[PC] The Bureau: XCom Declassified

Pre-ordered this a week ago and scored the pre-order perk which was a complete bundle of previous X-Com games on Steam and some other FPS game I didn’t install yet. I managed to sink a couple of hours in this game despite all the other stuff going on in my life (work, kids, wife, kids’ events, husband stuff, reading, etc.).

I’ll start with the bad.

BAD:

  1. Check point saving – I hate this. It’s a bad idea especially when in the ‘hub’ that is your base. Nothing like having to turn the game off after doing a bunch of chatting only to discover that you have to do it again the next time you start up the game. I don’t understand why they do this check point save mechanic – it’s not like you can’t just restart the level or something? Or adjust the save game mechanism based on difficulty. I suspect that’s the reason, they didn’t want people loading games when they lost squad members.
  2. UI – the UI during order mode (Battle Focus) is decent but dominated by the mouse. I use the keyboard; SHIFT, A, 2 (to tell the left squaddie to move) and if I jiggle my mouse slightly it pops over S (main guy) kicking me out of assigning left guy something. It’s annoying as hell. They need to fix this by ignoring the mouse if the user starts using the keyboard in this mode – activate to mouse if the user clicks which is a more intentional action.
  3. While there is a story, the squadmates don’t have personality – something I can forgive since you create them on the fly – for the most part.
  4. I kinda miss base building, but it’s understandable since you’re in a base that already existed.

That’s about all I have for ‘BAD’ at the moment, which is pretty good considering…

GOOD:

  1. Plays like Mass Effect – main character is central to the story, squaddies are there to help out. It’s first person, over the shoulder view so not a turn based tactical game like the X-Com we’ve grown to love – it’s a nice change and neat perspective.
  2. A lot more options and precision control over the squaddies – kinda central to the game.
  3. There is a story you play through. I admit I do like it but find it missing something (see point 3 in the BAD above). It’s very familiar, unlike the sci-fi futuristic Mass Effect.
  4. The weapons feel good.
  5. The enemies are semi-true to X-Com: Enemy Unknown (though the Sectopods are not as scary – Mutons are cool).
  6. AI is okay, though I’m on a lower difficulty level – I’m curious to see if it scales up or they just hit more and for more.
  7. Weapon progression exists, though it’s through finding the items in missions so far.
  8. Some backpack designs come from exploring, finding in missions/side missions. I hope there are armor options…
  9. Side missions are decent – having a point to them, not just some randomization of aliens on a random map.
  10. Leveling in decent. More health, get to pick abilities at most ranks – some passive, some active.
  11. You have (special) missions you can send your squaddies on while you run with other squaddies letting you do your mission and them theirs. They’ll level from it and usually come back from the mission with something.

Overall I’m impressed with what I’ve played so far.

[WoW] Rage Quit!

So I’m up to the part in the MoP Legendary quest where I need to do one of the challenges to get an ilvl 600 cloak which turns into a legendary item once patch 5.4 drops. It’s not easy.

The mighty UFTimmy tells me that it is easy, just do the Tank challenge as DPS and be sure to taunt when you need to. You’ll blow right through it.

Okay… I try the melee DPS one anyway. Man is it tough. I switch over to try the tank one and guess what? They’ve fixed the whole ‘do the tank challenge as melee dps’ thing. Yay.

So I try the tank one as a tank and just can’t do it. I’m taking way too much damage and, quite honestly, I have no idea what the Prot tank abilities are. It’s my secondary spec that I used waaaaaay back in heroics when I was getting tired of bad PUG tanks in a different battlegroup.

Frustrated, I exit the game in a fit, unsubscribe, uninstall and delete all the crap left behind in my WoW folder. Fuck it. I’m too old to be playing video games anyway, right?

Yeah. Not really. So back to the melee DPS challenge. Make adjustments, read up, etc.

My main issue were the adds he summons – they were doing too much damage. I switched out some things to snare them so I could just leave them trailing behind me while I beat on Wrathion. That sorta worked but not very well.

I consistently get to the a phase where he starts doing a mirror image thing then blows up if you don’t find him in time. He does that over and over. This is my new issue. So I look into how to better AOE in that scenario. Let me stop for a second and say, “How you play a DPS in this challenge is not how you play a DPS in the rest of the game.” Thank you Blizzard for this sort of thing. (Replace “Thank you Blizzard” with “Fuck you Blizzard”.) Shockwave seems decent here, Thunderclap too oh and Heroic Leap for those hard to reach places. Whirlwind – a big part of real AOE DPSing as a Fury Warrior is not useful here. Also anything with a long cooldown is also useless. What I wouldn’t have given for a Fan of Knives like ability that could be spammed until the cows came home.

Okay so more adjustments and I give it a go. Still rough because of the adds. The combined damage (btw, the 180 degree frontal cone isn’t so 180… it’s more like 200 degrees) eventually wears me down. Back to reading. I see one strat where the guy suggests killing the adds. They get rezzed every little bit but you get a brief amount of time between to focus on Wrathion. Pop some defensive cooldowns and go to town on them then switch.

Cool. I try that and it seems to work well. I’ve switched to Protection Stance to reduce damage – Battle and Berserker stance do nothing for DPS increases, just change how you generate rage (doing damage and taking damage, respectively). In Protection Stance I get a 25% damage reduction while generating rage while simply being in combat. Win win to me.

Second attempt after changing my strategy to kill the stupid adds and I get it. (Profile)

Taking a look at my Fury Warrior talent tree and glyphs I see everything you don’t really want to do in order actually do DPS. Go figure.

What did I change? Here’s the list of things to de-Fury your Fury Warrior to complete the fight.

  1. Protection Stance
  2. Talents:
    1. Double Time – good interrupt and movement
    2. Second Wind – bleh – really, it’s passive so if it needs to trigger it will but it really is underwhelming (never use this as DPS)
    3. Piercing Howl – snares the blobs (never use this as DPS)
    4. Shockwave – stuns the blobs/Wrathion and is good to use if you nail a lot of mirror images (never use this as DPS)
    5. Safeguard – I didn’t change this.
    6. Bloodbath – DPS increase I macro into my big burst DPS macro; Storm Bolt might be of use here (images/blobs), but I’ve never used it
  3. Glyphs:
    1. Death from Above – reduced cooldown on Heroic Leap is good for the images and just having it available when you need it.
    2. Unending Rage – probably not needed so much but a bigger pool is nice
    3. Rude Interruption – slight DPS increase if you do manage to interrupt Wrathion with Pummel
    4. (NOTE: usually I don’t have Death from Above, instead I glyph Colossus Smash)
  4. Killing globs – I used Intimidating Shout (never use this as DPS) to fear them, Piercing Howl to snare them and Shockwave when applicable. The globs don’t have a lot of health which opens up Victory Rush which is a helpful heal.

That’s about it.

I’m happy to say the expansion is coming to an end soon with patch 5.4 coming September 15th. I’m looking forward to it… the end that is.

For people who have no clue, Fury Warriors with Single Minded-Fury (dual-wielding single handed weapons) are top DPS for Warriors by a small margin over Titan Grip Fury Warriors. Arms are approximately dead last overall with SMF Warriors only being five ranks above them.

Here’s a rough ranking from Noxxic.

 

[WoW] Rage Kick!

It appears tanks aren’t as irreplaceable as they once were. You’re not allowed to be a raging idiot, call people names and bitch about DPS doing their job when you’re not.

What’s this you say?

Well, I was playing on my Warrior – who is quite geared now – in a heroic because I wanted to get some Valor to upgrade items some more. Generally, groups in Stormrage’s Battlegroup are hit and miss. You get some low DPS (I’m talking under 20k or sometimes not even showing up on the meter), tanks that don’t know where to go or cannot be healed or healers that are out of mana all the time.

Doesn’t bother me at all. I’m patient, I have always been unless it’s clearly obvious the group cannot defeat a given boss I don’t quit the group. The last time that happen was in Wrath of the Lich King.

So I’m in this heroic (Scholomance) and the party loads in. Someone steps up – I thought it was the healer, but it wasn’t – and face pulls the first two trash. Tank loses agro all over the place.

Now he’s a paladin. He’s got Captain America’s Shield and Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir so why is he losing agro?

He (or she) gets all pissy telling people not to pull. Ok, I can respect that. I’ve tanked as a DK, Warrior and a Paladin (though not too recently). I also have some limited experience tanking as a Druid (very limited, I didn’t like it).

First boss. He jumps down agros stuff, I jump down a second or two later, start beating on stuff. With the four trash things around the boss dead, I pop my DPS cooldowns and start slaughtering the boss. Sure enough, I end up with agro (220k DPS on a single target does that to you sometimes).

Tank gets all pissy.

We finish the fight with me tanking the boss. No deaths.

Tank gets even more pissy and won’t shut up. Does a bad pull and doesn’t do anything to keep agro when I jump in to do damage. Soon I find everything on me and my health bar is all over the place. I survive thanks to use of defensive cooldowns (evidence I’m not just a DPS that mashes the first thing off cooldown, I know my defensive abilities) and good healing.

I admit, I was tempted to swap to Prot Stance to make the healer’s life easier, but part of me was hoping the tank would snap out of his temper tantrum and take threat back. Apparently not.

Tank is clearly pissed that his plan was foiled by a far better player and won’t shut up, explaining to me about Vengeance and threat.

Right. I can’t help but inquire if it’s that time of the month and whether they forgot to turn Righteous Fury on or not. Usually, I don’t do this sort of thing but it’s early morning and I can’t help to think if the tank was actually pushing the keys on his keyboard to perform his abilities and generate threat instead of bitching at me, then maybe his agro wouldn’t be so bad.

We kill another boss, it doesn’t end up on me – namely because it’s the one that teleports around. Okay, so it ended up on me for a little bit – I suspect he wasn’t trying at that point, hoping I’d get killed. I think when it wasn’t on me, it might have been on the rogue.

He’s still bitching when a Vote Kick panel comes up. Comment is something like, “I’d rather heal the real warrior” but I didn’t get to read it because it disappeared so quick and the tank was gone.

Turns out the rest of the group was tired of the Paladin’s tirade. Maybe he was role-playing a sanctimonious Paladin? Probably not, Stormrage isn’t a RP server so it shouldn’t have any in it’s battle group.

I bask in the momentary delight of silence. In come the spam of cross realm tells. I try to put them on ignore, apparently that doesn’t work.

So after several minutes of being spammed called a kid (lawl), black and white trash, retarded, all sorts of complaints about Blizzard dumbing down the game and elite warriors think they’re god-like and aren’t, the game is easy and dumb… I report him for spamming. Apparently, that works.

New tank appears in short time and we move on. It’s a DK and he’s decent enough though not so good with the AOE agro for some reason (I didn’t see a single Death and Decay go down).

We proceed along and kill everything, no deaths (healer was on the ball) and no further issues.

So to my dear friend on Malfurion (Adina or Ardina or something like that) – 3/4 group members preferred my DPS over your tanking and were willing to wait on a tank rather than listen to you bitch and moan about how bad you are at your class and how it was everyone else’s fault.

The spam I was getting over tells was quite ignorant, racist, juvenile and idiotic, though I do have to agree with his assessment of WoW becoming easy and dumbed-down.

There is also something to say about failing in a game that was trivialized and dumbed-down.

Cheers!

[CRPG] Shadowrun Returns

YES! I saw this earlier in the year and now it is out and available! Take a look at Steam; this was one of the Greenlight Games: Shadowrun Returns.

Being a huge fan of Shadowrun, I jumped on it (20$) and have been playing it for the last 2.5 hours. Old style CRPG. Create a character from common archetypes (Street Samurai, Rigger, Decker, Mage, Shaman and Physical Adept) or a custom one. Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orks and Trolls – oh my! Avatar customization is pretty basic, but decent. The portraits are good. 3d isometic, click to move and swap to turn-based actions for combat. Text dialog – zomg! youse guys has to read! – for quests and investigation (legwork!).

I’m enjoying it so far.

First toon I made was a a Street Samurai and I was bummed that they didn’t start with any cyberware. I had to run take the kids to soccer and when I came back I took a look at the character generation options. After a little fiddling, I decided to recreate my Rigger, SWERVEDRIVER, the obnoxious, yellow loving, Elven chick-magnet – in his own mind. Of course the built in options for responses don’t allow me to reflect that so much. Still… fun.

Enjoying it so far. Not too far in yet, but so into it that I’m hunch over my laptop in excitement.

BUY IT!

[MMO] Marvel Heroes

Free to play Marvel MMO that is more in line with Diablo 3 than WoW. One of the big wigs making it was involved with Diablo creation so no surprise there.

Random thoughts?

Plays like that. Click lots. Fire the odd ability. Lots of loot dropping. Simple loot for slots which follows familiar color scheme. Graphics are okay. Lots of lag in certain areas. Some areas are public and some are private. There appears to be a story line to it revolving around Dr. Doom and the cube that has everyone interested (see Thor, Captain America and The Avengers movies – yeah, that cube). Tree skill which has actives and passives – I missed this system. It is free to play – no cost to buy. You can pick from five starter characters (Daredevil, Hawkeye, Storm, Scarlet Witch and The Thing). You get a second character shortly into the game (I had Hawkeye and Daredevil). Nice thing about it being based on superheroes, established ones, the abilities are semi memorable and signature. Can purchase more heroes, different outfits, lots of power ups and experience boosts. Oh, and vanity pets I think. There is some crafting but I didn’t get into it (I’ll never cease to be me).

Major grievances?

It seems like every time there is a patch to the game, I have to download and install it all over.

For the graphics detail, it seems to under perform and lag quite a bit, more so when more people are on screen doing stuff.

Bottom line?

It’s okay but I’m not going to go out of my way to recommend it to people. Want something to kill some time on here and there? Go for it.

 

[NW] Open Beta

One of my recent distractions has been Neverwinter since it’s in open beta now. I’ve really only started at it this weekend though I did play it a bit yesterday.

It appears they nerfed the Great Weapon Fighter some… or adjusted the effects of their abilities. I seem to remember the at-will attack (not the one that charges up) sweeping through multiple enemies at once. It did not appear to do this anymore. I also remember having a ‘charge’ type ability, though it doesn’t seem to be there now. I can’t say I like that so much. It leads me to not really wanting to play the GWF.

I took a stab at the Trickster Rogue (yeah, pun intended) and enjoyed that a fair bit more. I have to say the damage he deals is no where close to what the GWF appears to dish out – it’s actually far more than the GWF deals. I did notice a few things appeared to change for the Rogue, but I didn’t play it enough in the previous beta weekends to get a feel for it.

Leveling has changed. It seems the way you level up and select powers has changed. I’m not sure it is for the better because you ultimately just place points because you can and don’t really get too many options to start with. False customization is how I’d describe it.

I did get to fiddle with the Foundry some – the tutorials are missing and I was too rushed to read up on the documentation (if there was some). Design of the tool seems pleasing, though I was disappointed to see there wasn’t a large number of prefab buildings. You sorta piece things together. Because of this and the uneven ground of some of the areas you can work with (and my time constraints) I didn’t get to quickly build a little hamlet outside of Neverwinter. I did throw a few encounters there to see what it would be like. Fairly interesting really. I didn’t get much further than that – it was Mother’s Day, after all – and I haven’t taken another look at it since that one time.

The TR is up to about where I left off previously in a Beta Weekend, though I have done a PVP Domination map. Unfortunately, my team got dominated. To be fair, we were supposed to have 5 members against their 5 members and instead we had three connected members and two disconnected members against their five members.

Control Wizards need some tweaking in PVP. They have too many good abilities that effectively lock up a player. With all the abilities they have the slow, stop or prevent you from using your special abilities, they really shouldn’t be able to ‘dodge’. You simply can’t get to them before they have some other mechanism to stop you then when those abilities are on cooldown, they can dodge out of the way and the cooldowns are done. It’s kind of overpowered. Even with my encounter power that teleports me behind them, they simply dodge out of the way and start using their many CC abilities.

Lots of CC in PVP is just bad. People don’t like to feel useless and they like to be rendered useless even less. But then I don’t play it to PVP and I only went in there because it was part of the ‘tutorial quests’ you get as you level.

I seemed to be getting more items dropping than I remember, not sure why that was. Most were slight upgrades.

I also got to do a little crafting which seems like a hybrid of SWTOR and other games. You get a hireling that is specialized in a crafting task, provide him the materials or tell him to get more materials and wait on the results. Nifty enough. Of course they tie in the ability to speed up getting the resulting items by spending Astral Diamonds much like you’d see in something like Clash of Clans.

It’s a nice little distraction for when I have nothing better to do.

 

[IRL] Best Day of the Year!

Remember folks, it’s a special day today. My kind of day.

So far I’ve had the kids convinced that they will have to go to school. They figured it out so I then had them convinced they’d still need to go to daycare because I had to work. I’m waiting to hit them with the van ‘missing’. TheWife took the minivan to work since I’m working from home today so that the kids can stay home (daycare is closed).

“Hey guys! Let’s go get some pizza for lunch! Oh no, where is the van?! I think the van is stolen!”

I suspect there will be payback. Maybe.

Last year the pranks they played were youthful and enthusiastic – as could be expected since they were 8 and 6 years old. This year? I’m hoping for a little more out of LBO.