TN’s Indie Impressions – Coffee Talk

Clearly inspired by games like VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, Coffee Talk puts you in the role of a Barista who owns their own coffee shop.  However, while set in Seattle Washington in the year 2020, this is a very different place where fantasy creatures like Elves, Werewolves, Cat People, and more all exist alongside humans.  Your goal?  Get through each night serving the right hot drinks and listening to the stories of your patrons.
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This Indie Impressions video is also now available in Podcast / Audio form! See the links below to listen and subscribe!

TN’s Indie Impressions – Warsim

I love a good text based / ASCII romp, and when the developer of this game contacted me via email and kindly asked me to take a look, well I could hardly say no.
So here we are, playing the weirdly named game “Warsim” which really should be called “Kingsim” since its kingdom management not war management. But hey, its a fun odd game if you can handle the visuals (ie the TEXT)
And always remember…STAY NERDY!
This Indie Impressions video is also now available in Podcast / Audio form! See the links below to listen and subscribe!

TN’s Indie Impressions (EA) – Hades

Time for another Early Access game, and this time I look to tackle Supergiant Game’s latest entry into the world of Roguelikes: Hades. Steeped in Greek Mythology with some unique spins on classical characters, how does Hades hold up in the world of Early Access? Does it need to cook longer in the fires of the Phlegethon or is it worth paying the boatman to cross the river Styx and play? Lets find out together!
And always remember…STAY NERDY!
This Indie Impressions video is also now available in Podcast / Audio form! See the links below to listen and subscribe!

TN’s Indie Impressions – Lenna’s Inception

Lenna’s Inception wears its influence on its sleeve to the point where trying to use the word Hyrule as a world seed causes the game to go “Dont Sue Me” and its amazing. A procedurally generated Zelda Clone with a interesting story and a variety of game modes means there is plenty to keep you occupied. Is it worth your time though?

Lets find out!

Lenna’s Inception on Steam:

And always remember…STAY NERDY!

This Indie Impressions video is also now available in Podcast / Audio form! See the links below to listen and subscribe!

TN’s Indie Impressions – Felix the Reaper

Today I wish to DANCE! As an agent of the Department of Death, its Felix’s job to make sure people die right on schedule. And he does it with flair, style, and panache! But me? Well, I am horrible at this game, as I am most hardcore puzzle games, and thus havent gotten a single gold star at all. Is Felix the Reaper worth letting int your heart though? Will you help him find love with Betty from the Department of Life? Only you know the answer to that.
Felix the Reaper on Steam (with a DEMO!) –
And always remember…STAY NERDY!
This Indie Impressions video is also available in Podcast / Audio form! See the links below to listen and subscribe!

Magic the Gathering Legends: Game Informer Trailer Breakdown & Rampant Speculation!

Today 1/9/2020 Game Informer released a 10 minute Gameplay Trailer showing 2 of the 5 classes for Magic the Gathering Legends, along with 2 of the Planes we will be travelling in this upcoming Free to Play ARPG coming from Cryptic Studios.  Game Informer in fact will doing a full month of coverage for January!

When this game was announced I was super interested.  We havent had a game set in the MTG universe since Shandalar, which was released back in April 1997 for Windows 95.  That game by the way was an open world RPG where you built a deck of cards and beat up wizards who represented the 5 colors of magic.

Since then the only digital games for MTG have been card games (MTGO, MTG Arena, the Planeswalker Duel games, ect) but an ARPG set in the plane of Dominara?  That had my interest from the moment I found out about it.  Since then I have learned its being described as a “Deck Builder Action RPG” which is…odd to say the least.  But I am willing to try it.

So, lets have some fun and using both the official MTG Legends Website and the Game Informer Gameplay Trailer generate some wild speculation about whats coming and how things are going to play out.  First, lets link the Trailer Article and the Game Informer Hub for Legends.  I am going to do this bullet point style for what I notice.

  • Early on you can see two mana types on the bottom, white and blue, filling up under the healthbar. The LB and RB hold some sort of abilities. Controller based control scheme.
  • UI is super clean right now, easy to read and understand. I like it.
  • The lower right has 4 action buttons, some of which are summons, some are abilities, seems like the spells change. Deck based.
  • There is a small icon below the 4 buttons that seem to be your next “card” from your deck. Not sure how “random” drawing is gonna feel
  • Deck is 12 cards, you “draw” from your deck and use the card mapped to your buttons
  • Decks are separate from your class, and you can mix and match spells (so you can do Red / Green / White maybe?  All 5 colors?  Will there be Artifact / Colorless I wonder)
  • Looks like there is some sort of auto attack as the base pulse the mind mage is using is NOT draining his mana NOR rotating a card
  • Class might dictate your auto attack and your escape ability. Unless everyone has that magic pulse….
  • Every class has an escape ability. The mind mage makes a doppleganger (Classic blue trick). That seems to be LB, not sure what RB is. Self Buff based on class?
  • There is an AI Director that will make things harder / challenging on the fly?!
  • There is some sort of “mana” pickup. Is that for the character

Now that we have discussed the trailer and what is shown there, lets discuss the website itself which has some choice tidbits!  Also, they are doing alpha/beta signups on there so you might want to consider jumping in.  I did the second day it was available.

Now there is not too much on the website that bears discussion….except we have 5 symbols representing the 5 Mage Classes and a number of slides that show potential areas we will be exploring!

Two of the symbols have already been revealed: That of the Mind Mage, and the Geomancer.  Now MTG has 5 colors (Blue, Red, Green, Black, and White) each one representing a style of magic. Blue, for example, is all about control and manipulation.  Red is all about direct damage and speed.  Green is about growth, big creatures, and buffs.  Black is about life manipulation, undeath, and risk/reward.  White is about life, protection, and defense.

The Mind Mage, based on both the color scheme and the themes listed on the website is very clearly the Blue Mage of the team.  The Geomancer is clearly the Red Mage (again, colors and themes).  But what about the other three symbols?

Well the first symbol is a Skull.  That screams Black, and most likely is a Necromancer typed mage.  I am going to suggest they deal with draining life, and maybe even raising an army of expendable minions.  Most ARPGs have a minion master archtype anyway, and Black fits that bill.

The next symbol is a beastial one, with horns and a muzzle.  That screams Green to me, and given what I am seeing with the others is prolly going to be our Druid type.  Nature spells, some buffs, and most likely shape shifting into wild creatures.

Finally, we have a pair of angelic wings.  Thats a white mage, no bones about it.  My guess is this will be the class comps healer, with some buffs, defensive spells, and probebly holy magic.

Obviously I could be way off here but we got 5 classes, 5 colors.  It makes sense especially given what I personally know of MTG (I played from about 1993 and 4th Ed up through about 2007ish).  It could be that the spells each class gets access to base wise represent those “archetypes” but with both a class AND deck going on I wonder just how much one will affect the other.

Now the potential areas are interesting as well.  SO far, we have Shiv and Benalia.  Shiv is traditional associated with Red magic, so my guess is that will be a red magic themed area.  Benalia however has always had a close association with White mages (Benalish hero is a very old white creature card, for example).  And wouldnt ya know it, but there are 3 more areas….and 3 colors that are not represented!

My guess is Phyrexia or Urbog will cover the Black one.  Most likely Phyrexia as that I believe is part of the Dominaria sphere.  I cannot however recall what areas would be associated with Blue or Green off hand, but clearly we are going to have Black, Green, and Blue regions in addition to Red and White.

Overall I am very excited about this game, and while Cryptic themselves has a bit of a reputation among MMO players, I am pretty sure that being involved with a license as large as Magic the Gathering and Wizards of the Coast will help keep things on an even keel.

There are no confirmed alpha, beta, or release dates at this time for Magic the Gathering Legends.  I for one an eagerly awaiting it!

TN’s Indie Impressions – Deep Sky Derelicts

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Ever wanted to be a savager of horrible shipwrecks in deep space? Wanted to fight space zombies, pirates, mutants, and other vile creatures while trying to become space nobility? Then boy do I have the game for you! Published by 1C Entertainment and developed by Snowhound Games, its time to explore some Deep Sky Derelicts.

Deep Sky Derelicts on Steam:

And always remember…STAY NERDY!

This Indie Impressions video is also now available in Podcast / Audio form! See the links below to listen and subscribe!

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TN’s Indie Impressions – Battlechasers: Nightwar

What person is mad enough to combine american style comic art with a japanese styled RPG? Why, Joe Mad of course! Taking place in the Battlechasers comic universe, Nightwar is a standlone story following Gully and her friends as they explore a mysterious island. On basically every platform available now, is Nightwar worth your time if you are a RPG fan?

Take a look and listen as I explore the fantastic world of Battlechasers: Nightwar, today on Indie Impressions!

Battlechasers: Nightwar on Steam:

And always remember…STAY NERDY!

Blogger Secret Santa 2019 – A Gift for a Compulsive Gamer

Organized by Livid Lightning, this year I decided to dive in an participate in the “Blogger Secret Santa” event.  I want to get more into the “gaming” blogger community, work more with people and chat, and all that jazz.  Even though the vast majority of my posts on here are links to videos and podcasts.

You can view the full directory of Secret Santa posts RIGHT HERE on Livid Lightning’s blog, and I encourage you to check them all out yourself!

The premise of this was simple: Get assigned a random fellow gaming blogger, read some of their stuff, and gift them an item from the magical world of gaming and explain why you chose that.  I was given The Compulsive Gamer, who encourages everyone to Escape Reality Through Games.  I agree that the digital world is way more interesting (and honestly, less of a trash fire right now) then our own.

But what item could I give such a person?  I started checking out their website, trying to puzzle out just what one could give them.  Then it hit me, based on what I was seeing.

A Mass Effect Omnitool!  And why?

Well one major feature, a weekly one as far as I can tell, is called Mobile Monday, where The Compulsive Gamer takes a look at and reviews different mobile games.  There are a LOT of mobile games out there, and going deep into each game to give you a solid look at the basics.

One I really like (and now might have to check out) is the recent look at Soul Knight.  I can always use more portable games!

But why an Omnitool you ask?

Well first of all, the Omnitool is basically a giant super advanced cell phone.  Everyone in the ME world seems to have em, they are used for communicating and computer work.  But, because they are wrist mounted and feature holographic displays, you can much more easily I imagine play the hottest games on them in a mobile way.  This means you can much more easily collect and play all sorts of games to cover on the website!

This was a fun little exercise, and if you are into Mobile Gaming I heartily suggest checking out The Compulsive Gamer.  There is much more to the site then JUST mobile games mind you, and everything I have seen speaks of someone who has a genuine passion for gaming.  Give em a read, and Stay Nerdy!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and here is to hopefully a great 2020!

Path of Exile: Metamorph League & Conquerors of the Atlas Impressions

Hello everyone and happy holidays! I say that because I am writing this a few days before Christmas so I feel that it is something I can put here. Depending on when you read this, that may or may not apply.

No matter.

After about 40 hours of the new league and endgame, I felt I was ready to talk about both the 3.9 Metamorph League mechanics, as well as the new “Conquerors of the Atlas” endgame storyline that has been added to Path of Exile. Please be aware there will be some lore spoilers in this article about the Conquerors, because of how the storyline of POE has advanced.

To make things easier, I am gonna start with my thoughts on Metamorph, which is the current Temp League at the time of writing (And honestly, I think it’s going to go into the Core game so what I say here should apply to that as well.)

For reference, I started this league as an Artillery Ballista Chieftain, but ended up respeccing to an Armageddon Brand Chieftain. You can view my character here on my POE Profile. Mr Torgue San is the one used for the Metamorph League.

The Metamorph League Impressions

This time around our Exiles run into a man named Tane Octavius, an Alchemist in search of the “intrinsic darkness” inside of all the beings of Wraeclast and Oriath. You see, Tane did something horrible to his old master and, like anyone who did a bad thing, was banished from Oriath to Wraeclast (cause that is what keeps happening) and is now trying to figure out why he did the bad thing.

And how are we Exiles going to help him? But killing hundreds of enemies, taking out their eyes, hearts, livers, brains, and lungs and combining them in his giant Alchemy Doohickey (very technical term here) to create a horrible amalgamation of terrors that we then murder for the phat loots. You will first encounter him in the very first area past Lionseye Watch, and he shows up in basically every zone after that for the league. I imagine after the league is over, if it goes Core, he will show up in Maps much like Cassia does from the Blight League.

And honestly, I hope Tane does because despite the Metamorphs you create sometimes being insanely dangerous, they are a ton of fun and very rewarding.

The basic idea is that you clear out an area or Map of any and all enemies. Ones that can drop body parts appear on your mini map and are marked by a glowing green arrow like object. Prior to a patch you had to pick up the Organs but thankfully now you just automatically grab them. If the area contains a unique boss or Act boss, those will frequently drop an Organ as well. Organs can come in all 4 rarities (White, Blue. Yellow, Orange) and can contain modifiers that both provide attacks to the Metamorph, add new modifiers like Crit Chance or Fire Damage, and also influence what it can drop. Here are some examples of the various kinds of rarities and modifiers you can encounter as well as the Construction interface:

Once you have at least one organ of each type, you can use them to create your boss. If you completely collect EVERY available Organ Tane will automatically appear, but otherwise you simply click on the little button in the lower right to spawn him (that button only appears if you have at least one organ). Organs do NOT persist across maps. Each map has its own set of organs, and if the map resets you lose any progress so keep that in mind.

Now, as you put organs into the interface, the bar on the right hand side will increase. This increases the Metamorphs overall HP, Damage, and drop chance. Prior to the Map system (Endgame) this bar will not really do anything other than that. But, once you get into the Map system and start killing Metamorphs in Maps, filling that bar to the top has an added function: Creating a unique Organ Item. These items are actual drops that you pick up and if you get enough, you can take them to Tane’s lab to build a Super Boss. These bosses can drop all sorts of insane rewards. Here is an example of a Unique Organ you can find (they are of course random)

Now, keep in mind that you will want to pay attention to the modifiers on these organs. Every instance of a single modifier stacks and things can get VERY dangerous very quickly. I have been one shotted numerous times by bad combinations, and at one point I wasn’t paying attention, stacked Life Regen on the Metamorph, and literally could not out damage its health regen. I ended up running away.

A new drop type, Catalysts, were also added in this league. These allow you to add Quality to your rings and amulets, which can affect their stats as well. This is the only way to quality these items currently. I have only gotten a single Catalyst so I don’t have much to add here. There are also a few new unique items but nothing that really stands out to me.

Overall, I actually really enjoy the Metamorph league. It rewards you for cleaning out areas, lets you get insane drops early one if you are lucky, and can be as challenging as you want it to be. And at no point is it required to do. You can interact with it as much or as little as you want.

Now let’s talk about the new Endgame for Path of Exile: Conquerors of the Atlas! Again, there will be some spoilers here for how this plays into everything, and some theories from me as well.

The New Endgame Storyline & Atlas: Conquerors of the Atlas Impressions

To understand the new story, especially if you are just coming into the game, I need to explain the general plot of Path of Exile as a whole. So, again, there will be spoilers here!

Path of Exile started originally telling the story of 7 Exiles, who were banished for different crimes to the continent of Wraeclast from a place called Oriath. They started by simply trying to help their fellow exiles survive the harsh world of Wraeclast before stumbling upon a plot by the Templar Order to do something involving these mystical Virtue Gems. Eventually the Exile (you) ends up finding out there is a horrible demonic beast creature that is the source of these gems, and an ancient mystic from the Vaal empire lives inside of it. So you go into the creature and kill the entity called Malachai, thus ending the source of the Corruption.

That was the original game. Then GGG added acts 5 thru 10, which followed your Exile going back to Oriath and killing the head of the Templar Order, which accidentally frees an ancient god of Consumption and Hunger named Kitava, as well as all sorts of Major and Minor gods from antiquitiy. This is NOT GOOD, and you run back to Wraeclast to avoid Kitava and help correct the problems that you yourself created by waking Kitava up. This involves you going around and killing a bunch of ancient gods and seeing how the world changed between the fight with Malachai and the awakening of Kitava (because you sail back to Wraeclast and that takes time vs how you get back to Oriath). Upon defeating Kitava at the end of Act 10, the Endgame Storyline begins, and here is where the change was made.

Originally, you met Zana, who introduces you to the Atlas of Worlds and the Map device, and asks for your help in searching for her lost father within the worlds of the Atlas. You encounter the Shaper, and then the Elder, and a war breaks out between them with you caught in the middle. The finale of that storyline involves the Elder corrupting the Shaper (Who was Zana’s father) and you facing both at the same time, and banishing the Elder back to where ever it comes from and destroying the Shaper.

However, Conquerors of the Atlas now advances the timeline and changes things.

First and foremost, I want to say that I am fairly certain that Conquerors is the way things have gone PRIOR TO Path of Exile 2, as its already been stated that the events of POE 2 will be roughly 20 years after the fall of Kitava at the end of POE 1. Knowing that, the events of Conquerors will make a lot more sense.

Currently, in Conquerors, we meet Officer Kirac after killing Kitava, who asks for our exiles help in locating his missing brother Baran. Baran you see fell in with a terrorist / extremist named Zana (What!) and has been missing for a long time. You follow Kirac in raiding a few new locations in order to build a new map device, and once you do Kirac begins to help you explore a new revamped Atlas.

After progressing far enough (you can learn exactly how by watching this handy video by ZiggyD) you will encounter Zana. She explains that she and a team of 5 Exiles went into the Atlas, and fought and defeated the Shaper and Elder. However, the exiles who went with her kept going back into the Atlas in search of power, and slowly it became apparent to Zana that the Atlas ITSELF was Corrupting those who entered it. Eventually the five exiles broke up and in fear, Zana trapped herself and the five of them inside the Atlas and waited for death.

And then our happy ass with Kirac came along and opened the Atlas back up, and now Zana is worried that the ultra powerful Conquerors will escape back into Wraeclast and Oriath and take over. She asks for our help in finding and defeating the 5 exiles to save the world.

From here it’s all about chasing down the Conquerors and fighting them to eventually face off against the new “Shaper” tier endgame boss. I have managed to face down and kill 2 Conquerors, which given that in previous leagues I have never fought a single Elder, Shaper, or Guardian of either is really awesome. The Conquerors feel more human, and they are much more interactive in my view then Shaper or Elder. You always fight Baran first, and the fight against him and how the interactions work is very fascinating. The second Conqueror I took on was The Hunter, and he was a pain in the rear during the “Taunt” phase, which is where you are chasing them.

The way the new Atlas works does take some getting used to, and understanding how the Watch Stones (Which you get after each of the 4 basic Conqueror fights) work is paramount to understanding how to progress in the map system. Also, I feel it’s a little odd to add in what is clearly Storyline progression into the game when the other events (namely whatever starts POE 2) have not occurred, as it feels a little strange to do the same original 10 acts up to the end, and then suddenly have a time jump to the new Atlas.

Mechanically you now go from the inside of the Atlas outward. There are now 8 regions specifically (4 inner, 4 outer) to explore, and you can socket 4 Watchstones into each of the 8 regions. Socketing Watchstones increases the base Tier of the maps in that region, however from what I can tell existing maps that dropped for those (say the Pier or Beach) will STAY at the tier they originally dropped at. So if you upgrade one of the inner regions once, the first map will now drop at Tier 5, but the ones you already got of that map are still the lower tier variants. However, this new aspect of upgrading means that eventually all maps on the Atlas will be the max Tier, and this will mean you can essentially run the maps you want and still feel rewarded, assuming they drop.

And the drops can STILL be an issue. I have 2 inner regions where I have only EVER Gotten the starter map to drop, and never any connecting ones. This makes progression to the outer corners (which connect to the inner regions) more difficult. Here is a screenshot of my Atlas, and you can see that the bottom half is barely progressed, despite my best efforts at getting map drops for those bottom regions.

Overall the storyline progression however, the new bosses, and the new changes to how the Atlas functions are very welcome. For a casual player like myself even being able to engage and face off with the “Starter” Conquerors is welcome, as it makes me feel like I am actually getting somewhere in the game rather than spinning my wheels.

Another major change, by the way, is how the Master Mission system works. Prior to Conquerors, the Master Missions (Niko, Alva, Zana, Jun, and Einhar) would spawn randomly on your maps. If you had a map in your stash or inventory that matched where they were, you could run it and do their mission. However, they would despawn after a while, which meant that it was possible to miss the missions completely. It made people feel like they had to rush, and the masters could spawn on Maps you had not unlocked yet.

Now, however, you build up charges on the right side of the Atlas (White, Yellow, and Red, matching map tiers, see the image above!) and if you want to run a master mission, like say Niko so you can do some Delves later, you simply go to Niko, choose “Atlas Mission” at the top of his chat, and give HIM the map instead of your Map Device. It will then spawn portals like a normal map run at your Map Device but will always have that master in the Map so you can do their mission. It’s really handy, and lets YOU decide how and when to run certain content. If you like Delving or Incursion like I do, you can very easily run that content.

I cannot wait to see what leagues are coming in the upcoming months to the lead up to POE 2 and I really am excited to see how things progress and change for that version of the game.

Thanks for reading, and if you play POE what do you think of these changes? Right now admittedly the Awakener fight is a bit of a mess and hopefully GGG can fix it (its got some nasty bugs) but overall I like the direction of things.