This week was an odd one in that I managed to catch some flu-like chest crud. I felt pretty awful most of last weekend, and then struggled to exist Monday and ended up coming home halfway through Tuesday. I chained Wednesday as well, and found myself in that place where I wanted to play something… but anything seemed to require too much concentration. This was after all the week I had early access to Star Wars Fallen Empire, and I did exactly none of the content. I poked my head in a few times to attempt to play my Sith Sorcerer and failed miserably at it. I have a few comments to make about my experiences, but the majority of my gaming time was spent playing Destiny. Apparently that game is largely muscle memory, and I can play it without having to think too much about it.
SWTOR: Fallen Empire
As I said in the intro, this week was the early launch of Fallen Empire the massively game changing expansion for Star Wars the Old Republic… and I barely touched it. I did pop in enough to get sorted out how some of the new systems work. Namely the way companions now exist as being independent of the abilities they use. This means if you no longer have to deal with companions you cannot stand just because they fill the role you want. As a result I swapped to using Andronikos Revel on my Sorcerer, because he loves it when I shock the shit out of NPCs that are not giving me my way. Similarly I would probably never run with a companion that is not Vette on my Sith Warrior, or always run with Kira Carsen on my Jedi Guardian. There is seriously nothing cooler than running around with Kira and feeling like a Jedi strike force, and having her also be a healer… just icing on the cake. As you can tell this is a super important change for me, and I am damned happy to see it go in.
Other than that the other big change for me is the fact that the NPCs are actually labelled as to what type of quest they give you. For example in the above image you can clearly see that this NPC is going to give you the Belsavis planetary quest. This makes it easy to ignore things like the non-soloable heroic quests or flashpoint quests you are not quite ready for… to keep them from cluttering your logs. The other big thing that I noticed was the way that the level scaling works. It seems like when you land on a planet you are scaled to the maximum level for that area, somewhat like Final Fantasy XIV scales dungeons. This means you can overlevel content… but just barely making it a bit easier if you wait for awhile to do a quest rather than doing it when it is on level. However there is never a point where content ever becomes useless to you, which means you can easily go back and farm early content if you are struggling a bit to progress forward. The loss of 12x class experience however means that pretty much to stay current you are always going to have to do your class quests as well as the main planetary story arc. In any case I think the expansion content is going to be enjoyable… if I ever actually play it.
I don’t have a lot to talk about when it comes to Final Fantasy XIV this week, but I did poke my head back in for a few hours. This week was the release of the All-Saints Wake event that serves as Halloween for the game. As we talked about last night, holidays in Final Fantasy XIV are largely the tale of incompetent villains and in this case it is a repeat appearance of the Impresario the mastermind behind the Continental Circus. Over the years we have learned that this is really a group of voidsent that are trying to cause mayhem each year, and we the player finds new ways to thwart them. As cute as the story line is… the reason why you do holidays in games is to get stuff. This year we get the purple outfit that my character is showing off above, a new Pumpkin Butler minion, and for the first time this year an actual mount. We get to ride around Eorzea on a flying broom… that actually does fly if you have unlocked flight in a given zone. The thing I love about Final Fantasy XIV holiday events is that they are adorable, provide awesome rewards… and end up taking only a few minutes to complete rather than being a grindy mess that brings out the worst in players. If you are subbed you should definitely check it out, because while the quest is more enjoyable if you have done the previous years… it is still fairly easy to follow without that ancestral knowledge.
I have some issues with this game, but since I am now in alpha/beta/whatever phase it is and the NDA has dropped I thought I would talk a bit about it this morning. My number one issue is the gender locked classes and the fact that they have very specific styles to them. The Berserker is a guts clone, the Shadow Hunter is a bare chested Bishi-elven alucard like character, the Evoker is spilling out of her dress, and the Cannoneer is a Loli. Out of those options… there is exactly one I can stomach playing as, which is the Berserker. The thing is…. all of these design decisions unfortunately have nothing to do with Trion Worlds which is the company bringing the game to non-Korean markets. As fraught as the classes are… the game is actually rather enjoyable once you get past its slightly odd control scheme. By all looks it is a Diablo clone, but it controls vastly different… and honestly reminds me a bit more of the way skill shots in League of Legends feel. You use your mouse for character facing and then use your number keys to fire off abilities. You can bind an attack to your left mouse button, and I am probably going to do that with my basic attack to make it feel more Diablo-like. What I have seen of the combat is kinda interesting, and the dungeons are really enjoyable. I am just struggling to get past the art direction decisions, because honestly… they make me really sad. This could be a really great game, if it didn’t have gender locked classes and the art design did not seem to be from a thirteen year olds “tee hee hee boobs” mindset. It will be interesting to see if I am still piddling with it by the time the next beta comes around or if I have decided that the game is simply “not for me”.
This week has been almost entirely devoted to Destiny. As I said before this was the game that I could play without having to apply much thought to it. A good chunk of the week was spent working on my Hunter who is now I believe 270ish light level, and all of the way through the TKK content. I cheated a bit and jump started the character to level 25 using the item I got from purchasing the Taken King. I have to say if they want to sell something on the cash shop… I would absolutely buy a second one of these. Going from 25 to 40 was not that bad, but I am just not looking forward to taking my Warlock from 1-25 to get there. This week has also been the resurgence of my appreciation of Auto Rifles. I completely the third Gunsmith faction quest and it ended up giving me an exotic rifle called the Fabian Strategy. This thing is just a blast to use and I love the way it sounds and feels as I rip through mobs. This has also caused me to dust off the auto rifles I had in my vault and I found a few others that I really like, one of which my hunter is currently using.
The other key activity for this week has been running level 36 strikes in an effort to get exotic engrams with three of coins. I found out today that I could be just doing level 20s, but honestly I kinda enjoy the slight effort the 36s provide. They go so much quicker than the heroics, but don’t feel like I am simply steamrolling them in quite the way that the level 20s do. Essentially my pattern has been to run strikes using coins until I get an exotic, then take a break for a bit and do something else. I am also attempting to keep both characters up to date on bounties each day, and my regular farming runs on the dreadnought manage to pay off big time… as I had more than enough Hadium Flakes to get my Hunter his sword almost immediately. The big chore is still trying to increase my light levels, and the most 290 grind is extremely slow. That said it still feels enjoyable because I am seeing a ton of drops in the process. Even though half of the things are going to turn out to be something I cannot use… it still feels good to see drops. Its like the game is giving me hope… even though moments later it is just going to dash them once again when I find out the exotic is another damned helmet.