A big week of reveals, and another one coming! E3 2019 times and more

Wow it’s been a week.  And next week is going to be bigger!

End of financial year is a hard time work wise on a lot of people, including myself.  Last thing I remember it was Tuesday and I was trying to get out early, then finish at a reasonable time, then working until way too late at home.

Now it’s Friday morning, I am semi-recharged after a night of finishing Good Omens and rest, and I am looking at all the announcements over the week I need to actually look up.

Wow.

So today is a very quick ‘Wow’ wrap up of what I have been looking at and what I want to look into over the next week or so!

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Looking at the first ‘real’ Pokemon game for the Switch, the Pokemon Direct a couple of days ago certainly revealed a lot of exciting looking info.  Not the least being the release date – November 15th!

Dynamax looks like a great mechanic, and when I first saw the affected Gyrados I immediately thought “Pokemon Kaiju!!”

Catch the entire 15 minute direct here (don’t forget to click the ‘YouTube’ link if you want to go to the main YouTube page!)

Google Stadia

So I still have a lot to take in with the Stadia stream, as I haven’t got a chance to look at a whole bunch of it in detail yet, but there is a lot of promise.

Nothing for Australia yet, but I am really happy to see Australia (and Brisbane!) on the server map – not something I was expecting!

The pricing also has me very happy. Yes, it’s more expensive than Game Pass, but you need almost no new hardware to play with it! Games wise, there isn’t anything exclusive yet that has me drooling, but there are 2 new reveals that have caught my interest…

Nothing for Australia yet, but that pricing is very attractive

Destiny 2

So Bungie is free of the Activision publisher agreement, and we are starting to see some big changes coming.

Firstly, as they are no longer involved with Activision Blizzards, Destiny 2 on PC is moving from Battle.net to Steam. I would put a joke about the Epic Store coming in and stealing it as an exclusive, but that’s another thing entirely.

It’s also coming to Google Stadia. Going for the Fortnite play anywhere approach Bungie?

Secondly, the next expansion ‘ShadowKeep’ is completely standalone – no previous purchases required to play! This certainly makes the price of entry a lot easier on new players. Shadowkeep is dropping September 17th.

And finally, the most interesting news to me overall – there is going to be a free version of Destiny 2.  Called New Light, at the moment it looks like it will be a free version of the base game and all Year 1 DLC and items associated with it.

As a try-before-you-buy tactic, this is definitely a much better idea in my opinion than the free base game that came out last year. Yes, it gave you a small idea of Destiny, but for a game that is designed to evolve over time it was the worst version of Destiny 2.  Not sure when this is coming out, but I think it’s a great idea overall.

Baldurs Gate 3

As a long-time computer RPG player, the Baldur’s Gate series has a special place in my heart.

The new Enhanced Editions are fine to play, but they do show how far the technology has really come over the years.

That said, they also prove the old adage “Good gameplay trumps good graphics 9 times out of 10!”

So during the Stadia presentation, one of the game revealed was indeed Baldur’s Gate 3.  It is being developed by Larian Studios, the same people behind the Divinty: Original Sin series.

Short version – yay it’s coming to PC and Stadia! And the reveal intro looks AMAZING.

I will just let it speak for itself.

E3 2019 Starts Monday (Australian Time, anyway)

That’s right – one of the biggest events for video games is starting – and already has in a lot of ways!

But the ‘formal’ show starts Monday 6am for East Coast Australians, so there will be another week of spotty ‘Oooh!’ and ‘Aaaah!’ reports coming 🙂

Times for the shows in Australian Eastern Standard Time are below:

Monday, June 10
Microsoft 6:00 AM
Bethesda 10:30 AM
Devolver Digital 12:00 PM
Tuesday, June 11
Ubisoft 6:00 AM
Square Enix 11:00 AM
Wednesday, June 12
Nintendo 2:00 AM

There are a lot of side events and simultaneous happenings as well, but these are the main reveals.  I wonder how much more is happening inside E3?

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – November 5th, 2018

Diablo 3 Eternal Collection

The Destiny of the Eternal Party is found in Hanamikoji

Back with my feet on the ground, but another light week of gaming.  Work for half the week and travel did not lend themselves to gaming days, but with any luck as of tomorrow night, the normal games nights and days will kick back in!

I also have piles of games I am dying to try, so lots of new reports will be coming with everything!

Hanamikoji

After finishing the review in the great cabin we hired in the Hunter Valley, getting Rabbit to play a game or three was a lot of fun 🙂

Rabbit even did the very rare first-round win on the first game!  By securing the top three valued Geisha, the first game was truly hers.

A quick game that may come out a few more times now that we have played it, but honestly there are a lot of games I have been putting on hold for post-PAX that will probably push Hanamikoji down a bit again in the play list, which is unfortunate.

Hanamikoji Setup
The playing board is complete, but shows an amazing amount of information at a glance

Super Mario Party

Again while chilling at the Hunter Valley as well as Sunday night at home, Super Mario Party got a look in.

I have only played a 2 player game max, but I am hoping to change this one night at games or people over one weekend.

Talking to people at PAX Aus apparently the ‘proper’ Mario Party takes too long with four players though because of unskippable animations and the like.  Will have to keep this in mind and maybe even try one by myself to see what may be going on.  It’s still a heap of fun though, so this and Rabbit’s Just Dance 2019 could be party games of choice.

Super Mario Party 20181105
Playing against even one person was a heap of fun. And it was funny watching Rabbit and I making the same mistakes in the mini games!

Diablo 3 Eternal Collection

Sitting in the Hunter Valley, I got a normally wonderful text from my local EB Games.

‘Hi John! Come in tomorrow and pick up your copy of Diablo 3’.

Yep, even though I ran around doing the Diablo 3 scavenger hunt at PAX Aus run with Blizzard and the Red Cross, I completely forgot that it was coming out on November 2nd.

I didn’t play much – it was more out of interest and a quick look in handheld mode.  And it plays very nicely indeed.  Not sure about the 5GB language pack download though…

Either way, hoping next weekend Rabbit and I can start some multiplayer hijinks before Pokemon Let’s Go comes out on the 16th!

Diablo 3 Eternal Collection
It may not look like much here, but even in handheld mode the controls were intuitive and animations smooth.

Destiny 2

Yes, you are reading this correctly – I played Destiny 2 again.  Kind of.

You see, to celebrate a year of Destiny 2, Activision is giving away the base game on PC via battle.net.  So if you have a battle.net account already (which plenty of players do thanks to Hearthstone) you have until November 18th to claim a free game!  Watch out though – it’s an 81 GB and change download.

I was really interested in seeing the differences with a keyboard and mouse as well as graphically.  It looks prettier, plays quicker, and I would guess is more the experience that competitive PvP players would want – this is where these kinds of game shine after all.

But as pretty as it is, it’s not enough to pull me back in.  Especially as I would have to spend over $150 to get back to where I am on PS4, where with the grind I enjoy kicking back on the couch with my controller.  But if you are interested in having a look, the option is there!

Destiny 2 PC
The favoured version for many Destiny 2 streamers and video captures, I can now see why. But at the end of the day it's the same game as on PS4, and the couch just feels right for me.

Pokemon Go

So a couple of weeks ago I mentioned how I just never thought to add mobile games to this list.

And for two weeks, I have been making a concerted effort to play Pokemon Go.  Partly because I was on holidays and exploring new areas, so new Pokemon and locations were mine to collect.

But at the start of the trip a new special quest appeared – A Spooky Message.  And for the first time ever, I got to finish a quest!  It was a great feeling, and one I know many other players shared around the same time.

I really hope I get to keep up some Pokemon Go action with the new updates that don’t need it on and the Let’s Go integration.  Ah well, I will find out in a couple of weeks 🙂

Pokemon Go 20181105
So it may not be the most powerful Pokemon, but it's the first Special Quest I have managed to complete so yay!

Last weeks gaming 10/09/2018

Hostage Negotiator Box Art

Board Gaming wise, it was Escape the Dark Express Negotiator with Dragons.

Last week’s games article has fallen victim to the IT gremlins, but it’s not going to stop me talking about them here!

Downforce

I have gotten to play a bit of Downforce lately.  Partly because of bigger game groups, partly excitement at the (due to arrive today!) expansion Danger Circuit.

This was one of my first Restoration Games experiences, and it lives up to their guidelines of ‘Make Games Great’ and ‘Do Good Works’.

Downforce is a car racing game that has everyone in the running to win, making it a fun and quick game to play and teach, with different mechanics available to help streamline play.

Watch out for a review of Downforce soon 🙂

Downforce Danger Circuit Board

Colt Express

Remember those old heist movies?  Why remember them, when you can play them!

Colt Express is a simple but surprisingly deep program action game for up to 6 players.  Each player has a character with a special ability, and everyone is trying to rob the same train at the same time!

The goal is simple, end up with more loot than everyone else.  But watch out for that Sheriff, he will make your life hard.  Now I have a group familiar with the base game, a review will be coming after the expansions have had a play as well.

Colt Express Begins
Want to teach a fun action programming game? Colt Express will work for you! **Promotional mat not included. Blame Alpal for that awesome 🙂

Hostage Negotiator

When you want something a little heavy but solo, Hostage Negotiator is a great choice.  I have spoken about the app before, but I have big plans for the site and this game.

This week was just for me though, and Connor E. Ogden managed to beat me 3 out of 4.

My only real issue with Hostage Negotiator is the space required to play it. At home, it’s a great escape that tests your logic and pushes your luck.  Get ready for more on this game in the near future 🙂

Hostage Negotiator Abductor Pack 1 Connor
The expansions are the size of a TCG Booster Pack, but change the game immensly

Escape the Dark Castle

When I am working on a PC for more than 12 hours a day, coming home to a video game or screen sometimes doesn’t cut it.  I might want to play a game, but the thought of even sitting on the PS4 or the Switch shows me another screen, or needs more brain than I want to invest.

As reviewed and played on the site before, Escape the Dark Castle is a great solo or multiplayer escape game.  With setup being only shuffling some cards, I spent a good couple of hours trying to get through the final boss with only 2 characters (solo is just impossible!).

Still a challenge and a heap of fun, Escape the Dark Castle is still on the quick access shelf.

Escape the Dark Castle Ready to play
The castle ready to play, with spare cards off to the left. Beware the Tailor and the Cook!

Dragons Breath

Dragon’s Breath was a quick game Alpal showed me, and it’s a heap of fun.

As we discussed in the HABA Blatherings, HABA has a history of quick simple fun for everyone.  Classifying them as ‘Kid’s Games’ can be dangerous, as there are a lot of things aimed at younger children that I have no patience for.

HABA seems to find that magical sweet spot where a game is designed for young kids, but adults have just as much fun playing the games as well!

Dragon's Breath
Another great HABA game. Dragon's Breath is quick, simple, and most of all fun

Destiny 2 Forsaken

I ran around, shot some things, collected some things, in short – I played Destiny.

With the Forsaken release last week, jumping in to see the changes was always on the cards.

Destiny 2 has me in a weird place now.  If you like games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, it’s now probably more for you.  But for me and other ‘casuals’, the Forsaken moniker seemed to be well named.

Check out my Forsaken review here.

Destiny 2 Forsaken Riding with Cayde
A dream come true - but not for long.

Octopath Traveler

Just starting the second round of Chapters for my party, Octopath Traveler is a game I will be picking up and putting down for the foreseeable future.

I think I am starting to hit the ‘grind’ of the RPG, but I still want to make sure.  I think my primary party is starting to form, but another 10 or so hours will test this.

If you have a Switch and enjoy old-school turn-based RPGs, do yourself a favour and just grab the Octopath Traveler demo from the eShop.  If you fall in love with the game, the progress you made transfers to the full game – it’s well worth your time.

Octopath Traveler Sample Screen
Is it a beautiful example of where the 2.5D graphics could have gone? Is it pandering to the retro fanbase? Yes to both, and it's amazing for it

So that was my week – what have you been playing?  Let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Destiny 2 Forsaken Review

Destiny 2 Forsaken Caydes passing

Forsaken? Maybe.  A lot of changes have come.

The last couple of weeks have seen a lot of changes for Destiny 2.  Cayde-6’s passing being the one we all knew was coming, but many other changes as well.

A few Call of Duty players I knew didn’t like Destiny because the player vs player (PvP) combat was ‘too slow’.  This is no longer the case.  A lot of explore everything type players didn’t like Destiny because there wasn’t a lot to do.  This is still the same, but it isn’t.

Forsaken

There was a bunch of story items leading into Forsaken and not just the trailer.  Oh, that trailer.  For Cayde fans, it was hard to watch – but watch we had to.

But that was far from the only way Bungie decided to play with our heartstrings.  August 28th, Bungie posted a news item that ended with Cayde’s final letter to his friends and fireteam.

That was enough for me, but if you read the entire news entry Bungie began dropping secrets again.  Simple cryptography this time, not like the elaborate Warmind promotional event.

Bungie was going all out with what was happening – and a lot of people were excited.

Destiny 2 Forsaken Caydes letter
There is more to this post - check it out on Bungie.net for some more secrets
Destiny 2 Forsaken Riding with Cayde
A dream come true - but not for long.

The idea behind Forsaken is that there is a jailbreak in the Prison of Elders, and you help Cayde-6 and Patra Venj.  Sounds like any other Destiny Mission right?

Except we know the ending.  Uldren Sov is going to kill Cayde-6.  So starting through the mission, excited thoughts of “I’m on Cayde’s fireteam!” quickly tarnished.

But it’s important to note that’s only because I like Cayde-6.  Nathan Fillion had injected his own cheekiness into the fairly 2-dimensional quest giver, and hearing his quips was a highlight of mirth during many repetitive missions.

And it’s here, about 2 minutes into the first Forsaken mission, that it started feeling wrong.

Cayde-6 is voiced for Forsaken by Nolan North, doing a Nathan Fillion impression.  And because you can hear Nathan’s Cayde during the game back to back with Nolan’s, it feels wrong.  Now, this is a nitpick, but it’s a point that kept pulling me in opposing directions during the game.

But the mission itself is standard fare, and is fairly enjoyable.  Playing with my primary hunter (that I put zero effort in trying to max out to the Solstice of Heroes 400 power level) it was a straightforward mission.

A few new enemy types seem to be in the mission, but it’s hard to know for certain.  It was a straightforward run, with moments of Cayde-6 popping in and out.

And then Petra Venj realises the truth, and the beginning of the end for Cayde begins.

Destiny 2 Forsaken Fireteam Complete
Your mission fireteam complete, into the Prison of Elders you go
Destiny 2 Forsaken Cayde Down
Making you the witness of the end tugs on the heartstrings. As long as you cared about Cayde - new players probably not so much.

You get there to late to help Cayde-6, but the story enemies are all on display.  The Scorn Barons, and Uldren Sov himself.  In terms of send-off, the cinematic cutscene of Cayde’s final stand is amazing.

It’s hard to describe, but seeing the realisation of overwhelming odds and acceptance that he is going to take as many with him as he can is amazing.  If you enjoy Destiny, this is the sort of scene that is right up there with Blizzard, and you should play it and watch it.

If you don’t play Destiny and want to see what I am talking about, IGN posted a YouTube video here.  Even not knowing the character, it’s still enjoyable but some subtleties may be lost.

Once all this is done, you take Cayde-6 back to the Traveller and witness his friends dealing with the news.

And here comes a spoiler, but I need to add it to demonstrate another small ‘off’ with Destiny 2 Forsaken.

You Speak.

It’s only a few words, but the silent guardian rule is broken.  The theory behind the silent protagonist is that it puts the player into the role more.  The words you are thinking/saying/screaming at the TV is what the Guardian is saying.

Breaking this rule lends weight to the scene, yes.  But at the end of Forsaken and the beginning of the end game, when this speaking would be more appropriate again, the silent protagonist rule is enforced again.

Looking back, here is where Destiny 2 as a solo story game starts to come unstuck for me.  Any game with rules and systems needs to stick to these rules and systems, but Forsaken has become something new and with exceptions.

For example, Cayde-6 is Dead.  New players (or characters) no longer have to speak to Cayde for story plots like unlocking patrols.  According to a Bungie post, they will unlock when you max out your character level +1.

So why is Cayde still speaking during missions?  Why not remove the audio files as well to keep the ‘Cayde’s gone’ consistent?

Destiny 2 Forsaken Main Missions Begin
The body of the story of Forsaken is you choosing your targets, giving an open world feel

And this is where for me, Destiny 2 is coming undone.  I really enjoyed playing through Forsaken story missions, but there was so much inconsistency between a world with Cayde, and a world without.

So I have a game that is fun to play, yet simultaneously feels off.  During it’s big ‘we fixed it’ reboot.

The endgame – The Dreaming City

Once you finish with the story, you start playing Destiny proper, same as always.  And Bungie have given players a huge area to explore, with many old school secrets to uncover and timings to work out.

And here’s the thing.  I don’t want to.  Not really.

Not because I don’t think it will be any good, the things I have heard and a couple of YouTube videos I have seen make it look amazing!

I don’t want to because of major changes to the upgrade, masterwork and light systems.

If you want to ‘masterwork’ your weapons and armour, you need to upgrade them in levels which use a bunch of resources, including masterwork cores.  To strengthen your equipment you need Glimmer, Legendary Shards, Masterwork Cores, and Planetary Resources.

Now on its own, this looks like a good way to reward running around the universe and not neglecting any areas.  What I am getting though is a resource farming exercise that will force me to play areas for a few hours a week to upgrade my weapons again, especially now I have hit the level 500 soft cap.

A key ingredient is also Masterwork cores, where the only way to get them at the moment is buying them from the Tangled Shore from The Spider.  Again sounds good, but each one you buy doubles the price, but the price resets each day.  So timed rewards are a big part of the integral play.

This is great for people with the time to log in each day, but players like myself that play maybe twice a week are about to be left far behind.

Even Xur has changed.  Each week, you could get a new Exotic (at a price) and a shot at a random as yet to be collected Exotic.  Not anymore apparently.

Destiny 2 Forsaken Xur
So much for casuals and non raiders having a chance for exotics

At the end of the day, it feels like Bungie has listened to the more hardcore player base that was not satisfied with the more casual friendly Destiny 2.

Strike and Iron Banner bounties must be in their respective armours, which you earn consistently by beating those game modes.  So you have to grind a play mode in order to get the rewards you need to get the rewards for the play mode.  Not everyone has the time to put into this, and the players that have played this from day one have a huge advantage in these modes.

This isn’t meant as a ‘poor me’, rather just how it feels. Take Gambit and the ‘Ace of Spades’ quest for example.  The first step is to shoot five invaders with a hand cannon – OK, straightforward.  When the other team comes over, be the player to kill them with a hand cannon.  Five times.  Grinding, but doable.

Except that the player level advantages in Gambit are on, meaning the higher level players have all their character and weapon advantages and bonuses.  On top of map familiarity and all the rest of the advantages that come from playing a game a number of times.  It’s true it doesn’t stop new players from putting in the effort, but how many times do you want to play a game that hits you in the head repeatedly for trying?

Too much of a grind for me

I have played one character solo for about 11-12 hours, doing some of the new bounties and the old flashpoint challenges, but mainly just Forsaken missions.  Two hours of that was also spent just trying to do one bounty mission that recommends level 540, and I just kept dying with no progress made.  I am now level 502, with my highest piece of equipment 505.  Out of 600.

Harls, on the other hand, has about 20 hours with his main character.  His best level equipment at the moment is 520, with strikes, raids, bounties and the dreaming city with some other clan members.  It also includes Gambit and other PvP play, which I am not interested in even trying with the weapon loadout changes.

Basically – if you are all in on PvP games with resource grinding conditions for new loot, Destiny 2 has bought you your game back.  And it has done it well – it’s just not for me.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Destiny 2 is free for PS Plus users ahead of Forsaken

Destiny 2 Forsaken Feature

People are going all out to make sure Destiny is not Forsaken

If you are a PlayStation Plus member, you can get Destiny 2 for free, right now.

I have spoken a few times about my Destiny experiences, and right now Wednesday’s release is Destiny’s last chance for me.

Harls is back and some new people are playing, and Destiny is still fun with more people.  Playing with Harls and helping some new people through the story is still fun, but the changes in Forsaken are very ‘meh’ for me.

I had dropped of playing with the Clan with Harls away, and for that and some other shenanigans, I am no longer a member of the Cosmic Voids Clan.

Disappointing, but the people I played with when I could are on my friend list, it’s just they don’t get bonuses if I help them do strikes and the like.  This makes timing issues even more problematic because it’s not in their interest to go out of their way to play with me.

This isn’t a complaint of the game, but it has a lot to do with my state of mind when it comes to Destiny prior to this week’s Forsaken expansion.

20180421 Destiny 2 Harls The Blade Selfie Emote
Meet Harls. It's usually his fault.

Last week I played a bit with the new weapon options and they were OK.  Not great, not bad, a bit of getting used to.  I have seen arguments of ‘Finally’ and ‘What the?’ on the internet during the week.  Basically, it’s relearning the weapons system.  It’s a huge change, and one that was asked for – even demanded – by a large part of the community.  New players – no problems, it’s how it works, but this week the weapons seem to be in a limbo space with most changes implemented and bugs to be fixed.

PvP has descended instantly back into a shotgun/sniper meta that has a brutal entry level curve.  As a player that was starting to come around to trying some Crucible, this has killed off my enthusiasm again.

What has me interested though is the story change.  Cayde-6 is dead (or soon will be), but rumours of other vanguard regulars dying as well have been circulating for months.

Bungie is gambling big with the Cayde-6 reveal.  Knowing they could keep it secret from data miners (Cayde’s passing was already found in files a year ago), they have gone big on the Year 2 opener, and I want to see where it goes.

Destiny 2 Forsaken Caydes passing
Advertising the death of a fan favourite as a 'benefit' is risky at the best of times

Playing with others is still fun, and I will continue to do so.  I am not down on Destiny, even with some weird clan stuff happening.

I want to play with a Bow and Arrow, and that is coming.  I like that I can now have an assault rifle, a scout/sniper rifle and a big bad weapon loadout.  Destiny looks like it is providing positive changes.

Wednesday night, I will start playing the new Forsaken storyline.  History says Harls will probably already have done it, but will need to again with another character 🙂

If I get through the story in a couple of hours like Warmind, and all the other activities are heavy on raid and prestige multiplayer grind required for entry, that could spell the end for me playing though.  Escalation Protocol is fun for a bit of Hive shooting, but I have never completed it – and probably won’t to be honest. Not without serious preplanning for times, which means a new clan, and Australian based most likely.

Or starting a new one.  It’s not without merit – a beginner clan that isn’t so competitive based.  The idea has merit.

Ask me Friday, after a couple of days with Forsaken.

Until then, enjoy Destiny for free with PlayStation Plus and let me know what you think of the game.

JohnHQLD

Bungie brings Solstice of Heroes event with Moments of Triumph

Destiny 2 Triumph Rewards

Will this Solstice usher in Summer or Winter for the Forsaken expansion?

As previously mentioned, I left the original Destiny pre-DLC.  While I have enjoyed the return to Destiny 2 (mainly because of playing with friends), my enthusiasm has started waning.

The gaming news has been proclaiming heavily about Destiny 2 players being unhappy and ‘leaving in droves’, but I am back in a position where my main gaming partner Harls is currently enjoying Europe for a couple of months so I have been largely playing alone.  This extended leave couple with the large(ish) investment in Forsaken to ‘Complete’ Destiny 2 has had me wondering if I will play at all come September.

On Bungie Day (July 7th), they announced the Solstice of Heroes special event that includes the Moments of Triumph.

The Moments of Triumph are essentially lifetime play achievement awards, with four possible ranks leading to different rewards.

Most are in-game items, including a special Ghost, Sparrow and emblems.  One of the most interesting is the second reward – the ability to unlock the ordering of a special t-shirt from Bungie.  Yep – one reward is to give Bungie more money.

Destiny 2 Triumph Rewards
Some new rewards for lifetime play achievements are part of the Solstice of Heroes Event

While this might sound bad, I have to admit it’s not something I am against.  Yes you pay for a shirt no one else can get, but it’s a real reward for in-game achievements.  It’s also the second reward, and one you don’t have to claim.  If this was the ultimate reward, I might call paying for other than postage a bit on the nose, but this isn’t the case here.

Another bonus (well, to me) is that because it’s lifetime achievements, players that have actually done ‘everything’ in Destiny 2 will already be working to their level 3 reward.  Even someone like me, a largely casual player, have already achieved the first reward!

Destiny 2 Triumph Profile
It's actually easy to see what you have or haven't yet done, and even includes checklists!

If you want to see how you are doing before the Solstice of Heroes officially launches at the end of the month, check out your profile page on Bungie.net here.

But while the Moments of Triumph may seem the main reward, this is not the case.  In fact, because the Moments are ‘lifetime’ achievements, it’s only the reward for what you have already done (or can grind through before August 28th).

The real achievement grind prior to Forsaken’s release in September is the new level 400 prestige raid gear.  Already the ‘best’ armour and equipment in the game, now you can beat the current level cap of 385 before the expansion.

Raids are something I enjoy but get to do rarely, so I don’t have a complete set of any of the goodies just yet.  But to have the ability to get the jump on power levels before an expansion is a huge opportunity – just ask anyone that tried an escalation protocol on day one.

Destiny 2 Solstice Armour
There is new special Raid armour to grind for during August

Harls is still away until possibly halfway through the Solstice of Heroes event, and the other people I might be able to play with have yet to finish the original story campaigns.

I have a clan with some great people that hopefully I can coordinate some time playing with, but this is going to be a slog.  I am definitely interested in seeing what else the Solstice of Heroes event brings.  There are a lot of ‘Redacted’ entries in how to gain points for the Moments of Triumph.

Destiny 2 Triumph Points
There are still 165 points 'missing' to get to the event max of 400.

But will I buy Forsaken?

Only time will tell.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Destiny 2’s new expansion is Forsaken, hopefully it’s anything but

Destiny 2 Forsaken Feature

Todays reveal leaves me with hope for Forsaken

There have been a lot of negative articles about Destiny 2.  Like my own pieces, these have been largely opinion based, as anyone’s take on anything creative truly is.  I do think it would be fair to say though that Destiny 2 has been struggling with content and updates for a while now, and many waited for changes and fixes just haven’t been coming fast enough.

The Warmind expansion that recently came out gave me new things to aim for, and a lot of what I hoped on release has been done.  The Escalation Protocols are brutally difficult without preplanning or lucking into a max powered fireteam, but that just gives me something to strive towards.

The changes to the Heroic Strikes have made these more difficult for me than the Raids.  It feels strange to have a relaxing run in a Nightfall rather than the Heroic Strikes, but there it is.  It definitely changed up the system which is what was needed – just because I need to readjust doesn’t make it bad.

But this morning, the trailer for the new (and I am guessing final) year of Destiny 2 was revealed.  And wow.  Where Warmind had me interested and looking forward to narrative changes and something new, Forsaken has me genuinely excited – new game excited.

Check out what I am talking about below:

So I have some red flags.  “This is the game the community has been asking for.”  Heard this before, but usually as a half measure or leading to something consolation step.

In the video, the definitive comments that Bungie has specifically NOT been making are front and centre.  “All of the feedback we’ve heard for the last year is… This is it.  It’s in Forsaken.”

This is not something Bungie can spin after the fact if Forsaken fails – this is the culmination of the past years “Trust Us” messages, and they will be held to it.

And it really looks like they will pull it off.

The video does a great job of outlining everything, but some of the things I am looking forward to or just have thoughts on are included below.

Of course, Cayde-6 has been up to something

So the basic story premise goes back to the original Destiny House of Wolves content.  There was an arena called the Prison of Elders, a cooperative run where players ran a gauntlet of enemies.  I didn’t play House of Wolves, so I am very sketchy on the story impact, but I know it was a thing.  I am assuming storywise it was left neglected, because of the reveal this morning.

For Forsaken, Cayde-6 has been filling the Prison of Elders with enemies.  I’m not sure why he didn’t just kill them, but also it’s Cayde-6.  All seems to have been going well, but of course, things hit critical mass and now there is a jailbreak to contend with.  Once the bad guys are free, they inhabit The Reef in a new area called the Tangled Cove.

This leads you to track down seven Fallen ‘Barons’ or faction leaders around The Reef.  I am hoping this will reveal information on the Awoken Queen, but we will see.

Information that has been revealed is each Baron is a unique type of boss fight, similar to the Metal Gear bosses in a lot of ways.  Revealed bosses include Melee battles and Sniper fights, where you fight the enemy ‘their way’ to prove who is the bigger badass.

This does force you to maybe play a way you don’t really enjoy, but being story related I would assume this is just exposing you to different styles of play and not over the top difficult.

Destiny 2 Forsaken Melee Baron
Me, if I was fighting a 10+ foot, multi-armed, super buff alien gladiator, I would shoot him in the face with a fusion gun and sleep well that night.

Can’t decide if Destiny 1 or Destiny 2 weapon systems were better?  Now you can choose!

When you had an item drop in Destiny, especially weapons, you were never completely sure of what the stats would be.  This would always be within set ranges, but for example, you may get a Positive Outlook with better range or one that reloads just that little bit faster.

The mods also worked differently.  You would unlock mods for your weapons in Destiny, usually by killing lots of enemies.  This was taken away in Destiny 2, with the exception of higher tier weapons where you can switch between a couple of choices.

Being able to grind for a weapon with the stats that suit me, then being rewarded for sticking with that weapon?  I can’t wait.  But if you want to play ‘Destiny 2’ style where you just stick with the default loadout, you can do that too.

Destiny 2 Forsaken New Weapons Systems
It could just be a developer debug set of stats, but that power level! So much grinding to come, and a reason to do it

Also coming with Forsaken is the ability to equip a lot of weapons where you choose to equip them.  Are you like me, where you largely play kinetic weapons but wish you could equip a rocket launcher and a shotgun?  Well, now we can!

There is also a whole new group of weapons that I can’t wait to get a hold of – the Bow and Arrow.  Yep, old school is still the best school, and I can’t wait.  Games like Horizon Zero Dawn make me miss archery, and being able to whip out a ‘future bow’ and start dropping enemies will just feel amazing 🙂

And of course, new Supers.  Who can object to new skills?

Destiny 2 Forsaken New Bow Weapons
I enjoy archery. This won't be the same as getting on the field, but I can see a whole new class of stealth crucible players emerging.
Destiny 2 Forsaken Fire Knives Super
Ever wish the Gunslingers throwing knives had more oomph? How about a Fire Knives Super!

The Season Pass is no more.  Welcome the Annual Pass?

So pricing is set at AUD$59.95 for the Forsaken Expansion, or you buy Forsaken with the ANNUAL pass for AUD$99.95.

Huh.  Well, that’s a thing.

I am not 100{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} sure on this pricing.  Compared to the Season Pass and past expansions, the price points is definitely there.  To get effectively four premium expansions for $100 is great, but I don’t know if I want to keep playing Destiny 2 after this.

It sounds like everything is coming together, and Destiny 2 will effectively become a different game.  Bungie is doing there best to make sure I put aside a couple of hours a night to playing, rather than the night and a bit I currently put aside.  And with the new grinds, it might be worth it, it really might.

But given all the bad press and backlash, to be asking players to return because it will be alright now if you give us $100 is a lot to ask.  But you do get a lot for the money.  It’s a tricky one.

Destiny 2 Forsaken Annual Pass Expansions
Not sure on this move. Will the changes be as advertised and enough?
Destiny 2 Forsaken Annual Pass
There are enough incentives, but are the incentives worth it? That's the question

I have heard a bit of talk that Forsaken should be free to get customers back, then charge as normal.  I don’t think this is right either.  Once Bungie sets a precedent for free premium expansions, the cry when the next charged one comes along will be ‘but you didn’t charge for the last one’.

I can all but guarantee I will be buying Forsaken.  I can’t guarantee I will be playing Destiny 2 all the way to September though, but even if that happens, I will be back for Forsaken.

But for the new content, I think I will bite the bullet and just pay the higher costs later and see what the changes are like first.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

A few fun bits and pieces to start the week off with!

Deadpool Unicorn

Great news to start the week with!

So on the last Blatherings, I spoke how I was disappointed Brooklyn Nine-Nine was ending.  I got the news Friday after the renewal of Rick and Morty, and was really bummed by the news.

I hoped the cancellation was just a paperwork thing with the Fox-Disney merger and Brooklyn Nine-Nine being a Universal TV Property.

Well, luckily, it kind of doesn’t matter anymore!

It may only be one more season so far, but it’s back and that’s enough for me right now!

Destiny 2 new secrets aren’t just on Mars

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Say what you will about the state of Destiny 2, this kind of event is always awesome to see.  It’s something no one has to do – developer, publisher, or player.  But when it happens, and seeing everyone working together, I always have a warm feeling when people just work together.

First prize was a ‘real’ Javelin spear, with Golden Coins as consolation prizes.  While these are amazing and exciting, I can’t imagine the excitement as the puzzles were solved to reveal actual understandable content.  It may be cliche, but for me, that is a prize in itself.  And there is a chance it isn’t finished – check the last image!

*Photo gallery content is taken from Imgur.  The last image with the embossed lettering is from PC Gamer.

Reddit users joined forces to solve a cipher that started off as a symbol in AI Rasputin’s bunker, with one Redditor unlocking the following message:

“Thank you for taking the time to piece together this message, friend. The time of our final conflict is drawing closer and you and Ana have an important role to play in the events to come. So watch over her, Guardian. I would have no life without Ana or the Exoprogram. I regret that we have become strangers, but we each have a path that we must walk. And, ironically, there never seems to be enough time. Tell her Rasputin’s first attempt was in the right location, but the wrong moment. Look here: 43.549573, -73.544868 – e”

Destiny 2 Rasputin's translatable symbol
I would never have even stopped to see if this could be translated

The note is penned by Ana’s sister Elsie, who is ‘The Stranger’ in the first Destiny.  I won’t lie, this is the storyline and lore that has me the most excited, and I can’t wait to see where else the lore takes us.  If only I had more time to raid…

If you want to see the entire Reddit mega thread of a solution, it can be found here.

For nothing more than a smile, and Deadpool

I am going to see Deadpool 2 Wednesday night.  I am going to enjoy it.  I have the tickets, and well, you know, Deadpool, so I am confident in these statements.

You know why I am confident of Deadpool?  Well, if the amazing marketing and impromptu videos (of which apparently 20 or so from the first film are still to be seen) didn’t convince you, nothing will.

For the rest of us, there is a show in South Korea called “King of Masked Signer”.  No, I hadn’t heard of it either.  But last week a special guest nailed a certain famous song from Annie, and the mask is so fitting…

So, good news all over the place!  Hopefully this puts a smile on your face to start the week with!

Here is to a great week everyone,

JohnHQLD

JohnHQLD Blatherings 007 – Some Upcoming Games And TV, And Changes Are Coming

JohnHQLD's Blatherings Podcast

Welcome to the seventh Blatherings!

This week in the Blatherings has me talking about some new purchases I can’t wait to play. These include Escape the Dark Castle, and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective – Carlton House and Queen’s Park. Then I give my impressions on Destiny 2’s Season 3 expansion Warmind.

There are also more details on changes coming on the very next Blatherings!  I can’t wait for this to start happening.

Have a great weekend everyone!

JohnHQLD

Wednesday I got Warmind on my Mind…

Destiny 2 Warmind

New things are coming to Destiny 2 with Warmind

So I really wanted to have a few things written for this week. I was hoping to write a few things as I went to Sydney for work, but that didn’t quite happen. I tried to finish an article I started on Monday, but it’s just not happening.  You know what is happening?  The new expansion for Destiny 2, Warmind, goes live.

I keep looking at the clock while I write this, and just think to myself I can stay up the three or four hours and start the preload, get a couple of hours sleep, then get up and play.  This makes no sense, and I will be wrecked for a big day at work even with a late start.  But it’s what I am thinking.  I think I have rewatched the trailer about 4 times already tonight.

There have been promises of lots of new things with Warmind.  I have seen bits and pieces on the internet for a few weeks on how this is Bungie’s ‘make or break’ release.

On one hand, I can understand some players disappointment with Destiny 2.  A constant complaint has been stripping back content from the end of Destiny.  On the other hand though, really guys?  You think an expansion can fix something in your opinion fundamentally broken?

That is all a much deeper bunch of opinions than I can give proper thought to right now.  All I am thinking is tomorrow morning, I am going to start the Warmind campaign with Harls, and we are going to have fun.

20180421 Destiny 2 Harls The Blade Selfie Emote
Meet Harls. It's usually his fault.

There are mechanical changes I am looking forward to, like Masterwork Exotics.  A reason to grind out certain mission types or hunt certain foes.  And the upgrades to the Exotic weaponry looks insane.  At the moment, even though I haven’t run many nightfall missions, I would need a very specific reason to run with an Exotic weapon over a Legendary Masterwork.  Just the extra orbs from multi kills make the choice clear.  Now, hopefully, those waters are muddied a little, giving weight to choices.

Destiny 2 Warmind Exotic Suros Regime
One of the new Exotic weapons. Is it just me, or does this look like it belongs in Mass Effect?

There is the new campaign itself to look forward to as well.  In a lot of ways, to me, the story of Destiny 2 has been pretty light on.  But in the teaser trailer for Warmind one of the most referred to but never seen characters looks set to take centre stage – Ana Bray.

There is a new Raid, but I already don’t have time to run the current ones as regularly as I would like.  I haven’t even tried the Eater of Worlds yet.  New Strikes will be welcome, as will the new Secrets to uncover.

The main thing I am looking forward to is new end game content known as the Escalation Protocol.  Essentially a public event on steroids, the Escalation Protocol will not only see your fireteam taking on wave after wave of enemies, but groups of fireteams working together.  And, the final boss rotates each week, giving a little more variety.

Make it to the end, and specific rewards will be dropped for you to collect.  But unlike Public Events, people that wander in at the last minute and fire off a quick shot will not be able to loot the maximum level loot.

The Escalation Protocols sound like the epic challenge I want to take part in, without having to coordinate specific people to take part.  I hope it lives up to expectations!

I will be talking about Warmind more in the near future.  But for now, wish me luck!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD