Downtime Compensation

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When I started up Trove yesterday I was asked to log in to my Glyph account. Since I play through Steam, this isn’t something I’ve had to do in a very long time. So I went through the process of changing my password and logged back in. I was asked if I wanted to link the account to steam, this was odd, the account had been linked to steam for years. When I clicked yes I got an error that it couldn’t be linked at this time. So I logged in again and skipped the linking and hoped I was logging in to the right account.

When I got into the game the general chat was full of people complaining about downtime. Apparently, the server had been down for the better part of a day. This is a very common occurrence in Trove. The server performance and uptime have long been a meme among the player base. If you’re not rubber banding, getting kicked out of the client, or crashing, you’re not getting the full Trove experience.

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The one thing Trove has always been good about is providing compensation for when the game is offline or generally bugged. A few months ago the leaderboards were broken for weeks and there was a decent compensation for it. Trove seems to have server outages every few months always with compensation to be doled out. Yesterday, we were given a 1-day patron pass, a Streamer Dream box(special ally/mounts), and 6 lustrous gem boxes (upgrade materials).

Players aren’t always happy with the rewards. Some argue that a few loot boxes and a bit of patron aren’t worth missing a day in the game. Other’s want more, usually in the form of a golden dragon effigy (a free dragon). While I think it’s nice that we’ve come to expect something when the servers go down, I’d much rather have more stable servers.

I don’t think I’ve played other games that handed out items for downtime. I remember playing a few games that had entire server role backs and just continued on as normal. Are there other games that give out compensation for downtime? Maybe other games just don’t go down enough to actually notice it.

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Running the Whole Shadow Tower

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Monday night was the usual Trove affair. Mondays are the best days to complete shadow towers because of the bonuses for drops. The plan was to run through our usual Shadow Towers with the 2 of us and then spend the rest of the night farming for Binding Darkness.

Binding Darkness is a crafting material used to make gem augments to reroll of boost stats on gems. It’s an important material once you have all of your gems leveled up as it further increases your power rank. Binding Darkness has a chance to drop from all Shadow Tower monsters and will rarely drop from normal world bosses.

The idea is to find a floor of the Shadow Tower that has at least 2 dungeon phases. A floor can consist of dungeon phases or wave clear phases and ends with floor boss. The wave clears offer fewer monsters overall and aren’t ideal. The dungeons contain a higher concentration of enemies and also have world bosses so running these have a higher chance of dropping bindings

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Ultra Daughter of the Moon

Jay is under the impression that the higher the shadow tower difficulty is the more chance binding has to drop. I’m not sure how true this is but we ended up running Ultra Weeping Prophet multiple times this week. This was a good mix of difficulty for the two of us and had 2 dungeon phases. I ended up with 10 binding darkness in about a half-hour which was enough to craft a few gem augments I needed. We didn’t end up farming for long because we had some more people interested in doing more shadow towers.

We’ve been dipping our toes back into streaming the last few weeks and have made some friends through our Twitch chat. We ended up running Ultra Darknik Dreadnaught and Ultra Daughter of the Moon with 2 other people. Our times weren’t fantastic but that was the first time we’ve been able to run the whole Shadow Tower in a very long time. The increased rewards were nice but it was awesome getting to run these with other people for a change.

Quick Impressions: Valkyria Chronicles

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One of my goals this month was to beat another game from my backlog. At the beginning of the month, I was debating on whether to play Argarest Generations or Valkyria Chronicles. I had already put some time into Argarest before the month started but I have been wanting to play Valkyria Chronicles since I owned a PS3.  Realizing it was halfway through the month already, I had to make a decision, and quick. So I settled on Valkyria Chronicles this weekend.

I didn’t have a ton of time for gaming over this weekend. Saturday was one of my good friend’s wedding and Sunday we had some family obligations. I got in just enough playtime to sink my teeth into the game.

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Valkyria Chronicles is a game about war and the people it affects. The Second Europan War has begun as Imperial forces invade Federation land for the precious resource Ragnite. Caught in the middle is the neutral nation of Gallia where we meet our main characters Alicia, leader of the town militia, and Welkin, a scientist returning home to take his sister to the capital.

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This isn’t the game I thought it would be. I’ll admit I did very little research before buying it because JRPG World War 2 sounded like such an interesting concept. I was under the impression that this would something of a third-person shooter with some strategy elements. This was not the case. The gameplay is more akin to XCOM where you move units, give orders, and watch the action play out. Despite being a completely different game than what I thought, I quite enjoyed my time with it.

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I’m looking forward to playing more of this in the coming weeks. I’m not sure if I’ll finish it by the end of the month but it’s been a while since a single-player game has caught my attention.

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

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Sometimes I get this thought in my head that I’d really like to play a mobile game. This is usually followed by an hour of scrolling through the Google Play store, downloading things, trying them out, and remembering why I don’t play mobile games.

This weekend, as I was scrolling through the Play store I saw a familiar name. The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. I clicked on it to see who the developer was and sure enough, it was Ubisoft. You see, the Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, MQFEL from here on out, wasn’t always a mobile game. I believe it was even brought up in the Blaugust discord not too long ago.

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MQFEL Then

It was an ARPG with a unique twist. The castles and dungeons you raided were built by other players. You had your own castle and you set traps and monsters for others to fight to protect your own loot. It was a cool concept and I bought into it as soon as I heard about it. I believe this was the 3rd game I ever bought in Early Access. On February 5th, 2015,MQFEL was a free-to-play game with plenty of microtransactions. It was still an enjoyable experience though I really enjoyed the self-awareness of the dialog. Unfortunately, a little over a year later the Ubisoft ended all service for the game October 25th, 2016. I see this title in my Steam library every once and a while and reminisce about it. I’m sure there were problems with it but I honestly don’t remember what they might have been.

MQFEL Now:

It’s a fairly new mobile game released last month. It has all of the mobile game trappings: energy, chests you open with keys, autorun missions, even a battle pass type system. At its core, MQFEL a simple ARPG. You’re given 3 skills with various cooldowns and you tap to attack. Each castle has 2 stages, one where you run through a dungeon opening chests and fighting enemies, and one where you fight a large group of enemies or a boss all at once. There’s enough active gameplay there to make it feel like you’re playing a game which, in my experience, is not something I can say for a lot of mobile games I’ve tried. In fact, using the autorun feature will cause you to miss some chests in the first stage dungeons.Sadly, the castle building and rading feature is not in the mobile game as far as I can tell.

For a game called The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, there is surprisingly little loot. I’m getting maybe one or 2 pieces of gear from each castle. All of my upgrades thus far have come from the chests in the cash shop that requires keys. I guess the Mighty Quest for Chest Keys doesn’t have the same ring to it. There are other game modes, trials, that allow you to get materials to upgrade your gear after it reaches the max level. There’s a power rank that seems to be the determining factor for difficulty. As long as you’re above the rank the dungeon is easy.. It can still be done if you’re slightly below but you need to do a lot of dodging.

Right now it’s held my attention over the weekend. A lot of that was probably due to nostalgia for the old IP. But who knows, I’m enjoying my short time with it, I may keep it on my phone a little longer.

Audio Drama Sunday: Mission To Zyxx Season 3

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It’s developer appreciation week during Blaugust. I’ve taken this to include all kinds of content creators and not just video game developers. So I would like to start this post by talking about how much I appreciate the Crew at Mission to Zyxx.

It’s hard to describe what this show has meant to me over the years. I first discovered it late one night while playing Elite Dangerous. I was bored of listening to whatever I was listening to and went hunting around for a sci-fi show. I knew nothing about it when I clicked on the podcast, but the idea of an improvised sitcom piqued my interest. That night I must have listened to half of season 1 before realizing how late it was. The next day I told my friends about it. From then on, we haven’t stopped quoting the show and discussing it every week after a new episode drops.

These guys are incredibly talented and funny. The production that goes into each episode is something I haven’t come across in another show. They’ve created a universe which I love to visit every week and characters that I want to spend time with. I look forward to every new episode when the show’s in season and I miss it terribly when it’s in the offseason. It’s a show I’ll listen to over and over and never get bored of. And it’s a show I’ll always recommend to anyone looking for a new podcast.

This week was the final episode od Mission to Zyxx’s Season 3 run. This has been my favorite season so far. Season 1 will always hold a special place in my heart but I felt this season the show really hit its stride. The orchestral scores played by FAME’s Macedonian Symphony Orchestra have added a lot to the production value. The music was always good but with the full orchestra, it sounds even better.

This season has featured some of my favorite episodes in the series.

This season added a new character AJ2884 a C.L.I.N.T, think stormtrooper, who joins the crew to become a Zeema Knight with Pleck. As much as I liked Beano from season 2, AJ is such a better character. By the end of the season, I can’t imagine another episode without him, he’s become an integral part of the crew. I like him so much I even bought the shirt!

After a slight delay in the release of the finale, I can say that it was well worth the wait. The episode was over an hour long. It was action-packed, funny, and wrapped up the season very well. I enjoyed the return of Beano and a few other characters from previous episodes and seasons. Plus, I enjoyed all the callbacks to earlier episodes as well.

So thank you guys for all of the hard work and time you put into the show. I’m eagerly awaiting season 4!

Motivation from Streaks

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Today we are over halfway through Blaugust. This post today will mark 17/31 which is just as far as I got last year. Any post after this completes my soft Blaugust goal of writing more than I did last year. I’m still aiming for 31/31 days and I’m still feeling great about writing.

Every morning I wake up and see a little notification from WordPress on my phone. Today it says “You’re on a 21-day streak on I’m Not Squishy”.  Do you know how exciting that is? I’ve never posted this many days in a row before and I don’t see a reason to stop. Lately, when I don’t feel like writing I think about this little notification. The thought of breaking the streak pushes me to write something for the next day or next few days.

I find that steaks are a great motivator for me when forming new habits There’s always a little voice in my head that says sure, you could skip this thing but then you’d break such a long streak. The streak itself is a fantastic motivator for things like flossing, working out, and now writing. When the streak breaks I feel a little guilty that I have to start over but then that starts a new streak and we’re off again.

I don’t like achievements and rewards based on streaks in games though. For example, there’s an achievement in Trove for consecutive log in days. The achievement unlocks mastery points and wings for logging in 45 days in a row. I guess if I consciously went after this goal I could do it but knowing that if I miss one day  I’d have to start again kills any drive for me. This is the same with games with rewards for consecutive days logged in where once you miss a day you have to log in up to where you were before getting more rewards.

Anyways, I’m still enjoying the hell out of writing every day. It is definitely getting easier to come up with things to write about as the days go by. This is one thing I’ve always struggled with here but I feel like I’m getting better at it. I hope everyone has a strong finish to Blaugust whatever your goals maybe!

 

Taming Trove’s Primordial Dragons

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Za’Hadeen, Heart of the Flame

Last night I accomplished one of my long term goals in Trove: unlocking all of the Primordial Dragons. These are special dragons that not only give stat boosts but boost the Power Rank of the gems associated with each one. These add a ton of PR. When I unlocked Scintilla last night my PR went up by 500, which is a decent jump.

These dragons are more expensive than most of the others. The biggest gate these are behind is the diamond dragon eggs. Until recently, these took a long time to come by. They were rewards based on your combined power rank across your account. I forget what the breakdown was but you had to have a fairly high combined PR to even get 2 fragments a day. The eggs cost 300 to craft, so 100 days logging in to collect the reward to make one egg. You need one for each dragon so a little less than a year to reach if you don’t miss a day collecting the fragments. We’re talking a very long term goal here.

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Palashien, Soul of the Sea

This has changed with the updates that restructured the leaderboards. Instead of rewards based on power rank, it’s now included in the daily star bar completion rewards. I believe you get one per star bar filled without the patron pass and you can complete the star bar 5 times. So we’ve gone from 300 days to get all the egg fragments from just logging in to 180 days but you have to complete the trove equivalent of dailies. Worth a patron pass you obtain 3 diamond dragon egg fragments for each star bar completed. So now we’re talking 15 a day for a total of 60 days doing dailies for three eggs. That’s still 2 months of playtime. There is a very rare chance these can be looted from an empowered gem box. I got one of my eggs this way, it announces it to the whole server when it drops and the chat is filled with “GG”‘s, it’s very nice.

So on top of this, you also need 400 dragon coins per dragon. They cost 100 more dragon coins than most of the other dragons. These are also a time-locked currency but there are a number of ways to get them. I have 2 tomes that once filled for the week will give me 40 dragon coins. Plus the first hourly challenge completed a day gives at least 5 coins. You can also buy dragon coins from the shop with cubits, the soft cash shop currency of Trove, obtained by completing the daily star bars. And of course you can just buy them straight from the shop with your credit card, but I’m too cheap for that route.

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Scintilla, Spark of the Sky

Dragon coins and the eggs are the biggest obstacles on the way to these dragons. They make the other requirements seem laughable. 5k gem dust for each dragon is nothing and 100k flux isn’t that hard to come by either.

So was it worth it all? Of course! All 3 dragons account for 5% of my total power rank for my highest classes. I’m interested to see if that number changes once I optimize all of my gems. Za’Hadeen is probably the best mount for dungeon farming and surface mining. While all of the other dragons shoot fireballs when you left-click, Za’Hadeen fires like a machine gun when the left click is held down. Scintilla is nice and shiny and Palashien is basically like flying around on a Dratini.

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