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The above link is my Flipboard magazine -- a currated collection of articles, tweets, even videos about console gaming, MMOs & DragonCon.  Over 2000 viewers and growing.


History: This blog is the third incarnation, and started as a paper RPG & desktop gaming blog.  After starting the MMO City of Heroes days after its launch in 2004,  It developed into one dedicated to that MMO, as it remained for nearly eight years. On November 30, 2012 that MMO was shut down by the company NCSoft despite an outpouring of fan support and community outrage.  Starting In December 2012, I'm going to be opening up the focus of the blog to cover ANYTHING gaming I'm playing, be it PC, XBox 360, iPad, Dragon*Con, etc.

That being said, their will be images from various games posted on this blog.  No claim here is made to the games, and no intent to infringe on any copyrights are inferred.   Copyrights are property of the respective companies.


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The Beginning of the End

Several years ago I tried to do a "crossover event" on my City of Heroes Covers.   I didn't have much luck with the Crosstime Cascade.   But I did give it a try.

Right now, DC Comics is doing a Convergence event where past worlds and points in time that have been negated by the various mega-events that pressed the reboot button over the past 30 years are back in city sized pockets and engaged in a fights to survive. I've been heavily following these titles.

Meanwhile Marvel is doing Secret Wars and it looks like the Ultimate Universe will get piped over to the traditional universe.  I've heard the phrase "everybody dies" repeated, so who knows WHAT happens?  This just started this week, but was sold out when I hit the store.

My Cryptic Comics line shouldn't be any different from the big ones -- so I came up with a NEW crossover event.   Enter "Endpoint".   A crossover event where the Champions Universe is threatened and all hell breaks loose.

To do this I'm trying to do as many crossover events as possible.  NOT all of my current toons in the game have had covers, and some more than others.   I'm going to try and do 3 Crossover and one Aftermath issues for each toon.  Even one Supergroup title If I can get some shots from the members.  Of course this could be 67 covers by the time its done.

I've a good start -- I've a quarter of the covers done already, with almost half of the first month of titles done.   Once I get the first month near completion (80+%?), I'll start publishing them here.   Wish me luck.   It is a big endeavor, but I hope that it will be worth it.

I've played a lot of a new character over the weekend -- Inventress.   I came up with a gadgeteer freeform build.   I've tried gadgeteers several times before but it never took off, and usually were quickly deleted to try something else.   Inventress is already up to level 22 or so, and has proven to be very fun to play.  She's spent some time in both the Southwest, doing missions around the theme park mostly, and most recently into Vibora Bay.  I'm thinking about getting her into either Omniguard or Paragon Dawn.  I have all of her crossover covers done.

I've touched several others in search of Covers for the event.   Doubletime, Bombshell, Redbeast, Chessman, Capital, and Ice Agent all have had one or more covers completed so far.  All are in SGs now save Chessman, who left the Metahuman Legends.  The leader hasn't been around in ages, and there was a definite exodus of members going on.   Doubletime, Bombshell, Redbeast and Ice Agent are all members of Paragon Dawn at the moment.   Capital is still part of the Red Academy. 

As I said -- wish me luck.   Getting covers with some of these archetypes is easy.  For others it isn't easy at all.


Recent gaming

It has been a mix.   As the covers of late will show, I have been playing some Champions Online of late.   I have gotten several characters going and advanced to level 20 thanks to the recent Double XP event.   I've two speedsters of late -- Double-Time I originally made for the F.A.S.T. Supergroup, but ended up making contact with the Paragon Dawn supergroup, which is the remenants of the Hero Dawn group in COH that migrated to Champions.   Double-Time has been getting LOTS of covers.   I've got some in the works for the Supergroup as well. 

Another speedster is Runtime -- a digital hero, a human mind with a electrical/holographic body.   Using the digital aura, he's got a distinctive appearance.  Mixing a speedster with electrical abilities has been quite fun.  He IS a member of FAST.

I made a new Bestial freeform character.  Using the name Redbeast (remember CoH's Red Beast Energy Drink billboards?), I have gotten a lot of nods.  He's not in a supergroup as yet.

Psideaways got a little play -- and has left the Freedom Phalanx group after its apparent demise.

I've been tempted to try something in the healing realm -- but haven't hit on a good concept yet.   I saw a good mystic the other day with good shields as well -- I've never gotten any of the support roles to work -- Freeform or otherwise.

I've played some Skyrim as well - I've an Argonian that has gone from Companion Quest thru Civil War and now the Mage quest.  He's married and about 60.   I've been playing more conservative --- a lot of the PC mods that were outrageously unbalancing aren't in effect (No multiple rings for instance). 

I did pick up Gat out of Hell for the 360 , but haven't tried it yet.   I'm debating on getting Mortal Kombat X PC... the reviews make it so tempting. But eventually I do want to get it on the Xbox One.





DragonCon update

1) I've seen Alduin at DragonCon -- Check my twitter feed -- I'll add pics later.  

2)Parade took almost an hour.  Far fewer Storm Troopers than in past.  Far bigger crowds than before with lots of last minute attendees trying to squeeze into long staked out curb space.   Post parade people and car jams are incredible, and with those crowds the Peachtree Center food court was overwhelmed for hours.  Lunch was impossible.

3) I screwed up my ankle getting to my parade spot -- it had me slowed down even more so than the knee.   And it was hurting half a day later.   I had to make an early day of it Saturday and head home and ice it down.

4)So far I've seen Walter Koenig and Colin Baker, celebrity wise.

5)Got to attend a session involving Missing World Media even though it meant missing the Sword and Laser Session. -- Saw someone else with a Tanker Archetype shirt.   I did like what they had to say -- I asked about Supergroup bases, and it sounds like they will be in the game.   The Unreal engine graphics means they've a lot more control over the costuming, litterally digitally sewing clothes onto a model.   They will have powers coming from body parts or equipment.   Some things are pending, like mastermind powers, and won't be out at launch.    And they are still looking for certain types of volunteers.

Heading out to Sunday Sessions



Return to Diablo III

I have to admit that I got Diablo III when it came out -- but I never got into it.   At the time, my old PC graphics card couldn't handle it.  IF you got it working, the graphics would break up.   I ended up shelving the game until I got my new PC over a year ago.  But that one I still couldn't get the settings right.  A bad driver evidentally.   I had got it working several months ago, but kept getting drawn into other games.

Well I've played Skyrim to death, and only lack a 4 or 5 achievements on both XBOX and PC versions of the game.  I've toyed with several games but nothing has been as good as a match.  Even Champions doesn't hold my interest like City used to.  So I've been trying some old games here and there.   During that, on the 13th, I rediscovered Diablo III.   And haven't been able to put it down.

To be true -- with all the problems I had with set up, I'd never been much past the middle of Act II, nor had any character over level 20.   I did have a Monk up to that high.   But for some reason I decided to play a Wizard and actually did some things right it seems.   It was a lightning heavy build, but it worked.  Once I got a Disintegrate Ray as well, and a few of the good Runes and perks -- it took off.   I managed to get him to destroy Diablo (on the first try even) at Normal.  I remember Diablo II at normal being a pain to defeat soloing. 



I have to admit that I was eager to try again.   I started with a Barbarian and was having fun, but it didn't last.

I had done some research on Youtube for various builds and hit upon one describing the Witch Doctor, stressing Acid Rain and Locust Cloud usage.   Intrigued I gave it a try.  Enter Tulchakka.   He became an intstant hit, and I managed to get him leveling faster, reaching level 40 before he hit Act IV even.  Whether that is the Community event going on right now, my gear, the class, or some combination,  I don't know.  But it worked.   Now he is on his second playthrough on Hard and leveling fast .  And the gear has changed his looks along the way -- especially as new legendary gear dropped,  and was replaced or out levelled.


I expect to have him to level 60 in the next few days.  And hope to start seeing Set items start dropping after that.  Meanwhile both the Blacksmith and Jeweler are now at Level 10, I've got some HIGH level jewels slotted, and am finding legendary recipes.   My stash is now 3 full tabs, so I've got a HUGE amount of gear in reserve.

I do like some of the features of this game now that I understand them.  It was always a numbers game on  DII -- you couldn't easily see how well gear affected you on several different levels.  Here, any new gear is compared, and you see the percentage increase or decrease it gives you for damage, toughness and healing.  Since some of these are indirectly calculated because of attribute bonuses, this is a big help.  When I see new gear that is all positive increases, it usually gets nabbed.   Some legendary gear I keep anyway, especially if there are certain effects I like.  i've had some legendary gear that causes champions to appear whenever you hit a shrine.   This mob-on-demand may be why Tulchakka did so well at levelling up.  Sadly i can't use that any more -- even the best of gear gets outclassed eventually in a game like this.   At least until you get to the max levels.

My timing couldn't be better.  The game has been updated to make ready for a new expansion adding another class of character.   The Crusader seems to be something akin to the old Paladin class, which I loved.  Like the DII expansion, the Reaper of Souls DIII expansion is adding another new Act , Post-Diablo. It realeases a week from today, but the game has been changed.  They are ditching the real world auction house effective today I believe.   In one week the new game releases.   A lot of gear is now ACCOUNT BOUND, which means it can't be sold to anyone else.  You might be able to shift it to other toons, via the stash, but that is all.

Some of the changes are VERY subtle.  I did notice that the old list of waypoints you could teleport too has been replaced by maps.   I do like that a lot.  It is a lot easier to read, and it gives you hints as to where you need to go.   I've noticed a few creature types in some dungeons I don't recall -- they may or  may not be new.   I did find some events -- both in dungeons and out in outside areas.  Usually an odd chest or shrine, sometimes a special object initiates them.   They are timed events -- kill 100 enemies within time, survive so many waves, etc.   Payoffs are damn good -- I've had some chests spawn a second chest after the event because I did well.    I tend to keep an eye out for them.

Playing on the Hard difficulty hasn't been a problem for the Witch Doctor so far.  I've died only a handful of times.  The worst times are when we get my pets drawing in more than one mob -- its hard to fight a champion and another mob, especially if it is another champion or elites.   And they start dropping magma, poison, or worse -- walls.  I'm not maxed out, but am throwing firebombs that spout fire columns, so that alone can turn a battle into flames.   Unlike the old game, I rarely use healing potions -- With some gear giving you maybe a 100 or more regeneration of health per second, and multiple items giving you health per hit  -- It tends to make you counter most of what you get hit with.   My Zombie Dogs give me health now as well.  Some battles I don't seem to take a scratch.  

Eventually I do want to get back to the Barbarian.  I've kept a few choice pieces of gear for him to use in the stash.  Since my two best are magic users, I'm wanting to see a more MELEE based character.    Especially before the Crusader is available.



Anticipation of Dragon*Con 2013

It happens every year.   Nervous about Dragon*Con.  Have I forgotten anything?  Is everything ready?  Which do I give priority to?  And when?   Always wondering if work will intrude on the event, despite having it cleared months in advance.    Its the funnest time of the year for me, always surprising, costs way too much in parking alone.  But I haven't missed one for anything.   I've gone every year since 1998.  Back then it was only in 2 hotels with some gaming in a seperate hall.  Now its in 5 hotels AND they still ended up getting some convention hall as well.   

I get around with a cane these days.  Bad knee and more.   Going handicapped again helps -- but navigating the crowds was problematic before this.  Trying to do it now IS a real problem.   You can't rush from hotel to hotel and even expect to make it.   Some sessions, like live podcasts will seal the room.  Of course if you do get there early you can cut to the head of the line, and that helps.  I still have to plan out my events carefully, and have some alternates if I really can't get from point A to point B.  There is supposed to be handicap shuttles between buildings, but I've never seen them.

Thursday I plan to get my ticket early, and do all my last minute preperations.  And probably go through my schedule one more time.   I want to hit a few things -- Two Doctor Whos will be there this year --  Davison and McCoy.   Sylvester McCoy was there the last two years, and is a riot.   Plus his roll in the Hobbit movies makes him a double draw.     I've seen Davison there before, but it has been a few years.

I also want to see Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner -- They are both due to be there.  The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman shows came out when I was in high school -- I loved them - even if I had to suspend disbelief.  I mean they made it sound like attaching one arm will give you super strength.  Maybe for crushing or throwing -- but lifting also affects the back.   They would have had to Anchor the arm to a reinforced skeleton and spine.    Its almost fun to watch the old shows just to see what was done right and what was done wrong.

The very first MMO session I'm still looking forward to -- a rundown on the year in question.  City of Heroes will MOST likely be the topic of choice.   I hear they're bringing in an economist to make sense of NCSoft's decision.   That corproation sure  hasn't been forthcoming with any details.

I hope to catch some photoshoots this year -- I've stumbled on to a few in the past, but I hope to catch some good ones.  

I can't help but wonder what the cosplay fad will be.  It happens every year -- some theme is the most popular.   One year it was Halo costumes.  Another year 300 style Spartan Warriors.  One year it was Hogwarts Staff & Students.    A few years ago it was Lord of the Rings.  Usually it is something NEW.   Nothing stands out as a BIG theme of choice.  We have a lot of continuing things like Game of Thrones and such, but I really can't put my finger on the one thing that would stand out.    I'm kind of hoping to be surprised.   

I hope to be taking plenty of photos.  Maybe this year I can work up a video... 



Skyrim -- On a Roll...

My toon, Fridina Ice-Eyes has completed most of the Dragonborn DLC content and is now 52, halfway to 53.    She's bounced back and forth betwee Dragonscale and Light Stahlrim armor.  Currently her Dragonscale armor is now giving a rating of 1012.  I don't hink I've ever gotten 4 figures from an armor rating -- definitely not from LIGHT armor.    Light armor is up to 80+, with 5 level bonuses (giving 100% bonus, and bonuses for all light armor and matching set.    One handed is high 70s, although of not done more than the level perks.   I've got a deadric sword overblacksmithed and overenchanted thanks to potions, with absorb health of 47 and 119 chaos damage on top of 278 regular damage.   I've tried a matching mace with chaos and absorb stamina, but it slowed me down a little.   A couple times I did need the shield -- but not often.  The healing from the sword has lessened my needs  for Restoration magic.   

Its been a weird trip -- Starting off the wizard side, she's always been a glass cannon.  Unshielded and vulnerable.   Now in armor she's a force to be reckoned with using sword and shield.  Now with her current weapon and armor, she can wade through lots of foes with the sword.   Some missions are pretty thick with mages.   Those missions usually force her to back to magic.

As I said, Mirak has been defeated.  One of the things I did on the final Waking Dreams pursuit of Mirak was to use the un-perk stuff that you get at the end,  and get my restoration perks back (3) and put them into Smithing so I could do Ebony and fully smith Stahlrim.   Eventually Deadric followed, making it the first character with ALL smithing perks.   IF I had it to do over again, I would have gone and unperked Smithing, and reversed sides.     I wouldn't be using anthing other than Sthalrim , Dragonscale or Deadric, so why go that route?   I'd have 3 perks that I could use on something else.  

I managed to get further through all the Dragonborn DLC than ever before -- I got all the armor pieces from out of the crypt that you work with a dark elf to unbury.   I found 2 of the resonance gems, and new where to take them -- and apparently that was all that was needed to finish that dungeon.  Well that and figuring out a few puzzles.   

Dragonborn stuff is underway, and I've gotten to the point where I've done several missions for the Gunmar and Sorine Jurard.  To that point I'd not done anything to get a bounty over 80 -- hard to think I'd went through 50 levels like that.  But I had to defeat a masquerading bard and was forced to do it publically.   1000 bounty for Dawnstar.  Ugh.    

One of the Go-for missions for Sorine had me getting dwemer schematics from a location in Solstheim -- That's right .    Dawngard DLC sending me to Dragonborn DLC location.  It must be semi-random or something, and that location qualified. 

She's probably got around 165000 gold by now -- making her the richest Skyrim character I've ever had.  I've lots of unfinished shouts -- where I know 1 or 2 of the words, but not all 3.   Even said, with close to 50 dragon downed,  there are plenty of gaps if I want to make that a goal.  

I've been a little hampered lately.  I think the LB button on my PC Xbox style control has broken -- I can't seem to SPRINT anymore.  Which has been a problem sometimes in battle ---- NO sprint means even some bunnies can outdistant you unless you resort to Whirlwind sprint.  I suspect it will have to be replaced.   

 I can easily see getting a few more levels on this character for the DLC content.   After that I'll have to search for all the unexplored locations.  I'm hoping I've forgotten some big ones -- I don't see how anyone gets to the likes of 70 without redoing a lot of contents. 

That being said I think I'm going to give it a rest.   The Dawngard stuff can get tedius -- You've got the long backstage wandering of the castle, followed by all the stuff in the Soul Cairn, then you have to pursue the Bow by playing errand girl for the Snow Elf through the falmer filled caves and canyons hidden in northwestern Skyrim.  I really don't like doing that again.  But I would like to get another level or two on this character.  It would officialy become my higest toon.  


Gaming log

I've gotten a character back up on in Skyrim to level 46.   My battlemage has gotten enchanting up to 100, Destruction up to 100, and smithing is in the mid 90s.   I soon hope to begin work on my DragonScale armor set, which I will double enchant.   Even in my second set of Glass armor which I double enchanted I can go weapon or spells without changing into archmage robes.   Destruction spells cost no magicka.   

I've made it through the companion quests, and cured her  of lycanthropy.  I've gotten the elder scrolls, red the magic portion of the Oghma Infinium, and pursued Alduin to Sovangarde.    I've no interest in doing Thiefs guild on this character, and with the Dark Brotherhood no more, I've only got the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC content pending.   I'm holding off on the final stage of Potema in Solitude, and haven't done the Bards college quests either, although I did find the lute doing other things in far east Skyrim.

I'm so close to getting my main goals I can taste it -- I'd love to have a level 50 again on the PC.  Doing it as a battlemage is just icing on the cake.

In Champions I've gotten a few levels here and there.   I did do one thing -- trying a freeform Darkness character that actually got over the hurdle.  Called Eidolon (as in apparition - ghost), it may remind City players of the Vahz Eidolons.    I finally used some of my zen and got the Cape Glide power for that toon, and it turned out to be good.   I had thought it wouldn't be able to gain altitude and just be a controlled falling.   Not so.   You can gain altitude, but albeit you don't do it as fast as horizontal or downward movement.  And of course, you can't hover.   It takes a bit to get used to.   It distorts the cape as it spreads it out.  A flat bottom cape goes into a semi-circle.   A scalloped bottom cape looks neat stretched out.   I used a black & purple design.   Leather, with thin purple inlay stripes.   I started with a golden age hood, but it really didn't look right.   I ended up doing a full mask, also with purple lines.   The cape is gradient. In flight the gradient inperceptible on the cape at rest is very noticable.  I've had to go with a very deep purple.   I've got a magic origin -- changed by touching an ancient medallion.  He's already up to 15 and is very fun to play.

Its hard to find time for it all  -- Everytime I play one of these two games  I want to play the other.   I've a few games I bought during the Steam sale that I've not touched yet.  Xcom, Orcs Must Die 2, GTA IV to name the main ones.   All in good time.   I hope.