Gameaholism and Projekt Progressu

11 02 2008

Hooboy… I had a really ecclectic weekend. I’ll LJ-cut this sucker, since it’s gonna be long.

City of Heroes had a double XP weekend. I didn’t play as much as I probably should have to really take advantage of it, but I DID make some damn good progress. My tanker got out of the Useless Slums (pre-stamina, pre-SOs) and now is Fully Effective. My corruptor got Stamina, although didn’t get to SOs yet.

The game’s arranged like this… roughly the first ten levels, you either don’t bother enhancing your powers, or you get such a minimal enhancement that it’s meaningless, but the enemies are all weak and you level up really fast. Then you hit the “DO” phase, where you can get half-strength enhancements, but the enemies are much nastier (mezzing more and having more resistances) and kick your ass repeatedly, while you’re sucking wind because of the game’s insane-o stamina system. Then finally you hit the 20s, get full powered enhancements, and it’s smooth sailing again.

Needless to say, when they FINALLY looked at the XP curve, they realized they had this gaping hole in the middle where you’re barely adequate to the task at hand and keep getting pounded down and getting nowhere, so they’re changing it so you climb out of the hole faster. And about damn time, considering it took me double XP to get out of that morass, and even then my Corruptor’s not totally there yet.

This is one of the many reasons I don’t play the game that often. I still play, and I enjoy it — some of the blitzes we did with my corruptor this weekend rank highly in my Fun COH Experiences Book. But it is an RPG, and it does use a carrot and stick model, and the stick is far too long at times to make the carrot feel worth the effort.

I went ahead and bought me some Mass Effect. As noted, my initial concerns about the alignment system were unfounded, it’s not all “Blah blah blah DARK SIDE blah blah blah COMPLETE.” You’re pretty much always in the right, even when you’re a hardass about it, which is actually quite refreshing. The combat is also considerably better now that I’m focusing on what I do best, IE running towards the enemy screaming and opening fire with a fully automatic weapon.

I played a few more hours to clear out all the Citadel sidequests, had a grand old time, more than Eternal Sonata which I quickly lost interest in due to being completely generic other than its one high concept. So, I’ll call that a winner in my book, and I fronted my $60 down Bioware Way for their fine efforts. May take me awhile to get through the game alongside all my other games, of course, but it’s money well spent.

It’s not worth dealing with RIJs just to play with Rock Band developers. Friday night was a 2-3 hour window in which the Harmonix devs were gonna be online and playing Rock Band! Sweet! So I fired up and started joining random bands in hopes of finding me one. It’s like bird watching or trainspotting only with less avians and heroin.

Problem was, all the random bands I joined were terrible. Whiny 13 year olds, people calling my create-a-rocker gay, people picking the same damn songs over and over, and so on. It was such a miserable little pit of non-fun that I decided… y’know what? Screw it. Not worth some random encounter with Buddy from Harmonix Accounting to put up with all that. I shut it off and went back to COH grinding.

Freestylers:Rock, the guitar music game we’re making in Second Life, hit some snags. The problem is twofold. One, it’s hard as HELL to make loopable guitar riffs that fit precisely into a time window that’s measured in hundreths of a second. Second, Second Life is a pile of ass and fail when it comes to sharp timing of any sort.

The results are going to be prettied but will always remain half-pretty. Yet, the games still sell… not our best sellers but they DO sell. And the people they sell to keep asking me for actual music in the games, even if it’s not synced completely right, so I’m giving the peeps what they desire. The game LOOKS great and plays okay if not stellar and I’m satisfied with that level. A little more tuning and it’ll be good enough and we’ll call it a finished product.

We’re still building Wonko’s Trivia Factory! If you’ve got some trivia to contribute, email me at stefangagne@gmail.com and we’ll put it in the WTF pile.

The game itself is code complete (whoa!), fully playable, and the cabinet is designed — it needs texturing, but that can wait. At this point it’s all about the trivia, but I’m content to let this slow-burn and gather some goods up. No need to rush it, not when I’ve got so much else going on right now. Get it done right and get it done when it gets done.

We’re tenatively working on a fishing game in SL. There’s this fishing system someone made in SL, where you cast your rod and get fish and earn XP for it and so on, but it’s very moneygrubbing… it costs megabucks, and I mean REAL LIFE megabucks, to get it set up at your own island/beach/dock/boat. On top of that if you wanna catch any fish that are worth a damn you need to buy an “Epic Rod” and “Epic Bait” which needs constant replenishment, and even then, you’re catching these ugly-ass 50 prim replica of Pokemon and Megaman fish and stuff.

We’re gonna do it one better. Cut the prices down, considerably. Have GOOD freeplay options if you don’t wanna buy consumable bait. Have the fish be actual fish you can put in a tank and enjoy decoratively without needing to dedicate an entire sim to it. And so on.

The details are very up in the air, but this is in-line with Skeeball Theory… that if someone else made something you like but made it high prim and with a touch of greedy evil, you can and should do ’em one better. And people will thank you for it. Monetarily.

Saw the recent western, 3:10 to Yuma. Simply a spectacular movie, a SOLID western, with great characters and character interplay. Damned impressive stuff and a strong recommend. It wasn’t genre-reinventing or particularly amazingly deep but it delivered on everything it needed to deliver on. Also a great movie for high def, since all the little detail work and natural lighting shines through.

The more cool and together and successful I am after hours, the worse things get during work hours. But, I won’t be discussing specifics because I enjoy not being fired for blogging about my job.

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13 responses

11 02 2008
Anonymous

City of Heroes
Glad to hear you were able to take advantage of the Double XP to get a few of your characters out of the low-level doldrums.
I actually teamed with you early friday night at a RWZ raid. You were on as Dusty Finish, I was a scrapper called Sabre Vengeur. It sounded like you had some fun on it. They are always pure chaos but in a good way. Although it was the first time for where we basically had that major wipe just before the shields went back up. Did you end up getting either the extra salvage slots or the redding rifle with your merits?

11 02 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: City of Heroes
Nah, I only have 230 Vanguarderies, and the rail rifle is pretty nasty looking. I’m gonna save up for the salvage bag.
Playing Dusty is a joy because shewtin’ guns is funs, and also because she’s a hoversniper. I park in the air out of reach of everything and then pick off critical targets. With the recent ranged damage boost, the stacking defiance buffs, and the badass set of IOs I have, Dusty actually works as a sort of ranged stalker in PVE and PVP. She can set up a deathtrap, pick off a critical target, lure her prey in, blow them up, then hose down what’s left with the triple AOE cones of doom. Works great!

11 02 2008
Anonymous

Re: City of Heroes
Run a few more raids and you’ll get plenty of Vanguarderies. They just flow like water during a good one of those.
If you don’t mind me asking, what are some good IOs sets you would recommend? I have a lvl 32 Archery/Dev blaster that I shelved awhile ago (my first char to be exact) and I’m tempted to bring him out now all the new changes to blasters and archery but everytime I start trying to figure out what types of IOs to use, I get overwhelemed. And the playstyle you mentioned is exactly the kind I would like to employ.

11 02 2008
danel4d

Mass Effect Advice.
Wah. I failed to go on CoH at all over the weekend – kept meaning to, never got around to it. I guess I should probably cancel my subscrip until I start playing it again.
Oh, and re: Mass Effect – I say: depending on how you level. What I mean is – I found it pretty easy once I got some levels under my belt, and I’m assuming that the choices I made played some role in that. I mean, I assume having played RPGs previously at some point helps. Mmm. I mean, I have no idea if this is good advice or bad advice, but if it’s bad at least it means you can’t gimp your character. Put points in the skills you actually use. I assume that unlocking heavy armour is fairly handy – I always try to get the armour upgrade quick as I can, since it seems like a good idea. Don’t put points in more than one weapon, and try to have your team spread out so they use a different class each, thus letting you give the best pistol to whoever etc.
General advice: Do the dig site first, then Feros or Noveria in any order. Once you’ve done two another story mish will unlock – leave it til last ’cause it gears things up for the big finish. Spread out the side quests, if you intend to do them – at least some of them can be hella fun on the first playthrough, especially if you like the Mako. If you try to do ’em all before progressing with the story, or leave ’em to do at the end, you will begin to hate them.
Once you hit level 20, you’ll unlock capes a special mission to unlock prestige classes. It’s actually a pretty hard mission, but the potential bonuses on worth it. Which reminds me – try to put a good few points into the ‘Soldier’ skill – it can be quite handy.

11 02 2008
sptrashcan

DXP
Teaming with you was definitely a high point of DXP weekend – I’m glad I had the chance to bounce Atsuko off DG Nebula. It really helped me figure out where I’m going with the character and how to get there. So, thanks.

11 02 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Mass Effect Advice.
Yeah, I’m focusing my character on the assault rifle — I can’t snipe worth a damn and I’d need a LOT of pistol ranks to get a shotgun. No point, when the AR is a good all-arounder.
My plan is to take Tali and Liara along with me — a techie, a biotic, and my own berzerker self. Should be a good mix, and I’m definitely doing the Liara unlock mission before I go after any Geth.

11 02 2008
danel4d

Re: Mass Effect Advice.
Hmmm… not entirely sure if Tali AND Liara are a good plan – be prepared to find yourself fighting on your own quite frequently in the tougher fights. Tali +Wrex or Liara + Garrus may be a better bet. While it may seem like a good mix, it’s the equivalent of two different controllers and a tank – both Tali and Liara are very squishy, though their skills are pretty good.
Oh, and on the Liara unlock? Once you can’t take the Mako any further, SAVE. There’re a couple of battles you have to do without it. Save after every single one – you suddenly get chucked into a very hard battle indeed with little to no warning.
But it’s definitely worth it – Liara has the cutest freckles. Aww.

12 02 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Mass Effect Advice.
Hm. I like Tali and Wrex… they’re fun. Maybe I’ll go with that. It means forgoing a romance path, though.

12 02 2008
danel4d

Re: Mass Effect Advice.
Actually, not at all – all the progress for the romancing takes place on the Normandy between missions. You can’t even get a dialogue with your companions outside of it – they’ll interject into your conversations occasionally, and make comments now and again, but if you try to talk to them all you’ll get is a single comment.
You might consider taking Liara with you on Noveria, however – she does get a few bonus dialogues bits there, though it’s nothing really in the big scheme of things. Except for the very ends, all of the dialogue for the romancing – or even for friendships with the other characters – is done in their stock hang-out places: Garrus, Wrex and Ashley in the drop zone thingy, Tali in the engine room, Kaiden in his little red-light district of sweatiness just outside your office, and Liara in a dark closet behind the med-bay.

12 02 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: City of Heroes
The key with IOs is not to fill out sets, but to get the bonuses you want, and slot procs where appropriate.
For Dusty I had two objectives. One, endurance, because you can never have enough — two, DAMAGE, because she’s Ar/Dev and has no Buildup and no Aim and no way to self-boost her firepower. These rules will apply well to your Archery/Dev, albeit to different primary powers.
For my ST blasts I took 4 out of 6 Devastation IOs, to get its 3% damage buff. The nice thing is Devastation has a Hold proc, and putting that in something you have up frequently is FTW. Also, you can slot a Decimation Chance for Buildup proc for more fun.
For Beanbag (similar to your Stunning Arrow) I have a full suite of Stupefy save for the Acc/Stun/Rec (since otherwise you don’t end up with fully powered Disorient). Five slotting this grants you a recovery bonus, a recharge bonus, and even an occasional knockback, for what that’s worth.
For the AOEs, it’s Positron’s Blast or nothin’. It has an energy damage proc and Recovery, Accuracy, AND Recharge boosts! You don’t need to six-slot this, though; swapping the Dam/Range with a Dam/Range HO is cheaper since those things are worthless, and all sixing would get you is a mild Toxic resist.
For a sniper, my opinion, Sting of the Manticore is the best you can get. It adds a toxic damage proc, a good Regen bonus, a Damage bonus, and a Recharge bonus. (See a theme? I deal more damage and faster.)
On to Devices. Here things get wacky!
Web Grenade is a joy — and it works even when mezzed. There are SO MANY lovely procs you can stick in this beast… I was lucky enough to find a purple, the Gravitational Anchor Hold Proc, which makes my webgrenade into a full blown hold 1/4th of the time. Also good is Trap of the Hunter’s lethal damage proc. Beyond that all you really need is an Acc, or an Acc/Rec from Trap of the Hunter, and you’re probably fine.
Caltrops is very nice, and can take some good slow sets. I use Tempered Readiness, three slotted for a Recovery and Slow bonus, and the Pacing of the Turtle Chance for Recharge Debuff Proc. Between that and my web grenade I can do horrible, horrible things to someone’s recharge. Alternatively you can put a damage proc in here, which will fire for every 10 seconds someone’s on a caltrop patch.
Targeting Drone’s most badass slotting is a five slotter. Three Buff/End HO’s, to max out its ToHit and lessen its endurance impact… then Gaussian’s Fire Control Buildup proc. That means every 10 seconds while the toggle is up you have a chance at a buildup effect. Add a Rectified Reticle +Perception proc for some PVP lovin’ if you want; it’ll let you see someone running Hide+Stealth. (But not Hide+Invis; that requires a teammate with Clear Mind. You can’t get to the perception cap on your own.)
Cloaking Device I three-slotted… Buff/End HO for kicks, Luck of the Gambler Recharge Speed Proc, and Karma Knockback Protection proc. The actual defense coughed up by Cloaking Device is laughable but it makes a good ‘mule’ for various def-themed procs.
Tripmine gets Scirocco’s Dervish. Regend, Acc, and misc. other bonuses, nuff said.
For my epic I went Cold Mastery. This set is evil incarnate. Snowstorm has no procs in it, but it could — as is it grounds flyers, slows recharge rate, slows movement and generally does horrible, horrible things combined with webgrenade and my recharge debuffing caltrops. Ice Armor is good for avoiding being hit (you are not a tank) and I like to put Red Fortune in it, for yet more Damage and Recharge bonus. Finally, Hibernate is a good panic button, particularly in PVP when someone’s more likely to go “Dammit!” and leave you alone to go pick on someone else.
(CONTINUE!)

12 02 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: City of Heroes
Finally, for pools, I didn’t go too crazy… Fitness, of course, although my Health is two-slotted in hopes I’ll eventually get Miracle and Numina’s procs for added recovery and regen. Stamina can take a Performance Shifter proc but they’re hard to come by…
Travel powers, I’m going flight, and I have Freebird three-slotted so I have the stealth bonus. That plus Cloaking Device gives me 100% invisibility in PVE! I can play a ranged Stalker! This applies to the other travel powers too; when you turn off the travel power you still have stealth for 2 minutes, so you can toggle it on/off for a second every 2 minutes to gain benefit.
Finally… I took Assault. By this point I have DISGUSTING Recovery capabilities and I can afford to run this as a ONE slot power with a single L50 Endurance Reduction IO. Why bother? Because my BASELINE DAMAGE BUFF IS 21.5%! Right out of the box, with Assault plus my various IO damage bonuses, I’m doing practically an L1 red insp worth of damage buff! And then when you start adding Defiance buffs on top of that, my god, the murdertrain’s a comin’.
So. That’s Twoof’s Powergaming Guide. It’s not perfect and it’ll require a hell of a lot of Inf, but it turned a “Lol ar/dev” into a beast.

12 02 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Mass Effect Advice.
Goody! Although I may have pissed Wrex off by trying to sympathize with his plight when he was kinda, um, being genocided and didn’t appreciate the efforts. Still, I’m not wooing the big lug, so whatever.

12 02 2008
Anonymous

Re: City of Heroes
Thanks. It gives me a good starting point. It may take me awhile to get things fully slotted out but I’ve got a lvl 50 scrapper with which to make some inf.

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