Marvel Heroes: Doctor Octopus, we meet for the 174th time!

The entirety of my Marvel Heroes world has shrunk down to a single instance: the Kingpin’s warehouse cosmic terminal. For the past five or six days, whenever I play Marvel Heroes, this is what I’m doing — blitzing through the map to do some endless farming of Doctor Octopus.

Doc Oc has an item that Squirrel Girl’s summoning build very much needs, the awesome Octobot Controller. It’s just way too good to pass up and possibly the best in slot for that unique. He supposedly does drop it at a terribly low rate, although the game throws you a pity bone by automatically giving it to you if you’ve killed him 500 times in the cosmic terminal. So at least there’s a finish line, albeit one that is quite far away.

I’m around 200 kills so far, having gotten quite good at quickly navigating the semi-randomized map to getting straight to the boss fight. I can do the whole thing in under two minutes, which averages out to about 30 kills an hour. Sixteen and a half hours of this? Yes, it could well drive me insane. But I’m okay with it.

For starters, I have nothing better to be doing right now on Squirrel Girl. She’s the character I’ve chosen to be the one that I gear up the most, so I don’t mind working on her as a long-term goal. And I’m not forcing myself to farm; it’s just what I’ve been wanting to do lately. It’s quite relaxing and can be done in small chunks.

Plus, I’m finding that I’m knocking out a lot of other goals by doing this, as repetitive as it is. I already got a nice drop that was another desired unique for my build, the Latvarian monarch cloak, which saves me from additional farming in the future. I’ve been running some strong buffs for these runs, and have been accomplishing the following:

  • The tons of XP I’m raking in for the cosmic boss kill gives me an Omega Point about every run (if not two). My OPs have been pretty skimpy to date, so this is helping them beef up to a respectable number, something that benefits all of my characters.
  • I’m leveling up my team-ups to the cap. I finished Magik and am almost done with Arachne.
  • Since all I need right now are uniques, I’m vacuuming up all of the loot right into my pets. I capped two so far, with the new baby Groot almost there as well. I also just built a mini-sentinel pet, so he’s next on my to-do list to level.
  • I’m getting the occasional unique and relic, but tons and tons of runes. I’ve restocked my bank full of runes and then some!

I’ll be taking a break from all of this tonight to level up some other characters through Midtown Madness. My true hope is that the controller drops well before 500 kills, however, but I’m not holding my breath.

ArcheAge: Tutorial blues

ScreenShot0001One of my gradual goals with this new computer is to load up my MMO-designated SSD drive with several titles to play as my whim dictates. A sample platter of online games, as it were. I don’t want to get so stuck into a rut of titles that I never take breaks to see what else is out there.

So far I loaded Anarchy Online and ArcheAge (am I doing this alphabetically? I do not know). The latter’s been on my list to try out for a good while now, especially now that we’re far past the post-launch drama. Of course, AA never seems to be too far from dramaville, but oh well. I want to see what everyone was raving about eight months ago.

I rolled up a magic-user named Syppi and jumped with both feet into the tutorial. Well, I say “tutorial,” but it really was only that in the loosest sense of the term. What it actually was was a parent who says they’re going to let their kid play, but only does so for about two seconds before grabbing the controller back because they don’t think the kid can handle it.

Seriously, this was the worst tutorial I’ve played in a long time. It kept repeating a pattern:

  • Give me an incredibly simple objective, usually directed with flashing arrows, that could be finished with a single button press.
  • Then the game took over for another three-minute cutscene in which my character fought, flew, talked, and did generally heroic things.
  • Another objective accomplished within a few seconds!
  • Another three-minute cutscene!

This went on for 30 flipping minutes. It didn’t help that often the character meshes didn’t pop in, leaving characters with blank faces and bodies, nor that the voice acting was… lackluster, to put it as nicely as possible.

Maybe there was a way to skip all of that and just play? But by the time I was dumped into the game proper, I about had it for the night. A crash to desktop a minute later seemed to be an omen to play something else.

On the plus side, yes, it’s a pretty game with some nice armor designs, and I still want to dig into it. But as a teaching and interactive experience, the tutorial fails at being engaging and entertaining.

The Secret World: Orochi’s dirty laundry

or1It’s my current, gradual, long-term goal in The Secret World to experience and beat all of the floors of the Orochi Tower. I love the fact that there are so many weird floors that show off the different facets of this messed-up mega-corporation.

I love less the fact that TSW makes it a headache to methodically explore all of the floors. First of all, you can only do them in a mission that’s on an 18-hour (I think) cooldown, and each mission run allows for three floors. Eight companies, three floors apiece, that’s 24 total. But you get a random assortment of the three, so finishing up the last few will probably be annoying. I heard there are ways to cut down on the randomness, but could it have hurt Funcom to, y’know, just let us pick which three floors we wanted to do that day? Or let us do all 24 in a row?

or2What I love is that each floor usually has a story to tell with its details and events. This floor was looking into ways to develop synthetic blood and werewolf sausages for the more supernatural demographic.

Love these posters. I would totally hang these up in my office, even though they’d get me fired the next day.

or3Or, y’know, create protein bars from giant mutated locusts that are currently devouring your entire R&D staff.

The “yum!” is what makes this diagram pop.

or4If you have a computer AI in a video game, then it will have a female voice and display a svelte blue hologram. That’s video game law.

Right now I’m butting my head against the final confrontation with Orochi’s AI, Aimee. Her riddles were laughably easy, but this final fight in a cramped room has caused me to rage-quit twice now. I got pretty far on the final fight, but once there were several moving laser fields, a projection throwing lasers my way, and little healbots keeping a shield around the mainframe, I had to call it a day. As I said on Twitter, TSW needs to sell controllers so that I have something to toss across the room after some of these boss fights.

WildStar: Keeping the holo-homefires burning

house1If my kids ever see me launch WildStar, they’ll beg to see my house. They love the housing section far more than seeing any adventuring areas, probably because they have a say in where I put things. Sometimes I get critical feedback like, “Don’t put that THERE. That looks UGLY!” and “Is that dragon on the wall going to eat us?” It’s very helpful.

Anyway, as part of my rebuilding efforts on my Engineer, I scrapped my old starship house and decided to start over with a cozy exile house (I like the little kitchen area, sue me). The starship was neat in many ways, but it was very hard to work with and kind of visually dominated the landscape.

house2One of the first things I did with this house was to build a second story. I don’t need some gobsmackingly large house (Guild Wars 2’s idea of guild housing was so large that it felt like a turn-off to me), but there’s some nice vertical space in this structure and I felt that it’d be a waste not to get a second floor out of it. Wasn’t too hard in the end, although the stairs look a little weird. At least it works.

house3I also turned the lighting from “cute” to “really dark.” I wanted to experiment with lighting here, and lighting shows up best when everything’s pretty dark.

One thing I’m pretty proud of was putting a light behind the Aurin stained glass window up there so it looks like there’s light streaming in. I had to cover up a dangling part of it upstairs with a dresser, but I felt pleased with the end result.

Dealing with our game gluttony

collectionYesterday Murf touched on a subject that a lot of bloggers have grappled with over the past couple of years: The guilt and struggle of what to do with the truckloads of games that we buy.

Games are cheap, so very, very cheap these days. They’re cable channels five years ago. They’re video rentals twenty years ago. They’re libraries… uh, two thousand years ago? We have access to thousands for free and even more for ridiculously low prices. And because we love good deals and compulsively collecting things, we hit sales from sites like Steam and GOG like a glutton after a two-week fast.

Then our game library fills up with more titles than we can ever handle, particularly with diminishing game time as one ages. So what to do with that? You could stop buying so much, even when it’s a really good deal, unless you’re willing to play it on the spot. You could — as I’ve been doing — committing yourself to playing through the library you purchased. You could sample them. You could engage in the fantasy that you will one day play them, but not today and realistically not ever.

Another option — one that I’m considering — is devoting a session or night per week to getting out of one’s normal gaming routine and simply trying other titles. I think it’s easier to play games that you’re familiar with than figuring out new systems, downloading the files, etc.

I’ve been intentionally slowing down my purchasing habits of both new and older, cheaper games. I’m probably missing out on a few classics, but it’s started to rub me wrong to buy titles that I’ve done nothing with for years. GOG is running its summer sale and despite a few really good deals, I haven’t touched it save for grabbing one free game from the pile. I don’t want to buy Witcher 3 until I actually play and beat 1 and 2, and who knows when that will be?

Plus, there is the economics of it. Money in the pocket is more useful than a couple of bucks saved somewhere in the future. So if I get a game for half-off now (say, $5 instead of $10) but don’t play it until 2017, I’m not really enjoying that discount and getting that extra $5 worth until three years from now.

Maybe we need to be more okay with not paying until we’re ready to play, even if that means paying a few bucks more down the road.

Just chewing on all of this. I don’t know.

WildStar: Ode to Lifty

lifty1In the Exile capital of Thayd there are many unusual sights, if you’re willing to slow down and take the time to look. One that’s been charming me over the past few weeks is seeing Lifty come through.

lifty2Lifty is a hover lift that goes on an endless circuit with its cargo. It’s an utterly unremarkable piece of machinery save for one thing.

lifty3When Lifty encounters players, it doesn’t merely go through them or bump them aside. Oh no. Lifty picks them up and takes them along for the ride.

lifty4Thus, it’s not uncommon to spot Lifty dragging along two or three AFK players, sometimes on mounts, all over the city. Sometimes I even like to hitch a ride myself, because what are video games for if not to take you on a sight-seeing tour.

Oh Lifty, you are wonderous. Never change, good buddy!