Tuesday 31 May 2022

May 2022: Ukraine Wins (Eurovision)

While their conflict continues into Day 95 against Russia (who continue to do some odd things like accuse Israel of supporting Neo-Nazis while at the same time sounding like Nazis themselves on State TV with corn stealing plans), Ukraine has emerged victorious in this years Eurovision song contest proving the massive worldwide support they are currently receiving as their entry - which was 200 points in the lead from the second place - was far from the best performance around.

The rest of the field contained some vegans, instructional cleaning, mandatory eye candy, a nice but worryingly murder-suicide song, the third return of Moldova's Zdob si Zdub, and the Rasmus. The UK also finally got up to second place with a worthy entry after years of languishing down the bottom with no votes, and Azerbaijan's Fade to Black was impressively simple but artsy.

I do think they need to establish some better rules though because one of my pet peeves is when someone is "playing" an instrument, then stops but that instrument can still be heard. Lots of the entries do this, but they've taken it a step further with masks, and I'm not talking about ones that people remove during the performance... checkout the hilarious "Give that wolf a banana" by Subwoolfer. Everyone is fully masked up - guess that saves them having to lip sync? That also means they really can just go hard on choreo if you don't need to be seen singing / playing an instrument in the first place!

Gotta hand it to the Ukranian winners though, they managed to make this crazy contest another revenue stream for purchasing weapons of war.

Most Viewed Posts:
GTFO: R6CX - Flux (Main)
XCOM 2: Defending the Earth, Again
XCOM 2: Facilities

Thursday 26 May 2022

Batwoman and DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Two more Arrowverse shows have come to an end.


This heavily LGBTQ+ three season show features the titular Batwoman as the ladies that take the mantle try to juggle fighting randomly assorted villains while maintaining a drama filled personal life filled with occasionally stupid friends and acquaintances who combined have around two inches worth of depth. The villain Alice (Rachel Skarsten) is the stand out, but that is no where near close enough to gain a recommendation from me. It's ridiculous how so many shows keep tip toeing around Batman too. If you want a Batman inspired show, just make a Batman series?

Both are silly but only one is good.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

After a floundering first season of finding their feet, the remaining six seasons really hit the right note for me with absurd humor and a pretty regular rotating door of characters, aboard a time ship of all things, mainly led by the wonderful Sara Lance (Caity Loitz) and contains surprisingly great fight choreography and occasional moments of heavy feels. Obviously the humor will be the main hit or miss factor for each viewer, and while this had become my favorite Arrowverse show others might find it totally stupid as it is the least serious of the Arrowverse catalogue. Test out the waters if you like, all I know is I'll definitely miss this one.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

TYOV: Plague Bearer

[Excerpts from Thousand Year Old Vampire]

Something is wrong with this blood. Is this another trick by the people after me? No, its not them. It's me, and I soon learn I’m the one spreading the disease. I don’t even have to touch the humans, just walking through a crowd soon makes them gag, cough up blood, and get violently ill. This is a perfect time to visit the Iscariot Divisions local headquarters.

Yep, I'm a Hellsing fan.

With my pursuers dealt with I can take the time to enjoy feasting on some villagers during a storm. One of them catches onto me and organizes a posse to chase me down, forcing me to hide in the mud at the bottom of a river. During their victory celebration I sneak back in and steal this hero's sword and his wife.

It is only later that I realize the entire episode with the village was just my imagination. While the village itself was real, none of the inhabitants survived my disease. Nor my hunger.

Finally realizing that I can only truly be free of the rot if I return to being mortal, I spend the next few years searching for a cure and find one offered by a wandering gypsy, suspiciously immune to my illness, in the form of a magic potion. Will this actually work or will it instead destroy me entirely? There is only one way to find out. I uncork the bottle and drink.

And that's the end of Gabriel Sol's story.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

TYOV: Sylvie Cote

[Excerpts from Thousand Year Old Vampire]

With the fur trade booming, it is easy to shadow and prey on foolish hunters that either wronged me or have the misfortune of being vulnerable when I’m hungry. In doing so I inadvertently made young Sylvie Cote an orphan and decide to raise her myself, teaching her defenses against creatures like me. When she comes of age, I give her an old Aztec axe for her own protection – even if she one day must use it on me.

After so many years I am surprised when an elderly Cantor Infierni arrives in town on some church business. With all my hate resurfacing, I can’t help but drown the old man in the river. When the murder investigators begin asking questions, Sylvie works it out and after a brief battle forces me to admit my guilt. I am arrested and sentenced to hang, but before I can see if that actually can kill me a simple bribe is enough to get me out of gaol.

Feeding on woodland animals is barely enough to satiate me anymore and in my weakened state I am set upon by a cloaked hunter who must have had a terrible teacher. The thirst gets the better of me as I fly into a deathy frenzy and when I come too, I find the hunter to be a familiar woman that lies bleeding out in my arms. For some reason I feel that she is precious to me but I cannot remember why. Unable to let her die, I turn her into a vampire.

When I saved Mariana from the thugs I didn’t know she was Cantor Infierni’s grand niece, nor did I realize she was a member of the Iscariot Division. She knew what I was. Who I was. I decided to flee once more – this time across the sea to England.

Despite giving them the slip numerous times, the Iscariot Division led by Mariana Inferni was onto me. She taunts me by saying they destroyed my “daughter” Sylvie. I don't know who that is.

Monday 23 May 2022

TYOV: Gabriel Sol

[Excerpts from Thousand Year Old Vampire]

We were hunting for the creature that destroyed the village, but it found my squad first. I managed to only wound it before it used its incredible speed to crush my chest with a simple punch. As I crumbled before it, I remember looking up at its terrible visage as blood from its wound dripped onto my face.

After learning about the incident from Cortes, Catalina sailed across the sea to try save my soul. She didn’t accept what I had become, kept wishing for her old husband back, kept calling me a monster. It was too much, so just for her I became the monster she saw me as.

No way I'm getting anything historically accurate. :P

Now I set forth alone to track down the beast again, abandoning Cortes and the rest of the conquistadors in hopes that succeeding in this quest would absolve me of my trespasses in the eyes of God. The duel was more  more even this time until the beast broke my blade and fled the battle, leaving me equally broken. The only thing I gained in this fight is that I now can more easily blend into the shadows. A new gift from my sire.

I use it to defeat Ohtli, an Aztec warrior who was as equally cursed as I - taking his axe and eating his heart in victory. As my humanity continues to fade the church sends Cantor Infierni of the Iscariot Division to investigate. It is too dangerous to stay so I slip away far to the North and join a New French colony called Canada (now known as Quebec).

Sunday 22 May 2022

Thousand Year Old Vampire

Prepare to forget.

Now here is a very different take of a single player game (though there are options to multiplayer it) where your main activity will be... writing! The book (or handy PDF file currently free on itch.io) also recommends writing on a word processor / laptop / computer over a diary for good reason. There will be a lot of strike-throughs and erasing. Ideally you also need a D6 and a D10 but you can just google "roll a D6 and D10" if you don't have the physical dice.

As the title suggests, you create a vampire and then simply follow prompts through the book to write about what happens to you. These are stored in almost single line sentences called "experiences" and you can put three similar experiences together to form a memory. Which you can only have FIVE of. Once you need more, its time to begin forgetting... which is great. And crazy. I love that the entire tone is set by the player. It can be as hilarious or dark as you want.  

Another excellent quirk is that prompts tell you to gain or lose skills, resources, and characters which you define yourself. Gain a skill and a resource might mean the vampire is now "incredibly handsome after falling on his face (skill) and has an umbrella (resource)". Create a character means just that. You then can write these things into your experiences - but beware, almost everything and everyone is lost in the passage of time.

Prompts can and will just as easily say lose a skill. Lose a resource. Kill a character. If you run out of skills or resources, you basically die / game over too. Definitely a strange one, but if you like creative writing you should definitely give this a try.

I'm putting up some excerpts from my vampires to give you an idea of what it might look like (though I think I'm actually too wordy):

Excerpt 1 - Gabriel Sol
Excerpt 2 - Sylvie Cote
Excerpt 3 - Plague Bearer

Thursday 19 May 2022

Neverwinter Online: Draconic Rage (and Siege lock)

Using the least amount of effort to keep players in game.

If Draconic Rage isn't the least inspired content Neverwinter Online has offered so far, it certainly is the laziest (or thriftiest) development wise. "A World First" is an odd title to this first chapter which has zero story. While similar in format to Echoes of Prophecy where you are trying to fill a progress bar to unlock loot before time runs out, Cryptic has taken the approach of not adding any extra filler in this time. No extra quest boards or NPCs in town to visit. All you have to do is run skirmishes and dungeons.

This is great it you already do that anyway to get your daily astral diamonds as it means your usual grind already counts as participation! For those of us who don't do those however, bleh! The time investment to run those dungeons is annoying, and I'm not sure the prizes are worth dragging myself into skirmishes to clear it. I'm wondering if Cryptic is regretting their decision to kill some of their content because even me - who doesn't play these much at all - finds the handful of skirmishes quite repetitive. I wish they had a bigger pool of variety to choose from, then I remember that they DID.

Just to hammer home the point that they want you to login and stay in for metrics, the latest Dragon Siege event has a notable difference: the "daily" defeat 2 dragons and beat 3 heroic encounters now fails if you log off mid way and forces you to start again where as before I could happily jump between my two characters to finish those gradually as I saw fit. I don't know who keeps making the decisions there, but they are doing a great job in making their MMO steadily inferior to everything else.

Tuesday 17 May 2022

Thea 2: Settling

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Having regrouped with the researcher and elder dwarf the squad use the magic heart to unlock the passage and finally face whatever is causing the world to shatter... it is a massive light infused dragon, better known as a zmey (seems these things always try end the world). Despite their allies, spells and equipment the zmey is a ferocious and tough enemy, using tooth, fang, tail swipe and energy breath to decimate the group before it finally goes down.

Giant dragons are usually game ending bosses.

When the smoke clears, the only ones left standing are zerca Barbara, Captain Bear, Karel, Little Pirate, and Suri the spider queen. Karel manages to use a rare world seed to save his mother Nyrissa after she was cut in two, but everyone else is dead (22+ characters). To honor their memory (and because they are too overloaded to move now) they decide to build a town on that site and are soon joined by house imp Bogdan and Macko, newborn son of Karel and Barbara.

When he is old enough, he might ask about the stone statue in the center of the village lists the names of the fallen but hopefully he will live a more normal life now that the world is saved. While the game lets you continue indefinitely I thought that would be a good stopping point for this tale.

Monday 16 May 2022

Thea 2: Dark Hearts

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Before leaving Iceland, the team befriend the Shadow Folk who live on the edge of the island (no shortcuts here, just lots of talking over a long time) who then send one of their number, Sylvanas, to help them on their quest. As they sail back to the Slavyan isle they save the syrin Seayanna from a kraken and she too joins their crew and helps them defeat the trolls imprisoning the elder dwarf they found long ago.

Why wear clothes when you can wear shadows?

This dwarf is then taken to the patient researcher who is then able to decypher the tablet in the Red Ridge mine which gives the location of the quake causing threat, but also says to fix it they would need a magical heart assembled by a druid. With no leads on any druids, the team sails to the next island - the isle of darkness, home to striga, undead, vampires and... more followers of the light!?

Sylvanas is handy in convincing the darker beasties to simply let everyone pass while Seayanna uses her charm to convince female bandit captain Yanka to join the team, who then reveals that the Spirit Talker goblin tribe also resides here. Thanks to the goblin children in the party and a little assistance helping them build a catapult, they introduce the group to their leader: an orc necromancer who can construct the magical heart they need to save the world. Not only that, the necromancer and the entire tribe are coming to help too. Things are looking up!

Saturday 14 May 2022

Thea 2: Strength

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Iceland is also home to followers of the light: people, creatures, and tentacles(wtf?) infused by a viral spirit and this faction constantly harasses the team with their "convert or die" methodology to the point that Siegfried tracks down their local base and leads an attack that wipes it out, at the cost of Jaethal who was light tentacled to death. Her daughter, Karina the crazy, also dies giving birth to a son Krisztian - whose father is her half brother Vshesul. The boy really has a thing for incest. Ratslava also gives birth to a daughter Mishka, having slept with King Szuvarek of the Water Demon clan after his rescue.

Anyway, after killing little red riding hood (who in this version is a werewolf), the team find the Ice Demon village and Nyrissa befriends them via an exchange student program: giving them Krisztian to raise as their own while they gain Ice Demon daughter Sniezynki and her pet elemental Icicles.

The Little Red Lie on steam is free to play if you like Little Red Riding Hood.

The team then run into the slaver band that held Romek captive and this time the slavers are killed - with the team gaining a young girl named Anzeka and three young goblins: Jere, Tino and Zosh. As they are overburdened with supplies at this stage, the team trade with the Ice Demons to buy powerful magical weapons and God's Armour? Siegfried decides to test these out at a local arena where the group must face five battles of increasing difficulty in a row and they are victorious! This band of champions are now ready to take on the world.

Thea 2: Iceland

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Since the only elder dwarf on the Slavyan isle is guarded by powerful trolls, the group decides to make a ship and sail to the next island over to continue the search. Ice island, dubbed by Siegfried as "Iceland", is quite inhospitable with the lack of food resources and the constant requirement for faith replenishing rituals. They also save the cursed child Zloslawa from her murderous parents and she too begins learning the way of the witch.

This place is full of witches.

Iceland is also home to the Water Demon clan (russalkas) who are at war with the Water Pirates (orcs). Nyrissa quickly befriend the Water Demons by saving their leader, King Szuvarek, from a Water Pirate base on the lake. Only two of the Water Pirate youths are spared to join the group: Little Pirate and his younger sister Deathlover who is again, witch potential. Valerie quickly gains their trust by having a daughter with Little Pirate they call Zenzimira. Nyrissa then promptly baptizes the girl at the Water Demon lake to turn the child into a Water Demon, deepening the friendship with that group so much that a russalka named Natalia also joins their ranks.

Meanwhile Siegfried encountered the cursed King Kral'Skra, doomed to be forever trapped in his crumbling kingdom by the gods who also stole his face and put it on a lowly demon. Siegfried agrees to find and slay this fiend only to discover it is Kral'Skra's son Romek whose back was infused with his fathers face and is now being towed around by some slavers. After purchasing the child Siegfried makes him face his father and Kral'Skra opts that he instead be killed instead of his son. Siegfried obliges, and Romek joins the group as a zerca.

Thursday 12 May 2022

Thea 2: Red Ridge

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The Red Ridge bandits are an imposing lot, but they agree to let Siegfried's team and the researcher into their territory if the adventurers can first remove from their lands a cave full of demons and a camp full of squatters, who are possibly one and the same. Both are equally easy to massacre, and the child Barbara is taken into the group from the squatter camp as she has the traits of a zerca (a spiritual leader).

Finally granted access, the researcher finds an old tablet in the Red Ridge mines but is unable to read them - now requiring an elder dwarf or elf for the task. Siegfried promises to help and Red Ridge bandit Captain Bear joins them. Also Miloslava has another daughter, Sveibora, this time with her son Vshesul (that motherf*cker) while Valerie helps wandering King "Arathor" to pull a sword from a stone. The thankful King sends Valerie across a bridge (which holds a battle of wisdom) to a nearby lake where the local lady of the lake hands her a less powerful but still magical weapon.

Only movie knowledge can save your characters from certain death...

Meanwhile Nyrissa aids Suri, a little girl found on the road, to get revenge on the rich silk trading merchants that killed her family. Suri turns out to be a spider queen in disguise but Nyrissa keeps her word and slays the merchants which is enough to convince Suri to join the team (and wow, spider queens are strong). Suri then promptly begins teaching Sveibora the ways of witch craft, because spider queens know everything apparently.

Thea 2: Retinue

[Part of the Cursed story line]

After a long and prolific reign, Siegfried Baranor gave up his crown to travel to new rumbling lands with his nymph queen Nyrissa, lover Jaethal, muse Valerie, obese fan girls Miloslava and Ratslava (sisters), and Siegfried's children Karel the fighter (with Nyrissa), Karina the crazy (with Jaethal) and Vshesul the warrior (with Miloslava) after a friendly imp suggested their old enemy, the Lantern King, was hatching a new plot here.

Quarreling with the local scavenger Slavyans wasn't helping matters any so the group instead opted for friendship - clearing some vermin, convincing goblins to move away, and doing odd jobs to gain their friendship while living off the land, harvesting resources as they went, and dodging the multitudes of unliving that clustered around old ruins. 

Including striga.

Miloslava also saves a vodnik prince turned into a frog by kissing him... a lot apparently, as she soon has a daughter Lethiamira. Nyrissa also befriends the local spider folk (who are simply intelligent giant spiders) while Valerie retrieves two half russalka daughters for their dwarf father. Doing all this leads them to a researcher investigating the rumbling (Eren is that you?) but his work has stopped since the location he needs to study is occupied by the territorial Red Ridge bandits.

Sunday 8 May 2022

XCOM 2: Avatar

[Part of the XCOM 2 story]

It's not long before the UFO finds us and forces us to land with an EMP spike. They then send loads of units to try capture the ship while our forces must push forward and destroy said (literal) spike AND return to the ship before lift off (an excellent mission which I aced)! Pretty we constructed those defensive turrets.

Once we've escaped, our scientists reveal what they learned from all the material we gathered so far. The alien leaders are dying and have found the correct host to be the titular Avatars. Millions of people are being secretly processed for the human component and the coordinates for their main base which sits underwater is located. The only catch is it needs an Avatar to open the gate.

Luckily we have one of those, so I volunteer to neural link up to pilot it and lead a squad into the alien infested base but find the psionic powers of the avatar to be super strong. Null Lance which pierces through everything and void rift which is huge AoE are amazing and let the team slaughter our way through easily. 

Is that a Saiyan under that mask?

That is until we find the three enemy avatars we must defeat (one at a time) who continually summon servants each round. Their worst ability is mind control, and Jane Kelly manages to become the bitch of all three - killing her teammates Rev with a point blank shotgun blast to the face and cutting William down with her plasma blade before I take her out of the equation with a Null Lance. Goose also gets ripped apart by a void rift (bad guys can do it too) before the final enemy avatar is slain and their base destroyed.

With the ADVENT plot exposed, their remaining and now leaderless forces worldwide are overrun by the growing resistance... a total victory for XCOM!

Tactics Tip:
For that last fight I advanced really slowly and held on the right side before the bridge, then sent Jane alone to trigger the enemy avatar sequence.

Saturday 7 May 2022

XCOM 2: Facilities

[Part of the XCOM 2 story]

Since hitting facilities really damages the Avatar project that's what the soldiers are sent to do, and a few more give their lives to the cause, the most horrifying being IzzBee being impregnated by a chryssalid (who are exactly the same from last time) - eventually dying on the field from its fluids and was turned into a fleshy birth sack that her team mates destroyed before full gestation occurred (which is +3 chryssalids on the field).

Also lost Katz who was obliterated by a pair of sectopods (huge, two legged war machines), Aaron who was beheaded by an archon, Squidman Dan who took cover behind a flaming truck (carrying explosives), Mickey and Rocio exploded by MEC missiles, and Cash who was melted by Andromedon acid.

These things are basically tanks.

During this time Jane Kelly managed to skulljack a codex which spawned what the science team refers to as an avatar, which her squad promptly dealt with as well as a psionic gate guarded by a large floating ball (which hides a psionic tentacle alien) which were all transported back to the Avenger for further study. All this has almost put the Avatar project back at square one, and the aliens are so pissed they finally send a UFO to hunt us down.

Fun Tip: If there is a "fixed" extraction point in a mission and it is not on ground level and somewhere inconvenient / dangerous, blow it up to force it to move.

Friday 6 May 2022

XCOM 2: Arms Race

[Part of the XCOM 2 story]

As ADVENT begins deploying more advanced units like the annoying shield bearers who can protect all allies around them, so we also start fielding more advanced tech: stronger magnetic weapons and the more durable Predator armor, but even these aren't enough as Lory is burned alive by the splash of a grenade, and Ex-Red Talon soldiers Beebo Bee and Chavez are ripped apart by an enraged (muton?) "berserker" when they misjudged how far the hulking monster could sprint.

Since more supplies are required for further upgrades, squads are sent on raiding missions which resulted in the loss of more soldiers: Old Mary was out sniped by a Codex, Helena and Beth were exploded by a grenade, Douglas was impaled by the spear of an archon (flying robot that looks like just the upper torso of a man), and Downey had the misfortune of discovering an Andromedon. These aliens only exist in a hazmat battle suit and despite managing to kill the alien with her shotgun, the suit powered up all on its own and proceeded to pummel her to death. Thanks to their sacrifices, the rest of their team mates now wield even more powerful plasma weapons and Warden powered armor.

I really dislike these things.

The arms race is enough of a distraction to almost let the aliens complete their Avatar project (the countdown timer that replaces the doom track is a nice touch) but luckily this can still be set back by destroying one of their research facilities. Rashida gains an extra medal of heroism for managing to extract with an unconscious Squidman Dan after her was KOed by a ninja.

Thursday 5 May 2022

XCOM 2: Skulljack

[Part of the XCOM 2 story]

We took another loss today from a team deployed to rescue our rebel allies against an ADVENT raid. While focusing on saving civilians from an imposing Muton (brute type alien), soldier Peyton found himself standing next to a new type of alien coined the faceless. These things look like civilians until you get close, which is when they transform into a towering clay humanoid with giant claws. Even with his shotgun Peyton didn't stand a chance.

Super tall things. I wonder how they hide all their mass?

On a more positive note, the development of the skulljack (think Wolverine's claws, but with USB tips?) is complete and Jane Kelly managed to shove it right into an ADVENT officer's noggin. For some reason this then spawned a digital ghost that needed to be defeated but her squaddies Rev, Squidman Dan and Ursula were more than a match for it.

Thanks to the intel gained from the skulljack and the vial Katz retrieved previously, we now know ADVENT is working on something called the Avatar program, and it comes complete with a visual doom clock and everything. Only bad things will happen if that time marker runs out so we need to step up our game, especially as ADVENT forces are now conducting midnight raids to reduce the potential number of volunteers available to us (bad event that doubles the cost of hiring people for the next month).

XCOM 2: Blacksite

[Part of the XCOM 2 story]

It seems most of the soldiers on board the Avenger are survivors from a zombie apocalypse. Zombies made by aliens. It makes sense too, as during skirmishes with ADVENT forces there are occasionally sectoids who are no longer the little creeps from before. These enhanced scum are now human height, psionically gifted and can use their powers to blast, mind control or raise the dead! Luckily killing a sectoid also nullifies whatever control is had from people. And corpses.

The sectoids aren't the only true form aliens in ADVENT's pocket. A team sent to an ADVENT blacksite to investigate what was happening to their prisoners not only found a horrible scene of mass liquification, but also had to face MEC units (robots) and Thinsnakes, who I'm told are the true form of the old Thin men.

During their infiltration (stealth is new in this game) the squad of Ex-cop Katz, hardnose Mia, old Dorothy and Adriana did a good job getting to the front door quietly - but upon being spotted by a turret were then pinned down from three directions. An officer managed to flank and kill Dorothy before the canister he was standing beside exploded, and when the remaining three pushed into the building Adriana was stabbed by an ADVENT ninja while Mia got tongued by a Thinsnake - which pulled her our of the building, constricted her, and ate her.

Makes me miss the original thin men.

Katz managed to retrieve a vial of the liquification liquid and barely escape, completing the mission, but she is now shaken from what she saw (reduced will, making her a prime target for psionics of things like the sectoids).

Tuesday 3 May 2022

XCOM 2: Avenger

[Part of the XCOM 2 story]

Despite Earth's best efforts, the aliens won - and after twenty years of "unification" most humans are ok with that. It's almost unbelievable, yet here I am having been freshly rescued by a new XCOM team led by Jane Kelly from an ADVENT prison to help the resistance. Apparently they lost two soldiers in the attempt (because the tutorial forces them to die). I sure hope I'm worth it.

Now I'm onboard the Avenger, a massive alien space ship refit to be a mobile base as we covertly play whackamole with ADVENT forces deep in South Africa. To be more acceptable to the public these ADVENT enforcers are almost people now, humans spliced with alien DNA and injected with some sort of chip in their head. A similar type to the chip chief science officer pulled from my head.

The mobile base is a good idea.

Unfortunately studying chips from corpses aren't getting anywhere, so he's requested tech be developed to jack into a living ADVENT officer. Might be some time before that happens since we still need to clear the lower bowels of the ship to make chambers that can design that, and more chambers to power it. At least the resistance is world wide and provides regular supply drops. Our job is to network them up and take the fight back to the aliens. Time to get to work.

XCOM 2: Defending the Earth, Again

Because the aliens didn't give up, they made XCOM2 which is quite similar to the original with only a few changes. Firstly the strategy game is a bit easier since you don't need to worry about countries panic level, and the inclusion of concealment during the tactical part mitigates some of the "the aliens always get first turn once discovered", but they sure added a lot more unfair units to deal with.

Basically if you liked the original you probably should try this. Here is how I went, and as usual - spoilers ahead:

1 - Avenger
2 - Blacksite 
3 - Skulljack
4 - Arms Race
5 - Facilities
6 - Avatar

That's the end of my run through of this game. I hope you enjoyed it! 

Sunday 1 May 2022

GTFO: R6CX - Flux (Main)

Good news! This next level isn't so difficult either, especially if you take the boring route (which will make this write up pretty long). The main objective is to stabilize the light system via typing commands into two terminals. Our load outs were:

Me: Pistol/Shotgun/C-foam/Spear
Archer: Carbine/Scatter Gun/Mines/Hammer
DL: DMR/Sniper/Mines/Hammer
Jim: HEL Revolver/Shotgun/C-foam/Hammer

It's an easy clear and loot until you get to the Class V cluster alarm. Enemies will exclusively be coming from the small door you entered in which makes it easy to prep (make sure all doors are closed anyway). Note the first scan is a team scan downstairs though, so icers have to run quick to catch the door before it breaks. We used all the ice here to complete the scans and the bad guys then all died to a single mine.

Afterwards is more stealth bopping until you reach a regular non-alarm team scan. A few seconds after the door opens the lights will fail, so I suggest flash lights on going in, stacking on the right corner turn 180 to watch the security you just came from and getting ready for invisible enemies! That's on top of anything that was sleeping inside the room, which will come from your right if you are facing the door.

Invisible enemies can either be regular or giant strikers who basically have no graphic. Not even a "predator" shimmer. While a bio tracker will find them turrets won't spot them. They DO shriek and cast a shadow though, so have your lights on and prepare to spray and pray continue head shotting like a pro. Also, they are slower than regular enemies in all aspects so if you need to tango with them in melee, circle strafing is amazing (less so against a giant shadow though).

Luckily there are only the small type here so deal with them and hold for a wave or two and the lights will come back on. Proceed to the non alarm team scan Apex door and enter the well stocked "central" chamber that contains both terminals you need - one easily found on the central bridge and one hiding away in a hidey-hole corner only accessible from a ladder upstairs. I recommend finding that one before continuing just so your team knows where to go later. Alas both terminals are password locked.

If you want to be safe and boring skip down to "BRUTE FORCING". Otherwise, to proceed as the game intends, you need to open the flanking doors to get those passwords. One door has a class IV cluster alarm which will take you all over the terminal room followed by a room of double scouts. In that chamber is a terminal to open the locked security door within, but it also kills the lights and summons endless waves of shadows (in addition to the shadows sleeping in that zone) so guard your "hacker" as he runs between terminals whose LOG files give only one letter of the password, and the position of said letter each. Eg. "--r-".

I recommend once you have two of the letters that you head back to the terminal on the bridge and start guessing. There are only so many English words with four letters. Once unlocked, turn the lights back on, clear leftovers and go back in to loot. Then go over to the other door, a regular team scan which also turns lights off and summons shadows. The terminals in this zone are behind the three blood doors (which all have shadows) with two being behind the blood door to the left. Get the pass code (or enough of it to guess) then go to the hidey-hole terminal, unlock it and turn the lights back on. Clear stragglers, loot the zone.


Because there are only so many English words with four letters, you don't actually have to open the side doors from the central chamber. I reran and won this mission with bots (tools were mines and three sentries) just to verify that if you are patient you can just "brute force" (aka continually guess) I'll put a list below to help you out. The only penalty for doing it this way is that it takes longer and is freaking boring.


Once done you can finally use that last door in the central chamber which is a slow Class S I scan where in the whole team must hold the central bridge as enemies come from three (or one if you Brute Forced) doors. Ice and mine both sides and fight well against the hordes. If you survive, you get to use the checkpoint scan and find the next zone full of supplies, a bulkhead key and bulkhead control, and the choice to do MAIN or SECONDARY. Since we're only doing MAIN, you are basically done. Just open the final non-alarm door and GTFO. :)


able  acid   aged  airy  ally  anti  area  army  atom  auto  axis  

baby  back  bait   bake  bald   ball  band  bank  bark  barn  bath  bead  beak  beam  beef  beer  bell  belt  bend  bent  best  beta  bias  biff   bike  bill  bird  bite  blow  blue  blur  boat  body  bold  bolt  bomb  bone  book   boot  born  boss  both  bowl  brag  brow  buck  bull  bump  burn  busy
cage cake  call  camp card  care  case  cash  cast  cave  cell  chef  chew  chip  city  clan  clap  claw  clay  clip  club  clue  coal  coat  code  coin  cold  coma  comb  cone  cook  cool  copy  core  corn  cost  cozy  crab  crew  crop  crow  cube  cuff  cure  cute

damp  dare  dark  dart  dash  data  date  dawn  dead  deal  deck  deed  deep  dent  deny  desk  dial  diet  dime  dine  dire  dirt  dish  diva  dive  does   doll  done  doom  door  dose  down  drag  draw  drip  drop  drug  drum  dual  duck  duel  duet  dull   dump  dune  dunk  dust  duty
earn  ease  east  easy  echo  edge  edit  eery   else  envy  epic  etch  ever  evil  exam   exit  expo

face  fact  fade  fail  fake  fall  fame  fang  farm  fast  fate  fear  feed  feel  feet  fill  film  find  fine  fire  firm  fish  fist  fits  five  flag  flak  flap  flat  flaw  flew  flex  flip  flop  flow  flux  foam  foil  folk  food  fool foot  fork  form  fort  foul  foxy  frat  free  frog  fuel  full  fund  funk  fury  fuzz  

gain  game  gang  gasp  gate  gaze  gear  germ  girl  give  glow  goal  goat  gold  golf  gone  good  grab  grid  grin  grip  grow  gulf  guru  

hack  half  hall  halo  hard  hawk  head  hear   heat  hell  help  hemp  herd  here  hero  hide  hill  hint  hire   hiss  hive   hoax  hold  hole  holy  home  hood  hook  hope  horn  host  hour  huge  hulk  hunt  hurl  hurt husk  hymn  hype  

idea  idle  idly  idol  iffy  inch  iris  iron  itch  item
jack  jail  jaws  jazz   jeep  jive  jobs  join  joke  jolt  jump  junk   jury  just
keep  kick  kill  kilo  kind  king  kiss  kite  kiwi  knee  knob  know  

lack  lady  lair  lake  lama  lamb  lame lamp   land  lane  lard  lash  last  lawn  lazy  lead  leaf  lean leap  left  lend  lens  less  levy  liar life  lift  like  lily  limb  lime  line  link  lint  lips  list  live  load  loaf  loan  lock  logo   long  look  loop  loot  lord  lore  lose  loss  lost  love  luck  lump  lush  lynx  

made  mail  main  make  mark  mask  mass  mate  math  maze  meal  mean  menu  mesh  mess  mild   mile  milk  mini  mint  miss  mist  mojo  monk  mono  mood  moon   more  most  moth  move  much  mule   muse  must  mute
nail  name  navy   near  neat  neck  need  neon  nest  news  next  nice  nine  none  noon  nose  nosy   note   noun  nuke  numb

oboe  odds  oily  omen  omit  once  only  open  oval  oven  over  

pack page  paid  park  pass  past  path   pawn peak  peel  pelt  perk  pest  pick  pipe  plan  play  plot  plug  plum  poem  poke  pole  pony  pool   pope  pork  port  pose  post  prop  puck  pull  pulp  puma  pump  punk  pure  push

quit  quiz

race  raft  rage  raid  rail  rain  ramp  rank  rant  rare  rash  rate  rear  redo  rely  rent  rest  rice  rich  ride  riff   rift  ring  riot  ripe  rise  risk  road  roar  robe  rock  roof  room  rope  rose  rosy  rude  ruin  rule  runt   ruse   rush  rust

safe   salt  same   sand  sane  save  scan  scar  seal  seed  seen  sell  semi  send  shoe  shop  shot  show  sick   side  sift  sign  silk  sing  sink  site  size  skin  skip  skit  slam  slap  slay  slim  slip  slot  slow  slug  slur   snag  snap  snip  snow  snug  soak  soap  sock  soda  sofa  soft  sold  some  song  soon  sort  soul  soup   sour  spam  span  spin  spit  spot  spur  stab   star   stay  stem  step  stew  stir  stun  such  suit  sure  swan swim

taco  take  tale  talk  tall  tame  tank   task  taxi  tear  teen  tell  tend  tent  term  test  text  that  them   then  they  thin  this  tick  tide  tidy  tier  ties  tile  tilt  time  tire  toad  told  toll  tone  took  tool  torn   town   trap  tree  trim  trio  trip  true  tsar  tuba  tube  tuna  tune  turk  turn  twig  twin  type  tzar  

ugly   undo  unit  urge  used  user

vase  vast  verb  very  vest  vibe  vice  view  vine  visa  void  volt  vote  
wage  wait  wake  walk  wall  want  warm  warp  wart  wash  wasp  wave  weak  weed  week  were  west   when  whip   wife  wild  will  wind  wine  wing  wire  wise  wolf  wood  wool  word  work  worm  yank  
yard   yarn  yawn  year  yell  yeti  yoga  your

zone  zoom