Guild Wars 2: Taimi fan club

taimiI’m taking my Ranger through Dry Top before Tuesday’s next drop and confirming what I felt the first time I went through season 2, episode 1 here — this is by far more engaging content than much of what’s come before in Guild Wars 2′s living world.  As some have noted, it’s very reminiscent of Guild Wars 1′s mission structure, a blend of open world adventures and instanced vingettes.

I like how this content is layered depending on one’s level of interest.  For me, it’s nice to just go through the story (~1-2 hours) and be content waiting for the next episode to drop.  But there are options to do more champion fights and rerunning episodes to tackle achievements, which, hey, I guess is better than nothing if you’re only playing Guild Wars 2.

Out of the NPC troupe that you’re tagging along with even though they never once refer to you by name (I feel like such a… seventh wheel?), Taimi is becoming a fast favorite in my book.  It’s not just that she personifies a child with a serious disease — which is pretty unique in the annals of video game lore — but that she’s such a driven, smart character that won’t accept being left behind.  I mean, *I* want a battle golem to ride around in, that’s pretty awesome.  And her little snarky asides (“Braham, did she just call us fat?” had me laughing) have endeared her to me.

Maybe I only know very surface details compared to Guild Wars 2 players who have doctorates in extensive knowledge of the game world the way some are wont to have, but Taimi’s just fascinating to me.  Braham and Rox obviously have taken on the roles of surrogate mom and dad for her, which is all levels of amusing as a parent myself.

I’ll admit to being a little worried when we all left Taimi with the Scarlett artifacts, because a little part of me wonders if whatever drove that weird Sylvari insane might come out to infect the Asura.  Of course, that would be a major driving force to going on more adventures to help her out, but I don’t think anyone wants to see Taimi hurt more than she already is.

WildStar: The garage sale that is my house

toastThis is the state of my house right now in WildStar.  No, it is not clever feng shui that will make sense the more you look at it.  It is a helter-skelter pit of jumbled despair.  And yes, that’s a giant piece of toast over there because why not?

What’s actually going on here is that I’m working on designing the upstairs at the moment, so I’ve dumped these items here for the time being since all of them contribute to the housing rest bonus.

Last night I decided to hunker down and commit myself to figure out how crafting works, exactly.  I’ve been pretty confused on this point, mostly because WildStar only gives you the most casual of hints in this direction when you need a two-hour seminar that’s taught by a detail-oriented Aurin.  I guess the devs figured that crafters are committed enough that they’ll teach themselves and who needs to draw in others, really?  Like a badge of honor to unravel all of this.

The crafting is just different enough from the MMO norm that it takes a little bit of a mind-shift to comprehend.  It still has the “dump components into a recipe to get results” but there’s a pseudo-minigame to allow you to hit variations, and then on top of that is a tech tree I didn’t even see until last night that you work your way up to new recipes.  It’s actually engaging and satisfying once I’d figured it out, and I had some fun blowing through all of my saved-up crafting mats to make things like giant toast and hover hammocks.

Since I’m deep into housing (really, who isn’t in this game?) the architect makes sense to feed that decor addiction.  I just need to organize, sort, and fix this garage sale up so that my place starts looking like an actual home and not an episode of Nexus Hoarders.

WildStar: Syp vs. Bonetalon

bonetalonHaving a group quest in my log kinda stresses me out a bit, because I know that it’s not always up to when I want to get the quest done, but when the opportunity presents itself in the form of other interested players.  Usually I don’t have a problem putting a call out to zone chat, since there’s almost always a couple of people with the same quest lurking over their heads, but last night I couldn’t find anyone to fight Mr. Bonetalon here.

Fine.  I’m not going to be slave to the suggested group size, I determined.  I took out my hospital staple guns and went to town on this oversized chicken.  And it mopped the ground with my face — but only after I made a good dent in its health bar.

So I regrouped by buffing up and replacing a DPS skill for a healing one.  I came back at Bonetalon like a man possessed, dodging its telegraphs like mad, doing damage when I could, and always healing, healing, healing.  Long story short, after about seven minutes, I whittled that bird’s health down to nothing while keeping my own topped out.  That was a good accomplishment for the night.

Speaking of accomplishments, I’ve really come around on challenges in WildStar.  Sure, some are really annoying and sometimes borderline impossible, but not *having* to do them but *wanting* to do the ones I do make a difference.  I find that I really do enjoy trying my hand at each challenge as they come along, at least making bronze for a shot at a good prize.  And if the challenge ends up having a juicy loot table?  I make a note of it for the future.

I’ve worked on two quick Thayd challenges to my daily rotation, since both of them take five minutes combined and offer chances at decor and dye.  It’s how I’m ending most of my night sessions, with a quick sprint through the town and some garbage pickup.  I can see myself going back through the game later on to mop up the challenges that I missed or failed at doing.

System Shock 2: Rebuilding the Von Braun, piece by piece

(This is part of my journey playing through System Shock 2. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

choicesExploring Engineering has added a new wrinkle to the anxiety levels that System Shock 2 produces, and that’s the lack of windows and the abundance of slow-opening doors.  I have to keep opening these doors — slowly — never knowing what’s on the other side.  And since I’m bumping into them everywhere, it adds to a closed-in feeling for this level.

My ammo levels are fine but not great.  I really would love to stumble upon a huge ammo dump, but knowing this game, it’s not going to happen.

droidsTo find a keycard that I need, I dive into this lovely room that’s full of crates and pods that have the potential to spit out an exploding droid at any time.  The whole room is a hide-and-go-seek wonderland, except that the prize for being found is death.  I don’t stick around long, if you were wondering.

runBut that keycard leads to an even bigger cargo bay — more hide-and-go-seek with angry droids and hybrids, yay — as I frantically searched for the one dead body that had a code for the room I needed back in the engine core.  This fellow above scrawled some helpful advice on the walls that I took to heart.  Nice of him, really, although what was I going to do when I came upon a dead body?  Set up shop and raise a few space kids?

My saving grace in this section is the use of a couple of speed boosters to help me blitz past the turrets, mechs, and droids so that I could find the code and get the heck out of there — with one hit point to spare, I might add.  I really need to find a medical bed.

blitzWith that one measly hit point, it takes some creativity to backtrack through a corridor with two shotgun-toting hybrids.  I manage it with the help of multiple saves and by ducking around a corner, waiting until they get caught on the geometry, and whacking them on the back of their heads.  Hey, this game doesn’t play fair, why should I?

offlineNow that I’ve gotten access to the fluidics control computer, I find that it’s… yup, offline.  Because nothing can come easy in this game!  The audio log nearby tells me that this crazy engineer yanked a circuit board and hit it in another room for some reason.  More backtracking!

circuitLots more running around the initial tunnels.  I guess it goes to show how you can get used to anything in a game, because I don’t even blink an eye when I come upon a hybrid.  I either run past or play whack-a-noodle, loot their corpse, and move on.

The good news is that I not only find the circuit board, but a few other goodies in the area.  I’m back to my wrench almost full-time now, because my shotgun’s out of shells and my pistol is in poor repair.  Might as well conserve.