This is the week where we finally started to see some colder temperatures. Its funny that this has been the case for the last few years… that October for the most part has still be warm and sunny and if we still had our pool open… we probably could have swam in it all month long. We still have yet to see a freeze but this past week it was regularly in the 40s, when the week before it pretty much never dropped much down past the 70s other than the early morning. As a result this means our hibernation instincts are starting to kick into overdrive. We recorded the AggroChat podcast Friday night, which left us with all of Saturday to do whatever we wanted. The end result… is that we pretty much just stayed inside apart from a mad dash out of the house around 4 pm to run a few errands. I am perfectly fine with a weekend like this… my wife however has some inborn instinct that tells her that we if did nothing over a weekend… that the weekend is somehow a failure. Me… I see those as the most wonderful weekends ever.
I had all of these plans to play some themed games for Halloween… but those plans pretty much died yesterday. Instead I ended up working on my Warlock and getting it to 21 from about level 8. I have to say the Warlock is growing on me over time… and I really really like Nova Bomb as a super goes. It is this awesome mix of the way the Havoc Fist super and Shadowshot super feel, where I can deliver death from above… but at a target instead of jumping down in the middle of everything. Having played all three classes… I have to say they have done an excellent job of giving them all something really neat and special about them that makes it rewarding to play. The hardest thing for me so far however has been adjusting to the Warlock jump. It just works so different than all of the others… and while I am starting to get the hang of it… I still have zero desire to do any of the platforming encounters with it. We will see when I get to the dreadnaught if I can figure out how to do the various chasm jumps with it. Hunter is simple… double jump, and Titan is similarly simple… you just have to sort out when you want to hover over your target before you land. Warlock… is just fiddly and annoying and I never can seem to do the sort of jump I need when I need it.
The secret of my success honestly was getting high enough level to where I could break out my Stranger’s Rifle and I plan on riding that puppy up as long as I can. That weapon is just so damned amazing… and I am ultimately going to have to sort out the process for getting the modern version of it. Sadly I don’t have much faction with Future War Cult, which is ultimately required to get the No Time to Explain exotic. As it stands right now my hunter is running up Future War Cult faction, but since I don’t play him nearly as much as I do my Titan it is lagging behind. I did manage to get my hunter up to 285 light, and I can now consistently him 297 light on my Titan. Getting 300 and beyond items just seems to be the problem, and I still decode so many 260ish items that are just trash. While I don’t mind so much if they are weapons… since I am consistently struggling to keep enough weapon parts on all three of my characters… but armor… I have more than enough to share. I want to take a moment to talk about how much I love the Bungie.net website for swapping stuff between my characters, and the fact that you can do it in the middle of a game play session. This is a really amazing feature.. and I have heard there are chrome plugins that streamline this process considerably.
For the last several weeks I have been on this mission to grind as many strikes as possible to get Exotic Engrams… and there was a method behind my madness. There was one weapon in this game that I wanted more than anything else… and that was.. the Zhalo Supercell. From the moment I saw it in a video, I loved the look of it as some sort of futuristic AK-47/Bolt Action Hybrid thing. What I loved more about it was the functionality of being able to chain lightning to all of the mobs around your target. The only problem being… I never seem to get weapon engrams. I get Helms and Gloves… and the occasional Chestpiece… but have pure hell getting any sort of weapon to drop. So you can imagine my excitement this Friday when Xur had none other than the Xhalo Supercell available. The only negative of course is that all Xur weapons start at 280 instead of the 290 that they are usually dropping for me as. I have managed to pour enough stuff into it to get it to 287 which will have to do for the time being. I love this gun, and more importantly I love the way it rips through mobs that always frustrated me. I’ve noticed when the lightning procs… it can hit Phalanx and Knights even if their shields are up which makes this gun freaking amazing. When I wrap up my post this morning I think I am going to stream/record for a bit and talk about some of my favorite weapons currently.
Another huge positive from this week is that one of the Armsday orders was the above Suros DIS-43 Scout Rifle. One of the rolls available had full auto… which makes this gun freaking amazing. It has good impact, solid range and really great stability which makes it pretty much the perfect scout rifle for me. This has now completely replaced Hung Jury in my current weapon load out. My Hung Jury essentially has maxed range which is nice… because I can use it much in the same way as I would a sniper rifle, but the Suros DIS-43 is just a much better all around weapon. I noticed it was available for Armsday orders again this week, and I put in for another one… so hoping that I can end up getting a third one for my Warlock. I have two of these now and they are just excellent. Hoping that everyone managed to get in on the full auto version from this past week because man… I am really enjoying it. My only problem with Suros weapons… is that I really don’t like the Red and White paint job. So this is another case that I would love to be able to repaint my weapons… like if I could put a Dead Orbit paint scheme on this thing… it would be perfect.
Secrets of Grindea
Another title that I played this week was Secrets of Grindea to get prepared for the Friday night podcast. I of course talked about this at length on the podcast, but this is a game where I went through a few different phases with it. At first… it didn’t really grab me. This was my pick for the month, and I largely picked it because some of the game footage I saw reminded me of Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Secret of Mana. The early gameplay however… is kinda boring, and the first “boss battle” on the bridge felt a little uninspired. That was quickly followed up by the Giga Slime boss… which was absolutely brutal to do as a melee character. So I have to admit that knocked a lot of wind out of my sails as far as this game went. I did however manage to pick it back up this week and saw the game that I had not quite gotten to yet.
All I can say is… boy was I wrong to doubt this game. The quests are cute, and a parody of traditional RPG tropes…. without being cruel or slapstick about it. It is kinda a sly nod and wink to the fans of this genre… saying “we know” rather than trying to rub your face in it. We talked about this on the podcast, but this is essentially the game I had wished Citizens of Earth was. It is well written, has some interesting and often times hilarious characters, and presents a world for the grown up fans of the original Zelda games… not necessarily the same audience those games were targetting. The boss fights are really challenging, but each of them have a trick or a pattern that once you figure it out it becomes doable. That said I do think this game might have significantly more challenging encounters than Zelda did, because the above Hydra was essentially the point where the game broke me. After talking with my friends on the podcast… there was essentially a pattern that I was missing that hopefully means I can get in and wreck it now. There was not a single boss that did not take me multiple attempts… other that the first bridge encounter mind you. The game does a great job of check-pointing your progress so you start pretty close to where you died allowing you to get right back into the action and try again. Even though this is early access… I highly suggest checking it out… though admittedly you might just wait for the final version.
The other game that I spent some time playing is Devilian, that was having another beta test weekend. I still have issues with the game, at least in the style of the character classes… and their gender locked nature. That said I do actually enjoy playing it, and I think it is a cool take on a normally Diablo clone environment. It feels like something different, and I find it significantly more challenging already than anything I saw in Diablo. Diablo gameplay felt “cheap” at times… where bosses would just straight oneshot you if you were unlucky or lacked the armor/skills to deflect the blows. This game requires you to react a lot more quickly to things happening and dodge out of the way of incoming damage. I’ve already encountered a boss that I just cannot currently beat, and I am hoping to come back to it once I have picked up a few more levels. I have this feeling that the boss is designed for multiple players to take him down… because he is right there out in the open rather than hidden behind a bunch of mobs.
The game is really damned pretty, and I will give it marks too for running extremely smoothly. I am still getting used to its somewhat quirky control scheme, but it makes sense. If I were in the permanent test group I would probably be playing this more regularly but with only having weekends to play it… it somewhat disincentives my time spent. My ultimate hope is that Trion has more control over this one than they do over ArchAge and that maybe just maybe they can get some of the changes in that will make the game more enjoyable. Like for example the game is desperately in need of some inventory management tools… like sort and compact. It feels so odd to be playing a game without those things at this point. I doubt the whole Gender locked classes thing will ever be solved, because that will mean a TON of art and animation work to get there. In truth, as I look at the other classes… it is highly unlikely that I would play any of them other than the berserker in the first place. I am just not much for ranged classes… and I have zero desire to play a character with a habitually open shirt. In truth I wish there was some sort of a “tanky” character like the Crusader in Diablo 3. That would probably ultimately be the class for me.