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[Civ6] Gathering Storm: First Impressions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy gaming out there!

3 Months? Whoops!

I haven’t felt like I’ve had much to say lately, and my gaming has been kind of in a rut and not very interesting, so… well, it’s been just shy of 3 months since my last post.  Such is life, no?


Got my canister for the current Orb Vallis event. Now to find those pesky lava rifts….

I always at least log in to Warframe each day to advance the login counter, but I don’t necessarily play each day.  I still grabbed the new Hildryn frame when it came out last week.  My overall impression is “it’s fine, but doesn’t do anything that makes me prefer it to any other frame.”  Having its #1 be its exalted weapon is kinda kewl, as exalteds tend to be the 4th ability, but it’s just a Staticor-analog that pretty much requires you to do charged shots, and costs shields when you use it.  I’d rather just use a Staticor with no penalty, thanks.  #2 strips armor and shields from enemies and gives them to you as overshields.  Mag does this too, combined with a better overall CC kit.  #3 is a shield heal for your allies or a shield strip on enemies, all while draining your shields.  Most people have the Shield Charger mod on their sentinels so this is pretty useless.  And #4 lets you fly slowly around and CC mobs around you while doing some minor damage to them.  *grumbles in Nekros/Nyx/Nezha/Rhino/Excalibur/Mesa/and a lot more AE CC frames to boot so I think you get the picture.*  So yeah… she’s fine, but to borrow Brozime’s phrase about a different frame — “aggressively mediocre.”

I also tried out the new event.  It’s kinda boring.  Basically just a mobile defense mission in the Vallis where you don’t get a waypoint marker to your next spot to defend.  I soloed it no problem on the run I did, so I imagine doing it in a group will be really easy.  I just need to do it 14 more times within the next 10 days to get the amalgam mods and the Opticor Vandal.  Can’t say I care about scanning data hashes either, but there’s a map for that, so I suppose it wouldn’t take long to just fly around and hit all the spots.

The new “Wolf of Saturn” daily/weekly goals that replace the alert system are fine, and quite a few simply reward you for playing how you normally would anyway, and give you a bit better control over the rewards you get instead of being totally random and hopefully you’re signed in when an alert with the rewards you want comes up like the old system, so I think this is an overall positive.

My daughter got me to re-sub to FFXIV a couple of months ago.  I really only played it since then on a single Saturday.  I advanced the MSQ up until I hit a trial where I don’t have the gear level to enter and just didn’t feel like going back and running the new-to-me dungeons that would have the higher gear I would need, so that walled me off at that point.  I jumped on Blue Mage that 1st weekend it came out, but since you can’t really use it for anything other than an oddity, I didn’t jump in all the unsync’d extreme primal groups in order to get the last few skills to round out my book, so again, that was a single weekend for me, and I just haven’t felt inspired to jump back in since then.  My daughter’s logged in a few times to fly around, but she doesn’t actually play the game, just uses it as inspiration for stories she plays out verbally that sorta reflect what she’s got her character doing on the screen.

I bought the Civ6 expansion in spite of it not sounding like it would be very good, and after a weekend of going hard at it… yeah, I’m not impressed with it.  I won’t say more about it here as it deserves its own post, but the TL;DR is exactly the impression I got from their announcement videos — it’s just a bunch more to micromanage and not in a fun way.


What’s that joke from World of Warcraft CSI fan fiction? “She was hardly wearing any clothing so either she was really poor or a really powerful wizard.” Something like that, anyway.

And finally…. not really sure why I did this, but I reinstalled Tera Online about a week ago and have been mucking about with it.  Since I’m more used to the non-tab-target type of controls anymore I’m enjoying the combat more than I did back when it 1st came out.  The new player experience isn’t how I remember it — it might actually be, but you know how memory is a fuzzy thing.  But anyway, it now only takes about a half-hour to get through that and you’re level 12 with a decent-ish skill kit when you’re dumped into the actual game world.  So where back in the day I was quitting after feeling like it was a grind to get a character to level 6 I’ve now got a Valkyrie to level 52 (in a single weekend and there was still also time for) and a gunner to level 31.  Yeah, leveling’s pretty quick it seems.  Running dungeons seems to get you about 3-4 levels at a time up until the upper 40’s when it slows down to only 1-2 levels per run.  But still…. if you accept the “don’t make a perfect party” option in the queue then you can usually get in to a dungeon pretty quickly and they only take about 20-30 minutes.  I still don’t like the Castanic Female running animation, but you’re mostly zoomed out so far you can’t really see it or you’re on your mount anyway, so… not a deal breaker.  The equipment looking more like S&M fetishwear as you level up isn’t really a selling point either, but as mentioned… you’re mostly zoomed out anyway, so not too big a deal either.

Anyway… that’s what I’ve been up to for the last 3 months.  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.

[Warframe] MR24 plus Bits and Bobs

Warframe0055As you can see in the screenshot there, I made it to MR24 last night in Warframe.  I haven’t been posting much lately, though, as the game’s settled more or less into a comfortable routine for me, so I haven’t been taking screenshots, and nothing really out of the ordinary has been happening that sticks in my mind and makes me go “oh, I should blog about that.”

On top of that I actually got a bit bored of Warframe for a few weeks and more or less just logged in daily for the login counter, then logged right back out.  Oddly, what got me back in was watching a streamer who recently picked it up and seeing his joy in the game reminded me of how I’d felt when I started it too.  I say “oddly” because I’ve never really watched streamers before, always having the attitude that I’d rather play the game myself than watch someone else play it, but not this time.  Such is life, no?

BTW, I’m not sure if this is a bug or intended, but in the MR24 test if you let the things kill you and re-spawn, you come back with your Amp weapon which you don’t initially get.  Having that makes it a lot easier from that point forward.


This was my final quest. I’m all caught up!

I’ve finished the planet map for Eris, have 1 spot left on the Kuva Fortress, and still have those 2 last spots on Sedna to finish up, and then I’ll have the full star chart completed.  After that, it’s all about the waiting for the Fortuna and Railjack expansions to come out.

There’s still plenty of stuff I can do though — I’ve still got 3 frames and 2 archwings to rank up, several archwing weapons, and about 30 or 40 standard weapons still, so I’ll easily be able to hit MR25 once I get around to all that.  I am not yet max rank with the Ostron or Quills in Cetus, and I could use some arcanes.  I’d like to finish unlocking all my waybound focus slots eventually as well.  I’m about halfway there right now.  I’m also semi-sorta planning to get all the syndicate mods and items for all 6 syndicates.  I’m at positive standings with 4 of the 6 right now, and plan to eventually start swapping around sigils so that I can bring the final 2 up into positive territory, while still maintaining positive standing with their “enemy” ones as well.  That will take a bit of doing, I think, but I also think it will be worth it.


This was a fun graphics bug!

I’ve done a bit of Civ5, a bit of Stellaris, and I even joined the alpha (well, the email says alpha, but in the game there’s a button that says beta, so… I dunno) for “Survived By” which is a sort of Gauntlet-like top-down “kill the hordes of enemies” game with retro-looking graphics.  I never really like Gauntlet much, so I don’t know if this will do anything for me, but… we’ll see.

I also installed and tried out Path of Exile.  It bugged out the moment I created my 1st character.  The very 1st thing you’re supposed to do it pick up your starter weapon from the ground.  Everything says “left-click it to pick it up” but I couldn’t do it.  The mouse never registered it.  Couldn’t click on the item itself, nor on the text of the item.  Nothing worked.  I could click on the NPC next to the weapon and talk to him, but without being able to pick the weapon up I couldn’t leave that area.  I’ll try un- and re-installing it to give it another go this weekend, I think.

I’ve also started up Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms.  There’s really no game there — it literally plays itself.  And yet, it’s somehow oddly compelling.  How weird is that?  There’s really nothing to say about it, since it plays itself, but it somehow trips that Skinner Box trigger for me.

I backed Fractured on Kickstarter, and it looks like it met its funding goal with less than a day to go, so I’ll be trying that out if/once they release it.  I had good luck with the Shadowrun game I backed a few years ago, so hopefully this studio will do well with this game too.


I thought this color scheme on Nidus made him look appropriately diseased/infested. But I forgot to set my Helios to match. Oops!

On the mobile gaming front I’m playing 2 versions of the same game — Marvel Strike Force and Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes now.  They’re by 2 different companies, but they are functionally identical.  They’re simple turn-based team-fighting games where much of the battle is won or lost simply by the characters you choose to make up your team — to the point where a lot of co-workers who play them (which was how I got started too) will simply use the auto-battle feature for the actual fights, as there’s not really much need to pick the right skill at the right time on the right target.  Sure, you can play manually and do that, and in the Strike Force raids that’s actually a good idea, but for the most part it doesn’t really matter much.  They’re an amusing diversion for 10 minutes a few times a day, but they’re pretty much fluff, not anything I’d seriously get into, I don’t think.  I fell in to that rabbit hole with Astronest, and while I was still enjoying that game when I uninstalled it, I’ve also never missed it either.  I think these 2 games will be the same.  One day I’ll simply be “done” and I’ll uninstall them and never look back.

In other news, FFXIV is having a “4 days free” comeback promo running until August 2nd.  I’ve still got it installed, and my daughter’s been bugging me to play that again, so I’ll probably hit that up this weekend too.  Maybe see if I can’t try out the new dungeons and catch up on the MSQ.  We’ll see.

So that’s where I’m at right now.  Happy gaming out there!

[Warframe] Picture Post

I’m mostly playing Warframe still, but occasional forays into Stellaris.  I’m still trying to get a feel for the flow of the game since the Cherryh update 2.0, and now we’re in to 2.1 already.  I’ve also been trying more Civ 6.  I’m still not enamored of the loyalty and golden/dark age mechanics, but loyalty doesn’t really come in to play much, and dark ages really only affect loyalty generation, so they are actually a lot more minor than they sounded at first, so can quite honestly be mostly ignored, so it’s not as big a deal as it 1st felt.

But anyway, I don’t have a whole lot to say about the gaming world or anything, so… here’s a screenie gallery from Warframe —


My “213” amp. The last amp I’ll ever need, though I really ought to make a 313 and a 123 to gild for the Mastery Rank xp someday.


Yeah, I bought the viking skin for Frost. It just looks great!


An Ayatan statue in the wild, after a container lid got blown on to it


MR 22 achieved!


Guess I’ve seen this tileset’s kuria before.


This one was new, at least.


Saryn 3.0 was really insane. I never actually fired the Zarr on that run, just spores and used the whip to spread them. She’s been re-done again and is now being called “Saryn 3.1” and she’s still pretty nuts, just not quite so much as this.


Oberon’s a lot more nuts than he’s given credit for too. Most of that was from his Hallowed Ground ability. Small numbers, but lots of them — they add up. Plus a Condition Overload build on the Silva and Aegis worked nicely along with it. Radiation from the Hallowed Ground, guaranteed cold from the taxon, then viral and heat from the Silva and Aegis = “god tier” damage.


Night fishing with Luminos Dye


I’m so leet I hunt eidolons with my fishing spear! Okay, not really…


Painting my friend with my mining laser


Just have Patient Zero left…


My doppelganger peeking around the corner


And hanging from the ceiling too.


MR23 test completed with 1:54 remaining.


And yes, I’m officially MR23!


I really like this helmet for Equinox


This event boss was a few weeks back. Same as the Jackal fight on Venus, though with the twist that you can’t shoot his legs to make him vulnerable, but you have to hack bursa mobs that spawn around the edges and then have them shoot its legs instead. Not hard, but kind of annoying.


My friend got a riven mod for completing the War Within quest, but he was bugged out when he tried to unveil it, so he gave it to me, and I was able to unveil it just fine doing the exact same thing we’d just done before. Go figure. And he got a Lanka riven that even with this crappy start he can sell unrolled for lotsa plats becuz LANKA!!!! Or he can keep it and re-roll it himself. Whatever…


There was a “Gift of the Lotus” last weekend that awarded rifle riven mods. I unveiled mine by getting 9 consecutive headshots in the plains of Eidolon while in archwing. That took a few tries, but I got it down. Came out crappy, but the 1st reroll turned out really nicely.


My friend got a riven also, but his unveiling wanted 9 consecutive headshots in the Plains while in archwing *and* solo. Since he doesn’t have archwing unlocked in the plains yet, and he’d kinda glossed over the “alone” qualifier the veil quest had, so I took him in and popped down my archwings for him, but that wouldn’t trip the counter for him since he needed to be solo. Se he traded me the thing, I went in solo and unveiled it for him (I’d just had good practice for my own riven, after all) and he got this one. Good timing, as his Burston Prime had just finished cooking so he could slap this on it from the get-go. Though this could obviously use a re-roll. But he doesn’t have kuva yet, having just barely finished War Within. Soon though…

Happy gaming out there!