GW2 – The Jungle Provides

Ugh, this storyline mission was about the least enjoyable content I’ve played in GW2. It was decent up until the final boss fight, which was ridiculously difficult. I eventually quit due to armor damage, and the googled to see WTF was up with this mission.

I found that another person had similar complaints about the fight. NPC allies downed nearly immediately; Check. Hard to dodge due to geometry of fight; Check. Boss health regens to full; Check.


It was just terrible, basically after the initial engagement with all NPC allies dead, I couldn’t make any progress trying to revive them or fight the boss. I would do maybe 5% of his health in damage, which would heal right back after I died and restarted from a checkpoint. It’s hard to stay on the platforms and/or walkways trying to dodge his large AoE gravity ball (which has a cool looking visual effect) of death.

In the screenshot above it does a large DoT and then 16K in damage. Well I can’t survive that!

After quitting due to armor damage and reading over the linked forum post, it seems the other choice (taking the fight to them) is easier. It could be the same boss but with some maneuvering room it is an entirely different story.

I realized I was frustrated and after cooling down, I re-entered and tried the other option – taking the fight to them. It started with some warmup fights and proceeded to clearing out 3 waves of Mordrem guards. It was tough but felt far more fairly balanced.



My strategy was to let Tizlak, the Nuhoch hylek “big guy” with the large hammer, do the fighting. I would run up and plant a healing spring around him, then dodge back and continue firing my bow. Occasionally I would switch to my staff and use some Druid healing skills. We fought by Tizlak and cleared 2/3 of the pods but he didn’t come with us to fight the last one, so it took a lot longer.


I did pass the mission on this path. It is mind boggling to me how extremely different the difficulty/balance is between the two paths players can take; it’s like two different people designed each path and never spoke to each other. Or one is tuned for a group and the other isn’t and nobody compared notes.

Anyway, done with that and I just want to go back to Tyria for a while. The draw with Maguuma is gearing up via storyline rewards. What to do…


Several friends at work are into Destiny, a first-person shooter sci-fi themed MMO-ish game. Bungie does not refer to Destiny as any kind of MMO; instead it is a “shared-world shooter”. Whatever, haha.

I have a PS3 that I turn on once in a while but wasn’t thrilled about buying a copy just to check it out. However, one friend upgraded to the PS4 and had a PS3 version of Destiny he loaned to me.

It took me a few days to get around to trying it, and after inserting the disk I faced an 8.5 GB download. It progressed very slowly, timing out twice (and restarting from scratch), and took me a weekend of trying here and there to let it finish. Geez!

I guess the 8.5 GB download is the same sort of thing somebody trying a game on the PC would face, if they started with an install off a DVD. I’m so used to downloadable installers these days, where I haven’t seen a delta patch from original media in a long time. On the other hand, I remember ESO having a ginormous patch even after installing the base game via Steam, so who knows; some patchers are more efficient that others.

It took a lot longer than I’m used to, and after seeing the initial welcome screen and hitting play… it started another download/patch! What the hell?! Fortunately this secondary patch went a lot faster, “only” taking 30 mins or so.

After that I was in the game, creating my character (an Exo Warlock) and not spending a whole lot of time doing it, and then off to the intro.

I wasn’t able to take any screenshots – some PS3 games will let you press PS/start at the same time for a screenshot, but the game needs to allow that and Destiny (on the PS3 at least) does not.

Anyway, the game starts with some floating robot guide that leads you into a ruined building, and explains things on the way. You get a gun, crouch to avoid lasers, have initial combat, stuff like that.

The point of the intro is to fight your way through a few large areas to a ship, which brings you out of the tutorial and into the real game, where other players are.

I had a brutal time. I’m lousy at first-person shooters in general, even on the PC with mouse/keyboard controls. So multiply that by being even crappier with joystick controllers. Over time I would improve, but for the intro I constantly over corrected, sweeping past various mobs all intent on killing me. Add a super long reload time to whatever rifle I had, 2 or 3 large rooms with multiple enemies, and I got killed a lot. As in, 19 times according to the stat screen you can view afterwards, just in the intro area trying to get to the ship.

It was a gruesome outing and I wasn’t having much fun. None if this is Destiny’s fault – the game looked fine, played fine, seemed interesting… it is just that I am really horrible at FPS games and would not be any kind of asset to a group at all. I’d probably die so often in the actual content I would drag my friends down and I hate to be that guy nobody wants to group with, forcing my friends to group with me out of sympathy. 😉

So, this experiment was very short lived indeed. The only positive outcome is that it saved me the money of buying a PS4. Well, at least for a few months – my favorite console franchise (Ratchet & Clank) is releasing a PS4 game in a few months so I will probably break down and get one then.

GW2 – Guild Rush

I was just standing around in Rata Sum trying to figure out what to do, when I received a polite invitation to join a guild. I figured why not, check it out.

So I joined the NICE clan and after introducing and saying hi, a group got together to do a guild rush. I wasn’t sure what that was, since I haven’t been in a guild since any guild activities were added, but I went to check it out.

Guild rush is a race game where you can either defend the runner, by just keeping the path clear, or turn into a mob and gain a few specific skills, and run between flags to the finish.

The one the guild picked was Spider Scurry in Dredgehaunt Cliffs. Since Glyneth didn’t have the close waypoint in that zone, I switched over to Aurora, who did. Note to self: explore more on Glyneth and open up more travel spots!

Anyway, I started as a spider which gave me a skill to detect traps, a skill to make a clone (distract mobs), and a skill to leap. The course was confusing since I hadn’t done it before, but between taking my time to look for flags, following others, and flat out exploring randomly, I figured out the route.

I think half the purpose of the Leap skill is to make sure that players can’t just follow you the entire time to clear the path. There were a few discontinuous jumps that a player wouldn’t be able to make… however that just means more that one player team is needed.

As it happened, another guild or two were doing guild rush so the cave was filled with spiders scurrying everywhere!


It was actually quite a bit of fun. After two rounds as a spider, I switched back to Aurora the elementalist and spent a round or two helping to clear a path for others.


My score for the evening was pretty low – over two rounds of scurrying as a spider, I only completed the route… once. My guild won both rounds (15 runners finished in 15 mins) but I was only 1 of the 30 completions we had. In my defense it took me a round just to figure out where to go and then I kept dying midway through a run.

Overall, it was a good time. I’ll have to check out the schedule of guild activities and try to make one a week.

LoTRO – Beorning Book 1

After adventuring in the Bree area, including the Barrow-downs, I reached level 18 on Yrmera. I had also been working through the epic storyline prologue and book 1.

It was a lot of fun, especially since it has been years since I put a character through that content. I criss-crossed the Midgewater Marsh trying to warn rangers of the danger of Amdir, only to arrive too late.


I chased him into the Marshwater Fort but he escaped leaving me to battle Morin, a giant spider.


After consulting with Strider, we raided a nearby Blackwold camp but were too late; Amdir had turned. We had no choice but to kill him in battle.


Later I tracked the Nazgûl to Othrongroth and knew I had to enter.

Now, Yrmera was level 18 while the recommended level for the Orthongroth instance was 21. I figure… what the heck, I might as well give it a shot. I moved through carefully, resting up between fights and using my Beorning healing skill a few times.


It went pretty well. Eventually I found myself face-to-face with Sambrog, whose quest ring conveniently let me eat some regen food before starting the fight.


Just as I nearly defeated him, Tom Bombadil showed up to zap him. What the heck, I’ll take help wherever it comes from. 😉

Yrmera completed book 1 and is now starting book 2, the Red Maid. It’s recommended level is 22 so I’ll make my way through the Lone Lands and do some questing to try to catch up. I’ll work on the epic storyline whenever I’m level appropriate (minus a level or two) rather than be completionist.

I had a lot of fun playing this quest line, I think the feel of fighting and the epic storyline is really good. Sure, many of the regular quests have you collecting stuff or killing 10 wandering mobs, but the epic quests are longer with more heroic feeling goals. The combat feels good too, as I square off against 2 or 3 enemies and defeat them.

GW2 – Battle of Fort Trinity

I advanced Glyneth in the storyline a bit. I decided to finish off the chapter I’m on (Season 1 Chapter 7) and then switch over to open up Maguuma and the Heart of Thorns storyline. Then switch back and work on getting *one* character through the first storyline of the game. 😉

Depending on how that goes, maybe I’ll continue with Scarlett’s War (yeah I’m behind, what can I say) or maybe I’ll keep glidin’ in Maguuma.


Anyway, Glyneth was summoned to Fort Trinity to repel an undead attack. After an initial skirmish outside defending a logging camp, the fight moved to the first gate.


We couldn’t hold it so the orders change to fall back inside. That didn’t hold either and after being driven to the center of the fort, we noticed some infiltrators stealing the blue orb I stole for us in a previous mission.


A short battle ensued and we regained control the orb, which powers some magic laser thingy that keeps the defenses up… I think. No matter, putting the orb back in place changed the tide of the battle and we were able to clear the fort of undead.

Immediately afterwards, we formed a rescue mission for Apatia, who was captured in the previous mission.


We fought our way to the krait city, built on some very creaky looking timbers. As in, a stiff wind or storm should sink the entire structure. After reaching the top and defeating the head slaver, we found Apatia, but unfortunately she was taken by the Risen and was lost to us. What remained was to sing her legend at Hoelbrak.

Alrighty, so now Glyneth is on Chapter 8 of the Living Story, Temple of the Forgotten God. Aurora, my elementalist, is at Starving the Beast, so only 3 storyline missions ahead. I plan to advance Glyneth since I’d rather have a ranger (druid) for future content. If I worked on the missions, rather than get distracted by completionist stuff like exploration (finishing each zone to 100%) I could finish up the storyline in just a few weeks!

LoTRO – Gondor

I finally made it to Gondor with Naerys. Not too far into Gondor, just to Morlad which is right on the other side of the Paths of the Dead. But Morlad has a view of the Stone of Erech so I’m in West Gondor!


I do want to make it to Minas Tirith soon so I may focus Naerys on the storyline rather than quests.

The trip through the Paths of the Dead didn’t take long, and it looked cool.


There was even a session play of an Oathbreaker…


I sided with the group that wanted to honor the oath rather than trust Sauron.

I did a few quests before moving along in the storyline. One involved fighting some bears, which I find hilarious because that was a big threat when Naerys was a lowbie, and as a hobbit the bears are so large they hide her… she still defeats them though.


Anyway, part of me wants to dabble in another character. My burglar Dhrun is level 82 and back at Harwick with his War Steed. But I want to adventure through earlier areas, for nostalgic reasons.

What class to make? I have one of every class at least in the high 20s (Captain) to low 30s (Runekeeper). Start another warden or minstrel? The warden has the most unique playstyle of any class I’ve ever tried, but the downside is taking a break of any sort means forgetting how to play. I have a minstrel in the low 60s standing in Caras Galadhon, so I could dust off that char rather than begin another, but I also wanted to adventure through the Shadows of Angmar content again.

Then it hit me, because I had just been fighting bears with Naerys. Turbine added a new class recently – the Beorning. Perfect – they can shape-shift into bears, how awesome is that?!

I forgot about the Beorning but once I remembered I started one up. After trying about 15 names I gave up and just went with an auto-suggested one, Yrmera.


Right now Yrmera is on the trail of Amdir, and I’m having a good time. I probably won’t play this char too much, but I think with some focusing on the storyline I could have her to Moria before too long.

I haven’t used the shape-shifting too much just yet, because all the mobs outside Combe die in 2-3 hits from my 2-handed axe. I picked the Claw trait tree, because I expect to mostly solo as I level. The fact Beornings have tank (the Hide) and healing (the Roar) traits trees available is extra cool.

Now what would be super cool is if Beornings are neutral to all bears in Middle Earth: they don’t attack you if you don’t attack them. For some reason I don’t think that will happen.

TSW – Sasquatch

It bums me out that I don’t devote enough time to this excellent title. I may have to re-prioritize what I play to change that.

Anyway, the other day I was listening to the Lore Podcast, catching up on some back episodes. I am up to #18 Hunger Pains, about myths surrounding monster cannibals, when the host Aaron Mahnke mentioned the name of one such native American creature – the wendigo.

What?? That’s a monster from Secret World; I just assumed Funcom made up the name of the mob. I didn’t realize the name came from an existing myth!

The inspired me to adventure more with Wayness in Blue Mountain, and look for some Wendigo. It didn’t take long, as it happens the road running by the side of the camp I am staging out of is “Wendigo Way”.


The next mob I found just down the road was a Wendigo! Killing it bumped me to 25 overall Wendigo kills in the overall “wendigo slayer” achievement.


Actually the mob didn’t have Wendigo in its name, it was called something else like Brood Worker. But it counted so it must be in the Wendigo species. 😉

My current mission was Enemy of my Enemy which involved speaking to some a friendly Sasquatch chief and see what he wanted… and it boiled down to investigating a cave and freeing some capture Sasquatch tribe members. That sounds fun so I jumped in to be a hero to the tribe.


After talking to the chief and finding the cave, I entered and battled numerous Brood Feeder (more Wendigo??) to free each prisoner.


The next stage of the quest involved destroying a hive, which freed a boss Brood Queen (you could see that coming!)


It was a fun fight – many TSW mobs have telegraphs a la Wildstar, but not all, so I have be a bit mobile and move out of the way. So the combat is active but not way over towards the twitch side, at least IMHO.

Anyway, I didn’t have much time so I did one more quest and called it a night. For my efforts I earned enough ability points to unlock two more Starter Deck outfits and also gained a few more skill points which let me bump my sword survivability skill up one. Wayness is now QL5 in Fists and Blades so my next few skill points will go towards bumping up talismans.



GW2 – Heart of Thorns Enjoyment

So far, I am not enjoying Heart of Thorns all that much.

I’ve fallen to my death more times trying to get the first level of gliding mastery than all my characters combined have fallen to their deaths in LoTRO’s Mines of Moria. (I put 7 chars through MoM to Caras Galadhon and beyond).

A typical example is something like this, where I fell off a minor cliff looking for a mastery point (visible at the top)


Here, I can’t jump back up to the path. Those ledges are all too high to jump to. And worse, towards the edge some edges are slippery – jump on, slide off and after 10+ seconds of falling (so fun to watch, NOT) a 300K damage splat on the ground.

Well in full disclosure, I’ve only technically fallen to death twice. What’s really happening is that a fall does 2/3 rds damage which sets me up for the next mob or group to one or two hit me. Sometimes I’m fast enough to hit Mist Form (#8 on my bar) and escape but mostly I am not. Or, I’ll escape the immediate threat only to run into another, or be chased down, etc.

HoT is also filled with stuff like the surprise ambush, after defending a rally point or camp or whatever:


The next step was surviving (?) the ~20 mobs that suddenly appeared.

All of these deaths feel extremely cheap and unfair, like the only way I could have avoided them was to have the foreknowledge to not be there in the first place. Don’t jump down the ledge, you can’t get back up. Don’t stay in the camp after dragging enough supplies in, immediately hide on the edge to avoid the ambush. Etc.

It is possible these annoyances are a side-effect of me not liking the solo elementalist. If a group is around, it’s much better for me to hang in the back, switch attunements and drop every AoE skill I have, especially combo fields.

So rather than get more angry I’ll switch up and play Glyneth, hopping over to the jungle to help unlock more masteries, so I can use bounce mushrooms which would help with navigation. Thanks goodness the masteries are account wide! Even though the GW2 ranger feels different than the GW ranger, having a pet, medium armor, and fighting at range (I use a bow even though apparently some melee weapon combo is superior) makes for a more survivable and enjoyable time for me.


I finally did get the first level of gliding mastery, so now maybe things will proceed a bit smoother now that I can fall off an edge and not plummet to death.