[Dwarf Fortress] The Fortress Endures

This is the first time I have seen the chief medical dwarf actually do any doctoring. He’s usually in a constant state of drinking and partying to the point where the farmers and other non-medical dwarves are diagnosing and setting bones.

Just survived a goblin siege with relatively minimal losses (8 dwarves).

Legion and Storytelling

The topic of storytelling came up the other morning while my husband and I were discussing how much we were enjoying Legion so far. We had both decided that Legion may actually mark the first WoW expansion (at least since Wrath of the Lich King) in which story has been a primary motivator for content completion.

Each zone in the Broken Isles has its own distinct story to tell, all ultimately tying into the legion invasion (thankfully different stories with a different flavor, aka not all green fell shit). That element in itself isn’t unique to Legion, but I feel that this expansion pack is the first in which I am able to actually complete each zone before moving to the next one. There are two main reasons for this:

1. Level Scaling: In the previous expansion packs, each zone was designed for a specific level range. Since it was pretty easy to out level any particular area, the general flow of things was to half complete a zone, move onto the next one once all of the mobs and quests turn green, complete the questlines at max level when there isn’t anything else to do. Since Legion content scales with your level, there’s really no pressure to continuously zone hop.

2. Non-Prohibitive Gameplay: For example, not having to compete with other players in tagging mobs and not having to wait indefinitely for named quest mobs to spawn. Few things in a new expansion pack are more of a bonerkill than huge questing bottlenecks.

Maybe I just have a short expansion pack memory, but without spoiling anything, the quest lines seem more…personal this time around. I feel like there are a lot more character driven events and quests. So far, Blizzard has done a great job of communicating just how dire the invasion is. It certainly feels more ‘important’ than alternate dimension orc slaying.

Legion Day 1: Paladin Things & Azsuna

Sitting at work while everyone is having fun playing Legion kind of sucks but adults gotta adult I guess.

Thus far, no queue, no lag, no disconnects, no waiting to tag named mobs, or really any of the typical expansion release bullshit. Smoothest launch to date; Having 4 starting zones + level scaling = best idea ever. No more funneling half the server into one zone or feeling rushed to drop a quest chain in one area for the sake of moving onto a more level appropriate zone. Good on you Blizzard.

….it’s still weird though not having any new talents.

There are three paladin artifact weapons, each corresponding to one of the three paladin specs. Everyone, or at least all true paladins of course know that there is realistically only one choice, and that choice ain’t no hammer or shield. So alas, after a decade and change of pining for it: The Ashbringer is mine.

Pretty zone.

I started in Azsuna because it was located in the lower left hand corner of the Broken Isles map. If there are no obviously breadcrumbs, I will probably just go left to right.

Going to honestly resist the urge to power level to 110. What’s the rush?

Progress report for day 1: Hit level 101, managed to complete one-and-a-half quest chains in Azsuna, obtained Ashbringer, did some of the class hall quests, sighed at Khadgar. I don’t know what the other class hall content is like but the paladin quests so far are fantastic in both content and lore. They feel more connected and important than anything from WoD if that makes any sense. I am also enjoying having a secret paladin clubhouse, though we will see how they pan out after the novelty wears off.

[Spoilers for Azsuna] Favorite new NPC so far has to be Runas the Shamed. I was expecting a betrayal but he kept his word, helped save the oldest blue dragons and in the end, thanked you for giving his last sane moments meaning before slipping away. I didn’t expect that to come from an NPC that initially felt like a parody of Tyrone from the Chapelle show. Feels.

On the second to last day of WoD, my garrison finally gave to me…

…That stupid S.E.L.F.I.E Camera that I have been wanting since re-subbing a month ago. And with that my lovely garrison, I bid you adieu. You were a cool idea but ultimately ended up being an elaborate iPhone game that killed half the social aspect of the game. So, here’s to a new expansion pack’s worth of good times and stupid selfies. Going to try to avoid spoilers and screenshots while at work tomorrow.

[WoW] The Invasion

Huh well image that… If you add content to a game, it becomes fun again; Who would have known? But in all seriousness, we enjoyed the invasion scenarios and cutscenes quite a bit and are currently enjoying catching up on the bits and pieces of content missed during our absence from WoW. The invasion gear has also rather quickly replaced a fair amount of the crappy LFR and Timewalking gear that I have been slowly accumulating. Overall, it is a suitable farewell to WoD and transition into Legion, which we are looking forward to playing at the end of the month.

I really wanted to boost either my Shaman or Druid to 100 but the Shaman is only 20 and the Druid is 45. In order to get the profession boost, which is what I really want (because screw grinding anything, especially JC, from 1 to 700), the boosted character needs to be 60+. The only character even remotely close to 60 would be my DK, who had previously been at 58 since Wrath of the Lich King. I guess if we are being totally honest, the likelyhood of me even playing a 4th alt beyond profession muling is abysmally low. In that regard, I suppose it doesn’t matter which character I boost so long as it is above level 60.

WoWScrnShot_081116_221117

The hunter is finally 100 as is my newly rolled Demon Hunter. This marks the most max level characters that I have ever had (up from 2 to 4). I think my favorite part of the new class is either the eye beams or being able to jump off of your flying mount at great heights and gliding around with the wings.

I was hoping to get Draenor flying before Legion, but I have a feeling that Saberstalkers rep is going to take too long to grind out. Everything else can be completed relatively trivially.

Draenor Flying

Odds and Ends: FFRK, WoW, and Fallout Shelter

FFRK
Photo-2016-08-01-21-48-57_7636Record Keeper was put on the back burner a bit in light of Pokemon Go and our return to WoW. I still need to clear the FFV U+ fight as well as Ifrit. The Support Nightmare fight wasn’t that hard once I had the timing down, but it did take a few tries and party configurations. The general idea is:

  • Phase 1: Shout and zerg the two nodes down. Keep in mind that when a node dies, it will respawn in about 1 to 2 turns.
  • Phase 2: The CPU will cast the physical barriers first so keep your Power Breakdown and Armor Breakdown (and Multi-Break if possible) users on standby. Finish off the nodes with other party members, PBD and ABD need to be queued as soon as the nodes respawn to avoid double barriers.
  • As soon as the nodes respawn: Queue PBD on the top one and ABD on the bottom one. Wait a second then queue Multi-Break. The idea is to time it so that Multi-Break goes off after PBD and ABD, doing this will make the nodes go haywire.
  • DPS the boss when the nodes to haywire. As soon as the second Barrage and Heal go off (from the nodes), queue Multi-Break. The idea is to cast Multi-Break before the CPU has a chance to put a barrier up. If you do it right the nodes should go haywire again.

WoW
WoWScrnShot_073116_145644Hopped straight on the gear treadmill despite Legion looming off into the not-so-far distance. My retribution set is sufficient enough to do okay damage in LFR HFC raids. Working on my healing set. I may actually start healing again; If for nothing else, so that we don’t have to sit in the LFR/LFG queue for 30 to 40 minutes. There were literally two healing buttons the last time I had bothered healing back in Vanilla so we will see how that goes…

My hunter has a near full set of 630+ gear tokens from the Tanaan dailies, garrison missions, etc. I can’t however, seem to bother to quest out the last 60% of a level to 100 so that he can use it. I’m bad at alting. I am not sure which character I am going to burn my insta-100 boost on. I am thinking that it will most likely be either a my lowbie druid or lowbie shaman.

Fallout Shelter
I was surprised to hear that a significant amount of content had been added to this game so I redownloaded it on my phone and have been poking at it on-and-off over the past week. The missions are pretty fun though I can tell that my interest in the title is starting to wane.

[Music] Zero Wing: Legrous (Stage 2)

At some point close to 2000 to 2001 when the “All Your Base” meme was becoming popular, I had downloaded a .midi from Zero Wing (old side scroller from Sega that was never released stateside). I was digging through and cleaning out my media folder and came across my MIDI stash which had somehow managed to survive multiple harddrive transitions. Given that my phone doesn’t play .mid files, I thought that it would be nice to find a decent soundfont and convert it to .mp3 format for the sake of adding to one of my lunchtime listening playlists. I have no idea where this midi is from or who the original author is so sincere apologies for no credit. Soundfont used: Arachno.

Pokémon GO Ramblings & Tips

The team so far. Needs work

Literally every single nerd with a smartphone is playing Pokémon GO. A group of us went out last night to go Pokehunting and true enough, if at any point we were to bother to look up and away from our phones, there were quite a few people doing the same thing. The lures seem to not only attack Pokémon, but fellow nerds as well. Kudos to the dude who dropped two last night while we were poke walking.

Pokémon GO doesn’t quite have the depth as Ingress in my opinion: No portal linking obviously or colluding with other faction members to boost portals and capture large areas. I also wish the app had some sort of faction/player leaderboard. I am sure that will be added in a future update.

Literally every single time I want to play during my lunch at work 🙁

I have been also having difficulty capturing gyms because of the “1 HP gym bug.” Whenever I attack a gym and get the defending Pokémon down to 1HP, the game will glitch out and cause it to remain at 1 HP indefinitely. I have heard that this issue may have something to do with tapping the screen too fast as well as with multiple people attempting to take the gym at the same time.

In summary: Pokémon GO is generating the player response that we really really wanted from Ingress. The mere fact that there are so many people who are going outside and doing stuff is super cool.

Here are some odd tips and tricks that I have gathered so far:

  • If you see pink confetti on a pokestop, go there. Pink stuff = lure = more pokemans!

    Pokémon GO is obviously built off of data from Niantic’s other title Ingress. Portals = PokeStops and high traffic portals = gyms. There is no interactive map for Pokémon GO, but if you play Ingress or at least have an account, you can use this map to estimate PokeStop concentration.

  • Wait until the ring in the middle is at it’s smallest for the highest chance of catching the Pokémon.
  • Throwing curveballs increases your catch chance. To throw a curveball: If you spun the ball clockwise, throw the ball slightly to the left and visa versa. Most important thing: When you spin the ball, it will travel in the direction of the spin.
  • To spin the ball: While holding the pokeball, move your finger in rapid small circles until it shines.
  • Though less fun, I have found it easier (and to be honest, less suspicious looking in public), to turn off the AR camera while catching Pokémon.
  • Capture absolutely everything regardless of level or need. If you don’t need it, you can transfer it to the professor for candy. Candy is used for boosting and evolving Pokémon.
  • This game, much like Ingress, absolutely eats your battery alive. Investing in a USB power bank will increase your enjoyment of this game greatly; Or at the very least, allow you to enjoy it for longer periods of time without your phone dying.
  • Distance traveled is GPS based. In other words: Shaking your phone will not hatch the eggs faster. Go outside!

More Overwatch Musings

Most of my free gaming time this week has been dedicated to playing Overwatch. I have had a huge itch for a while to play an online class-based shooter that isn’t TF2, Battlefield, CoD, etc. Overwatch fulfills that need nicely. As such, it has effectively been the only non-mobile title that I have played over the past week. To be economical, I ended up pre-ordering the standard edition of Overwatch for the sake of playing in the early access beta. I would be lying if I had said that I wasn’t tempted to upgrade to the Origins Edition, but I do not think that a couple of skins and cosmetic doodads are worth an extra $20. If I were still playing WoW I would probably use the Winston pet as justification.

I am interested in seeing how class balance progresses as players eventually learn to play more of the characters. I have sneaky feeling that certain characters aren’t nearly as overpowered as the community makes them out to be by virtue of the general player knowledge still being fairly low, being an open beta and all. People, at least in most of the games that I have played in over the past week, seldom switch characters on the fly, if at all. For example: Switching to hard counter tank + turret camping or to transition into mid/late game defense. Overwatch is obviously designed around being able to play around character strengths and weaknesses mid-match.

As a sidenote: How exactly are the Play of the Game clips calculated? I had assumed that it was based off of obtaining the most points within a short period of time during the match, but I have seen a couple of clips lately where the featured player was literally doing almost nothing (and in one case, according to a Reddit post, literally doing nothing). Bug? This complaint of course, has absolutely nothing to do with me being semi-bitter about the fact that none of my epic team kill clips were chosen over yet another clip of Bastion killing 2 to 3 players 😛

Black Desert Online Impressions

It was raining the other Sunday so for lack of any other indoor activity that I felt compelled to partake in, I purchased Black Desert Online on a whim. I have been hearing about this title on-and-off of the past month or so. Aside from screenshots, I didn’t actually know that much about it. Ultimately, it was both curiosity as well as the fact that it was only $30 with no monthly fee that pushed it over the edge of temptation.

BDO’s character creation is probably the most robust system out of any that I have seen in any recent MMO. That said, I really wish someone would make a character creator that is similar to Create-a-Sim from The Sims 4. I find that being able to click and drag on various facial features to move them, make them longer, etc is way easier than using slidebars.

As a sidenote, there is a distinct aesthetic that all Korean and Japanese MMO’s seem to have. I think it is that the characters look like 3Dified anime characters maybe? That is not to say that it is a bad thing, just something that I have noticed.

Combat is very fluid and action RPGish with a sufficient amount of ability combos. Though technically you could fight in a typical MMO keyboard binding manner, it is more fun to treat it like a 3rd party action game.

New game + fairly automatable (autopath to everything) = my new half watch Hulu and half play a game activity. That said, the fact that a number of things can be automated and minimized to the tray and that questing can be reduced to hitting ‘T’ to autorun to a giant glowing circle on the map makes me frown a bit and wonder if we are all not better off just ‘playing’ Progress Quest or something.

I don’t think that I am going to stick with BDO (or really any MMO) in the long run, but it is sufficiently interesting to hold my attention until Overwatch is released.