Category Archives: RPG

[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!

[PoEt] [TSW] [FFXIV] A Nomadic Weekend

Rogue group early on -- PoEt really doesn't lend itself to screenies very well

Rogue group early on — PoEt really doesn’t lend itself to screenies very well

Well, only did 3 games, but that’s 2 more than normal . . .

For Pillars of Eternity, I wandered about a bit with my monk’s group, but it was really just dinking around looking for named bandits to capture,and it got old kinda quick, so I think I need to start pushing the story forward again, else I may get bored.  Which seems odd, since the game’s enough of a challenge to be intensely satisfying after every well-fought battle.

For TSW, a small part of my not wanting to log in much lately (a very distant 3rd to “skill wheel’s full” and “gear’s good enough for me so don’t care to do NM grind for better gear”) is that lately it’s been fairly laggy for me.  But I’d read somewhere that using DX9 instead of DX11 can fix a lot of that, so I logged in to swap from DX11 to DX9 and…… instant 20 fps jump, and London is completely lag-free again.  So I turned my settings up a bit from how low I had them before trying to alleviate some of that lagginess and went to Tokyo.  And it was very jumpy there.  If i stopped and let the area I was in load, then I was fine, but even trying a simple run across the zone from the Agartha Portal to the Pachinko Parlor there was a lot of stuttering that I’ve never had before, so…. looks like I need to turn some settings back down.

So far as I can tell, my ae-focused solo build has lost no efficacy in spite of the reduction in AE damage with the recent skill changes.  I assume it’s due to the fact that so much of its damage comes from procs from the passives, which appear to if anything to have had their damage increased a bit.  Slow The Advance has a lovely new graphical effect and a lingering dot that it didn’t used to have, so it’s a lot more fun to fire off at a swarm of mobs too.  Much cooler looking.  so, once I get the lag in Tokyo figured out, I’ll probably jump back in and finish up the issue 10 story and see how I feel about things after that.

Yes, it's really that big.  You spend most of the fight under its belly trying not to be stepped on.

Yes, it’s really that big. You spend most of the fight under its belly trying not to be stepped on.

For FFXIV, I did the seasonal event quest and it was every bit as fluffy as one would expect an Easter event to be.  I also worked through the story to the completion of what was added in the 2.55 patch this past week, as well as doing the Letter Carrier missions.  I did the LC missions as WHM to give myself something a little different, but I did the story missions as BLM.  One fight was kinda challenging, but since I have sleep and could simply sleep the hard-hitting mob and heal myself back to full in the 30 seconds it bought me, it didn’t end up being a big deal.  The new Trial was pretty fun.  I watched a video in advance that explained the basic mechanics, but it wasn’t a “here’s the whole fight” thing either, so it wasn’t a complete spoiler.  And watching a video and doing it in-game are 2 completely different things……  We failed pretty badly the 1st time, but that gave all of the newbies to the Trial a chance to see how it all worked, and we did it on the 2nd try in good order.

Thing about the story though — mild spoilers here, so you’re warned — is that according to the story I’m now persona non grata in Ul’dah, but there’s nothing in the game itself that reflects this — I can still walk freely in the city, use all the services, use the Immortal Flames area, etc.  so that’s a bit of an immersion breaker — everything that happens in Ul’dah is pretty dramatic, as well as the escape from the guards, and yet after the story’s told the game itself completely ignores it.  Such is life.  But, I’m also very looking forward to the new areas in the expansion now as a result of how the story is set up

Success!

Success!

I ran a couple of dungeons with FC mates to help them in their moving through the story, and I even remembered to hit up the Gold Saucer and check on the Jumbo Cactpot lottery.  It’d been a while since I’ve been in there, and one of these days I’ll let myself get lost in Triple Triad, but for now, the MGS is a nice side diversion, but I’m still more focused on being out in the world.  For a couple of FATEs in Coerthas and one of the FC dungeon runs I played with my Bard and found myself wanting to work on it some more again, so….. I’m going to try to at least do a low-level roulette per night this week as a bard and see what that does for me level-wise.  I seem to get about 1/2 a level on a roulette bonus run each day, plus several challenge log entries also give bonuses for doing 3 and 5 dungeons, plus handing out commendations and those 3 entries seem to be good for another level as well, so in theory just 1 dungeon a night could get me 4-5 levels per week without hardly trying so….. we’ll see.

Happy gaming out there!  And more screenies follow and might be a bit spoilerific for the next part of the story, so… don’t scroll down if you don’t want spoilers….

Easter quest giver

Easter quest giver

Spriggans are kinda fuzzy bunnies, so... makes sense to be a spriggan for Easter!

Spriggans are kinda fuzzy bunnies, so… makes sense to be a spriggan for Easter!

Doing the Easter-quest FATE

Doing the Easter-quest FATE

Drakes flying to attack Ishgard

Drakes flying to attack Ishgard

An anti-dragon cannon on the path to Ishagard

An anti-dragon cannon on the path to Ishagard

The bridge...

The bridge…

She casts the spell --

She casts the spell —

And tosses it high --

And tosses it high —

And down comes the bridge's ward!

And down comes the bridge’s ward!

Which means inbound dragons!

Which means inbound dragons!

One big dude there

One big dude there

The dragon's close-up

The dragon’s close-up

Fighting under him.  He's so big he just kind of ignores us, and calls adds to deal with us while he knocks down even more wards now that he got a foothold on the bridge

Fighting under him. He’s so big he just kind of ignores us, and calls adds to deal with us while he knocks down even more wards now that he got a foothold on the bridge

But we beat him, so the drakes flee!

But we beat him, so the drakes flee!

Self-portrait 1

Self-portrait 1

Self-portrait 2

Self-portrait 2

Self-portrait 3

Self-portrait 3

Don't mess with a monk!

Don’t mess with a monk!

Or a conjurer. . . .

Or a conjurer. . . .

No really... don't mess with the conjurer!

No really… don’t mess with the conjurer!

Lady Yugiri took her mask off

Lady Yugiri took her mask off

I still really like this airship-cart concept

I still really like this airship-cart concept

 

[PoEternity] New Characters

My completed stronghold!

My completed stronghold!

I’ve played a bit more of Pillars of Eternity this week, but nothing like the marathon stint I did this past weekend.  With my level 8 group I’ve completed my stronghold and have checked out some of the bounties from the Warden’s cottage upgrade.  The fights weren’t bad, and were worth a ton of experience and I got some nice loot off the bounty that was a human (and his pals) rather than a monster.  Since I completed my dungeon improvement, I’ve also stumbled across named bandits (and their pals) to take out but to capture instead of kill.  Not that it does anything other than put them in your dungeon.  You can talk to them but they don’t have anything to say.  No idea what would happen if I let one go.  And I found that Kana the Chanter and his high Intellect score does completely amazing things with the Ring of Jolting Touch that I gave him since I’ve been using him as an offtank to my monk, and it’s a touch-range spell that I don’t have the wizard using since I’m keeping him in the back.  But with that ring, Kana does damage to multiple mobs and often 1-shots his initial target, with massive damage being done to other enemies around him since Jolting Touch jumps to nearby enemies too, though with reduced damage to the later mobs in the jump cycle.  It’s still a LOT of damage.  Almost makes me think I might want to have the wizard run up to cast it too…..

But anyway….. I’m knocking on the door of level 9 and still have a couple more bounties I can fill.  Plus I really need to head back in to the dungeon under my stronghold too.  I was able to clear a little of it at level 4 when I 1st got the stronghold, but then as I pressed further in I got to mobs that were way above my level, and lots of them, so I went back out and kinda forgot about the place.

I found this hidden in the tutorial start zone.  No use as a weapon -- it really is a Disappointer -- but at least it sells well.

I found this hidden in the tutorial start zone. No use as a weapon — it really is a Disappointer — but at least it sells well.

Now that I’ve figured out more about how the game works and what companions I will be finding (plus when and where) I’ve tried starting out new characters also.  And I tried my hand at “hiring adventurers” to fill slots in the party as well, and found that they’re not like the companions, nor temporary mercenaries — they’re actually you creating a brand new character, so you can round out/balance out your party any way you like with full control over the entire creation process.  When you “hire an adventurer” the level of adventurer you can hire appears to be limited to a level below your own, so you’ll probably want to do it early when that only puts them 1,000 xp behind.  And then there’s the downside that the bigger your party is, the more ways the xp gets split, so it slows down your leveling as well.  IMO, a party of 6 level 3’s is more powerful than a party of 4 level 4’s, though, so I’m not really seeing that as a downside, especially since there seems to be plenty of xp to go around.

Anyway, I’ve also found that you can pick up 2 companions in the starter city, not just the Wizard who’s outside the inn.  I’d talked to the Fighter with my monk, but he just said something and then End Dialogue was the only option, so I didn’t try talking to him again later.   Oops!  Now I know that after you rest the 1st time and then talk to the dead animancer in the hanging tree you can talk to him again and he’ll join you.  Having an actual tank in my monk’s party would have probably made the game a bit easier.  That said… 1st run-through I was playing on Easy level anyway, so it didn’t seem to gimp me, as I feel like I’m doing well with the monk’s group, even with only adding companions as I found them instead of hiring adventurers.  I have learned from reading up a bit more on the game that in the big city that circumstances have now locked me out of, I could have picked up a Paladin as a 2nd tank also.  Which probably would have been kinda nice, but again… I’m doing fine without.

Hanging Trees are quite gruesome.  Glad I've never seen one IRL . . .

Hanging Trees are quite gruesome. Glad I’ve never seen one IRL . . .

From a comment on my previous post and also additional reading about the game (can’t play at work, but I can read about it 😉 ) I’ve found that the recovery speed penalty that armor applies to your ability cooldowns, not to endurance recovery after combat, so you want your dps characters to be in lighter armor so that they can fire off more dps skills faster.  Assuming you have a well-balanced party with a tank or 2 that holds the mob’s “engagement” then your dps characters actually should be just fine with light or no armor, rather than putting everyone in the heaviest armor you can find.  Though in my monk’s group lacking a real tank (monk can take tank skills, but is really more of a dps/tank hybrid) the “everyone go heavy” is still working out ok for me too, so…. take that for what you will.

I’m digging the Rogue class.  I don’t normally like melee dps a whole lot, but with a fighter to hold aggro the sneak attacks the rogue does are a ton of damage, so mobs are simply melting away before the onslaught of my daggers.  I’m even considering letting the monk party languish while I work on a new group with the rogue instead.  Having a fighter, wizard, priest, and rogue by level 3 in the same group makes for a lovely balanced party (plus I could hire 2 adventurers to make it 6 if I wanted) that I don’t have with the monk’s group, so there’s less frustration in the early game this time around.  Time will tell, I suppose.

[PoE] Pillars of Eternity

What's the name of this game again?

What’s the name of this game again?

The confluence of several bloggers singing the praises of Pillars of Eternity, my love for the Baldur’s Gate games, and the fact that it was payday ….. yep, I bought PoE.  I went into it blind — didn’t read up on it or how the controls worked, the classes, races, etc.  Just wanted to figure it out as I went.  And I’ve kinda been on a binge.  According to Steam I’ve got 32 hours under my belt since I 1st began playing on Friday night.  Considering that I’ve slept twice, made meals for the family, played with my daughter, watched some tv with the wife, and also replaced the kitchen faucet that had broken (which included a trip to the store), well… that includes quite a bit of AFK time.  But, I’ve got a full party plus an additional member at my stronghold, and we’re all level 8 now, so I’ve been proceeding just fine.

This was a very tough fight.  Honestly I only won due to the dragon using its breath attack and missing me while killing its own allies with it.  Dumb luck.  But a win's a win.....

This was a very tough fight. Honestly I only won due to the dragon using its breath attack and missing me while killing its own allies with it. Dumb luck. But a win’s a win…..

I like how the difficulty is scaled — which is to say, that it isn’t.  If you see a mob, it will always be the same level as any other mob of the same name.  So that Xaurip (kobold analog) might be a decent fight at level 1 but at level 3 it’s a cakewalk.  Or that level 6 mob might be a tough fight for your full party at level 3, but come back at level 5 and you don’t even bother to use spells, just weapon it down.  It’s also kinda fun to be stomping over all the mobs in a map, then go into a cave or dungeon and find out that…. oh yeah, it’s a LOT harder in here…..

Anyway, it’s a similar ruleset to D&D, but there are enough differences that I kinda wish I hadn’t necessarily gone in blind.  Here are a few of the things I’ve figured out:

The effects are quite nice.

The effects are quite nice.

Some quite nice graphics overall

Some quite nice graphics overall

The Health vs Endurance dichotomy is stated in the game, but seems like it’s not terribly well explained.  Essentially you have a decently sized Health pool, and then a smaller Endurance pool.  In any given fight, your Endurance is what matters and would be what most games would call “Hit Points.”  If Endurance drops to zero, the character drops and is out of the fight until it’s over, but (assuming your side wins) after the fight the Endurance automatically fills up again.  Damage taken is simultaneously applied to the Health pool as well.  Dropping to 0 Endurance is simply a “KO” but typically a character’s Health pool is 2x – 6x larger than their Endurance, so you can actually go through several fights, even sustaining multiple KO’s before needing to rest.  Resting is the only way to restore Health.  All the healing spells restore Endurance, not Health.  And once your Health gets low enough, your Endurance drops too, so that’s something to keep an eye on.

  • Everyone’s a tank.  Sort of.  Everyone can use any armor without restriction, regardless of class, so there’s really no reason that I can see to not wear the heaviest armor possible.  The “penalty” is slightly slower health regen out of combat after battle.  Or so it says.  From what I can tell it’s quite rapid no matter what and I don’t see any difference between heavily armored and light-armored.  So … go as heavy as you can as fast as you can.
  • Everyone can also use any weapon.  Nothing says that the Wizard can’t be on the front line in plate armor with a 2H sword.  Sure he’s got fewer endurance points and could be prone to interrupt, so you probably want him in the back with a wand, but he *could* do melee if you wanted.  Still and all, only the Ranger really seems to be fully range focused.  The other class’s spells and abilities are often melee or close-range.  Or rays that will do friendly fire if you’re behind your own people so you might as well be up in melee anyway.  Plus if everyone’s grouped up then your buffs from the chanter, cipher, and/or priest will get everyone too.  Of course if the mobs are tossing AE’s then there’s a problem….
  • Fast mode is your friend.  You always travel in stealth mode and that slows you down a bit, but putting the game into fast mode (default D key) just makes you move faster.  None of the maps are especially big, but when you’re making multiple runs back and forth across a big city, it helps to go faster.  And in a dungeon it makes the delve go quicker too, so why not?  You can set combat to automatically go into slow mode to keep it from being too frenetic, so… for me, anyway — fast to move, slow to fight.
  • The Might attribute at character creation affects all damage and healing done, whether it be magical or physical, so *every* class needs as much Might as possible, even if the game doesn’t put a nifty star next to it.  High Constitution is also good to have more HP, but considering at level 8 my monk with his “very high” class-based health and a 15 CON has 169 HP, and my wizard with his “very low” class-based health and a 12 CON has 129 HP, so the spread’s really not that big.  The other attributes mostly seem concerned with defensive bonuses, so they’re definitely important, but overall it seems that Might > all others, regardless of class.

Classes seem to go along these lines:

  • Fighter — High health, regens endurance in combat naturally.
  • Barbarian — High health, does AE melee damage on any hit
  • Paladin — Uses auras to buff himself and the group
  • Monk — Unarmed fighter.  As he’s hit he uses the power from the wound to power special attacks.  Unarmed damage increases every 3 levels, so at level 1 might want to use a weapon, but after 4, unarmed is the way to go.
  • Wizard — Primarily damage spells.  Friendly fire is possible with many, so wizards need to pay attention to what they’re doing.
  • Druid — Primarily an offensive spellcaster, though with more buffs for the group than a wizard.  When shapeshifted is pretty impressive at melee too.
  • Chanter — Automatically chants when in battle.  Chants last 6 seconds (4 duration, plus 2 seconds of lingering effect after the next phrase begins) and have various offense or defense bonuses depending on which phrases you include in your chants.  A chanter that hangs back with the ranged folk might chant the marksman rate of fire chant, where one that’s on the front lines might chant enemy defuffs and melee defense for the group.  Also has spells (primarily utility) that are powered by the phrases of the chants, so they can only be cast every 8-12 seconds, usually.
  • Cipher — Has a bit of direct damage, but is primarily a debuffer.  Powers its spells with “focus” which it builds up as it attacks mobs with weapon attacks.
  • Priest — Spells are mostly buffs and heals.  A few attack spells here and there.
  • Rogue — Stabbity death!  Gets lots of damage from the Sneak Attack mechanic, and pretty much if it’s focused on someone else, you get the sneaks!
  • Ranger — Has a companion to be a tank pet for you, though it can fold in a hurry vs more than 1 mob.  Class skills buffs the pet or increase your damage, but at level 8 I’ve still got the same 2 skills on my bar as I did at level 3 when she joined the party, so not a complex class at all.  Stand in the back and shoot…..

So anyway… not mentioning the story since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but overall it’s a big thumbs up from me.