Thursday 30 June 2022

Warframe: Banshee and Valkyr

Not many warframes can vocalize but these two certainly break that trend by being loud! Which when you think about it, is not really a good trait for a space ninja. :P


One of the more easily attainable frames from your clan's Tenno Lab, this warframe is all about sound - able to track enemies using sonar, sonic booming them, or my favorite "sound quake" which does damage to all enemies within a particular radius of you and at lower levels feels super OP. Unfortunately I didn't get to try out her silence ability much which apparently is also a good crowd controller, but my main problem with her is fragility, which is ironic given Loki has less health and shields.

Maybe I just built / used her wrong but I never found the sweet spot of "this is a good frame to play", because either I had energy and was curb stomping enemies or more often, I didn't (sound quake drains a lot of energy) and had to rely on weapons. You know, like a warframe that has zero powers? Doesn't help that you can't move while doing sound quake which makes you easy sniper practice.


The result of Alad V's scientific torture has made this frame a berserker. Why you would reconstruct something in the state that its been tortured instead of brand new is a good question, but let's not ask it and instead focus on the strange conundrum presented by it: clearly it's meant for close quarters combat. But she's fragile?

Valkyr has a shout that improves friendly attack speed and diminishes enemy attack speed if they are close enough. She can paralyze enemies that are close enough by sacrificing her shields. She can go berserk and use inbuilt talons to rip things up in melee. She also has a grapple to shoot which pulls her to the target, to get her up close and personal. She's the best at what Wolverine does.

But damn it doesn't feel like it when I played her. Good armor never seems to make up for lousy shields, and when I'd get up close yes - many things would die but each fight put her closer and closer to death. Compared to a perma-invis Loki or a tiny razorwing Titania who never gets hit? That's a no brainer. Sure, it takes them longer to kill stuff but they'll be just as strong after each fight.

Wednesday 29 June 2022

June 2022: Switching Addictions

China has been busy. Not only have they been building a new aircraft carrier and rewriting the history of Hong Kong, they are also publicly supporting Russia who are continuing arduous combat against Ukraine while claiming NATO has started World War III.

While nothing much has changed there, regular readers might have noticed the drop off of posting frequency on this blog. I think it's a mix of being tired, lazy, and far too addicted to Warframe which has consumed most of my free time this month. It's even been holding me back from playing a bunch of new games!

Honestly though, it's kinda felt nice not having to post everyday. Maybe I just traded one addiction for another? It does make this "Most Viewed Posts" (of the month) a bit silly though, as its now just the top three out of ten?

Most Viewed Posts:
May 2022: Ukraine Wins (Eurovision)
Return to War(frame)
Batwoman and DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Monday 27 June 2022

GTFO: R7B1 - Cargo (Main)

The baby sitting continues as you must again lug the HSU to the objective. At least this time you don't need to carry it all the way back! Loadouts were as follows:

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

*Precision Rifle has a thermal scope so I convinced the other two to give it a try. :)

Welcome to the new tile set that includes foliage that looks like sleepers! Despite the spooky woods its still the same premise of sneak, stealth kill and scavenge though - until you reach the first zone with three different security doors. Like last time, find the locked door and use the terminal to figure out which class III alarm door you need to open as you don't need both. Two doors lead into this chamber, so we mined both and went on double ice duty to make it easy.

Clear the alarm wave before opening the door because you will now be introduced to scouts. To recap, best method to silently kill them is follow the tentacles in with a charged melee and aim for the head (ideally back). Spears are great at this but even with that must be within tentacle range and hope it walks towards you for a clean kill. Luckily, most of the scouts here are alone per room or with few sleepers and the precision rifle kills them in a single head shot so if you don't want to practice scout assassination, just shoot em first and shoot their friends after.

Collect the key, open the locked door and you'll find another big foresty area. Clear it out thoroughly to discover you need a cell to power the next door. Locate that to the East, plug it into the generator and find that said door to the South is a class IV alarm. Now there's no good spot to setup defenses here so I just plonked down the sentry gun towards door we entered from but in the end you just have to fight well while doing circles as enemies can come from both the East and Western zones.

Inside, continue your stealthiness and locate the shuttle box which really just looks like a desktop. You don't have to tango with all the scouts / rooms beyond this quest item if you don't want to so ping it, get it, and bring it to the delivery pipe next to the checkpoint door. Yay! Checkpoint!

The next few zones are vertigo inducing vertical in size but just navigate as best you can till you find the next class III alarm to the North. There are four doors into this room and we didn't have enough gear to cover everything, but that's ok because by setting up the exterior rooms we could funnel the entire alarm wave to one single door (see pic below). That's where the mine and cfoam duty took place. It's also on a nice narrow bridge so when the swarm does get in, they are immediately funneled into a kill space.

If all doors in the big square are closed except for the one encircled,
the enemies only attack the door pointed by the arrow.

Beyond this is a long bridge that looks like the number 9 with a locked security door at the end. Clear the baddies and bring the baby to the machine in that little side room but DON'T put it in yet! Instead, we placed the remaining c-foam and turret to guard the door because sure enough, doing the objective makes a bunch of flyers spawn in. Lots of them! Don't get scared though because they cannot hit you if you strafe.

Bring the baby to the door and leave it there while starting the final alarm. This is a moving scan that goes around the circular part of the number 9 in an anticlockwise direction. Baddies will definitely come for you and the HEL shotgun really shone during the segment where you are walking into them. Once you begin moving back to the door you are pretty safe especially if you put defenses before the T-junction which we did. Obviously they didn't help in the first part of the scan. :P

Once that's done, open the door and extract with the baby to GTFO!

Thursday 23 June 2022

Warframe: Frost and Vauban

Defender type frames.

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Monday 20 June 2022

GTFO: R7A1 - Unit 23 (Main)

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 18 June 2022

Neverwinter Online: Dragonslayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 13 June 2022

Warframe: Railjack Assembly

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

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

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

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

Thursday 9 June 2022


Simplicity at its finest.

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

Yep. It's just a big circle.

The rules are as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 7 June 2022

Warframe: Natah Problem

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

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

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

Monday 6 June 2022

Return to War(frame)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 5 June 2022

Legends of Andor 2 - Legend 10 - Hadria

[A board game session from The Legends of Andor]

After defeating the evil mermaid, the heroes DL the warrior, Mom the archer, and Rose the tracker finally reach the frozen lands of Hadria thanks the the sickly Merrik - whom they deposit with the sorcerers of the tower: a hospitable lot who provide some gear and more importantly also gate in Juris the wizard and Joe the guardian because for the first day the two of us are forced to sit out because... bad design?

Anyway, the sorcerers ask us to deliver a peace treaty to their rivals the sorcerers of fire in the capital city to the East, along with barrels of grain to keep the populace alive over the winter - which is mechanically annoying by placing snow tokens on almost every land spot at the end of each day. Of course a number of monsters also needs to be dealt with to keep our fame up (because no point in saving the day if no one remembers you), so while the others fight off some critters and then take a hard cold hit due to not being in town or in a boat during the evening (oops), Mom races over with the ship and delivers the message.

Their response to the peace treaty is to actively march against the tower sorcerers immediately, their main dispute being that the tower guys have magic weapons and don't want to share. And so, the heroes band together on the boat and race back to defend the tower mages by killing the people they just gave grain to. The tower sorcerers are thankful, and bestow a friend upon them: the sea giant Thanos who is limited to sea spaces but can really pack a punch.

They make the most of this added arsenal to crush all the enemies they can get to, while also picking up a band of allied (mino)Tauri and crates that have the three colored runes (better dice to roll) AND the long missing witches brew (doubles your attack roll). Just as well because the dark shadow of Qurun "aka the end of the world" then appears over the tower, intelligently just out of reach of Thanos and the boat ballista - but it is still no match for the heroes who handily defeat it.

If only he spent less power on his looks.

Upon his lengthy dying soliloquy, Qurun transforms to his true form of Varkur the dark mage and puppet master to almost everything that's happened thus far - including luring the heroes so far to the North to leave Andor defenseless! With a dying cackle he finally croaks.

And that's the end of Andor II. We'll need to get Andor III before we can continue the story. All in all still not as good as the original game and way too much setup.

Thursday 2 June 2022

Mikado and Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

Two games about collecting wood!


Probably more commonly known as "pick up sticks", this competitive dexterity game is a simple one. Starting by bundling all the striped sticks and letting them drop like uncooked spaghetti noodles, all you need to do is collect them one at a time... without moving ANY other sticks than your selected target because doing so immediately ends your turn. Once all the sticks are collected you score based on the stripes and whoever is highest wins.

While there is a notable advantage in going first (because if you are super good you can just clear the field), having steady hands is what will win this one for you. Ultimately it might be too cheap and simple for some though.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

This heavy box sees up to four players cooperatively try to win all eight scenarios which always puts them on isolated islands with varying degrees of danger. In it, you'll need to collect resources to build things and feed your people because if just one of you dies it is game over.

I won't lie. While a players turn is as simple as electing two things you want to try to do or just one thing that you really want to do, mechanically it is headache inducing complexity and will require a few goes before you get the hang of what happens when. It is also kind of tough, but in the "because you don't know what you're doing" way. By that I mean we lost the first scenario a few times before winning it, but the next few have all been wins albeit with some really close calls.

My setup is never this neat.

This is because once you understand how the gears of the game work, you'll have a good idea of what to leverage for each scenario, when to rush, when to go slow, when to avoid rolling the dice (almost always) etc. It's a decent cooperative game, but it lacks excitement in combat (because most of the game is just math) and usually hits a climax too early before a scenario ends - at some exciting point you'll know if you've won or if you have no chance of winning, then play out the next few rounds to dot some i's and cross t's to seal the deal (which you would have accurately predicted earlier unless an event card really screws your plans).

Ultimately, its not one I'd end up recommending - especially for newer board game hobbyists, not because it's bad but just because it's a bit messy and quite overwhelming at the start.