diablo

Last night was a good night.  It was a fairly crappy day at work because we were still dealing with the ramifications of events that happened over the break.  Nothing says excitement like an 8 am conference call.  That said I had an amazing bowl of chicken noodle soup waiting on me when I got home.  Sunday during the day we made a batch of soup in the crock pot, and for whatever reason soup is all the more amazing on day two.  This time around I added a little shredded cheese to it and it was insanely good and the perfect thing to at least in part make me forget the day that lead up to it.  As far as my evening the bulk of it was spent hanging out with Grace and Mor in Destiny.  While I consider myself still very much a fledgling player, they are more so… and as a result it was kinda fun just to ride along as Mor experienced all of the content for the very first time.  The big take away from the night however is that the year one strike bosses are still insane bullet sponges.  I kinda find it sad that they never went back and updates these strikes, when much better year two versions exist.  The walker in the Devil’s Lair normal difficulty strike… is quite possibly the hardest strike boss ever… or at the very least the one that takes the most time to bring down.  I solo walkers out in the patrol zones for fun…  and this one just would not die.

Mor calls the game “Space Diablo” and it is fitting because really in the end we are all after tasty loot.  Since I had already done most of this content before a bunch of times, I opted to play my Warlock which is generally my least progressed character.  On the Stormcaller spec for example I only had the base abilities unlocked that you exit the mission with.   By the end of the night however I had a significant amount unlocked, and gear wise my Warlock has suddenly pulled out ahead of my Hunter.  The thing with Warlock is that I like literally everything about it… except the jump.  Squirrel will probably fight me on this one, but it just feels wrong.  It doesn’t work the way I want it to work… and in truth if I could just give my Warlock the Titan jump… everything would be peachy.  Then again I would give literally every class the Titan jump, and part of me hopes that they introduce a second round of artifacts that do just this… allow you to customize each character by giving them a different class jump.  I don’t think that is likely ever going to happen, so in the meantime I will have to console myself with having permatracking thanks to Memory of Gheleon on every character.  If nothing else that artifact is amazing for finding chests… which considering just how many there are in the plaguelands greatly increase how much glimmer I am getting.

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Once things wound down in Destiny, I disappeared downstairs and worked on my Deathknight for awhile.  Sunday with the start and stop nature of work, I didn’t get terribly far in knocking out some of my dungeon quests.  In fact there was a point where I had queued for a dungeon, and shortly after the second boss had to drop group to hop on a work conference call.  Were it a guild group this probably would not have been a show stopper given that I could alt tab back and forth as needed, however I excused myself from the PUG and became resigned to not actually finishing up Stormheim.  So last night I started off by running Halls of Valor, which went extremely quickly and allowed me to move on in good conscience to Highmountain.  Right now I am largely just focusing on the main story of the zone and ignoring any offshoots for the moment, because it already seems like I am going to ding 110 well before wrapping everything up.  At the moment I am sitting at 60% into 108, and have just started the quests in High Mountain meaning I have most of an entire zone to level through.  I will absolutely ding before leaving this zone, and then I can begin the slow process of gearing through World Quests.  I have to say that I love Frost Deathknight for both a leveling and dungeon running spec, and it is going to dethrone my Paladin as my primary alt.

All of this said… I am not likely to work on my Deathknight tonight because I have a date with Final Fantasy.  I am too old to stay up and play at the official launch of a game but instead have it sitting waiting for me on my PS4 for when I get home.

Fetching Cats

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I am not entirely certain how well this video is going to come across on the blog, since I am just using the default twitter embed process.  I’ve talked about playing fetch with my youngest cat Kenzie before.  She loves rubber bands, and whenever she wants to play will bring one and drop it beside me.  Traditionally this has meant tossing it around the room and her chasing after it.  However over the weekend my wife went to a craft fair and picked me up a basic rubberband gun.  Now at first the results were mixed, but I quickly realized it was because it moved quicker than she could actually track.  So firing it across the room in the air meant she would just look at me confused a few times and then give up.  However if I fire it across the floor so that it makes impact and slides the rest of the way…  she is able to track that and bolts off after it.  I decided to attempt to record this in the process and overall it turned out pretty well… including the batting of the gun to try and make me fire it.  This was my evening… and when she would get tired she would bring it back… and then lay down on top of it.  Later she would discover it again when she got up and the circus would continue.

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As far as gaming went… it was another mixed bag of an evening.  Firstly early in the evening before my wife got home I spent that time working on my Warlock and namely doing the Shiro and Tyra weekly quest.  The idea being that if I keep doing those every week I am bound to get some interesting stuff from the load of legendary engrams that they ultimately provide.  At this very moment I swap them all to the bank and then hop on my highest light character to open them.  However before long that won’t matter quite so much given that the only sub 385 character I have right now is my Warlock.  Today is the weekly  reset, and from what it sounds like it is a really good week to farm packages.  If nothing else this is going to be the week that I farm up all of the heroic strikes I need for Future War Cult quest.  Small Arms and Solar Burn means you can farm heroics, and Mayhem Clash means you can finish games in 6 mins making it an insane Crucible farm week as well.  Needless to say I am probably going to be playing Destiny tonight.

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In World of Warcraft last night was our traditional Mythical Monday night…  which is just a cute name for “oh shit we never did a mythic this week”.  It seems like Monday is the night that I always end up doing a keystone just in time to get a free item today.  This time around there was a double benefit, in that my friend Mor needed Black Rook Hold for the Karazhan attunement, and he also had a keystone for it.  It is getting to the point where these runs are largely pretty smooth and we managed to complete in with enough time to spare that we got two chests at the end.  Unfortunately I don’t think anyone managed to get any usable gear.  Quite honestly it has been a really long time since I have gotten anything useful out of a Mythic, and largely they are just something I do… because of the fear of missing out on something from the chest.  I enjoy them, and I am always happy to tank them pending I can dedicate 30 minutes of my time in one sitting.  However I am not necessarily running them because I need them.

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Lastly I finished the evening in Rift and managed to finish up Scatherran Forest.  I got so into the game that I completely did not watch the time… and wound up finally heading to bed when my wife started to wake up from the sofa at 12:30.  From there I had a pretty fitful night sleep wise, so it is definitely going to be an interesting day.  That aside…  Scatherran Forest was a great experience and the wrap up event was full of epic moments.  At the end of the zone you wind up going into a mini solo dungeon of sorts, with I believe four boss encounters that you take on with two companions.  As far as the story line and ramifications… they also felt pretty awesome.  There were some definite feels caused by the ending… that were not entirely attributable to the late hour.  I’ve now moved on to the Gedlo Badlands, with my general idea being to ping pong back and forth between the two as I work my way through the comet towards the Tower of Ahnket.  I had my first real run in with Ahnket and it was interesting…  definitely get a malevolent evil vibe…  but also that of a cat playing with a toy which makes it all the more fitting to talk about this morning.  I  talked a bit during the day about Time to Kill issues… and apparently a good chunk of that was my own damned fault in that I forgot to slot any planar fragments.  Once I did that… I noticed a significant boost in damage output, so if you are similarly struggling try that.  So far my favorite thing about this expansion is largely just a side effect.  I love that I am gaining planar levels insanely fast anytime I do pretty much anything… which is helping me flesh out those neglected trees.

Belghula Rising

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This week marks the last week of the Legion Invasion event, and with it goes the insane leveling elevator that many of us have ridden over and over.  At this point I have every slot on Argent Dawn Alliance filled with level 100 characters, and over the last bit of this week I have been pushing Belghula my female Orc Warlock on The Scryers.  Scryers is a linked realm with Argent Dawn and when that occurred I made the choice to roll a complete set of Hordies over there, so that I could hang out and play with friends I had other the other side of the server.  The Argent Dawn community has always been an odd one, and for a period of time we had a thriving official… and later unofficial server forum.  I still somewhat wish I had not killed the domain behind that forum, but at that time I thought I didn’t really want to be playing World of Warcraft anymore.  In any case I have a large community of horde friends that I love dearly, but never got to play with.  When I purchased Legion I ended up using my boost to create a level 100 Tauren Paladin and I even got to raid over there for a period of time…  until Sundays didn’t really work that well for me.  Now I am pushing up a second 100 to have a more balanced set of characters to play.  Something happened and I decided that I don’t mind casters… and even really like the Warlock so that ultimately is the one I have decided to push.

Last night during the podcast I managed to get her to level 95, so it should be relatively trivial to finish off and ding 100 today.  Similarly I have an Orc Deathknight waiting in the wings as well in the 60s… but I am not completely sure if I am going to push it hard or not.  I would like to at a minimum get it to 80 because the Cataclysm/Panda/Warlords grind seems much faster than getting a single character through Wrath of the Lich King.  I’ve talked about this in the past, but content design has changed a lot since Wrath and quest stacking was a much harder proposal back then than it is now.  By quest stacking I mean gathering up a bunch of quests related to a specific area and then burning through them all at once.  As far as the Cataclysm/Panda/Warlords grind… I feel like I have that one down to an artform jumping zones each time my adventure guide lights up telling me there is a new zone to jump to.  The most interesting thing about the whole experience however has been seeing how folks have broken the event over their knee and abused the hell out of the system.  The other day I talked a bit about the idea of resetting the event, but ultimately decided that it just made it a boring grind.  Some folks however have apparently taken this process to the extreme.

Last night I was sitting in the Crossroads minding my own business and working on the event, when someone broadcast a message across general talking about an Exp Grinding party.  They had auto invite scripts set up so that if someone typed 1 in chat it would throw out a raid invite.  The level of organization was impressive, even to the level of asking those of us who happened to have two seated mounts to use those and give rides to the players who were on foot or on slow land mounts.  From there we took a very specific route, killing what I feel was probably the optimal path through the mobs.  There were several times were we paused for a second to wait for the next mob in the sequence to spawn in… or when she went off to pull one that was within range to burn them down at the same time.  I cannot state how impressive this level of organization and cooperation from players actually ended up being.  She shouted the next target to general so that anyone else NOT in our raid could also reap the benefit.  The real coordination however was that when we finished phase three she told everyone to log out, and disbanded the party.  The idea being that when everyone logged back in they would potentially be in the same Stage 1 event.  I went ahead and finished out this event and moved to the next zone instead, but I have to marvel at how well that worked.  In truth I don’t want to really abuse this event, because doing it legitimately provides more than enough experience and loot for my tastes.  That said I guess this method probably works much faster and provides and endless supply of experience in one of the easier zones that the event is taking place.