Vry Plays: Fallout New Vegas #4 – Primm

Things get EXPLOSIVE as Vry attempts to retake Primm from the Powder Gangers who don’t like him, complain about the NCR some, and maybe find the town a new sheriff.

Watch live at https://www.twitch.tv/vrykerion

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Vry Plays: Fallout New Vegas #3 – Goodspring Part 2

After consulting the sage advice of Twitter, who promptly told Vry to indulge his worst impulses and be a BAAAAD GUY, Vry begins with teaming up with the local gang. Maybe they’ll paint a graffiti or say some swears. YEAH. BAD BOYZ. WITH A Z.

Watch live at https://www.twitch.tv/vrykerion

Want to see videos a week early?  Support the Land of Odd by contributing to my Patreon! For as little as $1 a month, you’ll get access to the VODs of my streams and other videos instantly – a full week before they appear on the blog.

Stormblood Story Summary Now Available!

I am happy to announce that the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood story summary is now complete and available here on the Land of Odd.  Just like with the other story summaries, it’s broken up into each patch starting with 4.0 and going through 4.5 with links at the top of the page so you can skip right to the section you want to read.

I just want to thank you all for being patient with me while I completed this. I know some people wanted it ready before Shadowbringers launched and I knew I didn’t have the time to write all this up and grind to have a high enough iLevel to do the Grimlyt Dark dungeon before the expansion released, so again I appreciate all of your patience with me.  I once again am going to try to not fall behind as much in Shadowbringers.  Cross your fingers!

You can find the story summary HERE or in the menu at the top of the site.

Vry Plays: Fallout New Vegas #2 – Goodspring Part 1

Vrykerion starts his journey by doing a tutorial, meeting a zombie dog, and comes face to face with his first true moral quandary.

Watch live at https://www.twitch.tv/vrykerion

Want to see videos a week early?  Support the Land of Odd by contributing to my Patreon! For as little as $1 a month, you’ll get access to the VODs of my streams and other videos instantly – a full week before they appear on the blog.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Summary Update

Do you know how insanely flattering it is that not a week has gone by in the past few MONTHS that someone doesn’t chime in via some form of interaction to ask if I plan to do a Stormblood story summary?

I just want all of you who have asked that I have read all of your comments and messages and whatnot and though I haven’t replied to all of them – they always put a smile on my face.

That said, I wanted to update everyone on whats going on with the Stormblood Story Summary here at the Land of Odd.  Namely, that YES there will be one.  I’ve already got a good chunk of it outlined and a few sections already have a detailed write up.

But – just like with the Realm Reborn and Heavensward stories – I only play through all the patch content stories after the next expansion is released.  I do this for two major reasons:  1) It keeps it all fresh in my mind going into the new expansion. and 2) They always update the Main Scenario quests to give out really solid gear that will get you through all the dungeon and trial bits that you need to do for the story and starts the expansion with a solid set of gear.  Not to mention I collect the appearances for glamours and what not.

(In case the question crosses your mind as to WHY my gear is so out of date…  well, I’m quite casual.  I spend a lot of time in game leveling my other jobs and crafting.  Decorating my cottage. And I play other games as well.  FFXIV isn’t my sole MMO let alone my only game. *shrug*)

So rest assured that the story summary IS coming, but you might have to wait a bit into Shadowbringers to see it.  Don’t worry, I’m not diving into Shadowbringers new stuff until all the Stormblood business is behind us.

To quote Yoshi-P, please look forward to it. 😀

Also, I’ve been trying to get back into streaming and youtube now that I’ve got new editing software to work with.  I might try and stream going through the Main Scenario once I get going through it.  Would anybody interested in any of that? We could chat and I could share my thoughts as we were going through and I was making notes and whatnot.  Just a thought.

Vry Plays: Fallout New Vegas #1 – Introduction

Vry tries for the umpteenth time to get past the tutorial in the fabled “Good Fallout game”.

This is a Mostly Blind Playthrough. Previous attempts to play the game over the years all pretty much ended in Primm. It is utilizing a random starting build provided by a randomizer.

Watch live at https://www.twitch.tv/vrykerion

Want to see videos a week early?  Support the Land of Odd by contributing to my Patreon! For as little as $1 a month, you’ll get access to the VODs of my streams and other videos instantly – a full week before they appear on the blog.

Kingdom Hearts III.1 – Feeling the Power of Progression

So it’s been a crazy few weeks.  I’ve been trying to get back into streaming in my spare time.  Got sick, got better.  Been taking care of my family and myself and our weird annoying emotional disorder problems.  Uh…  tried out those Super Duper Mega Stuff Oreos? And uh…

Okay.  Okay okay okay.  Fine.  /sigh.  It’s time to talk about Kingdom Hearts.

When Kingdom Hearts III came out a few weeks back, I took the entire week off of work so I could just soak it in and enjoy the culmination of a ten-game-long story.  I imagined what I was feeling was similar to what people felt when they finally gripped Ultima IX in their hands for the first time.  This was it.  The end of the story arc.  I wasn’t expecting it to be the finale of the whole series.  No, I was in the loop enough to know that this was the end of the “Dark Seeker” or Master Xehanort’s story, not Sora’s or the franchise as a whole. I was trying to manage my expectations somewhat.

The good news is that it was WAAAY better than Ultima IX.

I devoured the game.  No, seriously.  By the time I went back to work, I was level 99, had 100% everything I could on the Gummi Phone and gotten every Gummi Treasure, completed every Gummi mission, and defeated both the normal and gummiship super-bosses.  Got the Platinum Trophy for it too. All in all, took about 60 hours.  Which is about on par for my attempts to 100% the other Kingdom Hearts games.

I still felt hollow.

It wasn’t like the game itself was bad, but in so many ways it seemed like we were getting more and at the same time we got less.  The worlds are huge, the action is fun, the visuals are amazing – BUT I felt like character progression is non-existent, the over-arching plot was continuously delayed, and that ultimately I only saw maybe a third of the story that actually happened.  I’ll get to that last point eventually in a following post because that’s the one I really want to dive in on but I feel it would be unfair to just handwave over the character progression point without explaining what I mean.

In terms of character progression, I hold both Kingdom Hearts II and Birth By Sleep as the star examples in the series.  In Kingdom Hearts II, you gained drive forms. Each of which required a different objective to power up and unlock new abilities to use while in those forms and outside of them.  The striking difference in combat prowess between say Level 1 Master Form and Level 7 Master Form FEELS significant.  You do a number of new combo moves, you gain abilities to deal with crowds of enemies, and the animations get flashier and flashier.  You felt like there was increase in power. Outside of your drive forms you unlock and enhance exploratory abilities like high jump, aerial dodge and ultimately glide.  These abilities allow you access more and more areas that you weren’t able to before and reach new treasure chests or collectibles.  It’s a steady and tangible feeling of growth throughout the game that culminates with the gaining the ability to unlock Final Form after a major story point in the final world of the game.

In Birth by Sleep, you fuse together your abilities to create stronger abilities, allowing you to grind out things like Firaga before you leave the first world.  You can use special catalysts with those fusions to create passive abilities that are linked to the active ones until you master the spell or action, at which time you permanently unlock the passive ability.  The fun in Birth By Sleep and indeed the level of progression is figuring out which combinations create what abilities.  You can create “Mega Tier” abilities that are capable of destroying entire screens worth of enemies with a single cast by the end, but it takes time, knowledge, and effort to create them.  It feels really rewarding to reach the point where you can cast MegaFlare repeatedly and just lay waste to those around you or the completely upgrade your passive abilities to where a single enemy rains down health and other power ups that restore you instantly to full after each battle.

In Kingdom Hearts III, there are two aspects of progression: Your abilities that you get from leveling up or defeating scripted encounters and upgrading your keyblades.  The first is almost entirely passive and barely able to notice since the majority of your passive abilities are things like damage boosts, combo extenders or things that lengthen the time of your situational commands.  You get glide at a similar point as the other games – toward the end – but it doesn’t really open up anything.  There’s no reason you can’t 100% the treasures, the lucky emblems, and all the other things well before you get glide.  All it does is speed things up somewhat if you choose to do some back-tracking and a bit handy (but not necessary) in the final boss fights.  The only ability that I remember getting that really opened up a few new areas was being able to double jump through flowmotion by kicking off a wall (a massively nerfed version of the flowmotion we had in Dream Drop Distance, but I suppose there’s narrative and balance explanations for that).  You get a legitimate double jump later on but by that point the flowmotion and high jump got you 99% of the places you needed to. So the abilities are honestly so very forgettable by the end of the game.

As for the keyblade upgrades?  Well, it just ended up being you boosting their stats.  Maybe grant them a passive ability or two that are tied to that specific keyblade like the ones in the previous games had.  Other than that? Nothing.  Your keyblade determines which of Kingdom Hearts III’s equivalent to drive forms you get – dubbed ‘Formchanges’ – that actual shift the keyblade into a different weapon to use new abilities and attacks.  Formchanges are awesome and I always had fun with them. But in terms of progression? There isn’t one.  Your formchanges are the same when you get the keyblade as it is when you finish maxing them out upgrade wise.  They don’t affect you outside of when your transformed at all. Your exploratory abilities are just handed out at the appropriate story juncture through the game. They shake up combat for about 30 seconds to a few minutes tops but that’s about it.  Even the final upgrade to the keyblade – which is shown to have a different icon than the others – just bumps up stats.  The keyblade doesn’t evolve in appearance, your formchanges don’t well… change at all, and you don’t really feel like you got that much stronger for all the effort you will put in to craft 1-10 upgrades for these keyblades.

That’s what I mean by progression feeling lackluster.  You technically get stronger in a sheer mathematical sense, but so do the enemies, with the worlds upscaling in level as you get further in the game. You never FEEL like you are getting stronger and that’s in a game that starts out with a whole thing about the protagonist trying to recover his lost strength (To the point where even the villains comment on how weak Sora looks now) which in fact isn’t lost – you just haven’t been shown the tutorial screen for it yet.

At this point, I would really like to reiterate that I really did love the game.  I wouldn’t have bothered to 100% the thing if I didn’t.  I mean, I’m a fan and all but even I have my limits on what I’ll go full completionist on (I am looking at you Chain of Memories and 358/2… You *expletives deleted*) but this and the next post were really just the low points of the game for me and as someone trying to reconcile his cognitive dissonance with loving the game and its weirdly non-sensical plot and criticizing the game as BOTH being acceptable ways to love a game (I know this is possible because I love plenty of terrible movies and generally crappy music but its just harder when your a big fan of something), I just wanted to write about here.

Please do not take this as me calling the game bad.  It’s not.  It’s just not perfect.  I know we all wish it was.  I’m not the games harshest critic right now either I know.  I’ve heard other people’s complaints and my general reaction was just “Okay, I can see that. But that didn’t bother me.”  But hey, hopefully with this and the next few posts – the healing can begin.

Because Yensid knows that damn duck isn’t going to heal us.

 

HoBo’s Big Debut – The Sims 4 Get Famous Pt 3

It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light up the lights. It’s time to get things started on the HoBo Show Tonight!

Get full unedited videos, and early access to videos by becoming a Patron at http://www.patreon.com/vrykerion

Touching the Sky: My Weekend with the Anthem VIP Demo

So BioWare’s new game “Anthem” is right around the corner.  By that I mean releasing at the end of the next month, but hey, I just got done waiting thirteen years to fight a cranky old man along side Mickey Mouse, so what’s a month?  Originally, I was very much in the ‘wait and see’ camp on Anthem.  It was one of those concepts that easily could be plagued by excessive and near predatory microstransactions (still could honestly given that the demo priced everything at 25 coins – the in-game currency – and the recent habit of patching in microtransactions after the metacritic reviews are in) or honestly it could have just gone the way of Fallout 76 and been a confusing mess of lack of content.  Trust me, I love Minecraft, I get the ‘Make Your Own Fun’ concept, but I only have so many hours in the day to play a game and so many games to play.

However, all that changed when @Naithin on Twitter hit me up after a conversation about the game and offered me one of his Friend Passes to the recent VIP Demo of the game.  Well, how was I going to say no to THAT?

After some finagling with the weird fact that after SWTOR merged their accounts with EA Accounts, I have two different ones (pain in the butt process made simple by just moving around some email addresses it turned out), I was able to get into the Demo and give it a whirl.  I tried everything I could – all four javelins (the robot suits), all types of content, and just generally messed around a bit.  But first of all, let’s talk about the elephant in the room:

Yes, the demo had issues.  I don’t know the full extent of them, but on the PS4 I ran into the Infinite Loading Screen where the game just stops loading at 95%, I had the sound cut out to my entire PS4 at one point until I closed the game entirely, a few random disconnects where I was kicked out of whatever content I was doing and back to Fort Tarsis – the main single player hub area, and my favorite one: Opening the map while respawning that made it so I couldn’t close the map.  That one was just funny.  And no, I didn’t rage over any of these. Even the Infinite Loading glitch. My own personal views going into this demo is that this was very much a “Soft Opening” for the game.  Open things up, let people play some, figure out what major quirks pop up so you can address them before the REAL opening and let the world in.  So I expected issues.  I got issues.  Now if these same issues crop up on launch day at the end of February?  Then you might see some rage.  Or at least a few snarky comments.

But you don’t want to hear about the problems with running the game.  That’s all anyone has talked about since and during the demo.  How WAS it?  Well, let’s break it down shall we?

Story

There wasn’t much of it in the demo sad to say.  Mostly just one short mission chain where you find a “Shaper Relic” and it leads to hijinks splitting the local scientist into three aspects of himself with different personalities (Am I the only one who thought this was a Power Rangers Zeo call back?  Trey from Triforia?  No one?) and you have to help solve it before they melt into goo.  It’s a fun little story and the writing is really entertaining.  While there wasn’t a lot of lore or indication of what the overall plot of the game will be, it does highlight that Bioware still very much has the touch when it comes to fantastic, fun, and engrossing character dialogue.  In these short little bursts of story, I felt like I really got to know these people and actually liked listening to them chat and chime in during the missions.

Missions

The story sends you on on these missions to do specific things in specific places.  There’s usually 2-3 different areas you’ll go, usually flying between them in your Javelin, and then there’s some manner of combat or a puzzle to solve.  Now, I found most of these pretty fun.  But there is seriously a wide range of difficulty within the mission itself.  The game gives you the option of six different difficulties of play – 3 are locked until you reach max level which is apparently 30.  But even then, the story missions would wildly swing from easy going fun to tedious uphill battle where you are constantly repairing allies and facing down small armies of spawned enemies.  Ultimately with one, I gave up on fighting the constantly spawning waves and flew up to a pillar of rock where I just sniped the boss over and over until it dropped and ignored all the enemies.  But that isn’t always an option.  But it might have been a level issue, a gearing issue, the fact that all four of us (the game just automatically matchmakes you with a group. I couldn’t find a ‘solo’ option anywhere.) where using the Ranger javelin with more or less common quality gear.  Who knows.  It honestly felt like with one mission, the big bad was supposed to spawn X number of adds after losing Y% health.  So if you pop your ultimate ability and drop him say… 4 times Y%, it would just spawn four waves at once.  But that was just my in-the-heat-of-battle observation.  Or my waiting to respawn observations.

Oh yea.  There are Respawn restricted areas, where the only way to respawn is to be repaired by an ally or the whole group to wipe.  The only indication of this is a small flashing pop up when you enter the area for like 2 seconds.  Other than that, nothing.  Even worse, if you die, it still shows the RESPAWNING IN 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…  And then it just stops.  Until someone repairs you.  I thought it was a bug like the loading thing at first.  But no, apparently it was working fine with just a really obtuse UI.

Free Play

The second option for game play is the aptly named “Free Play” where you just go out into the world and run around. From here you can find collectibles, crafting materials, and various lore bits, but mostly Free Play is there for doing the “World Events” where something pops up with an objective to complete and you rewarded with a chest of randomized goodies for your effort.  It was probably the best way in the demo to gear up.  The Demo only had a few areas open to players on the world map, but it was still fairly diverse from marshes to mountains to underground caverns to fight off baddies.  The problem with the World Events that I had was just that they were too sparse, too few, and too small.  By small I mean in terms of visibility.  There are no indications on the map where a world event might be happening, and it will only pop up on the UI when you are relatively close or within the exact same subzone as the event.  This makes getting backup from the handful of other players in your public game next to impossible since just because you are doing an event doesn’t mean other people will even see the event happening.

Other than that complaint though, I had a ton of fun in free play.  A bunch of us would stumble upon a base taken over by the enemy and then clear it out, gather stuff up, and then go exploring and blowing things up.  Just kind of a fun way to kill time really.

Stronghold

I’ll be honest.  I didn’t complete the one stronghold – Anthem’s equivalent of dungeons – that was available during the demo: Tyrant Mines.  Between frequent disconnects, various bugs that I wouldn’t be surprised were related to those disconnects (it seemed that if someone was carrying one of the turn-in objects when they disconnected, the object just vanishes with them and the objective becomes impossible to complete.) I just had a hell of a time with this one.  I did make it to the final boss where we wiped twice and then…  I don’t know. The group dissolved?  I was kicked back to Fort Tarsis with no explanation so maybe that was it.

But for what I was able to accomplish how was it?  Long.  Like some WoW Vanilla dungeons long.  Multiple large areas with massive amounts of powerful enemies that get reinforcements part way through and a final boss that pretty much one shot each of us – and that was on EASY difficulty. You’ll probably want to set aside an hour or two just to do a single Stronghold.  More if you aren’t sure that you can keep a consistent group.  Which reminds me: The matchmaking only works in certain spots.  If you are already engaged in a “scene” (anyone one of the objective/combat areas) it seems to pause the matchmaking.  Meaning if people drop out mid-fight, you won’t get another party member until you finish the area, or wipe.  Which makes these strongholds – which are specifically balanced for 4 people – even harder.

Javelins

Finally, we have the core of the game.  The heart of everything.  The Javelins.  Your fancy suits that give you robot super powers.  For some reason, I was unable to unlock all four during the demo despite everything I read indicating that I would just get a second one at level 12 (the demo starts at level 10) but I won’t look a gift mouse in the horth because now I can tell you about all of them!

Your default suit is the Ranger (or the Iron Man suit – their words not mine) and it has a fairly well rounded tool set of ranged explosives, customizable attacks, and support capabilities.

The first of the more specialized suits is the Colossus (Hulk) that specializes in tanking somewhat.  You have a ton of health, a collapsible shield that works somewhat like Reinhardt’s shield in Overwatch, and it starts with an area taunt that would be very familiar to Dragon Age Inquisition players.

Next up is the Interceptor, which is basically a robot ninja.  You get triple jumps, triple dashes, throwing stars that just dice enemies to pieces, and are just generally very fast.  Their drawback is that they have little health and are very melee range focused. In fact their ultimate ability is melee-only.  So you gotta get close but not take a lot of hits.

Finally is the Storm, or your wizard character.  They gain the ability to hover a lot longer in midair and can throw a ton of elemental attacks at enemies.  They can also spawn long distance shields to protect people.  Much like the Interceptor, they have crap all for defense though.  I had a hell of a time doing anything solo as a Storm in Free Play since there was little to nothing keeping the enemies away from me.

My personal favorites were the Ranger and the Interceptor, with the Colossus being a distant third.  Don’t think I’d focus much on the Storm when the game comes out.  You might notice that I didn’t mention anything about healing in there.  There doesn’t appear to be any healing abilities from what I could find in the demo aside from replenishing shields or providing covering shields.  Healing comes from picking up health drops that enemies leave behind sometimes.  There’s also a auto-regenerate feature that will restore your shields and your health up to 25% if you are below that when you duck out behind something for a bit.  It seems you do replenish your health when you exit a “scene” entirely however, but that’s based on just random observations and I cannot confirm that 100%.

Final Impressions

I know I talked about a lot of issues in this post, but I want you to know that this was about the worst I could say about the game.  It really was fun to play.  The characters were enjoyable to interact with.  Flying around is fun once you get the hang of it.  I just had a good time with it.  Definitely more fun that I had with Destiny 2, which always felt kind of like a slog.  I dunno if I’m going to pick this one up on the release day, but it’s definitely on the list for picking up based on even my flawed experiences here with the demo.

Rags To Riches: The Sims 4 Get Famous Story

The Legend of Howard Bolteski aka HoBo is known to even the smallest child.  Witness his rise to glory in this epic documentary that follows HoBo from his humble and somewhat sadistic beginnings as his star rises to glory… er… we hope?

Follow Vry on Twitch at http://www.twitch.tv/vrykerion

or watch the recordings at http://www.youtube.com/user/WorldofOddCraft

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