Some TV, some gaming, and a relaunch makes this a true morning ramble. I continue my look at the first episode of American Gods, I advance in baby steps in Destiny, and I eagerly begin the install of Secret World Legends – I am so looking forward to this game and hope it takes off from where TSW left things.
As usual, I’m all over the place with my Morning Ramble today taking a further look at American Gods, finishing off the World’s Grave in Destiny, and looking to pre-order merchandise for Comic-Con 2017…less than a month to go.
Destiny: Finishing with the World’s Grave
Well, last time I got close. I made it past wave upon wave of baddies, took out a slew of knights, and blew up the Siphon Witches with headshot from my sniper rifle. But…I didn’t get past Telthor the Unborn before I had to log off.
Today I head back to the World’s Grave to finish off what I started.
The Siphon Witches are just so cool looking, but other than rapid fire shots, they’re not too difficult since they don’t move too much. It’s pretty easy to snipe them and then get down to the rest of the swarm.
For more on my travels, check out my Destiny journal.
American Gods: The Prison
In this installment, I continue to look at The Bone Orchard and specifically the Prison scenes from about the 7:28 mark to about 14:47 when Shadow leaves the relatively sheltered life of the facility.
So basically after we’re introduced to the show by way of the Vikings trials and death, we’re thrown into a prison where we meet Shadow Moon played by Ricky Whittle.
Here we see Shadow making a wry observation that the best thing about prison is you don’t have to worry about if they’re gonna get you since “they” already got you. And I can see this comment as being relevant to the belief systems and gods that flow throughout the story, who I’m pretty sure are gonna make a play at getting Shadow on their side.
His next words also look to be telling about his character since he claims he’s willing to believe things when there’s evidence and reason to believe but not when its something he can’t see. So while Shadow’s not superstitious, he’s open to influence given the right circumstances. He then says he feels like there’s an axe hanging over his head even though he can’t see it…perhaps he’s a bit more open to faith than he let’s on. With his comments on his belief system made, we flash to a gratuitous glimpse of a bunch of white supremacists playing with a noose…regardless of the foreshadowing, how’d they get that in the prison yard without the guards going crazy?
Anyway, we next see Shadow talking with his wife on the phone with only 5 days to go until he’s released but he still feels a ominous foreboding that I think Whittle expresses pretty well. I know him from The 100 where he played one of the more prominent Wildlings but he’s being asked to act a lot more to carry this series than his supporting role in that show required, and so far I’m liking what I’ve seen.
The next big scene is the actual bone orchard the episode gets it’s name from. Shadow dreams he’s in a forest with dead trees and skeletons littering the ground.
There’s a huge tree in the center of this forest that “marks” him by scratching his cheek with a branch and then we see it drop a noose from another limb…Shadow wakes up. Actually, he’s buzzed awake by a guard.
It turns out the warden needs to speak with him. We learn he was sentenced to 6 years for aggravated assault and battery and had served 3 of those years and was gonna be released on Friday. But they’re letting him out early on account of his wife dying in a car accident that night. Guess that foreboding feeling had a basis in reality after all.
- Shadow’s had an interesting past and is not afraid of violence.
- He loved his wife (Whittle showed some good emotion in his scenes featuring her even though he was on the screen by himself) and she him (at least that’s what she’s said).
- Something’s going on with that noose they keep showing.
- He was well behaved in prison and was gonna be released early anyway.
- I think Shadow pretty much represents “everyman” in that he’s willing to believe things that he can see, that he has a good reason to believe, or that he has a strong feeling about, but he is somewhat skeptical.
Next time I’ll take a look at what Shadow does when he leaves the prison and the first impression of Mr. Wednesday.
Comic-Con 2017: Con Merchandise
Comic-Con merchandise was announced this week and is available for pre-order from their website.
They’ve got 5 different designs for t-shirts, book and tot bags, tiki mugs, and baseball caps. This year, they’re requiring that you have a badge for Comic-Con 2017 to order shirts and stuff, and you need to go through the Member ID system. Personally, I’m liking the Jack Kirby Centennial and of course the standard Toucan and I need one of those hats.
I’m kinda all over the place in todays morning ramble taking a look at another comic I’ve been reading, stepping back into Destiny, reading about the upcoming Steam sale, and reading a newspaper article about honoring Luke Skywalker.
Mark Hamill Drive
While the city council recently voted to keep the citizens disenfranchised in choosing what to do with Jack Murphy Stadium in Mission Valley and expanding the downtown convention center, they have no problem unanimously approving a street name change to “Mark Hamill Drive”.
Apparently Luke Skywalker lived on the street way back when and went to school nearby so the council decided to take action. Sure, it’s not as expensive as a allowing the citizens to vote to expand the convention center so Comic-Con can continue to be held in the city for the foreseeable future, but at least I get to drive by an homage to Star Wars on my way home from work everyday.
Destiny: World’s Grave
It’s been quite a while since I put together anything related to Destiny, but I have been playing it somewhat. I’m hoping to make some traction in posting about where I’m at in the game and get rolling again. When I last left off it was April and I was standing in front of the Temple of Crota and gearing up for my next big fight.
Getting though the initial bad guys wasn’t much of an issue but I did meet an Ogre for the first time. This guy is pretty tough but I got past him alright and I headed down to the World’s Grave.
But that didn’t stop me – I quickly respawned and came back to take them on again. This time I remembered to wait until their shield went down before I started shooting the big guys. They didn’t stand a chance.
Getting past them, I shot up a bunch of Acolytes as I headed to find the Siphon Witches…they were my next big target.
This guys had a very fast fire rate but I quickly figured out that I could easily take them out with my sniper rifle – bam, bam, bam 3 head shots and no witches. But there was more to this section of the World’s Grave.
That of course meant – there’s gonna be a ton of baddies showing up real soon…be prepared. I counted at least 3 Knights that I had to take down in the 1st wave alone and there seemed to be a never ending series of waves. Then Telthor, Unborn showed up.
For more on my travels, check out my Destiny journal
The Beginning of the Darkseid War
Yesterday I jumped back into a bit of DC Rebirth reading – actually I’m still leading up to Rebirth and am a few dozen issues away from the starting event but there’s plenty going on.
There was a shakeup in the reading list I was following and instead of reading Titan’s Hunt immediately after the Aquaman Out of Darkness story, the list now calls for a read of Justice League Darkseid War. This was coming up fast anyway and since the reading order is a moving target, I’m fine with the switch.
Justice League #40 is the prologue to the Darkseid War which looks like it’s gonna be a pretty big event in the New 52 universe. While I’ve never read any comics with Darkseid in them, I have heard of him and I’ve always thought of him as a pretty big player in the world of DC Comics…as in he hurts a lot of people. For the most part though, this issue revolves around someone called Metron and it seems to cover multiple iterations of the DC Universe.
I certainly didn’t understand all of it but it was an interesting read. Some of the pages have incredibly detailed art and make me wish I actually knew who all the characters depicted are. More important, this is what I remember from reading Justice League as a kid – they always seemed to have pages full of wide-screen, edge to edge conflicts with tons of heroes and villains. But then I used to know everyone back then and that was before the universe was rebuilt multiple times. I don’t know who put together the art for these huge shots, but there are 6 artists on pencils (Jason Fabok, Phil Jimenez, Dan Jurgens, Scott Kolins, Jim Lee, and Kevin Maguire) and another 7 artists on inks (Jason Fabok, Phil Jimenez, Scott Kolins, Kevin Maguire, Jaime Mendoza, Jerry Ordway, and Scott Williams) and they’re really impressive layouts. In any case, it was a good start to what looks like a major event.
Steam Summer Sale
Finally, it has been confirmed that the Steam Summer Sale is gonna begin on Friday. Multiple sources have published reports about the start date, but I didn’t see anything official on the Steam store. I do believe the reports though. In any case, it’s time to go bargain hunting again. Personally, I’ve got a love-hate relationship with the Steam sales. I love to see and buy all the discounted titles but I hate that it simply builds up my backlog of games I never finish. Worse still, I’m pretty sure I’ve got over 100 games in my library that I haven’t even installed, much less started up. And yet every year I add more. Too many titles sound enticing and like something that could be really good. Or they get great reviews and are in a genre I enjoy.
Sure the deals are great, but I have to work hard this year to resist the urge to buy them all…we’ll see how well I succeed.
In today’s Morning Ramble I take a look at the next issue in my DC reading list – Superman 33 from the New 52 line, and I think up a few tips while playing Marvel Heroes Omega on the PS4.
Superman #33: The Men of Tomorrow: Part 2
Superman 33 continues the Men of Tomorrow story arc and in it we learn more about Ulysses, who we met last issue, and the situation at the Daily Planet.
Perry White wants a story on the new teamup between Superman and Ulysses but no one seems to know a thing until Clark shows up but he has other things on his mind. Apparently Mr. White wrote an article for the paper about the Ulysses Research Lab and their attempt to break the dimensional barrier. He also covered the disaster at the lab after they opened a link to the second dimension. Before we learn anything further, Ulysses shows up at the Planet and causes a commotion. After Clark explains the nuances of “secret identity” to Ulysses, Superman heads to the destroyed research lab to find out about Ulysses origin and what happened to the scientists. As Superman investigates the lab, Ulysses goes out about town and encounters some “Green Army Men” that look suspiciously like Titano did in the last issue. The two heroes take down the army men and Superman takes Ulysses to meet his parents who actually survived the disaster at the lab.
So Ulysses has a similar origin story to Superman but it turns out his world and his parents didn’t die. 20+ years in another dimension without human interaction, though, would definitely make you a different person but it seems Ulysses is decent enough. We’ll see what impact the revelation that they’re still alive has on this Man of Tomorrow and hopefully gain a better insight on who this reaper type dude is and why there are so many Titano type robots running around.
My main takeaways from this issue are:
- Not sure I like the comment on how a 1 hour fight between Superman and Titano equates to a week of gridlock in terms of climate change – I wonder how much globo-whabo would happen if Superman didn’t fight Titano
- Trying to break the dimensional barrier makes me think of Buckaroo Banzai
- Cat Grant is mentioned as being hired back by the Daily Planet – I only know her from the Supergirl TV show.
- Something is up with these Titano type robots but I’m not sure what
- Klerik was the sworn enemy of the world Ulysses adopted, he was banished and he’s now hibernating at the Stryker’s Island Prison – I suspect he might wake up soon.
- The reaper type dude shows up at the end and says Clark has “to be alone…for now”
A lot goes on in this issue and I enjoyed the art, pacing, and advancing of the plot. I rate it a B+, the same as last issue, primarily for the reveal of Ulysses’ parents and their survival.
Marvel Heroes Omega
- Make sure you go through the tutorial for each character. With the tutorial you advance to level 3 or 4 and gain access to your main skills that you’ll need to at least get through the beginning of the game. What I found was if I went into the game as say Deadpool at level 1 I didn’t have an AOE attack or a slow. All I had at that point where my pistols which while they did some damage, took an awful long of time to take down any of the mobs. Going through the tutorial set me up to level 4 and I not only had my four main skills to start but I also had some equipment to give me some damage and some defense mitigation.
- Try to make sure you’re using the best equipment at these early levels because every little piece of damage and defense can make a big difference at this point in the game.
- It took me a while to figure this out, but once you get your 5th ability you need to start using the L2 trigger. While the 4 buttons on the controller work well for your initial 4 skills, the 5th get placed on the X button, when you press the L2 trigger. It takes a bit of getting used to but you should pay attention since I figure that the 6–8th abilities will also require the L2 trigger.
The game’s been fun so far but I haven’t progressed any further than I did with Marvel Heroes 2016 on my PC. I am trying out different heroes this time though – Iceman and Deadpool so far are working out well.
Today I take a found out about and downloaded the beta for Marvel Heroes Omega, I planned at least one panel I’m going to at Comic-Con, and I finished off my Marvel Reading from 1962.
Marvel Heroes Omega on PS4
Stan Lee Coming to San Diego Comic-Con
Over the past couple of years, he’s pulled back from visiting every convention in the country to only a few and I’m thankful San Diego is still on his hit list. It’s always good to see an icon like this…and he’s still making significant impacts on pop culture after so many years in the industry. I only hope I’m as active at his age.
Tales to Astonish #38
55 years ago, Stan helped pen Tales to Astonish 38 and he’s still going strong today. While TtA 38 wasn’t the best issue of the series in 1962, it did introduce Egghead who will show up from time to time in the Marvel Universe. In this issue, Egghead is drafted by the local mob to take care of Ant-Man since they can’t conduct any crime with the miniature hero around town. Egghead plans to use the ants and flypaper against our hero but he appeals to the insect’s sense of greed where they have none. Instead, they are friends with Ant-Man and betray Egghead to help out their friend.
The set up for Egghead is pretty good as a scientist spurned by the government. It’s clear the feds push the brilliant man towards a life of crime and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes after this – he did get away in the end. The mobsters, though, get caught and thrown in jail.
As the last issue of Marvel 1962, I feel a bit of sadness that the year is over, but I’m looking forward to what 1963 will bring. As for this issue, I give it a C and hope for more.
The Fantastic Four are broke. Yup, Reed made some dicey gambles on the stock market and lost all their money; they’re gonna have to sell the Baxter Building, the Pogo Plane, and all the neat gizmos Reed built for them. But all is not lost as they get a letter from a Hollywood studio to make movies. Arriving in California, the team learns the studio is owned by Sub-Mariner and he’s got plans for a great superhero movie, so they sign on for a million dollars. But once filming starts, we learn that Namor has plans to destroy each of the team one-by-one. He sends Mr. Fantastic to an island to face the Cyclops, Johnny is dropped off on an island where the local tribe has a fire immunity potion, Namor decides to fight Thing in hand-to-hand combat for supremacy, and I think the worst is the sleazy way he gropes Sue as she tries to evade him. Each of our heroes overcomes their obstacles with their superpowers and regroup to face Sub-Mariner who in the end is saved by Sue’s sense of decency and the fact they need his money.
- The artwork is pretty cool, particularly some of the Hollywood scenes with the different actors of the time hanging about, and I think Kirby has settled on how he wants to depict both Thing and Human Torch after 9 issues.
- Namor/Sub-Mariner seems to be the big bad of the first year of the Fantastic Four since he shows up as the villain 3 times (4,6,9) while Dr. Doom only has 2 guest appearances (5,6).
- Regardless of how gropey Namor gets, Sue still defends him – she sure seems to like the bad boy.
- Alicia seems destined to stick around as Ben Grimm/Thing’s friend – at least she was only an accessory to crime, not the actual criminal.
In my view this was a pretty decent issue and I rate it a B+. I hope this signals a trend in Marvel heading into 1963.
Made it to Venus in Destiny
While I’m not technically considering this part of my steps through Destiny, I do feel like I made an accomplishment that I had to commemorate with a screenshot. I finally made it to Venus and am starting on the quests there. Actually, I had to reinstall Secret World the other day so I took some time away from my computer and jumped on my PS4. From my experience, Destiny is a game I can easily shift back into whenever the feeling strikes – the controls are pretty straight forward and there are not to many complications other than point and shoot. Sure, you have to avoid too much damage and it helps to know who has a shield or who can teleport, but the game is forgiving enough that you can figure these things out as you go…at least that’s how it seems at my low teens level. It’s also nice that I don’t have to struggle to find a build guide to try to min/max my character so far. Sure, I enjoy having a guardian that can easily take things down, but I don’t feel that I have to follow what others have done in order to enjoy the game. In any case, I think I’m about half way through the basic game and then I’ve got a bunch of expansions to get through before the next version comes out. I’m looking forward to getting through this story to see where it leads.
Wow, so it’s been about a month since I visited the world of Nioh but it’s not due to any problem with the game – it’s just a problem with time…I don’t have enough of it and it seems I have to apply what I do have to other things. Even so, I’m almost done with the Tower of London in Nioh.
This is an installment of my Nioh Challenge series in which I try to get through the Nioh storyline and see how many deaths it takes me. If you want to know the rest, you can jump to where I’m Telling My Story.
In any case, the last time I ventured into Nioh, I had found a new tower to explore and try to survive in. This included a new shrine where I start this latest expedition.
I decide to try getting outta the tower so I head upstairs where I meet some more guards.
Whenever there’s 2 guys and one is an archer while the other is a knight, things can get dicey. I decide to go for the guy with the crossbow first since if I get close enough, he’ll have to take time to swap weapons and start using his sword. That should give me enough time to take him down before I take too much damage.
I think I might be about done here in London so I’ll take a break to assess things and prepare for what I expect will be the penultimate battle in the Tower of London.
SMITE Meta…as Far as I Know it
It’s been a little time since I started playing SMITE and I’ve been really enjoying it. I’ve played both the PC and PlayStation versions and they seem to be pretty comparable. Sure, I’m a bit better using the mouse and keyboard than controller, but I can play passably on the console. The main thing, I think, that will help me become a better player on both platforms would be to learn the meta of the game better.
The meta basically lays out the overall strategy of the game. In League of Legends, you’ve got a Top Laner, a Mid Laner, a Jungler, an ADC and a Support.
When you get into the game’s meta, you learn what type of champs go ‘best’ in each role. And you learn what typical champions excel at each role. For example Lucian is a good ADC while Ahri is a good Mid Laner. You could play Ahri in the bottom lane as APC, but she doesn’t really have the Attack Damage that is the cornerstone of an ADC. She focuses on Ability Power instead…but that’s League – I’m playing SMITE now.
Since I’m totally new to SMITE, I need to start my education somewhere and I figure the map is a good place. And apparently, SMITE actually has ranked gameplay for multiple modes. So many complications…
I’m gonna start with Conquest mode…and the basics…the lanes.
SMITE Conquest Lanes
There are 3 lanes on the Conquest map. Left, Middle, and Right and all lanes extend from your Titan which sits at the base of your map. The goal of Conquest is to protect your Titan while taking down the enemy team’s Titan. But to get there, you gotta get through a bunch of defenders.
Each lane has a Phoenix, 2 towers, and minions that spawn periodically to charge towards the enemy Titan. The minions usually end up running into each other and killing themselves but if a god gets in the way, they can advance one way or the other to a tower. These have attacks that when approached by enemies, they unleash. They’ll attack either minions or gods, but they target the minions first.
It’s all pretty standard MOBA stuff.
The towers that are furthest from the Titan are called the Tier One towers. In SMITE, there is a difference from what I’ve seen in League in that the turrets are not spaced equally in both the side lanes. The lane with tier one towers further apart is considered the ‘Long’ lane, while the one where the turrets are close to each other is the ‘Short’ lane. And these can show up on either side of the map.
Sometimes the ‘Short’ Lane is on the Right and other times, the Left. It kinda adds a little diversity and flavor to alternate things like this, but it can be a bit confusing when you’re starting out.
I’ll explain more in my next post, but the bottom line is that different gods tend to be found focusing on the Short, Mid, and Long lanes while still others tend to perform well in the jungle. I still haven’t figured it all out yet, but as I do, I’m writing it here to help others if I can.
- The Conquest map is divided into 3 lanes and a Jungle.
- Each Lane has 2 towers and a Phoenix that defend them.
- The furthest tower from the Titan is the tier one tower.
- The Mid Lane is of course in the middle of the map.
- The Short Lane has tier one towers that are closer together.
- The Long Lane has tier one towers that are further apart.
After taking a bit of time off, things were a bit confusing coming back to Destiny, but it’s definitely a fun change of pace. Death doesn’t seem to come as easily here on the Moon, but I still need to be careful. The main thing I got confused about is what mission I’m working on.
I have a couple…
The Dark Below and Against the Hive seem to be the main storyline quests and upon researching things, The Dark Below actually looks to be a quest for later on where I have to head back to Earth. So, since I want to stay on the Moon, I’m headed back to the Temple of Crota to find the Chamber of Night and stop some ritual that’s interfering with the Traveler.
Destiny Journal Entry #16: Chamber of Night
I also found some Helium Filaments that I’m not really sure what to do with. They don’t take up any space in inventory so I suppose it doesn’t matter that I have them at this point. I’ll have to do some RL research to see what they’re used for.
It took a lot of patience waiting for their invulnerability shield to turn off so I could actually hit them. I did get to see more of the Moonscape while running between checkpoints and I liked what I saw – for a “barren” landscape, I think they did a pretty good job of making it look nice.
But before I could get down there, I was interrupted by a transmission coming from Venus. Apparently someone has taken an interest in what I’m doing and wants me to look her up after I finish with the Chamber of Night.
No Preview Night This Year
This morning was Open Registration for San Diego Comic-Con. I already had picked up tickets for Thursday through Sunday – the main days of the convention – but missed out on Wednesday. So Preview Night was the only thing I needed and those tickets were the first to go.
Angels split a couple
The Angels lost their final matchup against the A’s up in Oakland and went 2–2 in their opening series. Not too bad, but they did place Garret Richards on the 10 day disabled list. 3 days into the season and they’ve got their first major injury. Hopefully it’s not a sign of things to come and he’ll heal up quickly.
The good news is the team won their first engagement with Seattle this year. They got some good pitching from their 5th starter to win their home opener…not bad at all. A 3–2 start is better than a lot of people expected of them and I’m happy so far.
SMITE on PC
I had a bit of time to give SMITE a try on my PC this morning as I was waiting for the Comic-Con registration to start. The Steam download is free but I had to set up an account and other than that, things are pretty similar between the PS4 and PC. The main difference is obviously the control scheme. Using WASD to control a MOBA character is definitely different from any other MOBA I’ve tried out. It also makes things interesting when trying to use abilities. Rather than using the controller buttons for abilities, the 1234 keys are used and it’s totally a different set of muscle actions from what I’m used to with League. I kept hitting QWER and expecting something to happen…no, I have to stretch further to the 1234 number row for spells.
I only had time to play through the tutorial, which I did to gain worshippers and what is essentially IP, I think it’s called Favor in SMITE. In any case, I played as Neith and find that I like her better on the PC than on the PlayStation. I think her kit fits better in my thinking when I’m on a PC. Tomorrow I might give the game a whirl in Conquest mode, but today I only played the tutorial and an Arena match and had a winning day all around. The game is definitely fun on console or PC so I think I’ll keep it in my rotation for now.