Category Archives: General

Star Wars Ep9 Non-Spoiler Review

Saw Episode 9 tonight for my company’s “Winter Holiday Party.”

My verdict: It’s decent. Not great, but not a complete waste of time either.

For comparison’s sake… tbh, I don’t really recall what I thought of TFA at the time — basically just remember thinking it mirrored Ep4 and did all right, but there was a lot that didn’t make sense too. Even so, overall I’d give that one a “thumbs up.”

Rogue One I enjoyed well enough, but I also haven’t ever felt the need to watch it a 2nd time either. I’d still say it’s the best of the films that have come out in recent years.

TLJ I just felt was pretty meh. I didn’t hate it like a lot of people seem to, but I certainly agree with their points as to why they hated it. For me it as just a big let-down. I was disappointed when the credits rolled.

Solo I left the theater feeling very entertained. I won’t say it’s a great movie, but I still felt upbeat when the credits rolled — had a smile on my face as I was leaving the theater.

And now for Ep9… several scenes that were supposed to be dramatic and full of tension had been spoiled by the trailers, so there actually wasn’t any tension in them. The “final battle” definitely had some thrilling moments, but then the denouement was just …. You know those rumors that focus groups shown the 6 different endings tended to laugh at the film? Well… I laughed at it 3x, so that left me at the end going “Eh, it was okay overall, but I’m never going to be seeing it again. Better than TLJ (but that’s a very low bar) and worse than TFA or Solo.”

OTOH, my wife absolutely loved it, so….there’s division in the family now 😉

[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!

[Civ 6] Gathering Storm Expansion Announced

So a couple of days ago Firaxis announced that Civ 6 is getting its 2nd expansion in February.  They’re calling it “Gathering Storm” as they’re adding in random geologic and weather events.  Floodplains can actually flood, volcanoes can erupt, tornadoes can sweep the plains, dust storms in and around deserts, droughts will apparently be triggered if you cut too many forests, etc.  They’re also adding in an overall “world climate” section that you’ll have to manage, and revamp of how strategic resources work.

Here’s the announcement video.  It opens with a short intro from Sid Meier, but the volume is very low so he’s hard to hear, then it goes in to the 3 minute trailer, then finally cuts to the developers talking about it.  I didn’t watch the full hour, as by the half-hour mark I knew I didn’t care about this expansion at all.

As I watched the video, I kept thinking to myself “Hoo boy, just that much more to micromanage.”  Nothing really excited me about any of what they’re proposing at all.  And considering that in my “1st impressions” post about the “Rise and Fall” expansion I said that I felt it made the game worse and thus I had buyer’s remorse…

I can’t say that I’m looking forward to this expansion at all.

[Pillars of Eternity 2] Dipping a Toe

PoE2 released this week. Yay!

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Sorry for the menu shot, but I think I hit F6 like Warframe wants during the opening splash, so I didn’t actually get a picture of that…

I bought and installed it last night, but haven’t done much more than dip a toe in.  I loaded it up and went through the initial scene where it recaps the 1st game and leads in to character creation without trying to remember anything I’d done in the 1st game, so it was a simple start.  Character creation and stats appeared to be identical to the 1st game, though with some UI changes so now one can see the skill trees instead of having to look up what skills lead to where and at what levels.  The actual character model has been improved also, so that’s nice, if a bit unnecessary since it’s an isometric view so it’s not like you ever really can get in to see your face in the course of typical play.  And there are now weapon proficiencies you can pick that give an optional bonus/tradeoff when you use certain weapons.  Like a wand proficiency that adds a CC effect to wand attack, but makes the attack do less damage, or the sword attack that does additional penetration at the cost of accuracy.  Stuff like that.  But yeah, it appears that it’s close enough to PoE1 that the old build guides and videos for that game are still valid for this one too.

Anyway, I finished the tutorial map and cave, then found that on the world map instead of just clicking on the next icon over and being told “ok, that passed 12 hours of time” you actually click and move around in there until you get to the next area.  I assume there’s a chance of random encounters by doing this, but I didn’t see any.

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I’m a bit formless at the moment, so it’s good to figure out what form I’ll take… This shot is taken just as I was about to head in to character creation.

This time your companion in the tutorial area doesn’t get killed, so you have your 1st party member right from the get-go.  The 2nd one is found in the 1st town almost immediately.  1st is Eder, the fighter from the 1st game, though you can choose to make him a rogue or a fighter/rogue dual-class if you want.  The 2nd one was named Xoti, IIRC, and is a priest.  I was winding down then, so I just kinda clicked through her stuff, so I don’t recall her multi-class option, just that she had one.

And that was last night.  This morning I did as I typically do and woke up well before my alarm went off, so I had about 45 minutes to kill.  Since I’d gotten my feet wet last night, this time I chose to import my PoE1 saved game instead.

It really didn’t mean anything, just that in the dialog just before character creation that I had a couple of different dialog options, however, I was still back at level 1 and could make myself any race/background and class I wanted.  I was somewhat annoyed that while I could skip past the opening dialog stuff, I still had to walk the long ribbon of light to get to the initial scene before character creation, then do the slow walk out of character creation to the actual start point and couldn’t hit F for fast mode or anything during that.

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You start on a boat while being attacked by pirates! As you can see from the bodies, that was a bad idea on the pirates’ part.

I see why they did it as a reminder for if you haven’t played the 1st game in a while (which I haven’t), but while it was kinda cool the 1st time, on the 2nd time really just wanted to make a character and start, not have to go through the 5-10 minutes of pre-start stuff.  As an aside, even before character creation you have an option to simply say “Eh, no thanks” and the game then ends and the credits roll, so it can be “beat” in less than 10 minutes…

Anyway, I recall that in my prior game I was a Pale Elf wizard and loved it, so I went with that again.  I think I even vaguely remember the min/max stats to use — max Might, Intellect, and Perception.  Keep Dex and Con close to average, and dump Resolve.  I hope that was right….

I didn’t have enough time to finish the tutorial cave this morning, though, so I’ll finish that tonight and then grab the priest again, then start exploring for real.  So far so good!

Happy gaming out there!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Mini-Review

star-wars-the-last-jedi-poster-700x1037Is it good? Sure. 
Does it have moments of greatness? Yes.
Will I see it again? Probably not.
Why not? Becuz I’ve already seen “The Empire Strikes Back” more times than I can remember, and this is really just a remake of that one. The order of the scenes is a little scrambled, and there are a couple of little differences, but overall….. same overarching theme. Desperate evacuation, walkers assault base, Luke meets Yoda, I mean Rey meets Luke. Dark Side force cave. Force ghosts. Leaving before ready to confront the big bad due to a vision, except it’s a trap. Stop me if you’ve heard this before…..

So my overall verdict is: See it for the spectacle and becuz it’s Star Wars and it’s a fun 2.5 hours, but don’t expect to be blown away by anything original either.