Backlogged: Wintermoor Tactics Club

Platform: Steam Deck

Time to Finish: 14.1 hours

Wintermoor Tactics Club is a mix of Strategy RPG and Visual Novel tacking place at a boarding school in the 80s. The story centers around the “Tactics Club” which is a D&D club (or Curses & Catacombs as it’s named in game). You play as Alicia, a member of Tactics Club who just wants to play C&C with her two friends Jacob and Colin. The principal of the school has other plans. He announces a mandatory snowball fight tournament to find the “Ultimate Club” on campus. The catch? Any club that loses must disband…forever!

I picked this one up in this year’s Steam Summer Sale. Every once and a while I’ll get the urge to play a turned-based, strategy RPG and I have very few in my library. I was also looking for more games to play on the Steam Deck. I’m happy to say I played through this entirely on the Steam Deck and didn’t run into a single issue.

Things I Liked:

The Strategy Parts: Wintermoor Tactics Club is split up into two parts. There’s the visual novel aspect where you walk around campus talking to people and doing side quests and there’s the strategy parts where you’re either playing a battle in the Curses & Catacombs campaign or participating in the snowball tournament.

Each character has their own set of skills that you can employ to beat each mission. Each mission is scored on different elements such as how many characters died, how many turns you take, and how many special powers you’ve used. I found myself replaying encounters a few times to try and get a perfect score.This made the strategy parts feel more like a puzzle than an one off battle.

The Side Quests: There are a ton of side quests to do between battles and the snowball tournament rounds. These are given out by characters around campus and usually have you find another character or an item on campus to complete them. These are totally optional but doing them does unlock perks for your characters, some of which are pretty powerful, so their worth doing. Each character around campus has their own personalities and you run into the same people over the course of the game. I found myself running the side quests just to learn a little more about each person.

The Soundtrack: I appreciate a game with good music that sets the tone for the game and really meshes with the setting. While it’s not a soundtrack I’ll probably listen to on it’s own but the music fits so well with the quirky, lightheartedness of the game.

I drew that myself…it’s suppose to be a horse!

Things that Could Have Been Better:

The Mission Scoring: Like I mentioned before, each battle is scored on different facets like damage taken, turns taken, and characters knocked out. One of the categories I was constantly missing was number of Tactics Powers used. Tactics Powers are special abilities that each character has that either do a lot of damage or add a lot of utility to the fight. There’s a “Tactic Points” bar that fills up after 5 normal attacks (there are some perks that make a character generate 2 tactics points but I didn’t use those much). Once the bar is full you can use a tactics power. The problem I kept running in two was that missions wanted me to use 2 or 3 Tactics Powers per fight and I only usually needed one to beat it. On the one hand, it did make me think about encounters differently as I tried to use multiple tactics powers. On the other, it felt like I had to draw a lot of fights out just to satisfy this one requirement.

Final Thoughts:

Wintermoor Tactics Club bridged a gap for me that I didn’t know was there. Before, I was playing mostly exploration games with little to no combat. It had the same lighthearted themes and style as those more casual games but also offered a more challenging game play experience. After finishing it, I find myself leaning more towards playing some more mechanically challenging single player games.

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope – Big Impressions

Looking for something spooky to play this October? Do you like narrative driven games with where you have to make decisions? Do you like watching hours of cut-scenes? How about quick time events? Then I have a game for you!

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope (here by known as Little Hope) is part of October 2022’s Humble Choice. It also happens to be the game I’ve chosen to take a look at for this month’s Blaugust Reviews Humble Choice. Little Hope is typically priced at $19.99 so with the bundle you’re getting a 35% discount. Not bad, but it’s been as low as 60% off through various store fronts.

I have heard of The Dark Pictures Anthology series before but never played one. There are currently three of them with a fourth set to release in November. They’re all cinematic, narrative-driven, choose your own adventure-esques, horror games with multiple endings. The stories are independent of each other so you can start with any of them. You can either play by yourself, with up to five people locally, or with one friend online. I ended up playing with Brother online via Parsec but technically we played the single player version of the story.

I’m no stranger to this type of game. One of my wife’s favorite games is Until Dawn and we’ve played through that at least three times together. We’ve also played through most of the Telltale games too. Little Hope isnt’ much different from either of those.

Well, Little Hope, is a little more graphic than I remember Until Dawn being at least. It earns it’s M rating for Blood, Intense Violence, and Strong Languaue pretty regularly. On a side note, I completely forgot games had ratings and didn’t realize you could see them on Steam.

It’s hard to talk about the story without spoiling anything so I’ll leave you with the store description:

“4 college students and their professor become stranded in the abandoned town of Little Hope. Trapped by an impenetrable fog they try desperately to escape whilst witnessing terrifying visions from the past. They must figure out the motivation of these apparitions before the evil forces at work drags each of their souls to hell..”

The story starts off with a bang, get’s pretty weird, and I was not expecting the ending at all.

The gameplay revolves around watching cut-scenes, making choices, doing quick time events, and doing some point & click adventuring. The choices you make, the secrets you find, and the quick time events you complete or fail all affect the story and it’s outcome.

I know some people find quick time events annoying but I’ve never had a problem with them. We did, however, missed the explanation of how to do them and failed almost all of them until about 4 hours in. Unlike your typical quick time event where you’re prompted to press a button in time, the quick time events in Little Hope have you move your cursor and click an area on the screen to succeed. I didn’t test the game with a controller but I wonder if that would have given us a more standard quick time event mechanic.

There are sections of the game where you need to walk around and find things to interact with. I think this might be better with a controller than a keyboard and mouse as well. The keyboard and mouse controls have you click to move which ends up feeling really weird in a bit claustrophobic in a 3D space. It also leads to some awkward camera angles and is kind of a pain to navigate in general. One time we got stuck and couldn’t move at all which forced us into taking a decision we might otherwise not have made.

We completed the story in about 6 hours (we got lost in a few walking sections and were also trying to find all the intractable points we could). It was so enjoyable that we immediately started up a new play through after the credits rolled.

Completing the story unlocks an alternative path. This time you’re making decisions in scenes and for characters you didn’t have control over before. This is great because I don’t feel like I’m playing the whole thing over and just making a few different choices. This is a completely new set of choices to see how everything plays out so I’m not really sure I can say I finished the game. Feels like I’m more so halfway through it.

Is this a game worth picking up this month’s Humble Choice? If you like this style of game then absolutely! If I don’t play any other games from this months bundle I’d still be happy with my purchase.

Little Hope has been one of my favorite games I’ve played recently. Which is weird because its the least well received game of the series. If this is how food the worst of the bunch is I’m definitely going to pick up the rest of the series!

This Week In Melvor Idle: Slaying Slayer Tasks

This week is a little late getting out. As a result, my gains are probably slightly higher than they have been in the last few weeks. These were my goals from last week.

  • Obtain 75m GP to purchase the Loot Container Stacking upgrade
  • 90 Slayer to take on the In to The Mists Dungeon
  • Level magic to 99

This week as a whole was a prep week. I needed to get to 90 slayer to be able to enter the second to last dungeon, Into the Mists. Before that, I wanted to unlock Loot Container Stacking so I could forgo the Amulet of Looting in favor of a necklace that gave stats to take on the higher level slayer tasks. I fletched my way to 75m GP by crafting more Dragon Javelins. Sadly, I’m still missing the Fletching Pet.

Once loot container stacking was unlocked I went to take on Elite Slayer tasks. These pit you against monsters between level 200-374. My damage reduction was more than enough on all sets to take on whatever was thrown at me. Slayer tasks are the majority of what I did this week with the occasional break to craft Holy Dust to refill my prayer points. I got my last level in Magic from doing just this.

I used my Slayer Coins to purchase the Necromancer set which gives and extra +8 summoning tablets per craft and grants +8% XP to summoning. This should make creating large batches of summoning tablets much easier. I also bought all of the Slayer equipment for Ranged, Magic, and Melee and a few upgrades for each. I figured I’m going to need to fully upgrade all of them fro 100% item completion so I better start working on it now. They are not as good as my current armor sets but the Elite upgrade provides +30% Slayer XP on each piece. If I didn’t need the damage reduction I could equip both pieces for an extra +60% XP for slayer. As it is, I can only keep one on but the difference is noticeable.

Slayer is up to level 94 now so I’m ready to take on Into the Mist next week!

Combat Skills

Attack 99/99 (+3)Strength 99/99 (+4)Defense 88/99 (+3)
Hitpoints 99/99 (+5)Ranged 94/99 (+6)Magic 99/99 (+1)
Prayer 107/99 (+5)Slayer 94/99 (+14)
All skills over 99 are virtual levels based on additional experience gained after level 99 cap.

I got a whole lot of 99s this week. Attack, Strength, Magic, and Hitpoints are all now max level thanks to running so many Slayer Tasks this week. I’m hoping these stats are good enough to take on In to the Mist. Can I Idle Melvor? doesn’t have a listing for the last two dungeons so I’ll have to find out if I have enough health/damage reduction once I get in there.

Non-Combat Skills

Woodcutting 107/99 (+0)Fishing 117/99 (+0)Firemaking 100/99 (+1)
Cooking 108/99 (+2)Mining 105/99 (+0)Smithing 105/99 (+2)
Thieving 95/99 (+0)Farming 114/99 (+0)Fletching 103/99 (+1)
Crafting 99/99 (+3)Runecrafting 93/99 (+0)Herblore 96/99 (+0)
Agility 99/99 (+0)Summoning 98/99 (+1)Astrology 80/99 (+1)
All skills over 99 are virtual levels based on additional experience gained after level 99 cap.

I got Crafting to 99 this week. It doesn’t provide any benefits other than a Steam achievement because there’s nothing to craft after level 90. I got bored of Slayer tasks in the middle of the week and used all of the dragon hides I had collected so far to see if I could max the skill. I didn’t unlock the pet before getting to max level so I’ll have to revisit crafting at some point for that.

Completion Log: 64.62% (+2.21%)

Skills 97.58% (+2.85%)Mastery 36.02% (+1.42%)Items 60.04% (+7.28%)Monsters 74.07% (+12.96%)Pets 64.44% (+2.22%)

Per usual, Monster and Items granted me the most completion this week. That’s because I fought a slew of new monsters from the Elite Slayer tasks which dropped a bunch of items I haven’t seen before.

I unlocked the Strength pet this week: Lil Ron provides +3 hidden Stregth levels. Not too bad!

Goals for Next Week

  • Refill the food stocks
  • Refill the Rune stocks
  • Take on the In to the Mist Dungeon
  • Possibly take on the final dungeon

Food and Runes are running low after this week. I’ll need to spend a few days this week replenishing them before I can take on the new dungeon. Nature Runes in particular need refilled as I’ve been using them to create Holy Dust for Prayer Points.

I’m planning on running In to the Mist this week to see if I have enough stats to complete it. Depending on the requirements of the final dungeon, I’ll take that on as well!

Forgive Me Father Impressions

I’m not usually big on first person shooters. The last proper one I played was the Titanfall 2 campaign way back in 2016. If I’m going to play a game where I shoot things I would much rather play third person shooter. That way I can play a person with a gun instead of an arm with a gun.

Forgive Me Father is not a game I would have played if not for UnwiseOwls community Humble Choice review project. I was immediately drawn to the comic book art style with it’s mix of 2D and 3D objects. It feels like playing in a very violent diorama. It’s also set in a world inspired by the novels of H.P. Lovecraft. I’m not a huge fan of Lovecraft but I’m down to shoot some eldritch horrors!

I’ll be honest, I almost shelved this one after the first two levels. Like I said, I’m not usually one to play FPS’s and my lack of familiarity and skills made Normal more of a challenge than I wanted it to be. Your health and your ammo don’t refill once a level is completed or after you die and go back to a checkpoint. So you can (and I did) end up in some unwinnable situations pretty quick. As I was only two levels in I started a new game on Easy and I’ve been playing ever since.

I don’t think Forgive Me Father puts its best foot forward. The first few levels are kind of boring. There’s a lot of walking down hallways, shooting whatever is in your way, and collecting bits of story. It’s not until I got my first skill that the game started to pick up for me. There’s a “madness” meter (because Lovecraft) that when filled gives you a damage boost. Filling up the meter also adds charges to your skills which you can use to help out during combat. The active skills I’ve discovered so far are very helpful. There’s a heal, a skill that stuns creatures, one that gives unlimited ammo for a few seconds. My personal favorite is the one that makes you invincible for 10 seconds. I use that one a lot, 10 seconds is a long time to mow down my enemies.

There’s also a skill tree with branching paths so you can tailor it to fit your playstyle. You gain a skill point every time you level up. Some are just straight upgrades to health, armor, and ammo capacity. Others change the way guns function. Going down one path locks out the other choices but you get respec points every now and then. I haven’t had to use them yet but it’s nice to know that they’re there.

The individual levels are short. I don’t think I’ve come across one that’s taken me more than 20 minutes to complete. After the first few areas, the levels open up a bit more and aren’t so on rails. There’s usually a few keys you need to find to open a door somewhere with a bit of back tracking. Most of the time, back tracking means enemies probably spawned behind you.

At the end of each level you get a completion score based on how many enemies you killed, how much story you found, and how many secrets you discovered. Completion of a level doesn’t affect your ability to move on but if you’re in to discovering everything this will keep you busy for a while. At the end of every “world” there’s a boss level. Even on easy, these were a bit of a challenge for me. Invulnerability can only get you so far it seems.

The story is ok. Your cousin sends a letter to you asking you to come visit him. When you get there, there’s only eldritch horrors. You immediately pick up a revolver lying on the ground to defend yourself. Your a priest so you feel bad about it….at least at first. There’s also a Journalist character you can play but I’ve only played the Priest so far

There are bits and pieces of story scattered throughout the levels. They’re even labeled as such so you can’t miss them, for the most part. They provide some extra tidbits of information but they don’t really move the story along.

Thanks to the visuals and the music the atmosphere is great though! It can be spooky and tense at times when you’re going through the levels just waiting for something to attack. When there’s a big fight, you’re serenaded with screaming guitars which made me feel like a monster slaying machine even on Easy.

Is the Humble Choice worth it just for this game? Probably not, but if you have your eye on a few others on offer this one is a nice addition. I’m still enjoying it after the five or so hours I’ve put in to it. I would like to finish it but I’m not sure I’d play it again.

This Week In Melvor Idle: God Slayer

It turns out my goals from last week were unambitious

  • Level Ranged to 85
  • Run the Air God Dungeon until I’m out of Damage Reduction Potions
  • Try to acquire a full set of Ancient Armor from the Volcanic Cave

The damage reduction potions last for a long time. I was using them non-stop this week and only went through a thousand. That’s even with the Blade Echo Ring consuming 3 charges per attack. I was able to get the full Aeris set after 32 kills. Not to say that didn’t take a while, I was managing 4 kills an hour.

By far the biggest bottleneck was still prayer points but in the process of clearing the dungeon I got Prayer to level 99 which allows for two things. One, I could purchase the Prayer Skillcape which reduces prayer point costs by 50%. Two, I could use the Stone Skin prayer which doesn’t grant XP but does gives +3% damage reduction without worrying about XP loss.

After getting my Aeris set I needed level 85 Ranged to equip it. Most of the Hard Slayer tasks are magic monsters so I ran those until I had 85 Ranged. Once I could equip the Aeris set I almost had enough damage reduction to run the Water God Dungeon. I switched out my Agility course for a Rocky Waters obstacle. This gave me +50 health at the cost of 3% damage to monsters and 1% damage reduction. the extra health was all I needed with the new Aeris set to meet the damage reduction requirements of the Water God Dungeon without the need for my Infernal Cape’s Damage reduction. That allowed me to equip the prayer cape to stretch out my damage reduction.

The Water God Dungeon drops the Glacia set which is a magic armor set. It only took me 12 clears to obtain the full set. On run 6 I unlocked the dungeon pet, Norman, who provides -3% prayer point cost reduction!

With the full Glacia set in hand, I wanted to try my luck at the Earth dungeon. Before I did that, I purchased Expanded Knowledge from the shop for the -15% Herblore and Runecrafting interval. I was going to need a lot of runes for the next dungeon. I also went after the Elite Amulet of Magic which provided the extra 2% damage reduction I’d need to complete the Earth God Dungeon.

I ran the Earth God Dungeon 93 times before I acquired all the pieces of the Terran set. This is a melee set that’s even better than the upgraded Ancient Armor Set. For some reason, this dungeon was faster to clear than the first two. I was averaging between 6-8 clears an hour. The plate body was the hardest piece to get. By the time I had looted one of those I had already looted 52 boots and 31 gloves!

With the Earth God Dungeon completed I just had to complete the Fire God Dungeon at least once. The Ragnar armor set didn’t look much better than the Terran set so I didn’t feel the need to run it multiple times. Clearing it once allows me to purchase the Loot Container Stacking upgrade in the shop. This will let me kill normal monsters without having to equip an amulet of looting since all drops will stack in the loot container.

The rest of the week was spent trying to figure out the best way to make money to buy all of the new upgrades I had unlocked. After trying different thieving targets, I settled on crafting Dragon Javelins. With 99 Fletching granting double items per flecth, Perpetual Haste to decrease fletching time by 15%, and all of the Dragonite Bars I had sitting in inventory, it is by far the fastest way for me to generate GP.

Combat Skills

Attack 96/99 (+2)Strength 95/99 (+0)Defense 85/99 (+6)
Hitpoints 94/99 (+4)Ranged 88/99 (+5)Magic 98/99 (+4)
Prayer 102/99 (+4)Slayer 80/99 (+1)
All skills over 99 are virtual levels based on additional experience gained after level 99 cap.

After this week I am running low on food. I have about 6,500 chicken soups left until I’m out of food stock. Knowing that I would need to make more food relatively soon and I needed 85 defense to equip the Terran set, I ran the Chicken Coop Dungeon until I hit 85 Defense. At the end of the run I had acquired 20k Raw Chicken. I should be set for a while on food after I cook all of that!

It was a nice surprise to get 99 prayer this week. I had no idea I was so close to maxing it and that prayer point reduction from the Skillcape really helps.

Magic is almost at level 99 so I’m sure I’ll be able to max that this coming week.

Non-Combat Skills

Woodcutting 107/99 (+2)Fishing 117/99 (+0)Firemaking 99/99 (+0)
Cooking 106/99 (+0)Mining 105/99 (+0)Smithing 103/99 (+0)
Thieving 95/99 (+1)Farming 114/99 (+0)Fletching 102/99 (+1)
Crafting 96/99 (+0)Runecrafting 93/99 (+2)Herblore 96/99 (+0)
Agility 99/99 (+0)Summoning 97/99 (+0)Astrology 79/99 (+0)
All skills over 99 are virtual levels based on additional experience gained after level 99 cap.

This week was mostly focused on combat so there wasn’t a whole lot of non-combat skilling going on. I did craft a ton of runes this week to take on the Earth God Dungeon which netted me 2 levels in that skill. Gathering the materials for Dragon Javelins netted me another 2 virtual levels in Woodcutting and one in Fletching. I’m hoping with all this fletching I’ve been doing I’ll unlock the pet soon!

The nice thing about completing all the God Dungeons this week is unlocking all the interval reduction upgrades for most of the non-combat skills. This will help crafting more things faster that I’ll need to complete the last two dungeons. It will also help when I’m in the Mastery farming stage of the game.

Completion Log: 64.62% (+3.58%)

Skills 94.73% (+1.14%)Mastery 34.60% (+0.49%)Items 54.76% (+4.17%)Monsters 61.11% (+9.88%)Pets 62.22% (+2.22%)

Once again, new monsters and items were the biggest contributes to completion this week. 3% Completion per week seems to be the average over the last few weeks. This is without specifically targeting completion so I’m sure I can get that number higher once I’m focusing more on completion.

I got Norman from the Water God Dungeon this week which was unexpected. The God Dungeon Pets drop chance is 1 in 150 and they take a long time to clear. Getting the rest will probably take a lot longer. I got luck with Norman and dropped him on my 6th run.

Goals for Next Week

  • Obtain 75m GP to purchase the Loot Container Stackingupgrade
  • 90 Slayer to take on the In to The Mists Dungeon
  • Level magic to 99

It looks like I’ll be doing a lot of Slayer tasks this week and the Loot Container Stacking will help immensely. The requirements for In to the Mists is 90 slayer. Unfortunatley, Can I Idle Melvor? doesn’t have to damage reduction requirements for this dungeon or the next one so I’ll have to do them manually and see what the damage is like. I’m not sure I’ll be completing this dungeon this week but I’m at least hoping to meet the Slayer Skill requirement.

Level 99 magic is kind of a give considering I have less than 50% left until its maxed but it’s nice to have easy goals too!

Starting Over Already

I’ve been enjoying my time in Elder Scrolls Online the past few weeks. High Isle is such a pretty zone; I’m constantly stopping to take screenshots. It hasn’t been too bad starting out in the latest chapter either. The story seems pretty self contained so far. I’m sure prior knowledge might enchance it somewhat but I’m having no issue following along. So then why did I decide to roll another character and start in the base game?

My general rule of thumb is my first character in any MMO is going to be a practice child. It’s the one I’ll use to figure out the game and when I think I have basics down, roll a new character. I wasn’t 100% sold on the Dragonknight class after the first few levels. A melee range mage is a cool concept but after 18 levels it just wasn’t clicking for me. As I did some research around the class I found it was a very good DPS and tank but one of the worst healers. If I’m going to eventually venture out to group content I’m going to want to heal. With all that in mind the urge to re-roll got stronger and stronger.

ESO seems like the kind of game you’ll only want to run one character through in it’s entirety. I’m enjoying the quests and exploration the most right now but that’s because it’s new to me. I don’t think I’d have the same excitement retreading quests and zones I’ve already done before. I set out to make a character I could play for the long term.

I did some more research on classes this time around. After running through a good chunk of High Ilse I became enamored with the High Isle Druids and their lore. I wanted to make one of my own so I made a Breton Warden. Now me and my bear companion can roam around Tamriel and have a much better healing kit for when I eventually want to try dungeons.

My first character made it far enough in to High Isle that restarting there wasn’t appealing. High Isle aslo seemed more geared toward later game characters with dailies, world bosses, and a substantial card game which screams I’ve done everything in this game already and now I just want to play cards.. It makes sense though seeing as this is the latest expansion for the game. With that in mind I elected to experience things from the beginning and chose to start in Stros M’Kai. By the time I get back to High Isle the story won’t be as fresh.

I met Captain Kaleen and Jakarn here, two prominent characters in High Isle. I knew I’d seen them somewhere before!

Stros M’Kai is a much smaller zone than High Isle was which was probably to be expected now that I think about it. One of the things that struck me though was how much the quest structure differed here than in High Isle. In High Isle, every side quest felt like it’s own adventure with multiple quests in the chain. Here in Stros M’Kai the side quests are one off “go here, do the thing, come back” type of quests but there are more of them scattered around. I much preffer the side quest structure from High Isle. I do wonder if this will come back in the base game or if that structure will return once I’m in to Morrowind.

I’m also surprised to see that this base game started zone is just as pretty as High Isle was. I think it’s the lighting

While the zone is smaller I’m not trying to complete each zone before I move on. Finding all of the Sky Shards and Wayshrines is enough for me right now. I’m very much in to the seeing the story and doing quests and don’t want to kill my enthusiasm by trying to complete zones right now. I completed the main quest in Stros M’Kai and am off to the Orc island of Betnikh.

A Full Fireteam

Aliens: Fireteam Elite has been dominating my co-op gaming time as of late. Last week, Supertoast joined us in the Xenomorph culling fun. Let me tell you, that third person absolutely helps missions go smoother.

Up until last week Brother and I were running missions with the two of us plus an AI companion. The AI isn’t bad, their actually a great shot and seem to be able to heal themselves indefinately but they have a tendency to run into the middle of enemies. Unsuprisingly, that’s not a good thing to do in most situations. We could have done the matchmaking with randoms but the AI seemed like it might be more reliable.

Flamethrowers: good for killing Xenomorphs bad for seeing anything

An actual human third person on the team helps immensely. We told SuperToast that as long as he didn’t run into hordes of enemies he was already doing a better job than the bot. SuperToast chose to play the Technician class which round out Brother’s Demolisher and my Doc classes nicely. The Technician gets can deploy charge coils which slow down enemies as well as a free turret. The turret seems to have unlimited ammo and is on a 15 second cooldown if it’s destroyed. That’s awesome, considering how much we were relying on consumable turrets to help us get past big waves. Less money spent on consumables means more money spent on unlocking weapons and perks.

In order to get Toast caught up we had to run all of the Priority One and Giants in the Earth campaign missions again. I noticed two things as we retread old ground. The first is the overall structure of the missions. Each mission follows a similar pattern: run to the objective, defend against a wave, find an item or two, run to the next objective and repeat. I would think this would get boring but it’s not, atleast not yet. You kind of know what to expect as you hit each mission beat and are a little better prepared for the fight as you get more familiar with the mission. I’m assuming this will be invaluable when we try the missions on higher difficulties. The missions also push you towards the next objective by constantly spawning enemies if you stick around too long. This forces a nice pace where you need to decide if you want to stick around to heal and risk losing more health and ammo to new enemies or push on and heal/ setup later near the new objective.

The second is that challenge cards keep old missions fresh. At first I was skeptical of the Challenge Card system. These are cards you get for completing missions or Tactical Opportunities (Dailies) that grant a multiplier to credits and xp at the end of a mission in exchange for a debuff of some sort. These can be anything from disabling consumable items, only letting you reload when your clip is empty, or my personal favorite, you have a chance of knocking over teammates if you run in to them. The challenge cards make each mission play just a bit differently that it’s not boring running it multiple times. Plus those sweet, sweet, rewards really help.

As a group we were able to finish the last mission in Giants in the Earth on standard. This mission was giving Brother and I trouble on our own. The last room spawns a bunch of Heavey Synths and if you don’t take them down quickly enough they overwhelm you. With three people focus firing on them, and an extra free turret to deal with the little guys, we took them down quick enough that this mission was a breeze on standard.

We’re now halfway through the campaign missions. I have confidence that with three people we’ll be able to complete the rest of the game on standard without having re-run missions to level up.

XCOM 2 Blogger Succession Game: Operation God Giant

If you’re new to the Xcom 2 Blogger Succession Game or want to catch up. check out the entire series on Time To Loot.

The Avatar Project pips have been reduced even further since my last turn. Our resources are looking well stocked too. I didn’t feel like there was an immediate need to do anything on the Geoscape this turn, probably the first time I’ve felt like this the whole game.

I got to spend time on the Avenger completing various research projects. The main mission would like us to complete research on the Psionic Chamber. This costs a good chunk of resources and I wanted to finish the power armor research first and spend resourses on that. While waiting for the research to finish I continued our effort to make contact with Australia. There’s an Avatar facility over there that will probably need delt with at some point.

I went over to Engineering once the Power Armor research was completed to look at our next armor upgrade. Warden Armor costs a pretty penny at 300 Supplies, 40 Alien Alloys, and 20 Elerium Crystals. The more defense the better though so I went ahead and purchased it.

Magi modelling our shiny new Warden Armor

In the process of making contact with Australia I completed the following research:

  • Acid Grenades
  • Chryssalid Autopsy – Unlocked Hellweave which adds bonus health, damage reflection, and a 100% chance to set the attacker on fire!
  • Gatekeeper Autopsy – Unlocked Alien Psi Amp an upgrade for Psi Operatives. Do we even have Psi Operatives yet?
  • Beserker Autopsy – Unlocked Over Drive Serum which boosts mobility and damage resistance.
Gatekeepers are fleshier than I imagined

Once contact with Australia was made I went to investigate an Alien Wreckage site. One day in to that we got a much needed supply drop. I collected those supplies over a 3 day period. At this point, I felt like I was long overdue for a mission and so did the game. Shortly after the supply drop pickup Advent launched an attack on one of the Resistance havens in New India.

Time to go save some civillians!

Operation God Giant


  • Rescue at least 6 civilians
  • Neutralize the Alien Strike Force

The Team:

  • Black Widow – Specialist
  • Bookahnerk – Speacialist
  • Mailman – Sharphooter
  • Magi – Sharpshooter
  • Silentdeath – Ranger
  • Rakuno – Grenadier

Taking Naithin’s advice from the footnotes of his last turn, I took Ranger Silentdeath on a scouting mission moving one action point at a time. I have a tendency to get our Rangers in some real bad situations by overextending them. This worked out as Silentdeath spotted 3 Chryssalids right off the bat. The team was able to clear this group out in one round with no damage taken. On the enemy’s turn a Gatekeeper started to pick off civilians .

I haven’t done one of these missions before so I wasn’t quite sure how it worked. I needed to save 6 civilians to complete the mission and there were 13 civilians total on the map. On our squads next turn I had Bookahnerk walk over to a civilian to see how rescuing was going to work. I was relieved to find that’s all I had to do to “rescue” them. I was sure I was going to have to round them up, protect them, and get them to an extraction point. That would have ended poorly.

The Gatekeeper proceeded to take out one civilian per turn. At this point, I knew I was going to have to split the team up rescued everyone in time. The good news is the squad is spread out enough not to take an AOE hit. The bad news is everyone is so spread out they can’t cover each other with overwatch effectively. Even worse news, Black Widow goes to save a civilian but it turns into a Faceless. Yikes! Magi had that angle covered though and was able to take it out before it did too much damage.

In this mission I learned that I have no idea how to deal with Chryssalid poison. Both Bookahnerk and Rakuno got poisoned when a few emerged from the ground and then were constantly taking damage for the rest of the mission. Lucky for them, it wasn’t enough damage a round to worry about it taking them out but it wasn’t an ideal situation. Any tips on that would be greatly appetited!

The last pack of enemies containted one murderous Gatekeeper, two Advent solders, and one lone Chryssalid. Bookahnerk and Silentdeath were hunkered down by a pile of burning tires, great place for cover by the way, and were able to take down one of the Advent solders right away. Black Widow and Magi made quick work of the Chryssalid. That left the Gatekeeper and one solider.

I didn’t realize that Klaus “Mailman” Weiss had a rocket launcher strapped to his arm when I took him for this mission. When I found it I just had to try it out and fired it into the Gatekeeper and solider. It didn’t do that much damage but it looked awesome and blew up their cover.

On the enemy’s turn, the Gatekeeper floated right up to Silentdeath, fired point blank, and took her down to half health. Thanks to the Hellweave I equipped it took some damage back and was set on fire. Silentdeath retaliated with the machete. Not quite effective against a big armored ball…but it got some damage in. In preparation for another blast from the Gatekeeper, Bookahnerk sent the drone over to Silentdeath Aid Protocol style to add some extra defense. Rakuno laid down some suppression fire to inflict an aim penalty. Turns out, it wasn’t really necessary because the Mailman himself delivered a critical hit and took down that Gatekeeper no problem.

I apparently already forgot the lesson from my last Gatekeeper encounter. They explode on death. Sorry Easha….Silentdeath wasn’t downed after the explosion but health was looking rough. I was going to pull back to some cover on the next turn but that pesky Advent solider threw a frag grenade.

Silentdeath was down, bleeding out, but not dead yet. Mailman and Rakuno panicked.

Bookahnerk took down the solider on the next turn but the mission wasn’t over just yet. Another civilian turned in to a Faceless. The squad obliterated it completing the mission just in time. Silentdeath only had two turns left before bleeding out.

That didn’t feel like an Excellent mission but I’ll take it.


The only ones who made it out of this mission uninjured were our two snipers: Mailman and Magi. Everyone else was in various states of injury. Silentdeath was the worst at 14 days recovery time followed by Bookahnerk at 8. We probably won’t be seeing them for a while.

Rakuno and Klaus were promoted after the mission. I took Saturation Fire on Rakuno which fires a cone of bullets at enemies doing damage and destroying cover. For Mailman, I took Quickdraw since he already had Lightning hands.

Silentdeath is unfortunately shaken now with reduced will. I guess face-tanking a Gatekeeper will do that to a person.

There doesn’t appear to be an immediate threat in the Geoscape right now. The Psionic Chamber still needs to be completed to continue the main mission.

I leave the next command in the capable hands of UnwiseOwl. Good luck Commander! The save is here.

August Recap

It’s September which means it’s time to decorate our house for Halloween and buy all things pumpkin spice. Some might say it’s too early, there’s still some summer left, but I say nay! It’s pumpkin spice time!

Of course, August was dominated by Blaugust. I was able to post more and had more gaming time last month than I have in the last few. I made the 25 post cutoff for the Gold Award this year and am quite proud of it. I’m looking forward to slowing down here this month

Sadly, last month I had to reinstall Windows which means I lost my Manic Time/ ActivityWatch data for the month. I didn’t even realize this until I went to write this post…I reinstalled ActivityWatch on my D: drive this time to prevent the data loss in case there’s a next time. It’s a lighter weight than Manic Time and does exactly what I need it to do without the extra bells and whistles.

Top 5 Games This Month

  1. Melvor Idle
  2. The Elder Scrolls Online
  3. Aliens: Fireteam Elite
  4. Generation Zero
  5. TemTem

Melvor Idle is probably going to remain in my top game slot for a while. Between checking in on my phone and PC daily, it’s going to be hard for another game to overtake it in terms of time spent. I’ve also been enjoying tracking my progress in my new This Week In Melvor Idle series. I don’t see a need to discontinue it on Saturdays just because Blaugust is over. Their so fun to write!

High Isle is pretty!

I’ve been racking up some time in ESO this month. It was a game that’s been on my mind for a while and I wanted to give it another good try before shelving it. It’s a game that I’ve spent more time playing than posting about but I’m looking to fix that soon.

The whole Fireteam is here.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite has been taking up the majority of my co-op time with friends. Brother and I have been playing it about once a week since we bought it at the start of the month. We’re currently on the 3rd set of campaign missions and even recruited SuperToast to play with us. It’s been a blast to play with three people though I do worry our excitement might fall off once we complete all of the campaign missions. There is the new Pathogen Expansion so that’s always an option if we get bored.

Generation Zero has been the squads go to game on Saturday nights. I still don’t really know what’s going on story wise but blowing up big robots sure is fun.

When we’re not playing Aliens, Brother and I have been making some progress in TemTem. The issue is, in order to do the campaign together we can’t get too ahead of each other. We’ve been sitting in a spot during the week to level up our TemTem before we play again. This is getting boring though so we might switch up how we progress when we’re not together.

This Week In Melvor Idle: Aimless

I completed all of this weeks goals fairly early in the week:

  • Upgrade the Ancient Shield to the Dragon Fire Shield
  • Complete the Volcanic Cave 22 more times to unlock additional spells and dungeon
  • Acquire the pet for Volcanic Cave
  • Check out the Air God Dungeon

The Dragon Fire Shield took the longest as it needed 7,050 dragon bones to craft. That means 7,050 dragons had to be culled. I elected to fight Green Dragons to accomplish this as they do the least damage and take the least amount of prayer points to kill with my current set up.

After the Dragon Fire Shield was completed I went back to the Volcanic Cave to get the last completions to unlock the Ancient Magick spell book. This also unlocked a new dungeon: Infernal Stronghold. I also acquired the Volcanic Cave Pet after 411 completions. I opened the chests after getting the pet and looted Ancient Platelegs. I was able to upgrade these to (G) Ancient Platelegs for another boost in defense and damage reduction.

I went to check out the Air God Dungeon to see if I could complete it. With my new platelegs and some damage reduction potions I was able to finish it once. I have enough damage reduction to idle the dungeon now but it eats up prayer points quickly. That seems to be the bottleneck to combat right now. Completing the Air God Dungeon let me purchase Perpetual Haste from the shop which reduces the interval for Crafting and Fletching by 15%.

After my first completion of the Air God Dungeon I had a hard time deciding what to do next. I tried the Water God Dungeon but I didn’t have the damage reduction to idle it and it took way to long to complete it with manual healing. I died a few times in there before I gave up on it. I ran the Infernal Stronghold once to get the Infernal Cape which adds a bit more damage reduction.

At this point, I think I need to continue running the Volcanic Cave and try to look a full Ancient Armor set if I want to melee the next God Dungeons. However, those runs eat a ton of prayer points so I need a way to kill things faster. I think I found it in the high tier crafting rings.

See, after killing seven thousand Green Dragons I had a a lot of Green Dragon Hide. Rather than sell it I used it to craft Green D-Hide Bodies to level up crafting. At level 90 special rings unlock that augment your attacks. The one I think is the answer to my melee issue is the Ring of Blade Echoes. Every attack action performs 3 attacks, the first for full damage and the next two for 20% damage. If all 3 hit not only is this is an extra 40% damage boost but it also has an extra 30% chance to proc the Sunset Rapier‘s special attack which bleeds the target for 200% damage inflicted over 10 seconds. Sure procing the special on the second or third attack won’t do as much damage but it’s extra damage I didn’t have before.

I’m also working on crafting the Ranged (Ring of Barrage) and Magic (Ring of Spirit Power) special rings as well. I purchased the Dungeon Set Swapping from the shop to see if taking advantage of the combat triangle match ups helps speeds up running God Dungeons manually.

Combat Skills

Attack 94/99 (+7)Strength 95/99 (+0)Defense 79/99 (+0)
Hitpoints 90/99 (+3)Ranged 83/99 (+0)Magic 94/99 (+2)
Prayer 98/99 (+4)Slayer 79/99 (+2)

Fighting all of those Green Dragons this week plus the 300+ Volcanic Cave runs boosted my Attack level up quite a bit. One of my overarching goals has been getting Attack to 99 for the best base melee accuracy and now I’m only 5 levels away from it. Level 98 Prayer snuck up on me this week. I didn’t realize I was anywhere close to maxing this skill but it makes sense since prayer is used no matter what combat style I’m fighting with.

There was a point this week where I was out of ideas of what to pursue next. I went to the Highlands Slayer area to fight Griffin’s since they were a decent level for leveling my Attack skill, didn’t do a ton of damage per hit, and used very little prayer points to kill. They also drop Dragon Claw Fragments which are used to craft the Dragon Claw, an item I didn’t have yet. I didn’t realize that just fighting in a Slayer area awarded Slayer skill XP. I thought the monsters had to be part of a Slayer Task to count but apparently not.

Non-Combat Skills

Woodcutting 105/99 (+0)Fishing 117/99 (+0)Firemaking 99/99 (+0)
Cooking 106/99 (+0)Mining 105/99 (+0)Smithing 103/99 (+1)
Thieving 94/99 (+2)Farming 114/99 (+0)Fletching 100/99 (+1)
Crafting 96/99 (+7)Runecrafting 91/99 (+1)Herblore 96/99 (+0)
Agility 99/99 (+0)Summoning 97/99 (+0)Astrology 79/99 (+0)
All skills over 99 are virtual levels based on additional experience gained after level 99 cap.

I did a lot of Crafting this week and it shows. 7 levels gained this week and I think I have enough Green Dragon hides to max out the skill. I also did a fair bit of Thieving this week to generate some GP for the shop upgrades I purchased this week. The Thieving mastery pool is now above 95% which gives me +100 stealth to make thieving easier and triple the chance to get a unique NPC item from Thieving. I used this to acquire the Amulet of Incantation which speeds up Alt Magic cast times and subsequently allow me to generate more prayer points quicker with Blessed Offering spell.

Completion Log: 61.04% (+3.22%)

Skills 94.73% (+1.19%)Mastery 34.60% (+1.47%)Items 54.76% (+3.20%)Monsters 61.11% (+8.02%)Pets 60.00% (+2.22%)

Completion is still chugging along with another 3% gained this week. Again, most of this came from fighting new monsters in the Infernal Stronghold, the Air God Dungeon, and the Water God Dungeon.

I acquired Mac, the Volcanic Cave Pet, which provides +1% damage to slayer are monsters.

Goals for Next Week

  • Level Ranged to 85
  • Run the Air God Dungeon until I’m out of Damage Reduction Potions
  • Try to aquire a full set of Ancient Armor from the Volcanic Cave

I’m planning on another Combat oriented week. I think the new rings will help cut down on prayer points spent and with the Amulet of Incantation I’ll be able to generate more prayer points faster. The Air God Dungeon drops the Aeirs God Set. From my first run I got the Aeris God Boots which provide a good boost to Ranged damage and grant much needed damage reduction for my Ranged set. However I need 85 Ranged to wear them. I’m hoping the rest of the set is Ranged oriented to replace my mis-match of Ancient and Black D-Hide armor. We’ll see how many runs I can get in on that dungeon before my Damage Reduction potions run out, I might even get luck and get the dungeon pet!