Couch Podtatoes Episode 19: PvP-Side Up

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This week we’re diving into the PvP debate, and though it’s a topic we have all covered on our blogs over the course of the years, it has been renewed with issues surrounding ArcheAge. The latest Contains Moderate Peril is sort of a sister show to this one, and they seemed to cover the side of those who don’t really PvP much. We offer the other side of the coin, as all of us have played and enjoy PvP and the dynamics it brings to the table. Welshtroll, whom has been our guest once before rejoined us for the discussion. We all talked about our early PvP experiences, what types of PvP we’re currently participating in, and our opinions on this mode of play. We covered many different community posts in the conversation as well, and you can find links to those below. Enjoy!

 

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Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 19: PvP-side Up (runtime: 1:26:01)

TGEN Promo/Bragtoberfest recap (starts at 2:05)
Discussion: Player vs Player (starts at 14:25)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Guest information:

Welshtroll
Blog: Welshtroll
Twitter: @Welshtroll

Discussion Posts:

What’s so bad about open world PvP?

http://gamingconjecture.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/whats-so-bad-about-open-world-pvp/

ArcheAge: PvE after level 30

http://endgameviable.com/archeage-pve-after-level-30/

Open world PvP and the psychology of a carebear

http://www.sygnus.org/2014/10/13/open-world-pvp-and-the-psychology-of-a-carebear/

Sandboxes and Sheep

http://aggronaut.com/2014/10/14/sandboxes-and-sheep/

PvE-only servers don’t actually work

http://syncaine.com/2014/10/17/pve-only-servers-dont-actually-work/

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Wilting on the Vine” by Daath (from the album “The Concealers”)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at http://couchpodtatoes.libsyn.com/. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming

Served Cold

This is part of my playthrough of the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim. You can find my playthrough of the Dawnguard DLC, and earlier bits of this adventure on the Ongoing Series page.

When I left off, Veleth had sent me to talk to Adril Arano, who was the first Dunmer I met when arriving at the dock of Raven Rock. He works for the head of the town, Lleril Morvayn as an advisor of some sort. He was worried that members of the house of Ulen were plotting revenge on house Morvayn for some long forgotten sleight. He asked that I find proof of that fact, and he sent me to talk to the proprietor of the Retching Netch. I had been there before, they have an interesting home brew.

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Geldis was said proprietor (also the man with the secret brew), and he told me that someone had continuously left ash yams as an offering in the Ulen burial chamber underneath the temple (good thing I cleared that place of ash beasts already!). He told me that if I could figure out who was leaving the offerings, that should point to the surviving Ulens who are threatening Morvayn’s life. So I was off to hang out with some long-dead remains. Also yams.

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It took a while, but eventually the quest updated. It took longer still for this Dunmer to enter the crypt. She seemed startled by my presence.

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Despite the fact that she didn’t need to tell me, or could have flat out denied anything, I still managed to learn of her ties to the Ulen family.

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Upon my return with the intel, Adril knew Tilisu’s name and knew that house Severin was related to the potential threat. He still needed proof of some sort though, so he sent me to the Severin manor to look for that. When I asked him what I should do if was attacked, he said as long as I had proof in hand, I could deal with threats as I saw fit.

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So this happened. Tilisu and her sister jumped me right as I entered the manor. I had no choice in the matter. Searching around, it seemed that the house was fully stocked with all of the tradeskill stations, and a bunch of items I was tempted to steal. I did resist, though I was allowed to break into the family’s safe. Which is also where I found the proof I needed. Adril didn’t need to know the Severins died before hand, no did he?

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Returning to Adril once again, I showed him the proof. He told me that the rest of the Severin family would have to be dealt with, despite the fact that they had seemingly been a boon to Raven Rock. He tells me that he’ll send some of his finest guards to meet me at Ashfallow Citadel, where we can deal with the threat to the Morvayn family.

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Along the way, I ran into this character. He was busy digging when I approached. He gave me a sob story about how what he’s digging for will be worth a fortune, but he’s lacking funds to pay for help and that if I was to give him a donation (1000 gold) he could hire men and finish the job faster. He offered me repayment plus profit in return for my investment. The best part was that I wouldn’t have to bother with anything, he would send word once the job was done. Considering the mountain of gold I had already earned at this point on Solstheim, 1000 gold wasn’t much of a risk. But this guy better not rip me off.

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By the time I arrived at Ashfallow Citadel, Adril’s cronies were already dead. These were supposed to be elite guards? Pfft. So I head inside the Citadel, and find multiple chitin armor wearing assassins, a bunch of traps, and finally, Vendil Severin, who was an easy kill. Threat neutralized.

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Upon my return to Raven Rock, Adril was pleased to hear of my success, and took me to Morvayn himself. Morvayn decided that rather than just giving me coin, that he would reward my efforts with the deed to Severin Manor. This came along with all the crafting stations and loot I mentioned earlier, along with a trophy (only the 2nd or 3rd I’ve earned this expansion). So that’s pretty cool. At this point I have a few more side quests left to work on (plus many more to come across I’m sure) plus there’s still the main questline. I’ve started filling out the map, though I’m sure there are many more points of interest left.

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I have also rolled over 100 hours spent in the game. I’m sure that’s a small amount compared to some people, but it’s rare that one game can hold me for that long, let alone one that isn’t an MMO. I probably still have 20+ hours to go if I had to guess, since there’s still some things left to do on the mainland once I’m done here. I hit level 49 last night so I know that once I’m level 50, I can also go back and do a few things for the last trophy I need to get the Platinum. That’s may goal before the end of the month, as my ultimate achievement for Bragtoberfest. Stay tuned, more to come.

#Skyrim #dragonborn #theelderscrolls

By the Numbers: Week 8, 2014

Less commentary this week, because I’m running late with my picks. I ended up breaking even with last week, going 10 for 15 again. There were a couple that I just don’t know how they went the other way. One I did almost get the Lions/Saints game correct on score, and I correctly predicted the Denver score, but SF was a few points shy of the target. So I take it as an improvement overall. Let’s see if I can take it to 11 this week.

Thursday Night:

San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos

I don’t see SD beating Denver on a short week, even if they’re pissed about losing to KC.

Verdict: Broncos 42, Chargers 21

Sunday:

Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons

As much as I want Detroit to lose so the Packers can take 1st place in the division, I don’t see them losing to the dirty birds.

Verdict: Lions 24, Falcons 13

Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers don’t got it this year.

Verdict: Seachickens 31, Panthers 10

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

This should be a decent game. I vote for the Ravens taking it.

Verdict: Ravens 21, Bengals 17

Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Snoozer. Fish win.

Verdict: Dolphins 17, Jags 3

St. Louis Rams vs. Kansas City Chiefs

You never know with the AFC west. We’ll say Chiefs.

Verdict: Chiefs 17, Rams 7

Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots

I don’t see Chicago winning this. They look like an 8-8 team this year.

Verdict: Pats 38, Bears 13

Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets

The LOL teams from New York. Bills win.

Verdict: Bills 17, Jets 10

Minnesota Vikings vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I think the Vikings might actually win another game.

Verdict: Vikes 24, Bucs 16

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

Meh. Texans? Maybe?

Verdict: Texans 24, Titans 14

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals

Eggles? Nah, it’s in the Cards.

Verdict: Cards 28, Eggles 14

Oakland Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns

Another game I’ll snore through. Browns win another while the Raiders weep.

Verdict: Browns 13, Raiders 3

Indianapolis Colts vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

I don’t see the Colts folding like the Texans, but Steelers are showing some life.

Verdict: Colts 31, Steelers 21

Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints

I’d be a fool to think this will be an easy game. The Pack heads to NO’s Superdome, where noise can be an issue and the Saints usually play well there. I still think we’ll pull out the win though.

Verdict: Packers 38, Saints 21

Monday Night:

Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys are hot, but I still think they suck. The skins just suck more.

Verdict: Cowboys 27, Skins 10

Giants and 49ers are on a bye.

So there you go. Let’s see if I can get more than 10 right this week.

Getting Deep in Solstheim

This is the beginning of my playthrough of the Dragonborn DLC for Skyrim. You can find my playthrough of the Dawnguard DLC on the Ongoing Series page.

When I arrived on the Island of Solstheim, I was planning on just getting right into the main story line and wasn’t going to let myself get side tracked. That lasted about 5 minutes, and next thing I knew I was being pulled in several directions at once, as Skyrim has been proven to do every time I play it. This is not a complaint either, I love the immersion and the drive the game gives me to explore all the nooks and crannies. Let’s just say it doesn’t take long for Shit to Get Real™.

I did start out with the main quest line, because it was the only real direction I had. I was told by the dude at the docks that I should ask around town for more information about Miraak, since he’s basically the whole reason I was on the island in the first place. I came across “the Earth Stone,” as the quest marker pointed me in that direction.

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There were some construction workers nearby who seemed a little out of it, as if they were under a spell or something. Shortly thereafter, I was approached by a Dunmer by the name of Neloth.

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He points me in the direction of some temple on the other side of the island, and gives me a new location on my map. I figured I should explore the town further before starting the trek though, and that lead me into several side quests, which I had a hard time resisting. See, I’m usually the type who likes to complete everything that comes my way, so a game like Skyrim puts me in a position where I can’t just rush through the game for trophies or just to say I “beat it” because I won’t feel that way unless I did mostly everything on offer. Soon enough I was inside the town’s temple, and was told that their underground crypt was infested by “Ash Beasts,” and guess who volunteered to clear it out? This guy.

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You’ll have to forgive the quality of some of these screens, as it’s hard to play the game with a controller and take pictures with my phone, but I manage. So these ash creatures are formed from the volcanic ash from the — you guessed it — volcano on the island. They aren’t too tough though they do seem to cause a burning effect when striking you. The good news is that they all drop various ores in their dead ash piles, so I’ve come up on a lot of materials that can be used to level blacksmithing. I know, I’m the guy who complains about tradeskills in games, but in Skyrim the tradeskills don’t bother me. They’re easy to do, and they give effective rewards. It’s not like the typical MMO where the gear I craft is shit, or I out level it within a day or two. I’m still wearing the Dragonbone gear that I crafted a long ass time ago, case in point.

It was rather easy to clear out the crypt, and I received a small reward for doing so. Moving further in the town, I was tasked with getting an “Ancient Nord Pickaxe” from a miner, who had borrowed it from the Blacksmith. I headed to the mines, and of course said miner had a conspiracy theory. He wanted me to head deeper into the mines to find his grandfather’s remains, whom he believed was killed by some foul force and that the East Empire Company had covered it up.

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First off I convinced him to give up the pickaxe, and when I returned to the Blacksmith, he let me keep it. He just wanted “his point made.” So score, new pickaxe for me. Not that it made much of a difference, but whatever. So we were off to dive deeper into the mines (when I say we, I mean Serana and myself, as I decided to keep her along with me).

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Navigating the mine was no big deal. There were some spiders to deal with but still, no big thang for a bad ass adventurer like myself. Once we got towards the bottom the appearance changed. It seemed that we were in an ancient Nord burial chamber. This was typical of Skyrim, but we were in Morrowind now, so it was strange to see Dragur. No matter, they were easily dispatched, and I eventually came across a deposit of a new material called “Stahlrim” which according to my trophy list was something I could craft with. We’ll get to that later. Further along there were some bigger baddies, including the Nord zombies with the nice armor who also know shouts.

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When we did finally find Gratian Caerellius’ remains, it was clear that the old miner was correct about the conspiracy to cover up the Nord burial chambers.

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He had a journal on him that chronicled the events, and his remains were in front of a mysterious door that was glowing with energy. He also had a magical two-handed sword that was a piece of the puzzle. With a strong attack, it actually shot out an energy wave, which was used in opening the door (which at this point was the only want to get out).

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The puzzle was easy enough, and it wasn’t too difficult to get beyond the traps thereafter either. There was an evil spirit that was a bitch to kill off, I believe he was a Lich King, in the fact that he dropped a rather nifty mask, much like one that I used to wear for a while (Krosis I believe it was?). I didn’t get a picture of him because that was a tough, twitchy fight. But he was in the water-filled chamber below:

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In a small room nearby, there was a stand with a book on top of it, and I assumed it was a typical book or perhaps a spell tome, but I was surprised to be transported to another dimension once I touched it (which is why I didn’t take a picture, because it seemed so ordinary). So I’m now in another dimension, and there’s a creepy beholder type floating eyeball mass talking to me.

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Apparently the plane is called Apocrypha, where all knowledge is hoarded. He tells me that I may consume all the knowledge I want and then leave, for a time. It’s fairly ominous, but eventually I realize I can leave though I have to kill a big ass boss mob. Despite having recently dispatched a Lich King. Yeah, I’m a bad ass, but I believe I already mentioned that.

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He doesn’t look that bad in the pic, but he was rather large, and took a long time to kill. Shortly thereafter I found a really big book that granted me a special perk of my choosing, though none were that awe-inspiring. It also held the portal to get outta here.

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Shortly thereafter I emerged from the Nord burial chamber into another cavern, which had been used by bandits as a stronghold. I cleared them out and found myself on the beach just north of Raven Rock. I returned to the old miner, and got a small reward. From there, I traveled towards another side quest, which was a shipwreck off of the south east coast, where the matriarch of the town needed me to retrieve a logbook. On the way, I came across a Dunmer named Captain Veleth who was being attacked by the ash beasts. I helped him out, and he told me that something had happened at this farm house and needed help figuring out why the ash beasts kept attacking Raven Rock. I found a note nearby, which was a decree from General Falx Carius, whom Veleth said had been dead for centuries. He pointed me in the direction of another fort, but first I was off to the ship wreck.

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The ship had been taken over by thieves, and I cleared them out quickly. I found some loot along with the log book and returned it to the matriarch. Then it was time to investigate the fort where Carius was said to be located (possibly). We found the fort with little trouble, and ash beasts were lurking all around. Once inside, there were more ash beasts but I also came across a journal of someone who had taken residence in the fort recently. He described foul experiments using heartstone which he grafted to the long-dead remains of Carius, and somehow brought him back to life. He mentioned that Carius was showing a resilience of mind and continuously attacked him, denying any power the conjuror may have had. Later I found that Carius was behind a locked door, and for good reason. He could summon ash beasts and carried a powerful 2 handed sword. He killed me once before I took him down, and was a rather tough boss fight. But I was victorious in the end.

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When I returned to town, it was to Veleth’s delight that the ash beast attacks would stop (I did manage to see an attack happen once, and it seemed rather negligible, but still, I was the hero of the day).

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Veleth sent me to talk to the original Dunmer who had greeted me on the docks, but I had decided to call it a night by then. The adventure will continue soon!

#skyrim #dragonborn #solstheim

Bragtoberfest Week 3 Round-Up

bragtoberfest_spooky

 

Another week down, and we’ve had another big event, several mini-events and more bloggers writing about what they’re accomplishing in games. It’s been a fun month but we are nearing the end. That means for the month-long competitions you only have a week left to make that final push. This upcoming weekend will be the final big group event. You only have a week to earn the rest of the potential achievements and at the end of the month I’ll be doing the big giveaway. So stay tuned for all of that!

Gaming Events

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This weekend we got together to play some Team Fortress 2. Being free to play, easy to understand/jump into, and goofy fun, it seemed like a good choice. One of the only things I failed to think of ahead of time was the fact that the participants were all over the world, and that meant ping could be a factor. In a game that didn’t require accuracy, this might not have been an issue, but it was in a game like this. Welshtroll, his wife, Roger from CMP, and Jeromai joined up for the session.

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I spent a lot of time as the sniper.

Starting out, Jeromai had some issues with ping, but eventually we got that all sorted out and it wasn’t much of an issue (at least it was tolerable). The only other issue is the fact that the game is a little dated, so there matchmaking system leaves much to be desired. We worked around it though, and I chose to set us up in Mann vs. Machine matches so that we could cooperatively shoot shit. It was also the easiest way to get us all on the same server. We did end up with some random players here and there until eventually Doone joined up with us and we had a full 6 man team.

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These tanks were annoying!

Overall it was pretty fun, but I have to say that I’m just not really a fan of the game. The classes don’t speak to me. I enjoy the style and the goofy factor, but the gameplay is a little lacking. This is mainly because I’m more partial to newer shooters, but it is what it is. I had a good time regardless.

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I really like this game. It’s such a simple concept, but the 6 man co-op takes the zombie killing fun to the next level (as opposed to say, CoD Zombies modes with 4-man teams). There are annoyances such as shitty voice overs that declare you are reloading every single time you do so, and the graphics are a bit dated (it did release in 2009 after all). I joked that the majority of our group would enjoy the game because the voice overs were complete with British accents and your in game currency is pounds rather than dollars. It’s apparent the game was developed in their country. This game also had a dated matchmaking system (that or I have been completely spoiled by matchmaking in Steam or on consoles) that took a minute to figure out, but soon enough we were in game. Doone dropped out of the group at this point, as did Welsh’s wife, so it was just me, Roger, Jeromai and Welsh going into it. We ended up with two random friends each round though, so it wasn’t an issue. We also sucked hard at the initial claustrophobic level that we started on, but things leveled out once we got onto the farm level.

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We had plenty of room to move around, though we ended up finding a farm house and next thing I knew the group disappeared and come to find out everyone had died. I managed to survive the wave, and next thing you know we were all dying. It was rather difficult to stay together and kill everything that moved.

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We tended to stay together while the other random people would wander off. We would usually end up together again once it was time to do the shopping in between waves, that is if we made it there in time.

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At this point we were in a run down version of London, and I had dual “Love-Cannons” with which I smashed in many heads. Later in this match I would end up buying a pretty awesome sniper rifle.

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We ended up actually completing this level including taking down the boss (who was a zombie with a chest-burster and a big ass gun). We lost all previous levels because we weren’t prepared, and I actually turned the difficulty down. But whatever, we finally got a victory screen:

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All in all it’s a rather fun game. The sequel is currently in development, so I think I’m going to try and convince these folks to pick that up when it comes out so we can do this all over again with prettier graphics.

Mini Games

After last week’s PoE event, Doone was nice enough to gift participants with the screen-saver-ish “game” Mountain. It seems we have all been coaxed into naming our Mountains and Doone is planning something with them at the end of the month. Mine has been named “The Devil’s Teat” and so far has managed to gather a baseball, padlock, and a bunch of bananas. Aside from when I make it rain blood or destroy it altogether. It’s a weird concept but it can be enthralling at times.

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We’ve also been running an on going score attack challenge in Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+, where I am currently leading with just over 3 million points on the Championship II (first course of the game) 10-minute run. Proof:

I understand that some others have been getting involved, and you are welcome to post whatever scores you like, but this was the officially sanctioned one for the month. So beat my score, and rub it in! Also, this week’s flash game was Feed the King, and it appears that Murf has been the winner, as I can’t find any higher score than this one. J3w3l will be announcing the new game soon.

So congrats on that Murf. I couldn’t ever get past 40k. As far as achievement tracking goes, check the list and let me know if I missed anything, as usual.

Post Round-Up

Here’s what’s been going on in the Blogosphere for #Bragtoberfest:

Aywren hits level 50 in ArcheAge and makes a bunch of gold in the process. Also on Clean Casuals, Aywren’s counterpart Almonihah clears The Last Federation.

Moderate Phil gives a rundown of this past weekend’s gaming event.

Rowan Blaze plays TSW and earns a bunch of skill points and a new set of gear.

In his weekly round-up, Mr Luvva Luvva talks about Bragtoberfest high scores.

Murf tells us a story about a server first in WoW.

Welshtroll’s recap of Saturday’s gaming event.

And here’s Jeromai’s as well.

Finally, Doone talks about Mountain.

That’s all for this week. Catch you for the finale next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.

#Bragtoberfest #roundup #community