Monthly Archive: December 2017

And Then There Were Three : EQ2

I have spoiled myself with gaming time this holiday season. We often go on vacation during Christmas holidays but due to work and child activities/commitments we could not this year. The family decided to literally take three days and sit in our pyjamas at home, with a roaring fire, cheesy Christmas movies, and lots and lots of takeout/delivery food to eat. It was the closest thing to being lazy on a beach – minus the sun of course – but we kept the heat very cranked. It was glorious in it’s own, special way. My first goal was to complete the Kelethin story line – and I was not disappointing by the plethora of housing items as rewards as I played along.

(with all of my picture posts, you can click on them to expand to full size in a new window)

In the “old days” of MMOs  (wait – isn’t EQ “the old days”? Am I back to the future here? Time capsule? either way..) Quest rewards were a bit of coin. In the newer, old days they were clear upgrades. In EQ2 you get those upgrades AND something pretty/cool to put in your house. Don’t believe me? I was more excited for the hanging luinescent florets than the Sorcerer’s Bracelet above. Sure, I could kill things easier, but hanging things that glow! That is a true adventurers reward!

Not to be outdone Tuathil gave me a bookcase. I was truly happy for this as I had collected several books and had no where ideal to place them. Sure, I had some tables and boxes but not a proper bookshelf. Even better with this reward is that there was no gear upgrade to accompany it. Unless you could equip a bookshelf to swing furiously against enemies. And while I was enjoying the housing aspect of EQ2 I was even more excited to where my adventurer was heading. Crushbone.

I had mentioned before how much I loved Crushbone from Everquest. It was my standard leveling stop. I knew I would visit Crushbone eventually in EQ2 – I could see it clearly labelled on the map – so as I went from quest to quest it was always there as a reward for me for being a stout little adventurer. And here I was, at the gates of it, finally. Of course, one just doesn’t waltz into Crushbone – no! One must do all the quests surrounding the entrance first. Of course that wasn’t true in EQ  but here, in the new guided experience, it was.

The entrance to CB was always a mess in EQ. You had trains going in, and trains going out.  You would often barely escape one train by zoning through only to get crushed on the other side when the loading screen completed. This is where the name Crushbone comes from, I am certain. They have fixed that in EQ2 with a non-loading tunnel that is far longer (and safer) than the original.

The Orcs have also done some housing quests of their own, I see. I wonder how many adventurers they had to kill to get the “Orc Masthead – can be placed in any lair type” item.

EQ2 always plays on the nostalgic heart strings – and it works. The ORC belt quest was one of the first quests I ran in EQ. And every character I had that levelled through the elven zones ended up doing it. Heck, I did it on the progression server to great effect. In EQ it was a repeatable quest, not so in EQ2.

Not to be outdone they also added in the harder, upgraded quest of Orc Shoulder pads. Development of this game must have been easy peasy. Now fueled by nostagia, but I wonder at the time of launch if people were bored of “the same old thing” ?

There was an odd and comforting familiarity to entering Crushbone. It was always an open air dungeon of sorts – and the buildings in the background and wide open areas in between promised me farmable mini bosses, challenge, and “camp checks”. Except no one was in this zone except me, so I had all the bosses to myself.

Except I only found one and he did not drop the Shiny Brass Shield. At least, not in the 4 or 5 times I killed him. The timing was off in CB unfortunately – while the outdoor areas were easily soloable by the time I got there the gear was tuned for low level groups who skipped the quest line and went in as a team. I was level 21 and here level 10 gear was dropping. Still, the nostalgia factor was more important than the actual loot here. One big change in the new and improved leveling experience was that Castle Crushbone was it’s own zone. I went in and tried some soloing but it was truly dangerous for my level and I know I’d want some extra levels to fight there more safely.

I finished Kelethin at level 21 and was given a horse for my troubles. I wish I had the horse a bit earlier as Kelethin is a very big zone, but I still got by. There wasn’t a breadcrumb on where to go next and I was worried I missed something (I very well may have), but I had Google as a guide and it recommended Butcherblock. Which wasn’t the standard levelling swing in the old days but it would do. I took a Gryphon there and decided to take a break. Kelethin had a nice story to it and I was glad to have completed it, and the bits of EQ sprinkled throughout also made the experience a bit more satisfying. What to do next? I remembered a wise, old (?) blogging mentor once told me “there are so many leveling paths in EQ2 you could level several characters and not see it all, young padawan” (misquote and added a bit of style to it). That sounded good. What did the Frostfang Sea hold for me?

And just like that I was level one again. And a Paladin. Since I had a caster type I wanted to try a tanky type and I always aligned well with the theme of the Paladin class in many games. They were always alts of mine – but the stalwart defender of the weak style is how I like to live my life. I may have oversold that a bit.  Off I go again!

I did enjoy questing through the chain in Frostfang but sometimes it is the little things you appreciate. Such as having a potion to turn into a Manta ray to get to quest destinations faster. I also appreciated that when I was swimming around in the sea that the developers had placed mobs in the oddest of places – but it gave the zone and area life. Sometimes it is the little things.

And just like that, before I knew it, I was level 20 again. With more keys on hot bars than I could properly manage and a compelling and fun story line (albeit standard MMO fare) I decided to explore non-prestige housing, New Halas style. It was very quaint and cozy. Small Gallery below.

One thing I wish I had found – and it probably does exist if I searched for it – is a fire. I have fireplaces in my homes but no fires. I need to figure that out. The second experience was much quicker than the first to level 20 – and I ended up finishing the zone right at level 20 (the timing was impeccable) but I did the starter island first on my Gnome and spent WAY more time on housing. I was able to get the Paladin to level 20 in a single day.

Here my curiosity got the better of me. I mean, the “good” guy experience was pretty good. No spoilers but I really helped Kelethin and New Halas. What were the bad guys up to when I was doing all of this goody-two-shoe work?

I needed to find out. “Evil” races don’t normally resonate with me from a story perspective. Yes, my first real main in EQ was a troll warrior – but there was no story for me to be shoehorned into. I was the gently giant and quickly left my hometown in search of people who would understand me and that who I could protect. I became friends with Gnomes, Elves, and even Halflings! I find playing evil races in the new, quest-guided mmo experiences normally out of character for me and I have to do things I don’t want to do to progress the story lines. I picked a Dark Elf because they are often more worried about killing each other than the innocent (well, okay, usually both, but I am reaching here) and while Greater Faydark was all about learning what was poisoning the land, and the Frostfang Sea about how the Orcs were invading – Darklight Woods was about ensuring the current power structure was kept in place. Very Dark Elvish, I was not disappointed.

I chose a healing class – because I already had a tank (plate) and caster (cloth). EQ2 is very bad at explaining classes (as are most guides on the internet). The Fury (which I chose, which I had never heard of) was very satisfying. It was a druid style class (leather) that had offensive and healing spells. Could shapeshift (Wolf, Tiger, Lion – so far) AND could also charm a pet. None of the cool things (shape shifting, charming) were explained at character select. And Charm Creature seems to work on anything living – including people. Basically I have a healing melee enchanter, or something like that, and it was very satisfying and super fun to play. I wouldn’t have known this by reading the tool tips and didn’t fully realize it until I was in my mid teens. Am I going to have to play all 25 classes to level 20?

Much to my surprise I may have a new “main”. The heals, the forms, the charming – it is kind of like a druid and enchanter all rolled into one. Although the charm doesn’t last as long and due to the buffing mechanics you can’t have all of your self buffs up and charm at the same time (there is some sort of mental capacity cap). I don’t want to speak too soon, however, as I have one more mission to do.

I need a scout class (chain) that can adventure in the Timorous Deep. I was leaning Swashbuckler as I love the idea of being a Musketeer, but they are a “good” class. I don’t want to have to worry about positional requirements which excludes Rogue (soloing with those requirements usually means I am in front of the mob, not behind or the side) so that leaves a Dirge, Ranger, or Troubadour as the primary candidates. Is there any secrets I should know? Much like how the Fury was an incredible surprise on capabilities, I don’t want to miss out on a cool class or mechanic because there is not a good explanation on them at character creation.

Thinking Dirge, which has great self buffs as a melee Bard. Any other recommendations?

Home Alone : EQ2

I asked about housing in prior threads to Bhagpuss and Izlain, and finally I decided to jump right in. Firstly because I was getting a bunch of housing items that was taking up precious inventory space and secondly because I checked the /claim rewards and I indeed have a Mistmoore Manor prestige housing reward as the 7 year gift. Prestige housing has no upkeep so what did I have to lose?

A full day, apparently.

I of course have not fought in the EQ2 version of  Mistmoore although I did in the EQ proper version. Thus, I had no frame of reference to what is normally in each of the rooms. I dind’t love the colors and all the checker patterns and at first I found that there wasn’t a proper bedroom. So I started setting up my bedroom in what my best guess was the throne room. I put the bed in, and a table, and a map on the table, and the candles on the corner of the table (which lit things up beautifully) and finally a small jar of honey on the other corner. I might get hungry reading that map. After those few, small moves I was hooked. You can scale, twist, turn – so much customization.

The second fun thing I learned is that some are interactive. Rubbing the bottle took me to a genie themed area, where, I have no clue, but I went and interacted with some NPC’s and learned some lore. I had to exit back to Antonica and run my way back to the prestige housing zone in (before I learned you could access your house from your character screen. Upon re-entering my Mansion I made a wrong turn and discovered there was a whole other wing! In this wing I found there was a better room for a bedroom. I am not sure why the bedroom is the most important room for me but it probably has to do with needing a place to sleep. By that logic, I should find the kitchen next.

Another interaction was with an Orb, and staring into it prompted me to concentrate further, and once more concentrated (ie: do it again) it would open a window into a different land. This was a different view the two times I did it – and the game warned me to be cautious. I don’t think I can travel through the window – it may have just been a view. Below is a gallery of my adventures working on my first house.

Of course, after all of that effort and time I looked deeper into my Veteran rewards and lo and behold there was a prestige housing – Starter Island. Yup, my own freaking island! Bhagpuss had mentioned this before but I wasn’t sure if I had qualified. The /claim section was in Alphabetical order – but not sequential. For example, it Goes Veteran Reward 1 hour, then Veteran Reward 10 years, back to back. It would have made far more sense to have them in sequential order – at least the annual ones. Still, there was an island, and since I did not love the Mansion I picked up everything that I had just done for a fresh start. I remembered there was a mage tower-y thing on the starter island which felt like a much better fit for my Enchanter – plus, hey – who doesn’t want their own private island? Bonus for me was that had a basement that felt VERY bedroom(ish). Plus, fire, and a pond – where I put all of the cool little things I had collected. Finally, I had a space I really liked! I setup my desk very similarly to how I did originally, including the pot of honey, in the top of the tower. I used the basement for beds and other items, and the pond of various treasures.

Bonus to the island is NPC plushies so I put animals and mobs throughout so I wouldn’t be quite so alone. The Gallery below shows all sorts of angles and pictures as I built out my homestead.

In the end I took all the Veteran Rewards with housing items and placed them all. Even the cheesy pirate flag. Now that I had a home it was back to adventuring for me – and looking forward to collecting more items and tidbits to continue to personalize my own very small slice of Norrath. No matter what people have said about EQ2  the housing system is really fun and I spent a full day sorting through it – just with what I had found in the world and from various annual rewards. I haven’t read a single guide but sorted through enough of it on my own to really enjoy it. I don’t know how much deeper I will get into the housing but I know whatever trophies I find out in the wild I will definitely place there. The other bonus of the Veteran Rewards was finding a lot of free and large bags – no more worries about running out of Inventory space.

You are welcome to come visit, if you like.

Cup Runneth…

Over. Definitely Over.

I’m a lucky person in pretty much all areas of my life – professional, personal and digital. It is never lost on me the need and suffering in the world. Still, there is much beauty and hope. You just have to believe. And act.

In my online world here, at I HAS PC I have more posts to write than ever and I wanted to thank you for visiting, reading, and being a part of this site. I never wanted to have any sort of impact here I just wanted to be able to say that I am a small part of someone’s daily or weekly thoughts as they digest what I write.

It’s a hobby I enjoy but made all the better by those who stop in and say hi.

Best to you and yours this holiday season, and hell, to the world in general. I hope we get more right than wrong in 2018.

Chris / Isey

Everquesting 2

This was supposed to be a level 1-15 post but I didn’t quite get there last night and was too tired to continue. In it’s wake I do have an EQ2 levels 1 to 14 post that will just have to do. It is almost as good, I promise you! I can’t say I am wholly surprised but I have been really enjoying my time in EQ2. The quality of life changes from EQ1 (and no doubt, from itself, over the years) has been great. One of the big things you always had to be ready for as an Enchanter (ahem, sorry, Coercer – I will never get used to calling myself that) is when your charm prematurely ends. This is normally during a very hectic pull when you are low on life and you have to think fast, react, and use stuns and mezzes to get the mobs under control quickly – including your ex-friend. As a cloth wearing caster some of my best memories are pulling myself from the brink of death on a charm break. The opportunity to have to rescue yourself from over extension was fun. That is gone in EQ2 as I have a handy, 8 minute timer to watch after I cast charm 2. And to be even more concrete about it the whole screen flashes brightly when charm breaks. Still, as a solo player I appreciate that.

8 minute charm timers are handy when your charmed target has bigger poops than your size

I read I should stick to caster mobs as charmed targets but I don’t think it matters that much t this low level. I enjoy certain “pets” due to look. Running around Kelethin win an Orc in tow seems like the right thing to do. I loved having this gigantic bear as my friend in Greater Faydark. Sometimes I just pick the closest one for convenience, not form or function. The questing has been as expected and I am really enjoying my run up to entering Crushbone. Crushbone was one of my set leveling zones in EQ1 and even when I went back to the progression servers I spent a lot of time farming the Shiny Brass Shield (SBS) as a force of habit. The familiar naming conventions to new spaces is still a hit with me – I just hope there are side bosses I can farm rare loot for in CB when I finally get there. The first time I went into Crushbone as a young gnome in EQ1 was a treacherous journey with a skilled group. Now I just run through and aggro mobs without fear. Again, modern conveniences that I appreciate.

the tree, the tree, the tree is on fire

I am still largely lost on the systems outside of the questing. I keep getting AA points but haven’t spent any – I don’t think. I believe they may self assign? There is a lot of confusion in a decades old game when you haven’t experienced it the first time through. I have close to a dozen housing items but not sure where (or when) to start there, so hopefully one of my EQ2 friends comes here and gives me an EQ2 housing starter guide in 100 words or less in the comments (or makes their own blog post about it! Hint hint!). I actually read somewhere that the 7 year anniversary is a free Mystmore Casle house? I should check my /claim. I did play at launch but not for very long.  Still, those things – including crafting – I can revisit and any time.

I do get caught up in grinds here and there – there was one to learn the Orc language by finding 5 transcripts that drop from Orcs. I appreciated the fun text they use for Orc language but moreso curious what the heck they were saying. Especially if I had one charmed. Good news is that there were enough quests involving killing Orcs – and probably many more when the quest breadcrumbs lead me to Crushbone – that I didn’t have to specifically stop my questing for any length of time to get them all. That drop ended up being far rarer than I expected but there was a sense of accomplishment in achieving it. I actually don’t think a single Orc has said a things since I sorted how to understand them. That is probably also a feature.

MMOs are largely more fun when you aren’t racing to get to a game state to enjoy them – which always seemed the case for me with WoW and my raiding days. At this stage I am just playing and sorting things out in game as I go –  I would love – and appreciate – any tips anyone has for me. I still have at least one free boost to 95 it keeps reminding me of but I am going to get there the old fashioned way the first time.

 

2017 In Review – Q1

I haven’t written many “year in review” posts – but I do love the idea of them. If you asked me now what I was doing last January I couldn’t really tell you. Things fly by in life and gaming and I do want to capture what I was playing, talking about, and interested in when it comes to games and this blog. That way, in future years, I can go back and see what the year was like for me and gaming. In fact – I think I will put some effort into going back into prior years and do that as well. I really am curious. For this year I will be breaking it up in chunks (calendar quarters) because I don’t love long blog posts. Small, digestive bits and 11 days to complete them!

January 2017

  • Post Count: 7
  • Games: World of Warcraft: Legion Expansion
  • Themes: Cleaning up old blog drafts, keyboard turning

Mood/Content: Positive AF! January had me levelling up my third character to max level in Legion. I had committed to myself to try and shed myself of the keyboard turning label (only to fail at it). I was away on vacation (Grenada) and upon returning caught up with my three max level characters (Druid, Rogue, Paladin). My “Blogs that feed” Sidebar broke with a WordPress update and I started looking at solutions to fix it. I Killed another pesky 5 posts from my drafts folder but not before talking about them a bit. I started noticing that they had given substantial benefits to alts in WoW – so much so that in a week I had caught up on gear with my Paladin compared to the months I “worked” on my Druid. I discussed how I play games – I insert my real life persona into the character – and wondered if others did the same – did people become the characters in the video games they play, or did the characters become them? FInally I mused on about how Tuesday is a big day in World of Warcraft because things reset and there is a list of chores / fun things to accomplish. WoW had become quite scheduled for me.

February 2017

  • Post Count: 8
  • Games: WoW, SWTOR, Mass Effect (original Trilogy)
  • Themes: Digital Currencies, Time Management

Mood/Content: Having fun! I started paying closer attention to how much time I was spending gaming by installing “Rescue Me” – this was a free app that measures where and how you are spending your time on your computer. Not just gaming, but other, unproductive things like Social Media (etc.). I ended up uninstalling when I realized that ignorance is bliss. I accused Blizzard of manipulating their currency (rightly so) as there is an unlimited supply – they can create as much demand as there is – which should actually drive prices down, not up. Especially because there is no cost to creating a WoW token. I lament even today that I didn’t spend my few hundred thousand on gold on them when they were 25,000 gold each – now closer to 200k. Since it is not a real market, or currency, there is no threat of bubble like Bitcoin. I made fun of Blizzard for not reporting subscription numbers (again, and anymore) and using ‘MAU’s and other, opaque metrics to explain how they are making billions.I stopped playing WoW in Februrary – without fanfare or an explanation. Truth is that I realized with the mid-expansion gear reset and slow trickle of story content I might as well wait until Blizzard “finishes” the expansion and is on hold until the next one. That way I can just quest and get top end gear and see the story to fruition. I now understand that that is now, so I will probably do that in the new year. I reviewd my history with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and started playing it again – no doubt because of the new Star Wars movie. Much to my surprise, I LOVED it, and actually subscribed to get the full benefits, expansions, and experience. I also recognized that as a subscriber I saved around 25% of my gaming time in efficiency (quick travel, speed, etc.) which made being a subscriber even better (and more important). I visited Hoth for the first time in game but really, it was RE-visiting as I loved Hoth as experienced in the movies. I connected how fun it was to visit these places from the movies long before they happened. I finished off the rest of the “original” story content from SWTOR and funny enough it took almost exactly 24 hours. By the end of the month I was done with SWTOR – I needed a break – the story content is heavy and time consuming. I still have 7 or so expansion content modules to run, and I am interested to see the story through. I will revisit in 2018. I got into fights wiht EA again over a banned account for a cancelled credit card they won’t let me fix or pay for, and I replayed the Mass Effect Series in anticipation of the launch of Andromeda. Those games did not age well and the power of nostalgia for Mass Effect ruined Andromeda, really. It was sad that the  memory of the games – which, in replaying, were pretty bad as standalones – outstripped meaningful judgement on the new entry.

March 2017

  • Post Count: 7
  • Games: Mass Effect: Andromeda, The Secret World : Legends,
  • Themes: My Blogroll, a second Vacation, eliminating the use of the ‘R’ word

Mood/Content: Cold but happy. February was the start of a campaign in Canada to get rid of the “R” word from our vocabulary, through the #nogoodway campaign. Gamers use that word far too much and I spend a lot of time with people with developmental disabilities and it’s time to get rid of it from our slang / everyday use. I went on vacation and needed stitches on the first day. I pre-ordered and started playing Mass Effect: Andromeda, and was frustrated that most of the negative reviews for the game were centered around the Alt-Right rallying against perceived liberal themes in the game instead of the game or content itself. Not to be outdone the hard left also complained that it was basically a glorification of colonialism. Yes, faces were tired. I finally fixed my Blogroll, which remains my favorite part of blogging – reading other people! I wrote a good piece (Skeptics Guide to Mass Effect Andromeda’s Plot) to help people understand the nuance and depth to what was going on – instead of just reading “fake news” plot holes posts. I fell in love with slow playing Andromeda and really taking in all the sights, sounds, and experiences. And finally, The Secret World Legends trailer dropped and finally, was going to hopefully address some of the longstanding issues I personally had with the game as a faux MMO.

I spent my winter in three big games, and loved all of my time in each of them. What a way to start the year!

So, This Happened : DDO

Dungeons and Dragons Online was a game I pre-ordered. Not-so-secretly I really miss Pen and Paper games. I have no friends who play them, or connections to groups who do, but the one thing PnP games have over their PC variants is active imagination. In PC games whatever happens is pre-programmed. That is very, very limiting.

[10:21am]

Bio Break had a post about the DDO Ravenloft expansion. I remember playing in several campaigns based around the area in pen and paper format and really enjoying them. Looking back on my blog I had already started, and quit, DDO before I had started blogging. And here I am, reinstalling. First and always the fun part is remembering your login information. Which is handy when you have had the same gmail address since day 1. Once retreived, through Turbine, I was pleasantly surprised to see this:

I am PREMIUM! Whatever that means. Truth be told, I don’t remember the last time I logged in. All I know is that I signed up in 2006. That’s amazing, almost 12 years to the month. I am sure that will give me tons of login rewards, points, dragons and whatnot when the game patches up. I am really going into this blind. My last, fond memory of DDO was my Paladin hitting level 9 (I think). I am putting that guess up here right now to see how right (or wrong) I am when the game is patched up (this is currently happening while I type. I figure a ‘live blog’ version of my re-entry into this game would be fun.)

[11:02am]

Launching the patcher, this took me quite by surprise:

Uh, Daybreak End User Licence Agreement? Isn’t it Turbine? I accessed it through my Turbine account. I don’t even remember reading Turbine selling this to Daybreak, but then again, I think they are just partnering. Ugh, OK, a bit confused although I feel like I know the answer and am just having a case of the Monday foggy-blues. (For the record, I am writing this on a Wednesday). Of course I agree, and then get the option to download 3 gigabytes of HD graphics, which of course I do. And then I wait.

[11:43 am]

I do see that shared storage is for sale and that makes me wonder what else is for sale. Of course, I don’t even know what is involved in the base game, or anything added since uh, 2006, so no buying for me (for now). Although I really want to see what Ravenloft has to offer I still need to understand if I am even going to play this game. I have time and patience to sort it out. This is both the beauty and wonder of old MMOs that keep going – there is a sense of familiarity and newness all in one. As things patch up I am constantly trying to remember pieces of the game and my memory of it. I really wish I was blogging back in 2006 as I would love to go back and read my thoughts and how they compare. Instead, which is also as fun, will be fresh and new thoughts with a small bent memory.

[12:13 pm]

I’m patched and logged in. Something to say about modern day times when you can think about playing a game, and have it fully downloaded and patched in under two hours. We are spoiled, I tell you. The down side? What server did I play on? I need to log into each one, don’t I…

So I start at the top. Not sure why they are in that order, but I seem to recall the name Khyber – but I am still jsut going to go in order. I am treated to login video that I accidentally skipped when trying to resize the window, and the first sever loads up!

Of course, there is no “back to server select screen” I have to close down the game and re-patch, and re-log in. Convenience was not important in 2006, apparently.

The second server I have success!

Well, sort of. That is definitely a character, but not the character I remember playing. I knew it wouldn’t be so easy. Still, finding a character feels like progress! Onto the next server. Right after I exit, repatch, re-log in.

On the third try, I find my main. Still named Braack (that was from my EQ days) and while my guess was level 9, I am only level 7. That tells you something, doesn’t it? How we always remember things bigger and better than they were? And while I do recall being an elf (or maybe half elf?) I don’t remember making myself a red-head. I never play red heads. Still, ENTER adventurer, and go forth!

Greeted by Maude, “Serving Wench”, in a bar.  A pop-up window tells me I have 28 points to spend and hitting left click to try and pan the camera makes me swing my weapon and leave it out, ready. A glowing hook. It also shows I am part of a guild! I had totally forgotten being a part of Sunder and I am going to go visit the web page to see if they are still alive and kicking. Nice of them to not kick me after 12 years, and no, no one answered my call.

Look at all the hot bars, abilities, potions – so many things to explore and things to try. I am excited to go back exploring.

What a wonderful gaming world we live in.

Things are Looking Up: EQ2, PC Gaming

I spent the weekend thinking about gaming, and playing a bit. I kind of realized that I don’t envy being a developer trying to make games right now. I read somewhere that Battlefront 2 probably “only” sold 1.2 to 1.5 million boxes in it’s first month of sales – and is considered a complete failure. There are not many industries where doing over 100 million in sales in your first month (on a single title) – with Christmas sales and a supporting movie launch on it’s way still – that causes your stock to drop – but welcome to PC gaming and a broken capitalist system. It was #2 just behind Call of Duty on the sales charts.

We had some super hot titles such as Crowfall and Camelot Unchained that have largely fallen off the radar, and depending on who you talk to Star Citizen is either vaporware of the best self-funded perpetual marketing campaign in history. Didn’t Lord British launch a game? Or almost? Is that still in Beta or Alpha somewhere? Fortnite, a Co-OP PVE darling that I funded decided to (very successfully) copy Player Unknown Battlegrounds and finally find a niche they could be successful at. TONS of people are playing Fortnite : Battle Royale. The catch? They haven’t monetized the game mode yet. They launched a paid-for beta for a largely abandoned PVE mode to instead successfully find a niche in a free for all PVP mode that is not monetized. That that shake around your noodle for a bit. Heck, I was largely tempted to buy myself pre-alpha access to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen – except I still don’t trust Brad and Fortnite swore me off of early access titles. Meanwhile, Paladins is in it’s 64th patch of Open Beta and has changed/altered their monetization methods four or five times in 14 months and have finally settled on one – that has their best supporters quitting outright, and most others following them. Despite an outcry to please listen and not ruin what makes their game great – they are not listening and ruining what makes their game great.

Yet, as the title says, I am very optimistic.

It’s the little things – like PCs and NPCs making eye contact when interacting

I visited Norrath again. I do this often in EQ1, but have not in EQ2. I have often updated EQ2 on my PC and thought about it but this time I finally did it, and spent hours. Stalbik was not my first character in EQ1 (That was Fisdib, a Gnome Magician in EQ Beta 1) but he was my EQ Guide avatar on the Rathe server. And instead of making a new character I decided to retrieve Stalbik from the EQ1 Guide only island and give him his first real adventure that does not involve a player camping dispute. He was off and on his way.

Before specifically discussing my EQ2 experiences I have to say that my year in review post is underway as a draft and where I spent all my time gaming this year was a bit of a surprise. Not to spoil it, but looking back makes me hugely optimistic for PC gaming. There are so many long running games that are so interesting and satisfying to play. There are platforms where small developers can launch great games and make money. There are still tons of sequels and big titles for the giant conglomerates to launch meaty marketing yet shallow but satisfying experiences. There is really something for everyone right now. Developers clamoring that if they can’t monetize something to death they won’t build it will only push gamers to games that are fun instead. If you can’t develop a fun game at a decent profit point then learn a new way of developing games. No one feels bad for you that you haven’t mastered the easy way to suck the blood dry out of a big enough fan base.

I should be a big target demographic for gaming companies. I have more disposable income to game with then I can imagine. I almost spent the $1000 on the Pantheon alpha because I have no issue with spending that on games in a year, and I can’t see where or how I will spend that in 2018 with what is coming up. Unfortunately for gaming companies I am a very patient gamer. I don’t mind waiting for 3 days for my next Warframe to be ready. I will pay for the extra slots and customization options though, so Digital Extremes gets my investment. They have found something that is worthwhile for me to invest in. It wasn’t forced either – I won’t spend money on a “you must pay this to be on a level playing field” or “you must pay this or wait!” items. I pay to reward companies for good gaming design that makes me happy. And I’m willing to pay a lot of they figure that out. Unfortunately, it seems many gaming companies are instead focused on triggering consumption habits that players can’t control – taking advantage of their weaknesses. That won’t last long, I am afraid.

Back to EQ2.

I have returned to this blog with the news of my victories! While EQ2 was very new to me it is also very familiar – both by being standard MMO fare with WASD and hotkeys, as well as being the sequel to my favorite game of all time. There weren’t many surprises along my first journey except the voice acting. As funny as it is, I don’t remember that when I first tried EQ2 back at launch. That is actually something pretty stand out that most MMOs still do not do (at least not the ones that I play) and I found myself paying more attention to the NPC interactions because of it.

I rolled an Enchanter because I really enjoyed playing one in EQ2 – sorry, Coercer. I always loved controlling a group of NPCs and making a “friend” of my enemies to fight with me. Here is a short list of thoughts / first impressions / questions:

  • I rolled on Maj’Dul server – I believe Izlain and Bhagpuss are both there.
  • Outlevelled the starting island really quickly, but I was invested in sorting out what was causing all the issues there – so I stuck through the story line to the end although all bad guys were grey to me
  • Impressed with little things – like how on one quest I had to disable totems as a source of infection, and during the last boss fight I had to notice there were also totems there – and that by disabling them it allowed me to damage the final boss. It didn’t prompt me to destroy the totems first, I just figured that out from my prior quest experience. One of those experiences that reminded me of The Secret World questing. Rewarding to solve something on your own.
  • Appreciate things such as quests that start by inspecting random loot – for example, zombie flesh – which leads to a bigger quest if I am willing to farm other pieces of zombies to really understand how they are put together. (badum-ching)
  • Aforementioned eye contact between PC and NPCs when interacting was a no brainer. Especially so as a gnome
  • Is there any reason to NOT trigger a heroic moment when soloing? Seemed like it did a ton of damage? Can you macro that to a spell hotkey, so you hit that and then a spell automatically?

I finished the starter Island and had the boat drop me off at the docks at  Qeynos. Qeynos was special to me in EQ1 although I never made a starting character there or venture within it’s walls much. The Qeynos gates was the end of a long journey for my Gnome pals and I. At launch, Minotaur Axes were one of the best starter weapons and of course they only dropped in Steamfont Mountains. We would farm them, fill up our bags, make the long trek to Qeynos and sell them for handsome profit at the gates. The city is familiar and brings me a bit of joy and a lot of comfort – although it is hardly the same except in name now.

Greeted at the docks, Moyna had an all too familiar style of quest to collect centipede meat so she could continue to fish. I was prompted to go to a nearby Inn to find a room – my new home perhaps? The tutorial kept flashing about housing and every once in a while Daybreak reminded me I could give them money for things, even though I had no clue what things were best or what would be wise to do. The docks were as good of a place to log out after Stalbik’s first adventure and like a creature comfort, I know he will be waiting patiently for me right there for when I return.

Where to next? Who knows! That is the best part.

Paladins – Joining the Dark Side

Paladins is the best small team shooter I have played. In a world of a dominating Overwatch and several fail-(ed)/(ing) Overwatch clones, Paladins stood out as a game holding it’s own. It had a lot of good things going for it – a diverse and fun cast of characters, varied and enjoyable game modes, and most importantly a load out card system that permitted – and encouraged – experimentation of different builds of the same character. I had so much fun playing and according to Steam I played 130 hours of it. That is a lot for me to play a game. I was fully engaged on the official forums, discussing my suggestions for balance, trying to keep a positive community, and generally being helpful and engaging other players. I don’t normally do that in games, but there I was, being a Champion of the realm. (Editors note: That is the tagline for Paladins. “Champions of the realm”. Very clever of the author (who is also the editor) but due to the lack of coverage of the game in Blognation I felt necessary to point that out.).   Funny, my rise and fall of the game (May to August) seemed to coincide with the popularity of the game on the PC – according to Steam Charts.

Why did I stop? I started getting League of Legends syndrome with the game – where good, fair and fun matches were becoming harder and harder to find. When you have limited gaming time you want that time to feel good. Slowly but surely I lost my love for the game and when I started getting uncomfortable with their loot box mechanics  it was time to move on. I did not move to any other team base shooter, just took my crystals (in game currency) and uninstalled. All in all I spent $86.19 on the game and hadn’t spent all of my in game currency when I quit. On a side note, I think you should be able to gift away your currency when you quit a game, but that is a topic for another day.

What happened in August? Why did things start siding down?

  • According to the patch history Patch 56 (August) was when the new, Ranked 2.0 system launched. I wonder if that acted as a catalyst for people.
  • Patch 57 (August) launched a terribly unbalanced Champion (at the time) a sniper with stealth. People were dying on one-shots not knowing where it came from or how to counter.
  • Patch 58 (September) Launched their new VIP system and VIP membership buy in system
  • Patch 59 (September) added Talus, a new champion, but didn’t seem to be an issue
  • Patch 60 (October) added a Map and new quests
  • Patch 61 (October) added a new champion, Terminus, and a third person toggle (that allowed champions to see around corners and surprise attack people without counter-play)
  • Patch 62 (November) added Legendary Class Keys
  • Patch 63 (November) added a new champion, Vivian, who was (by reports) a tanky, high damage champion which was counter to traditional gameplay

Looking at that is death by 1000 cuts. You have a popular game, you start adding unpopular champions, you add new monetization methods, you add in cheese gameplay (third person toggle), and it looks like that the pace and rate of change exceeded Hi-Rez’s capability to keep the game compelling.

Patch 64 is the nail in the coffin. The final thing that will destroy what made this game great. I don’t blame Hi-Rez as they are probably desperate to remain relevant (and profitable) but by all accounts the new system they are launching in Patch 64 has most supporters of the game uninstalling. Players have been discussing, persuading, heck – BEGGING Hi-Rez to not go live with this patch but they are being ignored. This patch has all the same elements as the Battlefront 2 fiasco EXCEPT a more ostrich-like developer. They are launching “Cards Unbound” in less than 20 hours.

Cards Unbound, to the lay-person, non-Paladins player is simple to explain. Take the current card system that every Paladins player loves, that makes the game unique, and replace it with the Star Wars Battlefront 2 card system and progression system. Pure pay 2 win, random upgrade mechanics. The only reason why I know this is because I was considering reinstalling and seeing how the game was doing, but reading about this change and the community reaction has scared me away from that.

Normally, this attempt could be chalked up as a learning experience – except the market – and players – clearly spoke very loudly forcing EA to backtrack on this. So why, in the face of that clarity is Hi-Rez sticking to their guns?

Because they have no choice. That has to be the only reason. Obviously this game is in really dire straits and they are tossing the “hail mary” pass to try and right the ship. Unfortunately, there is a reason why football people call the “hail mary” pass “fail mary” because of the low percentage chance it has of succeeding. The real danger now is that even if Hi-Rez miraculously changes their mind last minute they are losing their core audience, and that is hard to come back from. Unless, of course,  they can replace that audience with enough people that loved the idea of the Battlefront 2 progression system. Does that sound likely?

I wish them luck but am sad and disappointed. It was nice to have a challenger to Overwatch who did something better and unique – but ultimately if the business goals of the company were not being met by the current design of the game they have to tr something different.

Even if that attempt is the exact opposite of what most fans of the game were hoping for.

Blinking and Missing the Moment : Brian Kesinger

The world is a giant, strange place full of good, bad, and everything in between. Most importantly, and often the source of many of those emotions, are people. There are billions of us on this planet and we are all making our own way through our versions of what our lives should be. My point is that there is no way to know of everyone out there, but sometimes you learn of someone – their talent, their gift, their personality, quite randomly or by accident even – and you discover something amazing. This happened to me when I hit a Bored Panda link on Facebook by accident. Until last week I had no clue who Brian Kesinger was. According to his Instagram page  he is a “story artist at Walt Disney animations studios and an Artist for Marvel Comics”. He is also a big Calvin and Hobbes fan, and evidently, Star Wars too. He has mashed up a whole bunch of joy between two of my favorite worlds

#lilkylo #starwars #calvinandhobbes #mashup

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Calvin and Hobbes has always been one of my favorite things. I have the entire anthology and now my 12 year old child is reading them and really enjoying them (which makes me very, very happy!). I linked a comic here once back when the economy was crashing. I want to use them on my new, still boringly white goalie helmet (if I can find the artist to do it!). I even have a tattoo of Hobbes, leaping across my body that I got when I was 15. To better give you insight into how much of a rebel I was/am, even when I was 15 and getting a tattoo done against my parents wishes in the basement of a suspect, older high school student I had the foresight to put it somewhere where I could choose who would and wouldn’t see it. There would be no mistaking a tattoo-viewing without my absolute permission.

Too soon #lilkylo too soon. Etsy commission. #thelastjedi #spoiler?

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Mr. Kesinger has brilliantly merged the two. Any fan of Calvin and Hobbes, or Bill Watterson’s art style (the creator of Calvin and Hobbes!) and more importantly the style and attitude of the former syndicated strips will instantly recognize – and fall in love – with the mashup. He has hit many nails on many heads.

I just can’t get enough. If you look through his Instagram page you will find all sorts of awesome pieces from other genres and popular movies as well – but because I have had a Calvin and Hobbes drought AND the upcoming The Last Jedi movie launch I am only focusing on these ones. If you dig deep enough you find The Little Mermaid, Dr. Who, Big Hero Six, Guardians of the Galaxy, and much more. Heck, even Garfield!

#lilkylo commissions go on sale on my etsy store tomorrow at 7:30 am pst!

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Mr. Kesinger is not selling a book of them (unfortunately) and rightly respects that his works are fan fiction and that he could not sell without prior written permission from Mr. Watterson. Still, I’d pay to buy a book and not so secretly hope that there is some way, shape or form that proceeds from such a sale could go to a needy beneficiary of some sort. Of course maybe I am the only willing buyer but these mashups really pull all the right levers for me.

Happy #valentinesday from #lilkylo. #starwars #calvinandhobbes #mashup

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I’ll link a few more but just a happy way for Calvin and Hobbes, and Star Wars fans, to start their Monday. I’d encourage any fan to stop by his social media and give lots of likes, and loves =)

Poor #lilkylo.

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By @briankesinger #lilkylo

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Sweet dreams #lilkylo. #starwars #calvinandhobbes #mashup #commission #starwarsfanart

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#lilkylo and Darth review the Death Star plans

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#lilkylo is a punk. Color commission using #copicmarkers

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Thank you, Brian. For sharing your talent and passion.

 

Surprise and Delight

I watched the Video Game Awards last night. Well, mostly watched. I had it on my phone while I also had a hockey game on, and was flipping between the Habs game and the Thursday night football game. Still, I was watching it. The reason for my interest was not because I like award shows – I hate awards shows. I think they often are just self serving fluff pieces for already privileged and wealthy people. Every time an actor cries for being the best at pretending to be somebody else (notwithstanding appreciating it is an art form) I want to throw things at my TV. At least the red carpet is interesting – it’s when we get to judge everybody ruthlessly. But I’m not bitter.

That’s a nice explanation of why I was watching – if you watched 30 minutes of the Twitch stream of the video game awards you got a free Syandana (cape, but don’t call it that around Tennos) for Warframe. Since Fashionframe is a thing I thought why not. I could use a new, beautiful flow-ey cape. I’ll post pictures so you can ruthlessly judge me.

Since I love video games, and I had it on anyway, I ended up muting my TV and listening in. There were some not so interesting world premieres of new games coming up, but also, amazingly, this surprise.

I don’t own a Switch and I haven’t played Breath of The Wild (although I have heard great things about it) – but the comments section was BUZZING. Did they really just launch a trailer at an awards show – and then say “ITS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW?” Yep, that was the twist. Watch this trailer and go get the game. I loved it. It’s not very often the video game industry surprises us – well, not in a good way at least. Lots of greedy ‘surprises not surprised’, few ‘surprise and delights’!

A long time ago in 2008 I wrote about how marketing and hype are failing games. I think it is even worse today. Here is an excerpt:

…Make a game. All of the money you would spend hyping it two/three years before release goes towards making the best game possible. That’s right, zero market penetration. When the game is a couple months from release start marketing the hell out of it. At that point to release you actually know the content of your own game and can convey semi-realistic expectations. I say ‘semi-realistic’ because we all know Marketing is still going to make it out to more than it is. The problem with the current Hype Machine is that years before a gamer will get his hands on a game they already have formed an opinion on what that game is, how it will play, and how it would be better if the programmers would make the game the way they would want it. And that is where new games fail.

I know that BoTW is an existing property but it was completely refreshing to see a company try something different outside of our insanely long hype, early access, pre-pre alpha announcement trailers, and general promising the moon but delivering the park down the street. So thank you, Nintendo. Heck, Star Citizen is a permanent fund raising to advertise organization. They may or may not be making a video game in there somewhere as well.

I am still not buying a Switch though. Someone go buy that expansion to reward them for trying something different.

Turns out Epic Games, of Fortnite, also launched an “available RIGHT NOW” trailer for a new game mode:

Maybe this is a “new thing!” I definitely hope so!

Here is my new Syandana, which is icing on the cape with the surprise and delight.

Ultimate Screenshot Mode

(as with all of my pictures in posts, click on it to make it bigger and more perdy. It will open in a new window)

Wow. Just WOW!

I have never been a big screenshot person. I wish I did better at it but I always tend to miss the right moments as I am focused on playing the game and not capturing specific things. As a gaming blogger I need to enbe better at that. Some, such as Bhagpuss at Inventory Full, seems to have an endless trove of amazing screenshots to put into his posts. Heck, TAGN has a whole website dedicated to EVE screenshots and even wins awards (on purpose and by accident) for sharing them. Screenshots are a nice way to breakup the monotony of text in blogging. I have been trying to share more in my posts when I think of it.

Playing Warframe, I noticed there was a weird word under the “appearance” tab of my frame when I was doing some color editing for my skin for my Rhino frame. It said “Captura” and I assumed it was some sort of screenshot for the frame I was working on. Turns out it is much, much more than that. It allows you to load an area and create scenes to take pictures – with a ton of options. Kind of like when they load the dojo in the Matrix. This makes a lot of sense as I have often complained that even my own screenshots of Warframe have my frame taking up big chunks of the screen. I did a little bit of playing this morning with some of the options. First off, the best part, is getting a “free camera” mode.

Here I drew my bow, then clicked “Toggle free camera” and it froze the scene and allowed me to pan around.

While not a huge difference from the first, I clicked “advance timeline slowly” and “hide menu” so you can see my Sentinel rotated around (looking for enemies as he is apt to do) and that introduced a new light source to the picture.

Speaking of light sources – I toggled “3 light setup” and it loks as though it introduced a new light  source from the angle I have the current camera, highlighting the shapes and colors on his back.

and because it’s the holiday season (and because its an option) I changed the 3 light setup to a green fill light with a red rim light to see what effect that would have. Very cool.

Here I messed with the “Field of View” which now gave more to see. Distance and Depth changed the blur factor. At this point I noticed the “Kill Enemies” box at the bottom, and scrolled down to learn that I could spawn chosen enemies into my scene!

The issue I had when I spawned an enemy and toggled off the “free camera” is that they react like normal enemies. They started attacking. I re-toggled the camera and captured this moment that the Heavy Grineer was smashing the floor with an AOE attack. Because I wasn’t too far away.

Here is the other angle of it.  I think the warped effect is part of the AOE damage attack, not sure. This is all very new.

I am amazed, to be honest, and while I only spent 10 minutes messing with it this morning there are 5 base “scenes” you can load (and can unlock more) and this is a game within the game – capturing the minds of those chasing the ultimate screenshot you can just set it up yourself. I do want to learn and read more about it – I’d love to spawn multiple enemies, for example, and show you the Rhino stomp picture I promised. Trouble is my Sentinel attacked and killed this one before I could spawn another – and they spawn the enemies right on top of you so setting up several in a circle might be a challenge.

I think this is yet another brilliant add on to an already wonderful game. I am looking forward to exploring it more. I can’t recall many games having this feature but believe it is a great addition. Does you know of other games that do this well?

The Joys of Ragdoll Death Physics

Dying in Style

Over the weekend I was able to spend some quality time with Warframe. Warframe is great to spend time with. Time flies by, she is very unselfish and giving, and she is just a lot of fun to hang out with.  Several times during gameplay, pretty much with every session, I have moments where I have to pause for a second to admire something beautiful, or something cool, or just a “wow” moment that makes me smile. Skewering soul less enemies is sometimes a part of that.

He didn’t get there by himself

Depending on your weapon and it’s stats some of the hits are ridiculously powerful. A bit crazy, even. That poor Corpus (bastard) above was running away from me up those same steps I am admiring the view from. I took my time, did a full bow draw (for maximum power) and the arrow sent him flying off the steps, to the wall of the cavernous ravine, and stuck him right in there. Shiskebob! Bob.. that’s probably his name too. How fitting. (Anyone wondering about my mental health these days?)

=IF(T1,R1,IF(T2,R2,IF(T3,R3,IF(SHOT IN THE FACE))))

Take this guy. Slumped in a chair. He is (was) probably an accountant, just minding his own business, filling in an excel sheet and then I walk by, notice a simple error in one of his Excel sheet formula and BAM. Dead accountant. Poor Trevor, he should have known nested IF statements is a messy way to build a query. I may have put  him out of his misery though, come to think of it, as that chair doesn’t even recline.

Clearly a Lismer

It’s not just bows that has this kind of impact on chickens accountants bad guys. There is a rifle that launches bolts, called the uh, Boltor, which also has a huge impact. Leslie here didn’t get the Labour Day memo. Punishable by skewering and hanging on a wall like a Group of Seven Saskatchewan Winter Plains painting. For extra Canada reference, this isn’t at the ROM.

Come to think of it, (this is a seque)  Warfront is pretty simple with their naming conventions. Frost is the Warframe that uses Cold. Ember is hot. Volt is electricity based. They do sometimes stray from pretty standard naming conventions but for the most part what you hear/read is what you get. This is true of my next Show and Tell Warframe, Rhino.

Show And Tell: Rhino

I will give you 10 seconds to guess what kind of a Warframe Rhino is. Go ahead, give it a good old college try. Yes, that’s right! Tanky and strong. Here is a cookie.

And here is his video.

Right now I am playing Warframe in two ways. The first, is doing daily missions and relic grinding to level up my new Warframes and weapons. The second is taking on more challenging content trying to finish out my Star Chart (Still 30% more to go there). The first activities I can pretty much get by with any frame, and any sets of weapons. The higher level content is proving challenging and Rhino is my “go to” top level frame. The main reason is his skill “Iron Skin” which makes you basically invulnerable (until you take X amount of damage). It is low cost and I can keep it up pretty much indefinitely. His third power, “Roar”, increases damage to everyone in range for a solid 30 seconds (base) which means groups like hanging out with you – and you can pop Iron Skin, then Roar, and kill everything around you before you take any real kind of damage.

His fourth power, “Rhino Stomp” is just incredibly cool. You stomp (duh) and everything in range pops into the air, but in a stasis mode, so it looks like they are all going in slow motion (still moving). It’s such a cool effect and you can run around melee’ing them all or shooting them all as the slowly float up and back down. It is a sight to behold and never gets old.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of it, and the video (around the 1 minute mark) doesn’t do it justice. I’ll try to remember to get some in my next play session.

Quick Mesa Revisit

Last post I discussed Mesa, and how her damage first playstyle would be great in certain situations – most likely groups – but that as a mostly solo player I didn’t get to see her at her full potential. Well, I did in a defence mission as I finished leveling her up to 30. It was GLORIOUS. My stats were ridiculous – I had double the kills as the next person in my group AND a 98% accuracy rate. In defence missions, especially higher levels, there is a really high volume of enemies all heading towards an item you are trying to protect. This made it perfect for me to toggle my fourth ability (Peacemaker – which aims for you and does sick damage) and mow them down like a remake of the Lawnmower man(woman). Quickly run around, pick up more energy, rinse, and repeat.

Check out that Fire Accuracy

Of course my accuracy is never that high, but combining a high damage auto aim ability with a lot of bodies (dropping lots of energy) and a slow, 10 energy per second drain meant I could literally spam impressive damage for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. Often there was just no one in range to kill.

I am still amazed I haven’t even caught up the main expansion yet. I sincerely hope the destination is as fun as the journey.

Show and Tell : Mesa

Warframe does a few things I love especially – stats. Every weapon, Warframe, etc. tracks kills stats, head shots, melee kills – you name it. They also have stats for overall game performance. You can see below that even pushing 55 hours in I have only completed 145/227 nodes (areas) on my Star Chart. Still another 46% to go before I get to the new game update – Plains of Eidolon – that many are saying is one of the best expansions in a F2P game in a long time. It’s crazy to think that I haven’t even scratched the surface on the game and it remains a shining beacon of the exact opposite of the stunts Destiny 2, Battlefield 2, and the like are pulling in the marketplace. I strongly encourage people to give this game a try – you have nothing to lose and rewarding a developer for making a great game and monetizing it in a fair manner is important these days. As mentioned in my Black Friday post I went on a shopping spree and purchased some nice new Warframes and bundles – and of course, my dear Mesa (pictured below) that I have been really interested in playing.
I really enjoy the fact that each Warframe has a video about them to give you a bit of a taste. This post will be the first of many where I am going to introduce my Warframes, show the videos, and discuss what I like about them. Each video is around a minute long so not  huge commitment. Since I used Mesa in my stats picture above we will start there. One of the most attractive parts of Warframe is that every frame plays VERY differently from one another and you quickly find yourself with several different ‘classes’ that you can use on missions depending on what kind it is. Unfortunately I haven’t found a clan yet so have not been able to build a group based on synergies – it has been randomized through LFG.

Mesa is, in MMO terms, a Ranged DPS class with some utility. Think Hunter in WoW.  When paired with a protective Warframe she can really shine but unless your idea of a good time is “kill things faster than they can kill you” she isn’t a great Warframe for soloing.  Her utility of increasing damage of friends (one at a time) and jamming weapons of enemies has limited use in a group, but her reflective shield is a decent defence mechanism. She definitely has her place for the more active, aggressive player (which I am not). I have enjoyed my time leveling Mesa – and still have 8 levels to go  – but she won’t be my go to frame for solo missions. When I get to be in a tightly knit group – such as defence, mobile defence, or survival – I think those are all good mission types to LFG with this offensive minded class.

Her style is definitely Wild West in space and her animations and gun play are quite fun. She gets an innate bonus to dual wielding pistols (fire and reload rate) so if that is your preferred weapon or style she fits the gunslinger icon perfectly. Her skills do not help her shine in a group setting but the rate and power of how she can take down enemies is definitely group worthy. I suspect in a preset group with someone who can return energy, extending her toggled fourth skill – Peacemaker – could have amazing results. I have used it very effectively in some situations where my team was about to get overrun with infested. Hopefully I can find a clan and better explore that style of methodic gameplay.

I realize that almost all of my frames are Black and White – because the shader pack ‘Shadow’ have the muted tones I prefer. The Halloween one I have makes for some godawful combinations and I think I need to invest in more color packs. This post I did shows a bunch of random color options on my Rhino, to get an idea of the palettes I currently have available.

Mesa looks, feels, and plays like a Cowboy which is the obvious goal with this Warframe. I will use her whenever I feel like that kind of play, but I have other Warframes that suit solo play better, and that bring  more to a group in an unselfish way. (Getting all the kills is selfish, right?). I have always been the “team player” in groups and Mesa is better suited for the one who wants to stand out. Still – was a great purchase and will be the right frame for me when I want to step out of my shell and shoot things in the face.

I hope that last line sounded as poetic in written form as it did when I said it out loud.