State of the Game: Post-Thanksgaming

This week saw the completion of another game, a couple of new ones purchased during the Steam “Exploration Sale,” and more MOBA action. I even dipped into another MMO, but that still doesn’t change any of my feelings expressed last weekend. I seem to have more fun when I’m playing something else, and those are the same feelings I had when I left the genre for years. It’s a turbulent relationship.

That’s part of where the name for this blog came from. It’s a bit of an aside, but it’s truly where I was at when I decided to name change and it has held true for a few years now. That inner monologue that goes something like:

“I feel like playing an MMO tonight.”
“But you don’t like them.”
“Yes I do, I just get annoyed/bored when it feels like I’m repeating the same content that’s presented in different packaging.”
“But they are all basically what you just described.”
“I know. But I’m going to give this one a shot anyway. Maybe it will suck me in and I’ll be able to overlook the things that annoy me.”
“That’s what you said last time.”

It truly is Me vs. Myself and I. Sometimes I win, sometimes they do. Does that make me crazy? Probably. The game in question was Rift, I picked up my Cleric who was level 38 and leveled him to 40, but then I started playing other things and I haven’t been back. Like I’ve said already, I’ll most likely only play super casually until something new comes along that piques my interest. Here’s a shot of my Cleric in the Droughtlands:

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So anyway, this past week I blogged about League more than once, but focused on the newest Champion reveal, talked about Football and Playstation Plus. Some of that may appeal to you, some of it may not, but they have been staple topics on the blog for a while now.

Really, I just needed quick content for the week because of holiday preparations and celebrations, along with focusing most of my efforts on completing Demon’s Souls. I didn’t realize I was as close to the end as I was, despite having three worlds worth of content ahead of me at the time of my last writing. When I left off, I was facing Black Phantoms after the Penetrator fight, and one of them was giving me trouble (the one with the tower shield and big ass spear). I ended up finding an easy fix, where I could cheese him to death. Basically if you run back to the “zone line” (where the archstone is sort of acts like a barrier where most enemies will not follow) and wait for him to give up and walk away, you can shoot him in the back with an arrow. This is a long process, but eventually he will die. The final Black Phantom had a bow and arrow, so I just matched wits with her in ranged combat and won. She dropped the white bow which was a nice upgrade to the bow I had been using. That was just the beginning of the 1-4 zone though, and the rest of it entailed quite a few soldiers and knights and a Dragon that would perch in two separate places and 1 shot you with fire if you didn’t time your run correctly. This was my biggest hurdle of the level, but eventually I managed to find the perfect spot where I could shoot it with arrows (somewhere in the ballpark of 250) til it died. Further runs were no longer impeded by that fire breath, and there was much rejoicing (along with the dragon’s demon soul). There was another Black Phantom, this one modeled after Ostrava, whom I had rescued in 1-3. Thankfully the bastard was pretty easy, and dropped a runic sword and shield that were nice upgrades to my current gear (with heavy magic defenses). Past him was the next boss, King Allant, or the false King Allant if you prefer (and already know the story).

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He was kind of hard, it took me a few tries to finally down him. He wasn’t overly difficult he just breaks your guard too readily, and also drains your soul level if you happen to get caught in one of his attacks. That was a pisser. I lost a couple levels during the fight til I knew what to look for. Still, he went down, and it was on to the third world: The Tower of Latria.

The third world was composed of a dark and gloomy prison, mysterious towers, and a blood swamp. The bosses encountered were the Fool’s Idol, Maneater and Old Monk. I had a couple of deaths working my way through the prison, but the first boss was rather easy. The tower section was rather easy as well, though the Maneater was a son of a bitch. The reason for this was that once you had him down to about half health, he would summon a copy of himself, and then you had to deal with two of them. My best advice for that fight is to utilize the brazier on the platform for cover and to be patient. Eventually you’ll kill them both. From here, the game seemed to drop in difficulty. I’m not sure if it’s because I had farmed earlier levels and had a high soul level, along with a combination of good gear, or if the developers ran out of ideas to keep things super difficult. Honestly the game went from frustratingly difficult through most of the first two worlds to ridiculously easy. I only died 3 times after the Maneater fight. worlds three, four and five, and not to bosses, only during the levels. I don’t want to think about how many times I died in the first two worlds. My final thought is that I just finally understood the mechanics and became “good” at the game. Perhaps it’s a combination of the factors listed. Right after the Maneater fight, you ascend a final tower and kill a few Black Phantoms, and then are attacked by the Old Monk, who himself is a Black Phantom. He would have been super easy except he would heal himself quite often so I just had to out damage him and try to hit him when he went to cast a heal or eat an herb. I still beat him on the first try though.

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World three was a cake walk. The entirety of the level was based around a big castle on an island. I was careful and moved through slowly, and eventually made it through each stage with little trouble. I really can’t say much more than that, because I was shocked at how easy it was to blow through. The Shrine of Storms and the bosses Adjudicator, Old Hero, and Storm King posed no challenge, I beat them all on the first try. I also killed the Vanguard, who is standing in 4-1, and didn’t move while I shot him with arrows til he died. I’m not sure if that’s a bug or working as intended. He was the Demon who kills you in the tutorial, so it was nice to get revenge.

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The final world was now upon me. During the course of world four, I picked up the Adjudicator’s Shield which regens health, a ring that does the same, and a cursed katana that drains health, but had good damage and a bleed effect. The ring/shield countered the health drain from the sword and I used this setup along with my fluted armor set and white bow for the remainder of the game. World 5 was tough to get through because of the poison and plague effects throughout, but the bosses were easily killed with my bow, and that was surprising. I literally stood there and fired arrows into the Leechmonger, Dirty Colossus, and Maiden Astraea. I supposed if I didn’t have the bow I would have had a tougher time, particularly with the latter boss. She had a minion who was an NPC with a huge 2-handed club that hurt. He killed me once, then I found a nice spot to just shoot arrows at the maiden, and avoided him altogether.

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Upon killing the maiden and returning to the Nexus, the sword on a statue above the weird pool fell and shattered the pool (which now seemed like glass — I know, weird) and opened up a new area. The Witch urged me to come down there with her. I followed, and we ended up on a beach, where a huge tree-like formation landed, a mouth-like opening in the front awaited us. I entered and had to fight the real King Allant, who was kind of just a blob. He died with multiple arrows as well. Too easy for a last boss in my opinion. Afterwards the Witch told me she would calm the Old One back to sleep, and urged me to go back to the Nexus. Roll credits.

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And now I’m ready to move on to Dark Souls, which I happened to pick up during the Steam Sale. I also picked up the expansion for XCOM, Enemy Within. This is an expansion in the same vein as expansions for Civ games, in that it affects the entirety of the game, meaning starting a new playthrough is the best way to experience all it has to offer. Luckily I got a free copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown for the PC earlier this year, so picking up the expansion on sale really gave me a reason to play the game again (along with the fact that I never completed a game of the original). I did check it out a little bit, but I’m going to hold off for a while before I really dive into it.

Otherwise I’ve just been plugging away at my favorite MOBAs. League of Legends had a double IP weekend that is still going for another 5 or so hours, so I’ll probably get a couple more games in tonight. That’s about all for this week. Look for more on Dark Souls in the coming week.

#stateofthegame #roundup #demonssouls

State of the Game: All Over the Place

Another week down, and the month is coming to a close. I think I may have written more blog posts this month than any other month in my “career.” I’d say the NBI has a lot to do with that. Sadly, the event comes to a close today, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop playing games and being a community. It just means the sanctioned events are coming to an end. From here on out, it’s up to us to keep blogging, keep creating content, and keep the movement strong. I know I’ve been doing my part, you should be too.

I strayed away from my current MMO of choice, partly because none of the people I had mentioned playing with have been playing all that much, but also because I’ve been involved in playing a number of games with the NBI crew (more on this is a bit). So really the only progress I made during the course of the week was two levels on my Cleric, and a couple of levels on my Rogue. Free players are only allowed two character slots, so at least I can’t be tempted to make any more alts. The levels on my Rogue came from straight PvP, I don’t think I’m going to do any traditional questing on that character. As it is, I’m kind of doing the same thing on the Cleric, as I have seriously gotten bored with themepark questing in MMOs. I do a few quests here and there still (particularly carnage or body drop quests/major event stuff). Sadly, the kill ten rats variety is still more fun that some of the “innovative” quests that some developers try to throw at us. Speaking of which, there’s a world event going on, and it’s called Unicornalia or some such nonsense. I could give a rat’s ass about having a unicorn mount. As the MMO Troll made mention of in his latest Massive Failure podcast, Unicorns don’t belong in the world of Rift. I agree with his sentiments. However, the event had some repeatable quests (used to grind for a special currency to buy the mounts) that gave massive amounts of xp and some decent coin. As such, I spent a portion of my time doing those, along with instant adventures, a couple dungeon runs, and some PvP. The best part of the event was having to close a special rift, which was actually semi involved. Rescuing unicorns, closing fire rifts, and then killing a raid-like boss. He died far too quickly for me to get the update the first couple times I tried to get him, but eventually I took him out.

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My session-based gaming obsession continues, with the typical MOBA, CCG and Rogue-like titles filling in spaces between my more time consuming games (and real life). I spent time with Awesomenauts, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Broforce, Binding of Issac, Nuclear Throne, Wizard Wars and even Rogue Legacy.

I had a pretty awesome game in Awesomenauts the other day (several actually), and still believe that Ayla is the coolest character the title has to offer. In this particular game, I think I got the most kills in a single match I’ve ever done, along with having nearly a 4.0 KDA. Some of you PvP friendly NBI peeps need to get your hands on this game. It’s $18 to get the base game plus expansion. Think about it.

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Riot never fails to keep coming up with reasons for me to play League of Legends. They’re also pretty good at making me enjoy the lore. The fictional band, “Pentakill” whose T-shirt I wear regularly, isn’t so fictional anymore. Seriously, this music rocks. I was impressed. Another featured game mode was released this week as well: One For All: Mirror Mode. You may recall I played the original One For All, and I wasn’t a fan. This time around, I love it. There are some key differences. First, the old version was played on Summoner’s Rift. The new version is on Howling Abyss. Next, the old version made each team pick one champion for all five of its members to play. This made you have to take into account each role typically played on SR, and pick a champ that was flexible enough to do it all. The new version plays just like ARAM, but now there’s only one choice of champion period. Meaning ten of the same champ in one lane. Chaos incarnate. A hell of a lot of fun. The only flaw I’ve seen is the fact that it’s a lotto pick, based on who nominates who. Meaning if I nominate Teemo and so do the other four players on my team, there’s a 50% chance in favor of that champ being selected. However, the other five champions that were picked have a 10% chance to still be the lotto winner. I saw this happen twice last night, where a champion that had three or more nominations lost out to one that had only one nomination. That’s dumb to me. And resulted in a game where we played ten Tarics. I fucking hate Taric. Here’s one of the more memorable rounds:

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In Hearthstone it’s been more of the same: doing dailies to get dat gold to do arenas. It felt like it took forever to amass 400 dust, but I finally did and made myself a Preparation for my Rogue deck. It’s a bursty miracle design, mostly copied from the internet somewhere. I’ve had a hell of a time getting much success with it. In fact, I haven’t won a game yet. I want an Edwin and another Preparation. Here’s to the endless dust grind. In case you’re wondering what the deck looks like:

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Magika: Wizard Wars went into open beta this week. It appeared to be a fun little PvP MOBA, minus the item buying and traditional lane scheme. It ended up being less that I expected. I had a little bit of fun with it, but I can see where the cash shop is instantly pay to win. I don’t normal care about psuedo advantages, like buying packs of cards in Hearthstone or exp potions in other games. I do care when you can buy items that affect your in game performance (gear) for real cash, and the barrier to entry for someone not willing to open their wallet is extreme. Hawken was like that. You don’t see me playing that game anymore either do you? I have to much to do to have to grind in another game. Scratch this one from the list.

Broforce had an update this week, adding a couple new Bros to the force, along with a ride-able bad guy machine. I got to see that bit first hand, because the level I had left off on had one in it. It’s basically a mech with jet boots and a couple of missile launchers, but it still was pretty cool, and makes the game feel more like a Metal Slug now. However, it runs out of gas fairly quickly, and landing too hard on the ground means burying yourself, never to get out. So they’re only useful for a couple minutes. I finally opened up Ellen Ripbro (the sole female character for now), which was the last character I needed to open before this new update added two more. So I’ll comment on the new guys when I get to them.

I acquired that copy of Nuclear Throne, just like I said I would last week. I’ve spent a couple of hours with it, definitely not enough time to have beaten the game just yet, but it’s been a great time waster, and is more in line with Binding of Issac than some of the slower paced dungeon crawling ones. It’s faster paced than even BoI though. And there’s guns. And explosions. Awesome. I found out about challenges that the steam community has been running, and as a result I had to try the newest one: The Passive Challenge. The rules were simple, don’t use your character’s special ability (basically no right clicking) and you have to turn the HUD off. It sounds easy, but is harder than it sounds. Some of the active abilities are pretty damn useful, and not knowing if you’re low on health or bullets makes things tricky. I recorded a video of one of my runs:

In the other Rogue-likes (Binding of Issac, Rogue Legacy), I just played a few minutes here and there, nothing much to report, besides I still love these games and the genre.

Finally, last weekend J3w3l started up a Terraria server for the NBI, and we have had some cool adventures thus far. I only played a little bit last weekend, but yesterday I had a binge day and played for around six hours. I think the bug has bitten me, as I’m starting to understand the mechanics and systems a bit more and am hungry for more exploration. I’m sure there’s still a lot I don’t know though, so we’ll just say that I have a basic understanding and am enjoying the game. Here’s some shots from the game:

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Super Mario art by Jeromai of Why I Game
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The tippy top of the massive treehouse by Talarian of Gamer By Design
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Fighting the Eye of Cthulu with J3w3l and Doone
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My underground “Cavernous Heart” (in progress)

It’s been another crazy week. Next weekend will be here soon enough, and I’ll have more for ya then.

#stateofthegame #roundup #gaming #multigaming

State of the Game: Revival

Here were are again, we have come full circle. I started a weekly column called ‘The State of the Game” last fall because as a long term blogger, I had hit some road blocks. Over the course of the years I had periods of inactivity but I was never willing to let this blog die. This column was a tool I used to get me on track, having a set day every week where I would do a round-up post of the games I’d be playing among other various updates. It served its purpose, in that it got me back to writing regularly, and I even started posting more than just that once a week that I held myself to. After several months, my blog was back to life and I felt that I didn’t need the weekly round up anymore. Part of this reasoning was due to the fact that I was posting several times a week; as a result the round-up posts felt like I was rehashing the same content. I didn’t want to let go of round-up posts, but I didn’t want to be struggling to fill them. I thought it would be better to drop the scheduled column and just write round-up posts when they made sense (as filler between more dedicated posts). Bullet time was born of this though process, but I think because I no longer had a schedule to adhere to, it was easily forgotten. Also, I chose to use a bullet list format, and that is somewhat limiting. As such, I am reviving The State of the Game, though this time around I’m dropping “the” off of the title. I’ll probably keep to the numbered order, or I might do individual titles like this one. I am also going to aim for posting the round up on the weekend, as that makes more sense. Due to the fact that I felt the need to do this introduction, and because I haven’t done a round-up since the beginning of this month, be aware that this post will be lengthy. I’ll try to keep it concise.

May has been a crazy month. With the Newbie Blogger Initiative in full swing, many different gaming opportunities have arisen, along with writing challenges as well. Here’s a small recap of things you may have missed:

You’d think I wouldn’t have time for much else, but in fact there are quite a few gaming experiences that I haven’t blogged about, for whatever reason. Recently a new game called Transistor released, from the same developer as the game Bastion. No, I didn’t get a copy of Transistor (yet) but I did end up with a copy of Bastion via my brother-in-law. He got it through a Humble Bundle purchase a while back, and I had tried to run it on my laptop a few months ago, and it didn’t run all that great. Yes, that laptop is a piece of shit. Seeing as how I’ve had access to a better computer for a couple of months, and because Transistor released, I was reminded that I wanted to play Bastion. It runs great on this computer, and I am pleased to say that it’s a great game! I’m not sure how long it is, but I’ve already gone through quite a few levels. Reportedly Transistor is a short game, so I’m not expecting Bastion to last much longer. Still, I love the graphical style, I was pleased to see that the game has full controller support, and as action RPGs go it’s one of the best. The story line is a little skimpy, but intriguing enough. The combat is fun and twitchy which I enjoy, and the narration is hilarious. I’m smashing crates looking for loot, and the voice is like “Kid just rages for a bit.” Seriously, everything you do is narrated, and it’s very entertaining. I’m sure I’ll blow through this one quickly enough, and I look forward to getting Transistor in the future.

Another new game in my library is The Binding of Issac. Another Rogue-like; I can’t seem to get enough of this genre. I love the way that you can simply play for a few minutes or a few hours and though you might die many a time, the game is still fun. The thought of never really having to finish these types of games to get your money’s worth is awesome, and I’m drawn more and more to this genre and arcade style games. Not only do they remind me of my childhood, but also of a simpler time where you played a game and didn’t necessarily complete it. I was gifted this game a while ago when it and its expansion were on sale for $1.50. BoI is different from other Rogue-likes that I’ve played recently because it plays more like The Legend of Zelda. The graphical style is cartoon-y, and disturbing. The story-line is anti-religious, and that also sits well with me, being a non-religious person. Also, instead of being turn based, it is action packed. You “shoot” your tears at the enemies, and there are various power ups you’ll pick up along the way that make you more powerful. I actually have a longer Rogue-like post in the works, so I won’t go any further into this one.

The ever amazing J3w3l has been running another ongoing event for the NBI, a series of games on Kongregate. High scores determined the winners each week, and though it doesn’t look like I’ll be the best at any of them, I’ve still tried. Flash games are not something I usually play, but some of these that she picked were pretty fun time-wasters. The first week’s game was “Pixel Purge,” and that game was right up my alley. A simplistic space shooter with upgrades, I thought I did pretty well with my very first attempt:

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That score was trumped almost immediately. I played it a few more times but never came close. The second week of the event, the game wasn’t one that I was fond of. I don’t remember the name off hand, but it had to do with collecting music notes and meh. Just meh. This week we’ve been playing in the “Dojo of Death,” and man I love this game. I thought for sure I was going to win this one, but I have since given up on the idea. My first high score was in the 60k range. My next was around 80k. Finally, I got to this level:

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That seemed amazing, until someone more than doubled it. I was spent. I still play it here and there but I doubt I’ll be able to top the 300k mark. I’m looking forward to seeing what next week’s game will be.

I’ve been playing my usual standbys just about as much. Hearthstone has become a little tedious, and I’m basically letting dailies pile up and then doing them all at once. From there, playing arena matches. For a time the arena was driving me nuts, I simply couldn’t get more than a win or two. I seem to have cracked that code though, as my last several runs have been 5+ wins, which really ramps up the reward. When I completed a new personal best run of 9 wins, the reward was a pack + 270 gold. Needless to say, if you do well enough, you can skip the normal/ranked play and just do arena runs, which also count towards your quests. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last week, although I’m down to no gold again, and haven’t gotten past 9 wins either.

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My interest in League of Legends has been renewed since the NBI event, and I’ve been playing more ARAM mostly. I’ve also taken J3w3l under my wing and had several matches with her, my brother-in-law, and other NBI peeps. I’m hoping that I can keep them interested so we can continue to play semi-regularly. Everything is more fun with friends. My bro picked up the newest champion, Braum, and is loving him. We hadn’t played together in months, but he participated in my NBI event, and has come back to the game. I introduced him to the Team Builder mode (it was also my first time with it since it was in beta), and it was nice to be able to choose to lane together. He was always my support when I played nothing but ADCs, and so naturally he wanted to try out his new character (who also happens to be a support). The game was epic. We actually should have lost because our mid laner decided to afk for about half the match, but we dominated our lane and so did our top laner, so by the time mid came back, we were well ahead. The surrender came before we actually finished the match. I am currently sitting on a pile of IP that I’m not sure what I’m going to do with. I usually main support when playing Classic, so I’m thinking of just waiting til I have 6300 to get Braum. We’ll see.

I’ve had a bit of time off from Civilization V, although I still have a game in progress. I had started a new game as Japan, and I have grown my empire to encompass most of the island that I started on. I’m nearing modern times, and of course I’m going on the world conquering path, because I love combat. It’s been a while since I played that game, but here’s what my empire looks like right now:

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Those pesky Ottomans in the bottom right corner have got to go.

I’ve been itching to try the multiplayer aspect of the game for a while now, and talk of that went around the NBI forums with little results. One day I caught Doone on Steam and we gave it a go. Another blogger, Maligma (who was also part of my LoL night) joined in. Doone set up the game and made the decision to use a turn timer, along with a limit of 100 turns, so the game was short and sweet, but it left much to be desired. We advanced along typical paths, but no wars were started, we didn’t do any diplomatic stuff, really it was kind of a waste of time. But, it was a great way to test out multiplayer. We all agreed that having a timer was a bad idea because towards the end of the game we weren’t able to properly control all of our units. It was also decided that future games wouldn’t have a turn limit. I can see where it can be a great multi-session game, and I look forward to getting into it again soon. Here’s what the map looked like just prior to turn 100:

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I was Germany (grey) and I don’t remember who Maligma was, but she was the red area. We never saw Doone, he was presumably somewhere to the south. The blue bits are Napoleon, who was spreading like a disease, and who ended up winning in the end. Fuck that short bastard.

On the Playstation side of things, I haven’t done a whole lot. I have been playing Awesomenauts here and there with my roommate (along with playing solo on Steam, having only played enough to check out the newer champions that have been released recently). Otherwise, just checking out free stuff that has come from Playstation Plus. Skullgirls is a 2-D fighting game that’s a fun little time waster. I’d compare it to Street Fighter in terms of controls, but it’s more like Darkstalkers in character design. It’s probably something women would be irritated by, as the women are mostly busty and scantily clad, but there’s only one male character I’ve seen so far, so perhaps that’s a nice offset. It’s fun but nothing overly innovative. This week the new game was Puppeteer, which I had read good things about, but it’s kind of meh. Graphically it reminds me of Little Big Planet, but aside from being a platformer it doesn’t play much like LBP. The gist is you are a boy turned into a puppet and the game plays as if you are on a stage in a puppet show. There’s a whole whimsical tale about it, but it’s still just a platformer when it comes down to it. Castle of Illusion is better, in my mind. Still, these are jump in and waste some time kinds of games, so in that respect they have their place.

Finally, on the Horizon: I started my play-through of Shadowrun Returns and I intend to see that to its end. The 4th episode of The Wolf Among Us releases on Tuesday, so I’ll promptly blow through that and make the obligatory post. I intend to gain access to Nuclear Throne within the next week, because it’s a Rogue-like from a company whose games I already enjoy (Vlambeer). I’ve been watching videos of the game and it really looks like a blast. I will also be continuing to play Rift, as it is my MMO of choice for the time being. Last but not least, J3w3l has hosted a Terraria server and was nice enough to gift me a copy of the game, as she had a spare copy on hand (presumably from a 4-pack steam deal). I had mentioned playing it in the past on my PS3, but from the little I’ve looked at it, it appears to be another case of the PC version of the game is better. I never really got anywhere on the PS3 version because it was kind of boring to play solo, and none of my friends had the game. Via the NBI group, it appears that problem will be solved this weekend.

Sorry for the length of this post, but there was a lot to cover. Further editions of State of the Game will be back to their usual length. See you next weekend!

#roundup #stateofthegame #multigaming

Weekend Rift Romp

I spent most of Saturday playing Rift with my brother-in-law. He figured out his password for an existing account that he had made a couple of years ago, so he was able to transfer over his older characters. Turns out he wasn’t as fond of his new Warrior as he was his old Cleric. He’s still been tanking primarily, but with both of us playing Clerics we were able to bounce between roles. I have still yet to tank a dungeon, but I can usually hold my own with my Greater Satyr Protector. Still, it was nice to be able to swap roles on the fly and vary our gameplay, while staying on the same character. This feature alone seems to be Rift’s best selling point. Never really needing an alt is fantastic.

So as we began, I had basically finished up the quests in Stonefield, and I need to gain a level to be able to go into the next dungeon. We decided that we would go check out Scarlet Gorge, and ended up finding that most of the quests there were filler. Meaning they gave xp/faction/coin rewards but nothing very tangible. We opted to only run through the zone and do carnage quests that popped up when we killed enemies, along with gaining disco experience.

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It wasn’t long before we were near the top of the zone, and that’s where the Guardian faction is pretty much set up. As such, we moseyed over into the next zone, Scarwood Reach. Having been wandering around a desert zone (which I have already stated I detest), it was nice to see some green, spectacular views.

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It took us a bit of wandering around to find the first town, as we didn’t enter the zone following any quest markers. Once we did find a friendly town, it was decided that I needed a new mount. He has a turtle mount that scales with his level, and being a couple of levels higher than me, he was consistently leaving me in the dust. I was sitting on 13 plat at that point, but the next level mount (90%) costs 25. A generous guy, my bro gave me the needed plat to get this new mount:

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I chose the cat mount because I was sick of looking at horse ass, and the only other option was a mechanical steam-punk-ish horse. Cool and all, but I wanted something different. The other mounts for that tier required a particular level with some faction, and I lacked that requirement. Otherwise, real money would be required for purchase, and I’m not with that. The blue cat stood out to me as being the most odd, and I like having a weird mount, so there you have it. We did end up doing another dungeon, this time the Foul Cascade. My brother decided that he wanted to check out a healer build he had just made, so I rolled as dps. Ironically we ended up in a full group of Clerics, but each was spec’d differently. Our tank was terrible, as was this zone. Groups of linked mobs littered the place, the bosses were annoying and we wiped more than once due to the tank not paying attention when dps/healers pulled aggro. Having played a tank in the past, I was constantly trying to off tank, but wasn’t spec’d correctly to do so, and my efforts went in vein. We did complete the dungeon, but it was more annoying that anything. At this point, we were bored of dungeons and questing, and decided it was time to try out some PvP. I. Had. A. Blast.

We had a bunch of bonuses accrued for PvP, so it made more sense to queue for random Warfronts. This way, at the end of each game that we won, we would get a crate of blue gear. Some of it ended up being upgrades for us, so we ate up all the bonuses. I know that we played all of the different Warfronts at least once, some more than once. One of my favorites, The Codex, is where we ended up having some of our early success.

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Full raids and huge battles? Plus point capture? Yes please. Why do I enjoy PvP so much? This:

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The sheer size of the battles can be had in PvE raids as well, but then that opposing force in the distance? Yeah, those would be AI controlled mobs, and stupid pre-scripted ones at that. No thanks. Give me the challenge of playing other people anyday. From what I’ve seen, gear doesn’t make much of a difference. Skill does to a degree, but really once you get focused you’re done for, no matter what the objectives are. In most cases I was trying to 1v1 people, and in those cases I won for the most part. I think your builds and knowledge of that particular game mode has the biggest effect on the PvP game. However, there were many times I died and I still had a lot of fun. We had matches where our team was completely decimated, and sure it sucks, but at the end of the round it’s over with. Then you queue up for a new round and when you win that one, you forget all about getting your ass kicked. I think that’s the problem with most anti-PvP players, they don’t give the mode a chance, and get too butt-hurt over losing.

Later, after the PvPing was done for the day, I realized I had leveled from the mid 20s to the early 30s. At that point I was able to open up another pet for my Druid solo build, this time a melee dps pet:

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I’m looking forward to seeing what this bad boy can do in PvP, although having played with the Druid most of the time, I decided that I wanted to try a different approach. During our PvP battles, I opted to make an Inquisitor build specifically for PvP. It’s the ranged dps build for Clerics, and boy does it make a difference not having to charge into the front lines, or having to worry about giving a pet commands. The lack of a pet is weird, but at the same time the huge nukes and DOTs the Inquisitor brings to the table are fantastic. For those who are curious as to what kinds of trees I’m working with, here are my 3 roles:

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Solo Build: Druid/Shaman/Sentinel
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Group Healer Spec: Warden/Sentinel/Purifier
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PvP Build: Inquisitor/Cabalist/Sentinel

I may go more into build specifics in my next Rift post, + further adventures.

#rift #cleric #pvp

Adventures in Rift

I had a mind to try out Rift at some point anyway, but I don’t think I would have gotten into it as much if I hadn’t been craving a new MMO to play. That isn’t to say that Rift is new, most people are already done with it. But it’s new to me, and having people I already know playing it made it that much easier to get into. Not only does my existing guild from EQ2 have a chapter in Rift, but my Brother-in-law and Sister (who happen to live with me at the moment) started playing, and that decided it for me. I wanted to have something we could all play together, because we all have differing interests when it comes to games. Me and him will play League together, I play some console games with her, and they have games they play together. This was something we could all agree on. First, we had to test drive it, but I would say things have been going well and we will continue to play this game to the end.

The two of them started playing together a day or so before I decided to join in. They were already around level ten when I jumped into the game. I spent the first few days soloing and figuring out the game’s mechanics. I introduced Izlain, my cleric, a while back, but here he is again, freshly created and barely through the tutorial:

tutorial

I chose to roll with the Druid/Sentinel/Cabalist for my solo build. That gives me the pet, melee abilities and some spells from Druid, some single target heals and damage spells from Sentinel, and more dps from the Cabalist. Later, I would add two more roles so that I can main heal in groups and also tank if I so choose. I have yet to tank, but healing has been a breeze. The questing in Rift is much like that of other themeparks: you complete tasks at one quest hub, and then get lead to another. Soon, you have conquered Freemarch, and you move on to the next zone. However, there are some elements of the questing that breaks up the monotony. I enjoy the fact that some quests just randomly pop up in your journal, and usually have to do with killing stuff. Then some mobs will drop items that start further quests. Throw in the Rifts that can sometimes appear right on top of you, and it’s pretty open ended for any play style. If you are the type of person who detests the quest grind, you can simply kill stuff, and grind out rifts. Instant Adventures can also help you level, and you can queue for dungeons at any time, provided you are the appropriate level. I haven’t felt like there is too much to do, and I haven’t felt bored because of the variety.

My initial questing lead me around the world, and as my gear upgraded, my appearance changed. I went from looking rather plain to pretty cool, mostly within the same zone. Before hitting level ten, Izlain already looked quite a bit different:

kelari refuge

It wasn’t long before I was in the Defiant capital city of Meridian, and already looking way more badass:

meridian

I chose to use a big ass two hander because the increase in dps is worth it, particularly when I’ve made it to where I never tank (either my pet does, or I’m healing for a group). I do have a sword/board in my bag for when the mood strikes to tank. As of yet I have shied away from it. I’ve been a tank in too many games. I’ve gravitated towards wanting to play a different role this time around. By this time, I was ready for dungeon running, and we managed to get a full group together, consisting of my immediate family + guildies. We randomly queued and ended up in the Realm of the Fae, which I found out later is actually on the Guardian side of the world. That’s the only unfortunate thing about dungeon queuing, you tend to not know where dungeon entrances are (I have figured that out since). Here’s the group:

realm of the fae

That first run was pissing me off. I was having to tab target between my Dad who was the tank, and his target to be able to add any dps. I realize that as the healer it’s not really necessary to add to the overall dps of the group, it’s your job to heal. But I was able to keep everyone healed and was getting bored, so I wanted to add to the dps. Turns out that there is an option that you have to check that enables you to target your target’s target. Meaning implied targeting isn’t by default. After getting that figured out, dungeon runs were much more efficient and entertaining.

target'starget

The Defiant side dungeon is called the Iron Tomb, and it was a bit more challenging than the Realm of the Fae. I actually let some people die. Not on purpose! The final boss was soon our vicitim, nonetheless:

iron tomb last boss

I did manage to get another run in on the next tier dungeon, but I’m unsure which one it was. That run was just me and my bro-in-law, and it was annoying because we were grouped with an asshole tank. This guy decided to run straight through all the trash mobs from the top of the zone to the bottom. Eventually he had enough mobs on him and we had gotten separated that he died, and he bitched at me for not being able to keep up. I know that I’m not a veteran of the game, but I’m also good at playing games in general. I haven’t had issues with healing full groups to that point, I know it was just his method that got him killed. But I was the guy to blame. I was going to rage quit the group, but my bro calmed me down and we finished the run. It was surprisingly short, but I’m sure that had something to do with the speed run these guys were on. I haven’t been in a dungeon since, instead choosing to get further into the game. Stonefield is about halfway completed. One day I was grinding Rifts as I discovered the Planar gear vendors and realized that gear was better than even the stuff from dungeons. Anyway, I came across this guy while soloing rifts:

huge rift boss

He wasn’t even one of those raid type rift bosses, this was a normal “earth rift,” and he was in the bonus round. He was easy enough to take down though. My Greater Satyr Protector makes most encounters pretty easy. Not to long after this fight, I had enough Planarite and Sourcestones to gear up in the Tier 2 Planar gear:

dances with squirrels

Yeah, I dance with squirrels. But only on the weekends.

I would end it there, but I came across the most annoying quest in my travels. This one ported me to a higher level zone, one where wandering got me killed. I attempted to complete this quest, but it drove me crazy. It’s still in my journal, but I’m not sure I’ll ever go take care of it.

most annoying quest

I beat the first puzzle, and even managed to finish the second. But the third (not pictured) was ridiculous. Basically, you can’t let the red field touch you as you click the center. The third puzzle had a pulsing circle that was only off for a split second. Too many people were attempting the quest at the same time as me, and apparently when you mess up it resets the pattern. Again, I might come back to this but that was simply the most annoying thing I’ve dealt with in an MMO. Period.

That’s it for my adventures thus far. There will be more to come.

#rift #trionworlds #cleric