January 1, 2010

Persona 3 Portable

 I've had a little hands on time with the game. It's basically Persona 3 on the psp but with improvements from Persona 4 and an alternate female character. The much-maligned automated tactics returns but is mitigated by the introduction of direct commands, a feature from Persona 4. Other retrofitted features include fast travel and follow up attacks.

Just about everything from Persona 3 returns, with the exception of FMVs, the answer, and third-person day and nighttime exploration. Instead all the cutscenes are rendered in-game and the exploration portion is in first-person with 2-D sprites. I'd be lying if I said their presence wasn't missed, but I can understand why they needed to be cut for the PSP remake.

If you choose to play as the female main character you'll get to see all new social links and romantic options. Incidentally, alot of the themes for the female character are new, though not without casualties(Master of Tartarus, WHY?!) So if you hated OOH YEAH DO DO DOO DO DO DOO BABY BABY, the female battle theme is much better.

So if you enjoyed Persona 3 and wanted to play it again, you are probably going to want to buy this.

October 9, 2009

The Hunter's Guide to Solo Tanking

It's been a long time hasn't it? The problem with playing WoW is that it doesn't leave time for much else. This blog has fallen on the bottom of my priority list and apologize for that. Will this make it up to you? Anyway, let's get to business.

This is the tanking spec I use: 57/14/0

Most of it is self explanatory, I roll with 3/5 frenzy and have 3/3 Cobra Strikes to keep my pet hasted. With my gear, I crit enough that only 1/2 Go For The Throat is necessary. Depending on the encounter, Aimed Shot might be better than 1/2 Improved Mend Pet.

Basically the same deal with my glyphs, though Glyph of Hunter's Mark might be a bit controversial. Right now I'm using it because it increases my healing throughput on Attumen when I use 2-piece Rift Stalker. Otherwise, Glyph of Bestial Wrath is the winner here.

Let's talk about the Rift Stalker set for a second. It's the tier 5 set for hunters.

Three out of five tokens drop from bosses in Serpentshrine Cavern:

Two out of five tokens frop from bosses in The Eye:

If you equip two of any of the five pieces, your pet will be healed for 15% of your damage. Again, depending on the encounter you may not need it. However, it is invaluable when you are trying to learn fights.

Finally, you'll need a tenacity pet. Any pet will do, though I prefer a crocolisk for AoE tanking and worms for single targets. You'll defintely want a gorilla if you're tanking anything with a spell that needs to be interrupted.

For your pet you'll want tanking spec like this. You definitely need everything in the first two tiers, Thunderstomp for threat and AoE tanking, and 2/2 Grace of the Mantis for your pet to be uncrittable. On a side note, you'll also want to be hit capped so that your pet will be unparryable. Other than that, you're free to switch around points where you need them. I've found Roar of Sacrifice to be tremendously helpful however in Zul'Gurub and any other fight where I was taking predictable damage.

Now you're ready to go out there and solo tank!

May 9, 2009

The Stack is not dead...

I'm not going to lie and say I tried. I didn't. Warcraft took away a lot of my video game time there for awhile. I crammed in some Resident Evil 5 for a week or two (there are rants still swimming in my head, that I told Nick I'd post eventually, about that one) but for the most part I stuck to just WoW.

I did however give MGS 4 another shot this past week. It didn't go so well. Since it had been some time from when I last attempted, and I wasn't that far in, I restarted from the beginning. That was a big mistake. Again getting disoriented by the controls, from my own ineptitude, made that intial sequence unbarebly long. Add to that the cutscenes I didn't/don't give two shits about... and it's just a recipe for disaster.

Now, I take full blame going in expecting to hate this game. I had issues with MGS 2, then lost interest in 3 and that left a stink on the series that I can't shake. Eventually, one day I'll give it another go but as far as "the stack" is concerned... Mission Failed.

On a more positive note. I picked up a copy of Mirror's Edge on the PS3 for a decent $30. I pre-started this time. So next week, on schedule hopefully, I will already have something to say about the first 2 chapters.

See you runners on friday.

April 3, 2009

The Hunt Continues

No, I haven't finally gotten 100 mounts and am flying on the back of the beautiful Red Dragonhawk mount. No, that's the dream, but I am slowly getting closer to it with each passing day. I recently got my 61st mount wednesday via emblems of heroism which I used to purchase a wooly mammoth. Obviously I still have a long way to go, but things like my guild master getting the raven lord mount gives me hope.

I have a little extra space here so I'd like to talk a little bit about the state of the blog. The plan (at least in my head) was for each of us to do one post after the other but it's not really working out as you can see. I think I will just post with more regularity and let Ian post every now and then. Hopefully I can convince him to continue "The Stack" and even contribute to it myself. I've been played enough of Valkyria Chronicles that I feel good talking about it. Fail @ Life is not dead!

April 1, 2009

Rezzarek Revival Resurrection

Apparently I have characters other than an epic'd out level 80 hunter. The other night I took Rezzarek for a night out on the town, upgrading some of my old scrubby gear and even tanking normal Old Kingdom. I'll be honest, I had the backup of overgeared healer so I felt compelled to pull more than I could take and all-around jackassery. I guess sometimes you can spend so much time on your main that you kinda forget these charecters are more than just profession monkies and item repositories.

Mizuro, a blood elf male mage, was my first alt. At the time, some guys in my guild had made alts and I wanted to play with them and thus Mizuro was born. We went through all the old content and dungeons again and it was really fun. After that, it wasn't as fun to play Mizuro by myself. I can do amazing things soloing as a hunter but my abilities as a mage are rough and unrefined. That's probably the biggest reason why I stopped playing him.

Rezzarek, a blood elf male paladin, was my second alt. My guild master's first alt was a paladin, and seeing all the cool stuff he could do made me want to follow in his footsteps. I even Ian be my healer and we leveled each other up through azeroth all over again. Here I would have another roadblock in my development, as Ian basically quit playing his priest and thus I lost my healer. However I pressed on, and even managed to start raiding as retribution in our guild's weekly karazhan run.

However all was not well, as I discovered I really did not like retribution enough not to mention the fact that the leftover gear that I felt somewhat entitled to was being taken from me by a johnny-come-lately that joined the guild. Not only that, apparently while I had the respect and decency to come to the raid with a DPS spec, he chose to come as tank. So while I was a little miffed that he rolled on and won gear that I wanted, I never said anything. Eventually he did leave the guild with that gear and I ended up dropping my paladin completely.

So, after that little spiel, you might ask me: "So what made you decide to play Rezzarek again?" and I'll whisper: "No."

April fools.

Wait, what?

February 10, 2009

The Most Exclusive Club In WoW

The Mountain o' Mounts achievement is the most exclusive club in World of Warcraft today. Given that today is patch day and the servers are down, I decided to do a little research on what exactly I would need to do to get this achievement. The results are, quite frankly, staggering. In fact, it's actually more prudent to show you which mounts I'm excluding from the list:

Difficult AchievementsAvailable with some difficulty.
Black DrakeDrops one from Sartharion(10) when killed with three drakes up. Relevant to The Twilight Zone.
Black Proto DrakeReceived after completing Heroic: Glory of the Raider. Complete all Heroic raid achievements.
Twilight Drake
Drops one from Sartharion(25) when killed with three drakes up. Relevant to Heroic: The Twilight Zone.
Seasonal Mounts
Hallow's EndAvailable during Hallow's End.
Headless Horseman's MountDrops very rarely (~0.3%) from the Headless Horseman.

BrewfestAvailable during Brewfest.
Great Brewfest KodoDrops rarely (5%) from Coren Direbrew.
Swift Brewfest RamDrops rarely (5%) from Coren Direbrew.
Rare Drop Mounts
Ashes of Al'arDrops from Kael'thas Sunstrider in Tempest Keep: The Eye. 1 week reset. 1.5% chance.
Raven LordDrops from Anzu in Heroic: Sethekk Halls. Requires a Druid with Essence-Infused Moonstone. 1 day reset. 1% chance.
Other Mounts
Collectible Card GameRedeemed at Landro Longshot in Booty Bay.
Big Battle Bear$100 minimum on eBay. Tracked at WoWTCGLoot.com.
Riding Turtle$75-$100 minimum on eBay. Tracked at WoWTCGLoot.com.
Spectral TigerCan be bought with same code from Swift Spectral Tiger.
Swift Spectral Tiger$750 minimum on eBay. Tracked at WoWTCGLoot.com.
X-51 Nether-RocketCan be bought with same code from X-51 Nether-Rocket X-TREME.
X-51 Nether-Rocket X-TREME$200 minimum on eBay. Tracked at WoWTCGLoot.com.

These are, in my opinion, the most difficult mounts to get in the game right now. Now, the hardest ones I am including?

Rare Drop Mounts
Azure DrakeDrop from Malygos in Heroic: Eye of Eternity. 1 week reset. 1% chance.
Blue DrakeDrops from Malygos in Eye of Eternity. 1 week reset. 1% chance.
Blue Proto-DrakeDrops from Skadi the Ruthless in Heroic: Utgarde Pinnacle. 1 day reset. 1% chance.
Fiery WarhorseDrops from Attumen the Huntsman in Karazhan. 1 week reset. 1% chance.
Grand Black War MammothDrops from Archavon the Stone Watcher on Normal and Heroic difficulties. Dual 1 week resets. Unknown chance.
Green Proto-DrakeHatches from Cracked Egg (via Mysterious Egg). Requires Revered reputation with The Oracles. 1 week reset. 4% chance.
Rivendare's DeathchargerDrops from Baron Rivendare in Stratholme. Unlimited resets. 1% chance.
Swift Razzashi RaptorDrops from Bloodlord Mandokir in Zul'Gurub. 3 day reset. 1% chance.
Swift White HawkstriderDrops from Kael'thas Sunstrider in Heroic: Magister's Terrace. 1 day reset. 2% chance.
Swift Zulian TigerDrops from High Priest Thekal in Zul'Gurub. 3 day reset. 1% chance.
Time-Lost Proto-DrakeDrops from Time-Lost Proto Drake in Storm Peaks. Rumored to share a six hour spawn timer with two other less important dragons. 100% drop rate. Check link for details.
White Polar Bear MountLooted from Hyldnir Spoils, which is rewarded from doing dailies for Gretta the Arbiter.
Other Mounts
Recruit-a-Friend Program
Swift ZhevraRequires you to recruit a friend who then pays for at least two months of game time.

Are you beginning to understand why the Mountain o' Mounts achievement is as exclusive as it is? You'd have to be the most blessed player in the game to have this achievement right now.

January 31, 2009

The Stack: Metal Gear Solid 4

"War has changed." Thanks Snake, I got that the first time you said it. Kojima continues to frustrate me with his overly wordy dialog that spends 15 minutes not saying anything. Admittedly, I didn't get to play much this week at all but what I did play did little to grab me. After a pair of videos that made absolutely no sense to me, I then spent the next hour dying repeatedly as I fought with the controls. This I'm sure is user error and not a flaw in the game itself. I just had a hard time getting the camera controls into a comfortable setup. After that I had little issue with it and actually enjoyed myself quite a bit... when I was playing. My eyes glazed over and I drifted away during the Otacon conversations. I'm currently only as far as the initial Drebin meeting that I fell asleep during. That cutscene could have easily been half as long and gotten the same point across. Anyway, hope to get more game time in this week and I hope I get more incentive to push forward other than because I should.

January 27, 2009

Auction House Blues

Let me describe the auction house blues to you; you're bursting at the seams with imaginary internet items, half of the things you're trying to sell come back unsold, and there comes a point where everything must go. You'd like to believe you have the patience to wait until you can sell your wares for max profit but the frustration of limited bag space wears on you. Couple that with the fact that you have hundreds of items in the mail, you begin to run out of options.

My auction house mule is in such a state. Every mail I open containing a returned auction item is another failure on my part. It's gotten to the point where I'll just undercut the cheapest auction available for whatever item I have to be auctioning. Things are finally selling, but not at the price point I was hoping for. All I can think about is the money I lost on my deposit just for putting the items up.

Yeah, this is defintely the auction house blues.

January 24, 2009

Modern Retro Gaming?

Who'd have thought that a blog would come with deadlines but I've got a slave driver of a partner here. (I kid Nick... mildly.) This was supposed to be posted well over a week ago. I originally poured much thought and effort into a long rant on the current state of World of Warcraft's end game content. About the difficulty and other various things. The problem is, I'm more conflicted about it than I had imagined. The result was a rambling post that would have magnified my shitty writing skills. Another thing that dawned on me, I don't play WoW exclusively. It has become the staple of my gaming and has consumed more of my free time than anything else lately, but I do play other games. Well, maybe I buy a lot of games.

There is a growing trend in the gaming community of the back log or pile of shame. Many people reading this can probably rattle off several game titles they've purchased but only put minimal, if any, time into. My particular stack is sadly several years in the making. That pile there is not even half the unfinished games I have lying around. Between WoW, my job and my attention spam, I don't complete most games. This is something I plan to rectify. Looking ahead there aren't many games on the horizon that really excite me. So, with little on the way I'm going to try and tackle this pile before it overwhelms me and I'm found dead under a pile of shrink wrapped game boxes.

This blog is going to be the perfect carrot for my stick. I now have a place to vent my opinions, feelings and thoughts on the games I'm playing. The plan is a new post every Friday detailing my progress. Let's hope with a defined goal to write about I can meet these demanding deadlines. First up to the plate?

Yeah that's right, the very polarizing MGS4. "Sons of Liberty" soured me enough that "Snake Eater" sits in my unfinished pile. I got a copy of "Guns of the Patriots" at Gamestop during a "buy 2 used games get 1 free" sale. Perfect fodder for my first attempt at critical commentary. See you in a week.

January 21, 2009

We're Gonna Need More Guns

This week pretty much starts and ends at Left 4 Dead for me. I got it as a Christmas gift (it was released near the end of the year so I don't count it as a missed game) and I've been playing it online nearly any chance I get. My character of choice is Zoey and I use either the shotgun, assault rifle, or the hunting rifle.

My biggest problem with the game is that I've been through all the scenario's already. Sure, I like the game enough but there doesn't seem to be enough content to support playing the game for too long. I suspect that the varying locations of weapons and zombies will wear thin after the fifth or sixth time playing the same level. One night we kept consistently failing on the last level of Dead Air. We restarted the level many times but we were basically going through the motions at that point. We were all bored and just put it up for the night.

Granted this scenario only came about because we repeatedly played the same portion of the campaign but I fear that'll eventually happen to all the levels once we've played them. There aren't any alternate paths or hidden shortcuts to variate the geometry a bit. I feel like if there were a corridor that was closed off occasionally, it would be nice to try to figure out a way around it. Another thing that's kinda disappointing is that there's no puzzle solving in this game. Your objective is to shoot zombies and get to the safe room or evacuate, and you follow a basically linear path to do so. We're kinda back to the geometry arguement here, but I think if there were a random assortment of puzzles to get through, it would seriously extend the gameplay.

Speaking of gameplay, that's enough bitching. I do really like this game, I just direly wish it could be even better. Things I do like:
-Shooting Bill
-Shooting zombies
-Setting zombies on fire
-The witch. She's really scary
-Shooting Smoker tongues
-Shooting Bill

And finally, playing with my friends. This is one of the best co-op games I've ever played. Everything about it is fine tuned to where you're fucked if you try to go it alone. You aren't just encouraged to cooperate here, it's enforced. Think you can go all John Rambo on they asses? You're gonna get pounced. Think you can stay behind safely? You're gonna get licked. This is where the game truly shines, and is what makes it a must buy. Have you bought it yet?