Quotes of the Day & a State of Game Update

For those considering playing GW2:

“BUT WHAT THE FUCK SHOULD I DO?! IS THERE NOTHING I CAN DO TO BE BETTER AT THE GAME THAN OTHERS?”

You got it. Now you finally got it, right? You finally got it right. It isn’t your character who improves – it is you. You get better. Your numbers on a crit don’t grow. You do, as a player. That is the only way to distinguish yourself from the shiny, shiny masses.

— Monkeibusiness, on Reddit, his whole post is worth a read

 

Taken slightly out of context, but describing my current overall state of mind pretty well:

When it comes to this particular topic, I am out of fucks to give.

— Syl, MMO Gypsy, on payment models in MMOs

 

Well, yeah, it -could- describe my opinion on payment models these days. Some people like subs, some people like F2P, some people like B2P, the game companies just shrug and put up a cash shop of some kind plus figure out a revenue stream, and I pretty much just think “when I want to play a game badly enough, I’ll pay what I think reasonable for it, however you charge… and when I don’t, I don’t. Your turn to figure out what my particular “wallet opening” points are.”

Some tips (for my personal tastes): Uneven playing field of some kind is a big turn off. Charging for something’s that nonfunctional or for beta testing or essential, as opposed to extra, items to be unlocked is a nuh-uh.

If what you offer is commensurate with current market values (where $5-10 can get you a small indie game on Steam to some kind of bonus or prestige unlock in an MMO, where a sub for an MMO is around $10-15 a month, and where the price of a new shiny exactly-on-launch-day box is around $80-150 (higher range for collector’s edition types), then yeah, that approaches ‘reasonable’ in my book…

But well, whatever. Syl’s quote mostly describes my current state of mind – I’ve got good games to play and am quite completely out of fucks to give.

Having voluntarily overachieved in GW2 for the last month or so, I’m just as voluntarily slacking off and ‘vacationing’ with a change of pace.

Been riding on the world boss train for a couple of stops for fun, while taking advantage of all the AFK/wait time to play Minecraft in the other screen.

Trying to learn all the strange and intricate mods I’d been putting off:

mc-pigwrangling

Got tired of sacrificing my own health for power in Blood Magic, so… enter the experimental pig-spawning conveyer-belt pushing delivery system for pushing mobs directly to one spot to be *ahem* converted into stored energy.

mc-zombiewrangling

Upgraded to zombies once the system was tested out to be better contained and have no leaks.

Eventually, I think there’s a way to automate and automagically off them with a special ritual stone placed, but I haven’t got to that stage yet.

Thaumcraft 4 was a big effort to progress through and figure out.

mc-thaumcraft2

Lots of scanning objects with a thaumometer to see what type of essences they contained, that could be used for research points.

(The Deep Storage Unit was noteworthy for containing an insane number of the Vacuos element.)

Lots of ‘cheating’ by following a wiki guide for exactly what elements to combine with other elements in order to form higher order and more complicated elements, so as not to go mad running out of things to scan for the desired element, or worse, having to systematically brute-force each combination.

mc-thaumcraft1

Lots of starting simple… in this case trying to make the Thaumium metal by throwing iron ingots into a crucible/cauldron thingmajig that was previously primed with Nether Wart (which contains Praecantio aka magic and Herba aka plant essences. Only the first essence gets used and the second breaks down into its component elements and overboils with stuff. I -think- it’s called Taint but who knows… The good thing about living on an island in the sky is that one just dumps unwanted stuff by knocking a hole in the ground and letting things fall into the void.)

mc-thaumcraft4

… Then attempts to begin something more complicated and involved. In this case, arcane infusion of a super simple Hoe of Growth recipe, which required the setup of the entire infusion altar arrangement, everything to be completely symmetrical (radially, ugh) and provision of glass warded jars of the necessary magical elements for that particular recipe.

Not really looking forward to the recipes that are even MORE complicated and risky.

Then there was the quest for a Laser Drill:

One of the necessary components was pink slimeballs.

Where can you get pink slimeballs? Apparently, they only drop from pink slime mobs.

How do you get pink slime mobs? You dump a bucket of pink slime onto the ground and wait for it to turn, well, if not sentient, then, “alive” or wriggling.

How can I get a bucket of pink slime?

mc-pinkslime

Apparently, only a special machine known as a Slaughterhouse produces pink slime, as the rarer ‘drop’ from killing a livestock. The more common product is liquid meat.

Uh, ok. Enter impromptu cow spawning abbattoir / factory line.

It wasn’t a work of great art or design. It leaked. Cows got everywhere, under and on top of the pipes and had to be monitored and nudged onto the conveyer belt for proper positioning in front of the Slaughterhouse machine.

But it sufficed.

mc-laserdrill

The laser drill is kinda a scary beast.

It produces this big white laser that shoots straight down and is apparently lethal to anything getting in its path. I only have 50 lives or so. Not verifying that statement if I can help it.

It eats power. It needs well over several thousands of Redstone Flux power to run at a decent pace, and maybe try in the tens of thousands RF per tick, if possible.

Prior to this I’d been sufficing with machines that generate 80 RF/tick and putting only maybe 2-3 of them together for a modest 240 RF/tick or so.

10,000 RF/tick?!

That obviously calls for a Big Reactor.

I’d built a very dinky-sized experimental one. I needed to scale up a little more.

mc-bigreactor1

This is probably still miniature by crazy Minecrafter enthusiast standards, but for me, this was a pretty sizeable undertaking already.

Took several real life nights to collect all the materials to build it up, even with a repeatable quest that gave 32 reactor casing blocks as a reward.

5 fuel rods, a hell of a lot of Gelid Cryotheum liquid to act as a coolant (passive, I think, but I still don’t understand three quarters of what I’m reading when I try to learn more about this mod).

Since I was going whole hog anyway, I glassed up three sides of the reactor so that it would look prettier.

mc-bigreactor2

Ta da.

The effort involved felt like a fairly decent long term multi-step project/goal for any MMO, really.

The care and feeding of this reactor is currently center stage.

I’d faithfully followed a simulator that told me it would produce 10,000 RF/tick.

Imagine my initial display when I put in a modest amount of the Yellorium fuel it needed and it only produced, oh… 1-2k RF/tick.

What? Were my calculations off?

Maybe…it was too little fuel and I needed to load it up with more?

I chucked pretty much all the Yellorium I had (not much) into it, gradually.

Slowly, steadily, it started to build up more heat and ramp up in RF production, 4k/tick, 5k/tick, 6k/tick…

Oh.

Except now I have no more Yellorium.

The laser drill is now hastily hooked up to it, operating at a much slower than desired pace, and focused on looking for yellow ore objects… in the hopes that it will eventually dig up enough Yellorium ore to sustain the reactor fueling it.

Guess we’ll see how that goes.

A Surfeit of Goals

I fear that I am becoming a very boring person.

While nearly everyone is off on their personal quest to level 100 in Warlords of Draenor, plus whatever else is included in that expansion, I’m over here playing the same old three games and veritably drowning in goals, making merely incremental progress on any of them.

Marvel Heroes is my current fling.

I’m not at all playing it seriously, just popping in for 15-30 minutes to collect stuff that’s filling up my inventory, hit some other stuff, then log off.

After a brief period of agonizing over the very tempting Black Friday sale, I decided on a compromise. Instead of greedily paying $10 for two heroes of my choice, plus two random heroes from boxes, I settled for paying the $5 I felt the game was worth (given the supremely casual way I’m playing it.)

This let me pick up the main hero I wanted, aka Wolverine.

(Yeah, I am a superhero fan of no discernment, just another Wolverine fan among billions. X-Men is pretty much the only Marvel franchise I am conversant with.

Spiderman? Nah. Guardians of the Galaxy? Dunno, haven’t got around to seeing the movie yet. Hulk? I guess he’s okay, in a brute smash sort of way, but I can’t begin to tell you about his universe. Iron-Man? Ok, I at least caught the movies for that, and yeah, the tech suits and special effects are cool.

I guess I’m ultimately more of a DC Batman dark vigilante sort of person, or an otherworldly Vertigo Comics connoisseur.)

mh-wolverine

I can’t begin to tell you if he’s balanced or not, but well, he’s in his trademarked yellow costume, he goes slashy slashy with his claws a LOT faster than Colossus’ punches, and he takes more damage than Colossus does.

Somehow, that makes the game a little more interesting as it becomes a bit more challenging to kill before being killed. I’m also a big fan of fast attacks, so he has that going for him too.

His main schtick is a bit more like a standard MMO rogue type, imo, he has some kind of fury bar that he builds up with a simple claw attack builder, and then you spend it with other harder hitting attacks, such as an AoE claw attack, or a more damaging frontal cone claw attack and so on.

The only two things that still keep standing in the way of me playing and enjoying this game further:

1) I can’t shake the feeling that it is very gear and stat based vertical progression. Obviously, if I have more armor, or more damage, or more of such-and-such stat, I am going to be able to take down this bunch of health bars more ably than without.

How am I going to get more of that? Kill stuff and see what drops, I guess. Stack on various percentages of magic item find or whatever they call it in this game. (Don’t forget the ever-present cash shop booster temptation!) Crunch numbers and work out builds. Repeat to kill stuff with even bigger numbers. Yeah, okay. We know the pattern of these games.

2) Enforced level ranges are still a massive pain in the butt. I honestly cannot deal with the current story mode. It’s wading through hordes of enemies while trying to FedEx quest something from point A to point B. Except all these hordes of enemies are some screwed up level that probably won’t match with yours because you’ve gone and leveled three times while fighting already, making them super-easy snoozefests of unspeakably crap xp.

So I go play with the terminals and go to Midtown Manhattan, or the X-Defense in the X-Mansion, or some Holosim or other. Those give me nice bite-sized action chunks of varying objectives, lots of constant fighting and rate of xp gain, with nice jackpot rewards from chests or boss defeats.

8 levels later, I look up and realize I’m even more screwed with story mode again.

It just kinda utterly confuses me as to how I’m expected to level through this game. (Given that my waypoints seem to have carried over from character to character, perhaps I just have to grin and bear it and work through one Normal Difficulty story mode and then open out Heroic mode or whatever.)

Anyway, the Random Hero Box I got to open from the Wolverine purchase netted me the Silver Surfer.

mh-silversurf

Ok, cool, I guess. He’s pretty large. I have no clue as to who he actually is, being all non-conversant with the Marvel universe, but for my purposes, he has ranged attacks, which I wanted at least one character of mine to have, so that I can have a choice of varied playstyle whenever.

With that, I’m kinda content. I expect these three characters will last me long enough till next year even, or whenever they have another one of these promotions again. Chances are also fairly high that my interest in Marvel Heroes won’t hold steady to the point that I need/want another character, so good enuff.

Minecraft: Agrarian Skies is the hobby I don’t have time for.

mc-house-front

Here’s the haphazard unfinished front of the modern house design I suddenly decided it might be a good idea to build.

It took a good hour to lay out the cobblestone island foundation it’s sitting on, plus search through all kinds of blocks looking for appropriate and cheap building materials (settled on stone bricks for flooring, paved whitestone for facade, with clear glass. Still wondering if I can find and afford really white and smooth blocks.)

In the midst of constructing the front, it struck me that I maybe should actually look for a picture of a modern house design and base it off some semblance of reality. (I found a few, but they also involve a really nice wall of alternating grey stone, or dark wooden facades – ahhh, more block hunting through the NEI!)

Then it also struck me that I needed to figure out what I wanted in the interior, in order to make it both beautiful and functional… at which point I kinda got stuck and also ran out of gameplay time.

mc-house-basement

I have this vague idea that I want the house to be wired up to an ME storage system. My present one is a little too humble and out of the way.

To do that, I need to have a constant source of redstone energy production… so I’m thinking some kind of generator in the basement… Just no clue what.

Anyway, I had to make a basement.

That involved getting around to making angel blocks, since I had to jetpack -under- the existing cobblestone island and lay down blocks underneath, and then construct a basic rectangular room for now. It’s also cobblestone, so presumably, has to be replaced by something more aesthetic later on.

mc-house-back

Here’s the experiment with a second floor of microblock panels, so as not to make it as thick and bulky as a regular one-block floor. I think there’s some promise in this.

Basically, though, I think I’m biting off more than I can chew here, and may just go back to building basic cobblestone islands and familiarizing myself with more of the mods first, since I don’t even know -what- I want to put inside this building, let alone how each component operates and how much space they need to function.

Guild Wars 2 is still my main time suck.

I don’t mind at all. After a period of nomading it through games, it’s nice to have a home game. Plus relatively stable and welcoming communities as a bonus.

There has mostly been incremental goal progress.

This week, I got around to working on the Silverwastes Luminescent gloves and shoulder collections.

gw2-lumi-shoulder

Yeah, I’ve been taking my sweet time with this.

The tendons and other stuff were collected quite early on, but I was sitting on the carapace shoulders, since the thought of completing Living Story Part 5 two more times on other characters was a lot more palatable than spending 1000 bandit crests right off the bat (given that we might need it later for the -other- wear locations.)

Problem is, most of my characters are buried over by Rhendak in Diessa Plateau… because of another Treasure Hunter collection, hoping to get lucky with a ring drop.

Eventually, I decided to pull out the thief to do the story.

I was pleased to discover that the Living Story is selectable, so you don’t have to do all the parts in sequence before getting to number 5, and that the end reward allows you to pick any weight class – so you don’t -have- to run a heavy, medium and light armor class through, unless you want to. (This spares my WvW/PvP necro, and allows him to maintain his perpetual PvE vigil at Rhendak. I suspect I’ll bring my Teq/Wurm warrior through the story next to finish it up some other day.)

I did, however, notice that I was struggling a bit more to finish Mordrem enemies on the thief than my guardian.

This is less an indictment on the class, than more of highlighting the fact that I am still utterly crap and unpracticed on a thief, and that my gear and build isn’t at all set up ideally yet.

I was running an experimental moderate toughness/vitality/power/precision build for WvW, and generally found that it was pretty much neither here nor there, PvE-wise. (It maybe isn’t that great for WvW either, honestly, beyond overall survivability and being irritatingly annoying but not very lethal.)

After half an hour of play, I was making a mental note that I needed a proper all-zerker set at some point to try that out.

So I switched to the earliest build I had ever for this thief, a condition P/D build… except that I had somehow chosen carrion stats (I’m not sure what the rationale behind that choice was, beyond survivability for WvW roaming), whereas my necro does a lot better with dire, so there was always the nagging question in the back of my mind that maybe I should try dire… or rampager… or even the new sinister stats at some point…

…and midway through struggling to maintain consistent bleed stacks on some Mordrem husk or other, I thought to check my runes and realized that he was still decked out in the old style of multiple runes for %bleed duration… except now those runes DON’T give bleed duration after the revamp.

AAAARGH. One more entry on the goals list. GET PROPER RUNES.

Fortunately, there’s not much actual fighting required in Living Story 5 – mostly running back and forth performing some kind of mechanic and being patient as hell to wait for the next buff or appropriate mob to spawn, so I got through it and got my second pair of shoulders.

That was about all the Living Story I could stand though, so it was time to switch activities.

gw2-lumi-gloves

Prior to this, I needed one more gloves box, and two more fangs – husk and thrasher.

Yep, that meant plenty of Silverwastes visiting.

I’d like to thank nostrom, who commented in a previous post that you still get the part even if your group utterly fails at killing the boss.

That suddenly made boss attempts a lot more palatable to me and got me off my arse to vary the bosses I visited more regularly.

In fact, due to the scaling, I’m more leaning towards finding a fort that is not so overcrowded now, as mobs at level 80 are very easily handled by my build and level 81 mobs are okay, whereas level 83 and 84 mobs tend to end up being much more of a pain.

I had one of the more memorable boss attempts at a non-crowded Indigo fort, where only around 3 people started with the Terragriffs (it built up to 8+ by the end.)

Things were a LOT more controlled, since it pretty much ended up with me being the only one to work down the gas bubble at the beginning, while a ranger backed me up near the entrance and helped when the ‘griffs were nearing the bubble (while the last one was chasing the ‘griffs in circles.)

They were level 80, so between the two of us attacking, we made pretty good progress with their health bars. After a few more popped in, we got the Silver ‘griff killed with a minute to go, and the Gold ‘griff was at half health or lower. It went down pretty quick too. (Sadly, the Platinum thrasher didn’t go down, so maybe the zerg was there in that map.)

I got lucky in one of the maze runs and managed to pop another carapace glove box from the Greater Nightmare chest, so phew, another 1000 crests saved.

I felt a bit guilty trying to kill the Copper husk on my guardian – burning ain’t really a condition worth speaking of – and my scepter kind of likes to AoE all the things between a sigil of fire and smite. I guess the biggest contribution I make is attracting all those little Mordrem things to my location, and running madly around trying to pull them away from the husks and the direct line of fire of the more long-ranged equipped folks, while trying not to eat too many bleeds and fall over and die – and oh, getting some scepter hits in every now and then.

But you know, I needed a husk fang, so I took a little alt vacation and brought the so-called condition thief over.

Playing the Silverwastes content on something a little less prepared and geared and naturally squishy makes me have a touch more sympathy for the average player, I guess.

P/D is very single-target, so while I was relatively pleased at how I could hold a husk’s attention and slowly melt it, I struggled with the Mordrem menders. Contrast this to my guardian, who normally just crashes right in with a flashing blade teleport and tosses them around.

I tried dagger/pistol on weapon swap to deal with them, and mostly just realized how much I still suck at the blinding powder/heartseeker combo for stealth… plus a backstab in condition gear is kinda laughable.

Eventually, I figured out that a shortbow and laying down poison fields might be more effective for a pack of Menders… but it admittedly took me a while to put two and two together. (And I still need more appropriate stats, sheesh.)

A thief is kinda cheat mode for the pac man maze though.

I ran around cheerfully abusing shadow refuge and dual/triple stacked stealth from D/P, shadowstep blinking around, plus the normal light balls. It was glorious.

The only times I got downed was me misjudging how long it would take my animations to finish before I went into stealth. That’s all me though – being inept, that is. Someone more practiced would have a much better time of it.

Anyhow, the experience does make me want to rework the gear on the thief… as well as maybe bring in other classes to see how Silverwastes plays and feels on them.

Last thing left is to attempt hard mode on Living Story 6, something I suspect I’ll get around to in the few days before the next Living Story content drop.

On the back of my mind, are the nagging ideas that I should get around to playing more of my non-80 classes and level them up.

I’ve been also considering the thought of buying a second GW2 account while it’s on 50% sale.

Multi-boxing is right out, of course, but I’m running two bank guilds and it makes me anxious to have only one account in them. If I accidentally click “Leave Guild” one day, I’m kinda screwed.

A second account would let me have effectively 5 more character slots – gasp, more storage space for non-account-bound stuff! – maybe a mesmer for simple ports so that I don’t have to rely on others being in the right place and right time for Rhendak and stuff (a hermit like me finds it easier to turn on the old computer and use a second mouse and keyboard than beg someone on mapchat) and I’d have a controllable player camera for those fancy screenshots where people bring all their characters to pose and later blend them together.

Also, it might be an interesting experiment to see how the dungeon culture has evolved (or devolved, rather), when faced with a character of low AP, as compared to my current account.

Knowing me though, I don’t know whether I’ll actually ever find the time to do all that, or if it’s all just wishful thinking and a waste of money.

We’ll see.

Anyway, the next Living Story drop will hopefully be a crunchy one.

State of the Game: Post-Weekend Coverage

“Content” and “chugging” seem to be the watchwords here, through the weekend.

gw2-sw1

Over in Guild Wars 2, I’m noticing increasing evidence of social loafing in the Silverwastes. More and more, people aren’t bothering to work on the entire zone properly, and are looking for shortcuts to the good stuff.

Taxis advertise 80%, 90%, 95% to Breach maps, possibly out of kindness, possibly from enlightened self-interest where more people = more chance champions die and the pac-man maze succeeds and gets everyone more crests.

I posit that there’s both a lack of transparency / visibility as well as a sense of lack of control at work here.

In the Marionette event, it was in a small localized area with one convenient waypoint leading right to all five paths, and people could quickly run to each path and observe for themselves the distribution of other players and if there were enough people that seemed to be taking the event seriously enough for a chance at success.

In the Silverwastes, you don’t know how many people are at Blue fort if you’re at Indigo, for example, or Red, or Amber. You could always ask on map chat, but chances of getting an answer are unlikely.

The Indigo bosses are also somewhat difficult for a PUG map to defeat, discouraging people who actually want a successful Mordrem part extraction from going there. Ditto Red and the Copper husk sometimes, if not enough conditions or damage are in play, or if someone just keeps AoEing all the poison bubbles, causing massive healing to occur.

I mean, I personally make a point of just hoofing it over to Amber and killing the Iron troll. That seems to be the boss that most PUG maps can manage. Maybe Blue and the Platinum boss IF there are enough people hanging out there. If not, better scram.

This turns into a somewhat depressing self-fulfilling prophecy, where only 1 or 2 bosses succeed.

Not that you can really do anything about it anyway, because the Mordrem faction mostly seem to be on a difficulty scale that the under average cannot manage. In nearly every defence or boss fight, there are nearly always about 3-5 dead bodies lying on the ground at any one time, cheerfully scaling up the fight but reluctant to waypoint because it’s so far away.

I’ve honestly given up any hope of teaching where the Silverwastes and Mordrem is concerned (whereas the Marionette seemed to have an embarrassment factor that whittled out those who couldn’t cut it eventually), mostly because I keep thinking of the couple of people that I’ve seen in my guilds that simply CANNOT manage the Crab Scuttle guild rush.

Mind you, we are standing there right beside them, killing off anything threatening we are allowed to kill, looking at their buffs/conditions status bar while in party, telling them over and over in text and in voice to DODGE (at least once) to REMOVE the RED KARKA DEBUFF (or condition) so that they can actually get out of combat to heal up.

I honestly don’t care if they don’t understand the last three-quarters of that sentence. I just want them to press their dodge key once, or even click the yellow endurance bar over their red health pool.

If they do that, the debuff will go away and they will be able to heal up if they just stop running.

Trust me, they never do.

Do they even stop to ask, “How do I dodge?”

No, they do not.

They continue to press down on their W key, running headlong into every trap and crab along the way.

Three seconds later, they’re dead, having run into something, and they have to start again and again, showing no ability to learn from what they stepped in the last time, or willingness to communicate with those -trying- to guide or help them, until they just sigh and go “this is too hard” (if they even dare to speak) and slink and sneak away, utterly defeated.

(Let’s not even talk about how you try over and over to ask them to come to you, see this secret tunnel here? Press F and you’ll skip all the traps in the tunnel ahead. Guess what? They’re downed, in said tunnel ahead, by the time your say chat disappears, having charged in gungho without, presumably, even attempting to dodge through.)

I honestly cannot imagine how these players would fight Mordrem. One charge by a wolf, terragriff or thrasher, and they’ll be downed, having never found their dodge key.

Whatever.

I’m mostly taking the Silverwastes map very slow and steadily, because I suspect it’s going to be around for a while in a similar fashion to Dry Top, where we will keep revisiting the zone with each Living Story content drop.

After all, there’s a lot more Luminescent and Carapace armor locations left.

On the to-do list are getting two more characters through the storyline to pick up the other two weight classes of Carapace shoulders, because spend 1000 crests sounds prohibitively expensive, given how cruddy cooperative crest-earning opportunities are, with the current zone structure.

(It’s not very obvious, for one, as to the best ways to earn crests. I -think- the crest reward at the end of each defense event either increases with time/zone progress, or with the fort’s defense level going up, but I frankly don’t know which is the right conclusion. The removal of loot from the mobs also just encourage tapping the event, and then running off to tag another event, hoping that there are enough suckers remaining around to finish it. This tends to yield a prisoner’s dilemma where everyone defects and ends up worse off.

To most people, it’s all the stuff at the end that yields the best rewards. The breach. The labyrinth. The shiny obvious loot that fills bags. The significant 8-25 size of bandit crest rewards. So everyone tries to get to the end, preferably by taxi’ing, without doing any of the grunt work at the start.)

I have not gotten a SINGLE fang to drop yet, but have about 6-8 tendons from the attempt. With my crap luck using a green extractor, I suspect that I’ll have better luck just waiting for the next update, then using a white extractor to choose a fang later.

On the bright side, a carapace glove box dropped for me while opening up the Greater Nightmare key chest in the labyrinth, so I’m 2/3 of the way there. I -could- spend 1000 crests to get the last weight class, but I’m sitting on it for now, sorta hoping I’ll get another lucky drop while trying to farm/grind up the other things.

Plus I need to get around to the ‘hardmode’ achievements in the Living Story for the Plague Signet.

Marvel Heroes is putting me into all sorts of interesting dilemmas.

I logged on today, and saw the announcement that they’re doing some kind of Black Friday sales.

Apparently the first sale which I missed, was a 15% or so increase in cash shop currency for the real money you pay. That’s always a nice enough offer to catch, if you want some game’s cash shop currency.

The current sale, takes 25% off the price of all the heroes, and throws in a random hero box to boot. So you get to buy a hero for cheaper, and then get another random hero (or a repeat of your existing one, which has some kind of endgame bonus, I think.)

This was, of course, somewhat tempting, even for miserly old me. Nor would I really begrudge Marvel Heroes 5 bucks. They didn’t pressure me into it, for one thing, making me feel like some kind of second class citizen for not subscribing or whatever.

I did a quick back of the envelope calcuation. $5 plus the 250 free Gs they offer you to sweeten the deal is enough to get pretty much any hero I’m interested in, but with some stuff left over.

$10 is even more interesting, because I can pick up a 325 and 675 point hero, and presumably get two chances at random heroes.

Except I’m not sure if I begrudge Marvel Heroes $10. Is it a $10 game?

At the moment, my experience says no. It’s more a $5 game.

Part of the frustration is that I have just been perpetually moving around trying to find a sweet spot for combat and experience.

The last two days, I’ve been trying to get through the storyline, which is at least mildly interesting in a cartoon plot sort of way, but I’ve been forced t o wade through thousands of grey-con mobs to do so.

This is utterly boring. All I do is press F to Osmium Charge (aka a leap skill) my way through the maps, ignoring all the enemies that do zero damage to me, and give me no experience whatsoever, and tend to just fall over and die if they happen to be under my landing zone. It doesn’t even feel visceral when they die, so it’s just me going “clong clong clong”, leap frogging through 1/4 of the screen at any one time, wandering the map until I find the correct exit to take me to the next stage.

Or until I run out of spirit (aka mana), then I stop being able to leap for a while and have to run for a few seconds while it regenerates. Then clong clong clong again to the next point.

I really really miss GW2’s scaling.

Why am I so outleveled, by the way? Three days before, I was running around in the Midtown Manhattan instance, while there was some kind of double xp thing going on. That felt like an Edge of the Mists map, in the sense that it’s a farm map used by veterans to very quickly power level their alts through.

It was fun for a while, but then got repetitive.

So I tried going back to the storyline, to find everything grey to me.

Gah.

I have yet to figure out the art of matching myself to a zone appropriate for my level. It doesn’t help that I don’t have any waypoints or am gated from it until I finish the prior zone, I suppose.

Still, word is that they will be repeating ALL the Black Friday sales on the actual Black Friday weekend.

Add on an extra 150 Gs from the first sale, to the free 250 Gs, and we’re talking the ability to pick up potentially three heroes, and get three randoms. For 10 bucks. Dayum. That’s pretty tempting, all right.

I… just need to figure out whether there’s actually something fun to DO with all these heroes first.

I am pleased to announce that I have graduated from Prison Electrician to Prison Architect.

For realzies.

prison-architect1

Probably still not a very -good- one, but at least I figured out the art of putting capacitors next to the power supply, and even roughly how to ‘read’ the power supply.

Each capacitor appears to increase the ‘grey’ bar on the power supply, and the red stuff seems to indicate total amount of juice being used by the circuit.

With that finally working, I could actually start making other rooms.

It’s a really cramped canteen and yard for now. And the shower pretty much floods most of the time (had to install wall and doors there in a hurry to at least stave off -some- of the water.)

BUT I managed to finally read my reports and figure out “grants” which are like quest-giving missions to supply you goals and more importantly, advance cash, for accomplishing those goals.

I also figured out how to shut off prisoner intake, so that I didn’t have to deal with an onrush of prisoners every morning while trying to just figure out how it all works.

Slow expansion plans are in the works.

As well as trying to figure out how to get my prisoners busy actually -cleaning- the jail, rather than dirtying it up.

So far I’ve had to hire two janitors as a stopgap measure, but I’d really like to make them clean instead.

At least they’re mostly well-behaved so far, because my prison ain’t very securely built to begin with.

pw-mr-man

I -am- watching Mr. Man rather closely though.

They say he’s a volatile sort.

I’ve also popped my head back into Agrarian Skies.

Earlier on, I took a vacation (of sorts) in the Crash Landing mod, but frankly, didn’t quite know how to share my experiences with it because they mostly consisted of dying in various hardcore permadeath world-delete fashion, until I figured out how to get Sync shells working and make clones of myself…

…which then consisted of me dying in various cheap fashion (usually from spider attack from behind or above) and getting resurrected…

…while manually creeping a basic cobblestone tower/bridge/walkway structure towards the nearest city, because I was scared of walking through the dangerous desert.

(Explored one building or two, after that, found mostly nothing but various causes of death over and over, and got quite tired of the mod. One -was- hoping to find pieces for a smeltery, but it was looking like less effort – if more grind – would be involved in slowly melting down pieces of stone in a crucible for seared stone to pour over brick to make one seared brick.)

Agrarian Skies is a little less brutally hardcore, in that it doesn’t penalize you with multiple deaths, and everything is a lot more under your control, since you pretty much get to design your base and set your light levels and where mobs will or will not spawn. (Mostly “will not.”)

The inspiration has been googling up “modern homes” in Minecraft and seeing some really lovely building designs by people far more talented than I at this building thing.

I’ve always wanted a bigger and prettier house/base in Agrarian Skies – just never quite figured out how to get around to it or where to start.

The concept suddenly came together.

Try to make a modern house exterior, and pair it up with functional insides that use the ME storage system and have room for more industrial/machine/automation expansion.

Much more easily said than done, of course.

Not only do I have to find some nice smooth colored blocks with which to put the exterior walls together, I also need a cobblestone island / foundations -large- enough to support such an expanded base.

I couldn’t take the thought of putting together any more cobblestone islands block by block manually, so I decided it was time to get a Builder’s Wand.

That’s 8 diamonds.

That’s a LOT of gravel to sift.

I ended up digging through all my stuff and sacrificing 6 diamonds to make three more autonomous activators, so that gravel sifting could go faster, increasing my rate of diamond gain in the long run.

I also needed dirt to create grass to put on top of the cobblestone island foundation. Wandering over to my composting barrels, I found zero dirt. Which led to another period of growing oak trees for leaves to put into the barrels once more.

While that was going on automatically, it was rather obvious that all that gravel sifting was causing a backlog in terms of ore starting to clog the hopper and collection chest. So there was a need to start processing ore into metal too.

Before I knew it, a couple hours had gone by again.

Well, that’s Minecraft for you. Maybe some day, I’ll have some semblance of a modern house to share.