Warframe – Chimera Update

We recently got a large update to Warframe, 23.10 Chimera. You deserve some pictures here, but I couldn’t find the screenshots I wanted, the ones I could find were rather spoilery, and quite honestly I should have already been in bed, so I didn’t take new ones. I’m sorry about that, I’ll make an effort to avoid this just as soon as I determine the best course of action.

It was a rather large update, to the tune of 3 gigs and contained a wide variety of things, from tons of bug fixes, some new weapons, a sort-of new mission type, and a new quest prelude that wasn’t mentioned in the patch notes.

Not going to say much about the quest, but as with anything involving The Man In The Wall and quests in general lately, the creep factor was present. This quest gives the blueprint for one of the new weapons.

The biggest thing I had to deal with immediately was this, sort-of new mission type. It’s not really a whole new type of mission but more of a variant on existing “endless” type missions. It’s designed to be significantly more difficult. They said something about the mission failure rate for Warframe was about 2.5% and they wanted to make it go up.

I’ve only tried one so far, and we failed about 7 minutes in, so mission accomplished? It functions like an alert with a reasonably high level like 60-80, though the exact range escapes me at the moment. All the objectives take longer or otherwise have odd properties. Reward cycles that are normally 5 minutes are now 10, 5 waves is now 10 waves, etc. Some have other modifications as well, defense missions have you guarding an NPC instead of a monument of some sort. Additionally there’s restricted/no reviving allies.

The upside to all this insanity is twofold. Whereas a typical endless mission has a reward cycle that’s normally AABC, where A, B, and C are different loot tables and the good stuff is usually on C; the new missions are ABCC, with C off into infinity. This means lots of drops from the “good” reward table, if you can hold out that long. The second big perk is that even if you fail you keep the rewards that drop from the rotation tables, so unlike normal endless where people are likely to bail when they get what they want, there aren’t many reasons to stop before failure. Yeah, you lose all the dropped resources, but honestly there are faster and easier ways to get those than these missions anyway.

The biggest downside being that you cannot do these new alerts unless you have 100% map completion. I get it, it wasn’t even a priority for me anymore because I had access to most alerts, with only maybe 6-8 nodes unavailable to me. That’s very different from 100% though. We were around 35ish nodes short of 100% when the update dropped and it took us about four days to go through and finish them all off after we did sorties. We certainly weren’t the only ones, we met several people doing the same thing.

We did finish it and very briefly test the survival mission that was up at the time, but we didn’t make it the 10 minutes for the A cycle. My brother got swarmed and died fairly early and I couldn’t get the damage output to sustain myself the rest of the way. Part of that is my DPS is lower than it ought to be for this kind of content, an issue that I’m slowly working on.

I’ll try to get an update on Warframe collection in the next week or two, I just haven’t had time to sit down and do all the numbers. I know I’ve got at least two new frames since the last update, and I finally got my 50% off plat discount, so I grabbed 1000 plat while I was at it. This means I’ve actually built something to the tune of 7 more frames that I had collected the pieces for and didn’t have room to collect before, with some more on the way.

One of which is the Nekros Prime. Not a super popular frame outside of resource grinding, but I mained the non-prime version for so long that it’s still listed as my most used frame, ever. It was neither cheap, nor easy, and I’m still collecting the actual materials to construct it. So many polymer bundles… I did have to but some of the blueprints. I didn’t have the relics for one drop and didn’t get the drop from the others after using everything I had. I look forward to getting it on the field though.

I absolutely despise the new infinite equipment wheel. I like the fact that it’s now infinite, but the inability to put items where I want them is obscenely frustrating and requires a lot more planning that it did before. The new setup auto-removes empty spaces, so if you want something in the true west slot, you have to cram some other junk in there to reach that point in order to force it. Heaven forbid you run out of something mid-mission. I’ll probably end up piling my non-consumables and things I never run out of, if I can help it, near the beginning so they’re consistently located.

Good luck Tenno, get out there and, CUT DOWN THE, make the Lotus proud. I dunno, maybe the Lotus is the baddie? Are we the baddies?

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Good news day for me

Apparently I missed all the news that came out yesterday. Good news that gives me several things to look forward to though.

First off MHW will be getting a MegaMan crossover event this Friday(10/19/2018) I haven’t exactly been poking it that much lately, but might make and effort for that. Not sure if I like the look of the Palico stuff from the event though. I mean, I like MegaMan and all, but in the media shots it looks kinda rough. I haven’t really even worked on the other events all that much either.

Elite Dangerous got a schedule of livestream dates and subjects leading up to the next big update. Every Thursday starting on 10/18 and lasting four weeks, with a beta launch date of 10/30.

The first livesteam(10/18) is discussing exploration and visual updates, it seems. Background sim and “scenario interaction,” whatever that is, will be on 25th. The new squadron/guild system on the 30th, the launch day, which happens to not be a Thursday. November 1st we’ll see the new mining system, and apparently wrap up with new ships on the 8th.

Overall I think I’m happy with that schedule. Naturally they’re doing the first one, and I’m assuming the others as well, at 7 PM British Summer Time. This is around 2 PM for me so I’ll unfortunately still be at work and will have to catch myself up after the fact. The two on the 30th and 1st will be a little strange, as BST will have ended but Eastern Daylight won’t. I’m going to assume this will put that livestream at 3 PM for me, which is still a bit early but I might at least catch the end of it.

These line up well with my current schedule, as I’ll probably have hit “max” level on Maplestory 2 and finished the MSQ by Friday, at which point I can spend some more time with MHW for the event(s) while we ride out the wait for Elite updates. Guess I need to add my brother’s joystick cable to my short list of wants. All this overtime going on; maybe I’m in the market for a new flight stick myself.

Hang in there hunters, commanders, and stay safe. Tomorrow is Warframe day, so I’ll see you Thursday.

Random times with the kids

My youngest likes dinosaurs, right? I mean, he’s six, so that’s not really a surprise.

When I go to do the weekly grocery shopping, I typically take one child with me, this week it was him. While we were in the car he asked me how the people who lived with the dinosaurs had guns and the people after that didn’t. Now, this was brought on by a Jurassic World toy where some guy I don’t recognize had a net gun and a matching dinosaur. I had to start by explaining how the Jurassic Park, um, cinematic universe? is different from historical dinosaurs. I attempted to reinforce the idea repeatedly that humans and dinosaurs, especially the kind he thinks of, did not coexist.

Heck, most of the thing we think of as dinosaurs didn’t even coexist with each other. I did tell him that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, a time frame I can’t really process well as an adult. That time scale just isn’t relevant to everyday life.

He also asked how we went from having no humans to having humans which is difficult in the sense that I don’t know the exact timeline or sequence of events. I simply tried to explain the basic idea of Darwin’s theory of evolution and how we were one or more species of ape that slowly became something resembling humans over time. Not really a concept that’s 6 year old friendly, especially when the person explaining it is also attempting to drive.

I don’t know how we got there from this, but I also learned that he possesses a knowledge of Regular Show that’s roughly on par with mine. I asked him about several episodes with vague statements like “the one with the big floating head” and he was able to recall details, albeit different ones than myself. In that specific case I was struggling to remember the full initials of that character, until he said “Giant Bearded Face.” Initials GBF which stand for Garret Bobby Ferguson. There were other examples too, I was impressed.

He also spent some time watching Captain Underpants, a show which I’m not sure how to feel about. I’d say it certainly caters to his age group, give or take. I did not realize, however, that Captain Underpants is their middle aged principle that has been mind controlled with a ring or something? So the hero is a middle aged white dude running around in tighty whities. Yep, that’s not creepy at all. It apparently wears off when he comes in contact with water, for reasons I’m neither aware of or can be bothered to know. I dunno, I thought it was weird, but such is the way of things.

At some point I had to walk my oldest through the process of calling one of his friends on the phone. One of his class mates gave him his phone number so I figured why not. It’s really weird to realize that we use the phone so little that he had no idea how to operate it or the social expectations of beginning and ending a phone conversation. I’ll probably have to get him a phone of his own before to much longer though. I have no idea what age that’ll be a thing, but I figure it’s sooner rather than later.

Either way, that’s life with kids for you. Full of the most random and interesting moments. Always surprising me with how much they know and understand, though I probably don’t want to know how much or which parts get repeated to their friends at school.

Also Halloween is a thing. The youngest wants to be a pirate and the super safe thing they do in the town square is always on the day of, which is in the middle of the week. Horray for random hour(s) longer standing in line after work and before dinner with children that are simultaneously excited and bored. Such an irresponsible thing to do on a school night.

I’m gonna wander off now, stay safe out there and check all your smarties to make sure someone didn’t put a firearm in it.

Something New – Maplestory 2

So this one is a bit out there for me. It’s certainly  not the kind of thing I would normally try, but I figured it was new so why not.

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Now, this certainly isn’t for everyone. I have some friends that will never play this based on aesthetic alone. They simply don’t tolerate the cute chibi type of thing.

angry face

Don’t get me wrong, some things like these white eyed emote faces annoy me, no in and of themselves, but what’s the point of having massive brightly colored eyes when it’s going to be regularly stripped in cutscenes and replaced with…. this. I had some initial concerns about things in the beginning. Everything was falling over at the slightest tap, I wasn’t sure about the look and emote face, and then there are the controls…

controls

The default controls use the arrow keys to move with most of the skills being in the WASD area. I tried that, but found it difficult to use and tried the “beta” mouse and keyboard controls. This allows me to move using WASD (or mouse click, but I haven’t been doing that) with the various hotbar slots and such spread around the outside of it. I have found this to be somewhat less awkward than the recommended controls.

plunger duck

I’m not sure the humor is exactly suited to everyone either. At first I figured it was just a target market thing, small children of all ages? There’s a fair number of references that come from media outside the small children age group.

for the hoard

Like this achievement, and I recently saw an NPC say “big badaboom,” a Fifth Element reference. It’s cute, Blizzard thoroughly proved that people love this stuff in MMOs and it’s been in most of them since.

skill tree

We’re not really max level yet, though we got about halfway in 3-4 hours, and that includes starting over with new classes at some point. The skill is, well, a skill tree. Many ability require ranks in one or more of the skills that come before it, in addition to a having a level requirement. They have multiple skill loadouts you can switch between, but you have to pay for them.

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I spent some time doing gathering as well, though I haven’t touched crafting yet. Gathering is time gated fairly hard, you can only gather so much of one tier’s materials in a given time period. You can gather enough to finish Rank 1 and 2, but Rank 3 takes more time, that’s as far as I got. There appear to be about 13 ranks in all, yay me.

I will say one thing, where monetization is concerned I actually like the setup. Blue Merets, the cash currency, is a direct correlation with US currency. 100 Merets = $1.00. I always like this setup because you can simply look at things in the cash shop and know exactly what it’s cost is. Likewise their premium/patron status is only 490 merets/month. In addition to all that, there are also Red Merets that you can buy with the in-game money that can do most of the things blue merets do, including a 30 day premium package. I have no idea what the exchange rate is.

You can also pay merets for a “pattern” and create content to sell in the in-game store for merets. There’s a lot of questionable content in the user generated section, but it’s a nice setup anyway.

We’re still playing it at the moment, though the story has gotten somewhat less interesting as it has progressed. We’ll see how far we manage to get.

Y’all take care.

I think this officially counts as a day off

It’s rather irritating to me that I’ve worked myself into a position where I have little to say on a given day. See, I’ve been playing Maplestory 2 for Something New, but that’s tomorrow. I intended to do an update on the lizard I adopted once I had a more appropriate enclosure that makes him easier to take a picture of, but that’ll be next week sometime. There’s a Warframe update that gave me some stuff to talk about, but I do those on Wednesdays only.

Outside of that I haven’t done much, a side effect of working 11 hour days most of last week and doing the whole sleep recovery thing today.

I refuse to post nothing however, so you got me complaining and a cat in a rabbit nest box. If it fits, it sits.

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Elite Dangerous – More European than American it seems

So I mentioned having joined the PvE group Mobius recently, including a little picture from the UI that happened to include the currently number of members for the Americas group. Sylow, a fellow Elite player, who’s also the one who told me about Mobius to begin with, commented on how much lower those numbers were compared to the Eurasian group.

I had several hypotheses about it, like difference in regional ownership of the main game or maybe US people maybe being to… combative… for an exclusively PvE group. I wasn’t content to assume though, and went looking for some answers.

I debated on who to contact first, Mobius or Frontier, and ended up with Mobius because it was more obvious how to do so. I spent a small amount of time on the forums and saw that they had a community manager, Saberius. This seemed like the right person to ask. Alas, the forums didn’t allow me to send a direct message because, well, I haven’t actually posted anything. Can’t say that I blame them. I did manage to find a discord handle though, and since I spend a fair amount of time using it, this was a good alternative.

Now, for what it’s worth, Saberius was extremely open and helpful. As user experiences go, it was great. Alas, the answer is actually simple and not all that interesting.

See, Elite Dangerous has a 20k member limit on private groups. This isn’t normally an issue, but it turns out a lot of people want a PvE mode in Elite and Mobius filled that need. It is, by private group standards, extremely large. So large that they hit the limit a couple of years go.

Now, as I understand it, the original group was simply Mobius. When it got full, a second group was created, Mobius PvE, and they encouraged people to join one or the other based on region. Mobius was the Eurasian group and Mobius PvE was for the americas.

Eventually the original Mobius group became full, again, and an additional Mobius PvE Eurasia group was created so people would have somewhere to go. It looks like this happened somewhere around the middle of 2017.

Then, around the end of 2017 the Mobius PvE group for the Americas also reached a critical membership level and an additional Mobius PvE America(s) group was created to deal with that.

So one of the reasons for this disparity is that the Eurasia group has been around longer. Not the only one, but an important one.

https://steamdb.info/embed/?appid=359320

Now, I could be wrong about this next bit, but here goes. I checked out the steamdb.info page for elite dangerous and was looking at the details of the last week. While I don’t have access to the data on how many people own it by region, I figured what time of day it hit peak users would give me an idea of which region has the greater number of players.

Now, I’m assuming that the times shown are UTC. Every time stamp on their page is explicitly listed as UTC. If that assumption is wrong, then so are my conclusions.

Peak players seems to be right around 6-8PM UTC. I know I’m either -4 or -5 UTC, depending on time of year, currently -4. This would put peak at 2-4PM ET or 11-1PM PT. I feel this reinforces the idea that there is a much larger European player base overall. This is further reinforced by the plateau on the back side of the peak in the 12-2AM UTC range, which would be closer to when I would expect the Americas user peak.

Of course I could be way off base and overlooking or missing important details. I totally didn’t try to account of the Asia part of Eurasia either. I feel that I have answered the question to my own satisfaction though, at least for now.

You are free to proceed commander, hopefully you’ll visit again soon.

Is this the kind of content I want to produce?

I’ve been thinking a little bit lately about what I’ve been writing here, why I write it, and whether or not it’s a good idea to post it.

See, I didn’t really have a specific purpose when I started doing this, I just did it to do it. Yet here we are, nearly three months later, and I’m still doing it. Mostly random, mostly unfocused. Yeah, I tend to do Warframe posts on Wednesday, but the lately it’s “I did this specific mission on this planet 34 times trying to get this specific relic so I can do that specific mission over there that has a 3% chance to drop the part I need. Dangit, I didn’t get it, oh well maybe tomorrow.” That’s just boring grindy stuff. I mean, who cares? It’s not even fun to write about.

I mentioned recently that I spent several hours over a couple of days typing up a long post. Weighed in just over 3100 words I think. I even scheduled it to go live the next morning. Then the next morning I unscheduled it and it remains unposted in my drafts. I currently have no real intent to post it either. I gave some reasons in the post that replaced it, content, theme, general distrust of the internet with personal information, but if that’s the case, why did I write it to begin with? What’s the point of spending so much of my limited time creating content that nobody is likely to ever see? There’s a few I think.

One is that it helps me process things that are on my mind. That’s the kind of post this is right? I’v got a seed of an idea in my head and writing it forces me to assign words to it, make it real in a way. Also the process of explaining an idea helps my flesh it out for myself. How can I communicate something to another person with words when I haven’t really thought it through?

Second is that sometimes I look at a topic and think “hey, I’ve got enough to say about that to get a blog post out of it.” It’s a tough thing, right, to write something and put it in the world every day? Sometimes it’s a struggle.

Third is that it lends some structure to my activities. I can’t write a Something New (to me) post every week unless I actually play Something New (to me). I mean, I could just make it up, I guess, but then it’s wouldn’t have any value to me.

That’s it with anything though, isn’t it? At the end of the day, any activity I engaged in was ultimately intended to have some positive outcome for myself right? I write the blog posts to prove I can, to flesh ideas out more, to create some more structure for myself. I know what I’m getting out of it for myself, but what are you getting out of it?

Do the people reading my posts feel better, worse, or the same? Is it relevant? Did they learn something? Most important, is the answer one I’m okay with and if not how do I change it?

Past comments have indicated that I’m at least a net positive for some and I choose to believe that you wouldn’t be reading it if it was a net negative. People who want negativity don’t seem like the type to be quiet about it? How very prejudiced of me.

In a way I’m even questioning this post, right? I feel like I talk about this at least once a month in this weird circular way that may eventually become boring or mundane itself. Seeing and reading other people’s thoughts is kinda fun until you realize it’s just green beans all the time.

I don’t know, it’s not like I’m going to stop doing it, but I think maybe I’m taking it more seriously than I used to. Maybe to serious. I’ve begun to accept the fact that I have readers and followers and that’s shifted my idea of what belongs here. It’s not only about what’s in it for me, but what’s in it for you too. I like the random posts like this, and generally enjoy writing them. I would probably continue writing some of them anyway, even if they don’t get posted. What do you guys think? Do you want to read… this?

To bring it full circle and wrap up a little bit, that’s the reason the long post got canned. I didn’t feel that it brought the people reading it anything positive. Writing it helped set the overall story arc and events in form which I can now set aside. We all grow and learn and some things should be left in the past where they belong.

Y’all take care, I’ll see you again tomorrow.