Category Archives: General

[Endless Legend] The Cultists

This past weekend, I realized that I was in a bit of a rut in Endless Legend and playing the Broken Lords faction repeatedly since they’ve become my favorite so I decided to try something a bit different and play with the Cultist faction instead.  I’ve read a little about them and I’ve played them once before, but it’s been quite a while so I didn’t really remember much about them at 1st.  This time I paid attention and… they’ll always have the glaring weakness that they only are able to have 1 city so they’re very vulnerable to being attacked, and they seem to start a little slower than the other factions, but by the end of the game, well…. let me show you the screenshot of my city:

Cultists Nuts

This is simply nuts!

Assuming you don’t already know, you can open it full-size by right-clicking it, selecting “Open in New Tab” and then editing the “?w=(somenumber)” off the end of the URL for it.  The really relevant stuff is in the top on the right — 53 population +103 workers from converted cities, 6353 food production, 1891 manufacturing, 5170 science, 2752 gold, and 7607 influence per turn, with all my workers being under the influence section.  That’s insane!  That’s a complete empire’s worth of output from my single-city.  You can also see down in the lower right that I’ve got 9 armies out in the field.  I should have a garrison in the city also, but I’d just emptied it and was about to build a new army again.  Yeah, maxed out Era 6 army in Palladium Gear + accessories and it would take 5 turns to build 8 units.  Any other Empire would need 4 to 7 turns per unit with all their population devoted to manufacturing.  Insane!

So how is this possible?  Well…. the way the Cultists work is this:

  • They can only have the 1 city, but they can upgrade its districts to level 3 which gives them a very large bonus to production.
  • After a minor faction village is pacified then they can spend influence to “convert” it to the cult.  Doing so gives you a worker in the capital and also allows you to extract the resources of the region in which the village it located.
  • You can convert villages in any unclaimed region, and at a greater cost you can also convert villages inside the borders of other factions, though it ticks them off if you do, and they tend to attack them and then use them for themselves again
  • You need to keep a lot of armies in the field to prevent other factions from attacking your converted villages — they can do so without declaring war on you, so you must be constantly vigilant.
  • The villages themselves spawn units, but they’re the “bog standard” unit of the village, not like an upgraded one that you can build if you assimilate a minor faction, so they’re weak in your armies, and not really that big a roadblock for opposing factions to attack.

Something that also really helps is that early on in their faction quest they get an item that gives them +35% to attack, defense, and initiative (at least I think those are the 3 stats) and it also gives you the skill Regeneration 2 which means your units self-heal each turn in combat and much faster out of combat.  Your 1st unit is “support” so it’s also a healer, so if you have that trinket equipped your armies are *very* hard to kill.  I find I like to get to the size 6 army asap and then use 1 Preacher (support/ranged/healer), 3 Fanatics (cavalry/tanks), and 2 Nameless Guards (ranged) along with a Cultist hero (tank) for a nice balance.

If the market doesn’t have any Cultist heroes available, the Broken Lords heroes work pretty well too, they just don’t get the awesome bonus from the faction trinket.

Also very helpful is to unlock the marketplace as soon as you can and buy one of the Necrophage heroes that has the Slavery skill.  What this does is give you a large bonus to Food and Manufacturing for every worker you have in your city due to conversion of the minor faction villages, and that’s why the numbers for my city in the screenshot up top there are so insane.

So anyway…… there you have it.  Convert lots of villages, field lots of armies, get a city hero with Slavery hero to take even more advantage of the converted villages, and then just kill everyone else becuz you know… they’ve got it coming 😉

Happy gaming out there!

[FFXIV] Starlight Celebrations

Last year + this year makes an ok outfit

Last year + this year makes an ok outfit

I started this post on the 23rd, but then left it in the drafts folder as nothing more than a title.  And since then I’ve been a combination of a) very busy at work so unable to post while there and b) very ill and so not really in the mood to do anything other than sleep… or read while in bed.  I did drag myself to the pc for the “daily chores” of FFXIV and what with the Vanu Vanu quests, the daily hunts, and the fact that the FATE Train is running again thanks to the Anima weapons I’ve gotten both Machinist and Bard to level 56 now, so… go me, I guess.

I ran the Starlight Celebration quest series on my character and on my daughter’s as well.  She loves the antlers with the red nose.  I don’t particularly care for it, nor the reindeer hooves for the gloves and feet, so while I dragged out last year’s Starlight outfit for a screenshot, it all went back into the Armoire after that.

And now that my gameplay update is done (ignoring all the Endless Legend I’ve also been playing 😉 ) I’m going to steal Chestnut’s Holiday Questionnaire becuz while I’m not normally big on personal things/retrospectives/navel-gazing… it struck me as a whimsical list, so why not?

Favorite holiday movie?

The easy answer is of course, Die Hard.  Except that’s a lie.  An action movie set at a Christmas party does not a Christmas film make.  TBH, I can’t say that I have a favorite.  My wife and I have been watching a lot of the movies that have been in this year’s Hallmark Christmas movie marathon, as suggested by Orson Scott Card in a couple of his recent columns.  We’ve more or less agreed with his rankings of the movies he talked about… the ones we’ve seen, anyway.  Haven’t seen all of them, nor do we plan to try.  But in the end, we ended up re-watching “While You Were Sleeping” the other nights and… if that one’s not my favorite Christmas movie, it’s in the top 3, so I guess we’ll go with that.

What are 3 things on your wish list this year?

Honestly, I feel like I’m good so far as material things go.  I could always use a few more shirts, I suppose, but my “wish list” is more along the lines of things like “finally feel like I’m ahead of the curve on paying bills rather than always trying to catch up” or perhaps “my wife’s psychiatrist finds a drug cocktail and dosage that finally works for her.”  And yeah, that’s only 2 things, but that’s pretty much all I want anymore.

Does it snow where you live? 

The state’s catchphrase is “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”  Does that answer your question?  That said, I live in a well-sheltered semi-arid valley that generally doesn’t get much below 20 degrees at night, and typical daily highs throughout the winter are in the upper 30’s, so while we do get snow from time to time, it also usually will melt off within a couple of days too, so most snow sports and whatnot require a trip up to a higher elevation where it stays below freezing.

Which winter holiday do you celebrate?

I was raised in a Christian faith, so it was Christmas for us.  2 of my best friends while growing up were Lutherans, and the other 2 (yes, I had 4 best friends) were Jewish, so while I didn’t “celebrate” Hannukah, I still most certainly knew the stories and would usually get invited to be part of at least 1 of the 8 nights.

Worst gift you’ve ever gotten?

Assuming that there’s an unspoken “for Christmas” buried in that question…. probably a couple of pencil erasers shaped like squirrels back when I was in high school.  The odd shape made them actually unusable as erasers, and what teenage boy wants cute little rubber squirrels as a decoration in their room?  That said, I did keep them in a drawer for a long time so as to not offend my sister who gave them to me by not simply throwing them away.

Biggest pet peeve about the holiday season?

I’m going to go with “the way that it now starts on Nov 1 instead of on Black Friday.”  And the radio stations that start playing Christmas music on Nov 1 as well.  I take those stations off my pre-sets for the 2 months until they start playing normal stuff again — and I say this as the guy who owns all of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas discs, the Piano Guys Christmas, all of the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums, and several of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas albums to boot — and will listen to any or all of them any time of the year simply becuz they’re good music.  But these radio stations pull out some of the crappiest arrangements known to man. . . . . *shudder*

Favorite seasonal song?

I’ve always been partial to The Little Drummer Boy since my high school days.  I just love how it sounds.  And then Pentatonix went and made this arrangement of it, and made me like it that much more.

Would you rather it be cold and cloudy, or be kind of warm out?

Growing up in Illinois, when it got cloudy it actually tended to be warmer — the clouds acted like a blanket, so I always liked the cloudy winter nights.  Clear nights tended to be *cold* (I’ve slept outside in -4, not counting windchill, and walked home from school in -12 and windchill in the -40 range — I know cold).  Now that I’m in Utah where it’s a lot drier, the clouds bring the wet and that makes it colder, so here I prefer clear nights, and since it usually stays in the 20’s at night and the upper 30’s in the day…. I like the warmer winters, but that they’re still winter, if that makes any kind of sense.

Hot chocolate or eggnog?

Definitely the choc hotlate.  Eggnog is fine from time to time, but too much too fast gets cloying, whereas I could easily drink hot chocolate as the only thing I ever drink at all.

Favorite thing to wear during the holiday season?

I don’t change my attire from “normal.”

Anybody you’re hoping to bump into under the mistletoe?

I’ve never kissed anyone under mistletoe, never had it as a decoration.  As it is, I can’t imagine kissing anyone other than my wife, so even if there were mistletoe around if it wasn’t her under it with me, I wouldn’t kiss them anyway.

Embarrassing holiday story?

Can’t think of anything.

Favorite holiday treat?

Why is it that fudge seems to be made more around the holidays and not year-round?  Fudge!

Latest you’ve stayed up on New Year’s Eve?

I dunno… maybe 2 am?  But if I was up that late it was becuz I was playing Civ2 or Civ3 or something.  As a teen I would babysit on New Year’s but would often fall asleep while reading on the couch since the kids I was sitting went to bed LONG before midnight, and then I’d wake up when I’d hear my employer’s key in the door.

Favorite holiday character?

I’ve always liked Rudolph.

What are you doing for the holidays this year?

Working my regular schedule.  I used up my vacation time earlier in the year for unexpected trips.  We had a lovely Christmas at home and my daughter’s still playing with the new toys a week later, so seems like it was a hit.

Favorite pie flavor?

I prefer pie to cake, but I prefer cheesecake to pie, so…. Raspberry Cheesecake.

Your favorite holiday tradition growing up?

The only tradition we really had was that on Christmas Eve we’d read Luke 2 and act it out.  Dad was always the donkey . . . .

White lights or colored lights?

Both are fine.

What tops your tree?

Always had a star growing up, but my wife brought an angel into the marriage, so we use that now.

Candy canes – Yum or Yuck?

They’re not my favorite, but I don’t mind them either.

Favorite gift ever received?

Back in … 8th grade, I think it was, I got the “Robotix” erector set thing.  I loved that.

Favorite seasonal activity?

Growing up there was a toboggan flume at a nearby forest preserve.  That was a lot of fun.  Nowadays… I’m something of a lump — I just like to relax at home.

Favorite seasonal story?

Can’t say that I have one.

Which of the “12 Days of Christmas” would you most like to receive?

5 gold rings!

And there you have it.

[The Park] Finally did The Park

The whole Park

The Park

I was really tired last night so went to bed early, hoping I’d actually get to sleep until my normal get-up time.  Nope.  Awake at 4:30, darnitall!  But that meant I had 3 hours to kill.  Could have done some FFXIV, of course, but I decided instead that it was time to do The Park.  I’m not really one to go for Horror genre of anything, so my liking of TSW was a surprise to me.  The reviews I’ve read of The Park made it sound interesting yet offputting at the same time.  But then again, on the few occasions I’ve seen horror movies I tend to find them funny and the “jump scares” to be telegraphed and pathetic, so…. what the heck?  Fired it on up and in I went.

Oh boy!  A roller coaster!

Oh boy! A roller coaster!

And it was very good.  I can see why people are calling it a “walking simulator” or maybe even gracing it with “interactive story” becuz, well… yeah, that about sums it up.  But what a story!  And experiencing it when locked into a 1st person view… well, I actually got caught up in it, so the jump scares actually worked.  And with the sound effects of unseen things walking near you, the music, the ambiance….. it worked.  And then toward the end when you go through a series of rooms, then descend a staircase only to find yourself again in those same rooms, except now they’re a little different…. and then do that again and they’re a little more different…… and again……. and again…… it was a literal descent into madness, and it worked so very well.  Joel Bylos, you Magnificent Bastard!

I took quite a few screenshots, and while I think they’re more-or-less spoiler-free…. they could still be spoilers, so I’m not posting them here, but if you care to click through to the imgur album I created with them, then it’s right here.  But again… just becuz I don’t think they’re spoilery doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not, so…. you have been warned!

[Blaugust Day 31][FFXIV][SR:HK] And here we are

My Blaugust post-mortem:

Fighting under the fireworks

Fighting under the fireworks

What I’ve learned:  I *can* write every day, but I don’t want to.  I like the idea of sharing my gaming experiences with the world, but if I’m blogging at home I’d rather be playing than writing about playing.  If I’m at work there’s usually something else that I should be doing, even during lulls, so it again feels like I’d rather be doing something else.  So my old once-a-week schedule is just fine for my blogging wants.

I’ve also learned that Blaugustinians use feed readers.  As noted in last Friday’s post, my page views and visitors have been flat for August compared with July, but the number of comments has about tripled, from 18 to 64.  Of course, 5 posts prompted 18 comments in July, where 30 posts (since today hasn’t hit yet 😛 ) prompted 64, so the comments per port has dropped.  Since my style is more or less to simply report on my play experiences, I never expect a lot of comments though.  I say “I did this.”  What is there to comment about that other than something like “Cool” or “Glad you had fun?”  And who visits a site to say something like that instead of marking it read in the feed reader and moving on?

So anyway, I’ll be returning to my 1-2 posts per week schedule.  That works for me, where doing it daily doesn’t.

***

Ishgardian Full Barding on the left, Half Barding on the right.

Ishgardian Full Barding on the left, Half Barding on the right.

I fired up Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong for a few hours this weekend.  Since I know it uses the combat AI developed in the Dragonfall Director’s Cut and I therefore will need a melee person to go flush the bad guys out of cover, and between reading a little about other people’s experiences and a friend telling me about it also so I know that my crew of NPC’s includes a ranged guy, a shaman, a decker, and a rigger, I decided that I would be that melee guy, so I went with a Troll and put all my karma points on creation into body, cyberware, strength, and close quarters combat.  So far it’s worked out fairly well, though I’m going to need to get some quickness and dodge trained up soon.

It’s really the same game as the 2 prior SR titles, just a new story.  And of course it’s pretty over the top.  You get a message from your foster father who you haven’t seen in 8 years asking you to go to Hong Kong and the second you get there you find yourself the subject of a terrorist manhunt and the police attack you.  And it goes downhill from there.  In all honesty, I got bored pretty quickly, so this will probably be a game I do in short spurts here and there.

***

Doing the Moonfire quest again

Doing the Moonfire quest again

In FFXIV, I capped out on Esoterics again, plus I did the level 35 job quests for the Monk and the Ninja.  Both were quite easy, so no big deal there at all.  I actually spent most of the weekend working on my daughter’s character.  Since she likes to play dress-up and liked the various swimsuits I’d gotten on my character in the Moonfire Faire, I took her there and ran the Out to Sea leve quest over and over while doing the event FATEs as they popped up.  I got her White Mage to 34 to unlock Stoneskin and I got her Scholar to 35 since that’s her “main job” due to her love of the fairy.  I intended to only get to 34 to unlock Eye for an Eye, but I didn’t have enough tokens to get all the swimwear yet for her, so I just kept on going.  I also started in on Thaumaturge as well since I want to get it to 26 for Swiftcast.  I only got it to level 9, but I didn’t really work on it either, pretty much just did the low-level hunt logs, a FATE or 2 as I ran across them and the level 1 and level 5 job quests for it.  I plan to use the remaining week of its run to finish getting her all the clothing from it.  I already set up various gear sets of the swimsuits that she can just click through, so it should be nice and easy for her to play with her look as she runs around in “my world” as she calls the housing zones.

***

And silly me I fired up Civilization 5 last night at about 9:30.  And I was in a good stopping spot at about 11:30, but wanted to do just 1 more turn…… and I went to bed at about 1:30.  Still compelling game play.  I think I’ll go grab some caffeine now.  Happy gaming out there!

[Blaugust Day 27] Blaugust is winding down

I’m not generally one to blog about anything other than my gaming experiences.  And I am a casual-to-midcore gamer, so I don’t play all that much and thus don’t generally have all that much to post on, and that’s why I tend to post only on Mondays during “the normal year” — I play more on weekends, so I’ve actually got gaming experiences to talk about/progress to report on Monday mornings.  As a result, I didn’t really care about Blaugust last year, nor do I really care this year either, but I enjoy Bel’s blog and he’s my FC leader in my most-played game right now, and due to actually logging in (almost) daily to get my Centurio Seal hunts and Tomes of Esoterics, I actually sorta have play-time to talk about, so I decided to participate in Blaugust this year after all.  I didn’t (and still don’t) expect to “get anything out of it.”  Even assuming I make it through the last 4 days (which I will, it’s not like it’s that hard to type a blog post for a few minutes each day) there’s no guarantee that I’ll “win” anything from his random drawing.  And even if I do win the grand prize and get 1 game off my Steam wishlist (there’s only one game on it, and I added it *after* Blaugust started for “just in case”) the game would be for my son and not for me.

I don’t expect to gain insights into my character and my stick-to-it-iveness. I already know that I stick to things until they’re done.  I find ways to make things work, even when it’s hard.  Blaugust ain’t gonna tell me anything there.  I’ll admit that I hoped for a bit more readers and thus perhaps a few more comments and discussions, but then again… I really only report on my play time and right now it’s pretty much “Logged in, did daily hunts, did daily expert roulette, almost got that new piece of gear.  Go me!” so what’s there to really discuss?  Something I actually find interesting is that my view stats are really pretty much unchanged since Blaugust began — 596 views the 1st week, 621 the 2nd week, and 626 the 3rd.  Compare this to July — week 1 593 views, week 2 562, week 3 582, and week 4 703.  and I only had 5 posts in July vs the (so far) 26 in August.  My big jump in views actually came when Elder Scrolls Online released for consoles — my most viewed posts in the past 2 months are almost all year-old ESO posts, and my most viewed post of all time is the one I did as a guide of sorts about leveling up the Enchanting skill in that game.  I know it’s gotta be out of date, so I hope it’s still useful.  My most viewed post in a single month, however came from this past February when I did a throwaway post about the FFXIV Valentine’s Day event.  I got 1532 views on that post for some reason, even though all it says is “I did the event and got a screenshot of the silly chocobo barding that it gave out.”

So anyway… that’s really why I’m participating in Blaugust — to support my FC leader’s initiative, and to hopefully increase blog traffic a bit.  I don’t know how well I’ve succeeded at the 1st simply becuz how do you measure that?  And the stats say I’m not getting any more blog traffic, so failed at the 2nd.  On the other hand, I do have 64 comments this month, where I only had 18 in all of July, so at least the participation rate is up a touch. . . .   I have added a lot of new blogs to my Feedly due to Blaugust this year — enough so that I have a hard time keeping up on all of them anymore, so it’s been nice to have more reading material.  I can’t help but wonder how much it will drop off once next Tuesday rolls around though.

So anyway… that’s Blaugust for me.  Happy gaming out there!