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.

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.

Giants in the Earth

We got in another session of Aliens: Fireteam Elitethis week. Last time, we cleared the first set of campaign missions “Priority One” and got our feet wet with the gameplay. This week we took on the second set of campaign missions “Giants in the Earth”.

From what I’ve seen so far, each campaign mission is split up in to three smaller missions.. The first 3 in “Priority One” took us about 25 minutes each to clear. The first two missions of “Giants in the Earth” took us around the same time.

Each mission has a recommended combat rating to clear it. Combat rating seem to be based on your equipped weapon loadout as well as your class level and class mods. “Giants of the Earth” Mission On has a recommended combat rating of 250. That was a good 20 points above either of our current ratings at the time.

Not wanting to replay the first set of set of missions again, we decided to ignore the recommendation and play the mission anyways. How much could 20 points matter?

Mission one was going smoothly. We were progressing at a decent rate, losing more health than the last set of missions but nothing my trusty trauma station couldn’t handle between med pack pick ups. That is, until we got to the final wave fight of the level. We ran in to trouble trying to suppress a swarm while also trying to deal with a big, ole’, tank that is the Xenomorph Warrior.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough fire power to take down the Warrior before he downed Brother, me, and our AI companion. To his credit, our AI is an excellent shot. But when given the chance, he will stand in the middle of enemy swarms until he runs out of health.

We learned some important lessons with this run. First, if your team wipes you have to run the whole mission again. I’ve taken issue with this sort of thing in the past (see my frustration with GTFO) but another 20 minute mission is a lot easier to swallow than 2 hours of wasted time.

Second, we learned that we should actually utilize the utility items. Specifically turrets.

There are chests scattered around the level that, when opened ,provide some quantity of utility items. They range from special ammo, turrets, minds, and even some traps. Some of them have names in a variety of colors which, I’m assuming, makes them better than their white named counter part. Either way, when you get a purple named turret at what looks like a big fight, you’re going to want to use it. Multiple if you have them.

Mission One: Take Two went better. We knew what to expect and took advantage of that to speed our way through the level. We made our way back to our last wipe in under 20 minutes.

This time when the Warrior rushed the squad we met him with a barrage of rockets, two sentry turrets, and 3 assault rifles. He didn’t stand a chance. We made short work of the rest of the wave and got our mission complete.

When we got back to base I noticed that we had completed two Tactical Opportunities (Dailies) that rewarded us with some challenge cards, some credits, and a shiny, new flamethrower. Sadly, the Doc class can’t use heavy weapons. I would not be setting our enemies ablaze. But Brother could and he was very excited to try it out.

When we started Mission Two, we had the option to add our newly aquired challenge cards. These impose limitations on what you can do in the mission but offer bonus reward like an XP multiplyer and extra loot on mission completion.

I threw one down to restrict dodging in exchange for a 1.5x XP multiplier. Brother threw one down that restricted reloading or changing weapons until the clip is empty. This one offered a 2.5x multiplayer. I was hoping they would combine for a 4x multiplyer but it looks like it takes the best card and uses that for everyone.

Mission Two introduced us to a new enemy type: synthetics. They came with guns. Finally, a use for the Gears of War like cover system!

The fun thing about the synths is that they also shoot at the Xenomorphs. Once there’s no more Xeno’s they go right back to shooting at you. Your average synth is a bit tankier than the average xenomorph but they aren’t as numerous.

Again, we used the turrets and some mines to clear out the big swarms when they came. We only had to run this mission once and picked up our sweet, sweet, bonus XP.

After acquiring and/or buying some new gun attachments as well as getting some new skill modifiers I’m sitting at a 382 combat ranking. I’m interested to see how that will affect the third mission in “Giants in the Earth” now that I’m 130 points over the recommended ranking.

I’m also left wondering what the heck there is to do after we beat the 12 Campaign missions. Each mission has a couple difficulty levels so I’m sure we’ll be running those again. Possibly multiple times each. But there’s also this mysterious locked “Game Mode” option in the menu. Hovering over it says it’s unlocked once all campaign missions are complete. Color me intrigued…

Sure, I could look it up, but I’d rather the surprise once we get to that point. We’ve recruited another squad mate, SuperToast, who will, hopefully, be able to replace our AI next time. At least we can tell him to hide behind cover!

The Tables Have Turned Larry

I don’t have a particular attachment to the Alien franchise. I’ve seen some of the main line movies once or twice but couldn’t tell you what happened in them. Well, except for face huggers and xenonorphs of course. Alien vs Predator, now that I’ve seen several more times than I probably should . My middle school self just thought they were so cool. I was always more of a Predator fan though.

My main exposure to the Alien universe has been through Alien: Isolation. It was the first game I used the PS4’s Shareplay feature to play with a friend who had it. The game was dripping with atmosphere and tension. I have fond memories of hiding in lockers, fearing the sight of vents, and feeling general unease every time I heard the Alien, who we affectionately named “Larry”, walking around in the walls. Every time we thought we had finished Larry off he came back even meaner than before.We never did finish it but it’s still one of my favorite co-op experiences.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite lets me enact my revenge. No longer will I cower in fear. No longer will I run frantically to find a locker to hide in. We have guns now Larry and this time and we’re here to mow down your entire family!