Author Archives: pkudude99

[Civ6] Rise and Fall 1st Impressions


Generic splash screen, becuz I didn’t take any screenshots in-game.

I’ve only played a few hours, as Warframe was calling me back to it, but I played a little way in as Wilhelmina of the Dutch.  I picked the “True Start Europe” map which put me right next to France, and fairly near Poland, though at least I didn’t have Germany “right there” so I wasn’t too hemmed in.

As it was, I rush-built a bunch of warriors and took out Paris in the Ancient era so I avoided any warmonger penalties, then started worrying about settling my cities.  Oddly enough, the TSL map isn’t really ideal for the Dutch to be able to build their polders near Amsterdam — you actually need to settle up into Denmark and then you can “polderize” the North Sea pretty well, though.  For production you have to head southeast into the forested hills of Germany, and Philip of Spain is pretty well trapped behind the Pyrenees, though he can take out the Lisbon city-state for an additional city, and if you’re not careful (like I wasn’t) he can sneak a settler up into southern France as well, though he eventually just starts colonizing North Africa.  England and Scotland both were pretty well stuck in the UK, and the last 2 civs I got on my seed were Alexander of Macedon and Jadwiga of Poland.  Jadwiga’s spread out a lot as she had a lot of space to her east, and tbh, I’ve still not uncovered the map far enough to be sure of Alex’s holdings.  I’m allied with him, but that doesn’t give shared visibility anymore, so … whatever.  I’ve got some caravels in the Med, so I should be able to see at least some of it soon.

The governors seem kinda fun.  Toss “The Steward” in your primary production city as he bonuses that up nicely, and so far for all the rest I’ve sent them to the fringes to keep the loyalty points up, but otherwise haven’t really worried about their bonuses much.  The loyalty system seems designed to keep empires from forward-settling too badly, becuz if you settle far from your borders then they lose loyalty and can flip (without combat) to the civ that they’re closer to.

I don’t really like the Era Score mechanic they’ve added.  It seems pretty opaque — you don’t know what you need to do in order to gain more score, and sometimes things seem a bit random, like I threw down a mid-game city between Amsterdam and Paris (so I could grab a dye resource that was just out of reach of either) and that got me 4 points — 3 for “boldy settling” near London, and then 1 more since it was close to the Cliffs of Dover natural wonder.  Or sometimes you get a point or 2 for a certain tech or cultural discovery, but nothing indicates beforehand that this would happen.  It also seems designed to have you either “always be normal ages, else see-saw from golden to dark, then back again” which is just annoying.

And there’s still no way to disable that most loathsome espionage feature that I have always despised and always turned off in every prior Civ game that I’ve played becuz I hate it so much.

My beloved CQUI makes the game crash on launch right now too until it gets updated.  The default UI has some improvements, but CQUI is still vastly superior to it.  I especially miss my “overlap” lens that CQUI provides.  Much easier to use that to see the best spots for the “ranged districts” or wonders than to have to manually count out from each city.

Overall impression — meh.  The era score mechanic is too opaque to be engaging, and seems more designed to limit forward advancement “too fast” than it is to actually reward you for doing well.  In short, the game now feels like it’s “you will play it how the developers have decreed” rather than as “a series of interesting choices.”

I actually have a touch of buyer’s remorse for the purchase.  I don’t think that’s a good thing.  I don’t intend to play it again until the CQUI is available for it again either.  Too many of its amazing features aren’t in the default.

Happy gaming out there!

[Warframe] MR15 and Loki Prime

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I was eligible to do the MR15 test, so I ran that last night.  I did a practice run 1st and it was surprisingly easy, so then I ran the test for real and while it didn’t go as well as the practice run, I was also never in any danger of failing it, so… yay!  I’m MR 15 now.



After that, I spent most of the evening ranking up my new Loki Prime frame.  I got him to 30, and with the 4 polarity slots he comes with that’s *almost* enough for his full “perfect build.”  It would actually be more than enough for the mods I had available when I was using the Loki frame — I’ve got 2 forma in that frame, which gives it the same 4 polarity slots, and it’s just fine, after all.  However, since that time I’ve ranked up mods to max, plus I’ve also managed to acquire Primed Continuity and Primed Flow and they have a decently large cost, even in a polarity slot, so Loki Prime needed a forma to be able to have every mod slot filled for the “perfect build.”


Loki Prime 1-forma “Max Duration” build.  Energy Siphon for constant energy regen and mod space, Cunning Drift for range, Quick Thinking for defense (it turns energy into your health pool at a 2.4:1 ratio, so that 744 energy is equivalent to 1785 health, assuming energy is topped off), Constitution for duration, Primed Flow for increased energy, Overextended for range, Primed Continuity for duration, Narrow Minded for duration, Streamline for efficiency, and Augur Message for duration.

So I did it — Loki Prime got the forma and I ranked him up a 2nd time.  It didn’t take terribly long, as I still had the 3-day affinity booster from hitting the 50-day login.  And after he was up to 30 again, I decided to compare him to Loki just to see how much “better” the prime frame is over the standard frame.  Short answer:  Not very.


“Max Duration” ability stats. Just shy of 37 seconds of invisibility. You can do a LOT in this game in 37 seconds (especially on a frame like Loki that moves so quickly), so that’s simply wonderful.

The only real differences in the stats are that Loki Prime has a larger energy pool, and he only needed 1 forma to complete the build, while Loki Normal would need 3 formas to complete the build.  Since I’ve only got 2 formas in that frame, I can just leave the 1 mod slot empty and all I lose is 15% ability range, which isn’t really terribly important for Loki anyway.  They’re remarkably similar, so I can see why there is a general attitude in the game of “Primes are nice, though not necessary to play well, but if you got the Prime it *is* better, so you might as well use it.”


Loki 2-forma build. Not *quite* enough mod space for that last 15% range, but then… it also really doesn’t need it either. 638 energy vs LP’s 744 is the other difference. And if I tossed a 3rd forma at it so that it had the same number of polarity slots, that would actually be the *only* difference.  And in looking closer, this is the wrong screenie, since I still had Stretch installed, when it is supposed to be Streamline, so… add 30 efficiency, and lose 30 range from the stats for the real comparison.

Tonight my Banshee Prime frame will be done cooking in the foundry so I’ll probably work on ranking that one up and see just how similar it is to the regular Banshee frame that I’ve come to enjoy as well.


I’ve seen this odd writing pop up a couple of times after completing missions, but this is the 1st time I managed to get a screenshot. Does anyone know what it is or what it indicates?

Hydroid Prime finished up in the foundry last night, and I got it up to rank 11 or 12.  High enough that I got to at least test out all the abilities.  The 3rd ability is fun — you quite literally turn into a puddle of water on the floor.  It’s really rather funny.  But the big reason to use him is his 4th ability that calls out a bunch of tentacles that hold mobs in place for you to shoot.  And you augment that ability and it gives a 100% chance for loot to drop from any entangled mob.  So yeah, Hydroid is a “farming frame” more than anything, it seems.  I now completely understand why the videos I’ve seen for “max loot” runs have group compositions of Chroma (double credits due to his Effigy ability), Nekros/Prime (his Desecrate ability makes each body part drop loot, not just the “main body” — use slash damage to create more parts! ), and Hydroid/Prime (guaranteed loot drop from tentacle-affected mobs) in them.  That seems a lot of loot maximization there between those 3 frames.


Hydroid Prime looks pretty neat, IMO.

Happy Gaming Out There!


I’ve unlocked the Simulacrum! Now to scan more mobs so that they’ll be available in here…

[Warframe] The War Within Is Complete


In context, this is a *very* dramatic shot. Out of context like this, it’s just pretty… but very pretty 😉

I did The War Within on Monday night.  Given how challenging some of the other quests have been, this one was surprisingly easy.  But then, in a lot of ways it seemed to be more of a “here’s a new feature you’re unlocking, this quest is your tutorial” type of quest than anything, so I guess it makes sense that it wouldn’t be too hard.  Most of the slightly-longer-than-an-hour time it took was taken up by cutscenes, and most of the actual gameplay was a sort of “walking simulator” where it’d give you a new power, then put you in a situation where you’d use the new power.  And if you failed, it just went back to a checkpoint save that it did in the mission, so you really couldn’t actually fail the mission, it didn’t seem.


The Kuva Fortress tileset has quite an interesting look. It’s recognizably Grineer, but less ugly, like it’s a higher technology base used here.

But anyway, it was an awesome story, great cutscenes, and now I have my operator fully unlocked.  I also went to Cetus and spoke to the Quills, so I’ve unlocked the entire Focus system now also.  It honestly doesn’t look like there’s really all that much to it, though.  I went with the Zenurik school to start since it has energy regeneration, and that’s really just in the “Energizing Dash” ability, which it the 1st thing I chose to unlock after I was able.  Nothing else in the tree makes me really go “oh this would be cool to be able to do” though, so after that I may look at unlocking Naramon, as I’ve seen some mention of that tree being “useful” in some videos.  I’m not sure about this, but I think you can only use 1 school at a time, though, depending on which school’s lens you have equipped to your warframe, so that means that to my eyes, most frames will be Zenurik equipped, though some don’t necessarily need the ability to regenerate energy on demand, so perhaps on other frames I will use other schools once I’ve unlocked them and some of their abilities.  We’ll see as it goes forward.  As it is, it appears that using the operator is really only done to reset Battalyst immunities, and they don’t appear in most of the game, so there’s really not much call to use the operator much, I don’t think.


It’s kinda fun to walk around the ship as the Operator.

Even so, a co-worker who has started playing needed to work through some of the Earth map last night so I joined him to help out.  I was on Frost Prime, and the mission he took us in to was a defense, so that worked out well.  I popped a snowglobe on the defense target, then popped out to my operator and was able to rank up my basic amp to 9 on that mission.  I’m not really sure what else to do with an amp though.  I’ve seen mention of building others and gilding them or something like that, but I don’t know what that means yet.  And I’ve seen a video of a guy who made himself “the best possible amp” and it couldn’t even take out a basic level 50 enemy in the Simulacrum, so he was very much in the camp of “use your operator to reset Battalyst immunites, but otherwise don’t waste your time with amps” so I don’t think I’ll really be doing all that much with amps other than to level up the basic one that I got when I completed The War Within.


The Kestrel melee weapon is an honest-to-God boomerang!

Especially since I’ve still got weapons to rank up, warframes to rank up, maps to unlock…  There’s still just so much to do!


And yes, it’s a “thrown melee” and it comes back.

In other news, since the “Prime Vault” opened up yesterday, and I love the Loki frame I bought their “dual pack” that includes Loki Prime and Ember Prime plus several weapons.  I’ve only run 2 missions with the Loki Prime as of yet, but that was enough to get him to rank 9, and it also got me enough Mastery experience that the MR15 test is unlocked, so I plan to run that tonight.  I’ve seen a couple of videos of it, and it’s essentially a single-wave 3-tower interception mission, which is my 2nd least favorite type of mission to run solo (1st being the hijack missions) but from the vids it appears that so long as I’ve got a decent hitscan rifle (like my Soma Prime) then I should be able to take the 3 towers, and then keep the 2 clear from the 3rd with sniping, so it shouldn’t be too bad.  I hope.  I plan to practice it before simply jumping in, that’s for sure.


Loki Prime!!!

Happy Gaming out there!


Another of those kinetic sculpture things that a still screenshot just doesn’t do any justice to.

[Warframe] Progress Continues


A treasure room on Lua with this really awesome rotating sculpture. A static screenshot really doesn’t do it justice to seeing it in motion.

Warframe continues to be my “gaming addiction” right now — to the point where even though FFXIV’s patch 4.2 dropped last week, and I’ve patched the game up, I still haven’t logged back in to that game yet in, well… according to Warframe’s Daily counter, I’ve been logging in there for 49 days now, and I last logged in to FFXIV when that counter said 2, so it’s now been 7 weeks since I’ve played FFXIV.  You’d think I’d be jonesing for it, but I’m actually not really missing it, so I’m not sure if I’ll keep that sub going.  We shall see, won’t we?


Saryn Prime using spores in a Survival mission — lowest overall damage, but the spores tend to get counted as “final blow” so I still had the highest kill count. Good XP too.

But anyway, in Warframe, I’ve completed the 2nd Dream quest, which unlocked the “Focus” system.  I can’t do a whole lot with it yet.  Currently I have a passive from 1 tree unlocked is all, and to unlock more I need to open up a new faction in Cetus on Earth, but to talk to them, I need to have completed the quest “The War Within” so that I can have my Operator act as an independent entity.  Since I’ve completed the Second Dream quest, I can pop it out for 10 seconds to shoot a high-damage “void beam” (great for killing Sentients on Lua) once every 3 minutes, but there’s no other control yet.

My primary focus in the game is still leveling up the various weapons to see which once I like (my favorite rifle is still Baza, favorite shotgun gun is still Sobek, I rather like the Vulkar for sniper rifle, favorite pistol is Stubba, favorite melee… varies depending on what I’m doing.  Tends to be the Sheev dagger for stealth/spy work, or the Serro polearm if I want to be a mob blender on a non-stealth frame), so I’ve been spending a lot of time using Ivara and running the Telesto extermination mission on Saturn to level them up rapidly.  Between her stealth and sleep arrow, I can usually keep a 500% xp buff going, so it usually only takes 2-3 runs to level a weapon up, at about 15 minutes per run.  This past Monday when my affinity booster was still running, I even managed to take a weapon from unranked to 30 in a single run.  That was nice!


The result of leveling all these weapons? MR 14 is mine!

Along with that I’ve been running alerts for the rare crafting materials, cosmetic mask blueprints, the occasional weapon blueprint, and mods too.  Last night I ran several missions on Lua so I could unlock the Sedna Junction on Pluto.  The objective I needed to do on Lua was to complete the “challenge rooms” to get the mod rewards that they give.  I needed 2.  The objective says 3, but it said I already had 1.  I have no idea how, as the only Lua missions I’d done were the times going there for the 2nd Dream quest, and I don’t recall doing any challenges so… whatever, I still needed 2.


An exterior shot on Lua.

I went with Ivara to the “Crossfire Exterminate” mission that I had unlocked.  Almost immediately I got scanned (in spite of my stealth) and 2 Battalyst “sentient fighters” came out — though they couldn’t see me, so they tended to attack the mobs instead, which helped move my mission objective of killing 170-ish mobs forward without me needing to do anything.  I let the 3 minute timer fill up my “transference” indicator, then used my operator’s void beam to take one out.  The other one, I just brute forced it down — even after it went “immune” to damage, it still took a little, so it just took a lot of ammo, but it eventually went down.


This glowing crack in the wall put me in mind of Dr Who, so it got a screenie.

Anyway, I got through to the end of the run and still hadn’t seen any challenge room, as I didn’t know what to look for.  Since I’d cleared all the mobs, I popped out of stealth and ran back through everywhere and finally found that there was a glowing pressure plate in one of the big rooms.  For safety I popped back into Prowl, then stepped on it and holy lasers everywhere Batman!  Good thing Ivara ignores lasers when in Prowl using the Infiltrate mod like I do…  But anyway, I still didn’t know what I was doing, so I ended up pulling up a video guide and, oh is that all for this one?  Just run down the room past all the lasers and you’re done?  Well that was easy.  Stealth Drift is mine!


This glowy figure pointed me toward the Octavia tone puzzle thingie.

Going on the assumption that the challenge rooms are randomly assigned on each run, I re-ran the same mission.  Killed the Sentients, cleared out all the mobs, but again, hadn’t seen anything that looked like a challenge room, so… back through everywhere again poking around.  Found 2 of the 3 caches, and one big room seemed to have a challenge where I’d hit a console and the 8 pressure plates on various platforms around the room would play a song for me that I eventually was able to memorize a tone sequence then go stand on the pressure plates in the right order and I found that is wasn’t the challenge room, but I got the blueprint for the Octavia warframe Chassis, so that was nice.


This is what a farming Banshee can do in a low-level defense mission. Yes, 89% of all damage done! The Resonating Quake mod makes the quake power do a lot of damage and cover the *entire* map. It’s insane, really. I can see why they’re re-working it.

I kept looking and finally found that in a room that had been full of laser plates that I’d shot out, though it still somehow was randomly shooting lasers anyway there was a switch high on the wall that I could shoot that made a pillar rise a few feet in the middle of the room.  And looking up from there… ok, that looks like the end point portal for a challenge room.  But what’s the challenge, and could it have to do with these odd hallways around this room?

I found the pressure plates to open the weird halls.  1st hall is full of death orbs doing knockdown shock waves.  I shot those out, and kept getting reset, but eventually got them all and was able to run through the hall fast enough that I didn’t get reset, and that let me shoot a switch at the end of that hall.  The other hall was more interesting.  The ground is covered in ice, making my sprints and slides not work well, but when I’d try to just bullet jump pillars would pop up out of the floor in the way.  Nothing to shoot, just a matter of learning when and where to jump and slide to avoid the ice and the pillars.  It took me a *lot* of tries, but I eventually got it.  After this the pillar in the middle of the laser room went up almost all the way to the ceiling, so I was able to climb it and then jump through the portal.  Speed Drift is now mine!


Mission rewards screen from the 2nd Lua run. Got my special mod and Octavia Chassis!

And thus, the Sedna junction said I could do it now, if only I’d run the prior missions on Pluto, so that was the next item of business.  There was a spy mission, and I forgot to set myself to solo for it, so I ended up running it using Ivara (the queen of spies!) with someone in an Excalibur frame.  I headed for A, he for B.  I succeeded in mine, he failed in his.  But this is a standard mission, so only 1 needs to be done to succeed.  I then did C also, so we got 2 of the 3, so that wasn’t bad.  Then there was a mobile defense mission to do, so I swapped to Frost Prime and wanted that to be public.  Only 1 person joined on that one — a Saryn Prime who didn’t know who to spread spores.  Ugh!  But anyway, finished that up easily enough with the Snowglobe power of Frost, which unlocked the Sedna Junction!


Mars looks pretty good out the window, but that is *not* Phobos, in spite of me running a mission on a ship that’s supposed to be in Phobos orbit at the time of this shot. I guess in the far future we’ve moved a much larger moon in for Mars to have and renamed it Phobos perhaps?

Popped in there on Ivara again, since Prowl works so well on being able to kill the guardian specters.  Hit the X to start the battle and died instantly to a sniper rifle shot from the specter!  Okay, let’s try that again…  Hit the X to start and immediately rolled to the right.  Shot missed!  Hit Prowl, then took it out with my Baza while it couldn’t see me.


Can anyone with more knowledge about the game than me tell me what these “points” I was awarded at the top of the reward list are? This was after running an Excavation mission, if that makes a difference.

Sedna is unlocked!  Which means The War Within is now available!  And that’s going to be my goal for this week — finishing that up so I can unlock my operator fully.  Should be fun!

Happy gaming out there!

[Warframe] Limbo — Overpowered?


Limbo is kind of dapper looking, isn’t he? And the stats I use on him are there in the lower right corner.

A week or so ago I tried doing the “Second Dream” quest in Warframe.  I got almost to the end — there’s a phase where you have to destroy 4 indestructible items.  Good thing there’s this boss-thing (also indestructible) that fires lasers that do tons of damage and destroy the things for you as you hide behind them.  Too bad that it also drops bombs/mines all over the floor that you have to avoid as you move around.  Anyway… short version is that I failed the mission there due to not quite being able to dance around as I needed to.

I asked J how he did this mission and he said “I cheesed it with Limbo.”  I didn’t have Limbo at the time, as I was still working through the “Limbo Theorem” quest that awards the blueprints, so I hurried up and finished that quest (which requires archwing stuff, and is why I upgrade my archwing as noted in a screenie in yesterday’s post) and built the frame.  I ranked it up last weekend with the double-XP weekend made quadruple-XP since I bought an XP booster.  I could rank a frame from 0 to 30 in about 40 minutes that weekend — it went fast.

Thing is, though…. I was in a group situation and just ranking up vs swarms of infested in a defense mission, so while I looked up “best builds” and knew I’d want 2 forma on the frame to be able to do them (and did it, so I ranked it up 3x on the weekend) I still didn’t really know how the abilities worked or how to use the frame as anything other than a squishie gunner in the defense missions.

To Youtube for video guides showing examples!  And from the guides… um… wow, it looks kind of cheesy.  Scratch that — *insanely* cheesy.

1st off, the frame has a passive ability where it can simply do a dodge and that “puts it into the Rift.”  This is colloquially known as Rift Walking in the game.  While in the Rift you are invulnerable and you regenerate energy quite rapidly, plus any mob you kill while in the Rift grants you 10 energy as well.  Yes, that’s right — this frame passively goes invulnerable and regenerates energy.  That by itself is stupidly overpowered.  The only downside to this is that you can’t interact with anything in “normal space” while you’re in the Rift.  Sure, the mobs can’t hurt you but you can’t hurt them back either, nor can you loot a container, hack a terminal, etc.

Except, then you have your abilities.


The abilities!

Ability 1 “Banish” tosses anything you hit with it into the Rift — or tosses something in the Rift with you back out to normal space, as well as minor damage if it’s a mob.  No damage to players 😉

Ability 2 “Stasis” freezes any mob in the Rift.  And if you mod for duration it lasts for *75* seconds, as you can see in the screenie.  A fun thing about a mob in stasis is that if you shoot it, it doesn’t actually take any damage until the stasis either runs out or you Banish it back to normal space.  But if you melee it, then it takes damage normally.  Go figure.  Regardless — a mob in stasis is just a loot pinata.  It quite literally can’t do anything while you kill it.  And you have *75* seconds to do it.

Ability 3 is a sort of AE Banish with a trigger.  You cast it on a mob in the Rift, then kill that mob, and then it pulls nearby mobs into the Rift for you to also kill.  Or you can Surge the mob in the Rift, then Banish it, which sends it out, but still triggers the AE banish and sends more mobs in for you to kill.

And finally, Ability 4 “Cataclysm” creates a Rift Bubble.  Anything inside the bubble as you cast it takes some damage and is also now inside the Rift.  You can cast this while you’re in the Rift yourself, so it brings mobs in to you.  It also bestows the same benefits you have for being in the Rift to your teammates if you’re in a group, so they gain invulnerability to any mobs outside the bubble plus the energy regeneration.  And if you’ve got Stasis already running, any mobs you brought into the bubble will be instantly locked down and ready for their pinata beatdown.  One of the guides I watched said that the collapsing the bubble on purpose with mobs in it will do a flat 10% of their health per each mob in the bubble, so if you can get 10 mobs in there then collapsing the bubble will be an instakill on everything (regardless of power strength), but I’ve not had a chance to test this for myself.

So yeah, you can just hang out in the Rift, get max energy, mobs gather around you while trying to hit you even though they can’t, then you hit Stasis, followed by Cataclysm, and then kill everything at your leisure while still being able to ignore any mobs outside the bubble since they’re not in the Rift and can’t affect you.  It’s CHEESY!!!  And tbh, I love it… Love it enough to make posts on a consecutive days, which I almost never do.


The build I’m currently using — Rage and Quick Thinking are for survivability should I mess up. Cunning Drift, Narrow Minded, Augur Message, and Primed Continuity are all for duration.  Streamline makes things cost less to cast. Flow gives more Energy to cast things and to act as my health pool due to Quick Thinking, and Natural Talent makes the abilities cast much faster. Narrow Minded reduces the range of my abilities, but at 61% the bubble is still large enough to protect anything I’d want to or for teammates to duck into for protection, while small enough that it won’t make teammates hate me for making lots of things unhittable by them if they’re outside the bubble. And it makes it easier to see if a Nullifier is coming so I can get it taken care of before it can collapse the bubble too.

I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone, and even as powerful as it is, there are still mission types for which I think it would be rather unsuited.  And of course, bosses are immune to Stasis (though you can hide in the Rift and pop out to hit them during the windows in which they’re vulnerable), and the Corpus Nullifiers will collapse your bubble and pull you out of the Rift, plus the Stalker’s got an attack that nullifies your Rift as well, so you’re really only 99.8% invulnerable, but still… Now that I know what this frame can do, I have a hard time imagining why everyone and their dog doesn’t use this as their primary frame, just swapping out in niche cases where it doesn’t work as well.  I will probably be doing this myself anymore…

Anyway — Happy Gaming out there!


This is my Stubba pistol build so far. According to the warframe-builder site it currently does 14,250 dps while burning a clip, and 12,600 taking reloads into account. I took out a Juggernaut by myself with it last night. Apparently once I get the Primed mods for it and get them leveled up this will approach 30,000 dps. That’s rather amazing for a secondary weapon.