[Warframe] MR27

I used a max-range build on Mag, while using the “Greedy Pull” augment.  This made it such that every time I hit my #1 that all the mobs within 70 meters of me got knocked down and thus couldn’t shoot at me, while all of the “point orbs” that one needs to pick up for the test within that same radius got pulled in.  3 quick circuits around the maps was all it took for me to turn in well over the 100 points needed.

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Go me, I guess… 😉

I did the water gun arena event that’s currently running.  There wasn’t much to it — no weapons other than the provided super soaker, nor abilities nor mods are in play, so the frame and loadout one takes in is simply cosmetic.  The level ranges supplied by the event navigation page are a lie — the 4th “mission” had mobs with the same levels and difficulty as the 1st.  I got at least 30 “soaks” on each run, so I didn’t have to repeat any of the runs, so I didn’t know that was a possibility until a friend ran it and didn’t get 25 “soaks” and thus didn’t get enough event points to move on the the next round.  So if you’ve not run it yet, if/when you do, try to get at least 25 kills each round.  😀

Happy gaming out there!

[FFXIV] [SWTOR] [Warframe] I bounce around, what can I say?

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Corellia’s skyline is quite nice

In re: SWTOR — My 2 month non-renewing subscription that I bought expired… a while ago?  Not really sure.  But I also haven’t played the game in about a month.  I took a trip and had some back problems, so sitting in a chair was painful so I just didn’t play on the trip… and then never resumed play when I got home either.  I completed 7 of the 8 class stories (I only had 2 done when I began, so that was 5 more) and was pretty close on the final one, but.. well…   I mean, the game’s fine, if a bit lackluster/too easy in the combat department.  But that’s just it — it’s “fine” not “great.”  And the much-vaunted stories are actually very short and not really anything special.  I saw people in fleet chat comparing the better or worse stories, and just kept thinking to myself “Have none of you ever actually cracked a book?  These stories are serviceable, but not really good or bad.”  So anyway…. I had an itch, I scratched it, and … it’s not itching anymore.

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A customized smuggler companion named Risha

In re: Warframe — I’ve mostly been logging in to advance the veteran counter, but not playing.  Wukong got a rework, so I did a little with that this morning.  He’s quite tanky without using his abilities anymore, and using his (now) 3rd ability (was 2nd) is a 5s invulnerability that then more or less kills everything in a circle around you when it’s done and gives you an additional 1500 armor making you just that much more tanky for the next 45 seconds or so, and then you just do it again.  It’s a little annoying that using the 3 turns off his sprint, but it’s not hard to turn back on, so it’s not too big a deal.  His #4 exalted staff now does a lot more damage than before and has nice combos, so that’s pretty nice to use.  Solid rework, but nothing that makes me go “now I’m a Wukong main” or anything either.

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Pegasus get for my daughter’s character

In re: FFXIV — For the past few weeks since returning from my trip I’ve been picking at it a little here and there.  Mostly I’ve just been grinding out runs of Copperbell Mines and the Tam-Tara Deepcroft so that I could get the moogle stones and finally get the pegasus mount for my daughter that she’s been wanting me to get for a good long while now.  Since she’s got scholar and healers get instant queues and those dungeons tend to take at most 20 minutes…. that’s why I just kept running and re-running those.  It was still quite tedious, but I didn’t do more than 3-5 runs a day, so while it took a couple of weeks it also meant that I didn’t get low-level burnout too badly and my back could handle the hour-ish in the chair.

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I like my pirate-y look as a Gunbreaker

The Shadowbringers expansion early access began on Friday.  I logged on in the morning before work and grabbed the unlocks for Gunbreaker and Dancer, but then I had to go to work.  In the evening I decided I’d focus on the “GNB” 1st, so I equipped the starter gear the unlock quest gives you and ran that quest.  The running battle up until the finaly boss was fine, if a bit slow, but then the final boss was simply a massive HP sponge.  He also has an uninterruptible high-damage skill that you just have to absorb and try to self-heal in between everything.  But with my overall gear level being 197 when the game says it should be more like 250 for that quest (and the actual gear level was lower becuz all of the i130 jewelry was caster, not tank, so it might as well have been 0 — disadvantage of having all my jobs at 70 except for the Blue Mage at its cap of 50 — I don’t have lower level gear anymore….), well, I lasted about 6 minutes but then the big hit took me out.  I spent the rest of the evening dusting off my crafters and making myself a high quality weapon, belt, and jewelry.  The armor you’re given shows as standard quality but actually has the same stats as high quality i255 level 60 gear, so I didn’t need to build that.  Not that I knew that beforehand, so of course I made a full suit of armor. 😉  But yeah, it gives you a weapon, helm, chest, gloves, legs, and boots — but no belt or jewelry, so I had to make those at the very least.

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On the bright side — Raubahn Savage was avoided. On the other side — that’s a long queue with a blank background where I couldn’t do anything else.

That filled the evening, so I didn’t get to re-try that quest until the next morning.  And I got put in a queue.  To join a solo instance.  At least it avoids the problem of “Raubahn Savage” I suppose.  After an 11.5 minute wait, I got in.  The trash mobs in the running battle died faster, and then the final boss mob… it’s still an HP sponge, but I was able to do more damage to it and take less with the better tanking stats from actually being i255.  I did some roulettes to get to 61, then started spamming out the SB dungeons.  Since I had a full rested XP bar, the levels came fast and furious and I made it to 70 on Sunday evening without ever having completed a full dungeon gear set becuz I didn’t have to re-run the dungeons often enough to ever get me to fill out a set.

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A Viera in her racial outfit. My daughter might have me use a fantasia on her Miqo’te to make one. We shall see. For my own, nope — she’s a Roegadyn forever.

What to say about Gunbreaker?  It’s, well… an FFXIV tank.  While I’ve not played any of the “prior 3” since the 5.0 changes, I’ve at least looked them over and since TP isn’t a thing anymore and there’s no damage reduction from using your aggro stance anymore either, any of them can just spam out their AE combo on trash mobs and be assured of holding aggro.  Versus bosses you can use your single-target combo.  There’s no “aggro combo” anymore — it’s all just dps.  The single-target one does higher damage to the 1 mob of course, but I found that just spamming the AE combo on trash was enough to make it so that a Black Mage and a Dancer going full AE burn didn’t even show on the aggro meter, so… tanking was never “hard” to hold aggro before, but now it’s just that much easier, so it’s really more about positioning and knowing when to use the defensive cooldowns.  The biggest differences now seem to be more how the combos play out.

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I saw some weird samurai-looking Lalafell running around.

For Gunbreaker (from 60-69, at least) you have your base 3-hit combo which grants 1 “cartridge” resource which you can use for either a 4th hit on the single-target combo, or you can use it to begin a 2nd 3-hit combo that does higher damage than your base combo but also a 30s CD on being able to be done.  Rotation seems to be 3-hit combo, 2nd combo, then 3-hit plus bonus 3x while waiting for the 2nd combo to come off CD, then repeat.  There is a DoT skill on a 60s CD you can use at the beginning, and an OGC extra hit on a 30s CD that you can use on the pull to get a solid aggro start, then use on CD during the fight also, but mostly it’s just the “4-hit combo” with the occasional 2nd combo thrown in.  Easy peasy.  At 70 the skill reads that as you use the initial 3-hit combo that you can do a bonus hit after each skill, so it will actually be a 6-hit combo.  Unless I read it wrong.  I’ll see tonight when I get home from work, I suppose.

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This is the level 68 crafted gunblade. Quite ornate, doncha think?

Paladin no longer has an “aggro combo” versus a “dps combo.”  You simply have your typical 3-hit combo but with 2 possible finishers — Goring Blade and Royal Authority.  Goring Blade applies a DoT so you use it 1st, then you use Royal Authority on subsequent combos until the DoT needs to be applied again.  It’s still got its single-target spell it can use during burst phases also, and there’s also an AE version of the spell too.  But really, that appears to be it.

I haven’t really looked at WAR or DRK yet.  No one’s mentioned WAR that’s I’ve seen, but in guild chat people were saying that DRK is an AE monster now.  I don’t see how, since all the tanks now appear to have an AE combo, but… I’ll get around to DRK eventually since I’ll eventually be leveling every job to 80.  “It’s a moral imperative” to quote that silly movie…

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This dropped from the level 69 dungeon. Too bad I dinged 70 while running the dungeon so never actually got to use it…

They’ve added a vendor that sells the i390 top-tier dungeon gear for Poetics, so I’ve got a full tank set using Poetics now and I’ll probably just tank my way through the rest of the Stormblood MSQ and then move on in to Shadowbringers.

I played a touch on my daughter’s character as a Summoner.  With the new expansion out now, people in the new areas have “extra gear” that they’re dropping on the market board for really cheap, so I bought her a full set of HQ i385 caster gear (nice boost from the i322 she was at…) so I’ll be able to easily move her through the MSQ after I do it on my own character.  I’m sure my daughter’s going to want to fly around the new areas, after all.  Summoner is vastly changed now.  Some of the skills that used to need Aetherflow stacks no longer do, they’re simply on cooldown now, and you get Aetherflow stacks by using Energy Drain or the new AE Energy Siphon skills.  Your pet has its basic attack that it does on its own, but you have to manually tell it to use its 2 bigger attacks.  Those are now set with 2 stacks.  You can use the stacks back to back if you want, but there’s a 30s cooldown on building a stack.  Those skills are what trigger your Ruin 4 now, so you definitely want to use them in your rotation and not think of the pet as simply bonus damage that you just put on sic and then ignore it.  I’m not used to it yet, and haven’t figured out a comfortable way to re-do my hotbars yet either, but that will come with time and familiarity of how it all works.

So anyway… even though I’m not even in the new areas yet, I’ve enjoyed the past few days with Shadowbringers so far.  People in my guild are saying that the story line is simply amazing, so… we’ll see.

Happy gaming out there!

[Warframe] Wisp Build Experiments

In my last post I mentioned how Wisp’s buffs seem to make some of the mods that are “always used” not necessarily be needed.  I started playing around with some builds in Helene and Hydron while I was working on ranking up my shiny new Imperator Vandal that a friend gave me the receiver piece I’d been looking for.  Thanks Arandhel!

Before I show y’all what I came up with, though — remember how I said that the #4 ability was blinding?  Here’s an example of what I mean when I say that —

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Sol Gate is bright!

And from a different angle —

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Not so bad from this angle, at least, though the borders of all his mote drops are a bit distracting…

And FWIW, this is what it looks like to yourself when you fire it.  I’m using black energy here —

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See how the world has turned orange? It does that regardless of the energy color you use. The beam also doesn’t seem to change color, just the little energy ball right in front of you.

I also got a shot of the “fuzzy” effect when Wisp is invisible too.  Yes, I had to try out my Imperator Vandal in an actual archwing mission.  It works *so* much better than the regular Imperator, though I still prefer my Fluctus in archwing —

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Fuzzy invisibility effect

And now that all that visual stuff is out of the way — on to what I found with my build experimentation.

I decided to try a maximum strength build to see what that would do for me.  Mods here:

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I put Narrow Minded on to make the duration still be decent, then added Stretch to mitigate the loss of range from that. The health buff is over 900 which is *much* larger than Vitality gives, so I just didn’t see the need to put Vit in that D polarity slot.

Here’s how the buffs look in this configuration:

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Why yes, this *is* a little nuts!

Even without an energy mod, you’ve still got 300 energy and since (in general, though there obviously are exceptions) the best damage ability is called “gun” or “zaw” (I know, I know. . . Octavia, Equinox, and Gara would all like to have a word with me) you really won’t be using your #4 anyway, and since that’s the only “big drain” (over 10 per second which still means it would last almost 30 seconds if you really wanted to use it for a full energy pool drain) energy’s really not a problem even with the loss of efficiency.  But look at what you gain!  Holy Schnikes!

I modified the original build I came up with just a touch and now call it my “balanced” build —

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I’m using Vitality on this one because nothing else would fit in that D slot that was of any value to the build. Added some duration with Constitution and a bit more strength with Intensify. The base range is plenty so one really doesn’t need it higher than 100, IMO.

And the buff stats:

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I’m happy with these numbers.

And finally, I went with a long duration build, as in missions where you move around a lot instead of being tied to a defense spot the longer time a group member can go without needing to find a reservoir to refresh buffs could be useful (since you can refresh at any time, I don’t think it matters to you, but this is a co-op game, after all) —

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Strength is lower, obviously, but the buffs are still quite good and this gives an 83 second duration on the buffs, which is an absolute eternity in this game.

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See what I mean? Buff amounts are still just fine and that duration is very yummy!

So anyway…. I’m finding I prefer the “max strength” build anymore, at least on the defense missions, but as always YMMV .  Happy gaming out there!

[Warframe] [SWTOR] [Tera] Wisp + Yes, it really says SWTOR

And it’s been almost 2 months again.  I’ve just not been in a writing mood lately it seems.  Such is life, no?

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Wisp!

Anyway, Warframe released a new frame this week, and I had a bunch of plat kicking around, so I used that to buy its “package” that also included a cosmetic helmet, a syandana, and her “signature weapon” — the Fulmin.  There was also a pack with a sniper rifle and a pistol that I bought and ranked up.  They didn’t feel like anything special (and I don’t even remember their names), so I ranked them each to 30 and then put them away as MR fodder.

Wisp though…  holy overpowered, Batman!

Her basic stats are high health, moderate armor, low shields, and high energy.  She’s also got a fast sprint speed.  So her survivability mods she just needs the typical Vitality + Adaptation and she’s good.  Primed Flow gives her 850 energy at rank 30, and TBH, I’m not sure she needs that, so that may be a mod that can come off in favor of something else.  This is how I’ve got her built right now:

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Wisp!  I’m using the new Aero Vantage mod that removes gravity while aim-gliding and running my moa pet with the Tractor Beam mod that doubles aim-glide time so I can hang out in mid-air while invisible and snipe things for a decent amount of time before falling back to ground.

Her passive ability is that any time she’s in the air (not wall latched, but actually “flying”) she’s invisible so if you’re ever in a little bit of trouble you can just jump or bullet jump and the mobs lose track of you.  One oddity about this is that visually instead of going see-through like the other frames she just goes a little fuzzy — almost like Baruuk when he’s got his avoidance shield on.  It’s a subtle effect, so it was a bit confusing when I was in a group with Octavia and I crouched in time to the music to get her full invisibility buff and it really wasn’t obvious when it was in effect, so that’s something to watch for perhaps.

Her #1 drops one of 3 selectable “reservoirs” that provide a buff to anyone who runs inside their buffing range.  Buff 1 is a health boost (300 base) that also provides a health regen effect of 10% of the boosted amount per second, so 30/s at base.  The 2nd buff is a haste — it buffs both sprint speed and attack speed.  The 3rd buff is a lightning mote that tosses out a microscopically low damage lightning pulse every so often.  Seems like about every 10 seconds, but I never actually timed it.  But it’s not there to do damage, it’s there to proc the lightning status effect which gives a lovely 3s stun to any mob affected, so it’s a very nice CC.  The reservoirs themselves have no duration, just a limitation that you can only have a maximum of 6 out at a time.  Any frame standing inside their buff range has no duration on the buffs they receive either.  When they move out of the buff range is when duration comes in to play.  At Rank 3 (reached at frame rank 18) it’s a 30 second buff though, so it’s plenty long even without buffing duration with your mods.

I think this buff is the main source of the “holy overpowered…” comment I made above.  Perhaps making the reservoirs have a duration or be an actual object that mobs can target and destroy — or both? — might help reduce some of that OP-ness.  Perhaps some reductions to the effects are in order too, as they’re just very very strong right now and infinitely available without any action on any player’s part other than a brief check-in at the site of the mote every 30-40 seconds.

These are the stats of the #1 using the build above:

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Her #2 is a decoy that flies forward away from the frame, drawing fire.  At max rank it lasts 4 seconds unbuffed.  You can hold 2 to make it fly faster and then teleport to it when you release the key also.  Solid defense buff.

#3 says it’s a “surge.”  It seems to be a radial blind using your target as the center of the affected area.  You can target an enemy or one of your reservoirs.  If you target a reservoir it will double the range of the blind and also teleport you to the reservoir.  Affected mobs are not only blinded (and thus open to finishers), but they also take a damage multiplier.  The description and little video of the ability in use also mention “surge particles” that are released when you damage an affected mob that seem to spread to more mobs, so it almost seems to be behaving like Saryn’s spores and spreading when you hit affected mobs also.  Going from memory the base duration seemed to be about 15 seconds, as with my build’s 128% duration it was about 20 seconds and a 3.58x damage multiplier at the 179 power.

#4 is a long ranged (58 meters on my build) continuous fire beam.  It does base radiation damage, and if you have the electrified buff from the reservoir it adds in a corrosive component also.  In my build it costs about 6 energy per second (adding more duration reduces this, of course), so it’s not super fast drain, but enough that you don’t want to leave it on all the time either.  Also, as a courtesy to the people you’re playing with, make your energy color black, otherwise it’s utterly blinding to everyone else.  For yourself it always looks kinda orange regardless of your energy color.  I experimented a few times and it always looked the same to me — the game actually washes out all other colors making the whole screen have a darker cast with an orange tint — I assume DE did it to help with your won ability to see while using the skill.  Other players don’t get that benefit, though.  I’ve been in groups with other Wisps and when they used their beams you couldn’t see anything near them or their beam and the one time I had my energy color as white so I could test if there really was a difference in what I saw as opposed to that orange look other players in the group commented about how blinding it was for them.  But anyway, you can’t use your 1 or 3 while 4 is running, you can’t jump, and you move at walking speed, so it’s not really fast (though your haste buff and Volt’s speed buff do boost this a little), but it’s not bad.  You can use your 2 to fire off decoys while 4 is running for a little defense and I didn’t try it but I assume you can use the 2’s teleport feature to add a little speed also.  You can also hold the mouse button to boost the beam’s damage, though at a significantly higher energy drain.

All in all, this is a very powerful kit, with healing, haste, 2 different forms of CC and a high-damage ultimate.  I won’t say she’s my new favorite, but she’s definitely a candidate for top 5 or so.

And then there’s her signature “Fulmin” rifle.  This is my new favorite primary weapon.   It has 60 ammo max and reloads itself automatically without ammo (and it does it fast too).  It has 2 fire modes — semi-auto and auto — that you swap using your alt-fire.

In semi-auto mode it is silent, so it will be good for Loki and Ivara to use.  This mode is a projectile, but it’s very fast so you don’t need to lead targets much.  It’s also a large projectile, so you don’t have to aim perfectly either, which is nice, and it hits multiple mobs on a single shot and appears to have a 3m AE explosion when the shot terminates on the ground or a wall.  It uses 10 ammo per shot, so you only get 6 shots before needing to let it sit a couple of seconds to reload itself.  It reloads very quickly, so it doesn’t feel onerous to wait for it.

In playing with it on an outdoor map, I discovered that there’s a max range on the weapon like it’s a beam, though.  I would have guessed 25-30m, but when I looked it up on the wiki, it says 20m and that there’s falloff going from 10-20m also, not that I noticed it in play.  On indoor tile sets that’s not really an issue, but in big rooms or out in PoE or OV it could be a problem.  The weapon does electric damage, so it easily can be made to do Corrosive or Radiation damage.  It also has a high crit chance, so it works really nicely with the Hunter Munitions mod to proc additional slash damage.

I’ve got mine built like this:

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I like the sprint speed from Amalgam Serration and am more than willing to take a slight damage hit to get it.  The rest is pretty standard for a crit-based primary weapon.

Automatic fire is hitscan, makes noise, and seems to do the same damage over time as the other mode, but there’s no AE component to its shots.  There didn’t seem to be a max range, and it now fires 1 ammo per shot rather than the 10 used in semi-auto mode.  In this mode, it’s a perfectly serviceable automatic rifle, but doesn’t feel significantly different than any other auto-rifle in the game.  It’s the semi-mode that I really love.  That said, going vs a Nox in Hydron, semi-auto doesn’t seem to work well even with good headshots, but automatic fire took the mob right out, so take that for what you will.  It’s nice to be able to swap on the same weapon to do that — though my main secondary is still my Rattleguts kitgun that also takes out Nox without even trying, so I don’t really have a need to make that swap….

But anyway, I really like the Fulmin, so y’all should try it out too!

***

In re: Tera Online — I played it to pass the time, and got to the point where I didn’t care to play it anymore, so I’ve stopped playing and uninstalled it.  It was ok, but it never quite felt “right” with how the controls worked.  Everything about it screamed that movement should be fluid and seamless, but it wasn’t — every attack stopped you cold in an animation lock, regardless of whether you were melee, ranged, or a caster.  The result was a very clunky feel to the combat, and it grated more and more as time went on, so I just felt done, so done I was.

***

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Hello there Trooper! Long time, no see….

A few bloggers who I read have recently given SWTOR a go, and that inspired me to give it another look also.  Shout out to Bhagpuss most especially.

When I stopped playing, the level cap was 50, crafting skill cap was 400, and your companions were a specific class, so some of the classes were considered easier to play as they got their healer companion earlier in the story.  Each class also had specific gear with a main stat unique to that class, and there were also heavy, medium, and light armors stat’d for each class as appropriate.  You also got skill points as you leveled up and could choose to mix and match where you placed them among 3 skill trees.  Generally one went “deep” in one tree, “shallow” in a 2nd, and ignored the 3rd.

The level cap is 70 now, crafting skill cap is 600, and any companion can be whatever you want it to be (and they all default to healer).  Gear is mostly “adaptive” now, so you mostly don’t need to worry about whether something is heavy, light, or medium.  All classes simply use a consolidated “Mastery” stat now, instead of strength, or agility, or what have you, so the only real gear concern is tank gear vs “everything else.”  And the skill trees are now absolute paths that you select and it tells you how to play.  Over the course of the 70 levels you get 8 skill points to allocate into a shared “Utility” section, but as with all such system, there are really only about 6-10 “decent to good” places to put the points (class dependent, of course) so there’s not that much variation as to where you’d want to put those points anyway, so pretty much all build customization is gone.  No more talking about “0/7/28 or 7/7/17 builds” or whatever.

XP gain has been massively increased.  I never had trouble with getting to be 4-5 levels higher than a given planet was designed for before, but now I can get to the 40’s while still on planets designed to go up to 24.  They scale you down to a cap for each planet though, so everything’s “always a challenge” and you also get level appropriate XP for kills and quests regardless of the planet that you’re on.

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My old Bounty Hunter who was level 21. I got him to 24 just so I could equip him with new crafted gear — which this isn’t. There’s a wardrobe system now, so this is all gear that I bought from a vendor becuz I liked how it looked and tossed in to his wardrobe slots.

But as with when I stopped playing almost 7 years ago (my final post on SWTOR before this was August 2012) — there’s no challenge in the leveling game.  If anything it’s even easier now than it was before, as I recall Heroic missions being scary to try to solo and now they’re simply soloed as a matter of course as credit pinatas.  But as I said then “all the challenge has been sucked out of the game, regardless of what class you’re playing. . . .  [S]ince the “balance” was so perfect, the game didn’t really feel different from class to class, so only the “4th pillar” could keep it interesting, but that story was sprinkled far too lightly between all the planet/side quests.”  This is still true and in spades, since it’s even easier now than it was then.  Most dungeons seem to have been redesigned for 2 players plus their companions and have healing items littering the floor of the boss rooms so you don’t even need a healer to do them.

So… I’m playing it for now.  I shelled out the $30 for the 2 month non-repeating subscription so I wouldn’t have things locked away, with the plan being that when those 2 months are up I’ll be done again.  Or maybe even just finishing the 8 class stories.  6 down, 2 to go…  I’ve actually declined guild invitations, telling the recruiters that I’m not planning on staying long-term.

It’s been ok — I mean… I play to relax not really to have a challenge, after all. But this game almost seems designed to be boring.  So much of it is “Go halfway across the zone, kill 10 rats, and come back.  Now go to this other spot allllll the way across the zone, which we purposely designed as a maze to make it take longer for you to get there.  While you’re there we’ll call you and update your instructions, but then when you’re done you have to run alllllll the way back through the maze to get back to me for the turn-in, in spite of the fact that we have these nifty communicators that we even use during the mission.”  It couldn’t be more annoying an inefficient if they tried… so I assume that they did indeed try to make it the way it is to give an illusion of size, but the reality is that it simply creates boredom as it just take soooooo loooooong to get to where you need to go.  There are some quick travel options, but those are generally just to go back to *kinda close* the to the quest giver, so even quick travel still involves a lot of pulling out the mount and heading on over.  It’s made it so that when I’m trying to simply blow through the rest of a class story since I hit 50 already so I’m ignoring all quests but the story that it still feels like it’s taking forever, in spite of only needing something like 4 or 5 quests per planet for the story, so I find myself thinking “I just want to be done.”  That’s not the thought of someone who’s really enjoying the game, is it?

So yeah, overall, I’d say “it’s fine” in the same way I said Tera was “fine” — it’s enjoyable to pas the time, but there’s just no weight behind it that makes me think I’d really like to stay in and poke around with all the endgame things once I actually get a character to 70.  I mean sure…. I got my old “capped at 50” Vanguard to 59 now.  My old “Tankassin” is 54.  I’ve got a Sith Warrior to 65 — that class with the Vengeance spec actually really clicked with me but even that hasn’t been enough to make me get it to 70 yet — my old level 39 Sage is 64, my formerly 37 sniper is in her 50’s now and has completed her class story, and I didn’t like how my Sentinel looked anymore so even though I didn’t delete him since he’s my Synthweaver, he’s still languishing at 25 and I created a new sentinel that I took from 1 to class completion (and it’s level 59 in spite of only having done class story quests since I hit 42 on Nar Shadaa so I have tons of content I could go back and do on her if I feel like it).

Screenshot_2019-05-24_23_31_03_139808

This is that new Sentinel after her level 56 gear upgrade.

She’s really the one that I was just thinking “I want to be done” with and I really noticed myself thinking it on Corellia as I was finally almost done.  Part of it was also that I’d tried out the Combat and Concentration specs on her and just didn’t like the play style for either of them.  I’d avoided the Watchman spec as the guides indicates it’s not the best for leveling since it’s DoT based and so really only shines on longer fights in dungeons and raids.  Since I wanted to be able to say I’d given Sentinel the old college try, though, I also spec’d Watchman and oh hey, now I’m actually enjoying it.  Go figure, right?  But her class story’s finally done so it’s time to start working on the the last 2 class stories — Bounty Hunter and Smuggler are what I’ve got left.

And I’m up to 3100 words on this post, so it’s way too long, but hey, that’s me rambling after 2 months of not posting, right?  Happy gaming out there!

[Civ6] Gathering Storm: First Impressions

I’ve at least “won” the game with each of the new civs (gotta chase achievements, donchaknow?) though usually just with a duel map and either then spamming out warriors and archers for a quick domination win, or using Kongo a the other, developing a religion and then spreading it to him, so I haven’t necessarily used each civ “how it was intended.”  That said — Maori with their cultural district and special building and then planting a forest everywhere possible is rather impressive, and being Mali and buying everything in sight with gold and faith is rather fun, especially with upgraded Reyna and.. um… the Cardinal governor since one of his upgrades is buying districts with faith.  But yeah… Mali + Theocracy works VERY well in the mid-game.

Even with that, though… in my post about the announcement, I said I felt they were just adding in a lot of micromanagement and annoyances, and time has born this impression out.

The natural disasters are merely inconvenient and thus simply an annoyance rather than a fun feature.  The “climate change” is just “global warming that if you’re playing in the lower difficulties you can slow it down, but in the higher difficulties it’s simply going to happen becuz the AI civs ignore it” so it’s a political statement by the devs rather than a game feature.  Simply having a small military produces the C02 that causes the warming, and it does it fast… like you go from phase 0 to the max of phase 7 in about 50-70 turns with 2 oil plants (which the game has as being less polluting than coal) and a 12-15 unit military.  There was a lot of complaining on the r/civ subreddit about how fast it advanced and you couldn’t do a thing about it.  Except it really doesn’t affect anything.  A few coastal tiles flood but you can see from the beginning of the game which ones will and avoid them easily enough, or if you got the tech (Computers) that lets you build flood barriers (and get them built, of course) then it doesn’t even do that.  There are no changes to the map (desertification of green areas, nor greening of deserts) and while storms happen something like 2% more often it’s really again just an inconvenience, not a fun or compelling gameplay feature.  Now if they’d given us more tech for mitigation and slowdown, and even techs to let us build things to be able to reverse it and/or cause cooling (and the attendant problems with that as well) then that would have been a fun feature becuz you could actually play with it and affect things.  As it is, they’ve just made it “something annoying to deal with.”  Except it’s so minor that go in to the r/civ subreddit and all the advice there is along the lines of “it’s going to happen but it’s no big deal, so just ignore it.”

The “power” requirements of certain buildings is also an unfun feature as it requires you to build either coal or oil power plants and thus accelerate the already way-too-fast warming phases, or build nuclear and then have to spend about 15-30% of that city’s future production forever after in rebuilding it all the time so it won’t have a meltdown (in spite of nuclear being far far far safer than coal or oil IRL, with maintenance being and ongoing concern of *all* types of power plants).  Don’t build a nuke plant in a low-production city as the production diverted could then be 50% or higher.  And don’t even think about building your spaceport in the same city as a nuke plant as you’ll constantly be having to interrupt your science projects to rebuild the plant.  Not fun.

If you go the “green” route and use windmills and solar plants then that requires 5-6 hexes of your cityscape *in each city* to be turned over to power production, and the bonus you get from having power to 3-4 buildings vs their reduced unpowered state just isn’t worth losing that much of your real estate.  Sure, the power improvements have a little production, but if you lost a farm for a solar plant then that’s a LOT of food lost.  Windmills on the hills don’t fully replace a mine, though it doesn’t hurt as bad there, at least, but many things have adjacency bonuses to mines while nothing has an adjacency bonus to a windmill, so you can still be losing out on more than just the mine’s production too.  Since most cities only have about 15-20 usable hexes anyway (made worse by them now being able to be built 3 hexes apart instead of 4, thus increasing overlap, especially if you capture AI cities since the AI packs them in as tight as it can — you almost have to raze half of them to give the remaining ones any chance to really grow) using 5-6 of your limited tiles for just for energy production really isn’t feasible, so you’re practically forced to build power plants since 1 plant supplies power to all cities within 6 hexes of it.  And of course accelerates the global warming phases.

Honestly, given that they made the climate change something you really can’t do anything about (except build flood barriers), and even trying to do anything about it uses up about 1/3 of your land and/or requires devoting 20-30% of your industrial cities’ production to maintaining the nuke plants (which is ridiculous, as maintenance of coal and oil plants is also an IRL requirement, but it’s not implemented as a game function) and then if you ignore it, it doesn’t really matter anyway, it almost feels like the message of their political statement is perhaps the opposite of what they seem to intend – functionally it ends up being “if you cripple yourself to try to be green it doesn’t matter becuz the other civs don’t, so you get hit with the warming effects regardless of what you do, but that’s also just a minor inconvenience so you can safely ignore it, so don’t bother crippling yourself.”

The changes to the strategic resources to where you build up a small amount per turn (generally 2 per mine, eventually increases with tech, plus some government cards can add some also) to a cap dependent upon your tech level I’m pretty neutral to.  If anything it slows down military production as a unit generally needs 20 units of a resource and if you have 1 mine/extractor then you get 2 a turn, so even if you have the production to build a resource-dependent unit in 5 or 6 turns, the resource itself requires 10 turns.  Assuming that the AI is subject to the same limits then it actually reduces the difficulty of the higher levels as the AI’s massive production bonus isn’t as useful since they’re still resource-limited so they can’t build ginormous armies early on to overwhelm you.

The new diplomatic game is functionally useless.  The proposals are random so you never know what’s going to come up and then they’re split between a beneficial or a detrimental choice which further dilutes any diplomatic favor you spend toward them.  Additional votes cost higher favor amounts, which prevents being able to absolutely dominate the votes like you could in Civ5, at least, but it also means that you really can’t swing a benefit in your favor or a detriment to your enemy with any reliability either.  And since all the bonuses and penalties are extremely minor anyway… diplomacy is useless and safely ignored.  Toss a single vote at something randomly (1st vote is free) and hit submit when the game makes you do it, but other than that there’s no need to pay any attention to it at all.  Sell that favor off to the AI’s for something you can actually use instead.

All in all, it makes the whole thing just feel like a jumbled mess of annoyances and inconveniences.  My enjoyment of this game is just completely wiped out.  But if you like it, well.. diff’rent strokes and all that.  I just know I haven’t felt the urge to play it all at since that 1st week after it came out, nor to watch any streamers play it or anything.

Happy gaming out there!