Lok’Tar Ogar Mr. Metzen

So it took Chris Metzen retiring to break me from stasis and get me to blog here again. I don’t know if anyone will see this but today I’m letting my inner 12 years old out to thank a man that was rather influential to a little nerd like me.


Now, I know that in recent years mr. Metzen has been a somewhat controversial figure in the gaming community for reasons mostly relating to his stories which have been described as comic book level writing aimed at 12 years old boys with all that it entails. Shallow storylines, objectified females characters and plot holes so deep that they turned into black holes that sucked into them any semblance of sense from the rest of the story.

Of course, he also had his defenders but one thing that everyone seemed to agree on is that he had an energy and passion for the games he worked on that was rarely seen. In many ways, he was still a 12 years old letting his imagination run wild and telling you about all the cool things that were happening. He had an enthusiasm that was contagious and even managed to get me excited about Warlords orcs of all things.

So what about me? Well, back I was …12 years old… I stumbled upon Warcraft and soon after Warcraft 2 and surprise, I got totally hooked. I would play the game every moment I could and I would read the manual with all the cool art (blood!) when I wasn’t playing. I still have that manual somewhere. Later on I moved to Diablo, got hooked again and from that point I was pretty much a Blizzard fanboy.


I’ll keep this short and say that I just want to take a moment to thank Chris Metzen and wish him all the best in whatever he wants to do next. For me, he’s always been that lucky nerd that managed to make his DnD game come to life and I enjoyed that ride a lot over the years. He might not have been perfect but I’m willing to forgive a fellow geek who just wanted to share his fun and exctiment with me.

Doby is free!!!!

It is done… after 71 hours, a break during which I played Until Dawn from beginning to end, and many dead aliens later, I have completed XCom2 on the commander-ironman difficulty. I had highs, lows and moments where I came close to just ragequit (lost a campaign in the very last room) but I prevailed and managed to complete one of the best games I played in a long time. When I did finish, it was with a mixed feelings of elation for beating the game but also for being free of the grip it had on me. Doby is free summed up my feelings pretty well.

I don’t want to dwell too long on the game itself except maybe to tell everyone that Psi-operatives are your best friends for that last mission. Get them, use them and abuse them. I’m also not a fan of the final fight which I feel is way too luck based in a game where everything can go to hell pretty quickly if the RNG doesn’t like you.

That anima weapon grind…    

On the FF14 front, I’m slowly working my way toward finishing the “build a new weapon” step of the new anima weapon grind. I have bought most of the required items at discount by watching prices and I have enough money to buy the remaining 4 Adamatite Francesca when I’ll need them. On the token part, I’m missing 57 tokens which is worth 38760 tomes… a lot but less than the 50k + that I was looking at when I began.

So right now my FF14 playing is mostly doing roulettes and beast dailies to lower that ridiculous number and at the current pace I should be done somewhere in may maybe… wish me luck…

Welcome back to the second update of my Xcom 2 challenge. Last time I was 24 hours in with a game I felt was on the right track. So what happened? XCom happened and one of the story missions went horribly wrong a turn away from winning it. So with a costly failure and a total wipeout of my team, it was back to square one and starting a new game.

Moving forward to today, I’m now 51 hours in and I think well on my way to finish the game with my current playthrough. Before getting there however, I had a lot of messy games where I was experimenting and/or where the RNG was kicking me in the teeth but with my current game I’m more confident. I’m done with research, got a great A-team on the way, full equipment upgrades and now I’m just trying to finish story objectives. It might sound like everything is under control but the aliens are out in full force and the timer missions are getting absurd for the simple fact that with multiple high health/armor aliens going around, it’s hard to move forward quickly. So I’m trying to be super-efficient now and rush to endgame before it gets out of hand.

On the good side of things, I actually had a full team wipeout followed by a failed mission and I was able to recover nicely so I’m not in mortal danger anymore of losing the entire run due to a failure and that’s real nice.

Blog and life things

For the past few weeks I’ve been going through a phase of soul-searching when it comes to my life and gaming in general. Maybe it’s me getting old or something in the air but I’ve been thinking about where I am right now in my life, where I want to be heading, am I truly happy with my choices and so forth. I’m not done with all the thinking and I know I’m not giving up gaming or anything similar but this blog has been on my mind about what to do with it. I don’t exactly want to give it up but this blog was made at a time where I had strong opinions about MMOs and the game industry and I’ve sorta made my mind and my peace with a lot of what annoyed me before. This blog has been very quiet in the last year and it’s due in no small part to this.

I’ll figure out exactly what I want to do soon I expect and I’ll make sure to keep everyone updated here.

Usually I try to go over what I’ve been up to each week in the MMO world and talk about my train of thought. I would have loved to be able to do this this week except that I can’t… because I disappeared into a hole called XCom 2. Since last Friday, every moment I’ve had that I could do some gaming with has been spent with the newest iteration of my obsession. I didn’t think they’d be able to top the first game but they did and now I can’t seem to be able to do anything else but try to beat this beast on Commander/Ironman difficulty. According to steam I have spent 24 hours playing this game in the last week and I still feel like I’m a far bit off from beating it.

Last time I played Xcom on this blog I went for Classic/Ironman difficulty meaning that I was playing the game on hard and wasn’t allowed to reload my game to a previous point to avoid a costly mistake. I figured I could do the same with XCom 2 but it’s turning out to be a lot harder than the first time around. This time, the AI seems to be actively countering your moves and moving to complete its own end-game project which means it’s not just about being able to beat certain tests at certain times like in the first game. It’s harder but I love it.

So where am I progress wise after a week of playing? Right now I’m in my most progressed game and I’m just about to begin the third retaliation mission. I’ve destroyed the black site and another alien facility and aiming to get to the third one soon. Most of my gear is now tier2 and I’m days away from having my Psi training facility up. So there that on the positive side.

On the more negative side, the Avatar project is halfway done and I’m worried that after the next facility I’m going to be struggling a lot with Intel. I’m already short on intel and I’ve got a dark event doubling the costs so it’s not easy going. Team wise, I recently lost two key soldiers and most of my senior officers are recovering from wounds which mean that I have to attempt missions with a rookie or two lately which is less than ideal. However, I have two new sergeants and a ranger made lieutenant so I’m leveling up some replacements but I’m worried that with the missions getting harder I’m going to have too many people on the wounded list.

So right now on attempt 18, getting farther into the game and hoping I’m not going to lose all my team due to a run of bad luck.

Feverish gaming updates

How is it going? Well I hope… on my end I’ve been visited by the plaguefather himself and got a super fun cold for the past week that has left in a that weird haze where you’re not sure of what’s going on exactly. Here’s what I’ve been up to during the those fantastic delirious moments.

The Secret World

I’ve moved on from Egypt first zone and I’m now starting City of the Sun God, the second zone. I still have to run the Ankh, the first zone dungeon at some point but so far no luck, I suspect normal mode dungeons past the first two are rarely run anymore. The first zone was fun enough and I’m hoping City of the Sun God will be as good. So far it’s a bit weird but I’m willing to give it a chance.

My gear is now solidly QL8 and I’m starting to edge on QL9 and 10 so I should be done with the main part of gearing soonish and thus be able to go back to the first zones to clear up missions I wasn’t able to do due to them being for QL10 gear people.

Blade and Soul

That one is a bit of a surprised and I picked it up during a fever induced blackout on Saturday morning. To my great surprise I’m enjoying it a lot even though I don’t think I’ll stick with it long term. It’s definitively a Korean game and I think I’m just enjoying the different cultural setting and the high action fights.  Like all true Korean games though, it’s highly rng based and there’s a good amount of grind to be found. Still, it’s a nice distraction.


I’ve been slowly getting back into the game after a friend of mine started playing recently and it’s been fun so far. My focus is mostly on the new anima weapon grind and I’m now on the “gather a ton of tokens and mats” part of the current chain which is the last one available for now. But what a grind it is, it’s right up there with the dungeon drop part of last chain which was pretty insane. This time you have to gather 80 tokens and 16 crafted items and these tokens are not easy to come by. So far I’ve picked up 5 of them by focusing on buying them with tomes which means running tons of dungeons but since I like doing that, not so bad. It’s a grand total of 27200 tomes split evenly between Tome of Poetics and Law so that means I have 23800 tomes to go… easy right?

Darkest Dungeon

I’ve also been playing quite a bit of Darkest Dungeon since its official launch and I’m not at the awkward transition period between Veteran dungeons and Champion level dungeons. I’ve tried doing Champion levels a few times already and all I managed to achieve was getting my ass kicked. I know it’s a matter of managing to get a foot in and build on that but so far I haven’t managed to make a real dent in it.

So that’s been my playing time last week. With Xcom2 coming out this weekend I’m sure that will take the vast majority of my time and I’ll likely do another guide like I did with the first one as soon as I can.

So how’s January treating everyone? I know some of you got snowed in or maybe like me work has been insane and you’re trying to catch up. It’s definitively not helping my blogging but I’m allowing myself a short break to type this and unclog the brain some.

I’ve been alternating my playtime between The Secret World and Darkest dungeon lately. Slower progress in TSW but I’ve been making slow but steady progress in Darkest Dungeon which is awesome.  But it’s TSW I want to talk about so let’s get to it. Warning, minor Egypt spoilers coming.

When I got to Egypt in TSW I was rapidly involved in a plot revolving around cultists trying to bring forth their dark god Aten and resurrect their Black pharaoh, Akhenaten.  I thought until yesterday that this was simply another variation on various tales of ancient Egypt. I figured that the Dark Pharaoh of TSW was a nod to Nephren-Ka, the Dark Pharaoh of Lovecrat’s Chtulhu mythos.  I wasn’t entirely wrong but I learned that Funcom is way more clever than I gave them credit for.

Yesterday I stumbled upon The Terrible Picture, an investigation quest sending you investigate tales of the origins of Akhenaten. Since I try really hard to do these without cheating, a good part of my evening was spent deciphering cyphers and trying to figure out cryptic meanings behind hieroglyphs. Through trial and error, I ended up on the Wikipedia page of Akhenaten which I learned is an actual historical figure. Wait what???

Turns out the story I thought was purely fictional is rooted in very real facts. Akhenaten and the cult of the Aten actually happened in ancient Egypt. The Aten was an attempt by the pharaoh Akhenaten to change traditional polytheist Egyptian religion with something approaching monotheism with Aten, a solar deity, as its sole true god.  The symbol the cultists use in the game for Aten is even historically correct. After Akhenaten death, the following pharaohs restored the old religion and Akhenaten was branded a traitor, a heretic and a follower of evil.

So the whole story of the conflict in TSW is based on the idea that Akhenaten was in fact evil and that Aten was not a benevolent force. It’s simple yet brilliant to be able to tie in an historical figure like this. Conspiracies are always best when they mix facts and fiction and TSW Egypt does it so well. I’m now curious to see if the storylines from Solomon Island concerning the native tribes as the same sort of historical roots.

The moral of the story? Don’t cheat on investigation missions, you’ll miss some of the best lore the game has to offer.

Yesterday I stumbled on an article on Talk Amongst Yourselves arguing that all games should have a difficulty setting to allows all kinds of players, read here casual with little time, could complete all the games and not be locked out of experiencing a game because they can’t get through it. The author argues that by doing so, game companies will gain by having more customers for their games and everyone wins.  If this sounds familiars it’s because it’s the same old casual vs hardcore debate we’ve been having with MMOs for years.

Once upon a time I might have agreed with him but now I think that’s a load of crap. Games don’t and shouldn’t have to cater to every audience out there. Not only is it very hard and time consuming to adjust a game for multiple difficulty settings but you run the very real risk of killing the experience that you’re trying to deliver with your game. The TAY article author uses Bloodborne and completion numbers as indicators that a large number of players don’t get to complete the game and in a way, wasted their time and money on a game that was too hard for them which, according to the author, probably left them frustrated.

And then he drops the killer argument, if they add an easy mode it doesn’t deprive the others of anything, they just don’t have to use it, so everyone wins! Game sells more, player finish the game, happiness all around!

It’s not about finishing the game

So let’s talk about Bloodborne which is the main focus of the article and ask ourselves what makes it and by extension the Soul’s series such beloved games. It’s not the story, which you can entirely miss, not the combat which is better handled in many other games, the graphics are nice but not the best so what is it? Could it be the difficulty? Are all Bloodborne players masochists who enjoy being killed over and over? Maybe a few but not all of us.

What makes a game like Bloodborne, or any game for that matter, great is the experience it gives the player. With Bloodborne, the experience it aims to deliver is to make you feel like you’re fighting against desperate, even unfair odds. That victory will only achieved through sweat, tears and outsmarting the opposition. It makes uncovering the story feels special because you have to go out of your way to find the clues and use your head to put the pieces together. It’s about learning to enjoy failing, and then trying again.

That is what Bloodborne is about and its difficulty is the core mechanic it uses to deliver that experience. If you lower it, you are essentially killing the experience and you’re just playing a mostly bland action rpg.

So when the reviewer complains about the game being too difficult and not being able to experience the game he’s in fact getting the perfect Bloodborne experience. He might not like it and that’s his choice but not all game have to be for everyone and that’s fine. Just like I didn’t like Undertale experience, I have to admit it was a well done game. Likewise, you can not enjoy Bloodborne but that doesn’t mean the game should change to suit your tastes.