Shades of Drinal

Back in Norrath, I had just completed the Eidolon Jungle zone and was excited to see what new things were in store for me next. First things first, I was sent to the Eastern Wastes back on Velious, where I was to meet with a contact who would tell me what steps to take.


The dragon I met with sent me inside the Sleeper’s Tomb, which up to this point was a zone I hadn’t been in before. I believe this was part of the original content in DoV, but there was now an Advanced Solo option at the entrance, so I headed inside. The dungeon consisted of killing a couple of named mobs and gathering a couple of statues. Killing those named would open a barrier to another named, and in that room there was a map that I also needed to pick up. Each of these bosses had some weird scripting and annoyances to them, but I ended up clearing it with only one death, which was par for the course.

With that instance cleared and the items collected, it was back to my buddy the Duality, back in the Feerrott. We bro fist it out and then he sends me to Jarsath Wastes in Kunark land to find another friend of his, who’s hanging out on a boat by the docks. I go say what’s up to his friend who then sends me up to a dungeon on a cliffside, and honestly I think this is some new stuff added for this particular expansion, because not only were their new mobs I haven’t seen before inside (the Ashlok — kind of a big Ratonga, which made me feel sorta bad for killing my own people), and the graphics appeared newer, despite the fact that I know they’re still in the same old engine. So the first instance I was sent into was basically a big city of these rat folk, build up onto the side of cliffs so there were some precarious areas, and some of the baddies had some knockups that could have been annoying but I made it through in one piece. Had to collect a couple things in the first instance, just to go back to the guy on the boat and then head into another instance that was a bit different but basically the same. Either way I enjoyed both runs and there were some cool sights to be seen. Very little in the way of gear drops though, so that was a little disappointing.

From there, it was back to the guy on the boat, who is sending me now into Chelsith: The Ancient Vault, which is still found underwater, though it shares the same cliff the previous dungeons did, whereas the original Chelsith was back the other direction. This is where I left off during the last play session, but according to the wiki I’m not far off from entering the next new overland zone, Obol Plains. I’m interested to find out what it looks like! Soon.

Made today’s run with Chicken. Things were going fine til I got to Lil Hunter, and didn’t get a lucky medpack drop (for Chicken’s passive).

Diablo III Update

gemcollectionSeason 3 ended this past Sunday without my realizing it. When I logged into the game last night, I was met with a billion in game mails containing all of my gems and crafting components. Side note, I’m wondering how they will be combined when the upcoming patch removes some of the variety? I was curious about some of the season’s rewards and also how many Paragon points I’d end up with but inventory management was the most pressing matter. Unfortunately I had spent a pretty penny on dyes and transmogrification (bad idea at such a low level by the way), so I ended up with a mess of all manner of gem tiers. I was only able to combine some, so I ended up having to go farm some gold so I’d be able to combine what was left. I was extremely lucky and ended up on one of the bovine rifts, and stumbled upon an event I hadn’t seen before.

The gist of it was that there was a spirit cow, and once you talk to him, he says “they look like they have a beef with you” before disappearing. Soon all manner of bovines are swarming your location. I killed 87 before the time elapsed, however I noticed each one was giving me something like 100k experience and 10k gold. I was rolling in dough once more, and managed two levels of experience in that one event. I still had to finish off the rift and the big ass cow boss before returning to town where I managed to combine all my remaining gems and deck myself out in some new gear. I ended up removing so many gems from my old gear that I used up all of my money and ended up with several pieces of gear sitting in my stash — waiting to have gems removed. Oh, and I decided to use up the 350 blood shards in my inventory, and ended up with some legendary shoulders, so it ended up being pretty good overall.

I ended up with 12 paragon points, up from 5 and combined with the seasonal 9 I had earned. Not bad, it helped with some minor buffs on my Demon Hunter. Before the end of the night I was level 56 but I missed my mark of getting this character to 70 before the season ended. Fortunately the new season doesn’t start until Friday, so I should be able to have the Demon Hunter at 70 by then anyway. Worst part of spending on that money on transmogs? I look completely different after only a few short hours. Lesson learned.


Looking around I can’t seem to find what the exact rewards for having a level 70 during season 3 was supposed to net me. For Season 4 it looks like you get a couple of transmogs for a couple of slots. I imagine the same would go for season 3, but at this point I don’t see them, so either they haven’t been unlocked yet, or I’m not looking in the right place. I did get a new profile ring thing (you can see it above, below my character), but that’s all I can see so far, and that doesn’t seem limited to the season, but rather having over ten paragon points. Anyone have any ideas?

I think this is why the season journey will be nice, as it seems to direct you to what needs to be done to get rewards, and has a tracker much like the achievement system. I’ll see if I can track down more info an report back if no one enlightens us in the comments.

Took Crystal for this daily run. I was doing just fine, actually got a crown for once, and ended up standing too close to Big Dog. You’ll see what happened.

Thoughts on the NALCS Finals


This weekend’s NALCS action showed exactly why the top teams made it as far as they did. Not only was there a fantastic match for third place between Team Impulse and Team Liquid, but the big grand finale of Team Solomid versus Counter Logic Gaming. You’ll probably recall that I made some predictions last week, and I’ll go over that now.

Saturday’s game was for third place overall, and there were various scenarios where Team Liquid could end up in second place overall going into worlds, or where Team Impulse could have pulled ahead. I called a victory for Liquid last week, but I figured that Impulse would give them a run for their money and to a degree I was right. Liquid did win the overall best of five series, but Impulse made them work for it, actually winning one of the games. It was very clear though that TL was the better team overall at that point, and I still think that goes back to the whole Gate/Xiaoweixiao thing, but I won’t go into that again. Impulse still has a chance to secure that third place spot, but I’ll talk about that in a little bit.

For the main event, Sunday saw the actual summer split finals, where TSM and CLG faced off for the first time in a long time. Storied rivals, but TSM has been at every finals since the LoL pro scene got its start, and this was the first time CLG ever made it this far. They were cursed to this point, always being relegated or ending up in third place. I know since I’ve been watching pro play I’ve never seen CLG at worlds, but they have officially stamped their ticket at this point.

It was surprising that the games were so one sided. I had called TSM as the winner because, well they always end up at the finals and they are usually the #1 or #2 seed at worlds from the NA region, so why would I think this year would be any different? I believe that’s what most people were thinking as well, because CLG were the definite underdogs for this series. Fans of TSM would vote/root for TSM. Fans of other teams would do the same (like me). Fans of CLG were the only ones keeping the faith, and the only ones able to say much of anything at this point. They dominated TSM in all phases of the game: from picks and bans, to laning, to mid game team fights, to closing out the game. They 3-0’d TSM as easily as they did my team, TiP. The games were nothing short of exciting though, as TSM wasn’t going down without a fight, but they consistently fell behind, and had to force things they normally wouldn’t. They are a farm til the late game type of team, and CLG exploited that with early ganks, early lane dominance, and convincing team synergy. They clearly deserved this win, and the naysayers (like me) should shut up at this point.

Towards the end of last week’s post, I had stated that I was confused about how the championship points worked and what would happen with this whole “gauntlet” thing people had mentioned. Here’s a handy graphic that Team Liquid posted on Twitter for illustration:


Basically, because CLG took the win in the finals, they are the #1 seed and are automatically going to Worlds. With the loss, TSM could have dropped into this gauntlet, but they had enough championship points having taken top spots in the spring split to stay ahead of the next team, Liquid. As such, TSM is the #2 and is also going to Worlds, so this loss didn’t affect them as much as it could have. Also with the type of experience the team has in the playoffs and at the World Championship, they might be able to right their wrongs going forward.

Now, since the top two seeds are locked up, there is only one more seed available to go to Worlds. It would seem that Liquid should already have that spot as they won it via the 3rd place match, but for some reason or another, there is a further gauntlet to work through, of which they got the biggest advantage. As the team with the most championship points, they will be slotted where “team 1” is on the image above. Impulse is below them in the “team 2” slot, having less points. Teams 3 and 4 are Gravity and Cloud 9. They had less points than the aforementioned teams, but due to their combined efforts over this split and the spring, they earned a place here (C9 did well in the spring, but failed hard in the summer, while Gravity flip flopped these results).

So basically we have another set of playoffs, but only to determine the 3rd seed for the World Championship. Apparently if you want to avoid two sets of playoffs, you either have to finish 1st or 2nd, or fail completely 😛 Beginning on Saturday, the first match will be Gravity vs C9, and with how poorly C9 did this past split, I imagine they will drop out at this point, but I guess you never know. Whoever wins that game will advance to play Impulse on Sunday. The winner from that match will advance to play Liquid on Monday, and we will then officially know who our NA 3rd seed at Worlds will be. For more information on how the World Championship will work, check out this excellent article from Riot themselves.

Looking forward from there, there is the promotion series where the worst teams from this past split will vie for the ability to return next spring to compete, along with those who one the Challenger Series a bit ago, and the other “best” teams who were in top half of the standings. This is how the LCS landscape changes each year, and I’m glad to have a better understanding of it at this point. More thoughts to come next week.

Tried to replicate yesterday’s fantastic run, but even with Chicken’s passive I was unable to get as far. Ah well. There’s always tomorrow.

The Gamer To-Do List: Update #4


It’s been about a week since I last made an update to my ongoing Gamer To-Do List project, so I thought I’d come back to it for another Blaugust post. There haven’t been a huge amount of updates here, but I’ll try to touch on the major stuff and add some notes to the list so it reflects the current goings-on.

My Gamer To-Do List:

  • ESO – level my templar to 15 and try out pvp again –  (haven’t played for a couple weeks, but it’s staying on my list anyway)
  • League of Legends –  Made Silver, work towards Gold. Try to get some champions to tier 5 mastery (Have only been playing a little here and there)
  • EQ2 – work through expansion Chains of Eternity –  Nearly done with EJ zone. (Eidolon Jungle completed, moving forward)
  • Borderlands The Pre-Sequel – still in rotation
  • Valkyria Chronicles – still in the rotation
  • Diablo III – (level Demon Hunter to 70 before patch) – level a crusader in season 4 (Demon Hunter is currently 51 and climbing)
  • The Forest – check out patch 0.22 multiplayer fixesgame was nearly unplayable in co-op before (have yet to try this)
  • Nuclear Throne –  Record daily runs and share them on the blog during Blaugust (maybe beyond)

Free Agents:

  • Project Gorgon
  • L.A. Noire
  • Alan Wake
  • Divinity Original Sin

On Hold:

  • Crusader Kings II — learn the game.
  • Magic Duels – Check back to see if bugs are fixed
  • GW2 – determine main, then level to 80. 
  • Rift – Level Cleric to cap (currently level 40).

The biggest bits of news I have from the past week is that I’ve made some forward progress playing through the Chains of Eternity expansion in Everquest II, along with making some headway in Diablo III on my Demon Hunter, who is a leftover from a past season but hadn’t been leveled to 70. I did however spend quite a bit of time playing other things that aren’t really on this list (nor would I include them) and being busy with real life stuff, so that factors into why I’ve had little effect on my list.

For starters, I spent a few hours playing Grand Theft Auto V at my friend’s house the other day, and I have to say I really want to pick up a PC copy because it’s honestly the best GTA experience I’ve had, especially after having basically written off the series for a very long time. I also got to try out the Call of Duty Black Ops III multiplayer beta, as he got into it on his PS4. Unfortunately this didn’t include access to Zombies or the campaign co-op, only the regular multiplayer. It was hard to get matched into anything decent, there was a bit of lag most of the time, and so it wasn’t the best experience but I can report that multiplayer in that game is pretty much the same thing you’ve already experienced, with a couple of differences. First, there’s the parkour elements that Titanfall was known for, being able to rocket jump and wall run/hang. Second, there’s a new mechanic called “specialists” which equate to different classes that have special abilities. You can only use one specialist at a time, and they are gender locked pre-made characters. This is a step towards making CoD have a class system like games such as Battleborn and Overwatch are trying to do. I like it, and I think it holds up pretty well. The multiplayer isn’t optimized yet though, so it wasn’t all that much fun. I look forward to playing more of this when it comes out though, as the 4 player co-op campaign and zombies should be a blast.

On the Everquest II front, I finally completed the Eidolon Jungle zone. The beginning of the zone was kind of a drag, because it was just a rip in the time continuum, and a mirrored version of the Feerrott, a zone I was never fond of from the original Shattered Lands. However, as the zone progressed it was cool to see atmospheric events that made parts of the main landmass feel like whole different zones.  Towards the end you’re in an area that has been fully engulfed by creatures from the plane of fear, and you are doing quests for the weird Amygdalan race. It’s still more kill some of this and gather some of that, until finally a couple of quests point you in the direction of an instanced zone: Temple of the Faceless. I was worried I would be stuck at this point, assuming that the dungeon would be heroic and I’d be unable to complete it, but I had forgotten that at the end of the last zone I had completed (Skyshrine), Daybreak has started creating solo zones so people could get through these situations on their own. Thankfully the mobs in the advanced solo were easy to kill, and counted for what I needed. One of those quests’ completion relied on clearing the zone, and I was able to do so without any missteps. The next set of quests sent me to another advanced solo, called the Throne of Fear, and it too was easy to complete. Soon I had finished the instances and the zone altogether, and am now sitting on the quest Shades of Drinal: Puzzle Pieces which is supposed to lead me around Norrath to newly (at the time) added solo instances in older zones. This is part of the quest chain that will lead me to the other overland zone for the expansion, Obol Plains. So I think at this point I’m about half way done with the expansion, but not counting heroic dungeons or raids, which I might not get a chance to do until later, or with help from others. For now I’m content to solo up through the content til I can’t anymore and have to buy the new expansion + sub time. Here’s a gallery of various shots from my recent adventures:

In Diablo III, I mentioned previously that I want to check out the new content in patch 2.3, but also that I wanted to start up a new character when season 4 started. As I already have a hardcore Monk and Witch Doctor at 70, I want to start either a new Wizard, Crusader or Barbarian, though the latter is fairly uninteresting to me. I didn’t mention Demon Hunter there, as I already have a hardcore DH from a previous season that was sitting at level 40 for the past while and so I thought I’d play him for a while til the patch releases, or maybe even getting him capped before hand. Since making that decision, I’ve only had a couple of playing sessions but have managed to level him to 51 at the time of this writing. I’m still playing on Expert for now, and have twinked him a bit when it comes to gems that a character his level wouldn’t normally have access to. Creatures in the Nephalim rifts are dying pretty easily, so it may be time for me to start thinking about heading into Master difficulty. I won’t bother moving into Torment I before hitting 70 and having mostly legendaries or set gear though, as I have learned that lesson the hard way. Bumping up the difficulty too far just results in dead characters in Hardcore mode. The Demon Hunter is starting to become more interesting now that I’m nearing the level cap, as some of the runes drastically change his abilities and make them more fun. I have to say at the early levels he’s less interesting than the other ranged characters, the Wizard and the Witch Doctor. I really miss playing my Wizard, but as he isn’t a Hardcore character, and I’ve basically said “to hell with normal,” he just collects dust. This is why I’m thinking of rolling another new Wizard come season 4. But I digress. Here’s what the Demon Hunter looks like after doing up some dyes and transmogs:


That’s really all I have to report this time around.

By far my best daily run so far, partly due to the fact that Chicken is so hard to kill (also this means the video is considerably longer than usual). Made it to world 7, just shy of the throne this time. Progress! Don’t mind the tutorial bit, that was just something added in the latest patch and had to be played through.

#gamertodolist #everquest2 #nuclearthrone #diablo3

Escape Plan Bravo

Episode 4 of TellTale Games’ Tales From The Borderlands series was probably my favorite so far. There was action, intrigue, humorous dialog and plenty of story choices to keep you busy. Keeping with my usual theme of not giving too much away but still discussing my choices through the episode, let’s jump into it:

Starting with Fiona’s choices, there is a point in the episode where the rag-tag group is heading up to the Hyperion Space Station, which most fans of the Borderlands franchise should already know orbits Pandora’s moon of Elpis. Scooter has joined the crew and it comes to a point where he has to play hero and sacrifice himself (don’t worry, I think he’ll end up being fine). There was a short scene prior to that where he explained that he was going to launch a satellite advertisement while they were on their way, but you had convinced him to wait until the return trip. After his sacrifice, you are given a choice of several things to display on the satellite image, and I chose to honor him as “the best mechanic.” This was a fluff choice and as such it just seems that I picked one of the less popular options.

Later, while on Hyperion’s station, Fiona has to play the part of a tour guide in Handsome Jack’s VIP office tour. This is where he ruled the corporation before his untimely death in Borderlands 2, and has since been turned into yet another way for Hyperion to make money off the backs of dead people. There is a group of douchebag tourists who give you a hard time while wining the tour guide thing, and eventually when coming to Jack’s actual office room, you notice a force field barring entry. Most tour guides warned the tourists of this fact. I did not. I’m in the minority there.

Finally, while trying to escape from this VIP area, you are confronted by a guard and have to make the choice of escape plans. It was unclear what the effects of each choice would make, as there was only the images of a mural of Jack and of Butt Stallion, but no real way of knowing what would happen dependent on your choice. I went with Butt Stallion, because earlier I had talked about how it “poops guns” and thought I might make use of those, but instead Fiona shoots at the horse, and it started to bleed! Not sure if Butt Stallion will be ok, but Fiona is whisked away to the prison level at this point. I was with the majority on this choice.


On to Rhys, there is a scene where Fiona is questioning if you are 100% in going through with the plan to go back to the Hyperion station, and Jack has been talking to you in his holographic form that only you can see. He warns against telling your companions about his presence, and since I’ve been keeping that a secret throughout the previous episodes, I continued to lie. Turns out Jack told Rhys where the next Gortys piece would be, because Jack had it in his office. I told the others, but since Rhys couldn’t possibly know that, it took being quick on my feet to lie and say the information was hidden in my database. Rhys is part machine after all. I was with the majority here.

Later, while disguised as Vasquez (I’ll leave that part spoiler free for you to discover) Rhys is confronted by Yvette who seems to have double crossed him and Vaughn. There’s a point where she starts to call security, and I used Dumpy (the little flying robot from previous episodes) to shock the shit out of her. No security calls today, not for you. It seems mostly every other player to this point took another route, but fuck people who backstab their friends.

Near the end of the episode, Rhys finally makes it into Jack’s office and gets the next Gortys piece. Knowing what is at stake here, Jack starts to weigh on Rhys. He thinks Rhys has what it takes to rule Hyperion. He wants to stay with Rhys and rule the company together. As much as I like Jack, and as much as I’ve used his help to this point and wanted him to be on my side, I just couldn’t bring myself to be a part of that scummy corporation, so I rejected his offer. He wasn’t happy, but I’ll leave that bit spoiler free as well. I was with the majority of players here too, but I wonder if they went about things the same way I did?

I encourage those of you who have played these TellTale games to let me know your choices so we can compare notes! It’s interesting to see how much or how little the overall story changes with these facets. That’s all for now. There’s only one more episode of this series left, along with only one more of GoT, so we’re nearing the end of this round of adventures.

Another Crystal run, and this ended up being the furthest I’ve gone in a Daily since I started doing this, for lack of a better term, daily.

#talesfromtheborderlands #telltalegames #narrative