Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ahhh, that old Everquest jam. :) Hatesfury

Guys! Guys!  EVERQUEST!

So, I found out thanks to Massively that Everquest was having their 18th anniversary, and you could get a free level 85 heroic character for logging in.  I'm like . . . that sounds perfect. done.

I redownloaded Everquest and hopped in game on my two accounts.

When they ran this offer before I jumped my existing level 70-something Beastlord (This is the original Stingite) to an 85 heroic and created a new 85 heroic Barbarian on my other account (always with the hopes that my wife will someday join me).

Back then I spent a lot of time getting my old cleric (the one that started this whole nonsense of playing MMOs . . . truly my first character in an MMO) AAs in the Plane of Sky by two-boxing the Barbarian and my cleric . . . and then I lost interest as it just stopped being fun.

This time I jumped my cleric (makes all that farming in the plane of sky a bit pointless, but seriously, who cares) up to a heroic 85. And created another heroic cleric on my second account.

Meet . . . Bigdeal . . . he's kind of a big deal . . . or no big deal at all . . . your choice.

Anyway, there was a particular quest back in the day that I always wanted to do. We're talking 2003-2004 timeframe.  Funny enough, it takes place upon a pirate ship named Hate's Fury.  There was a hammer from the raid boss that proc'd little pets to help damage your enemy.  There were only maybe 2-3 weapons in the game with this unique effect, and I wanted it.

I remember asking my guild leaders about it at the time, and they were like . . . "Let me get this straight. You want us to lead a raid into a zone that no one really does and farm four rare items that spawns a raid boss that takes around 20-30 people to kill for a chance at a rare item? No.  But tell you what . . . if you get the four items in advance and have them ready to turn in, we'll give it a shot."


I never could even convince a group to go to Hate's Fury to farm for them.

Oh well.

Fast forward to today.  I ran my two new characters over to that old zone and it was cake.  I really never even had to worry.  I'd pull the whole zone down on me, and my heroic characters were so far beyond this area that it was just ridiculously easy.  So, I began my solo farm for those items for a long forgotten weapon that I don't need.

After 3 hours or so, I had the items.

This morning I decided to take my  two heroic characters and see if I could take on the raid boss that used to require 20-30 people.

I buffed. I prepped. I summoned the inner zen.  Turned in the items and spawned the demon.

About 5 seconds into it, I realized that this was, again, far too easy for these two characters.  Before you knew it, Captain Krasnok was dead and I was done . . . and the Vander's Bane hammer didn't drop, but that's ok. I got to do the quest, and I have the items ready to go so I can do it one more time.

Here's to hopefully finishing goals that really are no longer goals 14 years later!

Happy Dueling

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Catching up with Althea and Company

I don't know if you caught my small blog post fest last year about Dungeons and Dragons, but I tried to start up a new blog about it, and it kinda died: Althea and Company.

Writing out our adventures to that level of detail and trying to remember everything that happened (and finding the time and passion to do it), was a bit ambitious.  Anyway, we continue to run through our adventures, and I actually started hosting my own game with the same "Althea and Company" crew -- only this time Jeff Toney is the player, and I'm the DM . . . AND . . . Uber wife is also playing with us. yay!

Instead of working through an official Wizards of the Coast production like the Lost Mine of Phandelver, I'm using a lot of one-shot dungeons strung together with narrative. The first two we've run were Giantslayer and King of the Cats by MT Black. Both were excellent, and I think everyone had a great time . . . they slayed the giant and they rescued the King of the Cats. yay!

So next I have my group set to do one of two things. Either they will take on another MT Black one-shot, Wizard in a Bottle, or they will head down an adventure of my very own make. I'm interested in seeing which they take on and how they do. I definitely don't want to kill my friends and family in a dungeon, and I know I typically build things too difficult, but this is a party of five I'm dealing with here, and they actually have the potential to really dish out the damage . . . or really have a bad day with bad dice rolls . . . or, as we found out last week, get completely distracted and not hear that the bad guy just cast the shield spell and start using magic missile.

The Giant adventure was fun, but the only thing that gave them any real challenge were giant crabs. Oh man they struggled on that one.

The King of Cats final battle was pretty fun, and I think I scared 'em a bit when they discovered their weapons were pretty ineffective vs. a wererat, which you need silver weapons or spells to fight.  They were never really intended to fight the wererat anyway. I may have to bring her back at sometime to torment the party, so they can finish her off (especially if they spend the 100 gold it takes to silver their weapons).

Anyway, instead of scribbled notes for my dungeon, I've been typing it out like it's a one-shot, and if all goes well with the group, and they survive the adventure and have fun with it, I may actually try to publish it on a site like Dungeon Masters Guild and see what happens!

I'm not going to type much about my adventure I have planned for them just yet in case one of 'em stumbles upon this blog post, but . . . it's got a couple nasty surprises waiting for them.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Friendly Necro vs. the Dub Wars

Back in December 2016 I was on vacation for a bit and purchased myself a Christmas gift from Steam's discount aisle. Do you ever just see a game and think, oh yeah, that's something I'd probably like? Dub Wars was one of those purchases that just kind of checked all the right boxes from the get go . . . dubstep (check).  What?  You thought there would be more check boxes than dubstep? (Actually a lot of the music isn't really pure dubstep, but I digress, and it doesn't matter -- great music is great music.)

Honestly I'm not really a 2-D, top down, shooter kind of a guy; although as I was playing the game I kept thinking to myself, I wonder if Mark Bussler from Classic Gameroom has tried this game? He's totally a 2-D, top down shooter kind of a guy. He lives for this kind of game. Then again, I don't know if he's an electronic music loving type of a dude.

Anyway, the thing that makes this game different is that you don't fire the gun, the music fires the gun, which makes for a very "non-mashy" experience where you just move your ship around and aim your weapons as you visually see the music fire off beautiful lasers of death.

The tempo of the game naturally moves along with the tempo of the music, and when you hear the bass drop is the same moment where you are wrecking enemies with your most powerful weapons fired off in rapid succession. It's actually the quiet moments in the game that can be the most stressful as your weapons are just firing occasionally and you're running away from things thinking, can this song just drop the bass already?

At first when I bought this game I was thinking, this would be super fun to stream, but I did a test video of me playing and it was pretty funny how focused I was at dodging. Just look at this face:

Later in the video it doesn't change much.

Yeah!  I don't think I even moved my head to the music lol.

So I don't know about streaming this game, but it might be a different experience with an audience to react to and entertain.  I kind of turn into a different person when I stream.  :)

The game suffers a touch from replayability problems. There are 10 levels (songs), and while the music is absolutely great, it's 10 songs that you hear over and over. Did I say playing over and over? You end up playing levels over and over a lot to power up your ship, and this is because the first time you enter a level, you will get wrecked -- power ups help so much with surviving.

You play games over and over and collect "wubs," which are then spent to improve your health and weapons.  Probably the coolest part of this feature is that your weapons can get massively upgraded and not only become more powerful, more more outlandish . . . whereas you can have little exhaust lasers shooting out of your side at 0 wubs, 1000 wubs will sometimes cause those exhaust lasers to become giant lightsabers of death, which is fun.

There are over 40 achievements to earn, which help replayability, but some achievements are like . . . really? That's crazy. Who would do that? *cough* I may or may not have the achievement for playing a level 25 times in a row. *cough* I may have just boosted my health up and put myself in the corner of the screen and walked away from the game to do that.

So there you have it.  Dub Wars!  Pretty fun little game, and a pretty great discount rack buy for me over Christmas.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fire Emblem Heroes -- Blue Crow Ursula & Other Thoughts

Heya all! With Spring Break headed our way, I thought I'd take the opportunity to blog a bit more in the morning. Not having to get the kids ready for school might actually give me some time this week. :)

I'll talk a bit over the next week about some games I'm playing currently, but for now I want to talk a bit about a mobile game that came out early last month, Fire Emblem Heroes (FEH). Let me get it out of the way: It's a combination of Summoner's War and Puzzles and Dragons with that old familiar Fire Emblem touch.

If you're looking to play, you might want to read over this "Wish I would have known" list from Kotaku. When I started, I didn't do the whole "re-rolling" thing and therefore do not have everyone's favorite character, Takumi. He's insanely strong, and anytime I hit the Arena, I groan every time I see him pop up; although if I can get him separated from the pack, my Marth hero can take him down, so it's not necessarily the end of the world.

So far I've cleared the entire Story part of the game on Normal, Hard, and all I have left is the final battle on Lunatic. (I figure I just need a couple Light's Blessing, and I'll be good to go -- I'm not spending any orbs to revive, that's just crazy talk).

Sorry, Veronica. Btw, I love your style.

yeah I still play miitomo . . . don't judge.

In FEH, things typically boil down to getting 5-Star heroes and leveling them up to 40th level, and as of this week I now have four 5-Star heroes: Marth, Chrom, Hinoka, and Catria.

NOTE, I have spent zero money on this game. I'm a dirty casual free-to-play, and I don't mind that at all. I've had a lot of fun with the game and not spent a dime. But as i've said before on this article about one of Nintendo's other games, I usually ante' up at some point to tell them thanks for all the fun.

Now occasionally, FEH will throw out a challenge that's diabolical. For my usual batch of readers that aren't familiar with FEH and typically are familiar with KingsIsle's games . . . this would be like a battle in Pirate101 where if you lose one companion in a combat, you lose the entire match, and the battleboard is designed to work against you.

The recent battle like this is to win Ursula. Before you read my strategy, you should probably look at this guy's strategy because he beat lunatic mode and made it look easy.

With my current group of heroes, I found it to be pretty challenging . . . ON HARD . . . I'd have to dedicate some time to leveling up another hero to take this down on Lunatic.

First things first, my team was Chrom, Marth, Clarine (my four-star healer), and Hinoka (who really didn't even need to be there . . . I should have switched her out for someone that gives a buff)

This is how we start out.

As seen above, my first round was spent re-arranging my team into this block with my healer (on the horse) in the back.

The game then moves at me like this, lured in by the thought of destroying Chrom. I take a little damage from the ninja down in the left hand corner, and his mounted buddy dragged him back a square.

Now I take Chrom and have him take out that Armored Green fella.

Very important, I use my healer Clarine to heal Marth.

Marth moves forward and blocks the exit. so that mounted blue wizard can't wreck Clarine in one shot.

At this point the game goes nuts on Chrom trying to kill him and he's left with one hitpoint.

Chrom attacks the ninja above him, and in doing so uses his special ability to heal back a little health. Clarine rushes forward and heals Marth again.

Marth moves down and defeats that pesky blue mounted wizard.

At this point the ninja sidesteps and attacks Marth at a diagonal. and the mounted red swordsman sacrifices himself on Marth.  Marth and Chrom heal up . . . all that's left is that ninja.

Clarine once again heals marth for funsies.

Marth wrecks the ninja.


I hope that guide helped someone somewhere . . . uh . . . probably not, but hey! I was happy about it and excited to share and happy to put out another blog post. It's been FAR too long. Sorry about that. I think I have a build up of new and interesting thoughts I can share with you all again.

Thanks for reading and . . . happy dueling!!