Time to Loot Journal: May 2019

Well… May is a month that happened. While nothing as earth shaking as March, it was closer to home. In the respect that it was both to people I knew and to a degree it was from action I was executing. I’m talking about the restructure at work.

As a brief catch-up, I decided to take voluntary redundancy but that wasn’t the end of it. With the labour cost restrictions for the coming financial year… There was still headcount compression that had to happen within the remainder of my team. One in particular took it very hard and I haven’t as yet been able to place them anywhere else in the company. Nonetheless, I’ve been able to negotiate early release for those that want it and everyone is getting to a better place.

Still it’s not over though, and I’ve been offered a few interesting potentials to get me to stay. There is a lot to unpack mentally in this though, as I do in many ways still feel it is my time to go, and seek some change. In any case, enough of that. The point is — a lot on the mind this month which has kept me from really digging too much into games or blogging (from a reading or writing perspective) as much as I would like.

Blog this Month

For all that, I still managed to publish 12 posts. But they were rather heavily weighted toward the start of the month before things got hectic. Four posts in the first week of the month, then typically only 2 after that.

There are now a grand total of 71 published posts (including this one). It also marks the 6th month of posting! … Sort of. It’s hard to count January since I started so close to the end. Even so, I think I’ll take it. ;)

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Heart of Rage: Tips for the Monitor
  2. Nostalgia and Moving On
  3. Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  4. Quitting WoW
  5. Kickstarter 10 Years Old

Well what do you know, all posts except for the Heart of Rage were actually from this month. I wonder how long before it falls from top spot though. I suspect it will last through next month, one after that I’m less confident about.

Games this Month

RankGameHours% Gaming TimeChange
1Transport Fever9.131.1%↑3
2Final Fantasy XIV9.030.9%Returning
3Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey2.910.0%↓2
4The Division 22.48.3%↓2
5Battle Brothers1.65.3%New
6Sea of Thieves1.55.1%New
7Star Traders: Frontiers1.55.0%New
8Production Line0.62.1%New
9Absolver0.62.1%New

There was a total of 29.1 gaming hours this month, down by a whopping 68.6 hours from April. Not too surprising given the context of the month, but still! The total gaming hours is not much more than half the time I spent on just AC:O last month.

Total active time on the computer was 203.1 hours, down 65.7 hours from last month. Gaming made up 14.3% of the active hours, down 22.9% from April.

Transport Fever

I played through a few of the actual gameplay sections for the Chasing Truck Fever series (including one as yet to be posted).

If not for the series, despite still enjoying the game immensely I think it would have fallen a lot lower on the list in terms of time played. The series itself hasn’t been doing super well, which I suppose isn’t too surprising given the genre itself is a bit niche. May end up putting a premature end to it in that form, with my more general intermittent update style post.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV makes a triumphant return! … Well, it makes a return at least! Despite relatively few hours in it this month, there has been a lot of progress made.

I got my Choboco. Taught it how to fight. Learnt the way of the Bard. Completed another story dungeon or two, and made it to around level 36 or 37 now. As Mailvaltar correctly pointed out in comments though, this is still a long way off being able to participate in the new expansion content when it launches end of month.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

I feel like dropping only two places in ranking doesn’t adequately tell the story of just how much less played it was this month. It was almost 19x less time spent.

I posted earlier in the month when I finished the first chapter of the first DLC. Since then I’d decided to wait until all chapters of the Fate of Atlantis DLC are out before continuing. If that isn’t this month, it should certainly be the next, as Part 2 came out a week or two ago.

The Division 2

I had some hopes for the raid bringing my interest back around for The Division 2.

It didn’t, so I recently acknowledged that it was off my list.

I’m not to the point of uninstalling it, I definitely want to head back in for any additional story content they add throughout the year. But as something I regularly play, definitely done and I feel that would have been the case even without the additional context of the happenings this month.

The Others

Sea of Thieves

A few interesting titles to try this month. The XBox/Microsoft live pass thinger had a trial offer of 3-months for $1 — so why not? Gave it a go for Sea of Thieves.

There was a bit of fun to be had, but it didn’t really click with my friends or I in any meaningful way. Doubtful it will be returned to even with another 2 and a bit months on the trial clock.

Battle Brothers on the other hand, I like very much. I owe it to Syncaine for even being aware of its existence. Not quite sure how this one had passed me by for so long, but I expect when my gaming time starts returning to some semblance of normalcy it will feature more heavily. It’s a title that absolutely requires a bit of time investment upfront in learning to play, and does a very poor job of teaching necessary bits of information in the game itself.

Absolver

For Absolver… Boy am I glad I picked it up in a Monthly Humble Bundle rather than paying for it. At first I thought I might be able to click with it after all.

It seemed very responsive and I thought that the ‘lag’ issues discussed at the titles launch were either incredibly overblown or now fixed. Turns out neither was the case, there is simply a brief single-player only ‘tutorial’ section at the start. Once you’re through that, as an Oceanic player you just have no chance with half-second or more delays on input to response on screen.

Production Line I mentioned in the last journal as something I picked up alongside Transport Fever while in my tycoon craze phase. I gave it a bit of a try this month and it has a fair bit of potential. I haven’t picked up its DLC, ‘Doors That Go Like This’ yet, but I appreciate the name. Hehe.

And finally, Star Traders: Frontiers — it’s still early access and has if not weekly updates, then near enough to. It’s one I poke my head into again from time to time, but will await a 1.0 release before embarking on a full play through. Nonetheless, it’s already an amazing title well worth your time. :)

FFXIV Back Again

This month has been very light on gaming. Mostly, I think, due to the changes at work. As I mentioned in that post, there were unavoidable impacts to my team where a few positions had to be cut and I know for one in particular this has been quite a heavy and heartfelt impact. Part of it is down to longer hours at work sorting through the process, including looking for redeployment options for people in other areas of the business sure. But I also find that in situations like this I unconsciously choose to drift from gaming.

Which might be a bit of an odd reaction when you consider a large part of the reason for the hobby is as a destressor.

But in any case! Updates to the Games of Interest are afoot. As the title suggests, Final Fantasy XIV makes a return. It seems the seeds I planted in the minds of a few friends when last I was playing finally took root and sprung to life. It was a near thing though, with Elder Scrolls Online’s Elswyer expansion now out I was pretty keen to dip my toes back in there, too.

But we’re also super close to the new content of FFXIV’s Shadowbringer expansion. I’m nowhere near ready at level 35 and running through the Realm Reborn’s main story quest — a mandatory linear chain of quests which you cannot skip or otherwise short circuit by simply leveling past. *grumble*

Changes to the Game List

Added

  • Final Fantasy XIV

Remaining

  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Transport Fever

Nearly Removed

  • Tomb Raider

Removed

  • The Division 2
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

AC:O I’ve taken a pause on while the DLC catches up. Episode 2 of Atlantis just released the other day, so roughly 5-6 weeks until Episode 3 is out concluding that series and I’ll binge through the lot. ;)

Tomb Raider is holding on for now, as I still have a clear intent to go back and finish the second and third games — whether that intent will materialise into action in the context of limited time and an MMO back on the table though… We’ll see. ;)

Sekiro should come as no surprise to be removed. It had been holding on by a finger nail for a while. While I wouldn’t say I bounced off it hard like my very first encounter with a Souls game, it failed to grab me very firmly either. I noted during the April Journal that playing it made me want to jump in Nioh instead. With Nioh 2 starting to make more of an appearance that feeling grows ever stronger. Perhaps it will end up replacing Tomb Raider? ;)

I guess what might come as a bit more of a surprise is the removal of The Division 2. I gave the raid a try in the hopes it would revitalise the game for me. It didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the raid is well constructed and the boss mechanics are actually interesting.

It was better than I expected, speaking frankly. But the decision not to raise the ilvl from the raid’s drops struck me as odd. Although I suppose even had they raised it, it would have been a short lived extension to the game. So! Making it official. The Division 2 is off my list for the time being. I expect I will want to visit again when more story content comes though. :)

Living a Day Ahead

You ever have those weeks where you are constantly in a state of belief that you’re a day ahead of where you actually are? Where every individual day seems so long, that surely by now multiple have passed?

Yep… One of those weeks. Exciting times, but incredibly busy. My place of work is undergoing one of our relatively common restructures and rounds of redundancies. This time? I opted out. I chose voluntary redundancy in order to take a look at what else is out there, beyond the industry where to date I have spent the vast majority of my working life. Also, it will preserve a slot for someone else to stay.

But there is no hitting the exit lounge quite yet. You see, I also have a team where there is unavoidable downsizing to occur, even with me jumping out. So it has been a week of interviews, HR attended sessions, consultation packs and team redesign. Tomorrow this all comes to a head with a session with all the leads to see what trading of people may occur to preserve as many roles as possible, which I’ll still be involved with to advocate for my people.

So, there hasn’t been a great deal of gaming this month! I’m trying to convince myself that I’m looking forward to the raid going live for The Division 2 tomorrow, but I’m not positive that I am.

It’s hard to tell whether it is just life events or a general level of disinterest in The Division 2, or a combination of both. All are entirely possible answers. The trailer doesn’t show a lot beyond a brief glimpse at the setting, there is no indication as to the degree of mechanical challenge in boss fights that we might be expected to challenge.

Tomorrow being Friday here1 When Friday rolls around, I’ll no doubt jump in for the run at the raid regardless, so it’s entirely possible the excitement will be more present in the moment.

I’ll let you know. ;)

In the meantime, not dead! Just long hours at work for a bit while I get this sorted. I’ll be around til late-ish June in the job to aid the transition with whomever we raise into my role, but I expect the current level of madness to end sooner than that when the worst of the reshuffling and planning has been completed (later this week, early next).

Time to Loot Journal: April 2019

April was a comparative breeze to last month. It seemed to go by so fast, too! Possibly helped somewhat by the extended break that Easter and ANZAC day allowed for by taking just a few extra annual leave days to bridge the gaps for a bit over a week off.

Blog this Month

I published 12 posts this month, settling into an average of 3 posts per week. This seems sustainable and will likely become the pattern I aim for. Looking back over April, there isn’t much regularity as to which 3 days I post, but I think that’s OK for now.

There are a grand total of 59 published posts (including this one), and at the current rate it’ll be another 4+ months before I hit 100 posts. However I have passed the 100 day mark. One of the very first milestones I knew I wanted to break through.

So Huzzah! :D

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Heart of Rage: Tips for the Monitor
  2. The Practice of Review Bombing
  3. Anthem off the Games List
  4. Gaming Outside your Normal Genres
  5. The Division 2 Private Beta – The Dark Zone

Heart of Rage tips still drives a large portion of the site’s traffic, with roughly 6x the views of the second most viewed post this month. But the significant drop-off I expected for this article last month is starting now. The overall hits for April are around half that of March where this article was performing like a monster.

In more positive news though, ranks 2 through 4 were posts from this month!

Games this Month

RankGameHours% Gaming
Time
Change
1Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey54.856.0%New
2The Division 216.216.6% ↓1
3Tomb Raider7.87.9%New
4Transport Fever6.26.4%New
5Rise of the Tomb Raider4.74.8%New
6Northgard1.71.7%New
7Overwatch1.51.5%New
8Nioh1.31.3%New
9Far Cry: New Dawn1.21.2% ↓6
10Anno 18001.21.2%New
11Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice1.21.2% ↓6

‘New’ does not necessarily mean the game is new to me (although it may). I’m not quite sure yet how, or if, I want to represent a returning game that has skipped some time from the list.

That was a total of 97.7 gaming hours, up only 4.2 hours from last month. Given there was a week off, that does surprise me a little! Although I suppose I did catch up on a fair few shows.

Total active time on the computer was 262.8 hours, up 21.5 hours from last month. Gaming made up 37.2% of the active hours, down 1.5% from March.

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

I’ve mentioned before, but this one coming in such a big way this month really took me by surprise.

It made a believer out of me for the inclusion of ‘Photo Mode’ in games. Something I’d been a little ‘meh’ on previously. Neither for nor against. I kind of want it in everything now. ;)

But most impressive of all, for me, is that it has carried me through to and even beyond the ‘end’. Since that post I’ve cleaned house of the Cult of Kosmos, got my way to the top of the Mercenary foodchain.1

I’ve made a bit of a start into the first DLC, with the rest to come. :)

The Division 2

The 16 odd hours I have on TD2 were fairly heavily front-loaded into the month. I’ve not really touched it in a few weeks.

I had expected to jump in with the release of the Raid, but that was delayed until next month. I’m happy with my gear setup with the context of what is currently possible already, so back to being ‘done’ until the raid arrives. Unfortunately Tidal Basin and the new gear tier from there didn’t provide much more play time for me. When next month the Raid is put into our hands on Live will determine how much time The Division 2 gets next month.

Tomb Raider (and Rise of the Tomb Raider)

The ‘planned’2 series for the month. I finished the first game of the rebooted series and made a start on the second entry.

Almost immediately I was taken by the degree of iteration and change that occurred between the entries even though they were barely 2 years apart. I still intend to finish these after I’m done with Odyssey, but we’ll see. I’ve also been on something of a Tycoon game kick lately, which leads into…

Transport Fever

Setup some basic inner city town village horse and carriage loops, with longer paths connecting the depot to another village entirely.

I’m not entirely sure what triggered it, but recently I started to get a real hankering to play a Tycoon-style game again. I went on a bit of a YouTube and Reddit Prowl and ultimately landed on Transport Fever.

It is rather aptly named I must say, I went in ‘just to take a screenshot’ for this post. Almost 3 hours later, I’m finally back. At least I remembered to get the screenshot!

Transport Fever has a number of quirks to it, and a rather arcane (at first) signalling system for trains. So I’ve been immersing myself in a lot of YT Let’s Plays and Tutorial videos as well. I have a much firmer grasp on things now, but still learning some things as I go — like what the AI people preferences are when provided with options.

Transport Fever 2 has been announced, and looks beautiful but I was really wanting something to play now so still went with the original. Didn’t hurt that it was 70% off on Steam when I was looking. To go along with scratching my Tycoon itch though, I also picked up Production Line, but haven’t yet given it a go.

The Others

Quite a few games with less than 2 hours played this month. Overwatch and Northgard I spent some time playing with my brother. Overwatch for one of the events that promoted playing of an arcade mode where the skill cooldowns were (basically) eliminated. Made for some quite intense rounds, I will say. And allowed me a Play of the Game! As Moira! xD

Northgard

Northgard as I gave him a spare copy from the last Humble Monthly Bundle. We both really enjoyed it until we came to the realisation, too late, that you cannot save game for multiplayer.

If you can’t finish in the single sitting you just have to abandon. I remember this being a thing in RTS’ of old, but I never expected to encounter it in a modern title.

Ah well.

Nioh: Midway through the first boss fight. Ultimate form incoming!

Nioh I loaded for the express purpose of checking whether it cloud saves or not. (It does, if you were wondering.) Ended up starting a new game and played through the entire tutorial area and a bit of the first mission to refresh myself on the game.

Playing Sekiro actually made me want to go back and play more Nioh instead. It probably isn’t a good sign for a game when it makes you want to play something else instead. Nonetheless, I haven’t quite given up on it yet. That may come soon, or I might surprise even myself and make some time for it. It’s been known to happen!

Far Cry New Dawn on the other hand I have removed. I acknowledged even in the March Review that I was starting to drift from it a little. In the extra hour or so I played, I simply beelined the main story and made some good progress against it as a result.

From what I understand the FCND storyline is not all that long, so just given that I may go back and finish. Will have to see.

Anno 1800 is one I’ll be back to. Although who knows when. It is a beautiful game at times, and the beginning masks a fairly deep and detailed game once you start stepping through the civilian classes, eras of technology and more. I picked it up on Steam before it left that storefront, and then just had to give it a go. :)

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey Added to the Game List and Other Surprises

Still in love with Photo Mode. This was taken after eliminating the last of the underling Cultists at sea.

Still not sure what the right rhythm for updating the games list is. Or even if there will be a ‘rhythm’ to it at all. I had intended to make updates on a monthly cycle but here we are with the second update this month. It has become clear that once a month isn’t going to fit with how my gaming stops and starts actually work.

If I had waited until next month to add Odyssey to the list for example, I’d probably already be done with it despite having had 3 or so posts on it so far with a few more planned.

Possibly a set of guiding principles would work better. But in order to get a full set, I think I’ll have to discover them over time. Although from the few months back at blogging? Here are the ones I’ve figured so far.

Game List and Categorisation Guiding Principles

  • Playing a game doesn’t necessarily mean I have to add it to the list — the idea is to include ones that have at least a little staying power.1
  • As a corollary to the above though, adding a game simply means I am playing it more than as a one-off. Being on the list doesn’t necessarily mean it will get a category or that I will even post on it (although it is likely).
  • MMO’s and ‘Games as a Service’ with long life expectancy (in general, not just my interest) will be categorised as individual titles.
  • More iterative series of games such as Assassin’s Creed and Tomb Raider will be grouped into a category for the series and tagged with the individual games.
  • In either case, a post about a given game or series will be categorised as ‘Other’ unless there are 3+ posts tagged for it.

Changes to the Game List

Added

  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

Remaining

  • The Division 2
  • Tomb Raider

Nearly Removed

  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Removed

  • Far Cry: New Dawn
  • Final Fantasy XIV

AC:O really came out of nowhere for me. I’d always wanted to go back but had more realistically (or so I thought) resigned myself to it living on in the long list of games started and never completed. There is a certain joy though in playing a single-player title over voice comms with friends, especially one with opportunity for emergent experiences and divergent story paths.

It took over making progress in Rise of the Tomb Raider, but I expect I’ll be making a return there once I’m done with the AC:O DLC.

I’ve also not had a lot to say about The Division 2 of late. With the delay in the Raid until next month, this will likely continue to hold for a bit. The gear stratification issues I highlighted before the release of World Tier 5 are still at play for me.

I reached a point where I’m happy with my build and gear. Any further optimisation that might be achievable wouldn’t be worth the effort in light of the knowledge that the raid is almost certainly going to raise the ilvl available again.

Sekiro veeeery nearly joined FFXIV and Far Cry: New Dawn in being removed. I’ve not touched it since the beginning of the month, and with the current view on what I’ll be playing next, I’m not sure it will change.

Still… I’d like to play some more Sekiro. If I recall rightly, I put it on pause right before the first major boss. So that’ll be fun to relearn when I return. ;)

Time to Loot Journal: March 2019

March was a trying month, with the Christchurch terrorist attack claiming 50 lives in the end. I struggled for a short time in even knowing how to continue posting here afterward. Not to acknowledge it would by far have been the greater crime, but how does one follow that with another post on something so relatively trivial as ‘gaming’ right afterward?

The solution in my case was to acknowledge the struggle in making that cognitive and emotional leap between the two topics. To acknowledge that gaming had a place in decompressing and spending time with friends in a space where, at least for a moment, the constant flood of news could be put to one side.

In any case! To happier things. This journal format is inspired in large part by Wilhelm’s Month in Review series. I don’t have the historical backing to even look back even so far as a year as yet, but that — and longer — is certainly the aspiration. Kudos too, to Endgame Viable for starting (as I can tell) the use of ManicTime to track gaming-time over the course of the month.

Blog This Month

I made 15 posts this month, down from 22 last month. I did wonder whether the pace would be sustainable or not and honestly even now I’ve still not settled into anything recognisable as a set pattern per se.

There are a grand total of 47 published posts (including this one), so the first mini-milestone of 50 should come early on in April. :)

Most Viewed Posts:

  1. Heart of Rage: Tips for the Monitor
  2. The Division 2 Private Beta — The Dark Zone
  3. Scar Temple: Tips for Scelos
  4. Transition from Social to Solo
  5. Epic Store Claims Another Exclusive

Only #4 and 5 on this list were actually posted this month. The Heart of Rage tips — despite the significant nerfs to the difficulty of the fight and a declining player base — has a little more than 8x the views of #2!

Games This Month

GameHours% Gaming Time
The Division 246.950.2%
Final Fantasy XIV22.223.7%
Far Cry: New Dawn7.98.5%
Anthem5.55.9%
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice4.44.7%
Far Cry 53.63.8%
Fallout 761.81.9%
Devil May Cry 50.70.7%
Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem0.50.5%

For a total of 93.5 gaming hours, out of 241.3 total ‘active’ hours on the computer, or 38.7% of the active hours spent gaming.

The Division 2

No surprises with this one being my main game of the month.

I am a little surprised in retrospect at how relatively few hours I got out of it with the launch content relative to Anthem though. There is no doubt in my mind that The Division 2 is the more fleshed out and complete package of the two titles and has left me with the more positive impression overall. But it would appear that the gear stratification and knowing we have another tier releasing very soon has been very effective at putting me into a ‘hurry up and wait’ mindset.

I still haven’t reviewed or really even posted a detailed set of impressions on The Division 2 yet, but that is still something in the works.

Final Fantasy XIV

I jumped both feet back into FFXIV only earlier this month.

In part there was a gap until The Division 2, but mostly because I had worked myself into a bit of a frenzy for it after exposure to the Shadowbringers Trailer1.

While it wasn’t the plan to replace ESO, in retrospect it seems obvious there was no other outcome. Both are strongly story focused MMOs that serve a similar role in my gaming line-up.

That initial mad-rush and hyped feeling is gone. Heck, at the launch of Division 2 I almost regretted it because it meant less FFXIV time! But even with this, I still do want to dive into more and be ready — if I can — for Shadowbringer’s launch. Guess we’ll see how it fares this month. :)

Far Cry: New Dawn (and Far Cry 5)

I covered these only the other day in my admission of falling back into the impulse / ‘it’s on a sale’ purchasing habits. *cough*

Far Cry 5 would’ve likely rated a bit more time except I’m playing it exclusively in co-op and the friend I’m playing with was away from home over the weekend since we picked it up.

New Dawn on the other hand… I might be approaching the end of my time with. Maybe. I felt myself drifting from it a bit yesterday. But what I might do instead is break away from the more ‘completionist’ aspects of it and beeline the main story.

Anthem

*sigh* Moving on.

More seriously, I acknowledged putting Anthem on hold this month but I’d all but put it down by the end of February.

Each patch, including the last 1.0.4, I’ve dipped my toes back in against my better judgement ‘just to see’ which is why it has even broke the 5 hour mark.

I was looking at my review the other day in light of current feelings to see if I still stood by it. I do, for however I feel about it now I can’t deny the 90+ hours of joy it brought earlier.

Give this game another year and it could be something truly special.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

I also talked about this one (very briefly) in my last post2.

I’d barely touched it at the time — you know, a whopping two days ago. Endgame Viable posted some spoiler free quick thoughts — so far I agree with all of this bullet points, but none more so than prior Dark Souls experience not necessarily being helpful.

Overriding previous muscle memory reactions with the completely different set that Sekiro requires is no easy task (so far). I haven’t tackled any of the ‘major’ bosses yet, but have 3 mini-bosses under my belt so far (not counting the ‘tutorial’ one). The first one took me the longest when I was least familiar with the controls.

Fallout 76

Wait, what?

This was something of an experiment. After the overwhelming degree of negativity surrounding Anthem I started to wonder. Did Fallout 76 deserve the hate it received? Had it been improved by its patches already? For $20 on sale at the beginning of the month, I was willing to find out.

Look, I probably didn’t give it an entirely fair shake. Would it have received more of a look-in if I wasn’t actively hankering to play FFXIV at the time? Possibly.

But I didn’t get on with it. I’d be reluctant to say it deserves the hate it gets now based on less than 2 hours, though. It looks to have a pretty good 2019 roadmap including a main quest-line, so perhaps I’ll give it more of a shot later on down the road.

Devil May Cry 5

The screenshot over to the right there is from before the main menu loads.

It’s about all I feel qualified to really write about the title so far. I held on buying this one for a while, thought I might even wait on a sale. I loved DMC 4 though, and ultimately the praise DMC 5 was getting was too much to say ‘no’ to.

When will I play it though? … That’s… That’s a great question.

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

Despite the low played time this month, Wolcen likely deserves a full post of its own.

It’s an ARPG that has been on a very slow burn, development wise. I Kickstarted it (back when it was still going by ‘Umbra’) over 4 years ago. What I played was not the full release, oh no. That is probably coming sometime shortly before Star Citizen. What I played was the newly released ‘Gameplay Beta’ which is, to be fair, quite the extension over the technical betas they had running last year.

It is similar in concept to Diablo 3’s adventure mode. There is plenty to like about Wolcen, I think one day it is going to be an excellent title. But I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone yet.

Still though…

World Tier 5, soon!

Very soon, in fact. Friday 5th April.1 Tidal Basin — the last bastion of the Black Tusk opens.

Beating back the Black Tusk from the Tidal Basin stronghold will provide a little more than just World Tier 5. We will also:

  • Get to see a little more story, around why things are going the way they are and why Tidal Basin has unlocked to us at the moment it did.
  • Gain access to ‘Heroic’ difficulty missions, a step above the already aptly named ‘Challenging’ difficulty.
  • Start to see the first three full-sets with 5- and 6-piece set bonuses dropping. (Details of each in video at end of post)
    • True Sons
    • Hardwired
    • Ongoing Directive
  • The ability to play ‘meaningfully’ again with progress to gear we know will last a while, therefore making builds a worthwhile endeavour. :D

I’ll likely still only play when others are playing, as grouping with friends is still my primary draw to this game. But I’m still *super* excited by this coming to be, and so soon! I thought we would have to wait at least a little longer than this.

There is more story and stronghold content free to all players in the pipeline as well. In particular I cannot wait for ‘The Last Castle’ story DLC which will put players in a mission inside The Pentagon.

For now though, we got a fair bit to look forward to in the short term. And it coming out at the start of a weekend? Perfect. :)

(Aforementioned Link to Video with details of the sets coming April 5th.)

Division 2: Done with Soloing


I don’t mean ‘done’ in a bad way, though! I’ve reached the end-game! Not just level 30, but also World Tier 4 is unlocked. There was a mad rush to keep up with friends and clan-mates, to not fall behind. This meant when I had a free moment to play anything, it was The Division 2.

I posted a little while ago about learning to love the journey — but the structure of The Division 2 made this quite difficult for me. If you’re not aware, The Division 2 has gear stratification in terms of your World Tier progression. This is not a difficulty setting you change as in Anthem’s Grand Master or Diablo 3’s Torment difficulties.

Rather it is a linear progression. You complete the story (including the 3 Strongholds), you progress to World Tier 1. You gear up a little, complete two invaded missions (same locales as story missions, but with a different faction, different purpose, etc) and then the nearby invaded stronghold. You progress to World Tier 2. You do this again for World Tier 3, and again for World Tier 4.

Everything up until that point is eminently disposable. You might have some stats or sets or other aspects you prefer when the option is available, but there is ‘no point’ in trying for anything resembling a build, or playing anything other than the bare minimum to progress through the earlier tiers.

I put ‘no point’ in quotation marks of course because there is the obvious: Fun. But:

  • I get the most enjoyment out of the Looter-Shooter genre when I’m progressing. This comes to a screeching halt if you stick around any longer than is necessary in a given tier.
  • I recognise that I have a limited attention-span for any given game. Reaching 100+ hours for any title in one ‘stint’ is a rarity for me. I feel like I would be wasting this limited resource, my interest in the game, playing around in the lower tiers.

So! With World Tier 4 reached, I no longer feel that almost obligatory push to keep going. I feel comfortable playing in a more at-ease/casual way only when my friends are also on and wanting to play. Outside of that, it leaves me open to revisit other titles and scratch the itch for variety a little more. ;)