Thoughts: Xbox One

Yes. It happened. Quite suddenly I remarkably found myself opening the packaging of the 1 TB blue Forza 6 XBOX One bundle. It felt very surreal. After so much trouble with Xbox and their shoddy consoles and neanderthal douche bag community, I had no plans to ever bother with them again. When the new generation of consoles were on the horizon, I did feel pangs about leaving one behind. I have collected consoles for a very long time–my entire life I have played some amazing games on some amazing systems and I still play old games to this day. I felt quite sad about my decision, but I got over it quickly when I had my shiny new PS4.

One day, when I actually set foot in a gaming store to pick up some old 360 games to replace PS3 games I can’t play anymore from my system going tits up, I saw the XBOX One games. I saw the Rare Replay and thought……. I… I want that. I never would have thought a couple weeks after that I would have that game and my very own XBOX One. Really, I shouldn’t be surprised.

It’s a really fine unit. The controller is comfortable, solid, but the d-pad is kinda shit. It feels pretty flimsy and cheap with very poor tactility. It reminds me of d-pads of old, cheap knock-off Tiger electronics games. Fortunately, it works fine enough for the few uses d-pads have in modern gaming. The rubber on the back of the controller is nice, too. It has a subtle Forza logo on it, too.

As for the console, it’s really nice. The fact it sounds like a car starting when you touch the power button on the console is a really nice touch. Even the disk eject has a custom sound. That earned some points.

The interface…. is horrible. It’s Windows tiles and ugly as shit. You can set a custom background, but you can’t see it behind the ugliness, only the border. I know it’s getting a revamp this November, so I hope it will be better. I love how when you exit certain screens, you’ll randomly load up the app, or game related to whatever it was you were looking at. It pisses me off to no end and happens ALL the time navigating through it.

What I DO like, is the showcase. On your profile page above you name and stats, you have a gallery you can customise containing the achievement art or video clips of your triumphs. Of the games I’ve played on the system, the achievement art are wallpaper quality images and not crummy icons, so it looks really nice and it’s super easy to add and remove stuff to it.

The other thing I like is the snap feature. It divides your screen by putting a small sidebar to the right which can contain whatever it is you snap like your achievement list, Skype, Twitch, party chat–whatever you want and it doesn’t obscure the game. This makes it really easy to follow conversations, manage your twitch stream, and plan your achievement hunting which, by-the-way, tracks your progress so you can see just how close you are to unlocking specific achievements.

What I don’t like is the time it takes to download ANYTHING on this effing thing. The Forza 6 that comes with it is a download, 60 something gigs, which took some 30 hours to download. I didn’t get to play it right outta the box. When enough of it downloaded that it said it was ready to play, all I could do was tutorial stuff over-and-over. Titanfall didn’t take nearly as long to download, but the Rare Replay took a few days to download the XBOX 360 titles that come with it. When I picked up Elder Scrolls Online, there was a 5 hour download which I’m gonna guess was an update of some kind. I can’t quite remember.

My PS4 downloads full digital games FAR more quickly, so I have no idea WTF is going on with that, but whenever I get a new game or wanna download one, I’ve pretty much resigned to playing it the following day. The other annoyance, is when the XBOX One downloads anything, only it gets to use the internet. I won’t be able to watch a YouTube video, surf the net, or even check my mail on my tablet. My house turns into a dead zone.

Oh, another lovely trait of the XBOX One is ignorant power save settings. While Forza 6 was downloading, my XBOX One shut down from inactivity. Thank you power save settings. I had to resume it when I woke up in the morning. It can be fixed, but it’s really lame that it’s not smart enough to wait until stuff has downloaded before doing that.

It was a pain to set-up twitch streaming due to crazy privacy setting snags I came across. The XBOX One has quite a lot of settings to control who sees what and what you can and can’t do and nothing worked until I set practically everything to public.

Oh, and I found it odd that the YouTube app contained achievements–none grant you points, but still.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and hoping the little annoyances will go away next month when the update drops. PS4 is still the king in my books, make no mistake of that.

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.

Thoughts: Duck Tales Remastered

This is extremely late considering I purchased the game within a few months of its initial release back in 2013 and have only just finished it this morning having marathoned all but the last level yesterday.

*Sigh* Where do I begin? Duck Tales back on NES ranked among my most well-loved platformer games for the longest time. I played the crap outta the game alongside Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, and Quackshot as far as other Disney games are concerned. Aladdin was pretty awesome at the time, too, but the musical score drove me a bit nuts. I never have been a huge Aladdin fan, anyway. I enjoyed Duck Tales because not only was it fun, but I could speed through the game in just over an hour. That isn’t really the case with this one…

I honestly never expected myself to ever play the game. I bought this out of nostalgia and memories of that old, loved game. Playing through the remaster I certainly can’t say I feel the same way about it. First and foremost it’s gorgeous with wonderful arrangements of the classic tracks from the original. I was dazzled, but then we get to the added story and cinematics and the sourness began. I watched the first few then skipped them throughout the rest of the game up until the ending. I decided I’d watch those. I just didn’t care–not because they weren’t good, but because it felt strange breaking up the action. I suppose for someone who had never played the old, it’s a good thing. In this day-and-age, people will bitch you the fuck out for not including some kind of story. I may have actually cared were my intent not to speed through the game.

The stages were mostly true to the originals, but they did mix things up a bit and throw in fetch quests to stretch out the game. I didn’t much care for these merely because I just wanted to sail through the game and irritated me.  The revamped bosses irritated me, also, because they took longer to beat. They at least kept true to their original spirit.

It took me a bit over five hours to get through the game and I should have really gone without. It’s more of a remix than remastery and there’s some little things they could have done that would have made me like the package more. The first would be having an option to listen to the original 8-bit score. The new tunes are pretty cool, but I do like the originals a bit more. They were pretty good chiptunes. I’d also like to play the original game in all its 8-bit glory and also reskinned. This is ultimately what I expected the game  to actually be, so it baffles me why the little gem isn’t included. Lastly, given the choice, I would have played through this game with an 8-bit skin, or even 16 if they wished to update. After seeing the first level, I immediately wished there were pixels. Many nostalgia gamers do tend to have an obsessive love of pixels and anything with pixels. I think these little extras would have been cool features to have.

All-in-all, I’d only recommend it for people who missed out. While it’s still Duck Tales at its core, the differences tarnished things for me bringing down my overall view of it. Ignoring that, it’s still a good platformer.

Toukiden & Handhelds Again

Some time ago I wrote a post pondering why-the-fuck I don’t seem to bother with my handhelds. For the last few weeks, that’s all I’ve been playing. o.O *eye twitch* In my former post, which I’m too lazy to go over, I’m not sure if I even considered the games to be a variable. Of course I’m not going to play something I don’t have anything interesting on *eyes her WiiU*. Of course, Warframe is the main time eater typically seconded by minecraft. However, lately I’ve been spending a great deal of time with Toukiden: Age of Demons. I’ve turned down clan events to keep playing this game and even beating Bloodborne for my time.

This somewhat baffles me, as Toukiden isn’t groundbreaking or amazing in any way, shape, or form. Comparing it to anything, strangely, It’d be Warframe. I’m repeating missions over-and-over grinding out resources to build new weapons and armour, or upgrade what I have, while harvesting souls to buy everything else I need. The missions are short and the level of grinding is there, especially with boss fights which can take an average of 10 minutes or more depending on who you’re playing with and whether or not they know what they’re doing. A better comparison is actually Monster Hunter sans all your harvesting abilities simply replace the theme with an ancient Japan invaded by oni instead of a fantasy world inhabited by monsters. You make all of your gear from monster drops or picking up things from the ground. The spirit tree in village and your cute little Tenko can give you more. I just always have Warframe on the brain.

I really like this game. I have Kiwami on PS4 already and will likely transfer my data on over to save myself from replaying content. The amount of grind is rather profound were there no option of transfer, I likely wouldn’t bother with Kiwami at all, honestly. It would be reversed if I had Kiwami first, obviously.

Etrian Mystery Dungeon has been a blast to play, also. It’s another grindey game as all roguelikes tend to be. I’m still hard at work clearing out floors for materials so the shops will sell me better stuffs. As such, my Theatrhythm has been retired back to the box and it’s unlikely I’ll return to that until I’m done with my dungeoning.

I nearly forgot another Vita game I’ve gotten myself into: Sword Art Online -Hollow Fragment-. I wanted an RPG for my Vita that wasn’t FFX & X-2 HD which I’ve put on hold because it hasn’t been too fun playing through again mostly because I want to play something new. I hunger for a good JRPG and I hoped SAO would do it. So, I went ahead and got a digital version and all the extra content and then over a period of two days marathoned through the first story arc and into the next, so I would know what the score is.

Boy, am I glad I did that. Not only did I enjoy the show, but had I chosen not to and settle for the “story so far,” I still would have been a bit lost. There’s something to be said for the deeper knowledge of people, events, and their relationships. I also saw where things changed from the show.

Thus far, I’ve really been enjoying it. It seems to be a faithful recreation of the game within the context of what it is. Obviously, we don’t have unlimited skills and all that jazz, but it actually feels like I’m playing the game as far as an MMO simulation goes. I’ve enjoyed this far more than .hack. It is more fun, better show, and I care what’s going on.

In terms of where this game fits into the show, well, things don’t end where they did in the anime. The fight resolved a little differently with strange glitching happening and the game didn’t end. A new area opened up that only Kirito seems able to access. There are two main quest lines to pursue: finishing SAO and reaching floor 100 in hopes that it will end the game, and also going through the Hollow area and unravel that mystery.

I’m focusing on stuff around Arc Sophia at the moment to get myself used to the battle system and how things work. I’ll move onto the Hollow Fragment stuff once I feel like I know what I’m doing.

Enough babble. Lunch time!

Catching Up Since Holiday Times

Well, it has been a fucking long time since I’ve made my fingers type out anything around here. Despite the goodness the Holiday Season brought, it also paved the way for a major life event–breaking up with my girlfriend of 7+ years. I should have done it three years earlier, but at least it finally happened and the harassment seems to finally be stopping. Squiddy is single again and it’s been rough battling the loneliness and feeling like I’m too old and doomed to be a squid lady living alone with a million fish.

Warframe, of no surprise, had sucked up a lot of freetime, but not as much as it could have. The harassment I’ve had to deal with pretty much sapped all my desire to do anything during my free time, souring my days. When the next content patch hit, just recently, adding PvP and raids, I’ve slid back into things…. And then Shadows of Mordor and Bloodborne took away my Warframe time.

I’ve completed Mordor 100% and strangely ended up missing only two trophies. I’m unsure if I’m going to bother with them, I will be revisiting Mordor as I’ve plans to get the two DLC missions, so we’ll just have to see. I really enjoyed the game and Arkham rhythm-style combat. I got pretty addicted to slaughtering Uruk and enjoyed the game enough to actually seek out all the collectibles and do everything. From how the ending unfolded, I can’t imagine the events in the sequel panning out to well, but I would be interested to play it should it happen.

Bloodborne!!! I’ve made four characters thus far and haven’t really settled in on one I like. I’ve been a fan of From Software since King’s Field and I got hooked on the Souls series–of course I had to get this one. Strangely, I’m not quite as wild about it. I feel a bit confined as character with not a whole lot of choice. I dislike the firearms immensely, thus far. I’ve seen some other weapons that have me interested in collecting for myself, but it feels like it’s taking too long to get to a point where I feel like I’m the unique character built how I want to be. This is by no means a deal breaker, just a slight pang in my heart that flares up every now-and-then. I still rate the game very highly and I’m glad to have it. I look forward to getting further and seeing everything the game has to offer. I don’t want to pass judgements too early and find out they’re a non-issue later on. I do have a shield, now, so that rid me of one lament. 😀

Hyrule Warriors. When this game was announced, I was all against it. I don’t like Warriors clones much (N3, Sengoku Basara, Warriors: Legends of Troy, Ken’s Rage… Bleh) and this one just seemed like fansploitation. I did, however, eventually end up with a copy *sigh*. It has the same odd kind of plot you’d get in an Orochi game, pulling in characters from across the Zelda series. It has all your basic Warriors things to do to–grind characters and mats to unlock abilities and improve weapons. You have those stupid skulltulas to collect that will lead to unlocking apothecary mixtures which I’m not fond of. They appear only after meeting certain requirements and you’ve got a limited time to run off to their location and find it before it goes away. I hate time limits because they don’t go over well with my anxiety issues.

The game is pretty and you’ve got locations and arranged tunes from the series and it’s neat if you like Zelda, but I don’t really enjoy it. I’ve been done with Zelda for a long time (an exception being Link Between Worlds) and it’s pretty boring to me. If I liked Zelda more, I’d probably be more into it. I do like their Gundam franchise and I’m interested in Dragon Quest Heroes since I’m a huge DQ fan. I expect that will make the game more enjoyable for me, though I’m not too sure I’m thrilled about the tower defense shit. We’ll see.

Final Fantasy Type-0. What shit this turned out to be–mostly visually with boring gameplay and splash of fucking terrible camera and targeting system. It’s manageable, but it could have been fixed. Note, I’m aware this is a PSP game. I played a little of it but shelved it due to lack of Japanese reading skills. The same happened with Crisis Core, but I got pretty far in that one. The game is a blurry mess on PS4. It should have at least gotten a Vita release–I’d have gone with that version and incidentally, it looks nicer remotely played. There’s quite the grind in this game and having shown and explained to a friend, he pointed out the connection my brain failed to make. It should have been a Warriors game. It has a lot of Warriors elements minus the large-scale battles. You’re managing 15 characters (not 14 like the box says–one full card suit of 13 plus two more characters), better weapons are unlocked by achieving battle milestones (killing x amount of baddies, harvesting x amount of phantoma, etc), the currency in the game (gil) is largely useless as with the amount of farming you do, you get everything you need in that department. Also, you have the excessive replaying of missions in order to even GET gil. Overworld encounters do not get you any whatsoever, only items and phantoma. Your time is better suited replaying missions for quest items, phantoma, and grinding since it doesn’t take 6 hours of your in-game free time. Replaying missions also nets you experience, certain special assignments will unlock new Eidolons (such as killing a boss within a time-limit), and a special currency (SPP) used to by the better weapons you unlock and other gear items. The game is also excessively short and in order to experience everything and unlock everything, you will need to replay it NG+ style as within the first chapter, there’s a side mission for level 50+ characters. You’ll barely be in your 30s by the end of the game and it should only take you a little over 24 hours of playtime to even accomplish it. You can’t speak to everyone (the noteable conversations marked with a “!”) in the game, as it takes 2 hours of your free time, so you’ll have to keep NG+’ing it to see everything.

Blah.

It wasn’t fun and the amount of blur in this HD game I found to be quite unacceptable. It doesn’t need to be a fucking picasso, but I expect people to actually have faces and not smudges. It honestly looks like barely anything was done to it. Some areas looked very nice, but not enough. Targeting often had me at the mercy of missing out on harvesting rare phantoma because I would just constantly lock on to remaining enemies and the corpse would despawn. That irritated me the most. Just terrible. The demo for 15 was the shining thing of this fiasco. Gorgeous, fun to play, characters I grew to care about, signs of a (hopefully) developed story… It’s been, what, 9-10 years since that game was announced? I’m ready for it.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. My BFFS gifted me this game and I’m way hooked. I like rhythm games and Final Fantasy music, so I was really happy to get this. It’s my goto casual game I’m playing right now. I’m enjoying leveling up my characters and the nostalgia of hearing some old music.

Etrian Mystery Dungeon. I like roguelikes. If you don’t know what a roguelike is, well… I’m at a loss. The simple explanation is completely random dungeon with random baddies and loot with low chance of survival. Traditionally, they are punishingly difficult and a lot of indies have capitalised on the mould releasing a lot of good titles way more forgiving than the old days. Sadly, when you see any classically hard one, they’re getting slammed for simply being what they are intending–punishingly hard. The Mystery Dungeon franchise is a good balance. You can win. I did trudge through Torneko’s Great Adventure: Mysterious Dungeon on the Super Famicom and then Torneko: The Last Hope on PSX. I enjoyed Shiren the Wanderer, Chocobo’s Dungeon–my least favourite of them all, and the Pokemon entries to the series (I don’t have the latest one, yet–not sure. It could very well be on my shelf forgotten). I really like the Etrian Odyssey series, too, so having a themed Mystery Dungeon game was just too good to pass up. I’m super excited to get it.

I didn’t pre-order through a game store, or Amazon. I pre-ordered through Crunchyroll as they had a great bundle deal that included the version of the game that comes with the artbook, soundtrack, and 5 quest DLC. In addition to that, you also get a mystery video-game t-shirt and collectible (which could be anything from figures to an actual video-game–i scored Army Corps of Hell for Vita as a mystery item earlier in the year along with a Shadows of Mordor t-shirt.)  Also, 500 people will get an Etrien Mystery Dungeon Poster. All of that for $40. They’ve sold out of this bundle, sadly.

The Warframe Segment

I have played Warframe for over a year. For over a year, this game–an fps, no less–has held my attention. I’m amazed, but so much has evolved since I first fired it up and members of my clan still bring up Destiny hate every so often. Not surprisingly now, since we have our own raid, now. Still, this latest content update I had been looking forward too for a good long while, and that was mostly for PvP that mattered. We have a PvP syndicate, now, and we can actually rank up our gear doing PvP. We only have a handful of frames and weapons to use right now as they balance their PvP applications along with PvP useable mods, but Capture the Cephalon was the most fun I’d had since the last time I played TF2 and UT3.

The raid is a lot of fun. You can do it with four people, instead of 8, but the difficulty won’t scale. If you’ve got your frame, weapon, and mods all in order you can finish it fairly quickly. My first run through took a little under an hour. Your rewards are very worth it. You will get an arcane enhancement. This is a thing that gets applied to a helmet or syandana in your foundry. It costs 200k and 12 hours. The one I have, as an example, is Arcane Avenger. It ups my crit rate and is triggered on damage. The effects of your enhancement trigger under certain criteria. A friend of mine got one that when he picks up a health orb, he sends out a healing pulse that heals allies. Super cool. These things can be ranked by applying the same enhancement to the item. This is not an every-time-I-get-one-deal. I will need to apply two more Arcane Avenger enhancements to reach rank 1, and then I will need 3 more to reach rank 2, and then 4 more to reach the final rank. That’s 9 more I’ll have to grind out raiding. Each time I make an upgrade, it’s another 200k and 12 hours. If I apply a different arcane to the item, it will overwrite the old and set it back to rank 0.  If you’re an old-school player, you can’t put these on Arcane Helmets. It sounds daunting to need to collect a total of 10 of a single enhancement out of the 20 different ones that can drop, but with a good group, it doesn’t take long to complete the raid.

Chroma, a chromatic dragon themed frame, got added with the update. He has elemental attacks determined by what colour he is. When you’re altering his appearance, the game will show you what element so you don’t have to worry about guessing or looking up shit. He requires a Mastery Rank of 5 and completion of the Stolen Dreams questline in order to get his quest. It’s not difficult and it basically introduces you to the Sanctuary and new method of scanning enemies. There is some prep you’ll want to do before undertaking him. His blueprints require other built warframe pieces, so have an Ember Helmet, Frost Chassis, Saryn Systems, and Volt Helmet (yes, two helmets) built beforehand or it’ll drag out the quest. Like Mirage’s quest, you’ll have to build each part of Chroma before you can get the next quest mission, so having to wait 12 hours on an Ember Helmet to build before you can build your Chroma Helmet isn’t nice. To build everything you’ll want to ensure you have these rare resources: 4 Neural Sensors, 3 Neurodes, 2 Argon Crystals, 2 Morphics, and 400 oxium. You’ll also need a total of 130k credits to burn.

It took me 8 days to obtain him having had to get and build the other warframe parts. I just set an alarm when the piece was done so I could start the Chroma part building and not lose out on time. There were two days I didn’t play, but even so, that’s not terrible.

The new Prime Access hit giving us Volt Prime and Odonata Prime. All the void drop tables got shuffled a bit with this addition as well as Frost Prime, Reaper Prime, and Latron Prime getting retired. From my experience, Odonata is the easiest to obtain. I got its parts way  more quickly than I did Volts–yes, I actually didn’t outright buy these primes this time. The accessories pack, and Volt just don’t do it for me to justify spending that much purely for the shiney archwing. I also didn’t outright buy Chroma since he didn’t really interest me and he was a quest chain frame.

For the curious, I bought Rhino, Loki, Nyx, and Nova through Prime Access. Rhino and Loki I got the full $150 packages (The frame, weapons, and accessory packs). Nyx and Nova were just their $80 packs (frame and weapons). I know some people might have a stroke that I paid $80, let alone, $150 for shinies. I can understand that. I have always played paid MMOs, usually more than one at a time, so I was used to paying 30-40 a month in subs. Since I no longer do that, all that money is free. Considering the Prime Access comes every several months, Nova Prime was mid-December and Volt came out end of March, doing the math that’s around $120-$160 i would have paid in subs were I still playing my pay-to-play MMOs and I often did 3-6 month payment cycles when available, so Warframe’s Prime Access essentially replaces those MMOs that I happen to still budget for the expense. Since I didn’t do Prime Access this month, I think I may treat myself to The Handsome Collection. I think I want Borderlands on my PS4.

Anime Stuffs

I really rarely ever progress in the shows I watch. I used to watch 2-3 episodes a day, then it would be a week, and I only watched barely a handful of episodes last month. I just have too many hobbies, so it can be difficult juggling Warframe, videogames, reading, and watching stuff. I haven’t touched Netflix in ages and my queue is stupendously large.

We’ve had a bit of rain here and it’s trying to infect me with something, so yesterday, I did nothing but watch Crunchyroll on my WiiU. That’s really all my WiiU really does. I play Hyrule Warriors maybe once a week. It’s just… boring, but it was a gift, so I feel badly about not getting through it.

Cute High Earth Defense Club Love is the first show I finished watching. I honestly don’t even know why or even how I like it. I just do. The last two episodes leave an odd taste in my mouth and got really, really, weird the way Japanese things can get really, really, weird without any warning. I don’t think I’ll hold it against the show and I may consider getting a boxed set of this for my collection.

From Crunchyroll: The story revolves around the members of the “Earth Defense Club” aka the “Do Nothing Club” at Binan High School. One day, the club members are soaking in a hot bath together when all of a sudden a mysterious pink wombat appears out of thin air! The wombat asks the members to lend it their help to protect the Earth. At school the next day, each of the club members receives a magical bracelet enveloping them in a dazzling light.

Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro finished second. I had more episodes of this left than Cute High, but i really just went in order of my queue. I enjoyed this show a great deal. Matsutaro was so impossible to deal with and the trouble he’d get himself into held my interest. Tanaka is my favourite character, though. This had another ending which left a strange taste in my mouth. I expected things to go differently and I really hoped we’d see more seasons since there are so many ranks in Sumo and the fact there are over 30 volumes of the manga that started in the seventies and ran until the nineties (written by Tetsuya Chiba who also did Ashita no Joe–really good boxing manga).

CR: The story follows Matsutaro Sakaguchi, a giant roughneck man with strength far beyond ordinary people. He never uttered words like “work hard,” “strive,” and “dream” like the typical shonen manga protagonist. However, he is stronger than anyone and peerless in sumo wrestling. His greatest weakness is his own carefree personality. He grows into a full-fledged sumo westler.

HaNaYaMaTa. Even that this is just a slice-of-life drama involving a yosekai club at an elementary school, it hooked me and made me cry–bawl–on so many occasions. I don’t generally do slice-of-life stuff unless it’s got some yuri content, because I don’t relate to straight relationships and I am generally apathetic to such stories. (Note, Westerners use shojo-ai to describe non-porn yuri, but that actually denotes pedophillia, y’know, like lolicon, so I never use that descriptor.).  The manga is ongoing, so i may have to look into that. I have hopes of more, but it seemed a pretty solid ending. It left a big wide hole of despair in me. I wanted to see more of their drama. *sigh* It was really super-cute, too. I think I need a new pancreas. On another note, there’s also a Vita game I may have to import. It’s a visual novel/rhythm game. *another sigh*

From CR: Naru is a high school girl who is average in every way. She loves fairy tale heroines, though she’s never had the courage to escape her ordinary life. One day, she sees Hannah, a transfer student, dancing in the moonlit and becomes inspired to learn Yosakoi dancing.

Cross Ange. Crunchyroll has an option to select something at random, which I used and this is what happened. It’s a mecha show. Very strange and the first episode was pretty dark. The mecha designs are cool and remind me of Veritechs. I’m already considering model kits. Check this one out!

From CR: Angelise is the first princess of the Empire of Misurugi. She is the celebrated ruler of the Empire until one day she finds out the shocking truth that she is a “Norma” – an irregular being who cannot use “Mana”, and are treated as “things” rather than people. Having her name taken from her, Ange isolates herself on a remote island. There, she finds a group of Norma women who spend their days hunting dragons that have come to invade.

Wizard Barristers. I really don’t know what to say about this show, other than people just seem to hate Wizards. This was actually in my queue and I clicked on it by mistake. *shrugs* Even so, it interests me. Cecile is an interesting, cute character and it seems to have a nice blend of drama and humour, so we’ll just have to see.

From CR: Wizard Barristers takes place in the near future of 2018, where wizards and humans live side-by-side in Tokyo. While police continue to protect the rest of society, wizards are tried according to magical laws in special courts defended by wizard barristers. Cecile Sudo has just become the youngest wizard barrister at age 17, and begins work at the Butterfly Law Offices. However, unbeknownst to her, she has tremendous magical potential…

And that’s that. Time for lunch.

Why Doesn’t Squiddy Play Handhelds More?

I love fall. I’ve always loved winter. I prefer the cold weather as that’s what I’m used to. I miss the fall weather in England and snow typically measured in feet. Where I live now, it’s lucky to be measured in inches and if there is any? Well, the town shuts down. It… yeah. America really is an interesting place to live.

Anyway, despite having received my yearly poke in the arm that is called a flu shot, I’ve caught the flu. This -always- happens, so I don’t know why I even bother. Squids just have shit luck, I guess. The meds seem to be working well enough in that I’m not even entirely sure I’m not dreaming I’m writing this blog post, so the fingers that feel like numb sticks attached to my hands can record these medicated thoughts.

I know I already did a post recently that would have been my rambling audio blog, but there were things I’ve left off and I’m just in a rambly mood at the moment putting off dealing with groceries of which I must remember pumpkin seeds, goldfish food, and gluten free cookies I hope will taste like cookies and not broken promises.

So in this weird medicated state I’ve been in while drinking tea I cannot taste at all, I’ve been thinking about all the consoles I own and piles of games I have and some habits I have. I love handhelds. That’s what I tell myself and people. I always fancied the idea of having something easy to carry around that will offer me entertainment while waiting to get to my destination or waiting for something to happen. In truth, while I will take one with me, I am so drained and drowsy and brain dead,  I barely turn the things on or do anything with them. Podcasts usually win on that front, or music on better days. I will take them with me on camping trips but end up reading instead. I’ll take them with me to entertain me at the other house, but I’ll watch Netflix, Crunchyroll, or just read anyway and hardly ever touch them.

Things weren’t always like this, mind you. When I worked phone tech support down in Beaverton, OR, the Gameboy SPs hit the shelves. Workers were allowed to bring them in and play between/during calls if it didn’t affect performance. I played a shit ton of Pokemon and Castlevania in those days and painted Warhammer miniatures like a few other cube mates for skirmish battles on breaks. My Necron army gained much infamy the day I brought in the pyramid to paint and assemble just for bragging rights that I actually spent that much on it. I later moved onto the PSP and played a lot of Untold Legends. It was the closest thing at having a Diablo on the go.

I’m not even sure where this decline in my handheld gaming has come from or even started. Yes, my hands often limit my game time to as long as I can stand it, but I still manage to play. I did not have these problems during the Beaverton days. The Vita is really difficult for me to hold; I haven’t purchased grips for them, so my fingers will actually go to sleep after 30 minutes or so of play. I have no problems with the DS other than I have long nails and they inhibit my ability to move the d-pad or thumbstick up unless my thumb is at an angle and that can get annoying in certain action titles.

Looking at the titles I own for my handhelds, it isn’t as if I have crap for them. There’s quite a lot I want to play and get through, so this whole why-the-fuck-don’t-I-play-them thing really boggles my mind.

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Barring Warframe clan activities later this evening, I am going to see if I can find a nice place to get comfy with blankies–maybe a kitty, and give some handhelds some love.

Squiddy’s Game Ramblings – November Mute Edition

Helooooo eyes! I know you’re used to using your ears for this, but cold air equals gravely voiced wheezy squid, so rather than put off a recording any longer I decided to spew out my material in a blog post over several days. Well, it has been several days and things are finally DONE! My fingers endured great hardships as did my sanity dictating to my phone for speech-to-text. Unnecessary complications.

Anyhoo hullabaloo, I’m just going to get right into games I’ve finished since September and then move on to current playings before calling it a day.

Destiny.

September was an exciting month when it was around. Destiny was the big bad thing to come along and suck up copious amounts of my free time, which I had given myself a fuck ton of so I could really enjoy the game. I did for a good long while. Putting aside it has less content at launch than most free-to-play games I’ve devoted time to, it’s a fun playing experience. The weapons aren’t very satisfying to use and could stand to pop more and be more tactile and have more visual variety between types, but new content should take care of at least the latter. I can say the same about clothing and shaders, but it’s not an MMO where such individuality is one of those things most players devote a lot of their time.

No, Destiny is not an MMO. It has elements of one, yes, but what part of 16 people in a social location equates to “massively?” None. most of the time you are either flying solo or with two other people. The only exceptions are Raids and PvP. I may be off with that number, it could be greater than sixteen or smaller, but the point is that’s not many people.

In all my life, I can’t say I’ve heard as much bitching about a game as I have with Destiny. That’s not to say I haven’t done my own share of bitching. We all have moments where a game pisses us off and my bad luck with drops and mission rewards just happened to be it. There is nothing more infuriating that sinking a shit ton of hours into droll repetitive tasks to get nothing useable come reward time. Of course, there were also the slew of PvP bugs that were never fixed since the beta what also got under me skin. That aside, there is so much hatred for pretty much every little part of the game, it really started to wear on me. I can get some things. There are some things I’d like to see changed or added, but I don’t hate the game for it. I’d like more stuff to collect, more space to hoard said stuff, voice acting by people who don’t sound tired and bored, an actual point to having a Ghost, everything you need an outside thing to view be included in-game, and variety in levels. It would be nice to have some fleshing out with the story, but the lore cards are interesting enough and help answer some questions.

Speaking of story, it became a somewhat big issue for me, when it was actually considered a thing. I wanted to know things and it frustrated me how many gaping holes there are and what little there actually is of a quality story. No, what we have here is just about what we had in the past what when we old-time gamers were laddies and lassies. How many of those games had stories? Not bloody many. At best, we had a few opening screens setting up the action and various “Thanks For Playing,” messages at the end. My girlfriend got kidnapped so I must now beat up various 80s thug stereotypes in order to save her. What more do I need to know? Nothing. Many games don’t need a story at all; it’s all about the action, and if we’re given one–okay. My irritation with Destiny’s story is that is is more of an obvious skeelton to be filled in later by future content. I expected something more fulfilling that what was there, but I moved on to not even giving a fuck and just running around shooting lots of things while my Ghost needs more time. That seemed to have happened a bit too often, or I always got the missions where that was the thing.

Of course there are also the people who hate every change Bungie makes to their game, and I heard a lot of that shit regarding their changes to the raid: No use of sniping platforms in the Templar mission due to increased enemy spawns there, The Big Bad Boss will now randomly teleport three people of your fireteam instead of just the back three, no more killing him in 17 seconds with homing rockets. Those are the only ones I can think of from the top of my head, and I can see where the hatred comes from. From people who say they don’t want just one way to complete their raid, these sorts of changes can limit strategies and two of my friends feel Bungie is punishing teamwork by doing so.

Me? Well, if you managed to put a fireteam together of people who all put the time into upgrading their Gjallarhorn, why punish them for using it? There’s already a cooldown on the raid and it’s not like you’ll get a shit ton of rewards for it, anyway. I’m not sure how I feel about the random teleportation, I’m not a huge fan of it, but whatever. That’s something you can just deal with. If everyone on your team know what to do when teleported and what everyone else should do when/if certain people are teleported, it won’t even matter. If anything, it just requires a bit more teamwork and knowing your shit. I don’t know what these aforementioned sniping platforms in the templar fight are, so it gets another whatever. People adapt. Strategies change.

The latest hatred I’ve been hearing is about the coming expansion. $15 for +2 light level cap, 3 story missions, new vendor with bounties ‘n quests of newness, 1 new strike, 1 new raid, 3 new PvP maps, and an unknown amount of gear. A great many haters believe all this isn’t worth $15, and I am inclined to agree. I’d like to know how the rest of the game will scale with the new content, which it should, or if we have to drop the raid gear we’ve been grinding out for new raid gear. At any rate, if you don’t get the expansion, you’ll still get some new gear, new bounties, and +5 bounty slots.

I almost forgot about another hate group. My friend had told me that he had read in a lot of comments people stating casual players ruin Destiny and they are why the game is so simplistic and easy. I have to move on, or my IQ will suffer permanent damage.

Whenever you get into a game like this, a multiplayer game with promised updates and expansions, you do expect a certain level of quality when you finally have it in your hot little hands. I am one of the people who think it could have been a bit higher. It really does feel like I paid for Early Access and it gets under my a skin sometimes when the frustration of shit drops for hours of grinding start to wear on me. It’s worse when I’m playing with someone who hates the game and does nothing but bitch and bitch and bitch and bitch. WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU PLAYING?! Yes, there are things I don’t like, but I still enjoy playing it. There is nothing wrong with me for liking what I like, so move the fuck on. Why must all these idiots waste all their time and energy bitching and criticizing the people who do like the game? That is a rhetorical question. They also need to fucking get over themselves. This isn’t fucking Borderlands, or Mass Effect, or Halo, or whatever other FPS you wanted this game to be. It is just another co-op FPS with ranked progression dressed up as an RPG with upgradeable gear. If you have to compare it to something, Phantasy Star Online is a good match, as well as Warframe. Games like Killing Floor and Orion wouldn’t be too far off if they threw in a co-op campaign and loot, for starters.

I’m starting to feel a bit down I couldn’t just spew this all out in a recording. I’m also feeling the pangs of only just now having the idea to dress this up as a transcript for a lost October episode. Oh, well.

I will not be getting the expansions that are coming and, as some of you have noticed, I don’t play it anymore. I enjoyed it, but I did get all I could from it. It stopped being enjoyable as the things I had to grind became boring as all hell even with friends. The first expansion isn’t adding enough for me, so I am going to wait until a few more get rolled out, or they have a nicer priced bundle before considering a return. Playing with friends can only carry it so far and they can’t mask how grueling the repetition is. Do I feel accomplished when I actually do get a good reward? Absolutely not, because nothing I did had any bearing on my reward. Nothing you do matters. Your skill doesn’t matter. Your character build doesn’t matter. Your rewards are 100% fucking random. So when you’ve spent five hours grinding out the crucible to collect what only drops there, and for the umpteenth time your winning team gets nothing–or better still, the worst person on your team is the only person who gets anything…, you start to feel that repetition and that makes things not fun for me. That’s why I’ve moved on and returned to Warframe–not that I ever left it mind you.

It is also worth mentioning, most of the gripes about grind and loot is solely regarding the end game experience. I feel the distinction is necessary, as the first 20 levels, gear isn’t difficult to come by and progression is pretty much how you’d expect it to be. I got to 25 without too much trouble before things really started wearing on me and I left sitting at 28 for far too long. I’m not saying that end game content needs to be easy, but it can be quite a shock of slowdown when you start pouring house into aquiring better legendaries and all the materials you need to upgrade them. When you’re now relying on a random roll to determine your progression, it can get really daunting. Some people dont’ care about end game stuff and just do campaigns or PvP, those players will likely be just fine.

Destiny is not a shit game, despite what a lot of haters say. It’s something that should be purchased with caution, because it certainly isn’t for everyone and if you expected loot to rain from the heavens, you’re likely going to be in for some disappointment or at risk of a stroke. There is a lot of room for growth and there are some areas that could do with some changes, but it’s still young. WE’ll just have to see what happens.

This is probably all I’ll say regarding Destiny until my return or there’s some crazy news or shit happening. There’s enough shit on the internet about Destiny as it is, but I felt I needed to at least wrap up my thoughts on things. It’s been quite the roller coaster ride, but honestly, I don’t miss it at all. I’ve been a lot happier, less enraged, and haven’t been needing meds since I quit playing which is good for a squiddy’s health.

Warhammer 40k: Space Marine.

If it isn’t already known, I am a Games Workshop fan. I say this, because I have collected and played many an army in their entire line of miniature games. ENTIRE. This includes Epic 40k, Blood Bowl, Battlefleet Gothic, and their skirmish-oriented games. I love the 40k universe and I enjoy reading the comics and novels put out. Their video games have mostly been pretty awesome in my opinion with the Dawn of War series ranking highly among them all. Space Marine gave me many moments of fanboy nerdgasms as I slaughtered hordes of Greenskins. Seeing that Titan did things to me, too.

I didn’t get into the multiplayer experience. I don’t even know if it is still available or if anyone plays, so I missed out on more fun with that. I enjoyed the story, but I cared mostly about slaughtering orcs. I just couldn’t move on from the satisfying violence. The environments were fun to navigate, too, and it really felt like you thrown into a 40k campaign. I could envision how I would make some of the terrain for myself.

The only complaint I have is the hanging ending and no sequel for resolution. Outside of that, I can see myself playing through this again in the future. I need to pick up that PS2 title in which you play a Tau. Fire Warrior, I think it was called.

Asura’s Wrath.

This is the best thing I’ve played this year. Hands down. Holy fuck what a weird story, but kick-ass action! The art style looked a bit smudgy, dirty and I didn’t like it in the beginning, but I quit caring after I got into it. So much fun. I will go back and finish it up to unlock the other endings some day. Whenever the day comes where I can handle its awesomeness again.

Last year, I got through 57 games and Sleeping Dogs was the best of them. Yes, I will get the HD beautificious release on PS4 eventually. It’s too bad-ass to pass up. Asura’s Wrath is likely going to take the crown of my best game played this year unless I quit being lazy and run out and get Bayonetta 2. We’ll have to see.

Fairytale Fights.

This is more of a novelty thing I wanted on premise than anything else, and it played that way. It’s controls aren’t the nicest sharing a play model with dual-stick shooters, and the jumping mechanics would often have you killing yourself, but I can’t say it wasn’t satisfying butchering things with unusual weapons. The campaign felt way longer than it needed to be. It didn’t take long for me to feel done with the game, so it lost some enjoyability as I ground out the last few chapters.

Killzone via HD Collection.

It has been a long, long, long time since I last played Killzone on my fat PS2. I had remembered liking the game for the unusual sci-fi story it had and I liked the Helghast. They made me think of nazi aliens, which is weird, because helgast is old icelandic which I found in a dictionary: “af-gøra (-ða, -ðr), v. to do amiss, do wrong (ek hefi engan hlut afgørt við þik); -helgast (að), refl. to become unholy, to be Profaned.”

Anyway, playing through it again, it felt pretty dated. I still enjoyed it, though. I have fond memories of the game and that seemed to keep the taint of age from ruining things. That’s not always the case with me, and sometimes some elements really get to me like graphics, voice acting, and controls. I’m happy to have played through it again and have been working on the PSP, Liberation, here-and-there which I will complete before moving on to Killzone 2.

Fowl Space.

This PC platform game I purchased for less than a dollar during some Steam sale a year or two back. It looked entertaining enough and was cheap enough. Yeah, that was terrible. I know. Anyway, the game was quite foul indeed with a fair amount of malapropism. In fact, it was so thick with it, I couldn’t stand it and it lost its amusement. Ignoring the crudeness, as a platformer, it had a nice visual style, simple enough controls, and decent level design. Despite the price I paid, it still wasn’t worth it. My enjoyment lasted only the first few stages before it became tired.

Super Mario 3D World.

In the recent years, I’ve grown tired of Mario. I like him. I want to keep liking him, but I have played Mario games since my childhood and I started getting tired of it. My all time favorites of the series have always been a toss up between Super Mario World, Mario 64, and Super Mario All Stars for prettier nostalgia’s sake. Super Mario 3D World is by far the best Mario title I’ve played in a long time and could very well replace Mario 64. I got hooked into it very quickly and the levels were just about the right length to hold my attention, especially going through the completion process. It did get annoying when seeing your own Mii as a ghost go through the level, as my eyes would track onto her instead of my character and I’d end up dead. I also grew tired of seeing the poo and fart jokes posted during the scoring screen. Ugh.

It really felt like a more classic Mario experience and that’s what I’ve always liked about Mario. It felt like a tribute to Mario 64 and Super Mario World and I nerded out playing this game religiously for a long time. I would 100% complete a world (including getting my all character playthroughs) before moving on to the next one the following day. The game also had some nice elements of older titles including a luigi version of the original Mario Bros. arcade game which I had the NES cart for. I hated those ice shards that would freeze a platform. I’d always slide into crabs.

There’s familiar music from several old titles, good use of 8-bit artwork like seeing an old 8-bit mario sliding through a pipe, and a lot of gaming elements reminiscent more so of those old games. It’s a real feel-good, happy, Mario nostalgia experience and that’s what makes it so great for me. It’s the first Mario game since 2006 when New Super Mario Bros was released for DS that had me going back for more. It’s no surprise, really. New Super Mario Bros was the return of side-scrolling Mario and brought with it more nostalgia fuzzies for me. I enjoyed Super Princess Peach, but not even nearly as much.

I’m glad I dusted off my WiiU to play this.

Deadpool.

I had wanted to play this game for a long time, but just never sat down to doing it. I finally did, and holy crap it was a fun ride. I wondered how Deadpool the game would be. I am a fan of his character and enjoy reading him when he’s written well and this game really captured him well. It certainly felt like Deadpool and it had such a preposterous plot it was believable within the context. It IS Deadpool after all.

The combat was enjoyable, but I hardly bothered with any of the upgrades. I got through the game with just the first set of weapons and spent everything else on upgrading just those beginning weapons and the general ones. I expect there to be more of a need for delving into the other stuff on higher difficulties, but I played it through quickly just to get the story and I loved every minute of it.

I will always feel sorry for Cable. Always. It was good to see them together again.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Edition.

I completed the game as a Crusader back in August and have been sinking a great deal of time into it lately. I have all classes at level seven and my Paragon level is in the 90s. I’ve been enjoying the end game experience in this, as it’s shared amongst my characters. The only thing I need to worry about is gear and I’ve been enjoying grinding rifts, especially greater rifts, for legendary gems and gear. It is quite fun, and in the beginning I mentioned Path of Exile being my premier Dibalo-successor over this and how I preferred Torchlight. I still stand by Path of Exile holding that position for the most basic reason in that Diablo 3 is not Diablo 2. Well, yeah. It’s not. It’s more accessible, it’s less confining and easy to manage multiple builds on one character, the apprentice system and nemesis system are fucking cool, and the randomization helps freshen up the grind as if slaughtering hordes of evil could ever get old.

Diablo 3 is the best thing I’m playing on my PS4 right now. I’m addicted to unlocking all the banner elements by completing the challenges. It’s been great fun and I’ve bummed around with a lot of cool people in random multiplayer sessions. As hellaciously slow it’s been grinding out keys for infernal machines to get what I need to craft Hellfire sparklies, I’ve never once felt any rage not getting a key to drop from the keywardens. I still get stuff amidst the junk that I can use. Grinding out Forgotten Souls from rift guardians can get slow sometimes when I get legendary gear I want to keep for others, and I must admit I am starting to get annoyed I can’t seem to roll a socket in Band of Whispers for one of my other legendary gems, but again–I still get stuff. Even when that big, bad, boss explodes into loot that turns out to be a big pile of crap, it’s still exciting to see. My friend who quit Destiny still goes into shock when he finds an unidentified legendary item. It makes me chuckle. I must admit it is a bit gratifying, not as gratifying as my Warframe progress, but still puts a smug smile on my face.

Warframe.

And speaking of Warframe, a lot has transpired. We are on update 15! We have Archwing! You need to be of mastery rank 2 to take on the quest, but when able to, your reward is your very own Archwing for flying about space shooting shit up and it is a lot of fun. If you are to quest for Limbo, you will have to get your Archwing and get that thing properly ranked and modded for you must have an archwing to do the missions and they’re high-level and challenging. The reward is worth it. I’d classify Limbo as an advanced frame as it requires more thought, more strategy on use than most of the others and many of the people I’ve encountered playing him don’t know how to fucking use him and annoy the rest of the team. Why? His powers focus on displacement. He can banish enemies into the void. While there, they can’t hurt you and you can’t hurt them until the power wears off and they return. This is true for Limbo, however, he has powers that allow him to enter the void where he can deal increased damage to them. Also, when he’s in the void, only things also in the void can hurt him. Everything else can’t. It makes a great utility power. He’s got a learning curve and it requires some thought to use with most of his powers working hand-in-hand. It also helps if your team understand how they work, then you don’t have people wasting ammo trying to kill something they can’t damage, because lots still do that.

Back to Archwing, there aren’t many mission types. There are two types of Extermination, A sabotage, and Interception. Grineer extermination is more open space with some debris useable as cover. Corpus Extermination is more of a trench run. Sabotage is a trench run to the power core where you must shoot a bunch of nodes in order to expose the core. Each node triggers a laser, so by the time the core is exposed, you’re dealing with manoeuvering through a laser spider web. It’s pretty awesome. Interception is open space and what you’d expect. It can be quite hard sometimes.

Nyx Prime recently got added, prior to U15, and a new range of void missions. There are now four tiers of sabotage for people to farm for their prime gear and the mission is the same that ran for their Gatecrashing event. It is one of my favourite missions alongside the Hive.

Also, the new changes got rid of ability mods. All those mods that represented your frame’s power? They’re all gone now and exist inherently on your frame and need not be equipped at all. For those of us that had ranked cards and forma’d slots, we got some reimbursement in forma and fusion cores. Those like me, having every frame prior to that point, were rolling in fusion cores. They took out two mod slots, also, but that still gave me extra to work with on my primary frames. I love this change as it adds to your frame’s utility. My Valkyr was Paralysis and Warcry only. I polarized her two other power slots in order to get the most from the build. There were moments where I wished I had hysteria just to be invincible and manoeuvre through the map or just to pick up a downed friend or activate life support in the middle of a shitstorm. Don’t get me wrong, hysteria is a nice power, but when you’ve been in a defense or survival mission long enough, you’ll waste your hysteria punching only one thing and it probably didn’t die. You don’t need 40 seconds of hysteria to replenish your life in an invincibility build, either, but I digress. With the new changes, I at least have those powers at my fingertips should I need them. The other plus is you won’t be getting so many ability mod drops from void parkour treasure room containers anymore. And the squid rejoiced. And the squid rejoiced more when a search function got added to the mod screens.

Ability mods are now modifications to how your frame’s ability works. There is one for Hydroid’s undertow that will enable it to heal allies. Greed Pull will enable Mag’s pull to attract pickups. Ash’s smoke screen can extend to allies with Smoke Shadow. Safeguard Switch makes an ally temporarily invulnerable if targeted by Switch Teleport. These are nice, cool ways to to further customize your builds. All of these are obtainable from Syndicate rewards.

I’m having the most fun with Syndicates presently. I have joined New Loka, The Red Veil, and The Perrin Sequence. I am juggling these three because they don’t really interfere negatively with each other presently. When you join a syndicate, you make a sacrifice of tribute. It is different for each, but the same credit-wise. You will get a sigil which you can place and resize mostly anywhere on a frame’s torso or back. While wearing it, you earn rep for your Syndicate for missions you complete. When you get enough rep, you can pay another tribute to reach the next rank which will allow you to buy a special spectre and new sigil. These items cost rep points. You’ll never decrease rank by spending these points. Buying a new sigil increases your earned rep rewards and is a nice display of your status. It is a grindy thing, but not terrible. Everything you do will earn you rep.

Once you’ve attained the first rank, you’ll get special Syndicate alerts that reward you in higher amounts of rep. Of course, gaining rep in one Syndicate will cause you to gain notoriety in two other syndicates. There are two levels of negative ranks for every Syndicate. When you start hitting these, you will be hunted by them. You can look at every faction and see your rep and see what each offers and what will hunt you. There’s no surprises in that, really. Provide you can read and bother with the simple research, you are made fully aware of what you’re getting into when you decide to join a Syndicate.

How these hunts work are just like any other: you will be in a mission, lights will flicker, the faction hunting you will begin to taunt you, and then whatever it is will suddenly appear and attempt to kill the shit outta you. I must say they have been the most harrowing experiences I’ve had to deal with and they are not nice and not easy to deal with because you are dealing with a group of something. If the hunted person has hit rock bottom with a faction, it becomes a much larger and nastier group. It’s fucking cool and great fun and once you’ve hit those negatives, there is always a threat of something coming after you. HOw often does it happen? As often as everything else. They will strike when you least expect it and most likely when you are unprepared.

The other Syndicate items you can get include a nice shiney 5-pack of a particular Tier 4 key. Each syndicate has only one type of key for purchase and if you don’t want to grind three waves of interception for a random T4 key, blowing a chunk of rep for 5 is a good deal. I chose my Syndicate group carefully for these keys types for what I need prime gear wise personally and what I have success in trades. My kid brother went the same route as I picking rival factions so we’ll have between us access to everything.

Syndicates have the ability mods I mentioned and also weapon specific mods. New Loka offers a weapon augmentation mod called Winds of Purity. It is for the Furis and adds life steal and Purity. What is Purity? The easiest would be to consider it an uncontrolled charged limit break. As the weapon is active, Purity causes affinity (xp) gained to fill a meter. Once that meter is full, the weapon does something. In the case of Winds of Purity, it discharges a radial attack dealing 1k corrosive damage to baddies around you and you will be restored 25% of your max health. This only works on the Furis, not Afuris or Dex Furis. These mods are that specific. There is one for the Burston Prime that increases fire rate and Truth. Truth being the Arbiters of Hexis’ term for the limit break meter energy charge thingy. For the Burston Prime, it does the same radial attack, but toxin damage.

I have no doubt that there may be special weaponry added to the syndicate offerings, or even frames, and I’m excited to see how it all goes. The plus side, is everything is tradeable. I would like the Burston Prime weapon augment from the Arbiters of Hexis, but there’s no way I’m gonna grind them out for it. I’ll have to rely on a trade and I’m happy I’m even able to do that.

Another great modification that’s been made is a more useful, cleaner profile screen that will now show you what assassin marks you have: Stalker, G3, Harvester. There’s no doubt whether or not you’ve got a mark when it’s been weeks since you got that threatening mail.

Of course, an older change was real PvP in Dark Sector conflicts. Now, that’s a fucking blast! Your clan strategist even is able to modify the map placing defenses and spectre regimens to really provide a unique experience each time you take part in a conflict. You never know what you’re getting into when you dive into one.

I haven’t been doing too much on the Archwing front. I’m trying to collect my last Kubrow and last mods for him, but it requires destroying 200+ dens on a map that might have five or six, so it can feel slow, though it’s so low level I solo that extermination shit in less than five minutes. Yes, I have better chances if others do the same thing, but the missions tend to take longer.

Also, I’ve my container mod collection to complete. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, there are mods only available from void containers and more easily found in the secret treasure rooms that are parkour puzzles. There are some other secret containers that can be found in void missions, but there are more to be had in the treasure rooms and they are fun to do.

That is what I’ve done and been doing the past couple months. I would have liked to have sat down and rambled about these things and whatever else came into my squiddy brain, but a big blob of text amassed over several days will just have to do for now.

Happy gaming!