NieR: Replicant – The Most Annoying Quest

Big Fat Spoiler Warning right here at the beginning by the way.

NieR: Replicant has been a lot of fun so far and I really have been enjoying all kinds of aspects of it but it’s become harder and harder to stay away from spoilers, especially as I was interested in a book we encountered in the Mansion since I thought it was Grimoire Noir. So I essentially took a look at the wiki where I found out that it was actually Grimoire Rubrum, the counter piece to Grimoire Weiss and Grimoire Noir. Anyways, staying away from spoilers is hard and browsing the wiki was kind of counter-intuitive in my journey to go at the game in a “blind” manner since I now know a lot about the backstory and since I now understand a lot of things that have been happening that looked mysterious until now. Anyways, there is an achievement called “Weapons Collector” that I wanted and because of that, I browsed through the wiki once again to see where I can find the remaining few. Apparently, there are two weapons that I can find in the last area of the first ending, as well as one that I get from a quest or at the beginning of Ending B. So, I essentially don’t need to worry about those weapons exactly… But again, that doesn’t take much effort. If you want to unlock all weapons, you’ll have to do what I needed to do in yesterday’s stream: You’ll need to complete the quest named “The Damaged Map”, which is only available during the second half of the game’s first ending.

This quest is probably the most annoying quest I’ve ever encountered in any game. You get it from the blacksmith in your home village and he asks you to find a treasure map, so you go to the library where you find a damaged map that you then bring to the Strange-Things-Store in Facade. Once you’ve arrived in Facade, the Strange-Things-vendor will tell you that he needs three eggplants, three goat hides and three drops of machine oil to restore the map. Luckily, I already had three drops of machine oil from the Junk Heap, and you can luckily hunt down goats at the Eastern Road to the east of the Desert to acquire the goat hides. The eggplants either need to be grown in your garden or you buy them at the grocer, which I did in the home village. Once you’ve restored the map, you bring it to the client’s wife who tells you to find the treasure since she’s worried about her husband. You then head to Popola to decipher the map before you go to the Lost Shrine to a specific room in the northwest of the second floor, where you find the “treasure” that you then have to return to the client’s wife. She then gives you an ornament that you can either keep and sell (as she asks you to) or you let her keep it. Despite having a choice here, you’ll need to keep the ornament and sell it in Facade for an old gold coin. That gold coin needs to be returned to the blacksmith who then gives you his very first map in return. This treasure map needs to be deciphered by Popola, again, and then leads you to the Northern Plains where you need to find it at the “start of a steel bridge” where you then find the Labyrinth’s Shout, the weapon you need for the achievement. Quest completed. As easy as that.

As you can see this quest is super annoying since there are a bunch of trips back and forth from the Village to Facade. What’s annoying is that you’ll need to make these trips back and forth on foot or while riding your boar unless you’ve unlocked the canal already. Even with the canal, you’ll still need to travel via “fast-travel” to the desert (since there is no canal in Facade) and then head to the opposite side of the desert to Facade and then you need to go to the Strange-Things-Shop… and then you make the same trip back… and you do that a bunch of times, essentially. Super annoying. Also, you need to gather the materials and find the treasure in the Shade-ridden Lost Shrine and it was just a nightmare of a quest really… Was it worth it? Kind of? I’ll get the achievement, after all, which is nice, but at the same time, the weapon itself is not that good really, so if you don’t go for the achievement, just skip this quest.

As for the last three weapons, I’ll need to complete “The Magical Stone” to find the Iron Pipe… and I’ll need to find the Dragoon Lance and the Pheonix Sword in the Shadowlord’s Castle. The Dragoon Lance apparently is a weapon found in Drakengard while the Pheonix Sword can be found in Automata, too, so that’s quite nice.

Either way, I hope you enjoyed this post. I hated that quest up there so much just because of how many trips it took and just because of how much that weapon wasn’t worth it stat-wise… but I got it! So that’s nice.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Modding in Games

I was always a bit reluctant with modding games. The only titles that I’ve ever modded were Minecraft (stuff like Mo’ Creatures, Optifine, Inventory Tweaks, or Shaders) and The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ (that mod that tells you what the items do), so I figured I should try and broaden my horizon a little bit and explain as to why mods are good and why I hesitated so much with installing a lot of things.

For starters, I’d like to point out that I don’t hate mods entirely. For me it’s just a bit hard to install them and I end up doing something wrong somewhere, so I need to redo everything, and then I give it up altogether, resulting in a rather unpleasant experience. At the same time, some mods disable Achievements in games on Steam and I ended up avoiding mods due to that reason, especially as I didn’t know what games did it and which ones didn’t do it. I’m not a completionist by any means and I expressed some thoughts on Achievements before as well… but I still kind of care about them and don’t like playing a game while they are disabled as it kind of bothers me. 

Mods are great though. Stuff like Optifine or Shaders can make a game like Minecraft actually rather pretty and add a lot of nice details to the world, even without you running that raytracing stuff (is that out already btw? Asking for a friend). At the same time, there are plenty of mods that add more content to a game without taking too much away from the vanilla-experience or they add so much awesome stuff to the game that it becomes an entirely new experience, which is amazing. There are also cases where games only are held together and popular because of the modding community, which is amazing and which must be a good thing. 

But despite modding being such a common thing, I still kind of hesitated to install any in some of the games that I played. I ended up shoving aside the idea of modding RimWorld as I wanted to learn how to play the vanilla game, first. At the same, there are titles like Skyrim or Torchlight that have fantastic examples of community-made content that maybe (or probably?) surpasses the original developers’ ideas and creativity. New classes, smarter pets and enhanced GUI in Torchlight’s case or new enemies, more character customization and roleplaying capabilities in Skyrim’s. The potential is basically endless and I felt like I should maybe try it out myself.

Alas, I started up Stardew Valley again, which is a great and very underpriced title that I’ve only spent a hundred hours in so far. I last played it on March 23rd 2020, so I was a bit rusty… and with new additions that were made to the games, I was a bit hesitant of starting it up again. But well, I figured, I may as well try it out with the Expanded mod among others, to give it a completely new vibe and more interesting things to discover as well as new NPCs to romance and new crops to place down. 

The picture below shows the installed mods that I’ve chosen. I used a Pastebin that KingArgaroth shared for his playthrough of this mod pack and alas, I figured I may as well copy that and share it with y’all. Make sure to check him out if you haven’t yet! I talked about him and other great streamers briefly in this post here. The mods mentioned in the Pastebin technically make use of SMAPI but I ended up having trouble with that, so I opted in for “ModDrop” which is a piece of software that made the whole process A LOT easier. I installed a lot of mods that are needed for both Stardew Valley Expanded and for Ridgeside Village. Both of these mods add a lot of new areas, events, dialogue options, features, and NPCs to the game. Apart from that, I also made use of the Season Villager Outfits that are actually quite lovely and the Dynamic Night-Time mod. 

In today’s stream, I then started it up for the first time and to my surprise it went quite well. There was a hiccup at the beginning where it took a while to load but honestly, that’s quite understandable when there is so much going on in the game and when there are so many mods involved. I didn’t have any issues after that with it apart from the Experience Bars Mod (that I now uninstalled) constantly showing… and I need to add a mod to update the map to also feature Ridgeside Village… but other than that it worked pretty well.

I’m quite overwhelmed with all of the content but overall, it was more than enjoyable. The new farm layout is fantastic and the new NPCs in the game are a lot more diverse and fun than the previous ones who all felt a bit one-dimensional… From RSV’s Flor, Corine and Maddie to SDVE’s Sophia there are plenty of cool characters in the game… but it’s actually not that easy to decide on who to potentially date/marry yet as the bachelors in the game are all rather cute as well and as I haven’t gotten to know them all just yet. 

But yeah, I really enjoyed that experience. ModDrop really helped with the hurdle of installing things easily… and the mods that I used actually don’t disable achievements, which is also incredibly cool. Looking forward to playing more soon!

Have you ever modded a game before and what were your experiences with the install-process and the game itself? What are your opinions? Do you like modding games or are you more of a Vanilla-Only person? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Risk of Rain 2 – Road to 100%: Commando Edition

The other day, I wrote about achievements and good ways of implementing them into games. One game that I mentioned there was Risk of Rain 2, so I’ve looked at how many I’m missing there and… actually not too many. Alas, I thought I might as well go for it since I actually love this game just enough to care about 100%-ing it.

Alas, let’s talk about this: Why are the achievements in Risk of Rain 2 well-made? Well, they’re tied to unlocking things in the game, so you basically get rewarded for doing them. Be it artefacts, characters, items, or abilities, the game basically awards you with an item whenever you complete something. The Warmonger achievement awards you with the War Horn when you complete three combat shrines in a single stage, for instance, while the Prismatically Aligned achievement awards you with the Harvester’s Scythe once you’ve completed a Prismatic Trial. War Horn is a nice item that buffs your attack speed whenever you use your equipment while the Harvester’s Scythe grants you 5% crit chance (once, doesn’t stack) and also heals you whenever you crit. Both of these are great items to round up your builds and help you out and they synergise really well with other items.

The Artefact of DEATH!

The problem here is obviously that the Warmonger achievement requires there to be there combat shrines on a single stage, which isn’t always a given. Similarly, the Prismatically Aligned achievement requires you to finish a Prismatic Trial, which is a seeded run with all kinds of modifiers that you’ll have to complete… Based on when you do it, it can be easier to acquire or harder to do. Alas, I just played the game a lot and went for it whenever I could.

But I already had those achievements and I had most of the other achievements as well… The only ones missing are the ones for the last few artefacts as well as a few character unlocks.

Alas, today, I attempted to beat the game on Monsoon difficulty as the Commando to receive the Commando: Mastery achievement that unlocks a skin. Since I don’t really play the Commando and since I only unlocked the Tactical Slide, so far, I also tried to finish off an Overloading Magmaworm while also surviving 20 stages without any Lunar items. This sounds easy but in the end, I died rather often while trying since I’m rather rusty when it comes to the Commando. I would slide into a Void Reaver’s explosion and die… or overestimate myself and die from fall damage paired with enemy projectiles… oh, and fire is still super annoying! Overall, I can sum up that attempting everything at the same time is silly.

Alas, I decided to just do two of these achievements at the same time and then go for the skin once I’ve unlocked the abilities. 

Btw, Commando: Godspeed requires you to fully charge the first-stage teleporter before the timer hits 5 minutes, which is rather easy when you do it on Drizzle, speedrun to the teleporter and just hit it, beat the boss, and survive for long enough. No items needed… just a lot of dodging. The Tactical Slide is just better than the Tactical Roll as you can shoot while doing it (hence not lowering your DPS) and as you can use it mid-air to give you another boost, alas, granting you a pseudo-double-jump. 

Alas, I started up a run on Drizzle, the easiest difficulty, with Commando in Singleplayer. The artefacts I selected were Command (to chose my own items) and Sacrifice (to not bother with chests or grinding gold). Instead of grinding enemies, I just went to the teleporter and started charging it. Due to an early red item, I ended up opting in for an on-hit-build utilizing the 57-Leaf-Clover to its fullest. I stacked Crit Chance and On-Hit-items that would basically always proc thanks to that the aforementioned item. By ignoring everything and just pushing through the stages, I got a bunch of items during the teleporter event and was able to avoid any waste of time. I then basically rolled through the first few stages, went for the guaranteed red items in the fourth stage (Abyssal Depths, Siren’s Call, and Sundered Grove) whenever I landed there, and then I beat the Sky Meadow boss before going for the Artefact Portal. 

Sky Meadow counts as Stage 5 but if you go for the Artefact Portal, you basically get to the Hidden Realm, Bulwark’s Ambry, where you unlock Artefacts. That’s stage 7. After that, you’ll be at the first stage again for the first loop, meaning that that’s stage 8. Alas, there were only 12 more to go. During Stage 7, I unlocked the Artefact of Dissonance that basically enables monsters to spawn outside of their usual environments. The trial of dissonance itself, at this stage, was no biggie since I had way too much attack speed and way too much damage anyways. Alas, I dealt with it quickly and unlocked the artefact and the achievement associated with it.

During the next few stages, I basically just rushed through, not giving a damn about any items or turrets. At times, I’d wait near my turrets and drones to let them get taken out by enemies. This was really important as the next artefact we were going to unlock was the Artefact of Chaos, which basically enables friendly fire. My turrets could have killed me during that if they hadn’t died beforehand. Alas, we completed our first loop and were back at Sky Meadow at Stage 13 where we immediately headed to the Portal, entering the code for Chaos, and rushed through the Trial of Chaos. This was rather easy as well since we didn’t have any allies that would be affected by it anyways. The only issue we had was the fact that I took the Brilliant Behemoth, which makes my attacks explode on impact… and well,… the explosion can hurt you while Chaos is turned on. Alas, I had to be careful about that but before long, I was already done with it. Alas, we unlocked Chaos and rushed through the next five stages.

Sky Meadow, again, but at Stage 19. We rush to the artefact portal, we complete Death (again, no allies to be affected by it) and we get to Stage 20 without any issues. In Stage 20, we ended up defeating the Overloading Worm that just casually spawned in, hence unlocking the Rolling Thunder achievement… Next up, we go through the portal and unlock the Incorruptible achievement as well for clearing 20 stages in a single run without picking up any Lunar items. After that, I wanted to obliterate on the Portal in A Moment, Fractured… but then I noticed that I still haven’t bothered finding the easter egg in that Hidden Realm.

If you enter A Moment, Fractured, and look to the left of the starting island, you can turn up the Gamma to 50% to see three islands far away in the distance. That’s where the easter egg is. Alas, we didn’t obliterate but instead looped yet again to grab more Hopoo Feathers, more Fuel Cells, and the Milky Chrysalis equipment. 

The Milky Chrysalis allows us to fly for 15 seconds with a +20% movement speed bonus during the duration. With 9 Fuel Cells and a bunch of movement speed items as well as a lot of extra jumps, we’re able to just permanently be in the air without any worry in the world. We fly off into the distance and shortly reach the lovely easter egg island that you can see here.

Yup, literal easter eggs.

And alas, I’m only missing the skin for the Commando… but I feel like I’ve played enough Commando for the day. I’m honestly not a huge fan of this character in the second game, despite me quite enjoying the glass-builds I did in the first game on this character. 

I’m only missing 11 more achievements in the game and they’re all unlocks for different characters. I’m really looking forward unlocking some of those, as I have yet to unlock the Engineer’s spider mines and as I haven’t played too much of the Mercenary or Acrid, yet! I play on publishing more posts on this topic in the future, so until then,…

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Achievements in Video Games

Today, I wanted to talk about achievements in games and replayability. This is just going to be a rather quick take on it but I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for ages and thought I might just go ahead and write about it. 

There are a lot of different ways to enjoy games. Some people play games casually to enjoy the ride from beginning to end (or until someway through) while others try to beat it on the hardest difficulty possible or with some sort of handicap. There are times where I try to reach specific points in games without using the intended way or without touching the ground, for instance. Other people enjoy the harder and more challenging experiences like no-hit-runs in Dark Souls or wherever, and while that may not be my cup of tea, it’s perfectly fine for them to enjoy the game they want to enjoy them. In the same fashion, completionists love getting all collectables or all achievements, trophies or rewards in a game, which is lovely in its own way.

Achievements are a great way for developers to bring more replayability to their games or to bring more life into a game’s world. Obviously, not every game is doing this perfectly as a lot of them either give you achievements for just following the main path/the story… and other games just make it an achievement to collect a ton of collectables scattered through the map, which is suboptimal and something that I dread… but some people may enjoy that aspect of collecting everything and looking at items in the menu that they previously worked hard for. 

My favourite type of achievements, however, is the kind that encourages playing the game differently or doing something that the player wouldn’t think of themselves. 

A great example of this would be “speedrunning” Outer Wilds aka finishing the game in one loop! This can be a bit tricky but it is fairly achievable and it’s actually something that you wouldn’t do without knowing anything about the game, as all the clues that lead you to the solution have to be collected throughout multiple loops. On top of that, there are other achievements in the game that make you try out some rather hard things… but it is do-able and it never feels like a hassle or anything like that.

Some games, however, don’t manage to do so very well. Fable, for instance, has a lot of different achievements that either tie into the story or that work around the mechanics of the game. At the same time, though, it also features achievements that require you to collect at least ten legendary weapons, all the dolls, all kinds of books, and all silver keys, which kind of turns into a drag once you’ve beaten the game and want to get those achievements. I’m only missing eight achievements in that game, including those that I just mentioned, and I’m not too sure if I want to get them. Meanwhile, Hades has one achievement where you’re supposed to level up all keepsakes/trinkets to the maximum level, turning it into a grind of sorts. Obviously, Hades is a rogue-lite, which is why it is meant to be played multiple times. What makes this achievement different from the collect-em-all-achievements in Fable, is the fact that the game encourages you to play it with different keepsakes that all focus on different boons or playstyles, which is actually quite a good idea. 

There is something about games that wants me to 100% them. I’m not a completionist at all with my measly 28% average completion rate on steam and the 11 perfect games I have… but I still try to complete at least some of the games I’m playing in order to feel this sense of accomplishment when the number of achievements on Steam goes up (currently at 3,619!). I just dread those “collect-em-all”-style achievements that all kinds of games implement on Steam while I love the specific things you have to do in Risk of Rain 2 to unlock those new items, abilities, features and characters in the game. I love it when the game makes me do something that I haven’t thought of before. I love it when it actually has consequences for me if I complete something, be it an unlock or an upgrade. I love it when the game rewards you for exploring every nook and cranny of a level.

But I dread it when it turns into a hassle or when the backtracking gets too annoying. I dread it when just storing at the achievements makes me want to not play it again after I’ve initially beaten it.

On another note, by the time this post was fully written, Razbuten also published a piece on it that you can find right here. I can recommend his videos a ton and can’t wait to watch it myself later once I’m back home again. 

I hope you enjoyed this post! What are your thoughts on achievements in games? Do you agree with the points I made? Do you think differently about them? Have you completed a game and set out to do so? 

Let me know!

Cheers!

One Year of Blogging!

On July 15th, 2019, I introduced myself as a new blogger who just started and who was planning on reviewing games on here and write about gaming and non-gaming related stuff alike. This post here is to celebrate one year of blogging… just a bit late. Uh, I’ve been meaning to rewrite this draft a couple of times and then other stuff happened. On July 14th, I published my third post on the To The Moon Play Along that Naithin organised and while this post was due on the day after that, I ended up not publishing it yet because I had big plans for it and wanted to make it as great as possible. The next post that I published was the post I did on Hyper Scape and uh… yeah, then I procrastinated a lot… and now it’s nearly 2021. 

Alas, don’t mind me as I post this post a few months late and as I “celebrate” one year of blogging… just a bit later. 

So, what happened in one year of blogging? 

Well, for the most part… Improvements! I changed my theme two times and played around with the colours and different options until I got to the blog and blog-layout that you can see today. I also started using Grammarly and started editing posts to reduce the reading time and enhance the quality a lot.

My longest post to date was my review on Moonlighter, featuring 21,897 characters and a total of 3,912 words spread across 52 paragraphs. The reason for the switch from long reviews (2k to 3k words) to short-ish reviews (~1k words, up to a maximum of 1.4k words) was mainly that I wouldn’t have lasted long if I spent more time on writing posts than on studying. I am still able to write up reviews as much as I want to but I don’t explain every mechanic, the control scheme, every detail or gimmick in the game. I end up talking more about what I like and dislike about a game instead of explaining what you, as a potential player, will inevitably see for yourself. This was a change for the better. 

Over a bit more than a year, I published 64 reviews as well as 31 posts on The Lookout Post. I also ended up going for 50 posts in the Gaming Journal, the category where I talk about other games and where I do first-impressions, and stuff. I’ve amassed a total of 87 Stray Sheep in this time as well and managed to finish nine MonHunLogs and six posts on Twitch-related stuff. I’m actually quite happy with how the reviews turned out and how much I’ve managed to write in this time.

Alas, I’ve published a total of 234 posts with 42 drafts sitting here, ready to be edited and worked on,… eventually. 

My most successful posts were the following (excluding the home page):

  1. Indietail – Fall Guys
  2. Raid: Shadow Legends and why I don’t like mobile games
  3. Unlocking Lillia’s Haiku – a quick guide
  4. Destiny 2 – Getting back into the grind!
  5. Late to the Party #2 – Asheron’s Call
  6. How to not-promote your channel on Twitch
  7. The “How are you?” controversy and Fleeksie
  8. Valorant – My First Impressions
  9. Indietail – RogueJack
  10. Indietail – Drake Hollow

There have been a whopping 347 comments on my blog that were not by spam-bots. If you include pings and answers, we get a total of 461 comments. On top of that, we hit 107 followers on WordPress with the very first follower being Naithin who followed on July 17th, 2019.

It was a pleasure to see my posts on Drake Hollow do so well, especially as I was really excited about this title!

Through Twitch and WordPress, I was able to hit 183 followers on Twitter, although most views probably come through referrals and discord anyways. I’ve been more than happy with the amount of traffic has come to Indiecator, especially as I’m only at the beginning of my journey on here. 

As time went on, I’d often start a new series or something like that and would then see how long I’d stay interested in it. My Viridi-post with different bloggers as plants and that kinda stuff ended up being well-received but I ended up not getting another post done in the series as I, honestly, didn’t find any more time to read posts. I still read posts every now and then whenever they pop up in my Twitter or WordPress timeline but lately, it’s been a bad habit of mine to not comment or like as much anymore. University’s still keeping me quite busy but I’ve managed to at least stay relevant for Google and other sites, to the point where I even got featured in some “top 40 Indie bloggers” on feedspot (spot 11!)… I need to socialize more on WordPress and get to know more people but that post ended up getting trashed.

An old relic of the blog: The ever-changing Dr Pepper header image!

As for other posts that ended up getting trashed, I never got back to my review on Ori and the Blind Forest or the series of posts that I wanted to do on Destiny 2 Raids… at this point in time, it’s probably time to delete some of the drafts as the raids in question got vaulted. 

Seeing that my post on Destiny 2 is still doing fairly good, I may post more on that topic. I have four more posts in line that have nothing to do with vaulted raids but I haven’t gotten around to editing them just yet and uh… they may not be the most relevant right now. 

My post on Self-Promotion on Twitch is also still getting traffic, so I gotta post more in the Bleeding Purple category that I set up! 

My post on Raid Shadow Legends is also doing really well, still, so maybe it’s time that I finish editing my post on AFK Arena and that I hit “publish” for once… 

My Witcher-Post was the most popular post for the very first few months but eventually… Fall Guys came. And everything else.

Either way, as for reviews (the main piece of my blog), I’d like to mention that there are still plenty of titles to go through. My Steam library alone, features 451 Indie games that I haven’t played at all yet, as well as a hundred or so that I have played already but haven’t reviewed yet. On top of that, there are some Kickstarter and EA games that I’ve backed and supported, that I need to write about in the near future before they get finished. 

My Steam library has been growing lately as well but I did manage to play through some titles in the Late to the Party category as well as on Stream and through my reviews. There are still about 942 unplayed games, though, so, I hope that I’ll have plenty of time to review games in the future as well. 

Alas, Indiecator went from “the guide through the Indie jungle” to a “weird but charming” blog where I don’t fangirl too much about Dr Pepper anymore and instead, talk about Indie games and Streaming and games in general really… It’s been a ton of fun to write about the things I love so far and I’m looking forward to getting better at it in the future as well. 

Stuff that I want to do in the next few years of blogging:

  • Review more games!
  • More franchise-playthroughs and write about those (Late to the Party)
  • Write more posts on Twitch growth and that kind of stuff
  • Meddle with video content (reviews, podcasts, etc. -> YouTube)
  • I’d love to host guest posts in the future or to finish up the guest posts I had prepared for other blogs.

I feel like that’s quite a list to go for. Maybe I’ll manage to get some of that done in 2021 already. Will have to see about that!

Cheers to one year of blogging and cheers to many more!