Days of Iron, part 1

Destiny, part 10

So, Rise of Iron is finally here!  The last 5 days have been kind of a blur between work and marathon Destiny sessions and little sleep.  Now that I’m on vacation from work I have time to compose my thoughts on the new expansion.

On launch day, we all waited online anxiously for weekly reset to happen so we could get started on our journey to become Iron Lords.  2 minutes after weekly reset happens, BAM!, server crashes and no one is apparently able to get in.  At least not for the first 2 hours after the expansion had been released.  I was in party chat when they said that you could queue up to get in, so I stopped playing Peggle 2 and went back to Destiny.  Once I got it to load I was in the 100,000 mark to get logged in.  ‘Oh well’ I thought ‘glad I have the day off.’  After a while, the line started to go down and I made it to around the 60,000 mark before Charter decided to take a dump and I got booted offline completely.  After power cycling the modem, router and the PS4 I was able to get back in queue.  This time in the 200,000 range.  But this time around, the line went significantly faster and before I knew it I was in.

Before the game crashed, I was in the tower with my alternate Warlock picking up my pre-order goodies from the mail robot but decided to go in as my main Warlock since I figured he would be the most powerful to deal with what was to come.  I went back to the tower after an uncomfortably long loading screen (server lag is a bitch) I found that Eververse was selling new goodies, all the factions and the Vanguard were selling new gear and the new ships and sparrows could be found in their respective kiosks.  After admiring all the new toys, I went to orbit and decided to start my journey…alone.  I left the party chat and decided that if I was going to experience the new story, I would have to go it alone so I wouldn’t have to try to listen to what was being said over the party chat.

The opening mission to investigate the abandoned observatory was fun and began to fuel my incessant need to ask questions.  Why are we just now hearing about the SIVA threat?  How long HAS it been since the fall?  Questions, questions, questions and no answers in sight.

Over the course of about 8 hours or so, I managed to complete all the new single player missions.  They were fun, but I feel like it’s a little lack luster in comparison to The Taken King.  Maybe over the course of the year it will grow on me because at first there were things about The Taken King that I didn’t like either (like no sparrows on the Dreadnaught) so I’ll wait and pass judgement later.

One big noticeable difference between this expansion and previous ones is that right off the bat they give you the record book for your Moments of Triumph so you have something to work toward immediately.  I was not thrilled to find that there are more tiny collectibles – Dormant SIVA Fragments as opposed to Calcified Fragments – but at least this time around there are only 30 instead of 50 and you only need to find 15 to complete that entry in the book (which I’ve already done).

The book also has one whole section dedicated to the Crucible which I definitely wasn’t happy to see.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and those entries won’t be as difficult to complete as I think.  The section of the book devoted to the new raid – Wrath of the Machine – is locked until you actually get in the raid and start doing stuff.  I’m not yet high enough to do much damage in the new raid (which, just like The Taken King wasn’t released with the expansion right away) but with some perseverance I’ll get there.  It took a while before I got good at King’s Fall and now I can run it fairly well, so, it’s only a matter of time.

I’m pleased to see that entries in the book stack across all your characters (like for example, finding the same 5 SIVA Fragments on all 3 of my characters completed the requirement for that entry in the book) so that cuts a bit of my grinding down.  I’m going to have to grind for Legendary Marks so I can infuse the weapons and armor that I want to upgrade and keep from Year Two.  I’ve already infused everything on my main Warlock that I wanted to keep and have run out of Marks so it looks like my Titan and alt Warlock are out of luck for now.

So far I’m not happy that there’s really only ONE new Strike in the expansion (which of course was this week’s Nightfall and it’s hard as fuck.  I didn’t finish it) and that all the other Strikes in the SIVA playlist are, of course, rehashes from Year Two with higher light levels.  I’m not happy that it seems like there’s little in the way of Lore this time around, unless it’s coming down the pipe later in an update or something.  No scannable objects in the environments, and no a whole lot in the way of new dialogue either.  I’m also not happy that none of the Year Two quests auto completed like the Year One ones did, so I guess all those Crucible quests are going to go back to the Abandoned Quests kiosk once again.  I also don’t like the fact that Three of Coins is pretty much useless now since you need Skeleton Keys to open chests at the end of Strikes, and getting these keys is all up to RNG and whether or not it feels like being generous.

The new social space – Felwinter Peak – is very cool.  I like the view from the mountain top and the new Cryptarch is much nicer than the asshole at the Reef ever was.  The new patrol area on Earth – The Plaguelands – is densely packed with action and things to find (like those damn SIVA clusters) so I’m sure I’ll be spending most of Year Three here.  I didn’t like it at first because I thought it was a little confusing, but now I have it all mapped out in my head.  I’ve already completed the quests for the new Gjallarhorn and for the Khvostov exotics and I’m hoping that if there are more exotic weapon quests, they’re just as easy to complete (and don’t require going into the Crucible).

So far Year Three is off to a promising (if a bit lacking) start.  Hopefully there are more surprises in store in the coming year.

What I’m Playing, part 7

Deus Ex:  Mankind Divided

This game has been a long time coming, and so far has been worth the wait every step of the way.  Spoilers ahead; you have been warned.

It starts off with a bit of retcon for the ending for Deus Ex: Human Revolution in that this game says that Adam lived through the destruction of Panchea and was fished out of the waters of the freezing arctic ocean and taken to Alaska.  Apparently during that time he suffered a severe memory loss and was implanted with new experimental augments.  I’m still following the trail of the augments (shortened in the game world to augs) though that quest is going nowhere fast.

Most of the time I’m just wandering around the main hub of the game, Prague.  Prague is this game’s central space much like Detroit was for Human Revolution.  Quite a bit of the signs are written in whatever language the people of Prague read and write and quite a few of the NPCs in the hub are speaking it too.  Kinda makes me wish there was an aug that would translate all that stuff for you so you could hear what was actually being said.  There’s also quite a bit of the game that takes place in the sewers underneath the city.  It’s fun to just run around down there and see what you can find, though there are a few quests that require you to go down there which can be fun too.

I think my least favorite area of the game so far has been a place called Golem City.  Golem City was a place built with the intention of it being a temporary place to house augs after the event in Human Revolution where Hugh Darrow sabotaged every aug in the world.  Now Golem City is where these poor souls live and are persecuted by the police that guard it.  Picture a tower, something the size of the WTC in New York.  Now picture that tower being made entirely of metal shipping containers.  That’s basically what Golem City looks like.  Throw in some catwalks, loose hanging cables that go all over the place, sick, dead or dying augs laying in the “streets” and you get the idea.  This place is the embodiment of depressing.  In my first few minutes there, I discovered several of the residents that had died due to either suicide, illness or drug addiction.  This was also the first place I ran across enemies that wore power armor and I suspect that it won’t be the last.  I was happy when my time there was over and I’m definitely not looking forward to going back in futurde playthroughs.

They’ve improved the in game hacking mini game quite a bit by adding firewalls, multiple entry points in the terminals and clouding over parts of the hack that you can’t see (think fog of war from RTS games).  They’ve also taken the idea behind the hacking mini game and turned it into a full fledged side game called Breach.  Breach is a brilliant addition to the Deus Ex universe.  The idea behind Breach is that you and fellow hackers are trying to dig up whatever information Palisade Bank has hidden in its massive blade server farm that dominates the Prague skyline.  In Breach you play as a crude 3D wire frame avatar that seems to have several of the same abilities that Jensen has in the main game.  The idea is that you enter a small room and collect data by downloading it from black boxes.  Once you reach a certain percentage of that data collected you have to get out (by going all the way back to where you started the level) before you get captured and killed by the computer.  I didn’t dig too much into it because I wanted to progress the main game story but will definitely go back to it later.  At least progress in one game doesn’t effect progress in the other.  I so hate it when games do that.

I’m very much enjoying the game even with the retconned ending from the first one, it’s definitely been worth the wait.  Getting the platinum might take a while since there’s a trophy for completing the game on the hardest difficulty setting.  What makes this difficulty so hard is that you get ONE LIFE.  If you die, you start the game completely over.  I assume that saving your progress won’t help since it says so on the difficulty select screen…but then does that mean that you have to complete the game in one sitting?  I guess I’ll find out when I unlock this difficulty.  The one and only thing about the game that I’m not too happy about is the fact there’s an in game shop where you can use real world money to buy Praxis Kits and in game money.  Being able to use real world money to level up your character just feels cheap to me.  It eliminates any need of skill.  I can’t really say too much on that subject because I did buy the season pass for the game which gives you (I think) 6 Praxis Kits from the 2 booster packs that you get immediately.  You can also unlock Praxis Kits in the mobile game Deus Ex Go…but that only works for PC and Xbox One users.  Us PS4 players got the shaft on that one, so I guess I wasted $5 buying that app.  I’m also bothered by the fact that anything that is in the storage section can only be taken out of it for use once.  Other than these small blemishes, this game has turned out to be a masterpiece.

  • Is the platinum attainable:  yes, but will take a lot of memorization and subsequent playthroughs to achieve.
  • % of trophies at the time of writing according to PSN:  19%

 

Relationships, part 12

Jeffery,

I’m going to go on. I’m going to go on living to spite you. To spite myself. I’ll never forget what we had. How could I? You have me several firsts. Several intimate moments. Special dirty things that we used to do together. Sorry our ending was what it was, but I feel that’s what you wanted. I will go on living, go on loving, I will go on this journey alone if that’s what I must do, but I will go on regardless. I will go on regardless of the fact that part of me is missing, that I am damaged. Hopefully my next love can see past that and help me put the pieces back together, the way I tried to help you.

Long Live The King, part 8

Destiny, part 9

This will probably be the last entry about Destiny that I’ll title ‘Long Live The King’ since The Rise of Iron is due out in a few days (finally!) so I’ll continue writing about Destiny with the title The Rise of Iron (unless I can think of something better)

The last couple months have been busy in the Destiny universe to say the least.  The Year Two Moments of Triumph were finally revealed and I called it on those damn Calcified Fragments.  At the time of this writing, I finally have them all minus the one from the Golgoroth Challenge.  I didn’t think it was going to be as difficult getting it as it is.  I feel pretty foolish after falsely thinking that everyone in the team only had to hold his gaze once before killing him;  it turns out that everyone in the team has to hold his gaze every round.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  Activate bear rage mode!  Maybe we will be able to get the fragment later on.

There was a person on my friends list that had never once messaged me or asked to play with me until the Triumph list was revealed.  But of course once he found out that my friends and I couldn’t help him as quickly as he wanted, he unfriended us all.  That experience taught me to purge my friends list of people that have never talked to me, so that’s what I did this morning before bed.

Also at the time of this writing, my team is trying to get a King’s Fall Hard Mode clear so we can tick that off the list of accomplishments.  Hopefully we’ll be able to accomplish that over the next few days.

Private Crucible matches have been added to the game.  I was hoping with their addition that completing those stupid Crucible quests would finally be attainable.  Nope.  Nothing that we did in our matches counted toward any of the quests we had.  So, yeah, I still hate the Crucible.  The only thing that I will be using this feature for is to farm for the new ghosts that have been added to the game.  Other than that, I probably won’t bother with it again.

Over the last couple weeks (and with a lot of luck) I’ve managed to get all 3 of my characters to light level 332.  Considering the current cap is 335, I don’t think I did too bad.  But once Tuesday finally arrives, it will be onward and upward to a new Light Level and new adventures on my quest to become an Iron Lord!

Relationships, part 11

I will be 37 in 15 days.  Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that.  I haven’t really celebrated my birthday with any enthusiasm in years.  I don’t have anyone special to spend it with, so I just feel like it’s any other day.  But I do tend to get away with whatever I want on my birthday, so I suppose that’s a plus.

Marshal and I are still talking.  I up and asked him to take me with him when he leaves after his college year is over.  I was half joking, half serious.  I think it would do me some good to get out of here, either for a break or permanently.  Because of him, I’m still exercising in my off time.  I bought a weight bench and I’ve started making meals for the entire week.  This week’s meals are all chicken and rice with either broccoli or asparagus, plus a side salad.  So far, I’m liking making my meals this way.  When I’m tired from work I can come home and just heat up one of them and I’m done.  I haven’t had any sodas in days and no junk food.  I’m trying real hard to lose weight and get in shape this time, and I’m not going to quit no matter what.  I can still see he and I being partners or husbands or whatever you want to call it.  Maybe he’s good for me and I just don’t know it yet.  Maybe he’s good for me and Gerry is all wrong for me.

Gerry and I haven’t gotten to talk much lately because of work schedules and the fact that I don’t really want to play Neverwinter at the moment.  I have this irrational fear that we’re going to meet (if I can ever get my damn passport application submitted) and he’s just not going to like me as much as I like him or he’s just gonna want to fuck me and be done with me or someone that’s important to him (like friends or family) is not going to like me and then he’s not going to like me.  I really need to stop overthinking the whole thing and just meet him.  Granted, it won’t be the end of civilization if he doesn’t like me or want to be with me, it will just be the end of me.  I really don’t know how I’d feel if he didn’t want me.  I keep having these recurring thoughts/daydreams of meeting him and it just turning into a disaster.  I really would like to marry him, but I’m so afraid