Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dark Souls: Praise the Sun

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Back on the track of player messages to find that shortcut, I come across a long bridge across the lava guarded by another stone lightning thing which thankfully I could just run by since my gear was pretty broken at this point. Non hostile parasite bugs crawled away as I made my way down the large corridor only to find Solaire waiting for me. A particularly bright bug had attached itself to his head, and he now believed himself to be the sun - demanding praise.

I tried to reason with him, but to no avail. He drew his sword and attacked! Fortunately I knew all his moves after seeing him in action so many times. The battle also served as another parry and riposte test since I was in no condition for a drawn out combat. I killed Solaire, and a little bit of me died with him. Judging from the player messages left nearby, I wasn't alone in that feeling.

Good bye, old friend.

The giant door behind him led was indeed a shortcut to the bonfire, which skipped the long trek through lava and dragon dinos and made the melting ruins easier to explore (it was easy enough to sprint past the bridge keeper). After slaying a witch, I found the boss of the area: a great tree who technically only has 3 hit points: I just needed to hit each weak spot once to win. This was by no means easy though, as the floor would give way to insta-death drops and her sweeping branches enjoyed pushing me into said holes.

This is why I hate trees!

It took a few tries but finally I got into the core of the tree where its true form, that of a helpless insect was revealed. I took great pleasure in squishing that bug to claim my second lord soul and warping out of there.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Skyrim: Falskaar

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

After our adventurers in Lull-Mor, Sofia and I regrouped with Bandit (who basically missed out on all the fun) and returned to Riften to check on my adopted kids Sofie and Lucia. After giving them gifts and absurd amounts of coin (because I can) we are approached by an old guy who asks us to check on a nearby mine as he saw some never-do-wells nearby. Thinking it would be a quick task, I accepted, only to find a bandit army and their reverend dragon camped out there! Fortunately Riften's Jarl had sent out some guards to assist, while led to another overwhelming victory.

Strength in numbers!

The cave itself has a few more bandits but more interestingly a magic portal! This one way trip sends Bandit, Sofia and myself to another ruin where we are immediately met by a guardsman who asks for help to save someone from bandits further in the cave. We do so easily, and are rewarded with a delivery quest to the nearby town of ... Amber Creek? Where the heck are we?

There's no shortage of things to do when we finally get to the town, as almost everyone has either misplaced or needs something from the surrounding areas. One of the main themes is that the local thugs seem to all be organizing and thanks to a warning given to one of the townsfolk, my team is sent to stop that attack from ever happening.

This looks like the place.

This leads us to raiding a fortress full of them, and during the attack Bandit (my ally) takes a fatal arrow to the head by a khajiit sniper who won their ranged duel thanks to his superior position up in the ramparts. It takes us awhile to get in there, but when I find him I make sure to separate his head from his shoulders.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Dark Souls: It's a Trap!

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Right after the fight against the centipede I find Solaire camped before a lake of lava. He is depressed that after all his questing he has not yet found "the Sun"? I tell him to keep his chin up and forge ahead into the melting ruins, avoiding the horrible half-dragon dinosaur things standing around. The lava walking ring might protect my health but it doesn't do much for my quickly deteriorating armor.

That's not a wall back there. That's just a lot of dino demons.

After smashing past a bunch of floaty, fire breathing demons most of my gear is wrecked by a multi-eyed octopus thing. I follow signs left by other players that supposedly lead to a shortcut but get distracted by a distant shiny and on my way to collect it the floor gives out from under me and I find myself in a room with tangled roots and a further pit into a lair full of those octopi. I manage to snipe a few of them before noticing Ser Chubby is down here too!

Only around this point do I actually learn how to -aim- with a bow.

Apparently the only way out is through the octopod lair and since I've saved Ser Chubby before he figures its time to repay the favor... he tells me to run past as fast as I can while he engages ALL of them. Before I can protest he lets out a roar and charges! I cover him as best I can with the bow but as more come from the deeper tunnels I hop down too to engage in melee. The swampy floor here is also poison, which means a fast battle is imperative.

Ser Chubby and I make a good team, and somehow we are both still standing at the end. He scolds me a little for going off plan and I tell him that he needs to go find his daughter. Since he is going to rest awhile to recover, I go on ahead to find that shortcut I was so rudely detoured from.

NWO: Cryptic Abortion

It's too late in the evening to post one of my current running stories, so I thought I'd instead talk about how Cryptic is continuing to "Abort" it's baby Neverwinter Online. They certainly love taking things out of the game.

A: Foundry is too hard to support, lets get rid of that.
B: I know, lets remove some dungeons! Yeah less content is awesome!
C: Oh, and the Sword Coast Adventures! Yeah, no one plays that.
D: What the game will be if this continues: Broken and Dead.

To me, Cryptic has more than a few problems as of this posting which I feel like listing out right here and now.

1) Serious connection flaws on their end prevent me from playing when I want to play. If I could connect right now I would but instead, here I am listing their failures.

2) Greed. More and more things that help players progress either keep getting removed, or put behind a paywall or an incredible grind. Also comparing their real world money conversion into ZAX to say, Mabinogi's Nexon cash is a real eye opener on how much of a premium they put on their pixels.

3) They like lying. Often blaming the slow abortion due to bots, or reclassification of bugs or whatever else. It would probably better if they just went "We need more money". At least that would be honest. There are those also still waiting on the promised reduction of stronghold influence since... last year?

4) They don't listen to their player base. If you saw that 48+ page post I linked to of people raging against that change, or the numerous calls to reduce the required amount of influence (or add methods to gain influence) for Strongholds, I think we're out of luck.

5) There is a disconnect between content designers and D&D. This is one that really pisses me off. A repeatable fishing quest in a level 70 zone and more fishing in a level 70+ zone? So you are sending characters who have likely defeated Baphomet, Orcus, Tiamat, a number of Balors and armies of who knows what else off to catch (regular) fish? If this was a table top session how would you swing that and keep people interested?

6) There is obviously a disconnect / lack of communication within their own company too. The latest module features Frost Giants who seem to enjoy throwing boulders that they pick up from the ground. That's cool and looks neat. But then you fight around 33% of said Frost giants ON WOODEN SHIPS. Of course they retain the boulder throwing attack which is idiotic.

7) They abandoned the one thing that made them stand apart: the Foundry. As a foundry author myself, that really upsets me.

8) Cryptic encourages Elitism. Those new dungeons / zones require some pretty high levels of gear to participate in. I'd personally always favor inclusion over exclusion but I have to let it slide because people asked for it and apparently the few metrics I can see also make it valid in the "majority rules" sense.

Anyway, enough venting for tonight. More regular content will continue tomorrow.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Skyrim: Archeron

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Certainly has a sense of humor.

After pushing enough Thalmor into lava we catch up to Archeron just before he can take his doohickey. The banana puts up a decent fight, forcing me to use all the tools from Lull-Mor to undo his color coded god modes. After hurting him enough he decides to change into his final form(?) which is a giant floating skull and skeletal hands! While the hands are moderately annoying at trying to push me off the many cliffs in this arena, the skulls fireball is the main damage threat. Takes me a short time to identify its weak spot (I've had practice looking for these now) and capitalize on it.


Sofia and I awake in some huge chamber. Llavados and Memory (the girl he wanted us to save, and quite possibly the MacGuffin herself) are here. Apparently she will be a big part in people surviving some sort of catastrophe in the future. He thanks us, says that I've met him before but I don't remember, and sends us on our way. But not before Memory totally kills my winning mood with this line.

What? Why!? How? So many questions...

PS - Damn this was a really good mod! Highly recommended!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Dark Souls: Vision of Beyond

Tales from Dark Souls - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

My next stop was to revisit the Demon Ruins and thanks to the Lord Vessel I could just warp straight to the timid drider girl to save on travel time. After a much easier combat against the demon I fought the last time as well as defeating Kirk the invader, I found an easy and very visible shortcut to a bonfire guarded only by one immobile Rock Worm. At this point I noticed Gravelord signs nearby and figured I'd try interact with one. Oops, PvP time.

The game doesn't really give a lot of info for things like this.

It brought me to the world of another player (a gravelord) whose duty it is to "infect" other players with bad things (which I never actually saw). Another person was already here fighting the gravelord though, and slew him before I could even get close. Still, this banished whatever bad stuff was happening in my world so I was free to continue deeper into the fire themed place.

I soon came upon the Firesage Demon which took a few goes to survive his immolation, but beyond him was a shortcut elevator back to the drider girl's fire which was awesome. Just want to say I really like the level design in this game. Not only are there lots of looping shortcuts to unlock, you can also "see" zones long before you reach them which really adds to the whole world immersion.

A lower corridor then led to a lake of lava (the one I was walking above earlier) to fight a gigantic lava centipede (who I could also see earlier). Fortunately my buddy Solaire is present to tank the beast for me which leads to an easy victory! The ring of lava walking it drops is surely going to come in handy.

It almost killed Solaire too.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Skyrim: The Bottom of the World

Adventures in Skyrim - spoilers ahead! You can follow the rest of the story here!

Stumbling around the dark we are surprised to encounter Llavados, the Dunmer cyborg who first brought us to Lull-Mor, and he is surprisingly sane. Apparently if I can survive the bottom of the world I will find what I need to defeat Archeron. Inspired, we look around and find puzzles that mostly rely on sending lights back to open doors. This is really cool, and sets the stage for a boss fight against a giant robot who can only be defeated by laser light beams.

Finding the light in the darkest places.

He drops the Lullian Shield, which has the impressive ability of being able to throw people around through bashing. After practicing on a wandering golem, I get to use it for real as Masscroft comes down from an elevator (to the bottom of the world... sure why not) to make sure we are dead. Fortunately there's a handy hole in the center of the room (to the bottom-est of the world?) and regardless of his god mode or invisibility potions, it's pretty easy pushing him into it repeatedly. Eventually he fails to crawl back out.

Taking the lift back to Lull-Mor, Medeliu Hammar tells us that Archeron has sent through his whole squad of immortal experiments into the dig which doesn't bode well for Numinar or his folk. Sofia and I give chase and thankfully the caves give way to lava filled chambers, the type that's just perfect to push god-mode enemies into!

Tossing god mode baddies into lava. I'm getting good at this!