ArcheAge deserves another chance…I hope

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Until a couple of days ago my stance on ArcheAge Unchained was yeah, not touching that with a ten foot pole.

Mind you, ArcheAge wasn’t a bad game when Lakisa and I played it. Far from it. In fact it’s among my favourite MMORPGs (and games period) of all time, right up there with Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies.

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Our first steps into the game, marveling at the water physics

When you look at these three titles you get a pretty good idea of what kind of game I fancy – they’re all sandboxes, they have open world housing, very flexible skill systems instead of fixed classes, and open world PvP in one form or another.

This combination of features, it seems, is what lets me truly immerse myself in a game, because it makes me feel like I can do pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want, and that anything can happen at any time. The game stops being just a game and becomes a virtual world I actually live in. Other games I’ve played. These three were home.

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Home, and myself clinging to a bamboo trunk for some reason

Despite that we quit ArcheAge around July 2015, less than a year after we’d started. We did so with a very heavy heart, but at the time we didn’t see an alternative. I’ve talked about the game’s extreme RNG-heaviness before, the likes of which I’d never seen and hopefully won’t ever see again. Couple that with more and more P2W elements appearing in the cash shop, many of which serving the purpose to lessen or circumvent said RNG aspects somewhat – what a coincidence, am I right? – and you can easily see why any sane person wouldn’t have put up with that any longer.

During the following years pretty much all press coverage the game got was overwhelmingly negative. Server outages, botched “fresh start server” launches, what have you. Whenever I saw such a news piece I was all the more relieved to have quit when we did, but at the same time I always felt a pang of regret and anger because I’ve never really stopped thinking about what a truly fantastic game this could have been with the right people in charge.

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So yeah, of course I took note when Gamigo took the reigns of the game’s western version after TRION tanked, and even more so when they announced a B2P version of the game without Patron status (the technically optional but effectively mandatory monthly subscription the game’s so-called F2P version has on top of its P2W microtransactions) and, most importantly, with a cosmetics-only cash shop.

Now, Gamigo hasn’t exactly the best reputation, and we’ve all heard lofty promises of no P2W in our game before. Also, Gamigo, like TRION before them, is only the publisher for the NA and EU regions. XL Games, ArcheAge’s Korean developer and publisher, still has the final say on what is and isn’t in the game. Thus I remained highly sceptical.

My interst was piqued though, so I tried to gather as much information about what they have planned with Unchained as I could. I wanted to know exactly what changes, if any, for the game itself they might have planned. No P2W is all well and good, but if the game’s systems were to remain as I knew them, RNG madness and all, then why bother? After all, everybody being on equal footing doesn’t mean much when that footing is built in RNG-hell itself.

The official FAQ answered some of my questions, but not many.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find much beyond that until the public test server opened a week ago. I didn’t have time to jump in myself, but I knew it wouldn’t be long until folks who did play it released videos sharing their findings. Of course I would have preferred guides and impression pieces in text form, but as we all know those have become increasingly rare in recent years. Besides, since in this case time was of the essence, what with the PTS opening a mere week before release, I was happy to get infos quickly no matter the format.

There are some good videos summing up their makers’ experiences on the PTS out there by now. Others give advice and tips for the actual launch and stuff like that. They aren’t hard to find, so I’ll just link my favourites.

These are PTS impressions by The Lazy Peon. I’ve liked most of his videos, and this one is no different. He’s always informative, but also weaves bits of humour into his narrative that make me smile.

This is a short and crisp (under ten minutes) piece of advice for starting out in the game. The volume is pretty low, but it’s worth a watch and will probably be of good use for players who have never played ArcheAge and might feel overwhelmed by the many systems and possibilities.

All of this is well and good, and I got answers to at least some more of my questions. Others still remained a mystery though, and I couldn’t quite understand why nobody was, for example, complaining about the RNG-heavy gear crafting and regrading systems still being in the game – or, alternatively, celebrating the fact that they have been taken out.

Then I finally found this video, and all was revealed:

Turns out, much to my surprise, that most of those systems have already been changed in the game’s original, live version quite some time ago. Crafting an expensive piece of gear not knowing if you will get the desired outcome or if you’ll have to throw it away; trying to upgrade a piece and downgrading or even destroying it instead; trying to socket another gem into your piece and losing it and all other gems you had already socketed – those are all things of the past. Hip, hip, hoofuckin’ray!

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Apparently the Grimghast raid is still in. Hey, that’s good!

I have no idea why every bit of bad news regarding the game was covered extensively in the gaming press, but not a single one of the patches that did away with these crap systems made the headlines. Like mentioned above seeing the game’s name anywhere still gets my blood pressure up reliably, so I can’t imagine to just have missed them.

Be it as it may, this is really good news. I talked to Lakisa about all this, and we watched that last video and skimmed through our old screenshot folders together. Boy, that brought back some great memories (like this one).

So, yeah. We both bought into Unchained and sat down on Saturday to reserve our characters’ names. We managed to get them both and while we were at it also tried to make us look exactly like we looked back in 2014. Some textures seem to be a bit different nowadays, but on the whole we succeeded to recreate those characters pretty well.

The launch is slated for tomorrow, and we can’t wait! Of course I’m still a bit sceptical, but this might just be what I’ve been waiting and hoping for.

Fingers crossed!

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Pumping up the jam

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Meet Warframe’s Octavia, the most unique and fun class I’ve had the pleasure to play in any video game ever. This may sound like hyperbole, but I’m serious.

After finishing the great Octavia’s Anthem quest I set my mind on farming the three required blueprints to actually build this frame. With a bit of luck I’d already managed to do so by Tuesday, but since building frame components takes 12 hours and a frame proper three days it wasn’t until late Saturday that I could finally take her out for a spin.

As the quest strongly suggests she’s all about music. Her abilities’ descriptions confirm as much:

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Click to enlarge for better readability

To make it easier to tell them apart and also stay within established Warframe-lingo I’ll just call them by numbers, so 1 is Mallet, 2 is Resonator, 3 is Metronome and 4 is Amp.

So what does all this actually look and sound like? Let’s see.

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Your 1 drops a little ball to where you’re aiming. It’s indestructible and stays there until its duration expires or you recast it elsewhere. Enemies within its range (depicted by a pulsating sound wave as seen here behind me) attack it and have their damage reflected back to them. This is doubly great because not only does it draw enemy fire away from you, it kills even the strongest foes with ease as it’s their own damage that kills them, not yours. I assume this doesn’t work on bosses though.

In terms of music and visuals it emanates a drum beat, and those volume bars coming out of the ability’s center point pump rhythmically to it.

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The 2 by itself is nothing to write home about. This ball just rolls around seemingly at random and makes enemies run after it. It plays a bass line, other than that it’s not of much use like this. Combine it with 1 though…

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Cast 1 then 2, and the beat latches onto the ball. Disco ball for the win! Now it makes the baddies follow and shoot it, thus killing themselves, and covers a larger area since it’s moving. This might not always be desired as it sometimes leaves your immediate vicinity before all foes are dead, but it works great for clearing out a level in front of you while you’re still looting or scanning stuff. The drum beat and bass line play in unison when doing this.

The 3 plays the song’s melody. It isn’t screenshot-worthy because it just makes some lines appear on the ground moving towards you, one for each note. This is supposed to help you find your rhythm, because you indeed have to crouch, jump, fire or melee to the beat (to the melody, to be precise) in order to activate the various buffs. It’s very worth it to do so; who doesn’t like to have speed and damage buffs running while being invisible at the same time?

The 4 does exactly what it says in the discription. It gives your team and your 1 a damage buff, and the louder it is around you the stronger the buff. Shooting and slashing do count into it (I think), but to get the most out of it just activate all of Octavia’s abilities at once and enjoy the show.

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While listening to the complete song in all its glory

Let me tell you, if you have any love for music this is pure joy. When I play this frame my face starts to hurt quickly because I’m grinning the whole time.

It also changes the way the game is played quite a bit. I imagine that if you can make her abilities strong enough you actually don’t need to bring a gun to most missions anymore. Of the frames I have at my disposal right now she’s arguably the strongest by quite a margin.

But this ain’t everything yet. No, I’ve saved the best bit for last.

A couple of times now I’ve mentioned “the song”. It’s the music you hear during Octavia’s Anthem, and it’s quite nice. But this is only the default song the mandachord, Octavia’s instrument, can play. You can actually compose your own!

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Holy crap, so Digital Extremes release a new frame (in 2017 that is), and not only do they give her a really great set of abilities and unique way to play, they also give us this? For free? In my opinion this is above and beyond what a good F2P title can do for its players. Thank you DE, and take note everyone else!

Anyway, as you can see the notes you can scribe are divided into three categories for your abilities. Your 1 has three different notes (bass drum, snare or clap, hi-hat), while your 2 and 3 get five notes each. Unfortunately this means that you can’t use the full musical scale. For bass line and melody the notes you can use are D, F, G, A and C, from low to high, so just short of one octave in range (ironic, what with her name being Octavia and all). The game doesn’t tell you this, by the way, I had to figure it out myself. You also can’t change the tempo (about 115 BPM), the meter (4/4) and the song length (four bars) after which it repeats.

This means that you can’t compose or replicate just any song (like I had so much fun and success with in APB Reloaded), at least not perfectly. But as it turns out many known, catchy tunes are indeed so simple that you can make it work.

As a big football fan my first idea, for example, was of course Zombie Nation’s Kernkraft 400 (the part you’ll probably rercognize starts at 0:41).

Except for one note I was able to recreate this pretty well I think. I obviously chose a passage with beat and everything, namely the four bars starting at 1:29. Now I get to hear “my” football hymn whenever the Rolling Disco Ball of Death shreds everything. The mandachord-screenshot above shows the first bar and a bit of the second, but if you play the game and would like to have the whole thing just send a whisper to Mailvaltar.

For it to sound just right I bought a couple of additional instruments for platinum though, so I guess it’s technically not quite correct that they gave us everything related to Octavia for free. However 50 platinum for a set of instruments (one drums, one bass and one melody) isn’t all that much, and I was more than happy to give DE a bit of support for this truly awesome frame (and game).

Now, if you dislike looter shooters in general this probably isn’t enough to make you like Warframe – especially as it takes a good while to unlock her – but if you do like this kind of game and also love music you really owe it to yourself to experience this.

There are stories behind those doors

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Warframe continues to amaze me on a daily basis. There’s so much to do and see, it boggles the mind.

Up there you see me on my hoverboard, cruising the mountaintops of Orb Vallis. I’m still getting the hang of riding it, but it’s a lot of fun and also blazingly fast compared to traveling on foot. This is ‘only’ the vanilla version of it too; in time I’ll build my own one, custom stats and all.

Disclaimer: from here on out there will be spoilers if you haven’t finished The Second Dream and subsequent quests yet, as well as some other story bits, so be warned.

Still here? Ok then.

When you go down one of the ramps right behind the arsenal in your orbiter there’s a corridor leading to three doors, all of which are locked initially. By now I’ve managed to open them all.

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Ordis is right, this is disgusting!

A couple of days after I’d played some missions teamed up with strangers I noticed some kind of cyst growing on one of my warframes’ neck. Turns out there’s a virus going ’round, and someone had infected me with it. It’s fully grown one week after the infection, and then the frame in question can enter this room. As of now the only function available here seems to be to cure the frame, but Ordis says that this entity, known as Helminth, serves the warframes and the ship, so there might be more upcoming.

Instead of curing the infection one can use the ship’s incubator unit to drain the cyst (yuck!) and grow a special kind of Kubrow (= doggo) from it, so choose wisely.

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This is the last part of the Octavia’s Anthem quest, which is all about music. Naturally I loved it, although the finale is pretty heavy on the jumping-puzzles, so you better limber up before going in. Unfortunately the quest doesn’t gave me access to the finished Octavia frame as I’d hoped, I only got its blueprint. Getting all blueprints for the subcomponents will take another while.

Moving on to the big story quests and the remaining doors.

When starting out in Warframe the player doesn’t know much about what a Tenno actually is. Where did they come from, what’s the source of their powers, why do they even exist?

The Second Dream and The War Within delve into that and answer some of those questions. I won’t spoil the stories and revelations in detail, but suffice it to say at the end of The Second Dream I at least had a pretty good idea about who’s inside of my frames…because I had to actually create him (or her, if you so choose).

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That’s a first: character creation after having already played for dozens of hours

From that point on every frame has a fifth ability, which makes the operator (he still has no name) leave the frame for a couple of seconds and shoot a big fricking laser beam at his foes.

He “lives” in the second of the three eponymous orbiter-rooms, and his appearance, equipment as well as a whole new progression system of active and passive skills are managed here.

During The War Within he learns more about his past and how to control his powers, making him capable of leaving the frame indefinitely and fight with some powers of his own.

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Now that’s what I call an out-of-body-experience

In my opinion these quests as a whole are very well done. The end of TWW was also a pretty strong emotional moment, storywise as well as visually and audibly.

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One of its rewards is access to the third and final room, which is the operator’s personal quarters. As I’ve talked about before you can place decorations anywhere in the orbiter, but this room is designed specifically to make it your own and feel at home.

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What would a capatin’s quarters be without Jean-Luc Picard’s aquarium?

It’s not huge, but pretty nice. There’s a large pedestal in the middle to install another, bigger aquarium, or one of several vignettes depicting the various planets. I’m using the Plains of Eidolon, mainly because it’s accompanied by very soothing outdoor sounds.

I haven’t played around much with the room yet, but I intend to knock myself out and make it into something special over time.

The first item on the agenda was getting some fish for the aquarium of course. So I grabbed my fishing spear and off to the Plains of Eidolon I went.

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There’s always a bigger fish…

The room also provides a jukebox of sorts, the somachord. Actually using it is unlocked by completing the Octavia’s Anthem quest mentioned above.

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Seen in the bottom right. The urn on the left was rewarded by another quest

Nothing’s easy in Warframe though, so I have to find and scan some more fragments to unlock songs before I can actually use it. That’s fine by me however, because I intend to play the game for a good long while yet.

What happens in Berlin, stays in Berlin

Nah, just kidding. That wouldn’t make for an interesting blogpost, would it?

I always wanted to attend EVE Online’s fanfest in Reykjavík, preferably combined with a trip around Iceland before or after the festivities. It never came to pass for various reasons however.

Hence, when CCP announced some time last year that there wouldn’t be a regular fanfest in 2019 I was pretty disappointed because I feared that my chance to go might have come and gone. After all, nobody but CCP knows the real reasons for the cancellation – the official one is that Harpa concert hall is/was being renovated – and I was a bit sceptical if there was going to be another fanfest in Reykjavík at all.

So what has any of this to do with Berlin?

Well, to compensate for the lack of a ‘real’ fanfest CCP decided to do a bunch of smaller events all around the globe, two of which not too far from where we live. So basically the only question was if would we make the trip to Amsterdam in March, or to Berlin in September. Amsterdam would have been the shorter drive, but since I had a football game on March 24th we would have missed at least part of the event. So G-Fleet in Berlin it was going to be.

World Tour

Attending the first G-Fleet – in 2018, also in Berlin – didn’t cross my mind at the time, but the thought of not wanting to miss yet another chance to be at an EVE event had really took hold by now. Lakisa was all for it too, so we bought the tickets and booked a hotel within walking distance from the venue, the Game Science Center.

We decided to go by car because it’s much cheaper than a train ride for two. The journey out made us regret this somewhat because a truck accident ahead of us made the trip take almost nine hours instead of six. That’s Friday 13th for you I guess. We missed the opening ceremony due to that, according to our NC Dot comrades it was more like a little talk than a ceremony anyway though.

Speaking of whom, of course we had been looking forward to meet some of the folks we had only known by voice or even text up to then. Altogether there was a dozen of us, mostly from Germany and Great Britain, and we had a lot of fun.

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Good thing we all look the same, it made meeting up so much easier

We also talked to people from other corps and alliances, but I couldn’t tell you any names even if I wanted to. Everybody was really nice and the whole event felt pleasantly civilized despite copious amounts of alcohol being consumed. Even Goons weren’t angry that a couple of us stole…I’m sorry, captured the flag they had put up inside the venue, but that may have something to do with us giving it back to them later.

On late Friday evening a special G-Fleet issue of Spectre Fleet was being formed, and since a couple of PCs were still vacant Lakisa and I decided to tag along. It took a while to get everyone sorted with a ship and Discord access, but once we got going we were killing stuff in and around Tama in no time. Really expensive stuff too. A shame that we didn’t use our own characters.

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And just like that yet another character has turned into an outlaw by my hand…

There was also a 2vs2 PvP tournament. Each team was allowed to field one Tech I battlecruiser and one tactical destroyer. We watched most of those fights although it was quite hard to see exactly what was going on.

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In hindsight I might need a new pair of glasses after all

On Saturday we attended some of the presentations. The one I’d been looking forward to, Epic stories from the EVE universe by Andrew Groen, didn’t disappoint, but the one about Bomber’s Bar and another about a special kind of logistics division within Signal Cartel were cool too.

The show CCP themselves put on wasn’t really that great to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate them being there and stuff, but my main takeaway, especially from the AMA on Friday, was a whole lot of “we have no idea” and “we can’t talk about that”.

Still, it was a cool event and worth it for the socializing alone. Oh, and for the swag of course.

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I’m really happy that we managed to snag those Quafe cans, but the other stuff is pretty nice too. The USB stick contains Andrew Groen’s first book Empires of EVE, of which I already have the physical version, but it’s cool to also have it in PDF format now. The gift-card’s code was redeemed for a set of three ingame SKINs:

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The Triglavian ships are still the new hotness, shown here the Draugur

So yeah, would do again.

By now we know that there will in fact be a fanfest in Iceland next year after all, from April 2nd to 5th. Since G-Fleet was really fun I’d like to go more than ever now, but we’ll see.

An outsider’s view on WoW Classic

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WoW Classic has been live for just shy of two weeks now and a couple of our friends, this corner of the blogosphere and pretty much the MMORPG community as a whole are all abuzz with excitement and joy.

About a year ago I talked about my reasons for never having played the game. I still haven’t played it, and I’m not going to. Nevertheless I’m really happy about what I’m hearing and reading right now because it gives me some hope – just a teeny, tiny bit, but that’s better than nothing – that the gaming industry might take notice and learn one or two lessons from it.

Here are some examples of what folks have to say about their experiences up to now.

SynCaine writes:

It’s obviously very early, but playing just felt right. […] there is a sense that all of this content was created with a passion, and that passion shows in all of the little details that bring the zone together. […]

Classic being enjoyable, for me at least, isn’t just about the nostalgia, its mostly about the fact that Vanilla WoW was a really fun MMO to play.

Bhagpuss notes:

I’m not claiming it’s intrinsically “better” than either WoW Retail or any other game in the genre. I am saying that it has a coherency and throughline of design that later development, both for WoW and most of its progeny, has lost. And that’s a big part of why I’m playing it and enjoying it when I wasn’t expecting to find all that much to hold my attention.

Syp has an example of good design that has been scrapped from the game later on, namely talent trees (I wholeheartedly second his stance on this, by the way):

Mapping out your character’s growth is one of the most fulfilling parts of RPGs (at least for me), and this system provides a visible means for those plans. We’re given lots of choices. We’re given the opportunity to differentiate ourselves from others. We can specialize or hybrid ourselves as much as we like.

Pretty much everyone agrees that playing Classic feels by orders of magnitude more like being part of a living, breathing world than any later version of the game or any of the countless wannabe-WoW-killers that came after it. Some even say it’s actually not a full-on themepark, but rather a sandpark (i.e. a themepark with a lot of sandbox elements, or vice versa). This really surprised me, and I find it extremely ironic considering that a great many people, myself included, were under the impression that WoW always was the mother of all themeparks and the main culprit for the major shift in game design we saw following its huge success.

Which makes me wonder if game designers at that time, including the development-staff of WoW themselves, had a hard look at that success and drew the completely wrong conclusions about why people actually liked this game so much.

It seems like a fair assumption, because whenever people aren’t talking about the experience as a whole and instead describe what they’re actually doing in the game, they tell stories about how they need to be on their toes to not pull unwanted adds, how they are scrapping together the few silver they have for their new skills, how satisfactory it is to make their own 6-slot bags or find a grey yet good piece of gear, how they embark on long and dangerous journeys, or how they just watch some NPCs doing their thing for a while.

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Nabbed this from Bhagpuss. I hope you don’t mind, mate

You know what nobody is talking about? How they need to get to revered with faction x. How they need to do their dailies. How they got a new piece of gear that they need to equip because of its gearscore, but that actually makes their character worse to play because it rolled the wrong titanforge stats (or whatever).

These are things I’ve read all the time when folks talked about BfA. Incidentally these are also things that almost every MMORPG that came after WoW has in one form or another.

Now, I’m not saying these are inherently bad. Some people really like doing their dailies, others can’t have enough factions to raise their standing with. But I think that even those players wouldn’t argue that any of that feels like having an adventure or like living in a virtual world. MMORPGs can have these features, maybe they even need them to an extent, but they are not what makes these games great.

Don’t give us chores, give us what it says on the box: Massively Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Games!

Of course it’s a bit early to call WoW Classic a huge success, but should it in fact become one this is the lesson that I really hope some people in the industry will learn from it.

More musings about gaming goals

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Whether I play MMORPGs, ARPGs or Looter Shooters, I like having goals to work towards. A mix of both short-term and long-term ones works best for me.

Especially the latter two genres need such goals to keep me engaged because, let’s face it, the gameplay loop these games provide stays pretty much the same no matter how long you play them. Not that I mind, if I didn’t like those kinds of gameplay I wouldn’t play them to begin with. Still, having no carrot dangling in front of me makes me less inclined to log in sooner rather than later.

There seem to be two kinds of design philosophy regarding how players can work towards such goals.

The first one is a system of total randomness. All we can do here is play the game to the best of our abilities, because doing any specific thing doesn’t increase – or decrease – the chances of achieving our respective goal. Path of Exile is a good example of this. Any mob can drop every existing item up to its level, so it doesn’t matter in the slightest which mobs you kill as long as they’re strong enough. The only way to increase your chances of getting a certain unique item, for example, is killing more mobs in less time.

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Another unique I didn’t want (Wrapped Mitts, in the center)

The upside of this is that you can opt out of doing stuff you don’t like to do. Hate a particular map? Run it only once, then never again. There is not a single item in the game that drops only there. In theory this also provides for more gameplay variety since you don’t feel compelled to kill the same boss over and over to maximize your chances of getting what you want.

In my opinion this is a pretty big downside at the same time though because, whatever you do, the chances of getting the exact item you want are abysmally low. Hence, if you’d like to play a build that needs a couple specific uniques to make it work you pretty much have to trade with other players, which of course feels much less rewarding than finding the stuff yourself. Also, playing the game only rarely feels like working towards a specific goal, because, well, you just can’t. I love PoE, but if I could change one thing it’d probably be this.

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Rhino on guard duty, protected by a coat of Iron Skin

Warframe marks the exact opposite of the spectrum: to accomplish specific goals you have to do very specific things.

Frames are the best example. For each frame you need its blueprint, which you can just buy for credits at any time, and three manufactured components. Those require various crafting resources and also the corresponding blueprints. A quick research revealed that, for most frames, the latter are all dropped by planet-bosses. What surprised me a bit is the fact that every boss has its own associated frame which it drops all three blueprints for. For example, all component-blueprints for the Rhino frame, which I wanted to unlock first, are exclusively dropped by – wait for it – Jackal. Oh my…

I’d already gotten one of the three blueprints when I beat him the first time though, so all I needed were the other two. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Well, randomness is random, and I needed to run the mission another 18 times until the third and last blueprint finally decided to drop.

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About to unleash Rhino Stomp (Hulk Smash was copyrighted I guess)

Fortunately I knew by then how to beat the guy quickly, so the bossfight itself wasn’t too big of a nuisance anymore, and you know what? I didn’t mind running the same mission over and over, because, as I said in the beginning, the gameplay loop is always the same anyway. I kill stuff and loot all the things while running towards the objective, then I fulfill that and move to extraction. Rinse and repeat.

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Best to look at these like a flip-book

Would the gameplay be more varied if those blueprints could drop anywhere? Possibly. But I’d definitely feel much less purposeful while playing, and chances are I still wouldn’t have completed my Rhino yet – which I love, by the way, in case you haven’t noticed.

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I’m pretty sure you have though

Lakisa is also playing Warframe now, so naturally we did it all again to unlock Rhino for her too. Once more it took quite a lot of runs, and I still didn’t mind at all.

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My work here is done

So yeah, if given the choice I’d always favour a system that lets me work towards my goals in a target-oriented way. It might result in a somewhat monotonous, maybe even tedious playstyle for a while, but I’m much more motivated when I have a specific purpose, and I also just love achieving those goals myself instead of tradig for the stuff I want.

What about you?

Wrapping up Blaugust 2019

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And just like that another month of August is almost over again. Time flies if you’re having fun, as the saying goes.

Counting this one I made it to 15 posts this time around. Quite a step backwards from last year’s 31, but since I wasn’t sure if I’d even manage to pen this many I’m pretty happy nonetheless.

From the second week onwards all I’ve been talking about is Warframe, and I expect that trend to continue for a while because I’m still having loads of fun. Since we’ve just returned from our vacation I didn’t have time to check out my new frames yet, which I’ll do right after finishing this post.

Or maybe not. Turns out I was wrong when I predicted it might take the folks at Digital Extremes a good while to introduce a playable version of the shawzin. In fact they’ve just released a meaty content update that already delivered it to us, alongside other goodies like a brand new frame, new weapons etc.

I’ve only tested it for like two minutes, but I dig it a lot. It sounds like a shamisen, which of course fits the game’s space-ninja theme perfectly. You can either strum about freely or try to record whole songs. There are also some pre-built songs you can play along to.

WarframeHero
It’s basically Guitar Hero in space, what’s not to like?

It’s activated via an emote, which I had at my disposal right away since I’d already bought the decoration before. Nice! They’ve also released some colour variations, according to its description one of them even sounds differently. I’ll wait for a video of it to pop up before buying though.

Apart from playing Warframe I also look forward to reading all those posts my fellow bloggers have undoubtedly written during the final stretch of Blaugust. I guess there are at least a hundred new pieces that I very much want to read, not counting the catching up I have to do over at Massively OP.

First I’d like to once more say thank you to all mentors and participants of Blaugust, and of course to our host Belghast. It’s been a blast just like last year, and I hope I’ll be reading all your blogs for a long time to come. Also a big welcome to everyone who’s started just now. I think you’ll find that this is a great community all year round. I know I’m happy to be a part of it. Cheers!