Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Fun

Like a petulant teenager, Borderlands 3 refuses to grow up

I think I’m done with Borderlands 3. Which is too bad because the gameplay is solid–it’s just everything else that sucks. OK, that’s not fair. The graphics are better than ever. I have always loved the cell-shaded look, and that hasn’t changed. I didn’t dig Amara when I first started because while she’s a siren, she’s a brawler. She felt very underpowered in the first couple hours. I tried all the characters as I like to do knowing I’d probably go with Amara. I had played as the siren in both of the first two games, and I was dedicated to the class. Still. Two of the other classes looked interesting, and I touched on this in my last post. I did eventually try Moze and the other guy. Zero? No, that was from the last game. Zane! That’s his name. I was definitely unimpressed by him. Moze and her Iron Bear are badass, but since Ian is playing that character, not for this go around. I may go back to Fl4k, but Amara has gotten better now that I’m Level 10 or so.

It was a mentality change. She’s a brawler, which means she’s meant to be played melee. Melee is not my forte. Oh, and apparently she’s good with elements. Which makes sense, but I haven’t been pumping that tree because I’m all about the health regen, I don’t love any of her ults, but I’ve been mostly using the ground pound. In the last game, I used the hold the enemy in the air and shoot them to death, but it’s just not as useful when there a a million enemies swarming you. For the first few hours, I played by hanging back and shooting, which is my usual M.O. That’s not how she’s meant to be played. She’s a get in there and smash them in the face kind of gal. I was already meleeing more than I ever have, but it wasn’t enough. By the way, I did switch melee to C instead of V. It’s better, but it’s still awkward.

I’m blathering about all this other stuff because I don’t want to talk about what I knew was going to happen, but I had hoped against hope that it wouldn’t. In fact, let’s talk about Scholar of the First Sin so I don’t have to talk about it for a few more minutes. I plugged in the old laptop the other day just to see what characters I had rolled up in SotFS. Imagine my chagrin when I realized that I didn’t have it installed on that machine. I can reinstall it, of course, but it’ll be tricky. First, I have almost no memory left. Second, I’m switching the power cord from my new machine back and forth every time I want to use the old machine. I can probably find the old power cord, but will it work? I don’t know. I’m really hard on my power cords.

I went to my desktop, did all the updating it needed, and checked out my characters there. I have several, and three of them are in NG+ and beyond. I was specifically looking at the gestures I had because I should have gotten the gestures achievement. Sure enough, I had all the gestures on the first character I checked, but not the achievement. This one is easy. There are 20 of them, and there are three ways  to get them. The first are the default ones. Had those, of course. All but one of the rest are given by NPCs. The final one is Praise The Sun, which you get at the Altar of Sunlight. I was pretty sure I had all the gestures on more than one character, so what the fuck? I Googled it, of course, and the best explanation is that if you get the last gesture while offline, it doesn’t count. Steam offline, I mean. I play most of the games offline most of the time, so that’s probably what happened to me.

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Bordering on lands for the third time

is it real or am i dreaming?
Look at my hair. Look. At. It!

Still have not played a Souls game since I platted the third game a few weeks ago (yes, I’m finally calling it platting and not not-platting as I’ve been doing). I’m getting the itch, though, to play…Scholar of the First Sin. I’m holding off because I know if I do, I’ll start wandering into the not-plat. It’s another game with no cloud sync, which would mean doing it on my current character (only one on this computer) or hooking up the old laptop again. It’s supposedly the easiest of the three Souls games to plat, but no! I do not want to get into that mentality again.

I did crack and try Code Vein. I imported my character from the demo because I love her so much. It’s the first time I’ve been able to have a character with hair LONGER than my own, and I spent over an hour in the character creation. The hair is even thin and fine like mine! Two negatives with the character creator–the heaviest set is still skinny with big boobs and all the female clothing is skimpy at best. The one outfit I chose covers the most skin possible, but is tight as fuck and the leggings have holes in them. It’s Japanese, though, so there’s not much to be done there.

I immediately had issues with stuttering in the proper game that I did not have in the demo. I jiggered my settings, but I couldn’t get rid of it completely. I also had loading issues, and my game froze every time I exited the game. It was irritating, and I felt as if it was a bait-and-switch situation since I did not have that issue with the demo (the first part of the game). There were fog walls where the game wasn’t loading properly, and it was a mess. I knew there was jank in the game, but this wasn’t something I had read about in the forums. Then again, I don’t read forums very much because they’re pretty toxic in general.

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Recovering from not-platting…still

pestilent mist to the tree balls!
Cheesy fun on the way to the not-plat!

I’m feeling the urge. The urge to purge. Er, no, not that. The urge to play Dark Souls III again. It’s just a whisper, and I am not going to do it, but the fact that it’s in the back of my head less than a week after platting the game demonstrates how much I love the game. I’m relieved that I don’t completely hate the game any longer, but it’s still going to take some time before I want to dive back into it. I did break and buy Code Vein on sale at Steam, but I probably won’t be playing it any time soon, either. It’s very good–at least from what I’ve played in the demo (though I’ve seen on the internet that there’s plenty of jank and frustration–and the DLCs are trash), but it’s anime Souls. That’s not a knock–I just don’t know if I can deal with it right now. I’m still exhausted from not-platting, and I’ve been thinking about it lately. Dark Souls not-plat was tedious. Believe me, very much tedious. Very grindy, and it was mitigated because I could do it over several characters. That really helped do the upgrading to the fullest every kind of weapon–meaning, crystal, lightning, magic, etc. I have mentioned this before, but I’m so glad that the upgrading paths have streamlined over the sequels. Having different material for each upgrade path was a pain in the ass. I know it was even more convoluted in Demon’s Souls.

I will say that the ‘have one weapon of all kinds’ achievement in the third game was, in theory, better than it was in the first game. You just had to have one of each infusion–and you didn’t have to upgrade the weapons at all. I think it’s partly because upgrading is so much more expensive in the third game than in the first, but for whatever reason, it was a welcome change. The achievement being bugged was fucking irritating, though. I’m just lucky that I had several characters on my old laptop (and could still get the laptop to work) in NG+ many with a plethora of all the material needed to try and try again.

I have complex feelings about the not-plat of the third game. Still. I understand that they want to make it difficult to obtain the plats, and it makes perfect sense. However, the way a lot of games seem to go about it is to just make you grind for an insane amount of time. I suppose you could technically say that skill is involved because you have to kill many of the bosses twice for boss souls (and three times for *sob* Sif), and with the same character. That means going into NG++. Technically, you only need to kill Sif on NG+, but in order to get to the Giant Blacksmith to make the weapon (and that of Gwyn’s soul), you have to get to Anor Londo which is halfway through the game (if you go the normal way). So, you have to play half the game and kill one boss for the plat, which means killing all the non-optional bosses on the way.

In the third game, you have to make it to the last area save the final boss’s boss arena in order to get one of the rings you need. On NG++, I mean. So you pretty much have to play the game three times through on one character to get the rings achievement. It took me roughly two hours to get to the Giant Blacksmith in Anor Londo on NG++. It took me six or seven hours to beat the Nameless King in NG++. Not to beat him himself but to get through him as the final obstacle to the not-plat. The emotional toll that the DS III not-plat took on me made me question why the fuck I was doing it. The first game was tedious and boring  in many parts, but it never warped my brain the way the third game did.

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Dark Souls III plat is like giving birth

*Bonus Post*

hellraiser up in this bitch!
Delicious bow cheese!

Completing the Dark Souls plat made me feel relieved, but still wearied. I didn’t feel that much joy or accomplishment, and it was definitely muted. Yesterday (Thursday), I buckled down to plow through the rest of the plat requirements for DS III. I didn’t want to do it; I seriously thought about taking a break. But, I know myself. I know that if I stepped away, I would just obsess about it more until I did it. So. Four bosses. Four rings. I took a deep breath and took the plunge. I went after Oceiros with the help of Hawkwood, and it was no thing; he never is. Champion Gundyr, on the other hand….First of all, I’d like to note that I was playing offline because I did not want to deal with invasions–human or NPC. I can’t get a human summon for the life of me, but I have been invaded. There’s an NPC invasion in this area as well, and I simply did not want to deal with her.

I biffed it in my first attempt on Champion Gundyr, even with the Sword Master by my side.  I was too hesitant and allowed Champion Gundyr to dictate the fight, and he pushed my shit in over and over again. I was already irritated, and, let’s face it, that did not help. Fighting a boss while in a heightened emotion in a FromSoft game means certain death. This time, I resolved to be more deliberately forceful, and I got all up in Champion Gundyr’s face–By the way, Champion Gundyr is so goddamn aggressive, but I managed to get him solo with not too much difficulty the first time I met him. Being a caster is helpful with certain bosses, including this one. That’s what I did this time around, and it wasn’t hard at all once I settled the fuck down.

I stealthed my way through the Black Knights though I normally kill them because I just didn’t care about anything that didn’t help my run progress. I made it to the Dark Firelink Shrine and beelined it for Lothric’s throne. Behind it was the Life Ring +3, one of the four rings I needed. I briefly chatted with the Shrine Handmaid then warped myself back to ‘my’ Firelink Shrine. I set myself up for the next part of my run–which was Lothric Castle. It’s pretty big, and it can take some time to explore the whole castle. There are dragons with black slooge that breathe fire as you try to get into the castle, so you have to go the back way, and there’s oodles of other shit you can do as well. I ignored the other stuff and went straight to the level to open the front gate. I died to the scrubs in the castle twice because I was rushing and not doing the area as I normally would. Plus, I was getting more and more worried about the last thing I had to do, but I’ll get to that later.

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Dark Souls III fears come to life

farming my life away.
Look at my ridiculous tongue!

Back when I had completed my Dark Souls not-plat run and was watching Krupa finish his Dark Souls plat run, there was talk in the chat of what plat he should go for next. Several people suggested Dark Souls III, and I mentioned that I was worried that doing a not-plat run for DS III would ruin the game for me–and it was my favorite game. Now, almost two weeks later, I can say that my fear is coming true. I’ve been working on the DS III plat like mad without even mentioning what I’m doing this time. I don’t even call it the not-plat; I just do it. This plat is by far worse than the original one. I mean, that one was grindy as fuck, yeah, but this one is triple the grind and triple how far you have to get in NG++.

I have one achievement left (plus The Dark  Soul, which you get for getting all the other achievements)–Master of Rings. It’s the Knight’s Honor achievement of this game, but far more tedious. There are 107 rings you need overall, supposedly. This is one of the achievements that can glitch, and I will be super pissed if that happens. The Master of Infusion achievement glitched for me, and I thought that it was because I was offline. I have a tendency to run through the games offline until I hit a boss and then I want summons. Unfortunately, I am currently way over-leveled due to my grinding for covenant items, so I have not seen a human summon since…well at all in the not-plat run, which started midway in NG+.

I tried three times for the Master of Infusion achievement in three different ways, and I was unable to get it to pop. I was pissed, obviously, because as I noted in the last post, I only have one character on this laptop. I read all the wikis and I tried all the tips and tricks. None of them worked. I did NOT want to have to start another character just to get this achievement, so I dragged out the old laptop, plugged it in with this power cord, and pulled up one of the dozen of my old characters–one that is on NG+…..something or the other. More than 2, I think. I had all the material I needed, so I did the tip that someone suggested of buying fifteen daggers and infusing them one by one with the different statuses. I held my breath as I did the last one, and it popped! Thankfully, or I probably would have hurt myself by punching something very  inanimate and hard.

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Some whine with my Dark Souls cheese

farming outfit nonsense.
Full farming regalia.

During my Dark Souls not-plat run, I tried some cheese late in the game to make it more interesting for me. I mentioned it in my last two posts about the end of the not-plat run, and I brought the same mentality into my current playthrough of DS III. Here’s a fun fact* about the third game: there is no cloud sync. There is one in the original, but not this game for whatever reason. That means that I can only play whatever characters I have created on this computer–which is one. I found this out the hard way when the game came out and I had finished it. Then, I went to visit Ian right around the time of the second DLC, and I was on a different computer than the one I had done the main game on. Imagine my surprise when I tried to find my character, and she wasn’t there. I had to start over and run through the whole game again in order to access the DLC. Maybe it was the first DLC. At any rate, it was frustrating.

My current character is on NG+ and when I picked up the game again, I was about to enter the Catacombs of Carthus. I was a strengthcaster per yooz with a heavy emphasis on casting. I had 30 in Int and 30 in Faith, and I had skimped on Vi….t? Vig? *frantically Googles* Vigor! They change all the stats from game to game so it’s not easy to remember which is in which game. Anyway, I skimped on Vigor, Endurance, and Vitality (see!), and I am trying to beef those up now. I usually neglect Vitality because I prefer to wear lighter armor and bump up my other stats. My one character on NG++++ (pauses) + (I think it’s NG+5) has Vit for days, but I’ll never be able to use her again, sadly.

I finally have my Vigor up to 28 and Endurance up to 30, and I’ll probably leave them once I get my Vigor up to 30. Faith is 35 so I can use Bountiful Sunlight with the Symbol of Avarice when I’m farming for…I’ll get to that in a minute. I would like to get it to 45 to use Soothing Sunlight, but I’m not sure I can justify 10 points in Faith just for that miracle. I do have it, however. I’m not doing a plat run, nor am I doing a not-plat run, but it’s nice to have in my back pocket just in case.

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Not-plat Dark Souls run DONE!

*Bonus Post*

moonlight greatsword is mine!
Gotcha, asshole!

In my last post, I wrote about my not-plat Dark Souls run, but I forgot to mention Seath. He of the Moonlight Greatsword tail that I needed for the not-plat. I fucking hate the Crystal Cave. Earlier in NG, I went to grab the Titanite Blue Slab that is nestled there. I have never gotten it before, so I fell off that particular invisible path several times. Fortunately, I have several characters pretty far in this game so I was able to do the upgraded weapons with more than one character. That meant that I could use the Titanite Blue Slab I already had on one character (there are two in the game) for one upgrade and the one I nabbed in the Crystal Cave on a different character for the other.

Anyway, tackling Seath’s tail was a bitch. Getting there was more stressful because….I don’t know why exactly. I couldn’t remember exactly where the invisible path was, and I fell more than once. It took me five or six times just to get to Seath, and one of those fucking clams came into the arena with me. I died and was fuming as I made the trek again. One the second time I made it into the arena, I tried the strat of letting him kill his own crystal (I did it myself the first time) so he would be stunned as I ran around to his backside. I did not have Power Within activated, and I breathed Great Combustion on his tail…but missed once. I think I hit him once, but it wasn’t enough. So, I had to do it the hard way of running around him, baiting out the laser attack, and getting one or two swipes (Furysword) or GC on his tail–making sure I aimed at the tip. The thing is, though, he lashes his tail around, which meant I missed more than I hit.

I had to keep an eye on his health, obviously, as I did not want to have to do him on NG++. Not only did I not want to have to do him on NG++, I did not want to have to get to that part of the game as I only had to reach Anor Londo and Cuddles (Giant Blacksmith) to transform two boss weapons. I had Seath’s health down half just by attacking the tail, and I was getting nervous. I was wearing pretty strong curse-resist armor and had a high magic-resist shield, and I wasn’t taking much damage at all. I wonder if he’s like the Four Kings in that he does more damage the further you are away from him. Just as I decided I would probably have to let him kill me and try again, his tail came off! A few agonizing seconds before Moonlight Greatsword flashed on the screen, and then his tail…just…stayed…there. For the rest of the fight. As you can see in the pic above. Which was kinda gross, tbh, but at least I didn’t have to harvest it for the MGS as I would have in Monster Hunter World.

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My Dark Souls not-plat run is almost done

staring into the abyss.
Got you, motherfucker!

I stand before the abyss, ready to take the plunge. No, wait. I’ve already done the Abyss as in the Four Kings on NG+ with my strength/faith gal, and it was fucking bullshit, I’ll tell ya. I don’t normally have trouble with the Four Kings because I just Pyro them in the face. New Londo (the area leading up to it) ain’t fun, but it’s not the worst, either. I normally can get through it on one or two tries. As for the Four Kings themselves, it’s usually a one and done in NG. I’ve even done it on NG+ before and not had an issue, but that’s with a character who had vit, end, and strength for DAYS. On this character, I was short all three (though I did bump up Endurance and finally have 40), and the ghosts were owning me. It took me four or five tries to get to the Four Kings, and then they wrecked me in one. I looked up tips (I ain’t too proud to beg), and then I followed the advice of using Power Within and Haveling it up. Mask of the Child for Stamina and the Crest Shield, then, and this is the important part, Great Combustion those assholes in the face.

I love me some Great Combustion, but I tend to view it as a last resort. It really is powerful as fuck, and I’ve been using it as a first option generously. I have two of them which is 16 uses in total. I also have two of the weaker ones, Combustion, and one Black Flame (the dark version) as well. But wait! We are not at that point in my narrative because there was so much other stuff I went through to get there. I stuck with my faith gal because in order to get one of the covenants, you needed to feed Gwyn’s soul to the Altar of Sunlight as a Sunbro AFTER offering ten Sunlight Medals. And, if you break the covenant as I did in the end of NG in order to save Solaire, then  you have to offer five more medals in order to get back into the covenant. Anyway, I did that, got the last miracle, and was able to check that achievement off my list.

Here’s a funny thing about me. I’m a completionist, even when I’m running through a game for the hundreth time. I still want to get every item and go to every  area even if I can skip it. I usually do Blighttown the normal way even when I have the Master Key just because. Also, Blighttown ain’t as bad as everyone says, especially on the PC. Anyway, on this NG+ non-plat run, I said fuck it. I was just going to go as fast as possible, making sure I did everything I needed to do along the way. I even went into Blighttown the back way and skipped the whole platforming mess. I made it to Biggie & Small in three or four hours, which is unheard of for me. I freaked out before fighting them, however, as I needed Ornstein’s soul. I never fight Super Ornstein because why would I? I had his soul on another character because a summon went for Smough first and I really had no choice. That character was in NG++, however, and didn’t have either Priscilla’s tail or Seath’s tail. I don’t care about tail cuts and have never done either. I also don’t kill Priscilla ever since the first time. Not because it traumatized me and made me think I was stuck in the Painted World of Ariamis forever (though it certainly did that), but because she’s cute and fluffy, and she’s not hurting anyone.

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I’m all about that Souls, that Souls, no Bloodborne!

let's never talk about this again.
Come give me a kiss!

I started playing Dark Souls Remastered again last week just because. I do this. I switch from game to game*, usually after finishing a playthrough, but sometimes during. In DS, I’m running my usual strengthcaster character–Pyro/Zwei. It’s the funnest character build for me, and I marvel at how I’m just tromping merrily through the game. Been re-watching Krupa (of RKG) stream his run for the platinum, and….while I’m not doing a platinum run, I’m not NOT doing a platinum run, either. I already have 24 of the 41 achievement (and can’t believe I don’t have the vanilla ending achievement, which is the easiest one to remedy). This platinum is super-fiddly and tedious, involving a lot of grinding and at least two-and-a-half playthroughs without assistance from other people gifting you items, and it’s doesn’t seem like any fun after a certain point. Krupa has done three streams of 6 hours, 7 hours, and 8 hours respectively–and he’s not done yet. There last stream will probably be three or four hours. He was already at Gwyn when he started the first stream, and then the fiddling started. He also had summons to help him, and our community was built on Souls (though it has expanded quite a bit) so the summons really knew their shit. Since Krupa used a password, he could summon anyone of any level. So many pyro pals. So much blamming goodness. There are several people who have platted the game themselves, and many more who have played it countless times even without platting.

The next stream is ten days away. I’m seriously tempted to buy it on the PS4 and see if I can get my character to where Krupes is. He’s in NG++ at the beginning, and he has to play halfway through the game to get everything he needs. I would love to be summoned for Ornstein & Smough, for example. Not Sif, though. I hate fighting Sif. I always close my eyes while doing it  and just trusting my Pyros will take care of it. That’s another reason I’m thinking about buying it on PS4. I have a bunch of Pyro pals who play on the PS4, and they want to run together. It would be hilarious to have a Pyro-only run, though, I’m not sure I could stick to that.

My current wheelhouse is mostly Pyro with Hidden Body/Slumbering Dragoncrest Ring as my stealth option. One of my fellow Pyros mentioned how amazing Chaos  Storm was and demonstrated it when he was summoned during Krupa’s plat run. I hadn’t been using it because it seems to take so long to cast, but it’s fucking incredible–especially with a mob. In fact, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Painted World using  Chaos Storm, Great Chaos Fireball, and Slumbering/Hidden Body on the Phalanx. One Chaos Storm cast kills most if not all of the Phalanx, and one or two GCF finishes the job if it doesn’t kill them all. Wearing the Mimic head and/or the Covetous Silver Serpent Ring increases the number of souls you can get. Wearing the Mimic head OR the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring + 10 soft humanities maxes out your luck (item find).

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Gaming for my dark soul

so we meet again.
Remember me???

As I wrote earlier, I had a migraine earlier this week. It’s been a while since I’ve had a full-blown one because normally, I can stave them off. I didn’t catch it in time this time because I was trying to hold off on the meds, but what that meant was that I had to take them four days in a row rather than just one or two. At any rate, I had the full migraine for a day and a half, and a residual migraine for two days. The residual is what I usually feel for a day when I catch it in time, and it entails…well, it’s hard to explain, but I’ll try. Everything goes gray as if the color has been leached from the world around me. How much color disappears depends on how bad the migraine is, of course, There is a shaking in my brain, more like a tremor. I feel as if I’m moving in molasses, and I have to keep everything at low.

I’m very lucky in that when I catch it in time, it’s nothing more than a medium irritant. This time, however, it was stabbing pains in my brain every time I moved. I ended up sleeping for most of the day, on and off, and then I couldn’t go to sleep for the night until five in the morning. I couldn’t game at all, and when the worst past and I was wobbly, I only played Dark Souls III. It’s my comfort game, and there are things I can do it in without taxing my brain. I’m in NG+, which means I can have even more fun than normal.

Apparently, I’m doing a hammer run this time through, which is not like me at all. I normally shy away from all the smashy-smashy weapons except the Quakestone Hammer. This NG+ playthrough, however, I have the Quakestone fully upgraded, Bordt’s Ice Hammer (Vordt’s Great Hammer) and the Great Mace that drops from the Cathedral Knights, though it took me many minutes to get it out of him. Gold Serpent Ring +3 and two Rusted Gold Coins later (used sporadically), and the Great Mace was mine. I also got the Black Knight Greatsword and have it +3, but I need four more Twinkling Titanite to bonk it up to +4. One thing I love about NG+ and beyond is that I feel I can play around with anything and everything. I can start pumping the stats that get neglected in NG. Since I always play as a strengthcaster (and I grind a lot), I ended NG with 30-something Strength, 30 Intelligence, and 30 Faith. 25 each on Vigor and Endurance, and 20-25 on Vit. Don’t remember how much exactly. I had 24 on Attunement and am currently at 29. Will get one more attunement slot at 30, then will leave it at that. My Strength is currently 40, which covers most of the weapons. My Dex is a measly 18, so I might put a few more points into that.

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