Thursday, 29 September 2022

September 2022: COVIDED

Well, it finally happened: I got Covid for around a week this month. Itchy throat, headaches, lots of flem with sudden, violent coughing and blocked sinuses that made it hard to breathe. Not fun at all. Ultimately only ended up taking 2 days off though, being able to work from home the rest of the time.

Being sick doesn't stop the world from carrying on though: Queen Elizabeth II died, and Russia's conflict with Ukraine continues with Putin ordering a mobilization while also increasing the penalties for desertion or refusing to serve. In what looks like desperation, Russia is trying to "legally" annex the parts they currently control. This is most likely in response to Ukraine's counter offensive which is best viewed in this "200 days animated" tweet (its the big blue chunk towards the end of the animation).

Meanwhile China's scored a win with an agreement to buy Russian gas at a 50% discount. According to the Russians, the USA is to blame for the whole gas shortage in Europe. I wonder if they'll also get the blame for the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage leaks? Private talks between those two nations is currently focused on a different issue though: that of avoiding the use of nuclear weapons.

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Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Warframe: Saryn and Trinity

The double-locked frames. Not only do you have to RNG the bosses that drop their parts, you need to first farm keys to fight said bosses! To be fair, Mesa falls into this category too. :P

Saryn

Collected from Kela De Thaym on Sedna (after you've done enough of her arenas) Saryn is all about spreading her toxic spores which is her first ability. Shooting said spores or killing the spore carrier spreads the disease to other nearby enemies and so forth. She can also shed her skin and make it explode with toxin, toxify her melee strikes to always hit spores and lastly basically fart which infects enemies with a viral status (HP takes more damage) plus high direct damage to enemies affected by spores.

While she shines in endless type missions where you have big rooms full of respawning bad guys, her contagion is less useful in missions that aren't that type as often victims will die without being able to pass on their spores forcing her to start the disease from scratch. She's also less effective if grouped with a competent team as they'll probably kill the disease chain before it can propagate too far. Decent frame, but situational.

Trinity

Collected from the Ambulas boss facility on Pluto (that you can only get to by killing other Ambulases on Pluto, aim for the legs!) Trinity is designed as the healer frame, and her number four power is arguably the best at it: an on demand shield and health recharge to allies in range provided you have energy for it. This does mean to be effective you'll be watching the team stat bars more than any other player.

Alas her other powers are lack luster: immobilize a single enemy and make them immune to damage but anyone that attacks it heals themselves, mark an enemy to pulse renewal energy to nearby allies, and link to an enemy so that any damage done to Trinity goes to them instead. Ideally you'd want to use these on tough eximus enemies but due to their over shield mechanics, you can't until you hurt them severely. This means the link and energy pulse are near useless as foes should be getting killed, not left wandering about for a temporary buff.

The healing thing is also self defeating for as you shoot that single target whom you can't kill, everything else will out damage your healing - meaning you should focus on killing? Now that more and more frames have self healing (thank you Archon shards) Trinity is really becoming more and more irrelevant.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Warframe: Inaros Prime and the Void Raider

Woo, my first prime warframe! I'm not really doing reviews on Primeframes as other than being shinier and a little tougher than their original counterparts, they are pretty much the same so "Inaros Prime" is just Inaros: but with one key difference - he has a unique and somewhat hidden quest tied to him!

Much like how you get unique voice lines if using Yareli while talking to the Vent-Kids (who view her as a surfing goddess), the Void Trader Baro-Kiteer views Inaros Prime (and only the Prime version) as his "God King". Every two weeks, when he appears at a relay he offers a single quest key to Inaros Prime users to do the Void Raider quest - which is a 10 wave solo only defense in the void where you must defend Baro Kiteer himself AS Inaros Prime to get some nice rewards. Personally I use specters to help with that.

Just thought I'd post this more as an FYI because it's one of those things that's easily missed!

Monday, 26 September 2022

The Batman (2022) and The Invisible Guest (2016)

Two crime solving movies!

The Batman (2022)

When a smart (and ultra sneaky) villain starts murdering people and leaving riddles addressed to the Batman, the police quickly involve the in/famous masked vigilante (played by Robert Pattinson) to help solve the case. This dark and gritty Gotham is nice as are the peppering of action sequences throughout but the movie is far too long for its ultimately average plot. There are so many scenes that linger too long for no purpose and regardless of the setting or time of day, everyone aggressively whispers to each other instead of talking like normal. I also felt the music composition was a bit weak. Only recommended for Bat or R-Pat fans who might be able to endure the long running time.

The Invisible Guest (2016)

In this Spanish mystery thriller film, a man (Mario Casas) accused of murder talks to his lawyer to try establish a defense for his upcoming criminal case. There is almost zero action here and the plot makes heavy use of flashbacks yet it is leagues better than the Batman, as you get invested quickly as the plot moves at a good pace and the "puzzle" of the crime does get your mind thinking throughout. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

Warframe: Caliban and Ivara

The half sentient and the archer.

Caliban

Only after completing the New War can you start collecting parts for Caliban from Narmer bounties, but don't be too annoyed if the blueprints don't drop too quickly because you'll need a lot of those Narmer isoplasts that also live in the same reward table to build him, as well as anomaly shards you can only get from Veil Proxima using your railjack. It is quite a lot of work to get all the things you need!

Your reward is an odd looking frame who can spin like a top, stomp for some AoE, summon a sentient melee ally or do a quick, arcing beam blast - none of which feel very unique nor useful. The ally is ho hum, and there are other frames that do those other abilities better. Not a good warframe at all and definitely just mastery fodder for me.

Ivara

You have a slim chance to get Ivara's blueprints in any spy mission, provided you unlock all three vaults in a single run so unless you are super lucky and/or patient (I was only lacking 1 part after completing Steel Path and Empyrean space), you may have to grind a little to get her and like Loki she is designed as a stealth frame. It's nice that an enemy radar is included as her passive.

While she can only turn invisible if walking, her ability to do so is an on/off toggle unlike Loki's activate every 20 seconds or so (so he does become visible while recasting). She can also pickpocket extra loot while doing this which is a plus. All her other abilities are bow related since she is "the archer" after all: she can summon an exalted bow, control the trajectory of her projectiles, and pick from a bunch of trick arrows (noise, sleep, stealth or wire) at her disposal.

Pretty neat, but definitely designed for a slow and methodical pace. To that I ask, have you played Warframe lately? If you aren't solo the odds of a slow and methodical pace happening are near zero. My biggest problem is she can't regain energy while stealthing so while she can sustain her invisibility until her power runs out - it will run out eventually. Comparatively my Loki actually regains energy while invisible or if you are a Wisp then simply continually jumping or bullet jumping means nothing can see you. Cool frame, but I've already got ones that cover her niche.

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Warframe: Nova and Wisp

Two of the best warframes, which is a problem because I need more frame slots.

Nova

Easily acquired from the Raptor boss on Europa, Nova is all about anti-matter which she can throw like a slow fireball, open a worm hole teleporter with, or create little orbiting spheres that reduce ranged damage and actively attack enemies if up close. Her last ability "Molecular Prime" is the best though, as you make enemies brittle and slow OR fast depending on your build. She's also a bit brittle herself if her orbiting spheres aren't active or are being used to attack so there's a little bit of caution required.

Just for testing I took her into one of my problematic Steel Path interception missions where I ended up needing a second player, and with "slow"va I almost pulled out the win. I then took her to an archon hunt interception where she trounced the opposition. Definitely a powerful crowd controller who excels at weakening the enemy but does require a few ability mods to get her working out of the box.

Wisp

Unlike Nova, Wisp is very functional out of the box but is a pain to get the parts for (except for feet because she doesn't have any) as they come from the Ropalolyst boss on Jupiter which can be a lengthy fight. On top of that, you need 1200 Hexenon as well so expect to be on Jupiter a long while. Your reward is that Wisp is amazing. As long as Wisp is airborne or bullet jumping, she is invisible which kind of makes her ability to summon a duplicate to draw fire a little redundant, though you can teleport to that duplicate.

She also can put three types of motes than any allied Tenno can pick up, which either heal them, make them faster (dps boost), or shock nearby enemies. No need to be fussy, put one of each as that's how many can be carried! Lastly she can open some powerful breaches: one that blinds enemies for crowd control and one that "opens a door to the sun", letting her fire a damaging beam with infinite punch through. Ultimately super useful in almost every situation and her motes just make her exponentially more so per player in her squad.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Samaritan Interceptor

That would be a funny title, but no - this is a two movie review! :P

Samaritan

A super powered individual (Sylvester Stallone) finds it hard to stay in retirement when a kid who is one of his biggest fans, begins snooping to prove that he is his long vanished hero. It's an ok story with decent but back-loaded action with only a medium budget (or that's what it felt like anyway). The kid is the most annoying and obviously gets himself into trouble a lot, but he has to be I guess. An OK watch for Sylvester Stallone fans but it takes awhile to warm up.

Interceptor

Unlike Samaritan, this movie is action all the way and stars Elsa Pataky as the last line of defense on one of the USA's nuclear warhead Interceptor bases when it comes under siege. Despite the bad guy talking too much, multiple plot and defense holes all over the place and a good dose of silliness, this is an entertaining movie if you turn of your brain. Turn off your brain hard. Since I like silly action flicks, this was fine for me but your mileage may vary.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Warframe: Nidus and Styanax

The infested and the hoplite.

Nidus

While the component blueprints of Nidus are just behind a grindy RNG mission, his main blueprint is only rewarded at the end of the Glast Gambit quest which involves numerous games of "the Index", easiest described as grid iron but with coins, guns, warframes, and lots of violence. It also demands hundreds of thousands of credits per game which you will default if and of your games ends in a loss. Prep well before attempting, or bring friends (but they too must risk their own credits). I left this mission alone till after New War.

Once you build this infested mass that parades around as a warframe you will notice he has no shields, but that's ok because he is freakishly tough regardless and all his powers grow the more mutation "stacks" he accumulates and at 15 stacks, he can ignore death (once). He can use ranged tendrils to pull enemies to one spot, stomp to increase stacks based on number of enemies he hits, link himself to an ally to strengthen them or to an enemy so that they take any damage he would instead and lastly he can summon a swarm of maggots to eat everything. Lovely. Let's not forget that contact with a Nidus also spreads those Helminth cyst things to other warframes - easily cured but worth pointing out.

Yep, he can be very strong BUT this is very reliant on him "warming up" those mutation stacks of his which work best in a defense type situation. It is also reliant on your allies letting you infect enemies to power up. This is what killed it for me, as most other frames are "drop in and kick ass". Here it feels like I need five minutes of stretching before doing anything, so ... nope to Nidus for me.

Styanax

As of this post the Styanax is the latest warframe introduced into the game and if you logged in on his release you'd have gotten him for free. If not, its ok - just do the Veilbreaker quests and challenges to earn the currency needed to buy his parts. With a good amount of shields and armor this warrior kicks ass right away. He can taunt the enemy while letting all friendlies regenerate energy and shields, he can throw his physical shield(s) to repel baddies and armor strip them which also heals him, throw a spear to impale an enemy on terrain - which then creates a black hole that pulls other baddies close before exploding, or my favourite - throw multiple barrages of javelins from the air to absolutely deck anything unlucky enough to get in your way.

You can move and aim while doing that last one, and its better airborne where you really feel like you are unleashing missile hell on those below. It looks really pretty from a spectators viewpoint too. Alas, "warrior" is a role pretty much most of the other frames already fill so while there's nothing really wrong with the Styanax, he's really more just a matter of preference - and I ultimately preferred frames that I've been using for a longer time.

Friday, 16 September 2022

Full Metal Alchemist: Scar's Revenge

After being left out of the first movie entirely, a serial killer who hunts State Alchemists comes to town and starts hunting everyone's favorite alchemical brothers. This second outing fixes the main flaw I had where the main character is near unlikable. Sure, he still has moments of trying too hard to copy his anime / manga form but all up he is much better this time around.

There's also a lot more action and pretty decent sequences at that, despite the CGI having the same "we're on a budget" look. The main flaws which are more pronounced here are the slow trigger fingers of anyone with a gun, because I failed to count how many times I said "shoot him in the head" out loud. This is probably a left over from the manga where people have soliloquys at gun point. What might fit on a single panel on a page does not translate well into minutes of talking on the silver screen. It's almost to the point where the rifle men should be getting tired of aiming for that long.

Fans unfamiliar with the story might also wonder about an unexplained block in one fight sequence, but its a blink and you'll miss it thing. All up, much better than the first movie but it ends with a "to be continued" sign so expect to be left hanging.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Paleo

Much like Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, Paleo is a cooperative game for up to four players who take control of caveman tribe members trying to survive through a decent bunch of modular encounters. Unlike Robinson Crusoe this game is much easier to setup and play and apart from survival your main objective is always to draw a mammoth on the cave wall.

It doesn't matter if there's a giant river you need to cross, or if you are in wolf territory or have an enemy tribe warring against you - you must always draw the mammoth to win. Unfortunately cave people aren't that smart so it will take some time to do that. During the day the scenario cards are shuffled out to each player in their entirety, then using only the card backs as guides players must pick one out of three to explore with plenty of opportunity to not do your card and help someone else instead usually to get resources, build gear or draw the damned elephant.

Once you run out of cards or choose to sleep (which means you can no longer help others but also means you can dodge the rest of your hand if you feel they are all "bad") you are finished for the day, and once everyone is in that state - night descends. This is when you must spend all those resources to feed and/or protect your tribe, suffering skull tokens for each failure and each death. Gain five skull tokens and you all lose. All the components here are quite nice, as is the art on the cards.

It takes a bit to get used to the card iconography but once you get it the gameplay loop goes very fast and is quite fun. You will start remembering card backs as you play though which means player experience has a tangible effect, for good or ill. "I'm sure there was an elephant on this sort of card for this scenario," sort of deal. That said you'll get at least seven games out of this, and number seven is quite a bastard, but if you enjoy cooperative card games this one is worth looking into!

Monday, 12 September 2022

Warframe: Hildryn and Protea

Later game female frames.

Hildryn

If you ever felt your warframe doesn't have enough abs, then Hildryn is probably the bodybuilder you are looking for. Her main blueprint is locked behind rank 3 of the Vox Solaris syndicate though which means it might take awhile before you can get at her, and even when you do - you'll need to collect her other components by facing the Exploiter Orb a minimum of six times. Remember too that you can only fight the Exploiter if you've done the Thermia fractures event which isn't on all the time.

Once you get her, you'll quickly find Hildryn's gimmick is shields instead of energy. Yep, she spends the thing protecting her to do more things! These include flying around (slowwwwly), link shield power to boost allies shields or -tickle- damage enemies, powerup her exalted Ironman blaster which you can toggle to use instead of your secondary or pillage enemy shields to recover your own while clearing status effects. Just remember to do that last one while you have shields, because without shields you have no power to steal more shields. She really takes this shield maiden thing seriously huh?

While Corpus seem to be her chosen prey it balances out against the infested who have no shields for her to pillage. Despite that, Hildryn is quite readily usable "out of the box" as long as you have some shield mods (which by the time you get her, you will). It's also funny that energy leech eximus enemies will just look at you and cry.

Protea

While you can potentially meet Protea early on with The Deadlock Protocol quest (which also gives the handy Xoris) getting her parts will take a bit of doing: you'll need to hunt down Corpus treasurers who spawn on Corpus ships, kill them to take their coin of which there are three versions, then use said coin on a golden hand in one of the Corpus ships (can only use one per mission), defeat the specters of Granum void within the time frame (the Xoris helps a lot, and also pick up any little gold pyramids that add 10 seconds to the count down), and if you do well in there and win the original mission too you have a 11.11% chance to get one part of Protea (based on the coin you used).

Phew! Got all that? Great, now you can get this time engineer frame who can toss grenades that either kill enemies or protect allies, deploy short lived but powerful turrets, pull out ammo/energy/life pickups from her shapely bottom, or drop a temporal anchor which gives you a few seconds to deal damage before time rewinds (only for her) which somehow deals the same damage again, but restores anything she might have lost in that period. Including her life.

That last one is particularly amazing visually, but in reality? I hated her kit. As per her lore she is more geared for defense but there are better defender frames out there. The ammo/energy/life poop is her best skill, and since that is subsumable by the Helminth well... she's worm food.

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Locke & Key (3 Seasons)

A grieving family moves into an old house where they begin to discover magical keys that do all sorts of cool and dangerous things, often needing them to solve problems that they created in the first place! While I laugh at where some of the keys were "hidden", the story starts off quite well and most of the characters are likeable enough.  

Alas it slowly degrades as things happen that just aren't explained or worse, characters become stupider - because the writer's couldn't handle what I call "the Flash syndrome". They get all these powers that are super handy and... forget to use them? Also, in Season 3 they are still blindly testing new keys with no contingencies which is really moronic.

Still an entertaining series though, and one with an ok ending despite the convoluted path it took to get there. If you like the "dark fairy tale" vibe (but not too dark because the creators still tried to be kid friendly) then definitely check this one out.

Thursday, 8 September 2022

The Night Cage

Drips with the theme of darkness.

In this cooperative "horror" board game, one to five players find themselves in a pitch black and crumbling maze with only a candle to light the way, a motif well represented by the board itself. Working together they must collect a key each and ALL make it to an exit before time runs out.

This is trickier than it sounds as a) there is a limited number of tiles which acts as the timer, b) some tiles are monsters that turn off your light and make the tiles run out faster and c) other than the exit door, players cannot move through each other or hold more than one key.

On your turn your choice boils down to move or stay (if your candle is still on), and staying gives you some nerve tokens which you can then use to sprint or stop the darkness from closing in. When you move, you light up what you can "see" (one step away with a candle) and remove any tile no one else can see. This means the maze shifts constantly, and monsters (who don't move when lit) thankfully wander off once you lose line of sight on them.

Ultimately it's more a game of planning ahead and opening paths / clearing ways for your team mates, and since we are pretty good at that we've not yet lost a game of this, even on the advanced mode. Still quite exciting though, especially when the darkness starts closing in and it is fast to teach. Just a little slower to setup each round. Thumbs up!

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Warframe: Steel Path Conquered

PSA: Veilbreaker  has been released! Log in to the game before September 22 to get the newest warframe, Styanax, for free! Now onto the post...

Just hours before the Veilbreaker update I managed to finally complete the Steel Path! Huzzah! The little planet decorations now adorn one of my orbiter's shelves. I thought I'd post what worked for me but with the new changes these might be moot now anyway...

A perma invis 1 forma Loki with a 3 forma Xoris and a 1 forma bleed Nataruk was the main stay since both are basically AoE and infinite ammo. While I mostly used the firewalking Loki variant I also used regular Loki with irradiating disarm for some of the hijack missions. I did make heavy use of specters though, with Frost, Moa and Osprey being the champions in defense and mobile defense and a Vauban being instrumental in interceptions too (I'm literally out of specters and salvage now).

Big thank you to veteran and crazy fashion framer, theclownpriincee, for assisting with the interceptions on Mercury and Ceres and those maps were too small for me to outrace the horde. Turns out actually playing a Vauban and using the vortex grenade skill is an easy way to recapture points as "lifted" enemies get no capture.

As energy siphon is a permanent aura mod for me, I only used a Taxon sentinel throughout the whole thing because it "looks" where the closest enemy is - a good way to tell if something is behind me without radar. More importantly it has a max vacuum mod to help collect all those health and energy orbs because I don't use the item versions of those restoratives.

Operator wise I just stuck to the Naramon school (low 5/18) the whole way and the Sicorro that you get from New War is good enough to solo SP Ropalolyst with some patience. It is not good enough to defeat a steel path Void Angel though (thank you again theclownpriincee)! Archwing wise a mix of Velocitus and Mausolon (from the necramech) was fine, as was the Odonata starter wings - just have to use the "4" (repel) a lot for the space mobile defense one.

I did use Revenant for the two Deimos bosses though as his "1" (enthrall) can skip through some Zealoid Prelate phases and his "2" (mesmer armor) can keep him alive through the freaking long fight against Lephantis (longer than Ropalolyst).

I used the Mausolon again in this fight as well as my 1 forma radiation tomb finger kit gun sidearm "Chernobyl" while waiting for the Archgun deployer timer to cool down. While I brought that pistol to every mission it really only got used against Lephantis. With the Veilbreaker changes to ammo I'm not sure how feasible that is anymore.

Stuff I didn't use: any health / energy restores. Any bonuses past rank 6 intrinsic everything (no on call crew etc), no lich/sister support or gear because I've not yet managed to kill my first one, and no necramech because at this point I am stronger outside of it.

Special note with Disruption on Lua: this is an utter piece of garbage since you need four conduit "wins". Definitely get help here. I was lucky enough to squad up with two others since it was a steel path alert and we still almost lost with one guy becoming perma-dead and only being able to "win" one out of four conduits per round. If you can't kill the exploder in time, you can still win by keeping him away for two minutes. Loki's switch teleport can help, but only when their red aura is off!

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Tekken: Bloodline (Season 1 - Netflix)

Where people are super durable.

This (currently) six episode animated series centers around Jin Kazama and the Tekken game franchise. As it's a fighting game, the plot here is predictably only a little more than "main character is too weak and has to go train and fight a bunch of people" which is fine. The animations are actually very fluid and I'm guessing most of the moves used actually follow what is in the game.

The slow speech is a nuisance though. "You must... fight... to win... honor... for... your... heritage." If you imagined that was a dying man giving his final words, surprise! That's pretty much how one of the main characters speaks ALL THE TIME. The others aren't much better. I'm not sure if this was something lost in translation (I watched in English) but it was a poor way to extend an episode run time.

The only thing more irritating than that is the disconnect between the character models and the background. For some reason all the characters have the same "there's a giant floating pyramid or cube above them, just off camera" light effect regardless of where they are. A shady forest. Dark tunnel. Night time. Mountain top. Volcano. All the same. I'm still going to watch season 2 if it ever is made though! :P

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Rampage and the Man with the Iron Fists

Action movies that are unbelievable? :P

Rampage

When cutting edge, experimental genetic alteration experiments end up in the wild it turns a number of creatures into gigantic, angry mutants. Luckily the protagonist primatologist (played by Dwayne Johnson) is on the case, complete with cheesy lines and death defying feats of "no one should have survived that".

In all fairness I'm surprised they managed to get an OK script for something that's based on an old cooperative arcade game which soley focused on destroying cities. With decent CGI it's certainly entertaining as long as you turn your brain off.

The Man with the Iron Fists

Jungle Village becomes the cauldron of wire fu martial arts and ridiculous weaponry when various clans vie for control of a caravan full of gold that comes through. Embroiled in the middle of it all is a master weapons blacksmith (RZA) who happens to be supplying all sides.

"Spectacle" is probably the best word to describe this, and while the plot is so / so it features many good action sequences (even if some are hilarious)  and a good amount of gore which always gets points from me. I'd say Rampage is better than this movie, but if you like martial arts and wire fu you should definitely check this out afterwards.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

August 2022: Day 188 of the war

Ukraine has managed to hit targets deep in Crimea, which the USA agrees is part of their territory. This has sent Russian tourists in that region fleeing back home and leaving the resorts empty. You can actually check on this webcam if/when people start coming back. That said, exploding stuff and retaking territory are two different things, but the counter offensive has begun.

Russia has settled into a defensive stance in anticipation of this so the battle lines haven't moved much from last month. Reports state that they are failing to pay some of their troops, but that doesn't stop them from threatening to explode nuclear power plants and deploying Steven Seagal. It might require one of these powerful exo-suits to stop that guy.

While this all might be "same/same" and war fatigue for you, Ukrainian redditor Saberflux gives daily updates from Kharkiv which seems to be on the receiving end of Russian missile strikes almot all the time. Redditor PCX99 also has daily war summaries for those interested.

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Monday, 29 August 2022

The Sandman (Season 1 - Netflix)

When the lord of Dreams (Tom Sturridge) escapes from his magical prison he must go about regaining his power, rebuilding his ruined kingdom and saving and/or punishing those he sees fit. That's the main selling point for me: the main character is often quite heartless when dealing with problems, and the visual effects are great.


He could also pass as a vampire.

The story is also structured very differently than to most other shows which is intriguing, but might be too odd for some viewers. It might also be the most "representative" show when it comes to races and sexuality that I've seen. Not a bad thing, but it is noticeable. Definitely one I'd recommend but as it is a bit out there, your mileage may vary.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Warframe: Khora and Lavos

The cat and the snake whippers.

Khora

My first recommendation is to only passively farm for this warframe as her blueprints come from Sanctuary Onslaught. You will already be doing SO for a lot of things - ranking up other frames, weapons, Tenno powers, then frames and weapons again when you forma them so just collect her as she comes. You might go crazy if you specifically only do SO for her as the drop rate is low.

The "cat warframe" is a very PG description of Khora, who does look like a cat woman and has an immortal cat as a pet (in addition to your regular pet/companion). What she actually enjoys is wrapping enemies up in wires to stun them (the cat pet also wraps enemies in wires), sometimes dangling them from the ceiling (which for some reason makes them hostile to their friends), and whipping them like the bad, bad things they are. This makes infested particularly easy, but despite my best efforts to prep her for Steel Path interception, she just keeps running out of power and has very low survivability against any SP foe with a firearm.

Lavos

"The snake" is also a misnomer for Lavos, who is acquired from the Entrati syndicate store. He is actually an alchemist that looks snake-like and has twin snakes he can whip out at enemies which restore his health. He also has a nifty speed slide, a pulsating flying drone, and a whirling AoE all of which can be imbued with almost any status you like (he can't innately summon puncture, slash or impact).

Not only does he have instant access to almost any status effect in the game, he also does all this with 0 energy! This is because his powers simply work on cool downs which probably appeals to any World of Warcraft readers. While he can be a pretty tough cookie, especially with the right weapons, I don't have a purpose for him that my firewalking Loki can't already do - outside of energy drain missions I suppose.

Thursday, 25 August 2022

The Gray man and Full Metal Alchemist (2017 / Live Action)

People who want to save people are the most dangerous people of them all?

The Gray Man

CIA trained assassin (Ryan Gosling) becomes the target of his own agency when proof of their corruption falls into his possession. While the plot is thin and predictable it is an action packed film with some good fight scenes and some laughs included. Entertaining enough to recommend, especially for Ryan Gosling fans. Just don't go in with any expectations and everything will be fine.

Full Metal Alchemist (2017)

Based on the popular manga of the same name, this series follows a pair of brothers desperately trying to retrieve that which they lost due to their own foolishness. While the film condenses and alters a bit of the story, it is still pretty solid for the most part (the ending is a bit lol and the pace means it lacks some emotional hits) and while the CGI isn't the best as its obviously on a budget, it's passable. The main issue for me is the protagonist.

While all the actors cheesily try to act like their comic counterparts the protagonist is simply unlikable or weak acting wise, but to be fair he also has the hardest job. His "blonde" hair is also the most distracting of all of them. In the end, I'm not sure I can recommend this because there are better methods to get the same / similar story and for fans, you already know the story so...? That didn't stop them from making two more live action movies though. :P

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Warframe: Specters and the Proboscis Cernos

While my Loki can handle a lot of the steel path now thanks to the Xoris and the Nataruk bow (both quest rewards you can't miss), defense style missions are challenging enough that I rebuild a Frost to handle them as well defense specters (2 Star Vauban for infested, 1 Star Frost for the rest) armed with Proboscis Cernos bows, which actually starts out as a Cernos that you buy from the market. You then use upgrade it into a Mutalist Cernos and again into the Proboscis form (note: each form gives mastery!).

As a main weapon it has a very low ammo count and each arrow takes time to fire as you need a full draw. Whatever the arrow strikes, be it terrain or an enemy, becomes the spawn point for tentacles that grabs every enemy nearby with a short immobilize and stun then pulls them close before exploding with viral damage (meaning survivors will take extra damage to health from subsequent attacks). It's pretty neat, but there are better things for you to carry.

Specters on the other hand, don't care about ammo count or mods since they and their weapons level up based on when you summon them. The whole tentacle thing is another awesome form of crowd control which works nicely with my AoE weapons. Now to work out how to handle interceptions, which are "capture the point" scenarios.

Obviously the easy answer is to bring more players but until my crew is ready I'm going to try be soloing these. So far I've only completed Steel Path Phobos. Lots more places to go! :)

Sunday, 21 August 2022

Warframe: Mag and Grendel

Frames that have the power to suck?

Mag

One of the easiest warframes to get, Mag can either be chosen as your starter frame or by camping "The Sergeant" on Phobos who is possibly the weakest boss in the game as he's only slightly more durable than the other corpus troops. Mag's specialty is magnetism, and she can -suck- pull enemies towards her, pulse energy that lowers hostile shields and armor, crush enemy bones and perhaps the most useful is make magnetic bubbles that either trap foes or attract bullets within which is why she pairs best with piercing bullet weapons. Alas, she is lacking greatly on the defensive side which makes her quite squishy, encouraging the careful shooting game play from the early days of Warframe. She's at best a stepping stone to something stronger.

Grendel

One of the hardest warframes to get as you need to complete the star map, win arbitration missions to get the currency to find Grendel parts locators and then do those three missions in which all your gear mods are deactivated, this chubby fella is actually quite funny to play. His main gimmick is eating, with his very first ability to suck enemies into his gut which increases his armor. Consumed enemies basically melt continuously but you can spit them back out at their buddies to cause more toxin damage (then probably eat them again), forcefully digest some to gain some minor bonus or turn into a large bowling ball that can knock enemies over and squish them.

While Grendel is decently tanky and it is hilarious to roll around and vacuum groups of enemies into non-existence, he is very energy hungry (drains per enemy in his belly) and by the time you get him you'll probably be looking to hit the steel path which he won't survive without lots of modification. In the end I just couldn't find a use for him that my current frame couldn't do, and fed him to the Helminth.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

The Croods and A New Age

Surviving the stone age!

The Croods

A family of cave men have managed to survive thanks to the strength and rules of their patriarch (voiced by Nicolas Cage) but to avoid fatal catastrophe must change their ways and their life style. With colorful settings, hilarious creatures and near indestructible characters this is a very fun flick. While it starts a tad slow the plot is quite good and a few characters get to grow out of it. My only complaint is that it celebrates a rebellious daughter whose curiosity would have likely gotten herself or her family killed had this been a more adult medium. Definitely recommended!


Not the sharpest rocks in the cave.

The Croods: A New Age

The survivors from the first movie meet another, more educated tribe and clash when it comes to their ways of life. Ugh. This is one example of the sequel not being as good as the original. The jokes are cornier, the story is very loose, and the threat is not really there when compared what the Croods had to go through in their previous adventure. Possibly a movie to watch while you do something else, but otherwise not recommended.

Monday, 15 August 2022

RE:the Netflix Series and Welcome to Racoon City

Resident Evil (Season 1 - Netflix)

In an alternate universe where Albert Wesker is black (portrayed by Lance Reddick), this show follows two really stupid girls using the two time period approach: one that follows their youth and one where they are currently, constantly hopping between them just when the current one you are watching is starting to get exciting.


They've got some nice billboards too!

Despite the OK budget, they didn't do very well on the plot here as time and again either people just do the stupidest things or things just "happen". Great example: Oh no, we really can't drive out of this place because the horde is too dense. Take one guess how they get out of that place.

While there's currently only one season of this I can't really recommend it yet unless they up their game severely for season 2 (if it should ever happen). Lance Reddick fans rejoice though, as he has the best parts and is the highlight of every episode.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City

This movie tries its best to stick with the plot from the original games, but that actually translates into a pretty slow film with lots of wandering around in dark places with a flashlight at the start followed by lots of running and shooting when the armies of infected inexplicably show up.

It also creates the problem where fans of the game series know exactly what will happen which reduces tension a lot and to top it off feels a bit cheaper on the production values. Not a great watch and not one I recommend.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Warframe: Nightwave and the Exploiter Orb

While there are a few syndicate factions available in the game one of the best I feel is that of the space DJ who gives daily and weekly missions to mix up your game with decent rewards to encourage people taking a change of pace (this weeks weeklies are fishing and conservation / tranquilizing wild life for example).

Given Warframe is so many things, this is great as it sends veterans back to "finished" content or gives newbies clues about obfuscated game mechanics. Hand shake emotes or raid the hidden labs anyone?

Speaking of obfuscated mechanics, there's a big spider boss on Venus called the Exploiter Orb and unlike her sister Profit Taker who is locked away behind the Solaris United syndicate, she can "almost" be readily fought with any party that wants to try.

"Almost" because the key component, Diluted Thermia, only drops from a recurring event: Thermia Fractures, so stockpile that while you can. Next, you need to go to an unmarked location on the open world to start the fight. Awesome right?

Warp to the telepad that is closest to the right edge of the map (its middle-up) and from there go South West to the nearest cave at the base of a huge stone arch. Deep enough inside you should find yourself in "Deck 12" and get audio clues to confirm it. Near the very end and up on a small balcony is an unmarked machine you can put diluted thermia in. Doing so summons the Exploiter and begins the fight, which can be messy due to lack of instruction but it's pretty simple.

If its up high, shoot the rocks its standing on or coolant raknoids if they are being summoned to make it fall. Shoot the vents between its legs to hurt it, and if the vents are "immortal", find some respawning canisters to throw (middle mouse) at them to make them vulnerable. Easy peasy for an invis Loki.

Exploiter then flees to the surface for the most annoying phase. The idea is to get it to overheat and it does that all by itself. All you need to do is kill the coolant raknoid army slowing down that gauge which might be hard without a team.

These adds drop coolant canisters you can place in lava fractures that the Exploiter will create, instantly turning them orange. Pick em up again and throw em at the spider to help speed up the heating process by .00000001%. At least that's what it feels like. It takes soooo long!

When the spider faints from the heat, walk into it to trigger a cut scene that opens a weak spot for you to shoot. Repeat three times to kill the thing, grab the loot from its butt (literally) and get out before the self destruct sequence finishes. I face tanked that the first time while looting and lets just say it did not go well for me. :P

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Archive and the Terminal List

Archive (Movie)

In this sci-fi future, technology exists to retain the consciousness of a deceased person for a time and so skilled roboticist (Theo James) who lives like a hermit is trying his best to rebuild a person while using vast company resources with nothing to show for it, because he's doing this in secret. Like that won't get him into trouble right?

Some very cool staging and location shots here for what seems to be a quiet but entertaining movie, and I did quite like the "robots" too. Don't expect much action though. Still worth a watch.

The Terminal List (Season 1)

After a terrible mission where he loses lots of his squad, Commander James Reece (Chris Pratt) quickly discovers he's been setup and goes about making a list of people that need to die because of it. It's also possible that the head injury he sustained is impairing his judgement but you know - action series needs action!

And boy does this 8 episode series have some fun action. Gun play, fights and death are aplenty - and its great that the protagonist isn't held back by silly notions of honor when it comes to combat. On the flip side, he trips balls A LOT. Maybe 25% of the season is him tripping which gets repetitive. Other than that, its a solid show I really enjoyed. Recommended!

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Warframe: Harrow and Mesa

The priest and the gunslinger.

Harrow

Only available after completing the "Chains of Harrow" quest (after which you might need to grind a little for some of h8s other parts), this clergy like warframe has a strong focus on shields and teamwork - enjoying a double capacity over shield (shield on top of a shield) and starting each mission with full energy.

He can shield the entire team, throw out a corridor of chains that give him more shields for each enemy he tangles up, flagellate himself to remove all shields to buff the entire squad based on how how much shields he lost, and wave some incense around to help everyone regenerate energy (so that he can use all those abilities again). His power loop is a pretty straight forward one and provided he doesn't tangle with any toxin type enemies (because toxin goes directly for health and ignores shields) this makes him super durable - but not as durable as the Revenant. Because of that and because I'm not into team focused powers, this priest is worm food.

Mesa

This gunslinger is locked behind the mutalist Alad V assassination mission (avoid that collar) which you'll need to craft keys for. On the plus side, you'll probably get a Nyx from all that key building. As expected all of Mesa's abilities are gun (mainly pistol) focused, and she gets benefits for not being armed with melee. She can jam enemy guns, briefly shield herself from bullets, re-apply stored gun damage with the next shot and lastly become a stationary (or slow moving) turret of doom for as long as her energy allows.

While she might be one of the higher DPS frames currently available she suffers from being not too sturdy. That bullet shield lasts mere seconds, enough time to get to the next cover I suppose but against melee hordes (hello infested) she'd be in trouble "turret" form or not. Might be one I'd like more if I got her earlier in the campaign when I still played it like a shooter all those years ago, but after seeing how quickly Steel Path grunts can shred through unprotected warframes I don't think she'll last in my arsenal for very long.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Ms. Marvel and Obi Wan Kenobi

Disney's the young and the old?

Ms. Marvel (Season 1)

Young daydreamer and superhero fangirl Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) discovers she has powers which put her in the crosshairs of a few people. Despite the main character being written as quite annoying, having not very well defined powers and that a few episodes are a tad slow, we really enjoyed Kamala's family, friends and heritage - including the impromptu history lesson included in here.

We especially liked the background visuals and creative displays when characters text or fantasize about stuff. Here's hoping they make a season two, but I suppose that will depend on how well her upcoming movie adventure goes first.


Obi-Wan Kenobi

This six episode series follows the titular Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) as circumstances force him to piece himself back together after the Jedi order got demolished primarily by his former friend and pupil. The story moves at a good pace and does have the same tone as the movies which include scenes of cute and silly droids to bad guys who can't shoot and all the way to spectacular duels.

The visuals and music are fantastic too - basically an all around winner in terms of entertainment. Due to the nature of the content it's unlikely there will be a season two for this but it's an easy one to recommend, especially to Star Wars fans.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Warframe: Nyx and Rhino

Mind and body.

As I'm leveling the Helminth I've decided to rebuild a few old frames before feeding them for worm XP and helping me remember what they were like.

Nyx

At first glance you might think it's hard to get this warframe as her pieces only drop from Phorid, an infested invasion boss, but in reality you'll get so many blueprints for her when you start going after the Mesa warframe, because Phorid invasions drop a key component to hunt for Mesa. My suggestion is to hunt for Mesa directly and you'll get a Nyx on the way.

That said Nyx is one of those warframes who feels super fragile out of the box but she has some pretty nice abilities if powered up correctly. She can make enemies fight each other, go into an invulnerable sphere that absorbs and then returns damage and she can shoot a mass of psychic bolts that strip armor and shields of enemies that sounds really great once you get into the Steel Path. Still just didn't click for me though, certainly not enough to spend resources to get her to a useful level. Worm food it is.

Rhino

Collected from the Jackal (aka mercy kill training) in Venus, this is a beast of a frame right from the get go and is perhaps one of the best frames for new players to get. He can charge to rag doll enemies, roar to increase damage (of team mates too), stomp to crowd control a radius of enemies and activate iron skin which boosts his armor. I'm  pretty sure all of these enjoy a lot of invulnerability frames which makes this guy a sturdy choice for anyone early in their Warframe career.

Tank wise I think he does get eclipsed later on by the undying Inaros or ultra-shielded Revenant though as these two have in-built healing abilities (and longer invulnerability phases) which are almost mandatory for late game but until then he's an easy one to recommend.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Warframe: Solo Thermia Fractures

Here's a decent way to solo the thermia fractures event on Venus. I'm using a firewalking and perma invis Loki but I'm sure any warframe will do as long as you have an archwing launcher and some strong weapons to deal with level 70 Corpus in mid to close quarters.

Step 1: Set your game mode to friends only or solo

Step 2: Head to Orb Vallis with no quest

Step 3: Use the telepad to warp to the top left of the map next to the Temple of Profit

Step 4: Archwing further North up the mountain to find the Exploiter Orb mother. It's a giant invulnerable robot spider that will try to shoot you if it sees you.

Step 5: Little coolant spiders trail the big one, kill four without engaging the Exploiter. Each will drop a coolant pod.

Step 6: Ferry four coolants back to the Fortuna telepad using the warp. You can pick them up while in archwing mode and you can drop them by switching weapons. Just make sure they don't roll off anywhere and don't press middle mouse while holding one as that makes you chuck it and it explodes.

Step 7: From the air, find the closest thermia fracture to Fortuna which looks like a firey lava vent. Enemies in the Orb get stronger the further you are from Fortuna so ideally find the closest one by flying in lazy circles until you spot one. Mark it with "G" to help your navigation.

Step 8: Ferry all four canisters to the fracture without starting it yet, and drop them as close to the thermia start point as possible. Once that's done you can finally start!

Step 9: Plug all four canisters into the fracture in quick succession as soon as you begin and then defend as Corpus start warping in. Do your thing and fight well until you've filled up the timer gauge. Note the fracture itself will occasionally screw with your abilities.

Step 10: If you've won collect the reward canister which should net you one diluted thermia (it won't if you put less than four coolants into the fracture, you'll have to do more with that canister to get it), then go back into Fortuna. Why? So that the Exploiter Orb resets position and that new fractures near Fortuna might spawn.

Update: For all the parts that I suggest teleporting, you can actually just hold down M to bring up the map and select where you want to warp to. You don't need to be standing at a warp pad to warp! Thanks to Juris for letting me know! :)

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Warframe: Xoris and the Steel Path

After completing all the nodes in the original star map you are continuously harrassed invited to attempt "the Steel Path" which basically lets you do all the nodes again, but this time with super powered enemies (+100 level, armor, etc). Since I'm now Mastery Rank 18 (which is the same level as our guild hall in Neverwinter Online) I thought I'd give it a try - and promptly found myself overwhelmed.


I wasn't ready!

Which is great, as it forces you to learn more about weapons and builds to actually handle the increased threat which now includes acolytes of the Stalker invading every five minutes or so. It's still early days but I've found a solution in the Xoris, the frisbee Nef Anyo gives you during the rather early "Deadlock Protocol" quest. Using a heavy build to capitalize on double explosions (because apparently warframe frisbees can explode AND still come back to you) I've Firewalker Loki'd my way through a few of these now, with a Scourge primary to corrode the ones that need some armor reduction before throwing the Xoris at them.

It's good that there are five steel path alerts that take place regularly too, increasing the odds of finding a squad to go with. What I've noticed though is that in all of them I'm the only one using non-prime / non-lich gear. Maybe that will be my thing, to try beat the steel path without any primes. They're a pain to collect / pay for anyway. We'll see how we go. In the meantime, my reward is the Xoris totally obliterates everything in most normal missions now which is pretty sweet. :)

Saturday, 30 July 2022

July 2022: Day 158 of the war

It's been another month of battle and thanks to constant ammo depot explosions near the front and reports of "scoring own goals", Russia needed a brief operational pause this month to steady their supply while simultaneously recruiting (more) felons to boost their ranks and up their war crimes. This possibly also includes quitting from the International Space Station. Maybe they need their cosmonauts in the fight too?

Their ally, Belarus, is also saber rattling against their Polish neighbors while providing Russia with an airfield close to Ukraine's borders while "neutral" party China, who enjoy dictating terms to religions and the USA, has just sent troops and equipment to Russia for some military olympics? That's a real thing and not an "oh, now Russians have new Chinese arsenal/reinforcements"? Cool, I'd watch that if it was televised.

Meanwhile Ukraine is still playing host to international leaders while using any means, including Tindr, to defend their land but they still have time to make funny stamps. They did lose an ally in Boris Johnson who resigned as the UK PM this month, but at least he went out with a "hasta la vista, baby" and not just via an overseas email or by fatal, home-crafted shotgun shot.

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Thursday, 28 July 2022

Mom (TV Series)

An addictive series that deals with addiction.

This eight season uplifting comedy follows the lives of a mother daughter duo (wonderfully portrayed by Anna Faris and Allison Janney) who are both recovering addicts that start out vehemently hating each other. The sharp writing excellently handles the light hearted comedy with sudden, very heavy topics being thrown in the mix and back again which makes almost all the characters endearing with loads of room for growth. 


We could watch this show all day.

This trait makes it easy to overlook the lower budget technical stuff (like green screen) used here, as well as how it becomes quite noticeable how little anyone actually eats despite a good chunk of the show taking place at a bistro. Just very minor points on an overall very entertaining and fun series. Highly recommended, and as a plus, the episodes run for a very short 20 minutes which makes it easy to dip your toe in.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Warframe: Archons of the New War

Having just completed The New War, I thought I'd try do a not too spoilerish post for some possible troublesome foes in it. Ok, maybe only I had trouble with them but whatever. :P 


I found the random school tests to be fun!

First up, before you can even think of doing the New War you need to own a railjack and a necramech and be up to date on the main story (unlocked and played through Prelude to War). Now for tips on the some of the big baddies namely Owl, Wolf and Snake - and the order you fight them in is totally up to you. Just don't try melee whichever you pick as the first two.

Owl floats about, firing lasers, creating streams of electricity or going in a shield to heal (which you can walk into to shoot him and stop that process). I picked him first, found him really annoying, literally quit the mission and left him for last. And I'm glad I did because you are in a better position to beat whoever is last.

Wolf is all about being close and tearing you up, so he will charge and leap and deploy fire for some reason. He's pretty simple, just stay far away and dodge when you see him winding up to leap or charge etc. He is also a Narutard and summons clones while he hides and heals. Shoot the real one (the only one holding weapons) to stop that process. You can also quickly find the real him by using your #3 gifted ability to spot his arrow on the mini map.

Snake pretends to be scary with that giant head which occasionally turns you into stone so if you see the eyes light up, look away and if she starts charging a large glowy red sphere around herself, take cover because that's an AoE. Otherwise her attacks go in straight lines that do not track, which makes her simpler than Wolf. I stayed close and just ran circles around her while shooting and "dodging". That is in quotes because simply by running in a circle means she can't hit you with her other attacks.

I feel like that's enough info to get anyone through them. Really cool quest line, and pretty long too. Worth noting that for the entire duration Warframe becomes a single player game until you can finish it though so plan accordingly.

Monday, 25 July 2022

Warframe: The Hungry Helminth

In a back corner of your ship lives a hungry infested creature who you might be able to access if your warframe gains an infested cyst or if you simply are in a Nidus. To make the most use of it though you'll need to unlock its systems from the Entrati family on Deimos.

This hungry worm is a great resource eater and will happily take away all those hard earned materials that you need to build more things, but in return... he lets you modify warframe abilities, provided you let him eat your warframes too (and yes, they are gone - you can even watch them get digested).

Queue me, being slightly annoyed at selling my other warframes when I could have been feeding them to increase the worms power!!! On the flip side, it gives me a reason to farm them again. 


Titania
is tasty!

Each warframe has a defined ability the Helminth "learns" after eating it, and afterwards you can plug that into any other warframe, in any of its four power slots. It has a few brand new abilities that it learns as it levels up (eats stuff) that you can plug in as well, with the limit being you can only put one "alien" ability into a warframe. So I can't make an Excalibur use all of Loki's abilities for example, but I have done the following:

Firewalking Loki

Decoy/Invis/Switch Teleport/Firewalk (from Nezha). While this removes the awesome utility of radial disarm, it does give me a power I can use while invisible that actually works on infested, makes me move faster, sets enemies alight, and stat cleanses any allies including myself that walk over the flames.

Since I'm also highly duration built, the firewalk lasts for almost a full minute meaning it doesn't interfere with my perma-stealth build.

Empowered Gara

Shattered Lash/Splinter Storm/Empower (from Helminth)/Mass Vitrify. I never liked Spectorage anyway, and this way I can cast empower first, which gives +50% strength to whatever I cast next which would be mass vitrify (I only use her for defense stuff so shield up!) which makes the glass barrier that much stronger.

Thinking of giving the Revenant Titania's Spellbind in place of Reave, and need something for Excalibur Umbra. I tried Wukong's Defy on him but I'm not sure I'm happy with that so far.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Warframe: Chroma and Xaku

The dragon and the skeleton who are both piece-meal frames.

Chroma

After collecting his main blueprint from the quest "The New Strange", you'll notice Chroma is actually made up of a bunch of other warframe pieces - Volt, Ember, Frost and Saryn. Thanks to that last one being locked behind Kela de Thaym on Sedna who requires you to win Sedna arena matches before you can fight her, it might be awhile before you can make this guy. It is quite thematic though since he can use any of the elements (Lightning, Fire, Ice and Toxin) in his abilities.

He can breathe [element], ward an area with [element], use his pelt like Dr. Strange's cloak as a buddy to guard an area using [element] or Vex Armor which improves your armor if your shields are hit and improves weapon damage if health takes a hit. Do you see a problem with Vex Armor? Yep. You must get hit to benefit from it. Since his pelt is not mobile and doesn't use your weapons it isn't as good as a spectre or Wukong's twin, and the whole mechanic of tap this button to cycle something and hold it down to use isn't great for me. Not a frame I ended up keeping for very long.

Xaku

With the main blueprint available from "the Heart of Deimos" quest, you can collect the rest of his blueprints from Cambion Drift bounties. Lore wise this frame is actually composed from remnants of lost warframes which might explain its unique skeletal look. It is the only frame so far that can add void damage, pull enemy firearms away and then have them float along and fire back at his foes, explode his outer layer and run around as bones which lets him move faster and autododge 75% of any damage, and "cycle through a trio of powers" ugh. Boiled down these are charm, hold person, and damage beam.

While it is an interesting one to use, it mostly caught my attention for the void damage bonus. 75% evasion is not as good as the 100% god-armor (mesmer skin) of the Revenant or 100% not being attacked of an invisible Loki. Eventually I ended up burying this skeleton back in the ground.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Warframe: Solaris United Standing

Since there's a bit of content gated behind maxing out the Solaris United (SU) standing I thought I'd put up some quick tips on how to grind that quickly, though your mileage may vary since there is a daily cap that is directly related to your current mastery rank. More mastery rank lets you gain more standing per day, but gaining mastery rank is a grind in itself! :P

First you absolutely need transportation, so finish the Vox Solaris quest to get a K-drive board at minimum to help do bounties. Realistically I'd say put this off until you've build an archwing launcher though as it really speeds up everything.

Each "level" of friendship with SU also requires a tithe of items that can sometimes be bought from Ticker at a steep cost - but more likely you will need to grind out the bounties for the appropriate debt-bonds as each tier drops the relevant debt-bond. Ideally work on these first so that you don't get "gated" as you rank up.

Buy a Sunpoint Plasma drill from Smokefinger in Fortuna when you can, as it is cheap, a really good mining tool and you can trade mined stuff for minor standing. The cave just North West of the Transit Depot in Orb Vallis is a great place to dig as long as you don't mind the occasional Corpus patrol (usually two by the time you've dug all the spots).

Once you have an archwing launcher also get a tranq rifle, either from The Business in Fortuna or Son on Deimos. Having this pair of items will fast track your standing using this simple method:

-Set your session to friends or solo only
-Go to Orb Vallis and ignore all the hunting markers
-Fly directly North of Fortuna (if you ever need to find it again, just go directly South and look for the black smoke)
-As you fly you will pass a few clusters of giant mushrooms, the furthest being in a valley beside the Temple of Profit
-Go back and forth between this valley and the previous cluster you passed on the nearby mountain ridge
-You are hunting sawgaws (birds) that usually spawn in groups of three that land on said mushrooms, they make a distinct cawing sound. Hard to shoot at from the ground - easy if you are flying.
-Tranq and capture each and repeat going between those two mushroom points. Each normal sawgaw will give you 400-800 standing, and they spawn pretty quickly - sometimes as rares which give even more standing.
-Once they don't give standing on capture you've either reached your cap for the day or the "wall" that needs you to upgrade your standing with Eudico.

That's it. Pretty simple once you are at that point, so your main hurdles reaching it will really be getting the archwing launcher and collecting the debt-bonds from Ticker or Eudico's bounties. Focus on those first and you'll be sweet.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Injustice

It's Batman vs Superman. Again.

Things go badly when Superman becomes the victim of one of Joker's schemes, which apparently is possible on this version of Earth since their heroes are a bit stupid. I do like that the main plot basically puts heroes against each other, that the fight animations are quite good, and that people are dying left and right to some of the silliest things. 


Foolish alien outsmarted by a clown.

Definitely enjoyable if you just turn your brain off. The only other thing that bugged me was that they draw knuckles as black rectangles... very distracting. Anyway - if you just want to see DC heroes fight and die against each other then definitely watch this, otherwise you aren't really missing much.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Warframe: Vehicles

There's a surprising amount of rides available in Warframe so I thought I'd just quickly cover those off, at least the ones available before the New War anyway.

Orbiter / Landing Craft

Your main base and home which you get near the start of the game, and can be decorated and painted how you see fit. The craft itself can be changed from the default "Liset" with a lot of scavenging and building or a lot of platinum. Each has their own version air support which I've not ever used so far.

Archwing

Made early on from a quest with the same name, this jetpack basically lets you fly around in space which unlocks a lot of missions for you. I highly recommend taking the time out to get the archwing launcher though, and the painful oxium grind is worth it when it lets you use the archwing in atmosphere as it simplifies many of the open world bounties.

If you max out your Solaris United syndicate standing in Venus, you can also then start working for Vox Solaris syndicate and their Orb Mother heists. Part three grants you the tech to use those heavy archguns in atmosphere too, unlocking a heavy weapon slot in your arsenal which is pretty nifty as it can then be used in ANY mission.

K-Drive

Finishing the Vox Solaris quest (which is easily acquirable by visiting Venus as opposed to the Vox Solaris syndicate who are standing locked behind Solaris United) grants you a free K-Drive / Hoverboard. It's a pretty easy quest line and the default board will serve as a good steed until you get that in atmosphere archwing. Note that this can only be used in open world settings. If you want to use it in regular missions you'll need Yareli.

Railjack

Built during the Rising Tide quest which I previously wrote about, its surprisingly easier to build this large space cruiser than it is to get that in atmosphere archwing. The game mode it introduces is one I very much enjoy too and as a plus, the credits and resources in space are plentiful!

Necramech


Without a doubt the most annoying vehicle to build are the big pilotable robots on Deimos. While you can sample one in the Heart of Deimos quest line, owning your own requires increasing standing with the Entrati family as well as a few other syndicates to get blueprints needed for the build and then mining, fishing and harvesting for the parts - the most irritating of which are the "damaged" necramech parts themselves.

Yes you read that correctly, because for some reason you can't build one from scratch - you need to do Isolation Vault bounties to go into the impressively labyrinthine tunnels beneath Deimos and defeat "evil" necramechs for their parts. Pray to RNGesus because while a single part often drops (but not always) that part might not be the 1 in 4 that you need. On the plus side these can be traded so if you have many engines but need a casing you might be able to side step the grind with some social connections.

As a plus, your built Necramech comes with a decent heavy gun that you can also use in your archwing or in atmosphere if you have unlocked the heavy weapon slot. Why do that? Because the heavy weapon slot is available in every mission while the Necramech is limited to open world stuff - but it sure tears things up when you have one.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Warframe: Equinox and Revenant

Night and Day and Dead?

Equinox

Farmed by punching Tyl Regor at Uranus over and over, this one is a bit of a pain to build since it requires more blueprints than most other warframes - naturally eating more resources. Luckily those resources are pretty common so it's more the credit cost that will sting. Once done you have a warframe that functions as two warframes!? Unfortunately this isn't in the cool way like the Wukong twin, but instead the Equinox has a night and day mode each with their own set of powers. Basically for one frame you get SEVEN powers! Isn't that cool!?

She can enrage enemies or put them to sleep, reduce enemy damage or increase ally damage, and lastly can make enemies bleed or increase allies shields. Just from that list you can tell that she is heavily weapons reliant, and designed with a squad in mind. Obviously I didn't like it. :P

Revenant

While you need his main blueprint from the Mask of the Revenant quest, his other parts are available from the higher level Earth Bounties. This thing feels like a much better Nekros in theme and power. It can force enemies to fight for it (which is viral in that afflicted enemies "charm" the next enemies they hit and so on), turn into mist that does a % damage to enemies while being immortal and restoring health and shields, twirl around with lasers that automatically use the damage enemies are least resistant to, and my favorite - a spammable "turn on armor" with a set number of charges that absorbs all damage per hit making him effectively immortal.

I'll describe that last one a little better: turn on the armor gives you say 6 "charges". Take a hit of 1 damage or 1 million damage absorbs one charge. You can be hit 5 more times without taking any scratches to your shields or health. Or you know, turn on the armor again so you are back to 6 charges. Whaaaat? He is pretty simple to use and is great even unmodded, which is why he's now going to be permanently in my stable while I plug reactor potatoes and formas into him. Fantastic frame, just a little power hungry.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Warframe: Nezha and Wukong

A pair of Chinese themed warframes available from the Tenno lab.

Nezha

Fire is the main theme for Nezha, who can leave a trail of stat cleansing flames for allies or just actual fire for enemies wherever he walks, throw a flaming Frisbee that he can teleport to or spin it around to be near invulnerable for a few seconds and lastly he can impale an area of enemies onto spears, because Nezha clearly loves to BBQ. His passive of being able to slide faster and farther on all that BBQ oil just emphasizes this (or ok I just like BBQ and it has nothing to do with it).

But his is a slow cooking BBQ, unlike the Ember who if I recall correctly is all "fireball" and "meteor swarm". In fact, he basically felt like a more flame oriented and slightly better Excalibur to me where he wasn't bad at anything, and quite speedy and tanky (probably very tanky if geared right).

Wukong

Based on the Monkey King, this frame's passive is that the first five times it should die/go into bleed out, it simply doesn't. He can also summon an exalted staff, turn into a cloud which lets him fly invisibly while being immortal and status cleansed for a few seconds (but you can spam it, even in mid air), defy all damage (again being immune) by simply taking all the hits and then returning them in an AoE attack, and my favorite: summon a celestial twin which is basically like a free and super active specter who will use range if you are on melee and vice versa.  

An excellent frame if you have good weapons, especially since you can summon a specter on top of using the celestial twin. I heavily used this for doing the Index mission sections in the Glast Gambit quest armed with a Zarr and Sydon and had a really hard time letting it go due to frame slot constraints. At least I don't need to grind for the blueprints if I want it back.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Warframe: Gara and Garuda

Two frames you acquire through bounties and while the blueprint RNG can be a bit annoying it's harvesting all the planet side resources to build that might take awhile. Before we talk about those we have a new code to redeem on the market today: TENNOCON2022, which gives some credits and resources which are always useful.

Gara

Collected from Cetus bounties, lore wise Gara is the glass warrior as that's what all her abilities revolve around. She can summon a glass long sword, wears glass armor that can passively blind enemies if she stands in light and shatter to have a cutting aura, trick enemies into attacking a carousel of mirrors and my favorite: create a circular glass wall which also turns enemies caught within to turn into glass. Only in that last instance (enemies) is glass brittle, because in Warframe glass is apparently super strong!

That glass wall is fantastic in defense as it combines both the area denial from Vauban's Bastille and bullet protection of Frost's snow globe with the downside that with enough damage, the wall will break. If you intentionally shatter the wall with the glass sword it can do massive damage too. Pretty cool frame though it takes some getting used to.

Garuda

Collected from Fortuna bounties, Garuda quite literally enjoys bloodbaths as she is the only frame that I've seen so far to graphically get more and more bloody. She likes blood so much that the more she kills, the more damage she does. She hurts herself to cleanse statuses and do more damage as well, and can quickly kill or impale foes into a gruesome decoration that regenerates health and energy. Best of all, she can leap to a foe which generates an indestructible forward facing shield that eats blood which forms into a floating heart.

This heart has no limit to the amount it can consume, and when you feel like it you can unleash all of it as damage into an enemy group at the cost of dropping the shield and starting again at zero. Gameplay with Garuda is very dynamic and very fun, but also kinda risky. I definitely like this more than Valkyr and its more fun to play than Gara, but it loses when it comes to utility which means the Gara will hang around my ship for longer.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Warframe: Oberon and Nekros

The paladin and the necromancer.

Before we get into the frames there's currently a code for two free weapons (and weapon slots) you can redeem on the warframe website on in-game market (use the button on the bottom right): WF-DEATH-BATTLE

Not sure if that's due to the upcoming Tennocon or thanks to the recent Death Battle involving an Excalibur, but either way its a win for us - use it quick before it expires! On to the frames...

Oberon

Not sure how I got my hands on this paladin class warframe as it was waiting for me upon my return, and I found it to be just ok. No super strong offensive abilities but it can buff and heal allies while being pretty sturdy itself. After completing mastery on it I let it go because I'm usually a lone wolf type player anyway.

Then Wrothak shows up in a prime version to help me on a few missions (those freaking Orb Mother Heists on Venus) which just proved I was using it completely wrong (guaranteed I'm using 90% of all warframes wrong anyway since they have to "shine" for me before they get forma or potatoed/reactor) and while I was hiding from the Corpus army doing my sneaky Loki thing he was just tanking them AND the Orb Mother for a time. Definitely a frame I underestimated, just still not one for my playstyle.

Nekros

Easily farmable from Lephantis on Deimos (who is basically a pinata when fighting fairy Titania) the Nekros' main draw is his ability to make corpses cough up more loot. Oh, he can also punch enemy souls from out of them, summon ghosts of killed enemies as allies and scare badddies into running away which doesn't go well with any of his other abilities.

If I needed a word to describe him it would be: boring. For the most part Nekros is a warframe without powers. His punch is weak, the summoned dead expire, and what you will be doing most of the time is double looting corpses. Bleh, not a frame for me. Luckily he's an easy one to reclaim if I ever want to.

Monday, 11 July 2022

Warframe: Excalibur and Zephyr

The swordsman and the eagle.

Excalibur

The poster boy for Warframe is one you can grab from defeating Lech Kril on Mars (aim for the coolants on his back) or select as your starter frame. Excalibur is an OK all-rounder with powers that strongly lead to being up close and personal which works very well for plenty of early game missions. His ability to summon an exalted blade exemplifies this for those times you really want to chop things up and upon completing the Sacrifice quest, you will gain an Excalibur Umbra who is an improved version and is better suited to the enemies introduced at that point.

However I feel that's all the Excalibur is, which lets it get eclipsed by more specialized or simply more superior frames later on. I think I've used the Umbra in three missions since I've gotten it and have just stowed it away ever since.

Zephyr

Available from your clan's Tenno lab, this frame is all about flight gliding as she enjoys great bonuses while doing so (do more damage, enemies have a shit time hitting flying) and can stay airborne longer and glide faster than any other frame without using energy. Zephyr can also summon tornadoes which is great visually and decent crowd control, and can even redirect projectiles that have her targeted.  

These actually make Zephyr pretty sturdy and very agile in the right players hands. I only gave her up because she doesn't have the true flight of Titania's fairy mode (which handles like an archwing) nor Titania's status cleanse which is super handy against toxic infested.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Top Gun: Maverick

Talk to me Goose.

Since Maverick (Tom Cruise) never got over the events from the previous movie, which you don't really need to watch as there are quick flashback sections for it, he remains at a rank where superiors can push him around and create drama. Luckily he is also the pilot with the most dog fighting experience in recent history which is why he is recruited back into "Top Gun" to train some top tier pilots to do one particularly difficult mission.



It's a simple premise when boiled down, but it does everything perfectly - especially the flight segments. There's good tension where there needs to be, good character building, decent humor, and is captivating and entertaining at the same time. Highly, highly recommended. I give this five geese out of five.