Thursday, February 29, 2024

The hypocrisy of posting on a blog in 2024

 Create a post on X (or whatever social media of choice) and share it on a site like a video game's forums and it's cool.  But create content on your own blog you've run for 19+ years to share and you are just a bottom sucker of the Internet.  Just blogging things.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

New World: Season 5 Artifact Changes

 New World has an update on the public test realm (PTR) for the new artifacts coming in Season 5 (March 2024).  The biggest change is to Phoenix (the new amulet artifact).  The changes are covered in the following YouTube video from TrickTrick.

 As noted the big change is to Phoenix.  The initial version had a perk that was a copy of the original Defy Death ability for Hatchet.... which was long ago nerfed out of existence in the game. As expected there was an uproar in the community that it would be coming back on an amulet that anyone could use.  Fortunately the developers changed how it will work with Phoenix.  The new PTR wording is below:

Phoenix Vengeance: When you receive lethal damage, avoid death and become invulnerable for 4s, after which you die. (180s cooldown).

 The last part is the key: the player will die no after the four seconds expires giving them a last hurrah before taking their dirt nap! However, as noted in the video there is a way on PTR using Ice Gauntlet's Entombed ability for a player to avoid the "die" portion.  That has to be fixed or this is going to be abused.  Even with that oversight fixed this is still going to be strong; especially for those players that love diving into piles knowing they are going to die anyways and just want to take a few folks down with them.

 The spear artifact Venom was changed to only trigger on heavy melee attacks from the other equipped weapon.  Previously it included ranged attacks so, as an example, bow heavy attacks triggered Venom.  Ranged weapons are already very strong in the game and this would of made them even stronger.  This is a good change.

 The third artifact changed was the Tempest Fury Great Axe where Keen Speed was replaced with Refreshing Move.  This was a sensible change since the weapon already has a ton of speed boost built into it and didn't need anything extra.  Refreshing Move is a sought after perk on Great Axes for bruiser builds in war and as called out in the video by TrickTrick this will likely see some action in wars.  Personally I am going to try a "spin to win" build with the Fortifying Whirlwind aspect.

Monday, February 26, 2024

No Man's Sky Screenshots

 Just a few screenshots from trying out No Man's Sky this weekend as part of it's free weekend.  The game seems very complex but I was digging it after about an hour of play. I got blown up in space though so ended up on a planet repairing my ship which requires me to build a base first to craft all the repair parts. The systems seem to go very deep so a bit of a learning curve that I didn't get to explore further as the free weekend expired.

no mans sky screenshot

no mans sky screenshot

no mans sky screenshot
Floating space junk I never got around to exploring

no mans sky screenshot
Look ma! I'm a space man!


Monday, February 19, 2024

Blue Sky


 Just a quick note today; you can find me enjoying myself over at Blue Sky:

 No; this doesn't replace Mastodon (via's instance) for me. As I posted on Mastodon here is how I look at the two:

Mastodon via is my comfy local coffee shop where I can stop in and have a long sit and a comfy chat.

Blue Sky is a busy airport where I whizz by and get whizzed by; when something catches my eye I veer off course to check it out.  I'm as likely to chat about a hot new book release as I'm to be caught staring at the sports game on a TV.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Back to Back First Place in Outpost Rush

 Crushed a couple Outpost Rush matches back to back in New World landing first place both times and walking away with wins in very competitive matches (as opposed to getting rolled or doing the rolling).

new world opr
W: 1000 to 741 / 13 kills, 43 assists, 3 deaths

new world opr
W: 1000 to 911 (close!) / 6 kills, 55 assists, 2 deaths

Thursday, February 15, 2024

New World PTR Patch Notes: Season of the Guardian

excited for patch notes
Patch notes!  The best kind of present!

 For Valentine's Day we received the patch notes for the upcoming public test realm (PTR) updates for New World's Season of the Guardian update! Lots of exciting changes here so let's read through the finer details.

 First; I had a prior post going over the bigger topics so don't want to rehash them here.  You can read that here: Exciting Changes Coming to New World.  That post covers the new 10 man trial, the new artifacts, controller support, main story redesign, cooking overhaul, and magnify changes.  For this post I'll key into other notes.

 The big one of course relates to fort doors in Outpost Rush (OPR); currently the true invincible end boss of the PvP game mode!  

We are implementing the following changes to address ongoing feedback regarding OPR gate strength, while still being mindful of PvE players who prefer focusing on building up fort structures. We will continue to monitor feedback on this topic and consider further changes as necessary.
  • Added a 50% weakness for Siege damage to fort gate doors, allowing siege weaponry (e.g., powder kegs) to deal bonus damage to these structures.

  • Reduced the Strike/Slash absorption of fort gate doors from 10% Strike/20% Slash to 0% for both, ensuring that Strike and Slash damage types are not reduced when attacking gates. We aim for melee to have a bit of an advantage on the gates, as Thrust/Elemental damage is more prevalent in ranged weapons than melee.
  • Increased build and repair time for fort gate doors by 25% for the T2 gate and 50% for the T3 gate, reducing the strength of each repair tick.

 This change should make doors less invincible and more of a speedbump as they should be.  The change is looking to strike a balance between attacker and defender which is good.

 More changes are coming to equip loads.  The notes:

Equip Load Changes
  • Medium equip load is now the baseline, with damage, crowd control durations, outgoing healing, and block stability values adjusted to 0 across the board.
  •  Heavy equip load: has a 20% decrease to incoming CC status effect durations and +15% block stability. Trade-offs of -15% damage and -30% outgoing healing. Also has increased threat generation from taunting gems and perks to account for the decrease in damage output.
  • Light equip load: has +15% damage and +30% outgoing healing. Trade-offs of -15% block stability and +10% incoming CC status effect durations.


Medium: good change.  Medium lacked an identity and while "default" isn't sexy it is at least something.

Heavy: this feels like a damage nerf but I need the experts to break this down for me on what it really means.  The rest seems fine and I am trying to figure out if this means the 55 stamina dodge is gone in favor of 50 stamina dodge again.

Light: similar to heavy; this feels like a damage nerf but need experts to weigh in.  I don't like that the healing boost is so much in light.  Feel sorry for healers being boxed into light so aggressively.

 Another small change I caught in the notes: "Players now have limited rotation while dodging forwards or backwards."  I believe this is related to players being able to pull of some very fancy dodges that are frankly annoying because they defy the logic of the characters current position vs where they can get to with the dodge.  Maybe this will correct that.

 Yay! "Increased the total number of active artifact quests a player can have simultaneously in progress from 5 to 10."

 Boo! My heavy flamethrower build keeps getting beat up! "Ensured mana regen does not occur while Flamethrower is active"

 It's the little things that matter (and now count!): "Killing small prey with a mount now progresses quest objectives and awards XP."

 Also hiding in the notes was an extensive section on changes to PvP ranks and rewards from the track.  Over all the rewards will be better the higher rank you are including higher gearscore of armor/weapon rewards.  Proof will be in the pudding and I feel sorry for lower rank players who will still be getting basically worthless gear rewards since lower ranks will have lower gearscore rewards.  For those of us at Rank 200 this should be a good change.

 The magnify changes are also written out so it is good to read that you can choose between how it works today and the new model where you pick the attribute.  Somewhat confirms we can still use magnify to split stats if you do it correctly (for example  I can get 300/300 with my current build which has 7 magnify pieces).  Exact wording below:

Adjusted how Magnify functions. Magnify now has a drop down on the attribute screen, and players are able to pick between Highest Stat (current functionality) or any of the other core attributes. If picking a core attribute like Strength, all of your magnify points will convert to Strength.
 Next, and maybe I am just hopeful for the future, there is mention of a seal extractor.  I am hoping this lays the ground work for other types of extractors to get valuable resources out of our gear.

Added Seal Extractors to the Faction Shops, allowing adventurers to remove custom attribute seals from their faction armor and revert its attribute back to Constitution.

 And last but not least: "Increased player wallet coin cap from 500,000 to 1,000,000."  Now if I could only get more than 500k gold :(

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

New World Year of the Dragon Event

 New World's mini event, Year of the Dragon, has been active for a bit.  It is a light weight event with light weight rewards to go with it. 

new world year of the dragon
Burning down the Year of the Dragon with my flamethrower!

 The good thing about the event is it is quick to participate in each day.  The bad thing about the event is that there is no challenge to it; even if you are doing the world event solo.  I don't mind that there is easy content, but this is too easy.  A little more challenge would have been welcome.

 As far as rewards AGS continues to trend of event rewards being 675 GS which effectively makes them worthless as 675+ GS gear is easy to come by.  The skins are not even all that special so there isn't a transmog driver.

 The event does introduce a new consumable, the Spicy Hotpot, that grants bonus faction token gain for an hour.  You can only get one per day so it is a premium consumable and lots of folks are willing to pay a good price for yours if you are open to selling (I sold mine the first day for 1500; now averaging about 800 per day).

 Over all a forgettable event but one I don't mind hitting daily for the minimal rewards.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Exciting Changes Coming to New World

 We don't have the 2024 road map from the New World developers, but we did get news on some other exciting changes coming over the next few months.  The team has rewritten the code for the combat engine, are launching a new 10-man trial, and are bringing back some seasonal events.  Watch the update below and read on for my thoughts.

Too long/didn't watch summary on Reddit: LINK 

 First, the roadmap update has been pushed out to June.  It sounded like something "major" internally is causing the delay.  With controller support coming soon there is a lot of assumptions about a console release and a big update to go with it.

 A new 10-man trial was announced.  It was specifically mentioned to be targeted at pick up groups so difficulty level is expected to be "easy".  I feel this is a miss. There is no shortage of "easy" content in this game (Mutation level 3 and the Sandwurm 20-man raid being the only real challenging content).  The game needs new harder content and the 10-man trial could have been that (or at least bring a mutator system to it).

new world phoenix artifact
Phoenix? Broken?
 We will also get a slew of new artifacts.  The one causing alarm is Phoenix; an amulet that grants a two second invulnerability period upon reaching zero life.  This is the same as the original "defy death" on the hatchet which was too strong and nerfed so I am not sure how the team thinks adding it back on an amulet makes sense.  I foresee a lot of complaints if this makes it live as shown in the video (screenshot at right).

 As alluded to up front controller support is coming with this update.  I do own a Steam controller but not sure I will be interested in giving it a try.  The little bit they showed off did not seem like it'd be much fun to have to use (they showed a cursor being moved around by controller like it was a mouse instead of a more controller native interface where you press left/right/up/down to move through items).  It will also bring "aim assist" and "target lock on" which was stated as PvE only.  This is  concerning if in any way it makes it into PvP.

 The main story quest redesign for 1-60 will now be complete.  Personally, as I've shared before, I think this was a waste of time.  I don't like the new narrative as it dramatically differs from the original concept of New World.  Instead of mysterious island in the age of discovery we have morphed into King Arthur and rehashed fantasy. 

 Cooking is getting an overhaul.  I am looking forward to this as most of the cooking recipes are pointless.  Consolidation and simplification of recipes will go a long way to improving the profession.  I am also hopeful recipes will use a wider range of ingredients vs some of the most useful recipes being very strict on ingredients (and thus one ingredient is disproportionately more valuable than others of the same tier/effort to gather).

 Mounts will be allowed in Outpost Rush.  Finally.

 Most exciting in the news is the combat engine overhaul.  This is not a change to skills or balancing, but a code rewrite.  The developers noted that this will allow them to better isolate and troubleshoot problematic areas like desync where the server and client don't match up to what a player sees.  The revamp should also give better performance over all, but it was noted it may take a couple releases to realize that improvement.  I suspect this took a massive effort on the developers part so I am keen to see what this does and while not targeting balance it likely will influence build choices that may have performed poorly before but now are more reliable to play.

 Another exciting change was related to Magnify.  Players will now be able to determine the attribute it applies to.  This will make it easier to use pieces with Magnify.  While not ideal in my view the reality is that Magnify was everywhere and needed a better way to manage it.  Personally I've felt they should dial magnify way back to only few items; had they done this then the current system would of been fine.  I am also worried this new approach will eliminate "tricking" Magnify to split across two attributes which is the cornerstone of my current build.

 We are also getting repeat events.  Rabbit's Revenge where we kill lots and lots of rabbits.  Then Springtime Bloom returns. 

 All of this is expected during Season 5 which will kick off on March 12th (TBD exact changes we get on that patch vs later patches).



New World Mutations Updated 2/13/2024

 Just a note to mention I've updated the current mutations (mutated expeditions) in New World on my tracking page: Current New World Mutations


current new world mutations

Thursday, February 08, 2024

New World: Frigid Inferno Build (Heavy FS/SnS Flamethrower) Season 4

 With the 4.0.4 patch in New World the Frigid Dawn armor became craftable in the gypsum kiln and I was able to finish out the gear set I've been wanting to try for a while with my heavy armor firestaff + sword and shield (FS/SnS) build.

 New World Buddy Link: Click Here

 Build summary: high defense with high damage (relative to heavy armor builds) focused on the use of Flamethrower to pressure opponents.  High CON combined with lifesteal, improved potion healing, and fortify.

 How I play it:

 PvE: flamethrower on.  Repeat.  It's that simple.

 PvP: the key to success with the build is understanding how your opponent feels pressure.  Stacking up 5x burn stacks + landing a big fireball at point blank range can make folks panic.  Burn out and leaping strike let's you close in for the kills.  However, getting to the point where you can stack that pressure takes some practice.  

 This build is not going to net a ton of solo 1v1 kills unless you have a stubborn opponent that sticks around.  This build however will win a surprising number of 1vX situations because enemies often have a level of comfort in having you outnumbered but flamethrower and fireball let you hit multiple targets.  I've had multiple fights in Outpost Rush (OPR) where it started 1v1 and I could not close the kill out only to have it turn into a 1v2 and get both kills because players stop trying to run away until its too late.

 However, solo is not where this build shines.  It works best in group play; whether just 3v3 or in war or OPR.  The best strategy is to follow close behind other heavy players; especially those that lay down a lot of crowd control, stuns, or disruption.  You don't want to be directly in the clumps but just on the edge flamethrowing in.

 Another strength of this build due to it's defense and high health pool is pushing through frontlines into backlines.  In OPR fights emerge on the roads often and can stalemate if no one pushes the other sides backline.  Unlike light ranged builds that tend to skirt the sides to get at the backline the heavy flamethrower can burn out through the frontline right into the backline.  This will end in death if your team doesn't follow but many times the initial burn out damage is enough to get backline players to scatter like cock roaches.

 With firestaff remember that Inferno does extra damage up close so while its enticing to lob that fireball at a distance to start a fight it is much better to save that fireball to get a quick burst of damage up close.  Many of my kills come from turning off flamethrower and sticking a fireball in their face.  Fireball is also great for getting folks running away at low health. 

 Since we have lifesteal and divine to improve it you can "race" other flamethrowers.  Heavy, medium, and light flamethrowers are all over the place and nothing is more satisfying than winning that race.  Flamethrower enjoyers are a stubborn lot; we always assume we're going to win the flame race.

 Don't underestimate the sword either.  A well timed leaping strike can change a fight or get you out of a sticky situation; just keep in mind it will track to the nearest enemy and not always just leap where you expect it to.  Leading off with a shield rush and three light attacks can stack debuffs in your opponent before pulling out the flamethrower.  A rended target from the light attack chain can be cleaned up quick with a big ole' fireball and some flamethrower action.

 The bane of the build is anything that has multiple interrupts.  If you can't keep flamethrower going you are at a disadvantage.  In group combat you have to be aware of disrupt builds which will shut you down. If you are expecting to get disrupted make sure to end flamethrower so you don't get interrupted with it active and suffer the cooldown.  You can end flamethrower by dodging or other actions and then turn it back on.  It takes practice; the transition to on/off with flamethrower is not as smooth as other abilities in the game.

 Attributes: 300 INT / 300 CON - due to so many magnify pieces this is the only stat split possible.

 Gear (see screenshot for full details)

  • Armor
    • Void Darkplate chest (artifact)
    • Frigid Dawn for head, legs, hands, and feet
    • Key armor perks
      • Critical Retribution
      • Accelerating Flamethrower
      • Fortifying Burnout
  • Weapons
    • Inferno (firestaff artifact)
      • Upgraded perk is Flame Attunement; may try a full Lifesteal build in the future with leeching on it
    • Sword / Shield
      • Empowering leaping strike
      • Ruby conversion gem (otherwise damage is super low)
      • CON or INT depending on other pieces
  • Jewelry
    • Amulet perks: Divine and Health are key
      • I opt for Fortified to maximize fortify duration from the rest of the build.  Fortify goes a long way in this game.
    • Ring perks: Fire damage
      • The rest is open to your playstyle; I prefer the leeching for the extra health back.  Invigorated Punishment I am not sold on but I spent A LOT of gold on this ring so I'm using it!
    • Earring: Endless Thirst (artifact) with Regenerating upgrade

Embedded build from NW Buddy

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

New World Frigid Dawn CRAFTING!

 Hallelujah! Frigid Dawn armor is now craftable in the Gypsum Kiln in New World as of the 4.0.4 patch today (2/7/2024)!  It costs 3500 dense mutator materia per piece.  Enjoy!

frigid dawn crafting new world
There it is!

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

So... about the ad spam on the blog

ads on blog
Step 3: Profit?

 I have not had a payout from Google Adsense since 2014.  That is because I stopped running ads on the blog all those years ago.  Out of curiosity after hearing about what others were making with similar traffic I wanted to test the waters again.  Here are the results from a month-ish of auto ads!

 First, I want to apologize to any visitors that felt the ads were over the top.  I did opt to use Google's "auto ads" that, to be honest, pukes ads all over the page.  I did verify with my own ad blockers that this was not skirting common ad blocks so if you block ads you were seeing the nice clean site that existed before.  If you didn't block ads... well... sorry.

 For context of how much traffic the blog sees; the blog enjoys about 600-1000 visitors a day.  New posts usually hit anywhere from 50 to 100 views in the first day.  My top performing search areas from Google and Bing are around the game New World.  For the month (and a couple days) the auto ads were on we hit 30,000 visits.  A normal month of traffic.

 Before we get to the "how much did I earn" let's look at some things I learned

  • Auto ads ruins page experience.  It causes longer loading times and increased bounce rate (i.e. visitors exiting the site as soon as it opens).

    • graph

  • It may have reduced visits to new posts.  I can't prove this conclusively but new posts FEEL LIKE they had fewer visits their first day than I am used to.
  • Even with ads spamming the page my visitors don't click on them.  There were only a few clicks over the entire month across hundreds of thousands of ad impressions.

 So the real question: how much did I make?  The answer: $1.  I rounded down because does it really matter it was $1.47 and not just $1?  For the level of invasion the ads had it was simply not worth it.  I will also not see that dollar anytime soon because the minimum payout is $100.

 What's next?  I am actually going to keep ads on but use static placement in areas that are not obtrusive.  I will re-evaluate after a month.

Monday, February 05, 2024

Ashes of Creation PvP

ashes of creation PvP

  Ashes of Creation's most recent update focused on their caravan system, including PvP, and boy did it impress!

 I've beat up on past updates from Ashes for lacking in showing a cohesive game experience.  The updates were often lacking UI and failed to show complete game loops.  With this update, which was titled "the PvP update", we got to see a lot more than PvP.  We saw complete game loops with the back drop of players battling it out.

 What impressed me the most was actually the caravan and I'd argue this update was better in regards to caravans than the prior caravan update.   We got to see a caravan get ambushed and stolen.  The team showed off how caravans can be converted to barges and floated down river.  All of it worked with no issues (at least nothing obvious).

 My favorite part was watching the caravan convert into a barge.  The system seemed well thought out and featured complex visual stages for this early in the game's development.  The players had to defend the barge while it was converting and there was a sense of excitement as it pushed off just as the attackers pushed in.

 At the end of the event the caravan was back in town and stolen goods were taken care of.  I like that towns will have variety based on how they are "leveled up"; in the case of this video with a black market dealer.  This should hopefully lead to opportunities to make a niche for a town.  Hopefully there is a "if you take this; you can't take that" balance to it so towns don't become "everything".

 What I think this developer update lacked the most was the actual PvP.  We saw players slinging spells and arrows at each other but we really didn't get into the nuance of PvP.  The combat looked smooth and there was a variety of actions being taken, but no details on anything.  We saw stealth players ambushing and melee players leaping into the fight.  One poor soul was insta-gibbed.

 I'd like to have seen more around the nuance of combat; especially with PvP hot topics such as crow control, stealth, and ranged vs melee balance.  Also with the system as a whole there is going to be A LOT of questions about how griefing and exploitation will be addressed.  It was mentioned that spying on an opposing caravan's plans was a legitimate tactic they expected players to take.  

 Spying which is likely to occur outside the game... which brings into the question how are developers balancing that? What happens its the result of a hacked account? Or a hacked Discord server? Or if real life money exchanges hands for the info?  I forsee this being a huge sticking point for this game with it's desires to have PvP as a countering force in the world against other player's activities.

 The video did somewhat show that numbers will be a key aspect as well which is going to upset a lot of the PvP tryhards. Bigger forces (i.e. zergs) will smash smaller forces.  I don't see anyway around that yet in a PvP experience that is built around anyone being able to show up at any time.  Ashes is going to have to start answering these questions or it's going to be trial by fire and getting screwed over on something like this is 100% something players will quit a game over.

 While there are long standing questions on open world PvP that will need answering this update still showed a lot of promise.  Its cool to see where the game is at and where it is headed.  I did not buy into the Alpha 2 packages but I can see why players would have bought in to get early hands on with this type of gameplay.  The game is still a ways out but my interest continues to grow.

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Nightingale Playtest Screenshots

 Some screenshots from the stress test for Nightingale.

nightingale screenshot
Promising opening

nightingale screenshot

nightingale screenshot
Bits of wood come off as you chop a tree down

nightingale screenshot
Bigger tree; more chopping required

nightingale screenshot
Campfire: the survival game basic

nightingale screenshot
The start of a home

nightingale screenshot
A bit dark but my house is in the darkness

Friday, February 02, 2024

Nightingale Playtest TODAY ONLY - DON'T MISS!


Update: 4p ET - test has been extended extra hours: Stress Test Extended Until 7 pm MST (6 pm PST, 9 pm EST, and 2 am GMT) 

Nightingale has a limited-time playtest today.  Sign up now so you don't miss.  DukeSloth covers more in the below video.