Thoughts: Paper Sorcerer (PC)

And so the summer sales of several digital retailers came and went taking some of my money with them. Again, I’m surprised by how little I splurged on the event, but as I’ve said to people before, I think that one Black Friday sale a few years ago netted me everything I could possibly need and subsequent years just haven’t brought enough new things interesting enough for my greenbacks.

Paper Sorcerer happens to be of a genre very dear to my heart–first-person dungeon crawling. I’ve sank many-an-hour to many games of this genre mapping things out on graph paper when in-game maps weren’t a thing. I remember the frustration when passageways would overlap by no fault of my mapping. It’s no wonder I enjoy the Etrian Odyssey series so much.

What drew me to Paper Sorcerer were its inked-looking graphics. They reminded me of pictures from old table-top RPGs upping its nostalgia attack against me to +2. It looked like a fun little jaunt through nostalgiaville and for the sale price, I had little to lose.

In Paper Sorcerer, you take on the role of a villain trapped inside a book and striving for escape. In order to escape, you must navigate the book’s dungeon and destroy the book’s bindings. Once the final one is broken, you are free.

Each floor in the book prison is made of several small, easy to navigate levels populated with a few encounters appearing as big blobs of smoke. Some floors have invisibles, but the game is not a grind fest. Random encounters can be ground out in a separate dungeon obtainable by collecting spirits and allow you to unlock new party members, offer treasure, and also provide a choice of three top-end gear to finish the game with. It is also where you can obtain the puppet and his equipment which cannot be found anywhere else.

Character progression is very classic RPG. As characters gain levels, stats raise, and skills either get stronger or new ones are learned. In the game’s town, one can purchase a variety of upgrades to stats, damage, resistances, and the like for gold. It is where all mine went. Everyone but my sorcerer got weapon damage upgrades. My Troll got strength, my Goblin agility, my Skeleton defence, otherwise. My Sorcerer focused only on magic. Anything strays from this strategy tended to be resistances or health. I had no troubles getting through the game and my progression went quite smoothly.

Through the entire thing, I also never switched out party members; I never needed to. I made do with what I had and fortunately, inactive party members still gain XP, as they should, since there is only one place to farm Xp otherwise. As such, I feel I wasted lots of money on the extra dungeon working on the puppet–finding better limbs and wasting the gold on someone I never used. I found myself quite satisfied with the Troll, Goblin, and Skeleton with inactive party members keeping me healthy between fights.

Things were okay in the beginning when I just started playing. The game presents itself quite well and has the basics of a story with not much straying from your task at hand, so there’s no fleshing of the world. There are some books you can find, but they offer little in the way of expanding the narrative–arbitrary collectibles for those who care. It’s not a huge fault for me. Having played games when story, plot, and lore weren’t a requirement of making good games, I tend to not care as much as others. It has an opening story to explain your situation and task and has an ending with differences made by what characters were in your active party upon completion–good enough for me as far as this game is concerned.

Trouble comes firstly with the graphics after some levels have been gained and there are a lot of skills the characters can use–and often use. The indicators of your abilities all appear simultaneously in the same space. If an enemy is afflicted by two ongoing damage effects (poisoned, frozen, or fire), you’ll not be able to tell how much damage it is taking. The graphical effects for these afflictions also overlap. When a party member as afflicted by one of these things, it’s difficult to tell WHAT is afflicted because the graphical effect of it seems to take up the same space as would an enemies with only a little bit of bleed onto the character’s little status box. This isn’t the only problem with the graphical effects of ongoing afflictions. There seems to only be a few places where the graphic appears, so when you encounter larger groups of enemies that arranged with some slightly behind another, you have no fucking clue which enemy is effected sometimes. I’ve had an empty area have this effect with no idea which opponent(s) were affected.

Aside from these abilities, there are also buffs and debuffs characters can use. When a character is effected by one, there are icons that appear beside their character box. When your characters are displayed in a row beneath the dungeon view, they end up in-between with no obvious attachment to a character without constantly reminding myself on which side the icons appear. What some of the icons represent isn’t obvious, either. The worst part, enemies under negative effects that don’t have a visual (which only the ongoing damage have) do not get any icon or any indication they are under an effect so you have no idea if anything you do works or how long it lasts.

Here is another odd anomaly of status effects. If a character dies from them, they will still be under the effect when brought to life. I have no idea if this is intentional. Sure, if you were bleeding when you died, it makes sense you’d be bleeding if brought back to life. It’s not something I’ve ever seen in any RPG I’ve ever played, so I have no idea how to feel about it beyond how it made things unnecessarily aggravating. Being used to status effects being cleared upon death, I’d never think to cure them before bringing a character back to life only to nearly immediately die thereafter.

If any of these aren’t annoying enough, there is no way to tell what enemy is attacking nor its target. All that is displayed is the name of an attack, some kind of sparkly or slash to punctuate it, and then a party member will flash and take damage and effects. This can makes some strategic choices difficult when facing several different enemies of the same type when you’ve no idea which of them did a one-hit kill or something equally nasty.

I’ve not finished, though. There are some UI things that irritated me, also. When you use abilities and items outside of combat, the windows don’t refresh. You must close the menu and open it again to see the effects such as how much a character has healed… Every. Time.

There is also a glitch that has not yet been resolved involving opening the menu in your room at Sanctuary, the game’s only town. If you do this too quickly upon entering, it glitches becoming unusable and unresponsive with a force-quit of the game the only way to resolve. It is the only place where you can bring up the menu in town meaning it’s the only place to save your game outside of the dungeon.

Another glitch involving your room has to do with leaving. Sometimes upon leaving, the transition isn’t triggered and you pass through the door into blackness where you are stuck for all eternity until you force-quit.

Other glitches involve the various keys acquired in the dungeon. Once used upon leaving that floor, the rooms they unlocked will become inaccessible. If you opened a door and noticed an encounter or two and wanted to leave to resupply, when you returned, that area is closed to you… forever. You have to do everything right then. One of the keys is also bugged and not appearing on your list of usable items to open a door housing one of the most powerful spells in the entire game.

These door and key related bugs do make a few achievements unobtainable

The game is still playable with these flaws, but not nearly as nice as it could be. These seem like really rookie mistakes that could have easily been avoided with some forethought and play testing and it boggles me how any of it was deemed okay for a release. A patch had been released before the time of my purchasing which fixed a few issues and achievements, but there is still more work to be done.

Moving on to the audio, if anyone out there has dabbled with Garage Band, Mixcraft, or any other production software like that, you might recognize some stock loops in the tunes. Some have been slightly modified, but I recognized a fair few. I also picked out a play on some Requiem For A Dream and even Swan Lake. Once my brain recognized this, it became fixated and became annoying. Regardless, I found none of it to be very good.

This game could be great with a little bit of polish cleaning up combat and ironing out all those bugs. It would be something I could recommend to fans of first-person dungeon crawlers who’d like a short delve to break up their gaming routine. As it is now, I’d keep it on your radar if genuinely interested in the game and see if things get patched. It released in 2013 and the latest patch came this past May, so there’s hope. Until then, I’d advise caution even with the $5 price tag.

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Thoughts: Diablo 3. Reaper of Souls Ultimate Edition

For a very long time Diablo had been a very special game for me. I put countless hours into the first game and a great deal more into the sequel. It was a great game and enjoyable to play despite the repetative nature of it. The sequel offered so much more atop the previous, that you always had the drive to get better loot, to farm complete legendary sets and try different character builds.

After so much time has come and gone, we have a third one. Diablo 2 was so wicked awesome, I was excited. I had been survivng off other gameplay-style clones like Divine Divinity, Sacred, Titan Quest, Loki, Torchlight, and Path of Exile. They are all decent games in their own right, but not without their flaws, however Torchlight was everything I had wanted Diablo 2 to be. I hate tetris inventory, I liked the spell system you had atop the class ones, and the pets were very handy and useful. Sending them off to town to sell random crap for you is something very difficult to let go of.

Path of Exile has the dark feeling of the Diablo franchise. The character progress in insane doing the whole sphere grid in Final Fantasy X. I don’t particularly like those setups, they really don’t give you a sense of progression numbers-wise. +1 here and there, it’s all like gathering pennies. It takes awhile for them to be meaningful. The shops are interesting in PoE in that they’re like a horadric cube. If you put a certain combination of items to sell, you will get certain things in payment. Also, the currency with which you use to buy things are utility items instead of gold: things that add magical properties to weapons and various scrolls for example. I do wish it had normal gold, but I’ve gotten used to it.

So now, we PS4 owners have the ability to play Diablo 3 in all it’s prettyness. I must say it is pretty, though a bit more WoW-toon-ish than dark. There’s a vibrancy to the environments that I dislike, and I wanted more of that dark realistic look than the comic-book kinda thing. I dislike the World of Warcraft feeling I’m getting from it. And before you say it, I dislike Torchlight for it’s toony appearrance. I am not a fan of it and this is the only reason Path of Exile surpassed it as my number one game of this style.

Interface-wise, I was confused at first with the strange not-radial-ness to Diablo 3. It was easy to adjust and after I had aquired some loot, I learned what it was I was looking at and how to compare things or just outright equip stuff on-the-spot after picking it up. It’s nice to have basic at-a-glance indicators of whether the item you picked up is better than what you’ve equipped. It saves time from stopping the action to have a peek before continuing on, if you so wish and don’t care to compare magical properties. I like that little addition. When I see green arrows, I’ll see what the heck it is.

Actually getting into the game, the presentation is very Diablo. It has a lot of familiar foes and a lot of new ones, of course being the third installment, we see and hear about familiar faces from the previous installments. To those concerned about needing to play the prior games, don’t worry. You’re only missing out on the nostalgic joy of knowing references and extra little details. It doesn’t affect understanding of the game’s story that I’ve seen.

Getting back to gameplay, the world has a lot of familiar elements. You have all your breakables, shrines, and little mini-dungeons scattered throughout the world. There are some new things like environmental traps, and special buffs. I’m not going to explain all of them, but give examples. When you break a fair amount of breakables within a set time-period, you get a movement speed boost. If you kill enemies with a trap, you’ll get a resource drop bonus. If you slay a fair amount of enemies within a period of time, you get an xp bonus. The more you do towards these things, the higher your bonus. I am not certain if any ofthem are capped, but they are interesting gameplay elements I find myself working towards everytime I perform any of these actions. I may have mis-matched some examples, but the concept is more important.

Character development has been completely redone and people expecting a more classic Diablo progression to things might be put off and frustrated by it. I certainly was, especially not having any form of instructions. It took really getting into the game to realise a lot of things that had I know when I started with PC, I wouldn’t have judged so harshly. My prior faults with the game were ultimately based on my ignorance with a lot of key concepts to the game.

Back in the ol’ Diablo days, we had quite a few stats we could spend our points on. These things governed all sorts of things from our damages, to resistances, to more rudimentary things like health and mana. When you look at your character screen for the first time, you’ll notice they cut a lot of stats out of the game, and also the entire point-buy thing. WTF, right? Nearly every game of the genre utilizes some form of point-buy for progression. Dungeon Siege did things a little differently where your playstyle and what you used is how you’d get stronger. Using a mace would eventually raise your strength. Magic improved as you used and equipped spells in your spellbooks. It was responsible for pulling me away from Diablo. I liked the versatility that brought to character builds.

Diablo 3 has four major stats: strength, dexterity, intelligence, and vitality. These stats will raise on their own as you gain levels, however, gear you find and equip will also increase them and that becomes a big part of your treasure hunt. Each class has a primary stat that determines their damage. Stregth for our Barbarians and Crusaders, Dexterity for our Demon Hunters and Monks, and Intelligence for our Witch Doctors and Wizards. I had been under the impression that my weapon determines damage for my wizard. Running around with some sort of non-stereotypical wizard weapon just didn’t settle well with me. I only cared about the damage of the weapon when it’s much more than that. Your primary attribute matters along with bonuses your gear grants towards base damage or even things related to your skills, and then you’ve got your attack speed and crit chance to consider in the scheme of things as well as the fact that your class-related gear is often what gives you bonuses to your class fun stuff.

My primary character is a crusader and she picked up a legendary sword: Wildwood. It’s this gorgeous looking plant sword that has leaves constantly falling from it and it’s an interesting shape. It has the following stats:

23.3 damage
+7-9 Poison Damage
+4% Damage
+29 Strength
+19 Life after Each Kill
+8 Experience per kill
Reduces all resource costs by 5%

12-21 Damage
1.40 Attacks per Second
Level 12

With everything I have equipped, my Strength is 240 increasing my damage by 240%. Taking into account everything else, I have a dps of 127.48 as a level 15 chracter.

I also have a rare two-handed flail with the following stats:

34.5 Damage
+9-12 Damage
+59 Vitality
+13 Life per Hit
+6 Maximum Wrath (It’s the crusader’s mana pool, essentially)
28-32 damage
1.15 attacks per second
Level 15

All things considered, the dps of this weapon is just barely above Wildwood that has a only 23.3 damage. It runs 127.99. Interesting, huh? The difference between 23.3 and 34.5 surely should mean more than loose change, right? Well, strength is my primary attribute and while the Wildwood’s 23.3, I lose the 4% damage bonus, the +29 strength, AND the +21 strength granted by my shield which I cannot equip while using a two-handed weapon. Despite the Wildwood looking not-so-good, it stands up pretty well from just a dps perspective. The strength bonus and damage bonus as well as improved attack speed make up for its weakness and I can benefit from its other magical properties.

Now, I admit, the other abilities of Wildwood really aren’t the greatest as it stands in this state and bit of a poor example of the point I am attempting to make, but I think I can make it work. In all honesty, I think most people would equip legendary items purely for the sake of doing so and the fact they look so goddamn cool, right? Considering the difference in dps, at face-value, using it seems pretty acceptable. It probaly will be to some players.

Getting right to it, the two-handed flail is far better suited for me and my class. The vitality is good for my tanky playstile, the +13 life per hit is more useful than +19 after each kill, and the increased wrath is nice. These are far more useful properties than what’s left of Wildwood, but I can, and have, easily let them go since I have no problems health-wise with how my templar companion is kitted, I’m good with managing my wrath, so I can use Wildwood in all its vain glory and I can continue to not be arsed about the numbers.

Yet here is where the trouble starts and things start to get interesting. There is a potential tie-break in here that will make one of these weapons go up to a dps of 137.26. Yes, it’s still not a great difference, but it’s enough of a difference to matter to me, and I will explain and reveal why.

Like the old Diablo games, each class has their own skills, their own attacks and defenses they employ on the battlefield. There are also these wonderful things called passive skills and they are simply that. These were all those things you dumped points in to do what you did better, like damage with your certain class weapons, evading things, and whatnot. RIght now, I can only equip one and I have only three avilable to me from which to choose. I have one that increases both my one-handed weapon speed, as well as reduce all cooldowns, by 15%. That’s nice for spammyness and would be nicer if I had other stuff that could add to, but I don’t. I have another that increases my life regeneration by 9 as well as reducing all non-physical damage taken by 20%. I’m playing on Hard and haven’t had any issues with survivability, so that’s not really interesting to me at the moment. My last one is what counts. It allows me to wield a two-handed weapon in my main hand while bearing a shield in my off-hand.

Now, we are talking a difference of only 9.78, but there’s more to it that. Not only do I get my strength bonus from the shield to boost up my damage, by I get to benefit from the other magical properties of the shield and it is those abilities that help settle this matter. My shield also increases my life regerenation, vitality, gold find, i get my block chance that shields grant and the DR that goes with it, and I don’t have to forgoe my shield abilities, which I happen to like.

This was a pretty long-winded example, but the way stats work and how gear affect them shows you just what kind of options you have and how you can improve.

It is also worth explaining that while you don’t spend points on skills or their progression, you are able to equip the ones avialable to you however you like and whenever you like. I like my shield, i like blinding enemies and bashing with it, so I really didn’t want to swap those out just for those pennies-of-a-difference. Since my other two choices of passive abilities were meaningless to me where I’m at presently, I could afford to wield it one-handed and keep my shield. Granted, if I did need either of the other two abilities, the vitality boosts and block i get with the setup do well to makeup for any weakness that could have existed. This being my perspective and playstyle, mind you. Someone else could easily have picked Wildwood finding the xp boost and reduced resource cost valuable, especially if they’re sporting other gear for that, and they could go with the increased attack speed passive skill. To compliment the poison, they could set abilities they have that deal poison damage.

You have choice, something you really didn’t have before on this kind of level. I didn’t like how things worked when I first experienced the game. I wanted my point-based system and skill trees and all that comfortable stuff which I loved, and also grew irritated with, in the past. Things seemed so linear and lacking in any kind of meaningful choice or depth that I just hated it so badly i didn’t even want to try. In the old days you sort of just dumped points into shit relevant to you and then dumped points into other shit as you aquired things you wanted to use, and if you didn’t pay attention, by the end-of-it-all, there was a fairly good chance you were a hot mess. You wanted to be able to fit the choice swag you got, especially sets, so you’d forgo some points and sockets here-and-there to make it happen. I’m not saying you had any difficulty beating the game at any difficulty, just that you might not have fully hit your potential. It’s not as if you can just easily respec when you make mistakes. You had to earn those tokens by aquiring the four essences from act bosses which you would throw into the Horadric Cube, get its spin cycle going, and out pops a Token of Absolution. You could to complete the Den of Evil and get one per difficulty completely. Pain in the ass to fix a build or just remake your character without starting a new game to play.

In Diablo 3, you don’t have those problems. You unlock skills as you gain levels and you equip what you want to use whenever you want to use it. There are runes which further augment these abilities such as changing damage types, things that happen, and other details, so you can really handle any sort of situation or playstile. Make your equipment choices complement this, and you’ve got surprising depth and power. I tried to illustrate this with my example, but as it gets late and I ramble on and the caffeinne wears off, I begin to wonder.

Point is, your characters have versatility and you test out tons of shit without fear of ballsing it up and resorting to creating a new character or using save hacks. To be fair, it’s not that different from past Diablo 2 in that your ability to put points into things were still limited by level unlocks. Now, you don’t have to choose what you want to buy, and you don’t have to spend points increasing them. Eventually, you will have it all and will just choose what you plan to use amongst the categories.

I can honestly say, at its heart, it’s still Diablo and I can after giving it the chance I stubbornly denied in the past, I like these changes. It feels like new life has been brought to the series in this regard and character development is far more interesting with its forgiving nature. You have the world, the quality of storytelling, and overall atmosphere that the previous games had. It’s Diablo.

Now, I don’t like the game enough to say it has surpassed Path of Exile, but I will say it stands a very good chance of dethroning Torchlight from a character perspective providing it can hold my attention. I do get bored with this kind of gameplay rather quickly, so we’ll just have to say, but I really just dig this system and how gambling was replaced by a functional and actually rewarding craft system. In-any-case, I’ve started to realise just how tired I am with the traditional mold these games have character-development-wise. They really are all the same with very little setting them apart from a character-progression level.

If you are familiar with Diablo and enjoyed the previous titles, you might be in for a bit of a shock if you were expecting more-of-the-same as far as character mechanics goes. It may seems stupid and confusing and slow and pointless in the beginning, but I ask that you do what I did and just stick through for awhile. Wait and see how things are when you’ve unlocked things and have choices to make. You might find yourself surprised like I am and ecstatic that it’s real. Diablo 3 is real and Blizzard did right by it.

If you like this type of action-rpg, chances are you will probably like this one. It has all the good things that make up an enjoyable addict-fest of slaughter, theft, and loot aquisition without having to play inventory tetris. You dont’ have to know anything about Diablo to play it or enjoy the story, but you might get more kicks if you do. Nostalgia and a desire to revisit the old games is growing pretty steadily as I play and progress. Still, don’t feel like you’re missing out. I had played Diablo 2 before I played the first one. I had purchased a bundle that had everything in it (except Sierra’s Hellfire mod), and it stood well on its own. Diablo 3 feels the same way. They give you enough to tie into the previous so you know where things stand.

For everyone else, the repetativeness might drive some people to boredom, especially those who outright hate such things especially on the exteme. This likely won’t last you long before you groan and complain that you’re just doing the same shit over-and-over, and that’s fine. I understand that. This is why I usually don’t last in MMOs unless there are things there that really grab me or provide me with enough alternative activities that, while inherintly repetative on their own in most cases, are different in their repetative nature. This is pure hack ‘n slash ‘n loot geared towards developing the best character you can be, whatever you concept, and kickin’ ass.

And that’s all I’m gonna write about, because it’s nearly 1 AM. I’m tired, hungry, and Zekers won’t quit griefing my bare feet. A subsequent follow may appear without warning one day when I get deeper into the game or have finished and can comment on end game play and other such things.

Pink Squiddy Ranger needs sleep badly.

Thoughts: Destiny

So, another round of Destiny playings has come and went. I played the PS4 version, as that’s the edition I had pre-ordered way the hell when-and-back. During the Alpha, I found myself overwhelmed with the beauty of the game. I love me some sci-fi. It’s my favourite genre of everything… well… horror is, but in a world dominated by modern day crap and fantasy, I need more sci-fi action. I hoped this would be it. Sadly, I didn’t get much playtime during the alpha. I had been away from home and was lucky enough to have snagged it during their extension, only it only offered me a couple hours of playtime. It wasn’t enough for me to formulate an opinion beyond all the eye-candy.

When round two hit, I found myself not as excited as most people. I have a life in EVE to maintain, not-to-mention Eorzea, plus my ninja Tennou activities are too enjoyable to ignore. Still, I managed put in enough time to get past the beauty and see things for what they really are. I feel a bit more than disappointed and I’m not confident that these feelings will be resolved upon release.

Okay, so the game had a level cap. I understand that and this is a beta, but even so, there still felt a lack of things to do even within what was there. The mission nodes are all well and good, but exploration? Holy mega-fucking yawn, Batman. Seriously? Endless grind and the most repetitive junk to do quest-wise. The timed events that happen were also pretty boring.

On the subject of bounties, those special quests you can take to gain rep and marks for a faction, are dumb. They really are. They’re about as non-immersive as you can get and I have a problem with that. Keep that shit as in-game achievos that grant you junk. I don’t what this interesting, beautiful setting ruined by stupid meta shit. And as a random side-note, the opening makes no sense as a robo.

‘Nother big peeve: the weapons aren’t satisfying to use. They’re so hum-drum and don’t feel tactile or snappy at all-even visually. I’ve not been excited about anything I had tried out or acquired for any of the classes and this extends to their special abilities with insane cooldowns. The worst one is the Warlock’s hover jump shit. It’s annoying when instead of boosting and increasing your ascent, you just slowly hover to the ground instead. Even so, why can’t this be a gear thing? I mean, look at the tech level of this fucking world. Rocket/hover boots wouldn’t be hard to make.

Character development. Have you looked at the shit you can eventually unlock? There’s hardly any substance there and you really don’t get any feeling of progression when you do level up. It’s just the same experience.

PVP-wise, it would be nice if there were team balancing. It really sucks when someone disconnects and their spot never ever gets filled.

I have a lot of issues with UI, also. I don’t like having a moveable cursor in my console games. I like choices to be button mapped or cycle-able. It’s slow and I hate wasted time. I also hate holding down buttons to make certain selections. It’s even quicker dealing with confirmation pop-ups than waiting for that slow-ass bar to fill before you can actually go somewhere.

I really have a lot to bitch about and it makes me sad. All the hype I had were from trailers. I needed this game to be gorgeous and good so badly, I didn’t want to ride the hype train off a broken bridge. I wanted a good sci-fi RPG that could fill the disappointment Mass Effect left me with and it’s clear that Destiny is not it. Still, I won’t be cancelling my pre-order. The world is gorgeous enough that I want to see more of it, and i want a better taste of what the story has to offer. If I can find reasons to like it for what it is and enjoy playing with all my friends who are also getting it, then all these bitchings won’t matter.

Fingers crossed.

Thoughts: FFXIV A Realm Reborn

If you’ve been following me is any of my digital dens, you’d know I’ve peen playing this game for awhile, now. It’s been three months and in that time, I only had a 15 day break which coincided with Warframe’s release of Loki Prime. I went a bit crazy working on him and his loadout. What could I do?

I must say that I have not completed the main scenario or doing any kind of end game content, so these are incomplete. I will be addressing all of that after I’ve had the time to give it a good go. In my last Game Ramblings, I spoke quite a bit about the game–rather, complained, and I finally have felt able to more fully convey my thoughts of the game.

To start with, I’ve two characters on different servers. The first, is a right mess. This is a game where you may obtain all the classes and switch between them and even equip certain actions from a class on another. My first character obtained all of them and her life in Eorzea was more of a headless chicken with ADD. With so many classes unlocked, choosing what to work on became quite ardurous. She became a bard and I got her o level 31 before just feeling overwhelmed with everything.

My second character is a level 36 Monk, though I honestly should say she is a level 43 Fisher. I’ve really enjoyed fishing and it is one of the tedious gathering classes that requires barely any attention to at all. I simply wait for my PS4 controller to vibrate signalling me to reel in my fish then I cast again. I only glance over at the screen when I’ve caught a high quality fish to see if I can mooch. I’ve taken to do this in my down time for tellie. As for her other classes, she is a level 15 lancer, level 29 miner, and level 27 botanist. I’m focusing entirely on the gathering classes because my guild is in need of them and I really don’t have the patience for the crafting classes right now.

Thus far, I’m rather happy with the game. There’s enough interesting things to do to mostly keep me occupied and a break from Warframe, but I’m still unsure how long it will last. MMOs require a lot of time and devotion, and already I’ve been feeling EVE Online trying to pull me back, so I’ll be really surprised if I’m still playing this by the time next year rolls around.

I did state some issues with the duty roster in my last ramblings and to sum it up: it takes forever to find a party for things. Guildhests are the quickest things to get into, but when when you move onto trials it starts to get longer. Dungeons become longer, still, and PVP matches are the worst. Unfortunately, they’re one of my favorite things to do. You would think it wouldn’t be this way since they’re cross server. With all the servers they have, you’d think it’d be easy to match you up with other people, but that’s not the case at all. You still suffer with a lack of tanks and healers, it seems. The only way to fully enjoy these things and lessen the wait time (not always by a great deal) is to form a full party yourself via friends or free company before signing up for the duty. Also, when you form your own group, you needn’t adhere to the 2 DPS, 1 healer, 1 tank rule.

Related to the duty roster, I’d like it to be smart enough to not withdraw your duty entry when you summon your chocobo to run quests/fates. It’s… stupid. I’d also like to be able to change my class and do other things while I wait and just have myself automatically switched to what I was when I registered. If I have to wait an hour to get into a PVP match, I’d like to be able to do what I want in that time.

Another issue I have with the game are levequests. These are best described as your dailies and you can do as many of them as you ahve allotments, which accrue over time. In order to unlock leves for an area, you must either be of a certain rank within your grand company (faction), or complete a trial leve. The leves are all battlecraft, meaning crafters and gatherers can’t do them. I’ve surpassed my Monk and can’t use leves to further level my character until I’ve leveled my Monk 40 so she can go unlock them. These classes should have their own leve trial if the area has levequests they can take on. I’m working to get her to level 50 and have no desire to work on my Monk and wait for dungeons, trials, or run Fates. I did quite a bit of that before focusing on my gatherers.

My final issue is with cosmetics, or the lack of them. I’m so sued to MMOs have cosmetic slots that override your character’s appearance. I haven’t like what a lot of my gear looks like, so I’d like to be able to appear as though I’m wearing something else. At least you can toggle the headwear off. I am really confused, too, because there are clothes you can buy that have no defensive or stat altering characteristics at all.

These things don’t break it for me, but they do take a chunk from my enjoyment. All things aside, the game is enjoyable, beautiful, and really feels like a classic Final Fantasy game. I’d be lying if I said nostalgia wasn’t a main factor for my playings.

Thoughts: Warframe (PC & PS4)

A great length of time seems to have passed since I’ve posted anything game-related here on this squidlicious blog and that is in no small part due to a single game having absorbed every second of free time I have. Of course this game is Warframe and it is available to play on PC and PS4 with some differences between the two.

I don’t want to drivel on about what the game is all about, you lazy sods can consult the great oracle Google for such answers, but in a nutshell it’s a four-player co-op sci-fi FPS featuring ninja-bug Selachii in space. Don’t knock it until you’ve looked at it, the warframe designs in this game are really something.

I’ve put over 200 hours into this game and feel ready spew out my squiddy thoughts. First of all, this game is beautiful. I’ve needed a sexy sci-fi game for ages and had been foaming at the mouth for Destiny. Now, I’m uncertain if it will even get the time day along with everything else in my collection gathering dust and left to rot in the void of the forgotten. Sad, really, but they can get over it.

When I went into this game, I had done research on the various frames and watched a lot of the official videos which profiled the frames. It really didn’t make things very easy for me, because all of them are compelling in their own way. I had my heart set on Saryn. I loved the look of her, I loved her power-set, and she was gonna be mine. It only took me 90 hours of diligence before finally scoring, and what a sweet poisonous bug-plant thing she is.

I should also note I began playing this on PS4 and this is where the bulk of my ramblings are coming from. I’ll get to PC later on.

To start with, I picked Mag, because she’s a girl. That was my only reason. I also have been only collecting the girls, with the exception of Rhino. I liked the look of him and I figured my harem needed protection. I have sold him to make room for Rhino Prime.

My current collection is as follows: Mag Prime, Ember Prime, Nova, Nyx, Saryn, and Valkyr. Trinity will be done tomorrow, I believe. I have Banshee’s blueprint and just need to grind credits to purchase her blueprint parts from my clan. I have everything for Zephyr except the 600 oxium. I have around 150. They are a bitch to farm and unlike PC, you cannot buy them for plat in the marketplace.

Yes, the marketplaces for both games are a little different. PC allows you to buy Oxium and there seem to be some cosmetic items I do not recall seeing in the PS4 marketplace, and I mean besides update 13 content which the PS4 doesn’t yet have. Also, currently there’s an Easter event going on with an easter pastel colour pallette for sale for 1 credit and smashable storage crates have been replaced with easter eggs that spill smaller eggs when broken. They still drop usual stuff. Corpus soldiers also are sporting rabbit ears.

The interface is a bit different between the two. on PC, you can navigate all your menus without having to leave the lobby, so you don’t have to leave to do things in your foundry, like, oh, make dragon keys for vault runs, and other things. They have a nifty clan and friend page that will show you a list of joinable sessions all your friends and clannites are in. You don’t have to do the awkward thing on PS4 by navigating through that social/chat interface and selecting a friend and blindly hitting join to find out you just dove into something with the wrong frame and loadout.

Aside from that, everything is practically identical, which is refreshing in many ways. I don’t have to switch brain-states when shifting between the two games. I should also note, there is no cross-compatibility or account migration or anything like that right now and I don’t know if there will ever be, so I play under two different warframe accounts.

On PC, I started it because my kid brother didn’t want to wait for a PS4 to play. I didn’t want him going in blind, so I installed it to play with him. I chose Mag again because I’m very familiar with her and feel comfortable using her. I admit I did feel pangs of repetition in those early moments, and while I expected him to have picked Loki, he also picked Mag. I spent the $5 for Volt to avoid grinding Oberron or Rhino to an annoying degree. Amusingly, update 13 dropped with the new squid frame the next effing day, so I splurged $20 to buy him. Being an end-game frame to farm, there was no way I’d be getting him anytime soon, so the $20 was a worthwhile expense.

So I have Volt and Hydroid and…. I don’t particularly like either of them. That’s really sad, I know. Hydroid has a nice tentacle head. Of course I HAD to have him, but his powers are too mixed to various roles and I just can’t find good applications of any of them outside the obvious ones. He’s my defense mission frame spawning his tentacles all over the place to deal with crowds. I used to suck people down into my puddle, but I haven’t put any ranks into it so it just doesn’t seem worth using at all. Also, I don’t have Intensify, Streamline, or any of the staple power-related mods except Flow, so I’m trying to keep my feelings grounded in the fact I need to work on acquiring mods and leveling them.

Volt I only like for his speed. Farming anything, it’s zip to it and zip out. I use his basic chaining electrical attack, as well, but the rest just don’t do anything for me. His most powerful one only appears useful if in an area containing electronics, so that pisses me off a bit because outside of corpus missions, it’s just a cool animation that doesn’t do shit. Also, I haven’t leveled that power for that reason. His bullet shield I have used on occasion in undermanned defense missions, throwing them up in passageways to buy some time to deal with others and that’s worked out rather well, but overall, I don’t really like him, either. I think I need to use them more and learn what works for me with my playstyle and maybe my opinion will change.

I’m going to build Oberron and Ember. I haven’t played my Ember Prime much to form an opinion on her and I haven’t played with any in a squad to know if I’ll like her. However, Oberron I’ve dealt with a lot and I think I’ll enjoy running with him. I feel I’m very likely to go after Valkyr again. I have a nice immortal build I’ve been enjoying flying solo through the galaxy, with an exception to certain defense missions. The Hyena Pack was annoying and lengthier than I’d have liked, but it was doable. I may go after Nyx because she makes ODDs painfully easy. Just camp by the pod and keep popping absorbs. The waves will just fly by. Equilibrium and carrying energy restores help when she’s disrupted, so it’s less harsh recovering. I also don’t gather all the energy around her. I keep enough of her to absorb and let it tick up with energy syphon so there’s energy to pick up when disruptors start molesting her.

I wish there were more variety to the maps. After you’ve played awhile, you’ll realise you’re just playing the same maps over-and-over with just different starting and end points and different locations for some of the objectives. That’s unsettling. In some ways, I don’t mind, but it does start to feel disappointing when I’m grinding through a system and seeing maps I’ve played elsewhere in the game.

Anyway, so some things have changed on the PS4 since I had been playing. We had the Tethra’s doom event which had that awesome protect and push the cart mission. I grinded that all of the last two days to secure the rewards I wanted, mainly the Gorgon Wraith. I had been enjoying my Gorgon. We also have the Grustrag Three as a new assassin. My Valkyr wipes the floor with them when they spawn in to smite ya. You get marked in invasion missions, much like how Harvester works, but the Grustrage Three are Grineer.

On PC, we have Update 13 which introduces melee 2.0, Hydroid, new dojo rooms, an end-game boss, and Dark Sector clan warfare. I say warfare, because that’s the best way for me to describe it and I’ll explain it first because I’ve been enjoying it.

So, with Dark Sectors, each system has a few special locations labeled Dark Sector and have their own spiffy icon. When not contested, these are infestation missions: defense, and I believe the other I’ve seen is survival. They provide better rewards and xp as you’ll see when you click on them, but if owned by a clan, taxes might be pulled from your earnings.

When contested, you can’t do the infestation mission, and instead run a sabotage mission for your choice of defendor or aggressor. Each may offer battle pay awards for assisting them. You’re then thrust into a void-like tileset and facing bots of the clan members you’re fighting. I at first thought it was PVP when I saw them attempt to revive a fallen Tenno, but I was mistaken. They’re bots. These can be fairly challenging, but are a lot of fun. You don’t need to be in a clan to participate in this side of things.

A new lab got added to the dojo related to the Dark Sector stuff. It’s an Orokin lab that will give the clan access to solar rails which are what you deploy to claim/contest a dark sector. My clan is working towards getting one built so we can join an alliance and join in the fun of that side of things which I expect I may blather about later.

Melee 2.0 is what most people have been hard-up for for ages. This makes melee combat a THING, not just some supportive thing. You can now actually equip your weapon and run around with it, and a bunch of mods were added specifically for melee weapons which, when leveled, grant combo attacks. The trade channel was flooded with these mods and still mostly is today.

Overall, I like it. I’m glad they did that because there is great joy doing infestation missions melee-only as well as low-level survival. It’s very cathartic. However, there are some things about it which greatly annoy me. For instance, if your sporting a nice reflex guard mod which raises your auto-parry chance, you may find yourself deflecting gunfire instead of reloading your weapon while you’re running for cover. I would like to be able to hit my reload button to force my frame to reload and not bother getting his Jedi on. Also, I’d like to know what happened to the charge attack. Since 2.0, I do not seem to be able to perform one at all.

I can’t say too much about the end-game boss, Councilor Vay Hek; i have long road before reaching that state, though when it hits PS4, I’ll so be jumping on that. What I can say, is holy hell does that seem like a bitch. You have this special key which you must craft in order to get his assassination mission, but in order to build it, you need to farm the Eximus Guardsmen Prosecutors. These are a new melee unit they added for this. They’re only on Ceres and they are elemental and only vulnerable to that damage type. They’ll drop a type of beacon required to make the key.

I’m looking forward to slaughtering him.

I’m still amazed I’m playing this game on two platforms. It helps I’ve got different goals and people to play with, but the only games I’ve ever done multiple times (more than 2 platforms. I do tend to get PC and console version of something in order to play with friends) have been Minecraft and Terraria.

I have blathered on enough about this current obsession. My free-time is kicking away and I’ve got frames to build.

Squiddles: For Her Brain Burnt Out Before A Title Could Be Thought

It’s still January and December remains a faint echo. I managed to enjoy one of my christmas gifts, Zone of the Enders HD Collection, and disaster struck. Disaster which has kept me from much enjoyables and is the reason for my disappearance. I have had lingering foot problems for awhile unaware that the pain I had experienced off-and-on were due to tiny little fractures which I still have no idea how on earth I even got. Long story short, tiny got bigger and singular and I am off my foot for the next five weeks. I can’t sit at my desk because it’s really for a kid and there’s no where for my foot to comfortably go and sitting sideways would just make my back, which already hates my current arrangements, to flare up even more. I have but my phone and tablet with which to work with and already I have screamed at auto-correct more than enough times to near the point of giving up and sinking back into the dark corners of the internet for awhile longer. I’m highly considering a keyboard peripheral for my tablet.

I have been quiet on Twitter, I haven’t returned to YouTube, I haven’t read comics, and I haven’t recorded any new Game Ramblings. What I have been doing is playing video games of which I’m almost constantly on my PS3. Granted, I find myself taking a lot of naps during pause screens, it’s my only form of entertainment. I can’t stay awake to watch even 30 minutes of any show or movie.

This Saturday I plan to record an episode of Game Ramblings using my phone and hope for the best. It’s been too long since I’ve put one out and I’ve had some great accomplishments in all this unwanted freetime.

All that aside, I’ve been doing well. It’s strange to have all this freetime, but thanks to foot and pain medicine my hands are able to hold out for long play sessions I hadn’t had the pleasure of in over a decade. There isn’t anything more disheartening than having to stop playing something I’m enjoying because I can barely hold the controller. Sometimes this is at the two hour mark, other times it’s an hour, half-an-hour, even ten minutes.

It’s terrible.

PC gaming tends to be the worst for me when I’m comfined to the use of a keyboard. My ring finger can not hold down the ‘A’ key while my pinky is on shift. My fingers are so messed up, they will not stretch like that. Moving my pinky down to shift will drag my ringfinger down with it which causes a great deal of pain. Both hands have similar problems in that I cannot move any of my fingers individually and trying to force it is stupid and just painful. Well, my thumbs are okay. This being a strong reason why I don’t type much.

All that aside, I’ve been exclusively on my PS3 merely because that is the system which is currently hooked up in my room and I can’t really deal with any other consoles. Mainly, I’ve no where to plug it in because I must share with all my fish tank stuff. I can’t keep getting up to switch out power plugs and HDMI cables; I will kill myself. My TV sits on a wooden board atop a super sized plastic bucket of Tidy Cat kitty litter, so there’s a tangle of wires at the base and there is nothing to stabilise myself as I walk over the uneven pile of blankets on the floor that is my sweetheart’s bed. I would really like to be playing Don’t Starve and Warframe, but it’s PS3 for the next five weeks.

That wasn’t really a complaint. I picked up Rain, Puppeteer, Tales of Xillia, and the DLC for Dark Souls and Defiance recently. I’ve also tons of other PSN downloads to enjoy like Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus, a bunch of PS1 classics like the Spyro collection, Crash Bandicoot collection, Syphon Filters, and plenty ‘o other stuff. I’ve got plenty to entertain me and I’ve enjoyed myself thus far.

And because I can, here’s what I’ve been doing all this time.

I got through Zone of the Enders from the HD collection I got for Christmas. I have always liked that series. I returned to Ni no Kuni to finish the post game stuff and finished up all the bounty hunts and requests before grinding to level 99 and properly raising my familiars to beat the Solloseum S rank. After all of that I ended up with my first Platinum trophy. It remains among my top RPGs of all time and thanks to having endured a cold during that time, I actually had the patience to achieve all that.

I moved on to Dragons Dogma Dark Arisen after that. I played through as a Mystic Knight and beat the dragon at level 55. I then completed the rest of the game (so confusing with two ending credit sequences) for the definitive ending which was around level 58. I immediately set out on my second playthrough where I more diligently quested and worked on enhancing gear and I took out the Ur-Dragon (it only took 8 hours of several 8-minute battles). The online Ur-Dragon was at generation 418 and I could not land the killing blow during the grace period. I’ve no desire to grind to level 200 to even be able to do it, so I chose to fight the offline Ur-Dragon. I felt a great sense of accomplishment doing that. I felt like I had been fighting him my whole life.  I moved on to Dark Arisen content which is clearly a post-game thing. I found myself struggling in various areas and having to pay more attention to consumeables and kitting. It was great fun and a nice challenge. After that, I went through the campaign and made some different choices with several of the quests to see how they played out and completed my second playthrough which netted me my second Platinum trophy. I was pleased to see that it paid atention to the first playthrough in regards to certain cut-scenes. It actually drives home what’s really going on.

And for the curious, Aelinore was my first beloved and Mercedes was my second. I’ve started my third playthrough, changing my main and pawn accordingly, based on what the ending reveals, and I’ve changed my vocation to strider. I’m level 67 and my pawn remains a sorcerer.

I was left with quite the void after all that. I had to take a break and do something different, so I decided to return to Bioshock Infinite and continue on through it. My initial tweets regarding it remain the same. In short, I did not like it at all. I do not understand the reason it is so praised. It didn’t do it for me, at all.

I found the setting of Infinite to be rather unbelievable and frankly stupid. I groaned at the reused cinematic techniques I had seen in the previous titles and found a lot of points of the game where story is concerned a bit contrived and forced. I also only missed 7 audio recording of the 80+, so i don’t want to hear any “You need to collect all the recorders” argumentative bullshit. An optional collectible meant to inflate the game while shallowly adding to the ambiance of the setting shouldn’t be required for any understanding of the story. It should simply enhance what is already present.

It’s a mediocre shooter with weaponry you really don’t have to bother with. I got through with a shotgun and machine gun. I had no need to change my weapon, so I didn’t. I had no ammo problems. I also had no need to use anything but the fire vigor. It was so damned effective and the other vigors were rather lack-luster and largely pointless, too. I deviated twice to use the water one to pull two snipers to me. That was it.

If you’re going to give me an FPS, I expect to have a need of all the weapons in the game. I expect to have a desire to want to use them. THrow in special abilities, I expect there to be a point to them. Most of all, I expect all of it to be satisfying and fun. Bioshock Infinite just wasn’t there. The combat wasn’t satisfying, the magnetic pinwheel was retarded and the executions weren’t satisfying at all, and you can probably get through the game without even so much as using a vigor, which also were not fun or satisfying to use in any way whatsoever.

*sigh*

To quote Mr. Horse from Ren & Stimpy, “No sir, I don’t like it.”

I have quite a bit more to say about this game, but will be saving it for my rambling.

So, after Bioshock I moved on to play a little game called Rain. I had my eye on this game since I stumbled upon it and just couldn’t bring myself to pick it up for fear that it would fail me. Having recently been on sale for plus subscribers for less than $4, I took the chance. I’m so glad I did and upset I didn’t grab this gem earlier.

I completed the game in one sitting of about 6 hours. I had left my game on pause twice for about 15 minutes each to just stare numbly. My dear friend picked up this game, too, and we both enjoyed playing it while hanging over Skype. He was overwhelmed by it’s beauty and the subtle horror of the creatures you run from and had to stop after chapter 2. I was on chapter 8 at the time. It mesmerised me the entire time.

After finishing Rain, a message appeared saying that there are memory fragments to collect. I’ve started in on those and I’ve found a few already and they seem to be a prequel, telling what happened before. I endeavor to collect them all. I’m not ready to let this game go.

Once I’ve finished with collectables, I plan to move on and play Tales of Xilia.

It is way past this squiddy’s breakfast; she still needs her coffee, so it’s time to get on that. Afters, I’ll be returning to rain for a little while then nap times before moving on to other things.

Squiddy does exist, she just has a hurt tentacle.

Looking Back on 2013

2013 has come and gone and it was the biggest year of gaming for this little squid, I tell ya. Over 400 games collected and barely any finished in comparison, it’s pretty safe to save I’m a ravenous connoisseur of video games.

A year is a long time to look back on and memory is only so functional, so I’m endeavoring to do my best to look over this past year and share some highlights and fond memories of the year.

But first, the breakdown.

I purchased games for thirteen systems this year and completed 57 games across 12 systems.

Here’s the breakdown in old-fashioned ascii.

SYSTEM: NEW BEATEN
'------:----:----`
:    PC:264 : 24 :
:   NDS: 29 :  3 :
:   GBA: 22 :  1 :
:   PS3: 22 : 10 :
:   Wii: 18 :  4 :
:   PS2: 14 :  - :
:   PSP: 11 :  - :
:Sifteo: 11 :  - :
:   3DS: 10 :  1 :
:  WiiU:  6 :  1 :
:   PS4:  5 :  3 :
:   PS1:  4 :  - :
:   360:  3 :  5 :
:   GEN:  - :  3 :
:  SNES:  - :  1 :
:OnLive:  - :  1 :
'----------------`

PC clearly dominated the scene, which somewhat surprises, but I’m prone to Steam and GOG sales, so this doesn’t surprise me, especially with how things went last year regarding the subject. I’m still unsure if this is worse, better, or on par with what I aquired last year.

Memorable Gaming Moments of 2013

Little Inferno (Steam): Who would have thought burning random objects ordered from a catalogue simply for the soul purpose of burning them and keeping warm could be so fun. Add a disturbing plot and characters and you’ve pretty much made a squid happy. I played through this game four times over the course of the year which says something. I rarely touch something again after completion, least of all puzzle games.

999 (NDS): This interactive novel had a compelling plot and I found it rather difficult to put down, however, like most things, even though I achieved a very sad (and quite possibly the worst) ending, my desire to try for something better is quite lacking. Such is fate of one of massive backlog. However, it has proven to me that interactive fiction is still a genre I can enjoy.

Ni no Kuni (PS3): Proof that there still remain JRPGs I can enjoy without all the elements that typically drive me crazy of the genre. The simple mechanics, beautiful artwork, and gorgeous score had me glued to the screen. The story was masterfully told and left me in tears at many points. Once it was over, I felt a great void within like when most good things come to an end. I’m fairly certain I’ll never see anything else like this again which saddens me greatly.

Defiance (PS3): I’m not huge on MMOs of any kind, often finding myself tired of the repetition after so many hours of playing, but Defiance rubbed me a different way. It’s the first MMO I’ve finished the campaign for. My reasoning for getting it had more to do with lingering sadness of Tabula Rasa ending and less to do about the television program. However, thanks to this game I watched the program and found myself liking the mediocraty. I don’t play this game as often as I used to, but sometimes in the mornings I will fire it up for some reputation grinding.

Legend of Mana (PS3N): This game rekindled my love of JRPGS and set me back on the path to playing them. I enjoyed the beat ’em up styled combat and while it lacks a more cohesive story since the game is made up of individual stories, it’s still very good and I found myself getting a little emotional. I loved my little cactus plant and reading his journal entries gave me warm, prickly fuzzies.

Space Harrier (PS3 (Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection)): This proved to me that some legends never die and even the oldest games can still remain just as fun to play as current stuff. I have a lot of memories playing this game, especially losing quarters, and I was so happy this was the arcade port. I remember sitting down with a latte and firing this up. The next thing I knew, I watched the credits go by. It was a great afternoon.

Journey (PSN): Since beating this game, it continues to haunt me. I find myself pulled back to exploring those desert environments, meeting others on their pilgrimage, and enjoying the beautiful sights and sounds of the game. I had this game for far too long before giving it the time of day and I feel incredibly guilty for doing so.

Sleeping Dogs (360): I find open world sandbox games to get very tiring rather quickly and they almost never hold my interest for long. Sleeping Dogs broke that rut and I literally marathoned through the game over a period of two days. My hands did not like and I needed painkillers to get me through it, but I don’t regret any of it. It had a good story, fluid and gratifying combat, and overall the game seemed to be the perfect length even with all the side-stuff. I need a sequel. Sleeping Squids anyone?

Playstation 4, baby! Of course one the biggest moments would be my experience picking up my PS4, going home only to have my disco nap turn into a near squid coma leaving me to wait until the next day before tearing into my brand new toy and spending the day on updates, downloads, and serious case of gamer ADD fueled by sugar and caffeine. And it’s only the beginning.

It’s been an interesting year with several emotional ups and downs called life and the usual same old crap every year, but I made new friends, found ways to spread my enjoyment of games, and played hard. I’d like things to be a bit chill this year and focus on what I have rather than have my collection reproducing like tribbles, but we’ll just have to see how things go. It will be interesting to see my habits this year.

I hope all of you have had a great new years and I look forward to another great year with all of you.

Game on!