Thursday, September 30, 2021

Ding 22 Champions Online -- New look, new 'kick, and . . . Canada?!

I dinged 22 today in Champions Online! Hooray!  Now that I'm in my 20's I decided it was time for alternate look for The Friendly Necromancer.  The "Season One" look is out and the "Season Two" look is IN!

It's all about the spikes this season!

Spikey mohawk, spikey back, spikey legs, spikey arms . . . The Friendly Necromancer is lookin spikey spicy! I have to be honest, I really didn't even look much past the head area when I was making my first look. I didn't even plan on playing the game this deep! But if there's something that really bothers me about this game, it's the fluttering capes. It looks like an epileptic seizure waiting to happen. Capes are OUT!

Also of note, I finally banked up 100 UNTIL currency which meant I could purchase a super cool sidekick, and I took waaaaay longer than I should picking out my sidekick.  At first I thought about going with a fire type because in Wizard101, the Friendly Necromancer can always be found side by side with one Baily Skystaff, a fire wizard.  But, in the end, my time spent in Champions Online is a solo endeavor and let's be honest, I'm Bailey's sidekick, not the other way around.

So I landed on a sidekick named the Chaos Imp, and I was thinking that it'd be a cute little imp that follows me around and does a little damage now and then. No, the Chaos Imp is taller than me and absolutely wrecks face.

That's no imp! It's a scary, blue-slashing monster!

The Chaos Imp makes my difficult fights an absolute breeze. The only catch, he's not permanent. He only lasts for one hour of game time and then that's it.  He's gone, and I have to buy him again. So, luckily that hour of game time isn't "one hour from the time of purchase."  The game time only counts down when you have your sidekick out and actively helping.  Because of this, I only call out the Chaos Imp for boss duty and when fights are looking hairy. Gotta conserve until I build up another 100 UNTIL currency so I can buy another.

The other UNTIL purchased option that seemed to blend well with my "necromancer" style was a 1-time use zombie swarm summon, but doing the math I could only get 20 summons for the same price as I get the chaos imp for a TON of summons, as long as I use him conservatively. Maybe at some point I'll have enough currency to do both!  That'd be amazing.

Anyway, when I went back to Millennium City to purchase my Chaos Imp sidekick, I of course got side tracked by several new quests and ended up in another totally new zone . . . Canada.  I kid you not. The cold North had a super crazy alien mishap, and all of a sudden I found myself working through an epic comic-book style series of quests with cut scenes and comic cutouts, and it was AWESOME!

Aliens invade Canada! What?!

Here's the thing, it made me think, wait . . . did I miss this presentation and quest line in the Burning Sands? It was really really well produced, but I had to leave after playing through the third "issue."  That's right, the quest chain played out in issues like a comic where you were the star.  It was so well done, y'all.

I had to log out for the day, but when I came back, expecting to do more of the Canada comic book series of quests, now I was in a Canada zone full of quests just like the Burning Sands zone. I really shouldn't be this confused, but there's something in the execution of how these quests present themselves to me that's causing me to get a little lost in where I am and how I get back to the comic quests, because YES PLEASE, I want more of that!

Canada, the zone, has been great so far. I've done everything from helping wolves to unburying people from snow piles. I've fought on ice and gone deep into bunkers. One of my favorite instances I ran pitted the Friendly Necromancer against Mr. Zombie. Well, I think you know how the story goes, the necromancer will always win in that scenario.

The Friendly Necromancer vs. Mr. Zombie

So far I continue to be surprised by how deep Champions Online is. I'm enjoying myself and ready to keep questing further. Thanks for reading, and as always . . .

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Project Gorgon: The New Povus Playground

Yesterday the new high level zone of Povus was released in Project Gorgon and it's a swampland full of terror and ratkin.

A trio of Hexapi waiting in the distance

I started out my adventure mapping out the edges of the zone, by doing so I ran into plenty of things to fight: Ratkin, Hexapus, Tentakillers, Swamp Vipers, Kuvou, Mushrooms, Skeletal Triceratops, some other dinosaur skeleton, and (my favorite) ORCS! The only way I can really explain the skeleton dinosaurs is that I believe Paleontology is new skill here. Yup, it's Project Gorgon.

Of that plethora of monsters, my only death of the night was handed to me by a Kuvou, which statistically seems to be like a cousin to the troll in that it has high regeneration and reacts to Poison and Acid like a troll would to fire. 

Enjoying my well-deserved vengeance moment on a Kuvuo

Oddly enough, though the Kuvou is vulnerable to Acid, it also sprays it out when you're fighting it. Lucky me, that also gave me some new death experience since I had never died by being melted by Acid before.

Woot! 50 XP in Dying!

I also found an elusive Yellow Perch swimming inside the swamp waters! There were some cooking reciepes that were supposed to use Yellow Perch, but I could never find any before . . . now I know where to look!

I also managed to pick up a couple fleas and ticks while hunting around in Povus. It appears the zone had a mechanic where you can pick up parasites and then have to buy a curative from one of the NPCs to remove them (or use the First Aid skill).

Truly though, the centerpiece of the zone is the town of Povus itself.

Sitting on the walls of Povus as the sun rises could be my new thing!

During the daytime, Povus is pretty chill. It'll also be relatively empty UNLESS the Town is leveled up. That's right, Povus is basically an event town. As it levels up, more shops, amenities, and NPCs appear for you to talk to.  You level it up by protecting it from invasion during the nighttime starting at 7pm in gametime. When you do, you receive rewards for helping -- just check the town board and it'll tell you what level the town is and reward you if you have rewards coming to you.

. . . and you're additionally motivated to help level Povus and protect it because you can earn the central currency of Povus: Xognite Chunks.  Yes, Xognite Chunks are what all the high level trainers that can be found here are going to want in exchange for their knowledge they'd like to pass down to you.

Since day one of playing Project Gorgon, I knew I wanted to use Animal Handling as one of my main skills. Once I found out I could tame a rat and make it fight for me, it was game over for the rest of the skills. This particular update had bundled with it a brand new twist to Animal Handling since "Animal Husbandry" is now a thing. Yes, as long as you can make cages to hold your new pets in and have spots available in your stable, you too can become a pet breeder! OH, and just realize you'll need 20 Xognite/Xogrite (I saw two different spellings -- I don't know if they're different items or if it was a typo) Chunks to start your Animal Husbandry business.

. . . and yes, I did say "business" because that's right, you can sell your pets to other players. If you manage to get a really great pet with amazing stats, it'll be super attractive to those of us interested in Animal Handling.

Currently only bee and wasp pets in game have the ability to be bred, but eventually the devs promise that there will be a whole lot more on the way. Before the update hit, I actually had 3 bees in my stable: Buzz Tightrear, Wasabee, and Frosty the Buzzman. 

Visually my bees didn't change a lot. I think Buzz Tightrear has a bit more blue in his wings than he used to, but it's hard to tell the differences. Apparently I have two more bees waiting for me to claim!  The devs gave EVERYONE two new bees to put in their stables. 

Once I get 20 pieces of Xognite, I'll be sure to let you know how my adventures in Animal Husbandry go. Until then . . .

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Ding 19 Champions Online -- Cowboy Ghosts and Witchcraft!

Y'all, it finally is making sense in Champions Online.  All the strugglebus of levels 1-15 is gone, and I've found myself in a zone called Burning Sands where the quest progression is every bit a WoW clone as one would expect. I'm embracing this common sense turn of events and loving this new zone I've been questing in.

The pleasure has been all mine!

I'm also loving how quirky this zone is.  Yes, I've been hunting irradiated zombies, but I've also been taking down ghost and robot cowboys.  If Champions Online was Pirate101, this would be its Cool Ranch. I love me some Cool Ranch.

They're not regular ghosts -- they're COWBOY ghosts

Anyway, every quest I've completed is worth about one bubble of exp . . . therefore, complete 10 quests and you've pretty much leveled up. Now that I've worked through three of the major quest areas of Burning Sands (Abandoned Research Facility, Project Greenskin, and Burnside) and reached 19th level, I will say that I'm suddenly running into content that's a little bit ahead of me. I feel a bit under-leveled at the moment in Snake Gulch, but it's ok. I'm sure it'll work out.

The Abandoned Research Facility was mostly full of irradiated zombies where you were helping the scientists finish their research and save the poor, unfortunate souls who were infected. 

Burnside was a ghost town full of . . . ghosts! You also got to meet a new hero contact named "Witchcraft," whom you end up saving from a battle with her (sister? nemesis?) during an instance.

If there's anyone that can save Witchcraft, it's the Friendly Necromancer!

There was also really fun battle at the end of the Project Greenskin area with animated cutscenes, the fight basically consisted of blowing up 4 generators, blowing up the main supply of fuel, and then taking down an irradiated zombie boss named "Fallout" and his mini-army of undead summons.


My character's powerset is starting to feel pretty good now, but I still seem to struggle with targeting from time to time. I'm a "clicker" by nature (meaning, I like to click on enemies to target them) and probably would be better served using tab to select my targets. The only time I'm really dying out here now is when I swoop in with flight and accidentally aggro 6 enemies instead of the typical 3, but even then, with health drain powers 80% of the time I can still pull it off and win the scrap.

All in all, I'm glad I've stuck with Champions Online to this point. The game is starting to feel a lot more familiar, and I'm rapidly approaching the level 20 mark. It'll be fun to see what's in The Friendly Necromancer's future in this game.

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Ding 15 Champions Online -- Endgame is playing drums for The Maw

I managed to ding 15 in Champions Online and found my favorite instance in the entire game.

boots n cats n boots n cats

It's a seedy little bar full of lowlifes . . . and that's it. Who cares about any kind of super designed experience with special conditions and hand-crafted boss encounters? I just want to play drums for The Maw . . . you know what I'm saying?

I can autograph that pic for you if you'd like

Basically, yesterday's foray into Champions Online simply consisted of "choose a quest, complete a quest" and that's about it. Of course, I made some horrible choices because once again I ended up doing a duo instance solo, made it all the way to the boss and then got wrecked.

Who knew viruses were actually giant digital spiders

I mean, it was a super cool instance where you digitally were implanted into the mainframe of Socrates, which is (as I understand it) an advanced AI supercomputer found throughout Millennium City. I loved the whole Tron aesthetic, but it was tough and I didn't notice it was 2 player until I was already waist deep. I was still managing ok, so I went all the way to the end, only to get sent home packing.

OH! Another cool thing from yesterday . . . because of the anniversary, the game gave me a free vehicle.  Behold the purple dream machine!

Pretty slick ride for the cost of free

As it turns out, Champions Online has a whole vehicle system that seems pretty legit.  You can mod your car out, improve it, and even just use it to gun stuff down from above if you're so inclined.

pew pew pew!

It made me start looking around at the types of vehicles they offer and there's some really cool ones in the game.  I don't know how, but I must get this kind of evil levitating throne vehicle for The Friendly Necromancer.  It's pretty legit.

In other big news, I FOUND THE VENDOR THAT LETS ME SELL STUFF TO HIM!!! I was so happy about it I dropped one of those Anniversary disco balls and had a dance party with him because stumbling into him was legit the most difficult thing in the game so far.


I can tell that leveling is really starting to slow down here. Unlike DCUO where they want you to zoom through the content so you can get to the gear grind part of the game, Champions Online has a level cap of 40 . . . and then that's really it.  I was reading some stuff about end game in Champions Online and it seems a little to be expected: A small gear grind, some bosses, a lot of miscellaneous, and then the true end game: the fashion show.

I'm enjoying myself, so I'm going to keep playing. As per normal, I love to read your comments!

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Champions Online -- Enter The Friendly Necromancer

The other day Nimgimli from DragonChasers was musing about Champions Online and showcased a screenshot where he hadn't logged on to the game for 3,731 days. It got me so curious, I decided to log on and see what I could see as well.  He had me solidly beat, I only had a level 2 character (game didn't stick for me at the time) and it had only been around 2,100 days since I had last logged on.

Why is it that "fire" as a super power always seems boring or clich√©? 

So, since I was logged in, I decided to make a new character.  I was instantly drawn to "The Tenebrous" or Darkness powerset. As a class it's labeled as a support character, but I was drawn to it because . . . necromancer, hello! 

horns upon horns upon horns

There we go, now that I actually liked my character choice, it was time to give this game a go! Several hours later, I was finally level 12. If I was to sum up my first 10 levels in this game in one word, it would be "strugglebus." 

Welcome to the portal that leads to strugglebus central

1- I was getting knocked out left and right by boss types. The game attempts to teach you about the block mechanic, but it's a little vague about just how much you're going to rely on blocking damage when it comes to bosses.  It just didn't click for me and timing attacks and blocks is an acquired skill.

2- The game has a "star" system for performing at your best, which is a little strange. The game wants to encourage you to go grind on little feeder mobs until you're powered up to 5 stars, and then take on the bosses when you're powered up. It's super weird, y'all and took me a while to grok what was even going on.  I hate this mechanic so much. I hate that if you fail, you become more apt to fail because you've lost stars. I don't get it. Seems like you're just setting people up to fail and fail some more. Of course, you can "buy" stars . . . so . . . seems like a feels-bad-mechanic.

3- Because I was losing to one particular boss and my only quest was to defeat him, I was lost in my quests and felt stuck, so I started wandering . . . and that's exactly what needed to happen. That searching around and exploring finally led to some new things to do. How completely old school, right? Eventually this led me to "UNTIL missions" -- United Nations Tribunal on International Law. 

Just wait until I finish this UNTIL mission.

The UNTIL missions at least gave me something to do even if the final boss was super super difficult and I just couldn't beat him . . . it was a frustrating experience that took a long time to not complete, and to be left failing over and over at the final boss was demotivating.  You know what it felt like?  A multiplayer mission that I was trying to solo -- even though the quest clearly stated that it was cool to solo this quest. *shrug* so I backed out of the mission and went back to the main town.

Now that I had gained a few levels, I was finally able to take down that original level 7 pesky boss I had kept dying on and then I was suddenly drowning in quests, which was great. I'd much rather have a dozen things to do than feel stuck on one thing.

Overall Champions Online is in kind of a weird state right now since the anniversary celebration is in full swing. My inventory was overflowing with Water Balloons, Disco Balls, and pieces of cake, which leads me to the next strange thing about this game . . . where . . . is . . . the . . . vendor . . . to  . . . sell . . . stuff  . . . to?  I found plenty of vendors that wanted me to buy stuff, but none that would actually buy MY stuff. I ended up finding a bank and chucking everything in my inventory in there just to make room until I can actually find the vendor I'm looking for.

It's a slammin' party though in Millennium City

So, overall, it's been a frustrating challenge playing Champions Online so far. I like it though for some strange reason. Maybe it's just because it's a bit different from the usual fare.  It's definitely not as sleek and smooth an experience as DC Universe Online. On the other hand, I'm not bound to run into Batman as an NPC. 

Imma keep riding the struggle bus here for a while and see where it leads me. If you have any hints or tips for a new player, leave them in the comments below.

Happy Dueling!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Red Pinto Hatchback - Launched and Missiles on Target!

Tada! Two days ago, I launched a brand new collection of my new synthwave music! Check it out! 

As I discussed on other social media, I think my guy from Fiverr nailed the cover art based on my absolutely strange request. 

So many formative "musical" hours were spent driving around in my old Red Pinto Hatchback in the late 80's, listening to music, that it felt very apropos to immortalize it as my spacecraft in comic book form.

Recently I detailed a lot of my musical history last month with four posts:

In that last post, I kind of hinted at more to come!

"Who knows . . . I may just have another tape or two of music inside me still. I don't think my musical journey is quite done yet, regardless of any outcomes."

In fact, when I wrote that I was already knee deep finishing up this collection of music I'm called "Red Pinto Hatchback."

I paid for the distribution of this album through Distrokid, so you can find it on all kinds of sites now, including YouTube, Itunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Tik Tok, and more. That's right, you can make a Tik Toks using my music. CRAZY!

Thoughout the entire process, I've been getting a lot of great advice from my new musical ally, Adam Terry from the FountainAVM Record Label. I approached him early with my music still in draft form and tried to pick his brain on various aspects. I mean, I haven't put out a collection of my own music since the early 2000's, so there's quite a bit to catch up on for me. A LOT of things have changed. 

So, a new release from me has been a long time coming! In fact, I don't know if I even saw this in my future just a short while ago. The reactions I've been getting from friends and family have been pretty fun to watch.

One of the first people to contact me was my old musical ally, Sean. He played guitar on both of my Industrial albums and I played drums on a few of his tracks.  I hadn't really heard much from him for years and he hit me up in DMs to let me know how fun it was to hear my music again and that it brought back a lot of great memories.

Even my sister-in-law was doing the good work and being proud of me, sharing the music around to her friends, and I have to say . . . promoting music is the hardest part of the process, and probably the part I tiptoe around the most. I know people get tired of hearing artists hype up their latest works because I also get tired of it when I see it myself. Making the music is challenging and fun, but promoting it and not being annoying at the same time is a delicate balance that I'm trying to swing. 

Maybe eventually I could get some kind of mailing list / discord channel / something-like-that so I can spam the people that care the most. Until then, I have a lot more to share here on my blog with liner notes and lyrics and more. 

I'll be updating y'all when I get the music also loaded up on Bandcamp, but if you like the music, I really appreciate your support, your retweets, and your ears! I feel like I've slipped into a new era of music in my life and there's still more to come with me. I appreciate all the kind feedback and time spent considering the tracks that I'm laying down.

If you have any thoughts or just want to say hello, feel free to drop me a line in the comments!

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

A shocking development in 7D2D!

Recently I progressed my game in 7 Days to Die to the point where I was absolutely swimming in cash and had already purchased a minibike, motorcycle, truck, and gyrocopter. What's a guy in the apocolypse going to do with all that cash . . . buy more bullets?  Yes . . . that . . . AND, that guy is also going to buy solar cells from Trader Joes for absolutely insane prices. What's 48k for a solar cell anyway . . .

...and really it all made sense since I had already gone so far down the intellect tree for stun batons and robotics. Right? I might as well keep on going down the list and max out Advanced Engineering so I could craft advanced traps and stuff. 

Max Engineering

Before I knew it, I had wired up an electric fence around 1/3 of my house. As it turns out, the most difficult part of the process was figuring out that I needed to use a battery bank that interfaced between the solar panels and the wires so I could have electricity running at night. To be extra sure it all worked, I also hooked up a gas powered generator alongside it, and voila . . . the power of electricity was MINE! mUHAHhahahHAHA!

A power station on top of the roof sounds a totally safe thing to do

So when my 112th day rolled around (16th blood moon), I was terribly excited to try out my new electric fence on the invading zombies. It was surprisingly effective on the taller zombies ... not so much for the short ones. For my second attempt I may need to dig a trench and wire up a second layer that will catch the little guys like zombie dogs and the creepy ground crawler guy.

Check it out! I videotaped my blood moon experience.  It was headshot city with that electric fence active!

The one thing I didn't get working yet was my shotgun turret I had set up on one corner of my perimeter.  I think I didn't lock the ammo?  I could see the turret locking on and targeting things, but it never fired. *shrug*  I know it seems strange that an advanced engineer could be doing something wrong, but I could be doing something wrong.

Here's to my 119th day!  I'm looking forward to hooking up more traps and turrets.

Happy Dueling!