Monday, February 7, 2022

A quick plug for Inscryption!

My oldest child bought me Inscryption for Christmas, and I've been meaning to drop some thoughts here about this fantastic deck builder / puzzler indie game, but first let me allow you to be creeped out by this aesthetic . . .

He just wants to hug me . . . right?!

Just to put it out there right up front, it's really good. point blank. All of my kids have played it, and have done their best to keep me spoiler free. Half the fun is hearing them whisper around me to keep stuff a secret.

Anyway, Inscryption is a 4-lane card battler with a ton of conditions, randomness, and boss play to make it well worth your time and money. Originally released in October 2021, I'm late to the Halloween party, but I'm glad I've now had a chance to experience its unsettling kind of fun.

The developer behind Inscryption is the same Daniel Mullins Studios that brought us The Hex and Pony Island. The Publisher is Devolver, the same group behind great games like Loop Hero and Exit the Gungeon, among a plethora of other great Steam games.

Now that that's all said . . . If you don't want any spoilers . . . stop reading . . . just go get the game and be happy with your purchase. For the rest of you . . . whooo boy.

I struggled on the first act of this game for a long time until I got an undying squirrel totem from the woodcarver, and it was just too much power. It carried me right through that final boss with no issues at all.  I don't know if I could have done it without that totem to be honest. I've got so many "stingite" death cards that it was humbling seeing them all attacking me on that final fight.

So many squirrel cards . . .

After the first act, you're treated to a series of YouTube-like videos from a content creator who ends up finding an old floppy disk from the 90's buried in the forest with the Inscryption game on it (playing into the 16-bit aesthetic as well).  It definitely has the whole Blair Witch Project vibe going for it, but not without making fun of itself in the process.

Green screen and all!

The other interesting portion of the game comes from when you press the back button enough times that you stand up away from the game table and look around your capture's cabin.  Herein are several small minigame puzzles that will give you advantages in the actual game.

All the things the arcane eye sees!

Apparently there are three acts total to this game, and I've only managed to get half way through the second act, so . . . I still have a lot to explore here.

Anyway . . . just had to plug this card game in case some of my readers hadn't played it yet. Good times and highly recommended.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Tougher than Tasuq in Runes of Magic

It's my 3-month-a-versary in Runes of Magic, and I'm very much sitting in end game currently with a 100 mage / 100 rogue / 100 knight character, but of course, being 100 isn't all that's needed to dominate trash mobs in the end game "string of islands" known as the Shamtaem Archipelago. It's basically Hawaii, but full of mobs that will kill you faster than swimming in a bloom of jellyfish.

The islands get tougher as you travel along them from west to east, and Tasuq is the first you encounter as you travel there from the Moorlands of Farsitan. Just to make sure you're tough enough to handle this zone, you basically HAVE to complete the main quest lines found in Splitwater Coast and Farsitan. I learned this the hard way by having someone teleport me into Tasuq directly hoping to find some new quests there while I was busting my butt trying to level during a bonus exp event.  When I got there, it was quest-less.

If, however, you get to Tasuq by following the "Spirits of Despair" quest line, you'll soon unlock a bunch of quests along the way. For me, my plan has always been to get as far as I can in this quest line on my Mage half and then go back through with my Rogue half and catch all the side quests. So far my mage half has moved past the islands of Tasuq and Korris . . . and is currently sitting at the very end of Enoch about to go into Vortis.  The only island left after that would be Chassizz. That's it . . . That's end game for Runes of Magic.

Peeping in on the Shadow Camp of Tasuq

At the end of every one of these islands is a quest that asks you to go into the dungeon instance associated with the island.  So far, I've just been skipping these. I heard, however, that perhaps a full group of our guildies could do the end dungeon on Enoch . . . if we could ever coordinate a time to actually go through that matches everyone's schedules.  That's the tricky part.  (We're all a bunch of busy adults that live all over the globe.)

So, I paused my Mage's trailblazing and took a break to go back to finish Tasuq with my Rogue half and as of yesterday, Tasuq has been cleared save one or two quests that involve the Vale of Rites (that's the dungeon for Tasuq).

 . . . ignore the tombstone between Repear's Horn and Vale of Rites

When you enter the zone you begin in a place called Silver Streak Camp. The Hand of Balance has set up camp here with merchants and guards. Your main point of contact here is a dashing fellow named Ayden Highlander, the Primary Chairman of the Silvershadow Adventures' Guild. Runic Energy and Spatial Magic have been sensed from this string of islands, and you're perfect for the job of investigating and nullifying threats to Taborea. Go get 'em!

Merchants-a-plenty in Silver Streak Camp

As it turns out, the Hand of Balance aren't the only ones interested in this weird Spatial Magic, there's a group of nefarious evil-doers named the "Inexorable League" led by a demonic sounding Mazzren the Reaper. Every time I read "inexorable league," I can't help but think of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." Anyway, you'll be running into all kinds of inexorable league enemies on Tasuq as they've set up camps all over the central part of the island.

There's the Dust Camp, which sits in area known as the Dustbowl, where experiments the inexorable league has done with this runic spatial magic is causing that portion of Tasuq to become a desert-like canyon. 

Oh no, Inexorable League, what have you done to Hawaii?!
There's the Shadow Camp in the Tasuqian Boscage where you'll also find lots of enraged wildlife like panthers, boars, and deer with poofy tails.

Then there's the Reaper's Horn itself, which is a large ominous castle.  That's right, the inexorable league has been here long enough to build a giant castle . . . and so have the good guys apparently as the Grey Citadel is our turf.  

A look inside the Grey Citadel

The Gray Citadel has TONS of quests once you unlock them.  Really the majority of your sidequests all come from the Silver Streak Camp and the Gray Citadel. 

One of the really interesting things here is the re-appearance of elite enemies that are incredibly dangerous. You can even find elite enemies that are boosted with enemy effects like Tenacious, which gives them a 100 percent HP increase. If a battle with some of these elites goes on too long, they'll just hit you with a massive 25k hit or two, and that's a quick trip back to the binding stone.

I would say that Tasuq is the first of your end game "gear checks" as you proceed along the islands the Shamtaem Archipelago. Enemies here are level 98ish and it only gets harder from here. I'm finding that end game gearing is really a money game as you tier up, stat up, and level up each one of your gear items by using mana stones and jewels, all available for sale in the item shop for premium currency.

I've geared up my mage, I'd say about 1/2 of the way to where I'd like him to be. He's currently sitting at around 75,000 hit points with mostly Tier 6 gear that has been raised to +7.  My staff is up to +14 or so as well. All my Jewelry is still Tier 5 as well as my back item.  

The cost of getting gear up to the max of Tier 20 seems to be 100 percent a whale hunter's delight. I mean, 3 Tier 6 mana stones is roughly 90 cents worth of premium currency (let's round up to a dollar to keep the math clean).  3 Tier 6 mana stones equals one Tier 7 mana stone.  Therefore you'll need 3 dollars worth of premium currency to go up to Tier 7.  9 dollars for Tier 8.  27 dollars for Tier 9.  81 dollars for Tier 10.  You get the sequence . . . and that's for ONE piece of gear. 

I don't know . . . maybe I don't have the full picture on gear costs and I've never seen anybody with a tier 20 piece of gear because if you do the math, isn't that like 4.5 million dollars for one piece of gear?  That can't be right, can it? No . . . I gotta be looking at this wrong . . . THAT CAN'T BE RIGHT?! Please someone educate me in the comments if I'm not looking at this right.

Anyway, all I really care about is that I have gear that's good enough that I can do well in instances with my guild mates, and as I said before, I feel like I'm about 1/2 way there from really what feels like spending a minimal amount of money.

Happy Dueling!