Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Completionist 2014: Super Motherload (Added)

... I'm not doing so good at this... Am I? Welllllllll... Ah, who am I kidding. I remember playing the shit out of the original Flash game Motherload. Ohhhh such memories. So when I saw this come out today on Steam Early Access, I caved. Oh wells, time to get back to work!



Completionist 2014: Anno 2070

YESSSSSS. Another one bites the dust! Finally getting somewhere in this goddamn challenge.

Anno 2070 is an amazing game. I am a sucker for infrastructure games, and this game's got it. I also really like the futuristic flooded world theme. Ching, Thordyn, and myself have played countless hours. Massive shout out to Thordyn for getting me into it. He even made a special video to better illustrate how Anno plays, and that really sold it for me. Hell, lets link that goddamn video here!



Completionist 2014: Humble Bundle 11 UPDATE


Humble Bundle 11 additions:

  • Fez
  • Starseed Pilgrim
  • Beat Buddy


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stash of Textiles Merciless guide

So you made it through Cruel? On to Merciless, starting to get the hang of it. It would be a shame if all your elemental and chaos resistances tanked harder then Denver in the superbowl(so topical!). Act 1 for the most part, is going to be fairly easy if you made it through Dominus. It is a time to catch your breath and have at a bunch of dumb slow moving zombies and skeletons. However, if you remember the acts get exponentially harder and Dominus is going to be the cherry on top of the shit sundae that is merciless.

Chances are you are going to have to do some reworking, whether it be respeccing slightly, or swapping in a life leech/ life on hit gem in your set up. The flaws in your spec or gear are going to get magnified. You are definitely going to have to browse the wall of spam that is trade chat to get some gear regardless. Make sure that you are checking prices at Path of Exile Goods to make sure you aren't getting gouged with prices. You can also use trade chat to trade currencies to get those chaos and exalted orbs you are going to need to purchase good gear. Exile Stats is a great resource for trade values and is updated constantly. Another great way to get essentially free currency is to check the vendors. They will often sell red green blue linked gear that you can buy for a transmutation and sell back for a chromatic orb. Take that free money right from under their noses! The merciless and cruel 3 vendors will also on occasion sell 6 slot gear, which you can sell back for 7 jewelers orbs. Oh yah? Did I mention that you can sell any 6 slot item to the vendor for 7 jeweler's orbs. Well, I linked the vendor recipes, that's on you for not reading it. Also, I was told the vendors will reset every time you level, so it is worth it to check in.

You will also notice that items called maps have started dropping as you make your way through merciless, mostly towards the end. Maps are essentially the end game of Path of Exile. You can craft them just like gear by using transmute to upgrade into a blue map, augment to give it another modification or even use an alchemy orb to turn it into a rare map. Hell you can even use chance orbs and hope you get a unique map. All of the maps are entered into through the Eternal Laboratory which is just next to the Gemling Queen in the Solaris temple. You will have needed to complete all her quests in order to unlock the entrance though. Not all maps are created equal and some will be worse for some builds more then others. By the time you get into act 3 it is usually a good idea to grind places that are easily farmable at this point to start running maps and then eventually have a go at dominus. You can farm the city of Sarn, which is the first location in Act 3 just before the town fairly easily at the beginning. Then the docks is usually the go to place for the middle of Act 3, but whatch out for those dogs they barf fire. They are actually casting incinerate with the blue flame visual effect. I usually keep a ruby flask handy just in case.

The thing you want to keep in mind at this point, whether you are making your own build or following a guide for a specific build, is that you want to have good synergy with your gear and skills and that you are not having to wait on flasks to refill because you are taking to much damage/ using too much mana. Most popular end game builds have their mana and health problems solved to the point where they don't even use health or mana flasks. That is something to definitely keep in mind. Is your build efficient enough?

I am going to discuss some good synergies that exist in gems and skills. I am doing this now because you are probably itching to make a new character with everything you have learned and all the wealth you have to shower them in gifts and not because of incredibly poor planning on my part.

Cast when Damage Taken is a fairly new gem which can be acquired at the library, the entrance of which is located in the Imperial Gardens. This is a very potent gem that can be matched with Enduring Cry, Molten Shell and any curse you happen to be running. It automates these casts so you are not spending precious time casting them and if you are taking damage you probably need them. Cast when Damage Taken will only cast gems that have a level requirement at or below its own requirement. It will say this on the tooltip if you hover over the gem itself. So you need to make sure everything you want to cast complies. Also, the more you level it the more damage taken is needed to proc the abilites.

For strength characters a personal favorite of mine is to link Molten Shell with Iron Will, which converts str into spell damage, and Life Leech. The result is a molten shell that explodes for quite a bit of damage and will heal you for a portion of that amount. Slap this altogether with Cast when Damage Taken and it will ignore the cast time penalty of iron will.

Blood Rage is an interesting skill and is often used with Chaos Innoculation characters because of the ability to stack frenzy charges while being completely immune to the chaos damage done from the gem. It is used in Discharge Chaos Innoculation build by Kripparian. It is also popular with Chaos Innoculation Shadows and can also be used in conjunction with Melee Damage on Full Life because having converted all but one of your life into energy shield, you will essentially always be on Full Life. It can also be used on characters with a good life pool and good life regen/chaos resist that also have good life leech. The reason for this is the increased 20% atk speed on low life and the life leech already inherint in the gem. I am currently working on a marauder that uses blood rage. Not only do the frenzy charges buff my dps substantially, but if you get in a tight spot, just man mode that shit and the 20% atk spd with the life leech will get your through it. There have been some close calls, but it is often better to just keep attacking then run away.

Spell Totem is another popular gem that can be either linked with Summon Skeletons which will constantly spew out a small army of skeletons that will often distract enemies for you. It is also great for Summoner builds to automate that particular action, freeing you up to do damage with other spells. Another popular combo with Spell Totem is what is nicknamed the "spork totem", which is Spark linked to Fork gem. This creates a massive aoe of sparks that is additionally helpful to stack shock stacks from the lightning damage which will increase damage taken by 30% stacking up to three times.

Spectral Throw is a very popular gem and build currently, linked with Greater Multiple Projectiles or Lesser Multiple Projectilesyou get a very potent projectile attack that will boomerang back and continue to do damage on monsters. You can also link Faster Projectiles to this and the spectral projectiles will not only be thrown at a faster rate (i.e. more attacks), but farther, extending your range out a considerable distance. Linking spectral throw with Cast on Critical Strike and linking that to spells such as Fireball and Artic Breath because both of these spells will also benefit from the Greater Multiple Projectiles gem and shoot a very fantastic fireworks display of skills.

There are numerous more other synergies and builds then these. The second portion of this article series will to be to look at popular builds, showcase interesting builds from the community and myself and my friends and to continue to unravel the wonderful succulent fruit that is Path of Exile. The thing I have realized and hopefully imparted unto you is that there is always more to learn and discover in this game and for me that is what makes it so fun. I hope that you guys have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it and if you have a build that you want featured, whether it be your own or something you saw, feel free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Completionist 2014: New Purchases 2/18

Sooooo. I may have purchased a few things... But fuck it! I may not be the best, but I certainly can be the worst!

Holy's February Purchases(so far):

  • Titanfall (Pre-Order)
  • Humble Bundle 11
    • Guacamelee! Gold Edition
    • Dust: An Elysian Tail
    • Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
    • The Swapper
    • Antichamber
    • Monaco (Already owned this one)
    • More unlocks to come
Lets see here. Tallying this up a bit.



Oh come on. Fuck. But... DAT HUMBLE BUNDLE! SO GOOD! And Titanfall beta was super fucking awesome. Come on mayyyn. Crap. Better get back to work on Anno 2070.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Completionist 2014: No Time To Explain

I AM YOU FROM THE FUTURE! There's no time to explain! WAHHHHHH!!! Hue hue hue. This was a quite fun game. It follows puzzle platformers such as Super Meat Boy or Cloudberry Kingdom. I had played a lot of it last year, but got frustrated and gave up. But... Steam Train was there to light the way. If you haven't had a chance to watch Ross throw is body around while Danny giggles on the side for 13 episodes, you can watch it here! Yayyyyy Steam Train!



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Completionist 2014: State of Decay

Wooh! Another zed bites the dust! This was a fun game. Think GTA meets Rust. I wish there was a multiplayer aspect, but I guess they can't do it with the current game engine. I'm a huge sucker for these "Build a town" kind of games, and this fits the bill. You have a base camp that you can upgrade and survivors to recruit to your community. At first it is a little daunting trying to obtain resources and to grow your town, but once you get the ball rolling, the game becomes addicting. Curious about the endless mode DLC, but I think I'll wait till they get a multiplayer version made.



Saturday, February 8, 2014

So you think you can dungeon crawler?

Before I get started I am going to go ahead and give this a quick probably NSFW disclaimer because of a picture I used at the bottom. So don't say I didn't warn yah.

So you got through normal. You got a taste of Dominus.

You are on top of the world. Wraeclast owes you their eternal love not-a-cockaroach. Maybe you even ran with a group and despite the hardships, you perservered together. Hop into that portal, hero, and onto the next difficulty. Oh look it is our old buddy, Hugecock (yes, I am 12). Good ole Lionseye again. Now pop a look at your defenses. Yup, in each difficulty your resistances take a hit. In cruel you lose 20% of your resistance, including chaos. You also lose %5 of your level progress every time you die. In Merciless you will lose 60% of your resistances, including chaos and lose 10% of your level progress every time you die. This is why in the first part I stressed defenses as a priority over going all crazy with damage. Let's go over the defensive stats in order of effectiveness.

Elemental Resistances: Every single character needs this stat. The max is 75%, but the max can be extended through skill nodes such as elemental adaptation near the Marauder section of the skill tree or through flasks, which will give 50% extra of the type of the resistance of the flask and extend the max an extra 10%. Certain areas and bosses will do one specific type of elemental damage, such as Merveil who does purely cold damage and the crematorium which is full of fire damage mobs. It is recommended that you get max or as close to max resistances at least by the time you fight Piety (spoiler kinda) in Act 3.

Life: Unless you are going Chaos Innoculation (I will explain Chaos Innoculation when I get to energy shield) life is the second most effective defensive stat. There are no abilities that do % health attacks, so there is no downside to having a large health pool.

Armor: It gives you a straightforward % damage reduction to physical attacks. Although, there is a lot of variety in the type of mobs you will fight in Path of Exile, mixed in will always be a few just pure physical damage mobs somewhere in the instance.

Energy Shield: Okay, let me explain Chaos Innoculation first. It is a skill node in between the witch and the shadow sections of the skill tree. There are 5 subsequent nodes after Chaos Innoculation that greatly benefit energy shield. Chaos Innoculation allows you to have 100% resistance against Chaos damage for the trade off of having only 1 life point and essentially relying on energy shield as your health. Chaos damage has the ability to bypass energy shield and do damage to your life directly, which is why it is ranked rather low unless you go Chaos Innoculation. As a witch energy shield is still going to be a primary defensive stat for you, regardless of whether you are Chaos Innoculation. However, with Chaos resistances being so scarce on both the skill tree and armor and the 60% hit you take to it in merciless, a lot of people incorporate Chaos Innoculation into their build as a Witch, Shadow and even Templar.

Evasion: Evasion is an interesting mechanic. From what I understand it has the unique ability of rolling twice for a critical hit, in that it rolls once to see if the hit connects at all and then again to see if you can evade the critical hit. Sounds great right? Well, if you lose both rolls you better have a big health pool to soak that critical hit, if you are going full evasion. There are also some interesting skill nodes that go well with evasion. Ondar's Guile which is inbetween the Ranger and Duelist starting areas, allows you to double the chance you will evade a projectile attack. In comparison to the many misleading percentage nodes in the skill tree that take a percentage of the base stat, this allows you to take all of the chance you have to evade and just flat double it. There are two other interesting skill nodes called Acrobatics and Phase Acrobatics and these are inbetween the Ranger and Shadow starting areas. They give a 30% chance to dodge attacks and dodge spells respectively, with Acrobatics having the downside of having 50% less armor and energy shield, which is no problem if you are going purely evasion. It is an interesting defensive stat, but from what I understand very unreliable, so often people will take the Iron Reflexes skill node near the duelist starting area that converts Evasion rating into flat armor as well as Leather and Steel, which allows you to ignore the movement penalties of any armor. These skills in tandem allow you to choose from a larger armor pool (dex, str/dex or str) and gain the more reliable mitigation of armor and maintain a spry spring in your step. That being said I have seen a bunch of pure evasion builds and the skills I mentioned earlier can be very effective; However, I still recommend getting a large health pool to mitigate the hits you don't dodge.

The reason I am stressing defense so much, is because in the builds I made, even based off of other people's builds. I started to see weaknesses in my build towards the end of cruel and I just shrugged it off and trudged on, but if you aren't battle hardened apocolypse surviving dirt eating crotch scratching grizzled motherfucker by merciless, you will in turn be this guy.

Boom! You are dead and just lost 10% of your exp gains because you didn't have enough defense to survive that dresser that sticks out just enough for you not to notice it and goddammit I thought we were going to move that thing. If you are up for it make a hardcore or Nemsis character (if you are really nasty) and realize that you have to kill Dominus WITHOUT DYING. Imo this is a good way to tighten, up your build, because if you can get in the mindset of not dying, you will breeze through Cruel and Merciless (maybe). Also, you thought Normal Dominus was a bitch? Cruel Dominus gives normal Dominus bedwetting nightmares. Don't even get me started on Merciless Dominus. You may be thinking to yourself at this point or at literally every point in both articles so far that I am not doing a great job selling this game, by making it seem so hard. I counter, by saying this, the game is hard, if you aren't prepared, so that is what I am providing: preparedness. However, it is not hard in the sense that Diablo 3 was hard all of a fucking sudden in Act 2 of inferno, because they wanted you to grind for long enough to figure out how to keep you playing. It is hard in the sense that it gave you total freedom to make a build and now the game wants you to show it what you got. What are you made of? Are you a gamer that is content with being constantly patted on the head for doing mundane tasks or do you want the chest billowing pride of saying "I forged that warrior from the pixelated blood of my enemies and my own salty, salty tears and now he/she doesn't suck that much!"

I hereby call upon the heavens to smite these damn annoying ass monkeys

Also, this game isn't just a plotless grindfest. Granted the story revolves around the mechanics of skill gems, but there are ancient evils from civilizations passed being unearthed. The mystery behind the cursed island of Wraeclast. The sinister plots of Piety and Dominus. If you are looking for a story driven game, this probably isn't that. This is a mechanics driven game at its core, but I think the story has some heart to it. You learn even more by doing a playthrough on the Scion which is the unlockable class after beating the game in normal. However, mostly I am talking about story because I wanted an excuse to use this graphic. This game at first glance seems like the graphics and story are second rate compared to the high production values of Diablo. I mean, essentially you are right, but I think this game has a lot of heart and so does Steve, I mean you can see it right there. They like, opened his chest man. Gross. I personally like the interior maps more then the exterior and think a lot of them are pretty beautiful. Anyway, that concludes this episode of "Would you rather be playing CoD and having a 12th grader tell you in very explicit detail the things he did to your mom last night?" Come back again for the epic conclusion of the Path of Exile guides to be followed with some build spotlights and keep gaming!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Completionist 2014: Total War: Shogun 2

Japan has been conquered by the Shimazu clan. All other clans have fallen at by my might. Our superior samurai have proven their worth in claiming the seat of the shogunate! BANZAI!!!!! Frick this was difficult. And it took FOREVER. Goddamn total war games. Always got a birrion things to keep track of. But that's also why its so much fun to play. I'm a total sucker for nation building in video games, like Civ or Simcity.



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thordyn's Path of Exile Newbie Guide

Chances are you have heard some of your gamer friends frothing at the mouths about how good this game is and how it is the Diablo 3 destroyer. I am here to tell you they are absolutely correct and you need to get in that ass Larry. Path of Exile just had its official release and is available free to play via the client which is available at pathofexile.com or through steam. The game has an item shop but it is all cosmetic and inventory upgrades. Path of Exile is an action RPG dungeon crawler with a very old school Diablo 2 feel, which is why it appeals to so many people that were dissapointed with the changes made in Diablo 3. That being said, you don't have to be a curmudgeonly old school hardcore diablo 2 player to enjoy what Path of Exile has to offer. This guide is both for people that have experience with the genre and complete shiney eyed tuna newbies, for both groups I have this to say.
Okay, now lets get down to the base mechanics of the game. First, what I want you to do is to go to the local convenience store and go buy a pack of adult diapers. Go ahead. I will wait. DON'T QUESTION ME DO IT! Ok good, you didn't leave, well don't blame me when your rectum opens like a burst dam spewing forth a powerful blast of brown fear. The reason I say this is because this is the skill tree.
Now that you have gone and gotten a fresh pair of underpants. Don't be intimidated by the skill tree. The truly awesome thing about this game is that EVERY class shares a single skill tree with different starting areas and starting base stats. The official skill tree calculator can be found here. The three base stats are Strength, Dexterity and Intelligence. Strength gives you extra life and added physical damage. Dexterity gives you attack accuracy and evasion. Intelligence gives you extra mana and energy shield. The classes that begin with a focus in each of these stats is the Marauder, Ranger and Witch respectively. The hybrid classes that begin with a focus in between the other two are Templar (STR INT), Duelist (STR, DEX) and Shadow (DEX INT). There is also an unlockable character, gained from beating the game on normal difficulty, called the Scion which begins in the middle of the tree and has balanced beginning stats.

Now that you know all this, FORGET ALL OF IT. The reason is, the only thing that matters is where you start in the tree and even that matters marginally. This is why I love Path of Exile. You have free reign to be creative with what kind of character you want to make. Want to make a Freezing pulse marauder? That shit exists. Were you a melee huntard in Wow who got ridiculed because it was dumb and you are dumb and should feel bad? Well feel bad no more (No, I take that back, keep feeling bad for what you did), but alas you can make a melee ranger like this one. There are a plethora of builds and many ways to achieve them. You can just dive right in or read up on builds other people have made. For some reason though a lot of the information out there can be kind of old and Path of Exile has had some changes during its beta phase. I would have at this point put up links to various build sites, but most that I have come across are wildly unreliable and out of date, so for now the best bet is to peruse the forums for the answers to all your questions.

The other reason base stats are important is because of armor types and skill gems. Lets talk about gems first. The other cool thing about Path of Exile is that you are able to use abilities based on the types of skill gems you socket into your gear. That is another reason there are virtually no limitations to what you can do. The limitations are that there are base stat requirements on gems and as you level them the requirements get higher, so caster gems will be int based and tanky and big physical damge gems are str and quick agile attack gems will often be dex. This synergizes with armor types in that armor types will often produce gem slots that correlate to the color of the base stat of the armor, which is to say str requirement armor will often produce red slots and so on and so forth. However, this is not neccesarily the case and you can use crafting materials called Chromatic Orbs to change the color of the gem slots. Do keep in mind that while using the orbs the armor will still have a tendancy to produce the color slot that correlates with the armor. The other thing about armor is that it, much like the gems will have base stat requirements and give base stat defensive bonuses that correlate to that base stat. That means strength gear will give you armor, Dex gear will give you evasion and Int gear will give you energy shield. I will have a more detailed breakdown of the defensive stats and how the rank in my opinion.

Alright, so you have made a new character! Good on you mate. You have felled the mighty Hillock and gotten into the first town. "Man this game is easy, what was Thordyn getting all worked up about?" You are totally right, Normal is easy. This is because the game engine feeds on human suffering and the game really doesn't get hard until the end game boss Dominus, because it wants to lure you into a false sense of security and be ready with its machine that collects tears. Everything, you have known up to now has been the equivalent of squishing cockaroaches and in comparison Dominus is Godzilla and you are a sleepy Japanese fishing vilage... that squishes cockaroaches. Mixed metaphors aside. even as you get passed Dominus in normal, you won't really see weaknesses in your build until act 3 of cruel, but it will still be manageable. You will say to yourself, I can change baby, really I can. Then Merciless comes along and your bootyhole will be torn asunder. The additional reason that cruel and merciless are especially difficult/frustrating is that everytime you die it takes a way a chunk of the exp you just gained. That last five minutes of grinding you just did? Flushed like a childhood goldfish.
So my advice when building a character is to generally go more defensive than you think you need to even if you are going to play in a group. In fact if you can only go defensive throughout normal, because it is just that easy. Then as you get into cruel start working in the damage nodes. Anyway, all of that will be learned and perhaps expounded upon in a later guide. Before I end this verbal cyclone of poop jokes and metaphors, I will provide some links to some valueable resources online. As well, Kripparian and Ziggy D are youtubers (you probably know Kripparian from hearthstone) that have excellent videos. Kripparian is largely seen as the authority on Path of Exile, but he is currently playing Hearthstone instead and we can only hope that he gets tired of that crappy pay to win game and returns to us in all his glory.

Some links that will be useful:

Vendor Recipes the game actually has hidden recipes that you can turn into currency/crafting items. One in particular that I think people overlook, is that if you are able to combine a group or armor (shields count as armor) or weapons that have a quality that has a sum value of 40% or more you get an armorer's scrap and blacksmith's whetstone respectively. These item's can be used to improve the quality of a piece of gear, which increases the base stats of the item. The max is 20% quality. There are many other helpful recipes as well, this link is worth a gander.

Bandit Quests The Bandit quest is something you will encounter in Act 2. This page tells you the location of each bandit camp and rewards for each difficulty. Before you dismiss this and say "why wouldn't I just get a skill point each time?" The reason is that the abilities they offer can be really helpful. In particular the 40 health from Oak is very popular because most of the life skill nodes in the tree are percentage increase to maximum, which means as you spend more and more points in this, the number continues to get larger as you level. Also, life is very important. The bandits also tend to correlate to a type of character style Oak STR physical damage tanky Kraityn DEX attack speed Alira Int Caster, this does not mean you have to been one of these types to benefit. I just pointed it out to confuse you apparently.

Currency Exchange Rates So currency is a funny thing in Path of Exile. There is no such thing as gold or money per se in this game. This works both for the lore and because Grinding Gear Games did not like the grind for money and just buy gear on the auction house model of D3 and many games. That is why there is also no auction house. There is a trade chat and forums for trading. It can seem intimidating at first, so this conversion rate of currency will help out a bit. Chaos orbs tend to be the standard unit of currency and everything branches from that. The best way is just to look at trade chat to see how much things are going for maybe try to purchase a few gems before you get in the game yourself, but it is helpful to be able to utilize trade chat, so eventually you are going to have to get in there.

That is it for now, I have left out a few things which will be covered in Thordyn's So you're not a noob anymore? So what? Fuck you! guide that I will make in the future. Possibly to be followed by Thordyn's Alright, hotshot you think you got what it takes? So what? Fuck you! guide. I also plan to showcase a couple of the builds that I have made that I find to be interesting. Thanks for taking a look and keep on gaming!