All five boss fights for Escalation Protocol
Last Friday, April 20, night I was excited. God of War for Playstation 4 was being released, and though I was never a huge God of War fan, this game looked incredible. IGN gave it a 10/10, and everywhere else was reviewing it high as well. I had already planned on starting a weekly Witcher 3 stream for Saturday mornings and I was concerned that God of War would make me want to cancel those weekly streams so I could showcase God of War. It turns out my fears were unfounded, or rather, misplaced.
I started my new save on April 21 and I haven’t looked back since. Yes, God of War is amazing – graphically awesome, gameplay and mechanics are wonderful, the story – so far – is pretty good, but The Witcher 3 proved once again that it is my favorite game of all time (and that is saying a lot, I have been playing video games for over thirty years).
Even though I have several playthroughs and a foray into the New Game+, the world on a new save still feels as vibrant and inviting as always. Even though I know how the story goes, even though there isn’t a lot left for me to spoil for myself, I keep finding areas that I somehow missed, I still find the story itself engaging. I can still remember starting up TW3 on my Playstation 4 almost two years ago, I still remember one of my sons shocked face when he saw Keira Metz naked – in my defense I thought he had gone to bed but he had silently sat on our couch. I still remember the first time I found the frying pan for the old lady on the way to meet the Nilgaardians, and I still remember playing some really tough rounds of Gwent. I also remember being tied up by Triss Merigold and Yennefer and realizing that the life I had planned for Yen and Geralt was over. Every decision mattered, every seemed to have consequences, every word chosen to speak was important.
Few games stick with me for a long period of time. Final Fantasy XII has, but simply because it was the last game I played with my “dad” before he had a stroke and eventually died. Thus why it is my favorite Final Fantasy game. The Witcher 3 is one of those games I longed to get back into, but with my penchant for playing MMOs and new games that came out, I could never find the time. A part of me also knew that once I sat foot back into Geralt’s world, I’d never want to leave, and so far, that has been the case once again.
I tried to think back whey I even left in the first place, after putting so much time and effort into my initial playthroughs, and I remembered I had a vacation back to Georgia, Elder Scrolls Online came to console, Destiny: The Taken King came out. I don’t feel bad for leaving Geralt hanging, but I am glad he was excited when I found him again. The depth of the story is amazing, from the Bloody Baron to the search for Ciri to the end, it is the best, in my opinion, hand down story of any video game in existence. Graphically pleasing and awe inspiring with good game mechanics, I find myself enthralled with the living and breathing game world every time I start it up. For a game that came out May 19, 2015, it has not only aged well, but still gets updated for consoles such as the PS4 Pro.
If you have not had a chance to play The Witcher 3, and you are a fan of action/adventure role playing games, I suggest you pick it up and give it a shot. Be warned, its bloody, sexy and down right addicting.
This game looks, and plays, amazing. I am only around two hours in – just made it to the dwarf’s little outpost, and so far I agree with what virtually everyone else is saying. This game is amazing.
Unfortunately, after spending just over two hours on release day, I haven’t gone back because I have been playing The Witcher 3. However, with the time I have spent so far, the game is really good. Graphics: A+, Game play A+ and story: A so far.
New weekly stream coming, starting this Saturday at 8:00am Eastern – The Witcher 3.
This game is in my top five all time favorite games, and i will be starting a fresh save and playing at least every Saturday morning and streaming every kill, death and Gwent match. It has been awhile since I have played The Witcher 3, so it will be a learning experience at first, but hopefully I will be able to showcase what an amazing game this is. Feel free to stop in and watch, comment and ask questions during the streams. As always, if you catch up after the stream is over, I will do my best to respond to any comments you have.
April 21 – 8:00am ET – “Weekly Witcher” – The Beginning (Pt. 1.0)
– Throughout the week: 1.1, 1.2, etc if I stream
April 28 – 8:00am ET – “Weekly Witcher” – Current Quest (Pt. 2.0)
All streams to be on my YouTube Channel
Elgato HD 60S – For capture
Alienware 17R4 – For streaming
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700HQ (Quad-Core, 6MB Cache, up to 3.8GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
256GB PCIe SSD (Boot) + 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s
16GB DDR4 at 2667MHz (2x8GB
NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5
Windows 10 Pro (64bit)
I will be streaming both with Elgato and through the PS4 – depending on my setup at the time. The plan is for all Saturday streams to be through the capture device and any additional streams to be through the PS4.
It’s been awhile since I have really done any streaming or videos, but that is about to change! I am currently in the process of moving my entire operation into its on separate room (getting out of the living room, which will make my wife happy). Currently, I have been playing a lot of The Division, running through all of the Global Events with Lightstorm89, getting all of the classified gear and optimizing builds. The plan is to continue with The Division, but also play some Star Wars Battlefront while we all wait for the Destiny 2 “expansion” in May. I also plan on getting on the Nintendo Switch for some Breath of the Wild action which once I get my setup completed by the middle of April I will be able to stream as well.
There are a lot of games I want to go back and get in to, some to finish and some to simply play again:
- Elite: Dangerous
- Stuck somewhere near Colonia in my Anaconda after my trip to Beagle Point. Need to get back to Sol, etc, etc.
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Need to load up that DLC (Frozen Wilds). Absolutely loved this game, was the GOTY in my opinion, though after playing Breath of the Wild I can see why it got beat out.
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins
- Spectacular game that I simply need to finish.
- The Witcher 3
- My all time favorite game (still), just want to get back into the world.
- Gran Turismo: Sport
- I am upgrading to 4k, so I want to see it in 4k. Looks stunning in “normal” HD, so looking forward to seeing it with the step up.
Notice none of these are MMORPGs – I still have Final Fantasy 14 and even Elder Scrolls Online on my radar, but i just don’t know if I want to sink the time in either one of them to both catch up and be solid in end game. There is also Diablo III – which I haven’t logged into since seasons and Necromancer came to consoles, and though I’d love to get back into it, I need some of my buddies to hop back in on it as well (so much fun rampaging through Rifts and such.
In short, there are a lot of games i want to get back to, but The Division, along with Destiny 2 (if May works out) will be the two games i plan on prioritizing for awhile. Games I am looking forward to are Dragon Quest XI (Sept. 4) and Red Dead Redemption 2 (Oct. 26). Obviously The Division 2, but we have no idea release dates and wont until E3 this June.
If there is a game I listed here that you want to watch, just let me know. There is also the possibility that I may pop No Man’s Sky back in as well, especially with the big update coming this Summer.
As we are less than one month away from the first DLC for Destiny 2 – Curse of Osiris, many of us are playing some different games, and some of us have switched to playing Destiny 2 on PC.
To throw some content out there, here I am having fun with Orpheus Rigs for the first time – keep in mind, I am not a good hunter!
So now having completed the Leviathan Raid in Destiny 2 with two different groups – I was the only common denominator across both groups – I wanted to share my thoughts on each section of the raid, and then of course the raid as a whole.
Raid Opening – Standards
Let’s be honest – the best and worst part of the raid experience is here. The best part – it is fighting. Your first time through you don’t realize that besides the Baths, and of course Calus, this is the most fighting you will actually do. The worst – well, this is the most fighting you will actually do, and the funny part is you don’t even have to do it. Yes, first time you get a powerful engram, but if you know the underbelly, you don’t even have to do it the first time. If you don’t know this, you are doing this part between every round.
Hands down my favorite part of the raid – an almost perfect mix of mechanics and fighting. In short, it is a decent mini-DPS check for those having to kill Bathers on their own, which is essentially everyone once. Yes, you can run around and kill them slowly – or kite them around until the guy or gal coming to take your place on the plate shows up, but it lets you know that your load out and gear are up to snuff when you can take out the bathers with no problem.
The dogs! Probably the single must frustrating section for those on the raids first day – except for those who overthought the Gauntlet. Not much fighting – a lot of moving together and coordinating – i.e. 2 stacks we go half way on your dogs health, 3 stacks or more we kill… etc. That’s really about it. Easy to screw up, but even in that, there is no need to do a one phase kill of all dogs – it gains you maybe ten minutes for a normal raid team. I have also found it is no problem to one phase no matter the make up of your team – but if you do have 6 Titans… two stacks and go.
Easily the most frustrating part for my weekend raid group. However, now that it have been completed and the strategy is set, just like the rest of the raid up to this point, no big deal, pretty simple to get through. A lot of teams overthought this one at first, but once the mechanics where understood, it was a matter of assigning players in your fire team to positions. To be honest, the hardest part for my weekend groups was the final race which sends all six players through the actual gauntlet part of the gauntlet – but again, once we nailed down a strategy, no issues.
Up to this point – Through the Pools, Gardens and Gauntlet (which do rotate on a weekly reset basis) – the raid is pretty simple once you get down the strategy and no longer have to explain the mechanics to new members… even then, seriously, the first three part are pretty easy. (the rib on new players was a joke… seriously)
Calus – The Final Battle
Again, mechanics plays a huge part in the final raid encounter, as well as strategy. Who is going to stay in the throne room versus who is going to stay in the shadow zone. Hell, how many people will go into the shadow zone… three or four? What weapons to use, etc. Fighting skill also comes into play, especially for those who remain in the throne room when the others stay in the shadow zone. Even in the shadow zone the players need to be quick on the trigger to kill on the ground psions who will knock you over the barrier and get you killed. Its a battle where you need to even plan revive priorities… i.e. shadow zone folks revive first, and throne room guys as a last resort. Its a battle that has its on glitches and bugs (though I confess I have not really experienced any that I know of – I have always been able to change something to fix what could have been a bug or glitch – I do believe those people who claim to have experienced glitches). This battle had all the thought out mechanics of any final raid battle in Destiny… and in my opinion, did it just as well, if not better then the previous four raids. (Hands down a million times better then Prison of Elders – though PoE had a lot more fighting).
People complaining about the mechanics of this fight must have forgotten about Vault of Glass, where three RANDOM people get teleported and must use a relic and fight their way through. Take Crota, which was so glitchy at first we ended up 9the community) by glitching his ass with someone taking out a LAN cable. Prison of Elders – not a raid, but end game content in place of a raid… which was okay but not really. Oryx… most extreme mechanics up to that point. I didn’t play Rise of Iron.. but I think you get my point. Everyone complains about the raid when it first comes out… its too hard, to mechanic heavy, too many enemies… but eventually, once it is figured out, we all begin to chase the speed runners. In other words… this is just Destiny as usual.
I want to point out, I do not 100% agree with how the loot system works – i think you should get a guaranteed weapon drop from one phase of the raid, with a guaranteed armor drop from another. I do like the token system, but I still think you should get a definite drop from at least two phases of the raid. I would say 2nd phase you have to complete (which rotates) gives armor while Calus should give a weapon. I also wish Bungie would implement some sort of smart loot system where the game doesn’t give as many duplicates – both for raid gear and other stuff. Beyond this, I do like the token system – especially since it makes you beat the raid before you can actually use them. Meaning, you can’t just cheese over and over and turn in your tokens, you must beat the raid at least once on one character for them to be useful.
Now on the gear – its no different then the gear you have drop in the world outside the raid… in fact, a lot of people don’t even like the stats on the armor at all. There is also no raid or cabal specific perks on anything, which I feel is a huge mistake on Bungie’s part. There is also nothing real special about any of the weapons you can get… Ghost Primus is good, but if you have Origin Story not necessary. I haven’t found anyone who actually likes the pulse rifle. The raid rocket is essentially a slower reloading version of Curtain Call. The raid scout rifle, the Conspirator, is probably the best overall weapon, followed by the sword, to come out of the raid. Even the exotic shotgun, which you need to complete the raid for the quest to continue, doesn’t get a lot of love… yet (through the upgrade process, the thought is it will continue to get better).
Ratings – By Section and Overall
Standards – A+
Pools – A+
Gardens – A-
Gauntlet – B+
Calus – A-
Compared to the other raids – keeping in mind I didn’t play Rise of Iron – I still put Vault of Glass as number one, I put this one up there with King’s Fall, and of course I put Crota last. The only thing, for me, worse then Crota’s End would be Prison of Elders – but to be honest, it wasn’t really that bad, but we all wanted a raid! The one thing I do like about this raid is that you essentially cannot be carried – you must play your part and you must play it well – not perfect, but well.
I wanted to hate this raid because it wasn’t a traditional Destiny raid – there isn’t a ton of fighting, but after understanding each section and getting several completions, I realize that the raid as a whole has grown on me. to be honest, the normal mode does not feel as difficult as VoG did, and the puzzles will never be as annoying as the jumping sections of King’s Fall. As to the glitches and the mechanics, I only ask that you search your memory and go back to all of the previous raids.
I want to say thank you to both of the teams I have run with and will continue to do so. Especially those who stuck around even though I know certain parts became extremely frustrating.
We thought we had lost again, but we pulled it out with no time left. Note: We went back in with alts and beat it with almost 3 minutes left. No glitches or pushing the boss off the edge, just a war of attrition (no pun intended with the modifier)
Thanks to the clan mates from the Order of Average Joes for the run!
Well, once again Destiny is in the news, this time with Destiny 2. I swore about a year ago that I wouldn’t get excited about a new Destiny release… but turns out I broke that promise!
Expect some Destiny 2 content soon involving myself and potentially the clan – The Order of Average Joes – I am in.
Until next time, enjoy a Nightfall completion for the Rat King exotic hand cannon:
Well, Made it back to Colonia! 130 million exploration data later I am still sitting about 20 million shy of Elite rank in exploration. I took a little sight seeing tour around Colonia yesterday, here are some pics:
Plan is to begin heading back to Sol and the Bubble today – though with Destiny 2 coming out tomorrow, my journey back to full civilization will be slower then I thought at first.
I want to thank everyone who stopped by while I was live streaming – especially those who commented and kept me awake! I especially want to thank Joe – altlesjo – for keeping me company in party chat, and of course, my son Zachary who refused to go to bed and insisted on watching me play (as long as he had apple juice).