Battle Bards Episode 51: Vindictus

Feel the power! Feel the burn! Feel the… Vindictus!

When a game is made up of insane frantic combat, what will its score sound like? The Battle Bards are keen to find out with their journey through this particular game’s soundtrack. It’s wild, it’s bombastic, and it’s (as always) divisive!

Episode 51 show notes

  • Intro (featuring “Ancient Dragon” and “Malina”)
  • “Crom Crauch”
  • “Keaghan”
  • “Main Theme”
  • “White Whale Inn”
  • “Craftsman Colru”
  • “PvP Theme”
  • “Succubus Queen/The Siren of Slaughter”
  • Which one did we like best?
  • Outro (featuring “Grim Reaper”)

Listen to episode 51 now!

World of Warcraft: Remembering Syp

In my past World of Warcraft career, I had several characters who transcended the extras tier to become near and dear mains. There was my first character on launch day, a Dwarf named Chark. A Druid named Echoes. A Hunter named Ghostfire.

But in all truth, it was a little gnome Warlock that defined my experience in WoW. I even saw her briefly a few months ago when I loaded up the game for a trial. We exchanged pleasantries and I told her that I was happy she still lived in Northrend even long after the world had moved on. She likes it there.

Flash back to October 2006. World of Warcraft had been out for a couple of years and I had clocked many hours in it before taking an extended break to play some other titles (most likely City of Heroes). Once the burnout faded, I decided to return and start fresh with a new character. Following my personal maxim that MMO character names shouldn’t be more than three or four letters (since that’s all people will type in chat anyway), I slammed some random letters together and created the very first Syp.

Syp the Gnome Warlock spent several months working her way up through the vanilla content (this was pre-expansions) while connecting with a terrific guild called Time Well Wasted. She was also an engineer, and I painstakingly leveled that profession up to get some of the cool toys and gadgets that came with it.

I fell in love with the Warlock playstyle more than any other in that game. The combination of powerful DoTs and an array of pets was a heady mix, and there was nothing I loved more than to see my pint-sized gal flinging spells on bad guys and have their damage numbers continually tick down afterward. I was never big on the voidwalker, but I did rotate through the other three — the imp, the succubus, and the felhunter — and enjoyed what each of them brought to the table.

Sometime in December, my guild agreed to help me run a dungeon to get the warlock epic mount. It was one of my best memories in World of Warcraft, that night. The run was tough and the fight took some time, but at the end of it I emerged with my brand-new epic mount in an era where epic mounts were something of a precious rarity (and only Warlocks and Paladins had quests to get theirs).

Then came the Burning Crusade in January 2007. We were psyched as all get out, and I got the special tabard for doing the opening of the portal event. Syp jumped into Outland and really came into her own. Probably the best change was her brand-new pet, a hulking felguard that did terrific damage. I loved sending that fella to smack down anyone who looked at me cross-eyed. It almost felt like cheating.

Syp had a good run throughout 2007. She geared up well, ran dungeons regularly, and even experimented with raiding with the 10-man Kara. I crafted her flying helicopter-thing, which remains one of my favorite mounts of all time (it had a hula dancer on the dash!). And she did a great job in groups pumping out DPS and bringing some utility when needed.

Unfortunately, Syp never really made the transition into Wrath of the Lich King. I started giving more attention to my Hunter, who was the one who got through most of that expansion, while Syp got parked at the docks where she remains to this day. Soon, I burned out of WoW completely and a subsequent reunion grew less and less likely as I and the game moved on in separate directions.

Still, I’ll always have a fond spot in my heart for that three pony-tail’d Warlock. She and I had a great time together, fighting the good fight, and not taking any crap from players who hated on Gnomes.

Fallout 2: Buzz off!

(This is part of my journey going checking out Fallout 2. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

ec1I think I’m about done with the Den. Someday I will return to free the slaves, when I have better armor and weapons. Someday.

My rag-tag party of a tribal and an engineer and I begin our trek out to Vault City. The overworld map can spring all manner of encounters on you, and we quickly walk in on a disturbing standoff between farmers and three hulking armored goons. The farmers refuse to go with the Enclave and are gunned down for it, although we are mysteriously left alone.

Crossing the wasteland is a tough go. We keep hitting combat encounters — robbers, slavers, geckos. I’d be more than happy to grind up a few levels on them except that I keep burning through ammo and stimpacks just to survive (and that stuff is expensive).

I’m actually overjoyed when we bump into a merchant caravan, since it’ll be a bunch of friendlies and I can resupply. That joy does not last long…

ec2Whaaa? Dude, hasn’t anyone told you of my penchant for robbing graves? I’m not THAT good.

Vault City is a long, long way away from the Den. So far away, in fact, that when I stumble over a small farming community, I declare that we have to take a rest stop, just to break up the monotony of mountain crossing. This is Modoc, by the way, which is either a Marvel supervillain or a juvenile joke by Black Isle (read that name backwards).

st1What am I doing? Just standard RPG adventuring procedure: Robbing your store right in front of you and then selling you back your stuff for profit.

Modoc is a farming community that’s in a bad way due to a drought. Guess we’re in California (rimshot). The general store trader wants me to investigate a farm that (pro) has growing crops while everyone else does not but (con) apparently has homicidal ghosts. Sure. Why not.

perkI take on a quick job to eliminate a pack of wild dogs that have been preying on the local cows. “Quick” is a relative term, since the fight takes just shy of forever. I love a lot of things about Fallout 2, but the tedious turn-based combat system is not always endearing, especially when the field is populated by a couple dozen critters, each of which have to take a turn moving around.

At least killing the dogs was worth it: I gain another level — and this one with a perk! Lots of tough choices (kama sutra master? That’s a trap and don’t deny it!), but I’m going to go with Ranger, because I’d love to see more of these special encounters on the map. Might make for good blogging.

What’s noob with the NBI?

nbiEr, new. New. What’s new with the NBI?

We’ve crossed the halfway mark of this month and I’m seeing a lot of chatter and inter-blog projects, which is really cool.

Here’s my Syp Blogging Tip ‘o the Day: Never shorten the word “of” to ‘o. It makes you look tacky and like you’re two steps away from operating a discount seafood shack on the end of a harbor.

Here’s the list of the new-and-returning NBI blogs, along with a couple recent additions:

Picture of the Day: “Cool” stuff

Following MMO devs can sometimes be an adventure in having straight-up weirdness populate your feed, such as the following:

coolstuffYes, Smed, that is cool. That is so cool, it will be haunting my nightmares until the end of time. Seriously, that… thing on the left will take a year off your life every time you look at it. Don’t look at it again! Don’t! Why would you do that?

Marvel Heroes: Getting to know you

Oh Cable, we used to think your pouches were so, so cool. Now you’re just a reminder of the horrible Rob Liefeld era of comics.

Anyway, as I’ve been upping my Marvel Heroes playtime lately, I’ve come to realize just how much I don’t know about this game. On the surface it’s pretty straight-forward: click-click, loot-loot, rinse and repeat. But after months of casually dabbling in it, I’m still mystified when it comes to the game’s many modes, systems, its insane variety of gear types, and what I should actually be doing.

So I’m approaching this ignorance with a two-pronged attack. The first is that I’m engaging in something I’m informally calling the Level 25 Project: I’m leveling all of my regular (non-level 10 capped) characters to level 25 through Midtown Madness and Industry Patrol. This has a lot of benefits I’m finding:

  • I’m unlocking a ton of level 25 synergies to use on any character
  • I’m forcing myself to sit down and get to know some of these heroes I wouldn’t normally play
  • I’m getting tons of loot to feed to the crafter and enchanter vendors (which is apparently Something You Should Do)
  • And with the recent cosmic event, I’m quickly gearing up all of these characters with yellow gear

Thus far I’ve completed it on Black Panther and Cable, and am currently working on Daredevil. Black Panther was so-so, with some ranged knife attacks and a smallish AoE that was decent for multiple mobs, but I never quite warmed up to him. Cable is a character that I really don’t like, personality-wise, but at least he’s a straight-forward ranged DPS class with lots of buffs. I kept using his slow-firing homing shot that would hit an enemy and detonate with a strong AOE. Satisfying to play. And Daredevil is my first melee class, which is somewhat infuriating to play, but I did get one ranged bouncy skill that’s helping with the massed mobs.

The other thing I’m doing is enrolling in Marvel U. That’s what I’m calling “perusing the guides section of the Marvel Forum and realizing that there have to be players with actual degrees in this game — doctorates, no less — to understand it all.”

Everyone seems to love this following 3.5-hour video in which the guide walks new players through most of the game’s systems. I want to point to the length there: It takes him three-and-a-half hours to fully explain what’s going on here. Marvel Heroes has some insane depth for a Diablo clone.

Anyway, I’m digesting it in chunks and have already learned quite a few things — including the guide’s penchant for saying the word “essentially.” If you end up watching this, keep a tally on that word. And don’t make it into a drinking game, or else you will perish.