Thursday, 23 June 2022

Warframe: Frost and Vauban

Defender type frames.

Before the huge time skip in my playing of this game I clearly finished mastery on a number of warframes and weapons as I'm now currently on MR16. That's a slight pity since I don't remember enough to write about the ones I've been through, other than "I preferred my starter Loki over them".

That said, these two were ready and waiting for me when I started up again, and still see regular usage from DL (Vauban) and Jim (Frost) during defense type missions in which they excel.

Frost

One of the earliest (and slowest running) frames you can farm for by killing Captain Vor on Mercury, his best power is his defensive snow globe which blocks almost any projectiles from coming in but lets all projectiles go out which is excellent against gun-toting grineer and corpus. Basically sit in the shield and fire away!

It doesn't stop things from walking into the globe though, which is means it doesn't work against the heavily melee oriented infested - especially since their "ranged" units spit things that still get through the shield. Also if you find yourself outside the shield, your bullets will also be blocked if you try to shoot in.

Vauban

Available from Nightwave's shop, this engineer has a bunch of tricks up his sleeve. Are those even sleeves? Anyway, DL quite enjoys the little rolling grenades and nail bomb ability this frame packs but his best one is definitely the bastille power which makes an anti gravity ring that perma stuns non-eximus enemies foolish enough to walk in for as long as it lasts, making them easy prey.

This makes it fantastic against the infested who easily trap themselves in the net, but as it doesn't stop bullets or lasers the grineer and corpus can still snipe from outside the ring's range. Of course, if you have a Loki with you who loves using radial disarm which makes said gun-toting units into melee goons - it is just as effective.

Since I no longer have either of these (warframe slots are limited) I either use the Titania for infested as she can cleanse toxic / any other status effect or a Loki to disarm grineer and corpus who are also silly enough to go for his decoy clone. Armed with an ether reaper scythe (slash is strong against infested) or sydon trident (great against armored foes) respectively, this makes it doable but requires more work solo. Obviously I can always just team up to make the job easier, or use an NPC specter to assist.

Monday, 20 June 2022

GTFO: R7A1 - Unit 23 (Main)

Been awhile since we've played GTFO and here we are with a new rundown which includes a lovely solo only training mission called EVAL. Definitely play that first if you are new, rusty, or curious as it's a decent training level. For R7A1 you need to lug around a HSU (aka "the baby") but don't be too worried if you neglect it at the start. Also be sure not to be holding it or any other large object during checkpoint scans due to bugs! Our loadouts were as follows:

Me: HEL Shotgun/Precision Rifle/Cfoam/Spear
DL: DMR/Sniper/Mines/Hammer
Jim: DMR/Shotgun/Cfoam/Hammer
[Bot]: HEL revolver/Machinegun/Burst Sentry/Hammer

Advance, loot and stealth kill as needed as you clear all the rooms until you get past the first checkpoint (despite the size, its very much one way). Eventually you'll come to a large chamber with pillars and four doors, one you entered from, one is a locked checkpoint and then the remaining two are Class II alarms. Poke the locked door to know what key you need and use the terminal to find which of the two doors you need to open to get it. You don't need to open both!

Since a Class II alarm is pretty simple our setup was simply shutting the door we came from and mining it which handled most of the wave. Beyond the second checkpoint is a room with giants and regular sleepers for you to practice your gun play on, then push forward until you reach the Class III alarm door to Zone 49. There are two other doors into here and since we brought two c-foam launchers that made it really easy with Jim icing one door and I'm icing the other (instead of standing on circles, which DL and the bot were doing).

Finish killing the alarm wave (after you've deactivated the alarm) and you've reached the resuscitation machine. After scavenging and reloading weapons put the baby in. This starts an endless alarm where enemies (only around two or three at a time) will try get you. While this is happening you must take the baby and make your way back to the start zone and extract. If you a guarding pretend that the carrier cannot fight or sprint and move appropriately. In reality the carrier can drop the HSU to fight too, but its better to keep the HSU moving back to the scan. Once the baby is in, complete the scan and GTFO! :)

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Neverwinter Online: Dragonslayer

There are some nice freebies that come with this and even more (time limited) freebies with the current Jubilee event that are worth logging on to collect.

Dragonslayer itself is a continuation of the Draconic Rage / Dragonbone Vale which is easily summarized as "there are more dragons that need killing". Thus a group of Dragonslayers have setup shop in a small new segment of the city and are offering dragon hunts which in theory are pretty cool. Especially since you're supposed to get good gear from it, and the item level requirement to participate is pretty low (18-22k). 

As someone with characters on 44-45k item level I'm here to tell you that's a lie. To start off, you must kill two baby dragons (one at a time) who both have 26 million hitpoints. Sure, the fight might not be so hard but expect to be bored for the next 15+ minutes (per dragon). Also, you MUST SOLO THESE to progress.

After these are the adult dragons who you can face with two friends. Now if you have strong friends and are strong yourself this is fine. If you are doing PUGs, good luck. As expected the adults are far stronger than the kiddies and come with new moves, many of which are denial of play abilities which in design terms are the most terrible decisions you can put into a game. In a board game that would look like "skip a turn or skip half your turn" while waiting to participate.

Here, the dragon roars and you are stunned / can't use abilities or attack for 3 seconds. Or it eats you and you can't do anything but take damage for 3 seconds. (Both of which they can spam)  Or you get killed, get booted from the fight, and must wait until everyone else dies (or wins) because you cannot rejoin at anytime. And with fights that last this long, you can expect to be waiting and/or be undermanned for a long time.

Curiously, each fight consists of three phases - between each the dragon flies off and you must chase it to fight a handful of little minions. It's almost like the designers KNEW the dragon fights were so dull that there needed to be something different in between, but alas as it stands it's still a piece of shit garbage content that I can't believe got put to live.

On the flip side, people with already high item levels seem to be enjoying the (5 man) ancient dragon hunts (unlocked after killing lots more adult dragons) which leads me to believe this mod is really targeted at them and not at pleb level players like myself. Anyway, since you're logging in to claim the freebies (right?) give it a try. You'll know right away if this is for you or not.

In my case its definitely not. I'll just wait for the next lot of free catch-up gear should it ever arrive, because if you keep making content for end level players - you'll end up ignoring everyone else. Good luck with that.

Monday, 13 June 2022

Warframe: Railjack Assembly

Building on the archwing system that lets you fly in outer space, you also get to build you own spaceship (aka "a Railjack") on which you can take your co-op team of four (or just go alone with hired NPCs) to do some pretty neat missions on a second star map. I might talk about those later but this post is purely focused on how to get one, because it's a little sneaky. Not only is this quest "the Rising Tide" hiding behind the Natah chain, but you also need to buy a Railjack Cephalon blueprint to unlock it - which isn't advertised too well.

Luckily that bit is pretty simple. Just go to the readily available market place and buy one for a measly amount of credits! As you might expect, this quest will demand a fair number of resources to construct each stage of your own railjack but nothing too out there - except for maybe argon crystals which are annoying things you can find in the void. I say annoying because they're used in many things, can only be found occasionally, and expire in 24 hours if you don't use them!

Anyway, each main component will need to be salvaged from a planet which involves "scanning" it by standing close to it for awhile. The scan is interrupted if the endlessly spawning enemies get too close, or if you get too far, or if special baddies just cause interference. You can treat this like a defense mission if you want and just kill things really fast OR do my sneaky method: start the scan, run away from the enemies so that they all chase you far, far away, then run back to the scan. Did you know nothing runs as fast as a warframe? Especially if you bullet jump (sprint + crouch to slide then jump).

Doing laps seems to be the easy mode for this quest line, but I strongly recommend doing the fighting path if you are up against corpus (who continue to have excellent songs), because you can get a decent haul of oxium (another rare and highly required resource) from the endlessly spawning oxium ospreys that come with them.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Crokinole

Simplicity at its finest.

This big wooden circle is ridiculous both in cost and in the simplicity of rules. In it, two players (or two pairs of players as teams) compete to be the first to score 100 or over. Using your 12 buttons (wooden discs) each (or 6 in the pairs teams version) you simply want to end as close to the center as possible to score the most points and you do this by taking turns flicking your colored buttons from your firing line quadrant.


Yep. It's just a big circle.

The rules are as follows:

1 - You must keep one ass cheek on your chair at all times and cannot move your chair once the game begins.

2 - If there are no enemy pieces on the board, your shot or another of your buttons hit by your shot must end inside or touching the inner circle - otherwise that shot and any other friendly button it touched is removed.

3 - If there ARE enemy pieces on the board, your shot or another of your buttons MUST hit one of the enemy pieces - otherwise that shot and any other friendly button it touched is removed.

Once all the buttons have been used you score (with those touching lines scoring the lower value) and the winner gets the difference in points, meaning you might need to play a few rounds before a true winner is revealed. This is very cool since it allows for comebacks from 85/0 for example (I speak from experience). Or you can just play single rounds which is also fun and requires less mental work.

It is ridiculously fun mainly due to the simplicity and speed of the game. There is almost no barrier to entry as rules explanation is fast. Turns are fast. Setup is fast. Take down is fast. Yet there are often lots of decent decisions to be made.

It's easily become my most played, simplest, most expensive, largest, and favorite game. Highly recommended! Note that this comes in varying sizes, and you'll want a big one. :)

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Warframe: Natah Problem

The quests in this game seem to squarely fall into one of two categories: the ones that introduce a new mission type, area, mechanic, and/or grind and those that advance the story. Natah is definitely one of the latter, and is a choke point for many other quests that require it (or something that hangs of it) as a prerequisite.

I quite like that "locked" quests have small bullet points of what you need to do to unlock them, and while Natah's ones are listed - the scan drones task can be a bit puzzling because said targets sometimes just don't show up. Yep, its RNG but apparently the more you do missions on that planet the more chance they have to appear (took me around eight). Don't worry about "missing" them though - when they arrive the lights flicker, much like when the stalker and the other new assassins come calling, followed by white way points appearing on the map. Get to those quickly and do the scans you need (which is the easy part).

This starts a cascade of some really epic and rewarding quests with the culmination being "This is what you are" (music only link), which really refreshes the game a bit with a new mechanic and cool lore. Definitely one to work towards if you haven't reached it yet.

Monday, 6 June 2022

Return to War(frame)

Morphius convinced us to get back into Warframe which I'd stopped playing in 2014 and boy, has it had a ton of updates since I last played. Better UI, nice quests and excellent songs are all part of the reason it has basically booted out Neverwinter Online as my daily MMO and GTFO from our Friday night rotation. We've just been Warframing the whole time. :P

Since I'll likely be posting more about this in the future I thought I'd start off with my two current favorite frames sitting in my "stable":

Loki - my starter frame who excels at being invisible (which does bonus melee damage if things can't see you). I've also geared him to be pretty much permanently invisible, wherein the energy he spends to "cast" invisibility naturally regenerates before the invisibility wears out. This makes any mission where you can take your time killing things (or specifically killing one non-boss thing) super easy, and any mission where you don't have to kill anything a walk in the park. There's actually a surprising number of those in this game!

He doesn't kill things as fast as other frames can though, and isn't very tough if things can actually spot you which means I take cover a lot if I have no energy while every one else just sprints headlong into battle.

Titania - a fairy themed warframe earned from the Silver Grove quest who has abilities to cleanse harmful conditions, do minor heals and hold an enemy in stasis but my favorite is shrinking to fairy mode, which uses a different set of (stronger) weapons, makes her very hard to hit, and best of all puts her in archwing flying mode even in areas you aren't meant to have archwings! This makes a good number of agility challenges moot, and nullifies the danger of many enemies, including bosses, who don't think to look up.

Again I've tried gear her to be as energy efficient as possible to stay in fairy mode because at regular size she's about as vulnerable as the Loki but that's ok. Seems I prefer function over DPS at the moment.

Anywho - if you haven't played Warframe for awhile you might enjoy "We all Lift Together", the intro song and cinematic when you first get to Fortuna on Venus.