Desecrated Cathedral

Kickin' back with Raven
Kickin’ back with Raven

We’ve been working on the T7 DCUO alert, Desecrated Cathedral, for a few weeks. The basic plot is that the demon Trigon’s miscreant sons are fighting over the scraps of their father’s power. Trigon’s not that interest in giving them any of it. HE wants to share his power with his daughter, Raven. SHE keeps waffling between being evil and good. When she’s good, she’s a member of the Teen Titans and stops robbers and stuff. When she’s evil, she is a psychic juggernaut who infects your dreams and is totally awesome.

Unfortunately, in Desecrated Cathedral, we end up helping the good version of Raven. The perils of being a hero, I guess.

We’ve had issues with this alert because our DPS is too low, and I am a non-contributer. Not because controllers can’t contribute in general, it’s just because I, personally, don’t contribute. Hold on, lemme show you.

Go, me
Go, me

That’s me, at the bottom, just above the people who joined our three person group, saw my CR, and quit. Well, there was a guy who stuck around until we failed on the first boss, and then quit. That guy is just ahead of me. He quit before killing the first boss and still did five times the damage I did on the entire instance.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t let my cruddy DPS get to me. It’s my own fault. I could play a lot more, get all the mods, get a couple hundred more skill points, and be effective. And after the first boss, I didn’t die as much. The REAL surprise is that we did this all without a HEALER. Without a controller (after I died on the first boss), the DPS and Spode as tank could not really do their jobs. But they got along pretty well without a healer.

Yay, "Good" Raven wins!
Yay, “Good” Raven wins!

The achievement is for helping the “best” Raven win… but isn’t being really evil being the “best” at being evil? Maybe the White Raven is the “worst” Raven at being evil…. I dunno.

Completing the alert got me a huge foot slot upgrade that boosted my combat rating to 127. That’s only a few CR from being able to go to the latest content. One of the really nice things about higher CR is that I can go back and try to accomplish things I couldn’t do before, such as dailies in previous adventure zones, or particularly vexing solo instances.

With that in mind, I headed to New Genesis to earn some marks. I need a high CR dual wield weapon so I can get away from the pistols. They are thematically appropriate for a munitions controller, I guess, but they fire too slowly to build up the combos I need to regain power in a fight. If I don’t have power, I can’t give power to others. It’s a weird sort of mathematics, there. I use to use blasters (which was thematically appropriate back when I was a Green Lantern), but moved to dual wield for their speed and ranged prowess. They can shift into a secondary bow attack very easily with weapon mastery, making them a fantastic pick for both range and melee. And they are super fast.

The basic daily in New Genesis involves killing a lot of parademons, clicking on the things they are guarding, and killing whichever boss shows up to see what’s going down. I don’t know what New Genesis does with player villains who show up. I don’t think Darkseid cares much about anyone from Earth, hero, villain, or otherwise.

I started with the killing. Munitions is an AE power set focused on keeping the bad people away where they can’t hurt anyone. Fine by me. I have never been able to take a punch. It really concerns me that superheroes have usually one ability — they can fly, they are strong, they can run fast, whatever. They get knocked around, thrown through walls, dropped-kicked into space, and only rarely are there any repercussions. Usually they must be thrown through several walls before they show any after effects. Regular people, first wall would kill us dead, and running fast would just make it hurt more.

Anyway, I play it legit. First time any enemy touches me, I crumple to the ground, close my eyes, and wish for the bad guy to go away and hope that Kaptain KY is nearby to rez me.

No wait, anyone BUT Kaptain KY. Nope nope nopenopenope.

There’s a group there already, and they invite me in. There’s a controller, so there’s power and I can stay in my damage role. Everyone is AEing. The quest objectives are being completed. Steppenwolf shows up, we kill him. Five marks, BAM.

It was over so quickly that I forgot that I was supposed to be recording it, so I went back and killed a few more parademons for posterity. And nowhere was there a report card to tell me how ineffectual I was.


That’s the Power of Love

Sinestro needs Hal Jordan's LUUURVE
Sinestro needs Hal Jordan’s LUUURVE

Team Spode kinda left GW2 and kinda went back to DC Universe Online over the past couple weeks. Apathy toward the upcoming GW2 expansion may have contributed. Many of the top Spodians had already finished all of the story and had grinded through the long process to make their marginally better endgame gear.

Personally, I liked my Asura engineer fine. I didn’t find the group content very compelling, and upgrades had long stopped dropping for me, so the gear progression I enjoy stopped happening. The story chapters felt tedious. Most importantly, my role in a party seemed ill-defined. I much prefer games where I know what’s expected of me. Many people enjoy the sort of wild mixture of roles in GW2. I liked choosing my turrets for the night and focusing on placement and all that — playing my own mini-game while everyone else played theirs. I wasn’t sure I ever actually contributed, though.

I’ve never really felt I contribute much to Team Spode. All of the rest of them are far more dedicated players; they dive in and pride themselves on being the best at whatever they do. When they had wrung all they could get out of GW2, DCUO had a new expansion ready to challenge them — New Genesis.

I believe they already had the Combat Rating (CR) to head right in. I’d been making steady progress doing dailies in Gotham Under Siege, but stopped soon after changing classes to Munitions. It just got boring, doing the same thing day after day. DCUO has a little chart that pops up after each fight that shows me exactly how little I contributed to the fight, so I had zero confidence that I could join a random group for gear, and I couldn’t even get through the solo instances you needed to progress.

It’s a lot easier to just log in to Neverwinter or, now, Final Fantasy XIV, a game where I actually play pretty decently. When the end of an instance comes and I am rated by the other people in the party, I usually do well. Sometimes I even get ALL the commendations. So where DCUO actively discourages me from playing, FFXIV actively encourages me.

BUT… I really love the Team Spode folks — FANTASTIC guys and gals. I will play whatever they play just so I can hang out with them.

And for their part, they will do whatever they can to make that happen. Because they are great people.

Past couple weeks have been spent, not doing what would be fun for them, but doing older content in which I could take part in order to get the upgrades I would need for the latest content. I’d started out at CR 108 or 109, which I’d largely previously achieved with their help. The target CR is 111. Last week, they got me to 110. This week, we did “Love and War”, a raid (I just lost what word they use for raids)… a raid that most of us had not been able to do previously, but now with all the new gear everyone else had gotten from the new expansion, was very achievable.

For comparison, the top CR in the raid was 137. The median CR of the Team Spode members (aside from me) was 127. A couple of random upgrades in LaW got me to 111, and once in New Genesis, I immediately bought a ring upgrade that got me to 112.

This was the first raid most of us had done since we last played DCUO seriously, and it was the first time I really had a chance to get to know the Munitions class in a raid environment. Clever Clara, Team Spode’s main controller, had switched to a damage spec. It was tough going, but I kept the power flowing and the superior Munitions crowd control powers helped a little, I think, to keep the damage received down a little.

Once in New Genesis, we did a public quest where you kill a bunch of trash mobs and then take on the miniboss that spawns. We did this a couple times for some minor upgrades.

So; I guess we’re back in DCUO. I really should do my part, log in, get some sort of DPS spec that will work for me, and do dailies for marks and gear. That is what I really ought to do. I don’t like feeling useless and being carried along. But I have to admit I have never felt “super” in DCUO, and that is probably its biggest failing with me. If I can’t even convince myself I am a superhero, then, what’s the point?

GW2: Lighting up the Wayfarer’s Foothills.

Team Spode took our third trip into Guild Wars 2, Sunday. The first week we explored Queensdale, last week we played around in Metrica and killed a fire elemental. This week, we had our sights on a Son of Sam Snow Shaman in the Norn newbie grounds of the Wayfarer's Foothills, and the guild jumping puzzle in the nearby Snowden Drifts.

That was the first thing we did that required a guild, but, we weren't enough people to both dislodge icicles from the cavern ceiling and plug steam vents with them once they'd been dislodged, so we failed that.

Mostly we just wandered around the maps, doing skill challenges we found, grabbing vistas and so on. Pretty unstructured, and not what we're used to.

I've been reading up on the challenges that face us. My class, Engineer, has a lot of very specific things to do to support the group in these raids and fractals. Yeah, looks like I picked a support class, again.

Solo, though, my character is a little bundle of explosions. Set up a few turrets and defend them with BOMBS? What's not to love?

#GuildWars2   #TeamSpode  

DCUO: War of Light II!

It's been a whirlwind few days since I mysteriously hit CR 106 and became eligible to play the newest endgame content in DC Universe Online.

"Mysteriously" is the word. I've been at CR 105 (CR = Combat Rating, the gating factor for endgame content). The CR calculators we use showed that I was quite a long way from CR 106, a trip that would require a lot of upgrades and mods. Clever Clara sent me some mods that would help, but even with those, it would be a long stretch.

And then I noticed that I was CR 106, CR 105 (equipped). Something in my inventory that I could use had put me over the top. I couldn't figure out what it was, but I admitted in league chat that I was now CR 106, and could, finally, join all the other reindeer in the Reindeer Games.

Blighted immediately helped me with the new dailies and duo, which locked in CR 106 (both equipped and in inventory). Stingheal, the next day, helped me again with dailies and the duo, which got me to CR 107, and last night, our trip into Zamaron Conversion Chamber (fight the Star Sapphires) and Avarice Impurity (fight the Orange Lanterns) got me to 108.

Where, I've been told, I can expect to sit for awhile. At least I can do the Gotham Under Siege dailies by myself. The new Metropolis Historic District dailies — not so much. Not at all.

Kaptain KY has been talking about making a controller build, so I can try the damage role in the group occasionally. Problem is: I have no idea how to damage anything, which was brought home to me this morning as I lost a mano-a-mano battle with Mister Freeze. I came close, but I rely upon Orbital Strike to take on solo bosses, and I wasn't able to stay alive until it recharged. Wasn't anyone else looking for him so I could get in a group for it, either.

Anyway. A couple months ago, being CR 108 was the bee's knees. But now, it's not enough to contribute in a group. CR 109+ is where things start to get interesting. Because wherever I am, I'm supposed to be stronger.

#DCUO   #TeamSpode