A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

Posts tagged “D3

Back to Sanctuary

Since Tuesday’s release of the 2.0 patch for Diablo III, I’ve been playing nothing but Diablo III. Seriously.

One of the biggest changes was the loot. The loot system has been revised in such a way that while it feels like fewer things are dropping, most of them are relevant to the class that you’re playing. I’m also seeing one to two legendaries dropping per session when I didn’t use to see ANY. It’s almost like the game wants you to be equipped properly with new stuff every level. You know, like they want you to feel rewarded and to have a good time. It’s working.

Other changes that were big were skills for classes. Namely, the Wizard lost the passive Critical Mass, which would have a chance of cooling down all your spells by 1 second per critical hit. It was such a popular passive and it used to ALWAYS cool down on critical hits until they added the “chance” part. Now it’s gone, so I’m stuck with a pretty high attack speed (2.79 or so) and a decent critical chance (46+%). That said though, I can use all kinds of skill sets now without worry since I’m pretty well equipped. I’m a fan of theme approaches, so all fire, all ice, all electricity are so much fun. I’m playing around with skills I never really bothered with in the past and it’s really enjoyable.

My current goal is to get one of each class up to level 60 so I can clean out the legendaries piling up in my stash. I’m very close with both the Barbarian and the Witch Doctor and the Monk is coming up quickly. I encountered a problem with the Demon Hunter last night though: I died as soon as I popped into the game. I revisited my skills, ported to the quest I was working on last, and died almost instantaneously. I don’t know, I beat Normal difficulty the first time with my Demon Hunter, got her to level 45, and then started playing my favorite class (wizard) and just never got back to her. I feel bad because I basically don’t know how to play a Demon Hunter any more. That said, I’m hoping to remedy that soon, but maybe after the Barbarian and the Witch Doctor ding 60.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been working on lately. I’m excited for the expansion (which I pre-ordered, though I really think the $60 deluxe one isn’t really worth all the extras over the $40 version: a cosmetic pet for D3, a pet for WoW, forum avatars for SC2, and three bonus character slots? Sorry, not really worth the extra $20. Make that pet in D3 pick up my gold for me and I’ll love you forever).

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “Look at that thing over there! Let’s kill it.” – Lyndon, Scoundrel follower.

Hunting Rare Loot

I’m sure I’ve shared in the past a couple of stories of how I would hunt for rare loot and how that’s changed over time. Mainly my policy on rare loot hunting is…


Seriously, just forget about it. If it drops, awesome, if it doesn’t, oh well, just don’t worry about it.

Rather than hunt down my old pieces on it, I’ll just relate it all again because why not.

I used to play Ragnarok Online with some friends many many moons ago. Ragnarok Online had one of those mechanisms whereby loot would drop at a percent chance off of particular enemies. You could get this item 50% of the time, this item 49% of the time, this item .9% of the time, this item .09% of the time, and lastly, that rare one for .01% of the time. You get the idea. Well, I had my heart set on the Fin Helm. In the official version of the game, it dropped .01% of the time, but on the server I happened to be playing (it was a private server), loot dropped at x5 of the base rate, so it was .05% for a Fin Helm. I wasn’t happy with the chance, but part of the game was grinding for rare and rare-ish items, so I played along. At the time, they only dropped from one creature which spawned with great regularity on one level of this one dungeon so I felt my chances were better than average. I spent a month there, slaying everything in sight and not a single Fin Helm dropped for me. At the end of the month, I had built up such a level of frustration that one of my friends insisted that I was no longer allowed to search for it or any equivalently rare loot ever again. I agreed, since being that cranky for that long doesn’t exactly do wonders for health. I never did find a Fin Helm of my own but I haven’t played any Ragnarok title in over 5 years now.

So, later when Star Wars Galaxies implemented their Collections system, I participated cautiously and was right to do so. Firstly, some awesome stuff was available through the collections, but some rare items were required to complete a few of them. Jedi and Sith holocrons were among some of the most frustrating things to find and you needed 5 of each of a particular type in order to unlock two separate rewards. One of these coveted items was the Jedi Waistpack, a wearable storage item that only Jedi class characters could use and allowed them to have additional inventory space while wearing their robes (which removed the ability to wear the standard backpacks that everyone else could have). I spent a while looking for the last holocron I needed (I think it was Jedi Holocron #4 of that type, but I honestly don’t recall) and after a fashion, I gave up on it. I even changed classes from Jedi to Commando so I would never need it. The game shut down in December of 2011 and I never did finish that collection or receive my Jedi Waistpack.

These days when I’m hunting for loot off of a particular enemy, I look maybe three times total. If it drops, awesome, if not, I’m able to cope. I existed without the rare loot before I found out about it, I can exist after knowing about it. If that makes sense, you deserve a cookie.

In games like Diablo III or Borderlands 2 where specific enemies have a greater chance of dropping a specific item, I just don’t really bother. I made a half-hearted attempt at finding The Bee shield in Borderlands 2, but I leveled beyond it to the point where I’d have to find it in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode for it to be any good for me. It’s okay though. I played before I knew it existed and I can play without it.

It all comes down to deciding if it’s worth the stress. Do I want to bother with the search? I think some games with rare loot grinding as a mechanic should say, “Don’t bother hunting for rare loot if you get frustrated hunting for your car keys.” It’s really up to you to determine if you can handle such a search. For me, I’d rather not.

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “My mother used to tell me: “God knows the age of every tree and the color of every flower. And he knows just how wide your shoulders are. And he’ll never give you anything to carry that’s bigger than you can handle.”” – Mack, Babylon 5, Season 5, A View from the Gallery

A Little Overwhelming

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Borderlands 2. This past weekend I added a fair amount of Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. Last night I played some Diablo III and now I’m itching for it. Tomorrow the expansion to XCOM Enemy Unknown will arrive (XCOM Enemy Within). Around the 18th, Lord of the Rings Online is going to reformat gameplay to make combat flow better and to reduce the number of skills my poor Captain has.

It feels like a lot. Typically around summertime I start wondering what there is to look forward to in gaming and I always forget that the big things happen right before the holiday season in the October-November range.

So, on the games I’ve mentioned…

In Borderlands 2, I finished the DLCs “Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep” and “Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty”. I started in on “Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt” before I got sidetracked.

In Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, I started playing with a group of people that I met online and who are looking to have a good time. Fortunately for them, I’m pretty good at ME3 multiplayer these days, so I was coaching some of them here and there and we netted a bunch of awesome victories. It’s so much fun playing with people who really want to do well. I really lucked out here.

In Diablo III, my friend was playing a level 40 Barbarian and I happened to have a level 39 Barbarian, so I popped into his game and found myself woefully underpowered for playing Nightmare difficulty at Monster Power 10. I had to redo my build and pick up some new equipment, so we’ll see how things go there. Also, is it just me or is the auction hall more overpriced than usual these days? I hope people realize that if they price things to sell, they’ll actually sell them.

I’m planning on starting a new XCOM game tomorrow that will probably detract from all other gaming (except social gaming because I’m not about to say, “No, I can’t play with you because I’m playing with myself” because that’s totally uncool). Also, as I was writing this, a friend insisted that we hadn’t fought each other in multiplayer yet, so I guess that’s what I’m doing tonight!

Depending on the level of the change and how it feels to play LOTRO, I may stick that out longer than a day of gameplay when the changes come. I don’t know yet, but I’m hoping I’ll play it a bit more often in the future.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with my gaming habits right now.

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “Good plan? Great plan!” – Tiny Tina

Rebuilding a Build – Diablo III

This past weekend I was busy addressing my concerns with my Critical Mass/Archon Wizard build. See, after last weeks rebuild, I was having a problem with falling out of Archon and then it was taking too long to get back into it. Some bad guys (especially in higher monster power levels) have way too many hit points and they were outlasting the duration of my Archon power.

It was back to the drawing board.

First, I looked at what was a super popular build. Then I read about it in a multitude of places. Then I wondered how fun it was and how feasible it was to pull off a diet version of it so I could take it for a spin around the block. After spending a couple hundred thousand gold on the Auction Hall, I figured it was more fun than what I was playing and so…

Here we are, a new build and I replaced all but three pieces of equipment. I do a lot less damage than I used to, but I can handle the toughest of bad guys with a minimum of issues. It’s far from perfect, but what I need now is all the equipment I have with some extra all resist and armor (read: I need to replace all my gear with better stuff). That will take a while.

And now for the gibberish speak…

I shifted from using Shocking Pulse/Living Lightning and Archon as my only attack powers to using Energy Twister/Wicked Wind, Frost Nova, Diamond Skin/Diamond Shards, and Energy Blast to hurt things. Oh, I can’t forget Storm Armor/Shocking Aspect.

I now have a 45.5% critical hit chance with 2.79 attacks per second. Using Critical Mass (which gives me a chance to cooldown all my abilities 1 second faster for every critical hit) in combination with Energy Twister/Wicked Wind (which hits a lot of times over 6 seconds and is dependent on a high attack per second value), I’m able to spam Frost Nova to keep nearly everything around me frozen.

Last night I played with a few friends and to say I’m party friendly is to understate it at best. We were constantly running into elites that had Arcane Enchanted as a suffix and as a result, there was a need for me to isolate one or two of them and freeze-lock them to keep them from murdering us with purple death rays.

I was reading a thread last night and it said that I should have approximately 85% resistances down the board and when I looked at my values they were all a pitiful 55-60%. You’d think this wouldn’t be that big a difference but it is. I get one-shotted a LOT by elites if I’m not freeze locking them (and sometimes they get out and get me anyway). Last night I tried to freeze-lock The Skeleton King on MP5 and he nailed me two or three times. It was tragic but a lesson learned.

End result of last night’s gameplay: I need more resistances through more armor, more strength, and more “all resist” values. I need more critical hit chance and critical hit damage. I need more intelligence and vitality where I can. All of these goals are understandable, but cost a considerable amount of gold. While I do have fun playing the game, I’m not willing to play it every time I sit down to game. For example, right now I’m struggling with playing Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, Diablo 3, or Star Wars: The Old Republic and the first two are losing out right now.

All that said, the take away point here is that I love redesigning my characters from time to time and having enough funds in Diablo is really the only limiting factor (come March it won’t be the only issue since the Auction Hall is closing). It’s great to analyze my play and figure out how I can have more fun. I dare say it’s almost more fun than the play itself sometimes.

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” – Henry David Thoreau

Scraping the Sky

The other night, with the help of a friend, I managed to finish Inferno difficulty in Diablo III. About time, right?

Recently I found a build that made playing my Wizard fun again and since then I’ve been shopping for gear to make my job a lot easier. Right now though, I’m pretty much as good as I can get without grinding up millions of gold for slight increases here and there. I don’t know if I’ll see a drastic DPS increase like I did when I started focusing on Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage stats.

The only issue I really have with my current build is when I’m in Archon. As it turns out the right-click attack is an awesome super laser and I use it all the time when Archon is active. The moment Archon turns off is the moment my right-click turns into Teleport. So, if Archon runs out, I typically don’t notice it until I’ve teleported into the middle of a bunch of baddies. Very unfortunate. I tried to relocate Teleport to my left-click, but the game won’t let me put a non-attack power in that spot. Tragic, but I suppose I’ll figure it out eventually.

Last night my friends and I tackled Monster Power 7 Inferno difficulty and struggled against some really well built unique and rare monsters. Still, we made a profit even after the ridiculous repair bills. After a while only two of us were playing, so we kicked it down to MP4 and kept going. Again, the unique and rare monsters were the real challenge (also, my friend has just hit inferno, so his equipment isn’t up to par just yet and he gets one-shotted pretty regularly).

Around playing Diablo III, I’ve also been playing Mass Effect 3 multiplayer (which I’m going to do as soon as I’m done here). I’m pushing my characters up to level 20, promoting them, then spending all the money I gained getting there, then doing it all over again. It’s a surprising amount of fun now that my client-side lag issues are practically non-existent.

Anyway, I’ve got some characters to level in ME3, so…

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “To all my people in coach, and to my first class folks; We’ll show you how to scrape the sky.” – “Scrape the Sky” by Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.

Quiet Fronts – Gaming Updates

Well, the lack of obvious updates. Let me explain a bit…

Mass Effect 3 is done. There aren’t going to be any more updates to multiplayer and there aren’t going to be any more DLC packs.

Star Trek Online has constant, almost quarterly, updates but in between there’s massive bug fixes and the wait for more content feels pretty long. That said, Legacy of Romulus was HUGE so I totally get waiting a while for the next pile of stuff.

Neverwinter transitions from Open Beta to “live” on the 20th of June. We’re expecting the first module but they’ve been pretty tight-lipped about a lot of the contents. I’m hoping for the Ranger class, but honestly, at this point I’ll take any class.

Diablo III doesn’t seem to be getting an expansion any time soon, which I think it sorely needs. I think Blizzard focused mostly on porting it to console and that’s a great idea, just it feels like things are a bit lacking in the mean time.

XCOM Enemy Unknown is supposedly getting a DLC sometime in the future, but I have no idea when that would happen.

So, it’s all quiet on the western front… as far as I know.

Anyway, I’ve had a busy day recording more XCOM and messing around in other games. I’m going to get back to that.

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “They never taught us anything really useful, like how to light a cigarette in the wind, or make a fire out of wet wood, or bayonet a man in the belly.” – Soldier in the film “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Whacking Things With A Stick – Satisfaction In Gameplay

There are days where I just want to hit stuff with a stick. Seeing as that’s not entirely socially acceptable, I poke through my catalog of games to find the experience that fulfills that desire best. Sometimes I come up with a winner, sometimes I don’t. Here’s a short list of games that I find give me that great “hitting someone” satisfaction in order of most to least satisfaction.

Mass Effect 3 multiplayer – Seeing as I’ve finished the single player game, the multiplayer component provides replayability and a pile of stuff that I still need to improve upon. Oh, and my favorite weapon, the M-37 Falcon, is a micro-grenade launcher. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Lord of the Rings Online – My captain has a variety of abilities that just FEEL good. He screams and does damage, he swings his halberd and you hear the slicing, cracking, crunching of contact. Yeah, it gets tedious, but by then, my thirst for whacking things with a stick has been sated for at least a couple of hours.

Diablo III – On my Wizard, it’s just satisfying to voip people. Yes, that’s the sound things make when you just erase them from existence. That said, it’s more satisfying to do this during the earlier difficulties as Inferno has a habit of pissing me off repeatedly in a 30-minute period.

Awesomenauts – It’s starting to get up there, but there’s something eminently satisfying about playing Leon and popping out of stealth to land a killing blow on some unsuspecting ‘naut. I mostly enjoy playing Raelynn though. Sniping has never been this fun for me. It’s a bit of work and sometimes I cry out in frustration.

XCOM Enemy Unknown – The satisfaction of crushing an alien squad is quite palpable. Delicious even. That said, XCOM games are pretty cerebral and I always feel a little removed from the “satisfaction zone”, so these games (new and old) are fun, but less viscerally satisfying. Strategy games on the whole share that same removal sense, so that’s nothing new.

Star Trek Online – I don’t know what’s wrong with me these days, but I just have no drive to play this right now. I don’t know if it’s the high end grinding that’s in the game or anything, but I just haven’t been in the mood to command the Iowa lately. Thus, the satisfaction of playing has dropped. There is something to be said for lots of torpedoes, but that’s a bit of a gimmicky approach and isn’t practical in the long run (says the guy who has a character with a Caitian carrier that has nothing but torpedoes up front and turrets in the back; verdict: hilariously fun, but gimmicky as all hell).

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Right now it’s not super satisfying to play, but I’m building up a good craving and waiting until it turns into an out-and-out need to play the game. I’m thinking I’ll play a Knight soon because I love hitting things with Lightsabers, but also because the day I got the game I made a Knight and turned to my Mom and went, “Mom, I’m a Jedi Knight!” So, yeah. It’s not satisfying NOW, but it will be.

This list is forever in flux and I’ve left a few games off to help keep it short. Games will go up and down the list as my whims dictate. This is just a snapshot of my current thoughts.

Right now though, it’s the deciding which stick to whack on what target that’s the tough part.

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “Enough is as good as a feast.” – Joshua Sylvester