Steampunk Primalist

Primal Goodness

It was honestly a sheer miracle that I made it through yesterday.  As the day went on, it felt like my estimate of three hours of sleep was a bit too high.  Luckily around 3 pm I managed to catch a second wind which made the whole “driving home” thing significantly safer for everyone on the road.  My general goal was to stay awake long enough to be able to head to bed naturally around 9 pm thinking that maybe just maybe it would fix the problems and give me a good nights sleep.  For the most part it seems to have worked and while I am a bit groggier than normal this morning, I am feeling significantly “better”.  In my stupor yesterday however I managed to have an insane bit of luck.  I happened to be watching my twitter feed at just the right moment, when Rift tweeted that they were just about to give out some Wilds Packs.  They posted a photo with I believe six different codes on it, and I picked the smallest one… and started typing.  Apparently my fingers were fast enough because much to my shock I saw a note in my transaction history that said the Wilds Pack was added to my account.  Also much to my shock… I thought this was the basic pack that just included the new primalist class only, but instead it was apparently the $100 pack that includes a ton of other goodies as well including an insane dinosaur mount.

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I think maybe that I violated the intentions of the class when it came to outfitting him.  I rolled a dwarf, thinking that a dwarf with a big hammer/axe/thing would be kind amazing.  Then when it came to actually setting up the wardrobe and picking a mount to use…  things happened.  Now I have my goggle wearing, leather clad, aetherbiker Dwarven Primalist.  I played a little bit but very quickly realized that maybe when I am half awake is not the best possible time to play anything that requires a significant amount of reading.  I did play enough to decide upon the Berserker prebuilt class for the time being.  I considered going Titan which was the tanky build listed, but for the time being I think I am just going to be a pewpew hammer swinging dps.  The starter primalist weapon looks kinda amazing, and honestly one of the big things that I look forward about playing him is that I will actually collect all of the low level gear appearances as I get stuff to drop for me.  That was the negative about going into a major change like the wardrobe system with a high level character…  that ultimately I was well past the gearing phase and all that I would end up physically seeing was new gear.  Playing a low level character again will see me coming across all of that gear that I had and sold, or at least that is the hopes.  However this is a journey for another day, one when I am not struggling to exist.

Questing Guardian

One of the negatives about playing Destiny as primarily an MMO player is that there are certain traits that carry over into the MMOFPS title.  Namely that you actually find yourself caring about having quests hanging around in your quest log.  Since the whole reading and making sense of things part of my brain was largely malfunctioning, I thought I would instead venture into Destiny and work one some of the things that have been looming over my head.  Namely the “High-Value Targets” quest.  On paper it sounds simple enough, that you need to defeat several of these High-Value targets… 3 in the Cosmodrome, 3 on the Moon, 3 on Venus, 3 on Mars, and 3 on the Dreadnaught.  The problem being that in order to qualify as a high-value target, it has to be one of those special patrol missions that ask you to go kill a given mob somewhere in the patrol zone that is marked with a red star.  To make matters more interesting… I learned that these only come from special patrol beacons that are also marked with a star.  Theses seem to be largely rare and absolute luck of the draw if you will see them.  So as a result I managed to complete the Cosmodrome and Dreadnaught quickly…  but struggled with having not found a single high value target patrol on Venus or Mars.

So last night I spent pretty much the entire night wandering around various planets looking for star beacons, and when I did not find them… running as many patrols as I could in the hopes of making them spawn.  At about 9:30 last night, moments before we were heading to bed…  I managed to complete the quest.  Additionally I also managed to complete Taken Assault: Mars which gave me enough Queen’s Wrath faction to finally start opening up bounties on the Reef.  This also opened up The Wolves of Mars quest chain for Variks which involves doing a bunch of shit involving the Fallen.  From what I have heard this will reward a Boolean Gemini at the end of it… which in truth will probably be a Year One variant…  but if it works like Last Word did, it also opened up the Year Two blueprint for me.  So in theory I can save up my marks and purchase the 280 version as well.  In any case I had a lot of fun last night faffing about working through the various quests and bounties.  There is something relaxing and mindless about wandering around and taking things out with an assortment of really fun to use weapons.  The other big progress I made is I collected enough data using a shotgun, so I am now on the step where I need to disassemble a bunch of blue or better ones.  I had a handful stowed away just for this occasion but it was nowhere near enough.  As a result I will be farming engrams in the hopes of getting more, and in theory I need to just start running strikes.  I did however manage to make it to 287 light when wearing my “best” gear, which is slow but palpable progress.

Sith Sorcery

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Double Fist Caffeine

This morning I cannot guarantee how intelligible my post might be.  Granted every morning I could and probably should give that disclaimer, but this morning in particular it is well deserved.  I had another one of my trademark nights of insomnia, and quite honestly I am not really sure when I finally fell asleep.  At the earliest it was sometime after 1 am, and I have no clue how much additional tossing and turning time was added onto that.  That is the worst part about not being able to see anything without your glasses, that not being able to see the clock means you are constantly estimating upwards on a night like last night.  Based on my motor skills, I am guessing I probably got around three hours of sleep.  The worst thing about nights like last night is the growing sense of dread and anxiety when you realize that what little rest you might have gotten is drifting away from you.  The alarm going off is a fixed point that there is no negation with.  As a result I am essentially double fishing caffeine with both a big mug of coffee and a monster zero as a chaser.  I might even go down and fix another cup of coffee just to give myself that much more of a fighting chance of functioning today.

The problem is nights like last night get no easier as the years go by.  Its just that the stakes get higher, and I find myself struggling to bounce back from them even more than I used to.  In the past I would take a nap and life would be peachy, the sleep debt would be repaid and I would move on with my life.  Now…  there is a lingering disconnected state that continues on for essentially the rest of the week.  Which means I will continue to need an ever increasing amount of caffeine in order to continue functioning like a normal human being.  Not that any of this is really interesting, but it is what is happening in my world this morning and as a result is what is getting written about.  Once upon a time I attempted a sleep study…  but I am not going back through that again.  I went in for insomnia… and the doctor was damned certain I had sleep apnea.  Those are two vastly different things…  my problem is not that I am sleeping too much or too sleepy… my problem is that I cannot shut my brain off to go to sleep.  As a result I am kinda gunshy about trying to resolve these issues.

Sith Sorcery

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One of the things about this recent tour through the Star Wars the Old Republic class stories, is the fact that none of these characters are freshly rolled.  At some point over the last four years I have created each of these characters and made decisions that I might not have wanted to make.  Namely when I rolled a Sith Inquisitor for some reason I decided going Sorcerer was the best possible idea, instead of the more comfortable melee options.  In all honestly the class itself is enjoyable and I am having a blast shocking the shit out of things, but the problem is…  my tanky companion feels extremely squishy right now.  I am not sure if this is a side effect of Khem Val in particular, or if it is more the fact that I am not quite so grossly over leveled on this play through.  Tattooine was an extremely short planet, and as a result I am not pretty much sitting at exactly the level of my next quest.  I am also a few levels from my traditional mod swapping point, so my gear is getting a bit dated.  In fact as I am sitting here sorting this out in my head… I should have swapped gear a level of go if I am going by my normal pattern which in itself might account for the extremely squishy nature.  Basically I have been upgrading every other set of mods… so I am using level 21 mods, and was shooting for level 33 to upgrade… when in reality I should have upgraded at 29.

The other thing I am considering is a swap over to using Treek instead of Khem Val.  Not sure why but the Jedi style tank companions in this game just feel squishy compared to the trooper style ones.  Bowdaar felt similar, when I have tried to use him in the past.  Treek on the other hand seems to have this amazingly useful arsenal of attacks as well as a really nice AOE stun effect that helps to reduce her damage intake.  Additionally Treek doesn’t actually give a shit what I do, and is not constantly judging my power…  or sizing me up to potentially eat at a later date.  As well as playing a finger wiggler, the big departure with this character is that I was using it to shoot for my first Dark Five character.  I won’t like, taking the force lightning [shock] options in dialog trees is kinda fun.  I do however feel a bit more disconnected from this play experience than others.  Especially with the Bounty Hunter, I could see a lot of myself in those dialog options, and in the Inquisitor it feels like the class is nothing like me at all.  I would never be cruel just for the sake of doing it, but in order to max out my dark side points… that is pretty much what I am constantly doing.  It feels like this is going to be a bit of a slog to get through, but I am making decent progress.  As of last night I am level 30 and on Alderaan, and should be wrapping up the first chapter shortly.  I am sensing a pretty big conflict coming up, and will be interesting to get through it.

Week in Gaming 10/11/2015

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A Good Week

I am sitting here this morning with my writing buddy beside me.  I’ve shown pictures of Allie in the past as she sits on the blanket that I have folded beside my keyboard, and once again this morning she is there purring quietly.  She really is the mascot of the week I have had, because honestly other than a bit of an emotional roller coaster surrounding The Beginner’s Guide, I would say that the week as a whole has been one of contentment.  I managed to accomplish quite a bit in my quest to push through all of the stories I had not seen in SWTOR, as well as made small bits of progress in Destiny.  At work things seem to be largely calmed down, or at least to a manageable madness.  More than anything I think it was taking Tuesday off that helped reorient my world to a much better state of mind.

Star Wars the Old Republic

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This week was an insanely productive one when it came to Star Wars the Old Republic.  As of last Saturday night during the podcast I managed to wrap up the Smuggler storyline, and picked up work on the Sith Warrior.  With Tuesday essentially being a day where I did nothing but play SWTOR, I managed to finish up the Sith Warrior.  I’ve talked about this already but I have to say at the time the Sith Warrior was one of the most gratifying experiences when it comes to giving you the control to settle all of your vendettas in one ending.  Every person that you want to seek your revenge on is laid out in such a way as that you can, and the final events are so damned satisfying.  Having played both Sith Warrior and Jedi Guardian…  I have to say I am a bigger fan of the Warrior experience namely because it is deeply personal… and not simply the overarching events of the game as a whole.

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From there I picked up on my Bounty Hunter, largely because I needed a palate cleanser from playing a force user… and having just wrapped up Smuggler I was not quite ready for another cunning class.  I fully expected to not be terribly into the Bounty Hunter experience, largely because I didn’t really enjoy Trooper that much.  However I am coming to realize most of my problems with the trooper was the fact that it was my third class within a few months of the launch of games to push to 50… and at that point I was simply bored to tears of all the repeated planet story content.  The Bounty Hunter is quite literally the most reasonable person on the imperial side.  The game gives you the ability to play the consummate business man, and that is absolutely the path I took.  I killed no one for free, and kept my collateral damage to a minimum.  As a result people were constantly surprised that no, I was not in fact going to kill them.  Generally speaking I almost always took the option to freeze them in carbonite and return them to the client fully intact.  I am guessing that quite honestly, Bounty Hunter is probably going to go down as my favorite game play experience in SWTOR.


My progression in Destiny has slowed down considerably, with the bulk of my forward movement coming from Armsday packages and any time I level up a faction like the Gunsmith or the Cryptarch.  While I am playing the game of equipping my best gear before I decrypt any engrams, I am still ending up with low level blues most of the time that I turn into crafting materials.  I’ve developed the nasty habit of buying shaders, emblems, and ships…. and as a result I am generally running low on Glimmer most of the time.  I really need to try using some of those glimmer items that increase the drop rates while I work on bounties.  My latest toy that I am enjoying playing with is the scout rifle above that came from a package when I leveled up Dead Orbit faction.  I had not really played with a scout rifle much since coming back and had forgotten that it was essentially a high payload sniper rifle.  Realistically I am to the point where if I want to progress I need to be running Heroic Strikes, and I simply have not messed with getting friends together yet in order to do that.  Still having a lot of fun, but trying to keep it super casual so I don’t burn myself out and get bored with it.


Another game this week that I have spent some time with is Star Wars Battlefront.  I pre-ordered this game through PlayStation network the moment it was announced because I am super nostalgic about the lineage of Star Wars shooters.  This weekend they allowed players to download and play for free in the beta, and I have to say my feelings about it are extremely mixed.  The game does an excellent job of giving you the fantasy fulfillment of playing a soldier in the Star Wars universe.  Past that however… I think it suffers from the fact that I have been playing so much Destiny lately.  The game handles significantly worse in the moment to moment gameplay that Destiny does.  The guns feel worse, the movement feels worse, the cover mechanics… feel worse.  I think if I spent enough time I could get used to it and even come to like it, but right now I am struggling with the feeling of “I would rather just play destiny”.

The Beginner’s Guide


I’ve said everything I could really ever want to say in my deeply personal post on the game from last week.  Last night on AggroChat I to some extent reprised those thoughts in a much more condensed manner.  The take away for me is really this.  If you are not in an extremely stable position in your life, and if you are at all struggling with your own emotions…  don’t play this game.  Essentially there are two possible reactions… either you are going to think it is complete bullshit and it won’t effect you in any way.  Or it is going to act as a mirror to show you all of your fears and anxieties about yourself.  It quite literally took me a few days to recover from the experience of just watching a play through of this game, and not actually playing it myself.  I am not unhappy that I went through it, but it is also not the sort of experience that I would suggest lightly to anyone.  I know that sounds weird and arcane… but this game does strange things to you.  This is honestly the closest thing I have seen to a real life “The Ring”, in that this game will ultimately leave you slightly changed as a result… and not always in a good way.


Media Consumption 10/10/2015

Netflix Binge Time

This week things felt like they were starting to get back to normal.  Since last week was so freaking crazy I ended up taking Tuesday off and just hanging out around the house.  That meant it was the perfect time to binge watch something on Netflix.  Unlike the previous week there have been multiple times that I simply hung out downstairs with the laptop and television, and as such have some shows to talk about.  Of note, if anyone has something they suggest I watch feel free and chime in.  I am always looking for something interesting, but the caveat is it must be available either through Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime streaming.  I know iZombie has started back up, and I have the episodes recording to my DVR but am largely waiting on my wife to watch them since she also was able to get into the previous season.

Dark Matter – Season 1


Dark Matter is one of those shows that folks had been suggesting to me for some time now, but I never really got around to watching it.  When I first checked to see if the show was streamable somewhere, I was only able to watch like the last five episodes through Hulu.  Now the entire series is on Netflix and it seemed like the perfect time to watch it.  I can’t think of this show without also comparing it to another SyFy channel show Killjoys.  There are moments where you wonder if this is set in the same universe, because they seem extremely similar.  Distopic future where corporations control pretty much everything, and folks are forced to carve out their lives on the fringe of society.  The twist here is that the  crew woke from out of cryosleep only to find that they have all had their memories erased.  During the first season we spend a lot of time trying to sort out who they are and what exactly they were doing, and at the same time blending together as a team.

So far my two favorite characters are “Five” aka the hacker stowaway girl, and the Android…. that they sadly just keep calling Android.  I am hoping in season two they finally give her a name, because I like the character and actor playing her.  If you are a fan of Lost Girl it is the same actor that played the Fae Doctor on that show, and sometimes love interest of the succubus title character.  What is awesome is that obviously there is some malfunction with the Android as she is starting to develop emotions, which makes the experience very “Data” like.  As far as the hacker… I knew she looked familiar and it finally hit me.  She is the little girl that played Alessa in the Silent Hill movie, and I IMDB’d to confirm it.  There are moments where the show gives me very Cowboy Bebop vibe to it, as they wander around space looking for jobs to pull…. so you know they can eat and have fuel.  All we need now is a genetically modified Corgi.

Arrow – Season 3


Also showing up on Netflix is season 3 of Arrow, which I somehow completely missed arriving until last night.  While playing SWTOR I binged my way through about half of the season and plan on trying to finish it up today.  So far I am liking it, but I am not super keen on some of the events that have transpired.  There is a lot of this season that just feels like it is set up material for future events.  I feel like I also really need to watch Flash after this to help piece together some of the parts that are missing when ONLY watching this season.  The cross over episode felt a bit odd, because I am assuming it started with Flash.  Also the lengthy set up for Atom has been interesting but a little contrived.  I am also not super sure what is going on with the character of Felicity this season, she seems to be shifting personalities a lot.  I am largely cool with Laurel taking the mantle of Black Canary as well.  The problem with the DC universe is that I only really know a shallow version of it that tends to be very Batman-centric.

Growing up I was a Marvel kid, and the only comics I really delved into were the Batman and Green Lantern universes…  other than Superfriends that is.  Marvel always felt like the universe of gritty anti-heroes and that was the sort of thing I thought was cool.  DC however tended to have much more detailed story arcs, and they obviously did a far better job of licensing their properties than Marvel since we have the ability to see all of these cross overs.  Obviously the whole handing Cupid over to Suicide Squad bit… is going to end up biting them in the ass.  I am hoping as the season goes on we see more of the Suicide Squad, especially as this season and season four probably really need to set up for the Suicide Squad movie, seeing as that is not a part of the DC universe that most people know anything about.  Well that is other than Harly Quinn… at this point everyone knows and loves Harly Quinn.  Looking forward to finishing the season today, as I continued to work my way through the Bounty Hunter storyline.

Fear The Walking Dead – Season Finale


The funny thing about Fear the Walking Dead is how the episode finale had two vastly different effects on me and my wife.  Up until this point in the season she had been watching the episodes with me, and it seemed like maybe she was almost getting into the show.  Whereas honestly I was bored and kept waiting for the inevitable other shoe to fall, because having been a long time walking dead watcher…  you knew the bad stuff was coming eventually.  Finally in this episode everything starts to go wrong, and this is the point at which my wife completely loses interest.  It seems like she is fine with a world where people have to sort out how to survive, but not so much in a world where they are constantly being chased by the dead.  Daniel still rises from this episode as my favorite character, namely the only one who is truly prepared to exist in this world.  The only problem there is he takes what is a bad situation and makes it even worse by letting loose the first horde.

In earlier episodes we find that they were using a stadium as a shelter, much like they did in Katrina with the super dome.  Something goes wrong and people start turning, and the military is unable to sort out who is living and who is dead and just ends up chaining the entire contents in essentially assuring that all two thousand plus people end up as zombies.  So when Daniel turns them lose to use them to attack the military compounds, it gives us a hint and maybe HOW the hordes form.  Maybe they get started when zombies finally break out of places they have been pinned up in and keep wandering together because they don’t exactly have free will.  Which makes you wonder… where exactly did the mega horde near Alexandria come from?  The big thing I wanted from Fear the Walking Dead, was more insight into WHY the world fell to hell and that seems to be something that was not on the menu.  Largely I am disappointed in the show, and the lack of Talking Dead after it was a problem for me.  Talking Dead essentially played the role of having someone to talk about the show with, in a strange way.  I am hoping when Season Two comes around they will do a “Talking Fear” show or something like that.  In any case this week we get the return of the real Walking Dead show so in the meantime I am pretty amped for that since experiencing the watered down version.





MMOs Worth Playing: The Secret World

The Games Pusher

One of my friends coined the term “Games Pusher” to represent the force I have when it comes to getting people to try a game.  She said she called me a drug dealer in the nicest possible way, but the term has stuck in my head.  It is true, I get super excited about games and enjoy trying to introduce people to ones they are not currently playing.  The thing is…  originally I thought this was just me vying to get more people to join me in the game I am currently playing.  However I feel like there are dozens of MMOs that are really good and that people should play all of them at least for a bit.  So we zoom to earlier this week when a friend of mine… one @zerena_hoofs made the innocuous comment that “I need a new mmo in my life”.  At which point I ended up flooding her with suggestions.  I jokingly said that I could keep it up for hours… and in truth I really could.  While I generally suck at sticking with “columns” I always have the desire to spawn them.  This time the idea is to do a short run of posts each Friday talking about the awesome things relating to one MMO that is “worth playing”.  Since it is October, I thought I would start things off with the most Halloweeny of all MMOs…  The Secret World.

The Plot

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The game is set essentially in an alternate reality version of our own world, and with that comes a lot of pop culture references.  When your character is awoken to your own latent abilities by a mysterious bee flying into your mouth while you are sleeping, you are recruited by one of three different secret organizations.  It seems while the world “slept” there has been a secret cold war going on between three ancient powers:  The Knights Templar, The Illuminati and a mysterious and relatively unknown organization called Dragon.  Each organization has its own agendas…  for the Templar based in London it tends to be to keep the order.  For the Illuminati based in New York it is all about hoarding knowledge and making a profit.  For Dragon based on Seoul it is about sowing the seeds of chaos throughout the world.  This secret back and forth between these clandestine entities would have remained like this for continued centuries were it not for the fact that something is changing.  A darkness is bubbling up from the bowels of the earth in the form of “The Filth” which is this black ichor that infects anyone who touches it with a sort of deliberate madness.  Now each organization is trying to get to the bottom of what is going on, while at the same time protecting their own assets and vying for supremacy over the other orders.

The game relies upon urban legends and myths to weave a tapestry of strange happenings throughout the world.  One moment you are investigating a small town in New England overrun by Lovecraftian horrors and zombies, and the next you might be uncovering a lost city in the Egyptian desert forgotten to time and filled with its own unknown dangers.  All the while you are trying to sort out what is happening to the world and what you and your chosen order can do to fix it.   What makes all of this work is the fact that this game has some of the best writing I have seen in any game, MMO or not.  The quests are interesting and actually require some pretty damned devious puzzle to solve.  There was one quest in Egypt that I remember vividly that actually provided data that you had to decode that was included in a number of real world encoding mechanisms.  Only after decrypting all of them could you get the clue needed to solve the riddle.  To make life easier on you, the game provides an in game browser and Funcom operates a number of “fake” websites for people and corporations in game that contain clues that are needed to solve certain quests.

The Mechanics

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The game claims to not have levels or classes but in truth… neither of these are absolutely correct.  What the game offers is a free form character creation system, but that freedom is actually fairly dangerous.  You can in theory build a character that is so screwed up that you cannot actually function in the game.  The game provides a few specific templates for each of the professions and earning all of the abilities for this template gets you a nifty costume.  These also serve as relatively functional builds for you to work towards, that will hopefully prevent the problems of absolute freedom.  The challenge here is the fact that there is no “respec” or skills reset system.  Doing things in the world gains you ability points and skill points, each with their own uses.  Ability points are spent learning new abilities in several different weapon based trees, and Skill points are used to level your ability to equip higher tiers of gear.  In its most basic form a “build” is a combination of up to seven active abilities on your hotbar, and up to seven passive abilities that hopefully interact with the actives you chose.  Later in the game they introduced new weapons that also take up space, but those won’t unlock until you have completed a quest.

The game itself feels almost like a card building game like Magic the Gathering or the Guild Wars 1 skill system… where you are trying to build a “deck” of abilities that interact in interesting ways together.  For example you might have a passive that does something really interesting when you push an enemy into a “hindered” state, and then you would want to use that with abilities on your hotbar that trigger that hindered state.  What makes this extremely interesting is the fact that you can swap your abilities at any time out in the world, and when we were running dungeons we often found ourselves swapping around what specifically we were using to better synergize with what other players were bringing to the table.  The biggest problem is that the game takes a lot of careful research to play well.  One of our challenges was the fact that we each had a specific idea of what we wanted our character to be… and some of those options simply were not viable when you got to the hardest content.  I have not played the game in some time, but one of the challenges was that there were certain required abilities and not every weapon tree could provide those.

The Style

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One of the best aspects of the game for me personally, were the awesome cosmetic gear options.  I am a huge fan of  transmogging or whatever a given game calls it, and if my character looks awesome I feel awesome about playing it.  One of the coolest things that The Secret World has going for it, is that essentially all visible gear is cosmetic by nature, and you can swap between looks freely while you are out in the field.  All items you pick up go into a dressing room and you can swap bits whenever you feel like it.  The actually “gear” that gives you statistics are your weapons and a number of talismans… necklaces, bracelets, rings etc… that are other than your weapon non-visible gear.  To make weapons cosmetic as well, they give you the ability to create a weapon mold that can chance the appearance of an item.  Combined this gives players extreme freedom in expressing their characters…  but sadly that means that the majority of players are going to be women running around with as little clothing on as humanly possible.  The above screenshot is one of my favorites, because my friend Tam and I essentially both arrived at super similar looks while doing a mission completely accidentally.  We jokingly dubbed this our Blues Brothers pose.

Another great thing about the game is that it is truly a mega server experience.  There are “servers” but they really don’t actually matter.  All of the characters span all of the servers, and you can group freely  with anyone regardless of faction.  This means that there is never a situation where two friends playing this game won’t be able to play together.  The only negative is that Cabals themselves aka Guilds… don’t span multiple factions.  I’ve spent most of my time playing for the Templar, but I know just as many diehard Illuminati and Dragon players.  The only problem is with the Cabals not spanning factions, it made it mildly frustrating for the folks who didn’t want to play Templar, since the guild was in that faction.  The workaround is that the game supports social channels and we used them prolifically when we were playing actively.  Another really cool thing about the game is that it has an extremely devoted and active role-playing population.  If you wander around London you are going to find pockets of players acting out their characters, and that adds a certain depth to the environment.


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The growth of the game comes in the form of comic book like “Issues” where a batch of content is released with a common theme.  To date there have been twelve issues spanning from July 2012 to August 2015, each with their own themes and usually their own comic book cover to go along with it.

  • Issue 1: Carter Unleashed
  • Issue 2: Digging Deeper
  • Issue 3: The Cat God
  • Issue 4: Big Trouble in the Big Apple
  • Issue 5: The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn
  • Issue 6: Last Train to Cairo
  • Issue 7: A Dream to Kill
  • Issue 8: The Venetian Agenda
  • Sidestories:  Further Analysis
  • Issue 9: The Black Signal
  • Sidestories:  Love & Loathing
  • Sidestories: The Last Pagan
  • Issue 10: Nightmares in the Dream Palace
  • Issue 11: Reaping the Wind
  • Issue 12: To the Dark Tower Below

Monetization for this game comes primarily in the form of purchasing these issues, and in the various cosmetic items that you can purchase only through the store.  They have a number of really cool themed outfits that you can pick up, and for subscribers they give you a unique batch of items each month.  I purchased a lifetime subscription when the game was released that converted when the game went free to play to one that gives me access to all the subscription content, and a stipend of cash shop currency each month to spend.  While we call this game “Free to Play” it is in truth “Buy to Play” meaning you have to purchase the base game in order to do anything.  From there to get these new stand alone issues you have to purchase them one by one.  Right now on Steam the game is running $29.99 but quite often it goes on sale for as little as $10.  Similarly there is an ultimate version available for $59.99 that includes all of the content as well as a custom costume and some other consumables.  I fully expect that as we get closer to Halloween we will see both of these versions get discounted heavily.  The long and short is.. this is one of the most enjoyable questing experiences I have ever had in any game.  The story content is amazingly well written and the quests themselves are extremely inventive.  That said occasionally the solutions are insanely difficult to figure out.  Thankfully there are plenty of awesome guide sides out there like for if you find yourself stuck.  This is one of those games that I think everyone should try, just be willing to devote some effort into sorting out just what kind of character you want to build.  Once you get into the game world however… it becomes extremely infectious…  just like the  Filth.



Sithmas Time Is Here


Merry Sithmas


It has been so surreal since the launch of the Force Awakens toy line.  Everywhere I go the world seems to be teeming with Star Wars enthusiasm and with that… comes a bunch of priced to own kitch.  While we have yet to reach anything close to the hype bubble we experienced before the release of Phantom Menace, it is still extremely noticeable.  A few weeks ago I wrote about re-watching the prequels and how I had wondered if maybe I was just too harsh on them at the time.  After re-watching I decided that no… they really were horrible films.  The problem is that for years I let them have control over my enjoyment of the Star Wars universe as a whole, and that frustrates me.  If you were to completely ignore their existence, then honestly the rest of the Universe is still pretty great.  Sure there was some strange stuff on the fridges of the Expanded Universe, but I cannot discount just how phenomenal the Old Republic Era has been.  I remember picking up one of the first Tales of the Jedi comics and being completely blown away at this concept of a universe set essentially 4000 years before the time of Skywalker.  Then as that universe blossomed over the course of sever comic series, and then came to life in the form of the Knights of the Old Republic game, I was absolutely hooked.  Now that I am back roaming around SWTOR, I am realizing I care about this universe far more than I ever realized.

When the game mentions Freedon Nadd or Exar Kun… I remember who they are and what they did in this worlds history.  I remember awesome characters like Nomi Sunrider from the comics, or Jolee Bindo from KOTOR.  When I see a reference to Casus Fett or Mandalore the Ultimate in game… I know who those characters are and can remember reading about them in the comics.  The thing is… it is not just the Old Republic era that is amazing.  Essentially each time another creative force has been given free reign in the fertile Star Wars universe… really awesome things have happened.  For example while the official Prequels are pretty horrible, the Clone Wars cartoon series is amazing.  No one can deny just how awesome Ahsoka Tano as is a character, and just how much more interesting the interaction is between her and Anakin…  than pretty much ANYTHING in the Prequels.  Now if we scan forward we have Star Wars Rebels… also being allowed free reign in the universe, this time within the constraints of the more well known modern era.  Similar to Shadows of the Empire it is weaving its way in and out of events we already know, and doing a great job of making us care about this new cast of characters.

Excitement Grows


Which leads me to realize…  the times I have really loved Star Wars lately is when someone has been able to wriggle out front under the grasp of George Lucas and run freely creating their own plot lines and characters.  Essentially this is exactly what is happening with Force Awakens… it is all the goodness of the Star Wars universe with none of the harmful effects that Lucas has forced upon it in recent years.  In fact Lucas has been more than a little bit salty when talking about Episode VII and the fact that for the most part Disney ignored his plans to create a movie focused around teenagers.  What is happening is that Disney has become the most powerful marketing juggernaut on the planet, and at the core of their methodology is protecting the bottom line, and with it the long term profitability of the franchises they own.  I am sure there is some computer program somewhere that knows precisely what fans will like, and just how far they are willing to allow the themes to be stretched.  While at some point down the line this might be a bad thing for innovation…  I sincerely doubt they will allow anything even vaguely close to midichlorians to ever happen again.

The only frustration I have with the Disney approach however is that so much of the Universe became ruled “non-canon”.  There were characters like Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn that were absolutely amazing…  in fact I have action figures for both of them hanging on my wall as well as Clone Emperor Palpatine, Dark Jedi Luke, and Jedi Leia.  Those stories meant a lot to me, and while there were parts of the Expanded Universe that were completely unfollowable… most of it made a certain logical sense at least at one time.  The problem being like most fan centered fiction, it iterated on itself causing the characters to become more distorted and unbelievably heroic as time went on.  It is my hope that they will figure out how to work some of the best characters into the new tales.  There has been rumors that Mara Jade will be introduced as an Inquisitor instead of the Emperors Hand for example, which is fine with me…  so long as she is introduced at all.  Basically I find myself in a strange place, of having hope for Star Wars… when for so many years I lacked it almost entirely.  I imagine as we get closer to the December release of the movie, the cross promotions and Star Wars branded soup cans will start to get annoying.  However in the meantime…  I am reveling in Sithmas.

The Professional

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As of last night I have finished Balmorra and Nar Shadda on the Bounty Hunter and just went through the “intermission” that generally occurs there.  I didn’t really expect to be all that into this storyline, because essentially it was one of the ones that I never intended to actually complete.  While I enjoyed the Trooper storyline, the class itself was not that compelling to me.  Largely I think this was the reason why I ultimately fell out of love with SWTOR after pushing three characters to the then level cap of 50.  Bounty Hunter however feels completely different, and much more action packed.  There are little things like rocket punch and the jet pack charge that make it feel more brutal…  even if the attacks are essentially the same as my trooper vanguard.   The funny thing about the storyline is just how much of myself I can pour into it.  I am playing a very grey bounty hunter, who does not kill anyone for free.  Also as the story goes on I am becoming a bit of a softy, and I am wondering exactly when that will bite me in the ass.  Essentially it does not seem like a very “sith side” storyline so far other than the fact that essentially I am doing everything for the sake of payback… and for a girl.

I imagine over the next few days I will rip through the content quickly and before the end of the weekend start work on the last of two classes.  Not sure what I will be doing next, if it will be the Inquisitor and its constant shock treatment… or if I will go for the Imperial Agent.  As it stands now… I am starting to lean towards Agent.  Whatever the case playing all of these stories is making me fall in love with the Bioware writing all over again.  It is also making me look forward to Fallen Empire and its more story driven focus.  When you ONLY play the class quests, SWTOR becomes a much better game because it has a nice clean story arc that does not get muddied by repeating the same planetary quests over and over again.  At some point I will go back and play some of the quests I missed Sith side, but for the time being I want to push through the classes because each one feels like it adds another piece of a puzzle to the central story arc of this game world.  This is also making me want to go back and get KOTOR 2 working, and actually attempt to beat it this time.  It feels like there is a chunk of storyline that I am missing there, and with it several characters that I really only know by name.  Essentially I am saying by all of this… that once again I am proud to be a Star Wars junkie.




Warriors and Bounty Hunters

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A Day Off

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Last week as you might be able to tell from the posts I made during it… was extremely stressful.  As a result I ended up taking off yesterday as a sort of “mental health day”.  It was absolutely glorious, because essentially I sat around playing video games and watching Netflix.  I won’t talk about the Netflix viewing because I will save that for Saturday, but I will talk about the games I played.  More than anything yesterday was a day devoted to Star Wars the Old Republic.  I have this mad mission to somehow finish the rest of the class storyline that I have not completed before the launch of Fallen Empire at the end of this month.  I know that seems a bit mad, but I am enjoying myself especially since we are in this length lag period in Final Fantasy XIV content.  Over the weekend I finished up Smuggler, and yesterday I completed Sith Warrior.  At this point I have completed Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Trooper, Smuggler and Sith Warrior… and I think quite possibly the Warrior is the most satisfying conclusion yet.  The most interesting thing to me is how the Jedi Knight and Sith Warrior class stories end up making a nice set of bookends.

The Jedi Knight storyline is deeply impersonal.  It always felt less about your own exploits and more about you essentially saving the galaxy.  What I mean is that the Jedi Knight storyline, IS the story of the game.  Every major story arc event that trickles down into other characters seems to stem from a conflict brewing for the Knights.  The end result is that it feels like you are more a slave of events and you doggedly follow the main story arc as the Republic war progresses.  Sith Warrior on the other hand is a completely different experience.  It is more personal, and more about your ambitions and your power as you ascend from an apprentice all of the way through essentially the Dark Council.  I don’t want to go into a ton of detail but the end result is a much more satisfying experience.  Every obstacle in your path you personally get to remove by your own hand.  Last night I mentioned to a friend that the Sith Warrior storyline felt more “Sithy” than the Jedi felt “Jedi” but I guess in the grand scheme of things that isn’t true.  The Sith are by nature about thinking inwards, and the Jedi are about thinking outwards…  and the Jedi storyline being detached from more personal vendetta…  I guess IS what a Jedi should be.

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The interesting part about playing a Sith is that you know someone is always about to betray you.  So you go into the equation knowing that none of your allies are really ever your “true” allies.  As the story progresses they really find ways of driving this point home, and in many ways you have to deal with that fact or at least find ways to get past it.  In the end however every decision made leads you towards an epic conclusion allowing you to take out all of your frustrations.  The Sith Warrior story may be my favorite so far, just because there are so many epic moments where I absolutely feel like this avatar of wrath blazing a path through my enemies.  I started off trying to play a mostly Light Side Sith…  but as the events started reaching their conclusion I found myself succumbing to the darkside and began taking those “red” options to dispatch those who betrayed me.  In truth I ended the story line in a fairly “grey” state, which I guess is fitting.  In truth if I were a force user I would more than likely be a renegade that tried to live between the two factions, because it feels like the true path of the force is to find a balance between the two extremes.  To draw on the dark side and your rage when you need to defeat an enemy, but draw on the calm and peace when you need to solve issues.  My friend Tam mentioned something and it is absolutely true…  making a “good” choice Sith side feels more rewarding because people are shocked and amazed that you did not force choke them into submission…  whereas everyone expects it of you on the Jedi side.

Hunting Prey

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After finishing off the Sith Warrior I decided to flip over and start working on my Bounty Hunter that was just now getting to Dromund Kaas.  I figured I wanted a bit of a break from the “Sith” thing and having just finished playing a Smuggler I did not really relish playing a cunning character quite yet.  This leaves the Bounty Hunter, which has always felt a little odd to play.  As a Trooper the abilities felt like they made more sense, so I will have to sort through the bar and try and figure out what abilities I actually should be using.  I did not want to re-roll my character so I am playing Powertech, but planning on going one of the non-tank options.  At some point I am going to play a commando, which seems like it is far more satisfying to have a bit damned cannon than two pistols of the bounty hunter equivalent.  I think I will be fairly happy as a bounty hunter as soon as I can get my hands on some armor that LOOKS like a Bounty Hunter.  If I could run around in a color variant “Boba Fett” Mandalorian armor…  I would be super happy to play this character.  Until that happens however… I think I will ultimately be rather disappointed.

That is honestly one of my big complaints replaying content is that SWTOR should have made the getting of your class armor more of an important thing as you level.  There is an iconic look for each of the classes, and as you travel through the content you should start adding pieces of moddable armor to allow players to complete that “fantasy”.  Smugglers do a fair job of getting a few pieces of Han Solo-esc armor, and Jedi Knights eventually get a set of armor that feels like the armor+robe appearance you often see.  However the other classes…  seem to be a little less determined.  Jedi Consular is the story of having to suffer through a whole series of stupid looking armor sets, never quite finding one that really fits the class.  Bounty hunter so far, feels like I got my armor by scavenging bits off of my kills… and I guess in a way that fits.  All I really want is to look like Boba Fett… is that too much to ask?  I need to sort through my various cartel market options and see if I can find something I will be happy with.  If my characters look good I enjoy playing them regardless of how they perform, and my fear is that I won’t really get into this class until I can make him “not look stupid”.

Beginner’s Guide Experience

The Hype

I am breaking my own tradition and writing this blog post… while things are still fresh in my head instead of waiting until tomorrow morning…  or today if you are reading this.  Every now and then there is an immediate buzz about a game title, and this has lead me to be leery of this factor.  Sometimes the games are absolutely amazing, and other times they are pure hype. So when a brand new “art as game” title pops on the radar I get a little suspicious.  This is not normally the type of fare I go into, because I like things that explode and things to whack with big heavy swords.  That said when the word of The Beginner’s Guide started to circulate I got a bit curious.  When my friend finished playing it yesterday and wrote a lengthy blog post called pretentious I thought it might be worth checking out.   Especially knowing that it is a word he especially dislikes.  Granted when I sat down to watch a Let’s Play of the game, I had not read that blog post… or pretty much any other “review” of the game, other than the fact that there was simply a lot of buzz about it all of the sudden. So I went to YouTube and ultimately found a video by someone I have never seen before playing the game.

What I am left after watching the hour and a half long video… is some stuff I am not even sure if I can adequately put into words.  Hell to be truthful I am not really sure some of the emotions I am feeling actually even have proper names.  There are going to be spoilers involved with this post, so if you intend to play the game I highly suggest you stop reading.  I came into this play through like a blank slate, not really knowing what to expect other than the fact that this game came from the creator of The Stanley Parable which we had talked about a few times on AggroChat but I have never actually played myself.  After watching what is essentially an act of interactive fiction, I think you get out of it what you take into it.  Much like “The Box” from Dune, and the cave on Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back… it ultimately becomes a reflection of your own mental state.  Seeing the events unfold in front of me, I guess makes me realize how potentially broken I am inside.  I am sure someone could see the experience and immediately think “wtf is this crap”, but I guess I was in the right mindset for it to seep into my core.

The Terror

The narrator of the game is none other than the author, one Davey Wreden.  He tells a tale of a fellow game creator that he met at a Game Jam, and the unusual series of games that unfolded between the years of 2008 and 2011.  I have no idea who this Coda is or even at this point if it is a person that exists.  There are moments during the game play that you follow Davey down this course, descending into the deep interpreted meanings of these games.  Each game has a supposed point, and tells us a little bit about the Author.  As we reach the halfway point, there is a slow growing dread because I am scared that I know where this tale ends.  Each game seems progressively more alienating and more isolating…  like someone retreating into the dark cocoon of depression.  My terror at times was that we would find out at the end of this tale, that Coda had killed himself… and all that we were left with were this series of games that Davey was trying desperately to unravel.  That however is not at all what happens…  but instead in 2011 after Davey attempted to show the games to other people…  he simply broke off contact completely.  The final game is a series of frustrating puzzles that are either unwinnable or at the very least antagonistically set against the player.  After cheating your way through them with the help of the narrator you see a series of messages essentially telling Davey to never contact Coda again.

This game we are playing is supposedly a last ditch effort to get back on Codas good graces, to apologize publicly.  The thing is…  I don’t think there is a Coda.  I think this game is the tale of how one Davey Wreden reacted and internalized his struggle with his own fame brought on through the quirky success of Stanley Parable.  I think the game as a whole is essentially him working through is own issues, like he supposedly thought Coda was.  The problem there is… am I essentially doing the same thing he supposedly was by projecting myself and my own thought processes into the whole experience?  The truth is… we cannot help but do this.  There is no clinical distance that can keep us from doing this.  We imprint on the things we experience and we have to decode them through the only language we know… which is that of our own experiences.  So if you have never felt any of this alienation or crippling self doubt… then I feel like you could probably just let a game like this wash over you and not effect you in any way.  Unfortunately that is not the case for me.

The Stupor

Part of the reason why I am writing this while the experience is fresh, is that I hope to maybe be more honest about the experience.  I am by nature a creative person, and everything I do at least contains a part of me in it.  While I don’t blog in my own name, and have chosen to adopt a pen name of Belghast…  every post I write contains certain nuggets of myself that are more honest than I really mean them to be.  I am constantly beset with this desire to be liked and loved, and to find validation in the favor of others.  I find myself craving attention, but the problem is when I actually get it…  I don’t have a clue what to do with it.  This blog and the constant forward momentum, comes from a place that I don’t really understand.  Before blogging I was one of those people that would post all too long posts on forums.  Before that I was a devout IRC junkie and even managed to meet my wife that way.  I have this need to connect to people, even though I don’t really know how to.

I think in part this is why I find myself constantly trying to start new things, like segments on my blog, or lets plays…  only to abandon them when I get bored with them a few weeks to months later.  I am always dissatisfied with nearly everything I do, and nothing ever quite works the way I envision it working.  I’d love to say I don’t care about statistics and readership… but there are days I think to myself…  why am I doing any of this if no one is actually reading?  Then the very next day I sit down and the keyboard and keep writing.  I guess I do this because I have to, and I am not sure exactly how NOT to do it.  My world is arranged in a series of circles within circles, and the closer you get in the more I let people see of me.  However deep down at the center there is this place that no one gets to go, where I keep the parts of me that I think no one would like if they knew existed.  So there were levels in this game that maybe struck a deeper cord with me than others.  There was a level that as the player backed away from a stage, these walls kept slamming down in front of them… until at some point you simply couldn’t see the light of the stage any more.  This felt almost scarily familiar, and like all of those times that I needed to get away because I simply could not stand any more human stimuli in my life.  There have been so many times I have eaten my lunch in the silence of my car, just because I needed not to exist around others for the thirty minutes to an hour that it afforded me.

Final Thoughts

This post is ending to be far more personal than I intended it to be, but in truth the experience brought on by the game is more personal than I had expected it to be.  On AggroChat we have talked a lot about how games are generally bad at emotions, but this game…  has so many.  For some this experience might be liberating, but for me…  it was something else.  It has left me wallowing in my own faults and short comings.  Ultimately I saw myself in both Davey and Coda during this tale, because I think we are all a little bit of both of them.  Since finishing the Lets Play I have gone out to steam and purchased the game, and it will likely sit in my library unplayed.  I am not sure if I can really handle going through this experience a second time.   More than anything I wanted to purchase the game as a thank you for the experience, because even though I am a little off balance right now…  it is a rare experience that a game can cause that effect on anyone so when it does… it is well worth supporting.  Now I am going to spend the rest of my evening trying to get the thoughts out of my head that the game so firmly implanted there.


Day of Destiny

So Much Fireteam

Pause in loading gave a rare screenshot opportunity.
Pause in loading gave a rare screenshot opportunity.

It seems my recent Destiny addiction has rekindled the fires in a handful of my friends.  As a result over the weekend I spent most of it in a Fireteam with Damai attempting to help level our friend Carthuun represented above by his PSN name Saldonas.  Saturday night my wife was freezing, so I got drafted into going to bed the moment our podcast broke up to provide “warmth”.  As a result I had to spend a good chunk of Sunday morning editing the podcast, creating the YouTube version, blogging about it and broadcasting it to the world.  After that I of course has to throw out my own Aggronaut post… which means that I was fairly late getting started on playing anything.  By the time I logged into Destiny Damai and Carth had a fireteam going and were working on the last few missions of the original storyline.  From there we pushed through The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansion content as a group, which honestly had been a bullet point that I wanted to get through at some point.  The problem is with so much new and exciting stuff  to do and gear to get… I never quite got around to making the time for it.  However with Carth leveling for the first time… all of the items you get through those storyline elements were actually relevant.  I finally st0pped grouping around 7pm when my wife got back home, and I went off to fix dinner for the two of us.  At that point I think Carthuun was sitting around the level 25 mark which is not too shabby for a day of grouping.

The big thing that I sorted was how to use PS4 party chat comfortably.  I have a Logitech G430 sitting relatively unused because after swapping to using a Blue Yeti microphone on my machine upstairs, I swapped to simply using a pair of Behringer HPS3000 studio headphones.  The sound output was better and they are nowhere near as heavy as the Logitech pair because they don’t need an attached boom mic.  Ages ago I ordered a few pairs of adapters that take a standard headset and converts it down to the single jack style input that modern phones and the PS4 controller uses.  Yesterday I took the time to dig out my G430 and one of those adapters and after some fiddling and piping all of the game audio through the headset… I finally arrived at something that was fairly comfortable to use.  I don’t seem to mind the fact that playstation chat is mono audio… when I have the rest of the game audio coming through my headphones as well.  Additionally having something other than my dedicated PS4 headset…  makes them far more comfortable to use for several hours on end.  Also this finally allows me to crank up the game audio without frustrating my wife, who has on occasion asked me to turn it down when a really crazy moment happens and the audio is booming.  Now that it is sorted I feel more comfortable using a headset with the console, and am also more likely to just hang out in party chat for awhile.  I am wondering what the upper bound on a party group is, and if you can have more than just the three fire team members.

Swapping Companions

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When I got downstairs last night to prepare for the season finale of Fear the Walking Dead, I of course booted up and started playing Star Wars the Old Republic.  Now that I have finished with my smuggler, I am picking up where I left off on my Sith Warrior.  Through the course of the evening I worked my way through the rest of the Nar Shadda storyline and just now starting on Tattooine.  I have to say it is very nice to finally have all four buffs after beating one of each base class.  I am a bit saddened however that I am finally reaching the stage of the game where it feels like having a healer is a very useful thing.  This means relegating Vette to crafting and spending the majority of my time with Malavai Quinn.  In the grand scheme of things I have no problem with Malavai, because he seems like the honorable Imperial Soldier type.  The problem being that I just like running around with Vette, because I always loved Mission Vao, and honestly for me… she was always Mission 2.0 rather than her own character.  Instead she will farm up companion gifts… that I will ultimately give to her later…  which seems a little strange?

Basically if I have a shot in hell of getting the special legacy unlock thing for beating all of the stories, that means I have to play through the rest of Sith Warrior, Imperial Agent, Bounty Hunter, and Sith Inquisitor all before the end of the month.  I am seriously doubting I will be able to do it, but…. that said if I ONLY focus on the story missions I might be able to make it.  When you only focus on the class story the early planets at least go extremely quickly and you stay at a decent level.  I might need to spend some cartel coins however to unlock more mod gear to throw on my characters.  The plan I arrived at on my smuggler of upgrading my armor every other planet seemed to work pretty well and I would really like to do that with my Sith characters.  The problem being the game is not extremely forthcoming with armor options.  There are sets available for pretty much any level range on the Cartel Market, but each of them cost a fair amount of coin.  So I guess we shall see what ultimately happens.  I guess if I got desperate I could make them wear the free moddable flight suits they give you, but that is not exactly a great option.  I might use the imperial pilot suit for Malavai Quinn however.

YouTube AggroChat


The funny thing about AggroChat is that in the grand scheme of things… we don’t actually get that many listeners… or at least not enough listeners to go through the trouble of some of the things that I do.  For example… our YouTube videos maybe get a dozen views a piece.  That said I like doing them, and I am not sure why.  I guess they are just far easier to link to someone when they ask you about the show than linking the actual podcast page.  Also I like embedding a youtube video far more than I liked embedding the Libsyn player.  I feel like I could probably do better about advertising our show.  I tend to do it in a rather haphazard fashion, because I feel rushed to get each show out the door and ready.  By the time I finish editing, uploading, and doing all the other things… I reach this point where I just want to be done with it for another week.  It is not necessarily the most enjoyable period of my week.  I love making the show, but the tedium that comes from doing all the fiddly bits to make it happen…  gets annoying.  So I reach this point where I just want to hurl it out into the world and hope someone finds it interesting.  The hardest part is it feels like we don’t have a lot of feedback.  Podcast listeners tend to listen silently, and while we have a few people that comment here and there…  you don’t get the sort of commentary that you do when you have a blog.  There are weeks however like this week, where I feel like we got into some extremely interesting conversations, and it is well worth listening.  I love the folks I podcast with, because ultimately they are the folks that I hang out with on a daily basis.






Week in Gaming 10/4/2015

Moving in Slow Motion

This morning I am having one of those days that feels like I am fighting against quicksand, to be able to accomplish anything.  It is the fitting end of the week I have had where so many issues have come up, that I had to deal with.  This week was one where my boss was out of the office for most of it, which meant I got to be the boss.  This is a concept that sounds fun on paper, but after having done it for years…  I promise it is not nearly as entertaining as it sounds.  Being the boss means you are the one that has to deal with isssues when they arrise, even when the issues are of a magnitude that makes you just want to pull the covers over your head and forget the world exists.  As such my gaming was a bit odd, because I needed to vent my frustrations in the form of shooting aliens.  There were many nights this week where I intended to do something else, but ended up playing Destiny all night.  As such there really are not a lot of individual games to talk about but here goes nothing!

Star Wars the Old Republic

swtor 2015-09-29 20-14-18-19

As of last night during the AggroChat podcast I have officially completed the original Smuggler storyline, and with it… I have a lot of thoughts about what I experienced.  When Kodra played through this content I can remember him being extremely disappointed… but maybe I am just more simple minded, but I absolutely loved the ending.  It is everything I expected underworld dealings would be… romance, betrayal, and getting revenge on the people who betrayed you.  It wraps up everything a good outlaw story should, and like the best ones… ends up with you on the side of justice.  Maybe I just grew up with too many westerns, but it felt like it should to me.  My character wasn’t necessarily a white hat, but he definitely was not a black hat… and at the same time I got to do enough things that felt like decisions I would make, to keep me hooked on the storyline.  Now that I have wrapped this one up, I think I am going to work up faction on Risha and see what that romance option looks like.  After that I think I am putting the Smuggler to bed for awhile, no pun intended… and moving on to something else.

While I doubt I will manage to play through the four imperial storylines before the launch of Fallen Empire, I think I am going to make a good college try to do so.  It would be cool to go into Fallen Empire with the special perk for having defeated all eight storylines.  Last night I swapped over and started working on my Sith Warrior which is the next closest to moving forward.  I have to say once I stopped doing side quests and only focused on the character story the entire experience became far more enjoyable.  Not that the side quests are not awesome… but when you have done them multiple times…  they begin to drag on.  As I play my Sith Warrior I will probably keep doing side quests because most of them on the Imperial side I have not actually seen.  I wonder how many if any duplicate between the two factions.  In any case I am still very much enjoying my SWTOR vacation and I think it has been a great way to spend the lag time between 3.0 and the 3.1 patch in Final Fantasy XIV.


WildStar64 2015-09-30 06-35-20-37

I have to say the disappointment of the week has been the free to play launch of Wildstar.  I guess I say “disappointment” in quotes because really… any time you do a major launch there are significant issues expected.  Wildstar relaunch has not been smooth by any measure of the word.  In theory from what I have heard if you can manage to get things are fine…  but that was not my personal experience.  I fought through the queues twice this week, and each time moments after actually getting into the game… I saw a message scroll across my screen warning me that the servers would be coming down in 15 minutes.  What does not help I guess is the fact that I am entirely focused on the Entity server, which happens to be the most populated.  At some point I will get some play time in, but at the very least I was able to go fiddle with my inventory and clear out my mail box.  I also gathered up all of my new items, and I am almost tier 6 on the Cosmic Points system.  I have premium sub time through next May so I am sure during that time I will play it quite a bit.


Oryx is a badass

Not really sure what I can say about Destiny that I did not already cover this week in my blog post about it.  That said I am still having a blast playing, and several of my friends have also rekindled their interests in the game.  I’ve been getting snagged into a fire time quite often and as a result we are doing quite a few strikes to help my friend Damai get geared up.  Also this week Carthuun joined the game, so I have a feeling we will be doing some lower level content to help him catch up.  To some extent I have been working on leveling my Warlock other than doing my daily bounties, and enjoying replaying through the content.  This game is just so zen for me right now… nothing quite relaxes me like headshotting all manner of aliens, and in the strikes I have run I seem to get the lions share of the kills because of my focus.  I am absolutely in love with the Sunbreaker because seriously….  every game needs the ability to throw flaming hammers at your opponents.  I actually even spent some time running crucible skirmishes and enjoyed myself.  I didn’t lead the kill count for my team but I did manage to place second, and I didn’t have the negative experience some of my other friends have reported as a result.  I imagine that the community for Destiny PVP can be pretty horrible, I am just lucky that I have not seen that yet.

As far as today… I am probably going to spend a lot more of my time playing Destiny as while waiting editing the podcast this morning I managed to knock out most of the objectives.  After I wrap those up I will probably migrate downstairs and spend the rest of the day SWTORing on the sofa while watching something on the television.  Destiny has for whatever reason been the perfect blowing off some steam game for me this week.  My hope is that as I continue to gain light and gear up it will stay just as enjoyable.  I have yet to really try any of the true “endgame” content like the Raids and the Heroic Strikes, but I have to say if I have enough friends playing…  it might be interesting.  I am still just blown away by how much better the game feels to me.  Once again if you played the game at launch and found it lacking… I highly suggest you patch up your client and at least give the game a spin.  The changes trickle down through the entire game, and you should be able to see if you like the new feel before purchasing Taken King.  Thankfully there is the option to ONLY buy Taken King without having to repurchase the entire game… but those options are only available for digital copies of the game.  Not sure if you can upgrade a former physical copy or not.  The Destiny theme song however is playing in the background as I type this… so I am going to go answer its call.  Hopefully we all have an awesome week to come.