Blogger Succession Game Mission 13: Everyone Loves an Escort Mission

This is mission 13 of the Blogger Succession game. You can find more details and previous missions at Time to Loot.

When I arrived back on the Avenger things were already underway. Plated armor was a few days from being completed along with experimental ammo. As there wasn’t anything to research at the moment I set off to fly the Avenger around the map in search of my next mission.

I seemed to have considerably more time on the strategy portion of the game than last time. I don’t know if that’s because I missed a mission or if RNG gifted me with more time to roam around the map. I was informed there was resistance contacts not to far from my location. I flew over there and spent 5 days scanning.

During those 5 days a few things happened.

  1. Plated Armor was completed
  2. Experimental ammo was completed giving us Dragon Rounds which sound like incendiary ammo.
  3. Two Dark events triggered: Ufo’s are now chasing the Avenger and the Aliens have improved their threat response procedures. Yeah, that sounds bad…

With research completed I went back to the Avenger to set up some new projects. I started another round of experimental grenades and performed some instant autopsies on Vipers and Sectoids. This seems to have unlocked new engineering research projects. I also started Alien Encryption research because it had a star next to it….and it’s also one of our next quest goals.

I turned my attention back to the map and headed down to the New Mexico radio tower for a few days. With that unlocked we’re gaining some more monthly supplies with the supply drops and reducing the cost to contact nearby countries. We also received a Spare Parts bonus which decreases the cost of Proving Ground projects by 50%

By the time that was finished the Avatar Project progress was looking bleak. We’re currently 3 pips away from it maxing out which seems like it might be an issue. There are 2 Alien facilities both 2 countries away from us. My plan was to try to get to one of them or at least make contact with a country before my mission triggered. I flew the Avenger over to the New Artic and clicked scan. Right away a mission triggered all the way back in the Eastern US. So we flew back without any scanning to start Operation Wolf Hound

Operation Wolf Hound

The goal of this mission is to extract a VIP from an Advent City. I remember these types of missions well as they were one of the reasons I gave up with Xcom 2 the last time I played it. The mission gives you a turn limit to extract the VIP and your soldiers. Anyone not extracted gets left behind. Last time I played I never managed to get the whole team out before the turns ran out. The saving grace of this escort mission is you’re in control of the NPC being escorted. At least your not at the mercy of your VIPs back decision making, only your own.

My squad for this Mission

  1. Easha
  2. Endalia
  3. Sofia Vailyeva
  4. Magi
  5. Bookahnerk

Before starting the mission I equipped everyone with new armor. Now that we had completed the Plated Armor research we had the option of equipping Predator Armor. This adds some more protection and unlocks the second item slot for your squad.

This mission is on a 12 turn time limit for extraction. I’m informed that Advent already knows we’re here so there’s no point in hiding. Well if you say so….

Extraction is 2 buildings away from where we start. It’s on the roof top of the second building which I assumed was full of enemies. When the mission starts I send Easha down to check out the scene and see what we’re up against. Immediately we find 2 advent troopers.

I move everyone else into position. Endalia stays on the first roof top and takes up overwatch. Magi goes to the second roof top and takes up overwatch on the high ground. Now I forgot that once they move they can only take up pistol overwatch which isn’t ideal but it’s something.

Bookahnerk moves down to take full cover behind a statue to assist Easha in taking out the Advent troopers. I send the VIP close to the ladder to move up to the next roof top on the next round. To cover the VIP I send Valiyeva up with here.

On Advent’s combat turn I learn that windows exists and I should not position any one near them. The Advent tropper shoots at Valiyeva from the first floor window. Luckily, the shot misses. Lesson learned. Endalia fires with the pistol overwatch and surprisingly hits from quite a far distance! No one in the squad takes damage this round.

The Advent troopers have moved close enough for Easha and Bookahnerk to do their thing. Easha blows the first trooper away and earns a promotion. Bookahnerk fires at the next visible enemy and takes about half it’s health. Emalia fires from the roof top and finishes it off.

With no visible enemies I start moving people up. Magi takes a forward position on the next roof top and discovers 2 vipers on the second floor of the extraction building. The VIP has been moved up as well hopefully out of danger along with Valiyeva on the second roof top. Endalia, Easha, and Bookahnerk move up to get better shots at the vipers.

The vipers promptly jump out of the Windows and move up. This triggers 3 overwatches and the first Viper is toast. Out of spite, the remaining Viper shoots at the VIP and poisons her….

I send my poisoned VIP back out of range on her next turn and hope the poison doesn’t last to long otherwise I’ll need to use a medkit. Valiyeva finishes off the second viper with and earns a promotion. The field looks clear but I just know there’s got to be a few more aliens around.

A miss click on my part sends Easha way to far up out of cover. But hey, we found 2 more aliens a Muton and another viper. Unfortunately, Easha takes a whole lot of unnecessary damage in the process.

To try and cover Easha I send Endalia and Bookanerk up but in actual cover. Magi is on long watch still on the roof top which works out great when the Muton moves out of the second building. It’s not quite dead and suppresses Bookahnerk.

The Viper makes a grab at Easha and hits.

Magi still has a good shot on the Muton and takes it out with ease. Thanks to Nathain’s advice last time a viper grabbed someone I knew to move Bookahnerk up and throw a flashbang to free Easha. In turn, Easha blows the viper away with a point blank blast of the shotgun.

Not seeing any more enemies around it’s time to get everyone to extraction. I was trying to be a bit more aggressive this mission so I wouldn’t run out the turn clock and have to report leaving people behind. So once all the visible enemies were cleared I had 6 turns to get everyone to extraction.

I had everyone extracted with 3 turns to spare!

After Action Report

I was really hoping to find an Advent Officer to skulljack but didn’t see one on this mission.

Everyone returned home this mission with only Easha being gravely wounded. Unfortunately, this means Easha will be out for 24 days. Yikes! Everyone else returned without a scratch.

3 squadies were up for promotion after this mission

  1. Easha, injured but carrying the team that last mission, earned a promotion. I chose Implacable which will allow bonus movement after a kill.
  2. Bookahnerk, with some solid damage and support, earned a promotion. I went with Haywire to hack robots.
  3. Valiyeva, protector of the VIP who only let her get poisoned once, returns home for a promotion. Keeping the medic theme going I chose Field Medic which gives 2 extra charges on medkits.

I got yelled at by our chief engineer that we had some engineers twiddling their thumbs. They were put to work in the Proving Grounds to speed up the research. Tygen also informed me that we really need some more scientists.

It’s Blaugust!

It’s August 1st which means Blaugust is officially under way!

August has become my favorite month over the past few years. It’s great to see this side of the blogosphere so active, seeing new faces to add to my feed, and seeing some old faces I haven’t read in a while.

Every year I shamelessly use Blaugust as a way to motivate myself to write more. It also motivates me to comment more and try to be more active in the community. I’m a blog/discord lurker by nature. This year I’m using it to get back in to blogging as my writing has fallen off pretty hard this year.

I already know I won’t be hitting the post a day challenge. I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow and did not prepare any posts in advance. But no worries there, my goal this year is to consistently write 3 posts a week and get my mind back on blogging and writing in general.

Let the writing and reading spree begin!

The Controls Matter

Assassin’s Creed Origins ended up in my Steam library at some point. It’s hard to say when I picked it up exactly. It may have been last years Steam Summer Sale or maybe one a one off weekly sale. But it was definitely sometime last year that I bought it with full intentions of playing it.

According to Steam, up until recently I had played about 3 hours of the game. I think I’ve started it up a few times and tried to play it but disliked the keyboard and mouse controls and lost interest pretty fast. It’s got some weirdly layed out buttons by default. So on the virtual shelf it sat until a few weeks ago.

Honestly, I have no idea why I started playing it again. Like most things I took a bit too long to write about it to capture those initial moments but it was probably along the lines of: I had an itch to play an open world game so I fired it up. I don’t think I had intentions of latching on to it as much as I have. I’m fully attributing that to playing with a controller this time around.

I bought a PS4 in late 2014. It was my first big purchase after I graduated college that was not rent, food, or student loan payments. The PS3 was still going strong but it was getting to that point where less and less new games were coming out for it. So I made the switch and it was my primary gaming device until I built a gaming PC in 2017. I still have the original controller that came with it but sadly it doesn’t work as well as it used to.

In general, the PS4 controller can be finicky when used for PC gaming. Some games will have trouble recognizing it and some won’t recognize it at all. Even with third party tools to turn it into a “virtual” Xbox controller it could be a pain to use. A few years ago, Steam released an update that helped more games recognize the controller which solved some issues but not all. And while it’s a sleight in convenience, it always through me off to see the Xbox button prompts on screen and have to figure out which button on the PS4 controller that was supposed to be.

The big reason I don’t use it as much as I once did is because the physical hardware it failing. It turns out, after 7 years of connecting and disconnecting micro usb cables to the controller, the port is starting to come loose. Slight movements will cause the controller to disconnect and reconnect quite frequently which can be really annoying when trying to use it.

Now, I’m not sure why I tried to use the keyboard and mouse controls for AC Origins the first time around, I really don’t, but this time I tried the controller and found it played so much better. But that disconnects from the controller were getting unbearable. So it was finally time to go out and get a new controller.

I’ve put this off for a long time because controllers are expensive. A new PS4 controller still runs around $60. Switch joy-cons go for $80! Of course, I could buy a used controller but you never know how often it’s been thrown across a roo before it’s gotten in to your hands. I figured, if I was going to purchase a new controller I might as well buy one that would work better with my PC. So I went searching for a reasonably priced Xbox controller.

For the first time in years, I actually had a reason to visit a brick and mortar Gamestop. It was one of those rare times where I didn’t want to wait for shipping and remembered I could go to an actual store and pick up something that day. As it turns out, my local Gamestop was having a sale on controllers and I had an unused gift card still in my wallet from who knows how long ago. I ended up getting the controller for under $20 which was nice.

I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t like the layout of the Xbox One controller. After all, I’d been using the Dual Shock layout for almost a decade. Once I’d played on it I realized I actually liked the feel of the controller better than my old PS4 controller. Plus, it’s red which adds character. I’ve played a few games with my new controller and they all just work without fiddling around with Steam or usb cables which has been great.

I was a bit surprised to find that it cam with a set of double A batteries. Microsoft is still selling rechargeable battery packs still. It’s not really a concern since my PC lacks Bluetooth to connect the controller wirelessly

The difference between keyboard and mouse and the Xbox controller is night and day with AC Origins. It’s so much easier to play and interact with the world. The game even has aim assist for the bow so aiming isn’t too much trouble with the controller. I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised, Assassins’ Creed is a quintessential console franchise, it makes sense that it would play better on a controller. One of things I like the most about PC gaming is the options. Not just the options of what to play but how to play them.

Backlogged: The Pedestrian

Time to Finish: 4 hours

I picked up The Pedestrian from the Steam sale this year. It’s been sitting on my wishlist for a while and I had an itch to play a puzzle game. What caught my eye with The Pedestrian was that the puzzles appear to take place on street signs. As it turns out, it takes place over all sorts of signage: From Street signs to bathroom signs to blueprints.

Things I liked:

The Difficulty: I like puzzle games a lot but I don’t like when they get so hard I feel like I need a guide on another monitor just to play the game. The puzzles start out fairly easy and do get progressively more complex as they should. While I’d get stuck every now and then on a particularly challenging puzzle, I always felt there was enough information to figure it out. Whether that be something I overlooked or leveraging a mechanic in a particular way. I never felt stuck to the point of frustration.

The Mechanics: The Pedestrian is a 2d puzzle platformer. Each part of the puzzle takes place over multiple signs and you can connect the signs in various ways to get the stick figure out of the exit door and on to the new puzzle. You can move the signs around to make more connections between them. Some connections that don’t work at a particular angle will become available when the sign is moved. Breaking connections after you’ve started moving the stick figure will, in most cases, reset the puzzle. As the game progresses, a few more mechanics are added on. Some levels need you to connect the electricity between wires to open up new pieces of the puzzle. Some signs let you jump to another sign without a door. And some signs can be painted green so certain obstacles in the level aren’t reset when breaking a connection. I really enjoyed figuring out how the whole level fit together before I sent my stick figure out to the exit.

The Visuals: The mix between 2d puzzles on signs and complex 3d scenery in the background made this game feel very unique. The music mixed with the slightly cartoony backgrounds made me feel like I was playing a Pixar short.

Things That Could Have Been Better:

Then Music: This isn’t to say the music wasn’t good because that’s simply not the case. I wanted the music to play more frequently than it did. The pauses in between the music felt slightly too long and there wasn’t much background noise in between. It lead to a bit of awkward silence, especially if I was stuck on a particular puzzle for a while.

The Length: The Pedestrian is a short game and while it doesn’t wear out it’s welcome I wish it was a bit longer. Just when I was getting a handle on the more involved mechanics of the puzzles it ended. I will most likely replay it in the future!

Max Level in New Genesis

Over the weekend, I hit level 20 on my Techer main class. This is currently where the max level stands in New Genesis. Getting there didn’t take all that long, just over 3 weeks of pretty casual play. There were some days where I spent hours killing mobs and doing quests but the majority of my play time has been to log in, do the dailies/weeklies, and then log off. The hardest parts of the whole leveling experience was finding/upgrading gear to hit the required Battle Power to move the story along and unlock new zones.

Now that I’m here at level 20 there isn’t a whole lot I want to do on this character. That isn’t to say that there isn’t anything else I could be doing.

I could get my sub class up to level 20 but I’m not sure how this would benefit my character. Skill points are acquired by doing instanced Cocoons instead of leveling up. I’ve done all the Cocoons already so my main class and my sub class have all the skill points they need. I think hitting 20 on my sub class would boost the damage of my secondary weapon, the Rod. I hardly use the rod since I can cast just find with the wand and still dish out melee damage without having to weapon swap.

I could go out and look for rare weapon and armor drops. The problem with this is that my gear is just fine at the moment. All of the 4 star weapons and armor can be bought off the market for dirt cheap. We’re talking like 1,000 Metesa cheap. The 4 star armor is a bit more expensive but not by much. The rarity comes in the form of Fixa attributes which add additional stats to a weapon or armor. For now, these stats seem pretty minimal and since I’m not much of a min-maxer I’m not too motivated to go out and look for these right now.

I could go and hunt Gigantix but that seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth. Gigantixs are a special type of boss that spawns in the exploration zones when it rains. To actually do any damage to them you need to be level 20 but the game doesn’t actually tell you that. They also scale off of player proximity so what happens is you have characters of all levels running to these things which jacks up their power and makes them really hard to kill. It’s essentially a public DPS check on a really short timer. From what I’ve seen, people who are actively hunting these things are also not very pleasant….

I was thinking about just switching my main class to Force to try that out but the skill system doesn’t quite let you do that. Switching Force from a sub class to main class doesn’t reset the skill points I already invested in the tree. So skills that were good for the sub class would leave the main class lacking. Of course, I could buy a second skill tree for $5 but I’m not inclined to do that right now. I’d rather make a second character while I have the slots.

And that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do next. I’m curious how long it will take this time around to get another character to level 20. Since I can share metesa, gear, and upgrade materials between characters it should be much easier to pass the Battle Power restrictions and open up new zones. This does mean I’ll need to do the cacoons again, get all of the fast travel points again, and do the main quest again but I don’t think that will be too bad.

Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis First Impressions

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time in Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis this week. Sure, it has it’s issues, lag being the main one, but I’ve played Trove long enough that lag doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s release since I played the beta and I’ve logged on every day since it’s been out. Something I can’t say often about any game. What makes things even better is that the squad has started playing as well!

After the beta I was torn between a few main classes to play: Fighter, Techer, or Force. I ended up going with Techer as my main class as it has a mix of support, melee, and ranged techniques. I haven’t felt the need to re-roll which is a good sign that I’m enjoying the class. The main mechanic of the class revolves around matching elemental attacks to the enemies weaknesses and throwing out a damage boost/incoming damage reduction buff. I chose Force as my sub class which gave me access to some close range AoE spells and a skill tree to keep my PP (mana) up. So far, I’m really enjoying the playstyle.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism that there isn’t enough content right now which I personally find is a non issue. Jumping in to the original PSO2 last year was a nightmare of menus, systems within systems, and really weird controls. There was a ton of content but so much that I didn’t want to sift through it all. I bounced pretty hard after a week or so. In New Genesis, there’s a lot less going on all the time and I can actually sit down and learn the few systems that are in place. The skill tree isn’t huge and for the most part I understand what each one does and how it would impact my character. The weapon upgrade system has some quirks but is understandable overall. The map is on the small side but the zones are varied enough that I don’t feel like I’m seeing the same things as I go through it.

I’m about 10 hours in and feel like I have a good thing going with this game.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s issues. The lag is the biggest one hands down. Those first few days I couldn’t even follow the people I was playing with around because they’d be rubberbanding all over the place. Menus would take a long time to load. Sometimes, enemies will just stand there and not take any damage until things catch up and they’re just dead. It’s gotten better over the last week but it’s still there.

The other issue I’ve run in to is materials not respawning when the daily quests reset. If you collect too many materials in a zone and tomorrows daily quest happens to be getting those materials in said zone, you’re out of luck. It seems like materials are on a 24 hour timer from when you collect them rather than with the daily reset. This has lead me to not collect resources out in the world until I get the daily quest to do so. I’m hoping this get’s resolved because it’s terrible system when you need those resources to upgrade things.

I’ve also seen reports that there’s a bug that takes large amounts of currency when you teleport with the quick travel system. I personally haven’t experienced it but there’s enough posts on the subreddit about it that I’m constantly checking my in game wallet. The game is a week old though so hopefully all the issues will be ironed out in time.

Overall, I really like this game and hope to be here for a while. Plus it looks gorgeous!

Blogger Succession Game: Operation Blood Fist

I’ve played XCOM 2 before for a brief period of time. A quick look at my old save files says I last played in 2017. I remember enjoying the game and likely fell off of it when something new and shiny came along. Since it had been a while, I started up the tutorial to refamiliarize myself with the controls and mechanics. Feeling confident that I knew how to move, use cover and take shots, I loaded up the succession save.

Operation Blood Fist

Objectives: Avoid destroying critical supplies, Neutralize all enemy targets

The first decision I had to make was who to take with me on this mission. Everyone pre-selected for the mission was already a corporal or seargent so I thought I might take one of our rookies with me. But I vaugely remembered my playthrough from 2017 and seemed to recalled getting a lot of people killed…This being my first mission I thought it safer to bring soilders with some skills rather than subject a Rookie to my playstyle.

So I assembled the Dream Team from Rambling Redshirt’s mission:

  • Corporal Rambling “Ramblin Red” Redshirt
  • Corporal Lizz “Magi” Winterfield
  • Corpral Tessa “Endalia” Hastjarjanto
  • Seargent Easha “Silentdeath” Dustfeather
  • Corporal”Rakuno “Three” Venmuel

The mission started, in the rain, with the squad on top of a hill. There was a derailed train to the north and no enemies in sight. I had Magi scout ahead a bit to see if we could spot some enemies. Not far from our initial landing site, Magi spotted two Advent Solders but was not detected. They moved down the hill towards the train. The rest of the squad followed just out of detection range. Sargent Silentdeath was tasked with flanking around the train.

I had moved Rakuno forward ahead of the rest of the squad behind a tree for full cover. When the enemies moved forward, Rakuno was in the red detection zone but seemingly not spotted. I wasn’t sure how long we’d remain concealed so when Rakuno was up I decided to take a shot. With a 78% chance to hit the shot hit it’s mark and took the first solider out. The second solider moved forward right into Ramblin Red’s overwatch position. The second solider met Ramblin Red’s bullets and is taken out as well.

Again the squad is looking at an empty field and needs to find more enemies. Magi was still up on top of the hill and moved forward in hopes of finding more enemies. More enemies were found….and here’s where I learned an important lesson.

Magi was no longer concealed so the enemies I could see could also see us. Not a huge deal, I thought, as the Viper moved towards Magi. With any luck it would miss it’s shot and we’d take it out next turn.

That was the thought anyway, until it grabbed Magi with it’s tongue and pulled them into a grapple. Now, not only did I have one squad member way behind enemy lines but also in the grips of an alien snake. Yikes!

The mission quickly turned in to Operation: Rescue Magi.

Ramblin Red moved up to positions with full cover and line of sight on the snake. Endalia moved up behind a tree for full cover and in a position to snipe the snake on the next turn. I moved Rakuno up to a position with half cover and a shot on the additional Advent solider.

As it turns out, Sargent Silentdeath was not discovered with the rest of the squad and was still concealed. Silentdeath moved up along the train to flank any other enemies that may have been around. I figured with a shotgun and a blade Silentdeath could probably get out of trouble if they ran in to any.

The next round of combat started with Rakuno taking a 73% shot at the Advent solider. Once again, Rakuno hit’s the mark and obliterates the solider marking kill number two. Magi takes a pretty hefty amount damage from the snake leaving them with 2 health left. The squad needs to take out the Viper this round or risk losing Magi to a sentient reptile.

Ramblin Red is up and even with eyes on the snake only has a 58% shot at it. I had no idea how this would work, I figured there was a very good chance I would miss the snake and possibly hit Magi but it was now or never. The shot was taken and it hits causing the Viper to drop Magi!

Unfortunately, Endalia is a bit too far to make an accurate shot at the snake so it’s all up to an injured Magi now. With Magi and the snake inches from each other, Magi has a 100% shot with the pistol to the Viper, guaranteeing the kill and picking up an Elerium Core in the process.

After the tense round to rescue Magi, the field is clear again. The squad moves closer together to avoid another such situation. Everyone is in good cover but no new enemies have been sited. Silentdeath climbs the train and finds two more enemies. Another advent solider and a Sectoid.

Magi is up and takes a 53% shot at the Sectoid and hits for 6. A good chunk of damage but not enough to down the enemy. The Sectoid induces panic in Ramblin Red but also triggers overwatch for Rakuno which misses the target. Panicked, Ramblin Red fires at the enemy (thankfully not the squad) and misses. The Advent solider moves up and triggers Endalia’s overwatch and suddenly it’s no longer moving at all. The mission ends as Sargent Silentdeath jumps from the train and finishes the Sectoid off with a quick slash.

Promotions

Upon the squads return, I was able to promote Rakuno and Magi to Sargent. For Magi I chose Deadeye – take a small aim penalty for a big damage boost. It seemed like a nice tool for a sniper to have in their kit. For Rakuno I chose Suppression – Pin an enemy down, grants reaction fire if it moves, and it takes a -50 aim penalty.

Sadly, it looks like Magi will be out for at least the next mission.

Research, Engineering, and Scanning

After the mission I went to investigate the Black Market. After a day of scanning the Proving grounds were ready so I headed over there. One of our main objectives was to research the Skulljack and I just so happened to find the Elerium Core it needed on my mission so I got that underway then continued to scan the Black Market. After 2 more days the market was opened and a mission hadn’t popped yet.

I moved down to rescue a special forces solider. We welcomed Klaus Weiss aboard, a sharpshooter already due for a promotion. That’s when the next mission triggered.

Looks like UnwiseOwl over at Leaflocker will be heading up Council Mission: Operation Gasping Shroud.

Here’s the link to the save!

Back to Planet Calypso

I arrived back on Planet Calypso much the same way that I left it the first time. Being ferried by some one else. Except this time it was Greg and not some one my friend paid to pick me up.

Planet Calypso is the largest planet in Entropia Universe. As far as I can tell, the map here is about twice as big as Arkadia or Next Island. It’s also the most popular planet in the game and I believe where it all started. I distinctly remember those “MMOs you should play in (insert year here)” lists always having Planet Calypso and not Entropia Universe listed. There might have been some ads too that said Planet Calypso as well but I’m not quite sure.

The planet also boast the largest economy in the game. Often, I’ve seen suggestions of taking goods from one planet back to Calypso to sell because the market is bigger. A dangerous proposition as Space is an open lootable PVP zone. Go figure….

Like all of the other planets, Calypso has it’s beginner quests that give you free stuff. Guns, mining probes, a healing device. All things I’ve seen before and don’t seem to a lot of use to me now. But in a game such as this one does not forgo free stuff. So I ran around to different NPC’s with the exclamation marks to pick up my free goodies.

I tried to pay attention to the story being told. But honestly, I can’t remember a lick of it. I left off getting something off a beached boat for someone for some reason. I’m usually the read every quest or line of dialoge guy but Entropia’s writing isn’t’ doing it for me. Next time I go back to questing I’ll make an effort to pay more attention. If it’s anything like the last two planets I don’t think I’m missing out on too much. Maybe some fun dialogue here or there. Besides, shooting different shaped, sci-fi, slot machines is the real entertainment here right?

Speaking of hunting, Calypso does have a nice feature of the Codex. The Codex is a little progress bar that fills up depending on how many and what maturity level of mobs you’ve killed. Once a rank has been filled up, you get to choose a reward that is x amount of PED to a skill. This makes targeting skills/professions you want to level up easier. As the rank increases, the amount of mobs needing killed to fill it up increases but so does the reward. This replaces the old iron missions that I saw on Arkadia. I can’t decide if filling up a percentage bar is as satisfying as killing 5000 caraboks but the rewards are certainly better. I’ve been using mine towards the Paramedic Profession so I can use auto loot pills one day.

It’s worth noting that Next Island had this too but I totally forgot to write about it….plus I didn’t have much experience with it there.

We’ve been on Calypso for about a month now but I haven’t been playing nearly as much as I was in March. By far, the most interesting thing we’ve did was a team hunt with eight or so other players.

There was an event running a few weeks ago where Marcimex came to the surface. Typically, these guys are hard to get to and there’s some sort of boss you need to kill before you can get to where they spawn. For this event they were just in a field ready to be shot at. So Greg gathered up his friends list and we went out there with low powered weapons to hunt these things.

The idea is everyone was using weapons that did about the same DPS. Loot in this game is based on damage done so this spreads the loot out evenly. The bigger creatures can lead to bigger drops and you can potentially get more than you would taking one down by yourself. We were out there for a few hours, it was cool seeing other people in the game in a large party setting and we even got a few decent drops. I don’t think it was enough to cover the costs of what was spent (because why would it be?) but it was something a bit different to do.

Entropia’s new game smell and the initial curiosity I had for it is starting to wear off. I find my self logging in on my own less and less. I guess the novelty of it all is wearing off. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of the game in the last 3 months. There’s still pet taming I haven’t tried out yet and two more planets I haven’t visited so there are at least a few more posts to come.

Beta Vibes

I spent some time this weekend in the Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis “Closed” Beta. Closed to those, it seems, who were willing to not only install the Xbox Insider App but risk downloading PSO2: NG from the Windows Store again.

It was just around this time last year that I was looking forward to playing PSO2. From the lack of follow up posts, I can tell you I didn’t stick with it very long. I wanted to like the game but I found every time I logged in I was bombarded with information and decisions that had to be made. After a few weeks, I never found my groove with it, uninstalled it, and never came back.

I didn’t have much interest in New Genesis for the longest time either. I thought it was just a re-release of PSO2 with updated graphics. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I went back and figured out it was a different game entirely. That intrigued me. And the fact that it was open world instead of lobby based. So I got my Xbox insider app, signed up for the beta, and marked my calendar.

After spending a few hours on Saturday with it I’ll say I’m impressed. New Genesis is the exact kind of Phantasy Start game I want to be playing. The game looks and runs great on my machine. The movement feels almost as good as Warframe. And the open world is giving me a bit of Guild Wars 2 vibes. Most importantly, I felt way less anxious starting this game up than I ever did with PSO2. The little guided quest line was enough to get a feel for the game, a feel for the class, and left me wanting to play more. I wasn’t constantly reading tutorials and having system upon system thrown at me and I appreciated that.

The first character I made was a C.A.S.T. Hunter. I played through the initial quest line with him until I got to the end and was tasked with talking to a bunch of NPC’s for some more side quests. At that point I was around level 10 and had been to enough zones to know that I wanted to continue playing the game but I also wanted to try out the rest of the classes while I could. I didn’t want to spend too much time with it and sate my interest prematurely.

You’re limited to 3 character slots per server but you can buy more. Thankfully, I had 20,000 of the premium currency on my account when I logged in which was plenty to unlock three more slots and create a character for every class. While I enjoyed the Hunter class a big sword seems a bit boring flavor wise for me. My top three classes are Techer, the melee and magic hybrid class, Force, the all magic class, and Fighter, a melee class with fist weapons. Ok, honestly, I just want to be a big robot that punches things with that last one….

Time will tell how much I’ll latch on to New Genesis. My friends are interested which is a huge plus. I’m excited now and I’m hoping that excitement carries into June for the release. Maybe by then I’ll figure out where it stashed my screenshots……

Backlogged: World to the West

Time To Finish: 14.25 hours

I haven’t done one of these in almost a year. Has it really been a year since I beat a single player game? There might have been one last year that I beat and didn’t write about. But yeah, it’s been about a year since I completed a game.

World to the West has been on my to play list for a very long time. I’m not exactly sure how it ended up in my library. A bundle no doubt. I’ve started and stopped it many times and had accumulated 2.5 hours in it according to Steam. But I’ve wanted to sink more time in to it because I there was a lot to like about it. I remember the writing being funny, the graphics were nice and cartoony, and the gameplay was fun. But I never got around to it.

World to the West is the standalone sequel to Teslagrad. I vaguely remember playing Teslagrad as one of my first PS Plus free games many years ago. I had no problem following the story here and actually don’t feel the need to play through Teslagrad after finishing this one.

Now that I’ve gotten around to playing it all the way through I can confidently say “I should have done this sooner!”

Things I Liked:

The Gameplay: Always important to like the gameplay of a game right? There are 4 characters each with their own movement set and each character is needed to progress through the map. I loved finding all the different ways of getting one character from one teleporter to another. I also found that unlocking locations and finding batteries gave me that “one more turn” feel.

Usually, with puzzle games there’s a certain point where they seem to get really complicated. This didn’t happen in World to the West which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. For me, I felt like there was just enough challenge where it felt good to figure something out but not too much to break the flow of the game.

Overall, I found the gameplay itself totally engaging. I even went through and collected all of the batteries on the map for the achievements. Something I never do!

The Writing: Big props to the writer here for the dialogue alone. There were plenty of times I laughed reading through the dialog in this game. The story itself was pretty straight forward but the way the characters and NPC’s talked to each other made me want to see every conversation.

The Music: Each area of the map has it’s own track. The tracks are long enough between repeats that it doesn’t get annoying to listen to. Which is great considering there are a lot of times I found my self backtracking or getting stuck figuring out an area. I even found myself bouncing along to some of the tracks as I played. I especially like the one that plays in the tavern in Carte Blanche: Ukulele of Time. I went in that tavern just to hear that song anytime I was in town….I’ll probably listen to this entire soundtrack on it’s own a number of times.

Things That Could Have Been Better:

Boss Fights: The only thing I didn’t like about this game were the boss fights. The controls work great for the puzzle/exploration portion of the game but feel clunky when doing the action oriented boss fights. I was playing with a controller and found it hard to aim quickly or get out of the way when I needed to. Because of this, I had to repeart fights 3-4 times before I understood what I was suppose to do and do it quick enough to beat the encounter. It really put a stop in the flow of the game every time one came up.