Marvel – ous Heroes


Thanks for the comments to yesterday’s post.     It seems like I should just dive in to Marvel and enjoy the game, and if I hit the cap or otherwise want to start again, I can buy more “game” via a new hero for a few bucks.

I went ahead and unlocked the Hulk anyway, with eternity splinters I’m granted at login at some point.    The Hulk was always my favorite growing up, and I had several years worth of the comics before I sold them all after moving out of Mom’s house at 21.    I’ll have to play him, but first, let’s try Cap.

It didn’t take long.   I uncapped Captain America and have him all the way up to level 15 already.    The levels came fast and furious as I ran through the content the way it’s obviously meant to be chewed up – smack things around fast and furious.

The limitations of the Marvel game are quickly obvious – bank space.   Naturally.

You have one slot, at start.

You have one slot, at start.

It looks like I can spend real money and get more bank “slots”, each of which will open up space for 48 additional items.    Yeah, I’ve done these games before, and I can tell that bank space is not going to be a priority unless I start obsessively playing the game.

Compound that with the fact that it’s shared among all of your heroes and I can see the priority will be based on people, and not gear.   That’s fine actually – this should be a bit different of an experience, then.

And next, there’s the bugs.

That looks cool.   I can make purple items.

That looks cool. I can make purple items.

All I have to do is pick up additional items, find anything that’s blue quality, and I can craft a nice purple item.    Except, when you try to craft one, it fails.

Lazy websearches reveal this as a unfixed bug.

Lazy websearches reveal this as a unfixed bug.

This error continues after logout, and after waiting a day to see if it would just “go away”.    I’m assuming this is permanent and means the crafting system isn’t all that useful.

At first I didn’t get the cutscene art – it probably comes from not reading comic books for this many years.     But all the cutscenes are not animated, just drawn pen-and-ink style, with voiceovers.    Kind of like how you would experience Marvel as you read the comics.     Once that lightbulb went off for me, I enjoyed it more.

Dipping my toe in everything


, ,

Over the past week it’s been all about Steam games, with some World of Tanks thrown in.    After installing about two dozen games I’ve managed to enter and play a few of them.

  • Banished is an interesting game.   It’s very slow paced – you want to carefully balance town services, foresting, food production, and population growth.     So slow paced I’m not sure I want to wait that long to see if I succeed, which is unexpected since I’m a slow paced kind of guy.   I find myself still playing up Stebbingdon, but at 10x speed.   Currently sitting at 130 population with a stable base for additional population.
  • Carmageddon has been updated with a career mode and engine optimization.   The game is a lot of fun to play at this point.
  • Flatout 3 is the last of the excellent value Flatout games that I’ve yet to play very far through.   I might not play much though – the career mode seems lacking, and the Steam achievements don’t make up for it.
  • Spore is getting playtime again, with my first world entering civilization stage.     However, my old login did not work and it’s apparently a known issue.    In Gamespeak, this means it’s a bug that’s never getting fixed.   So all the crazy creatures my kids created over the years are gone (well, sitting on the old PC in the other room) as I build up yet another login for the game.
  • I went ahead and bought Xenonauts on a 50% off sale day.    After playing through one alien landing and ground action, I think it’s an awesome successor to X-Com.    I’ll have to keep going and see if that holds up.
  • I am not impressed with Age of Wonders III, but neither have I really tried to play it.   I got in, and back out.

Now Marvel Heroes is an interesting MMO concept.     While I recall the odd post about it in the blogosphere (nothing specific), I come in knowing almost nothing about the game.

First point – it’s pretty free, it seems.    There is an in game currency (credits), an in-game premium currency (Forgot the name), and RMT currency (G, as in “Gees”).     You can play one of the starting heroes for free, but after one, it will cost you to unlock more heroes.   Then again, you can use the ??? to unlock heroes.

What I’m unsure of is if I need to both unlock heroes, and un-level-cap them.    If it costs $5 – $10 to add a hero to your account, I can see myself doing that – I want to play as the Hulk.   For the moment, I’ve decided to play Captain America through.

Your team window, and being inside of the Avenger's Tower.

Your team window, and being inside of the Avenger’s Tower.

They have an interesting concept with the heroes though.   You can play a large selection of them up to level 10, and I’ve done just that.      Once they hit level 10, you can only keep one leveling up, so I’m told.

The fights are fun.    Captain America is an ass-kicker.

The fights are fun. Captain America is an ass-kicker.


Beginner Banished



I found myself on Steam again this past week.

My daughter (14) has developed a fixation on Sonic the Hedgehog.    Other than knowing he exists, I was completely ignorant of the Sonic franchise at one point; no longer.     I am treated to discussions of his characteristics and all the other hedgehogs regularly.     One outgrowth of this is she wanted to get Garry’s Mod (“Get me GMOD, Dad”), and eventually I went ahead and got her a Steam account.

Waiting for sales is foreign to little miss “I want it all, and NOW” so we paid the full $10 out of her money and I got to look at it.    It seems like a well done FPS sandbox game, but she wants to use it to make videos and is finally starting to dig into the computer and learn the technology.    Thank you God !

And so, after fiddling around with that, I began to wonder why I’ve not gotten Banished going and loaded that up.    Banished, you’ll remember, is the single player game that gives you a few families which you need to build up into a functioning village among a random map.

After a couple new false starts (all my previous saves are on another computer, and not valuable, as apparently I’d rather start over than dig any of them up) I think I have a good village started.     I went with “Super Easy Mode”, selecting no disasters in addition to easy.    Stebbingdon has a population of 34 and is built with a few strategies in mind.

The first one I've saved.

The first one I’ve saved.

First, is the idea of using a forest carefully for multiple needs.      If you build a herbalist, gatherer’s hut, and hunting lodge, you can overlap the three of their forest circles for min-maxing.   Add in a forester’s lodge just to plant trees and you keep a really nice forest for this use.    Just next to this big circle I built a second forester’s lodge for gathering logs.

The cluster to the left, and the village right and up top.

The cluster to the left, and the village right and up top.

After a while I found my starting storage barn to be filling up, so I built three more homes and a new storage barn.    The population started eating more than we’re bringing in, so the next step is more food.    But the other key item is the trading hut – the best way, so I’m told, to gather stone and iron for the long term is to trade for it.    Probably by using the renewable resource of trees, and selling firewood for them.     My traders hut is completed, but no traders over the short period of time I had it running before logging off.

Stebbigndon so far.    Storage barn is offscreen to the north.

Stebbigndon so far. Storage barn is offscreen to the north.

Many sales were had since I’ve last really looked at Steam, and I find myself putting a ton of stuff onto the wishlist in case it goes on sale.    Then I’ll get an email telling me “Hey!   Buy this !”.    I’ve missed out on several, including for Beyond Earth and a couple other things.     And installing a bunch of stuff onto a new computer can be a bit of a pain.    But there’s no question that Steam is valuable for building a game library, being exposed to new stuff, and getting things cheap (on sale).

The Broad Base Building continues


World of Tanks milestones for the week include :

Unlocking the Cromwell.    The Crusader is definitely a fun little tank, but the medium Cromwell is supposed to be a beast.     I’m waiting for the sale that lets me buy this guy.

Unlocking the VK 30.01D.   This is the “new” medium stuck into the tree before the 30.02D.    I might not bother to buy this thing, and instead free XP all the modules – just like I did long ago with the PZ III/IV which I eventually bought and drove just for this purpose.

Unlocking the Archer.     I really like my British Valentine and expect to keep playing it.    While it’s no fun when you’re fighting Tier VI’s with it that just destroy you, against Tier V’s I’m useful and I’m a god against Tier IV’s.     Whenever I’m interested, I can now work on the 2nd set of British TD’s.

Running the “Party Prep” missions.    That was a simple, silly, and fun set of missions that I was glad to play through.    Got a fair amount of XP, 300 gold and a premium day, and enjoyed the whole thing completely.

Buying many Tier IV and below tanks, including the B1, AMX 105 AM, and others that I really don’t remember.    Got the SU-122A as well, but this one has a large crew and so I chose to only buy the tank and wait for a crew training special.     Alas, this weekend is 50% off gold training which I don’t want to spring for – I want credit training only.

I now find myself with a large stable of tanks that I’ve bought and never even driven.    The collector impulse, apparently, is very strong.    Nor do I really want to start with most of them – I’m more interested in “Project 30″ to get every tank I’ve driven up to 30 matches.    You see, after the first match, the tanks appear on the list, so for whatever reason I enjoy the idea of working them up all at once.

The weekend special is mostly about 3x crew XP which supports that idea – just drive your elited tanks, or ones which you want to improve the crew in.    The number of tanks I have that I’m still wanting to work up to 100% is really high, along with my GW Panther which is **this close** to having Sixth Sense, and the MT-25 who’s halfway to the LTTB but with one 99% repairs crewman.    Add in the desire to stockpile credits and it’s a no grind weekend.

Match 20,000


I finished my 10,000th match in October of 2012.   It took nearly a year and a third (including hiatus) for me to reach the next milestone – 20,000.    I’ve been looking forward to this thing for quite some time.

Reaching milestones is one of the fun statistical things related to World of Tanks, and if you had asked me at some point in the past if I’d ever reach this stage, I’d have said “No Way”.    Finding myself with that many matches under my belt, makes me feel great.

For my 20,000th match I chose the MS-1.   It now has 1,100 matches all by itself and is my most played tank still, by far, so it was not hard deciding on this one.    I opened up the match all excited.

Would have been better as Tier I only.   Oh well.

Would have been better as Tier I only, for a real possibility at stomping. Oh well.

Tucked myself into a sniper perch, and waited.

Tucked myself into a sniper perch, and waited.

Found a likely suspect hiding in the bushes.

Found a likely suspect hiding in the bushes.   Shot him once.

I continued to sit there and shoot.   Instead of seeing how bad I got hit, all I could see was how many shots missed (A couple).

He spotted me, and took aim.   I continued to sit there and shoot. Instead of seeing how bad I got hit by a shot, all I could see was how many shots missed (several).

It's me or him at this point.

It’s me or him at this point.

So much for that.

So much for that.

What an embarassingly bad game.    I got just a bit overconfident in this beast, with my BIA, 100% camo, plus 77% third skills, and I blew it because of that.

Just sitting there and getting shot is not the right way to play.    All I should have done was move, once he trained his gun on me.     Oh well.

To atone, I went ahead and tried out my Jagdpanther (#3 most played) which had much better success.   Mind you, I haven’t driven this thing in forever, but for match 20,001 I wasn’t too keyed up.     A top gun and a game turn around on the Siegfried line, along with 3 wins in four matches, made me feel much better.

And the grind goes on.

Still Tanking



As of Friday afternoon, Amahoser is eliminated from Burbank and it’s time to tighten up defense.    I had some people surprise me by driving through town and taking squares.    I always knew that was a risk, and it’s time to rectify it by fortifying what I’ve already taken.

But that’s all I have for City Domination.

Beast of the Battlefield

Beast of the Battlefield

The French D1, and its cousin the D2, are absolute vicious predators on the low tier battlefields.    It’s my favorite type of play – I plink away at the enemy or spot them, and they bounce off my armor.    Or even better……….

The Invader medal ?

The Invader medal ?

I know, it’s more of the bad play of the enemy, but still, it was very fun to get this medal.      I even got one that I thought I would never pick up.

The Super Rare Invader !

The Super Rare Invader !

As is wont to happen, I got into a match and immediately got a honeydo.    When I came back, I found myself low tier on the highway match with the SU-85B.     I tried to catch up to the team.   Took a few shots, as we headed into the enemy base.    Then they all left to chase the enemy and destroy them, while I waited behind.   I couldn’t keep up with them anyway.    And I got this for the very first time when they couldn’t finish them off.

The Stug IV missions continue.   Talk about getting the requirements, in style !



Played the Chinese M5A1 on Widepark.    Ran along the edge of the railroad tracks and just had an awesome game spotting everything.

Currently need platoon missions for both LT and TD, and have progressed the Arty missions past that miserable “kill a light tank” mission.     Really – I have to kill a light, but I can’t do it in any tank under Tier IV, where I would be most likely to find a light ?    And so many Tier VIII matches I don’t see any lights, or just one.      The goal being to move them all up to platoon missions and then see how that goes, with attempting to get random platoons via the chat or whatnot.

Many missions to go.

Many missions to go.

My newest play is “Project 19″, wherein I’m making sure all the tanks I still own have more than 18 matches, so the real junk can stay at the bottom.    I have one tank that I’m trying to remember why I kept it –

The Tier II Chi-Ri Medium

The Tier II Chi-Ri Medium

It’s slow.    Not such a good gun.   I have an awful record with it.   Maybe I should just sell it and let it go, but I haven’t talked myself into that yet.     Same thing with the T-60 and T-70; awful records and not such fun matches.   But these both occasionally have really fun ones which make me want to continue to grind up the crews.

Continuing to grind up XP, but given the huge number of tanks I’m doing this with I’m not listing any of it out.    Is it grinding if you’re working on ten tanks at once ?   Probably not.


Burbank Domination – In Progress


The Glen-Mar liquor store has been there for many years.    In previous incarnations it was a hardware store and a restaurant, but today it’s a liquor store.    So it has a lot of shady looking characters coming in and out of it – thirsty kids, lots of men, delivery drivers, and City Domination players.

Wait, what ?

A convenient attack point

A convenient attack point

Many of Amahoser’s last squares in Burbank were near this store, so I’ve taken to heading over here as I work on cleaning up his last areas.      Unfortunately for me, these are also highly populated headquarters squares with many men.    Some of them had only the minimum 500 defense and these were easy to take out, but two had a full 2000 men defending them.     Populations varied among the rest.

The gameplay consists of a few different variations.

  1. Drive into Burbank as part of my commute.   Park here, and use up all of my men reducing and conquering the area.     Rally every square, and take a few of his men away for use in attacking the rest.    And collect the missions for a final swing at the bat.
  2. For a variation on #1, just drive in along the freeway past Amahoser.   Hit him with what I’m carrying.   But I can’t reach all of the squares that way.
  3. Collect missions, rallies, etc wherever during breaks in the workday.     Drive on over to Glen-Mar and beat on the enemy.    Rinse and repeat until all men have been collected and used.    This leads to me driving, for example, up and down Glenoaks Blvd, each time moving farther as I eat up the missions waiting for collection.

I’m getting looks from people, which feels a bit weird.     “What is that guy doing here, again ?”     I can imagine trying to explain it.    But I do get a certain feeling like a bagman for a drug dealer or something must feel – get the stuff, and drop it off.    And watch out for the cops you smartphone-using-while-driving scofflaw.

At the current rate I should be finished with this phase – The Last Squares – sometime next week.

Seven to go.

Seven to go.

I’ve been fortunate to welcome another gang merging into the Dark Burbank nation, putting us firmly in #1 for LA county and pushing us up to #9 nationally.     They had a bunch of squares in Covina, a city east of Los Angeles but still part of Southern California, where I want to concentrate my efforts.    Harvesters of Sorrow, aka Pezzonovante, remains independent but that’s OK.    We get along well.

The weekend should see some additional grabbing of squares in the San Fernando Valley.   I’ll have three hours to kill, and run rallies and missions with.

One of the fun things about this game is that the gameplay is very fresh and unique.    I am definitely playing a video game.    But I’m not sitting in an office, I’m driving around (unsafely), or I pull the phone out depending on where my life takes me in Meatspace.    Anyplace I’ve not fully conquered, and I’ve got a minute, means time to pull out the phone.

Contrast this with your typical PC game.     When it’s time for games, I retreat to the office/computer room and start playing.    And when it’s not time, I turn it off.    This is not how it works with City Domination – it’s always time to play, the only question is the appropriateness of shooting virtual gangsters depending on my Real World activities.

Or, oddly enough, in any area you’ve spent significant time and no one is opposing you, you ignore the game.   Anyplace near my house is all mine, and I don’t have much of the game to do there.   But when I head for Dodger Stadium next, you can bet I’ll be trying to conquer then.

Browsing the map and looking at other gangs territories, you can see I’m not alone in this.    Their areas center on freeways.    Because we all sit, bored, in our cars in traffic and wait for our turn to move next; which eventually graduates to slow speed gaming as you look for the next square.

When Android Car, or whatever it is, really catches on I will be very curious to see how gaming gets intergrated.   It will be – probably not officially, but I’m sure apps will pop up.     Might be something along these lines.

The Good, Bad, and the Ugly Tanks

The personal missions are going well.

Working on #10 TD and LT.

Working on #10 TD and LT.

I’ve been playing nothing but TD’s and low tier vehicles, and I made it all the way up to 10.    Surprisingly (or not) both of these missions are similar

LT-10 : The Ghost.   Spot for 1,000 points of damage.    Remain unseen when the damage is caused.

TD-10 : Hidden Menace.   Do 1,000 points of damage.   Remain unseen when the damage is caused.

I’m not too worried about achieving either one, but it hasn’t happened yet.

I’m trying to decide how much of a masochist I am with the Churchill GC.    With the stock gun this guy is laughable, but with a better gun I feel confident – never mind what the neighbors say.    The top gun requires over 30k xp.     For the moment, I’m not that determined to spend just under half of my free XP on a Tier 6 tank.

Crawling to my doom

Crawling to my doom

As of today, I have the laughable win rate of 27% with 15 battles.   Hoping this is a statistical outlier…..

In the meantime, I do have better matches.

Twas an epic game.

Twas an epic game.

I ran the D2 across Malinovka, starting with the west line where you race across the edge of the map; back over towards the hill and the church; and finally back onto the base and straight across the field for the win, and mastery.      The PZIC’s on the enemy team each tried really hard to pen me and got killed for their trouble.   Spotting damage and a plink or two from me took them out.

What amazed me is how much slow movement I did, and I still manged to stay relevant through the whole match.   Oh yes, I will be moving this crew up in XP towards 100%.   So far, the D1 hasn’t gotten much of a great match, but it’s been a similar winner.

The Duck (AMX 40) is now elited – 42 matches, 57% win rate, 85% crew, and level 2 mastery.    No doubt about it – I like the tank.

Quack Quack, motherf#$%er.

Quack Quack, motherf#$%er.

You just have to play it like a Maus – angle and convince the enemy team to shoot at you.    You are a god in Tier 4 matches, a useful part of the team in tier 5’s, and slow and useless in Tier 6.


I also spotted my way to mastery in the PZ IID via the Province map.   I like earning this one because it’s a pretty unremarkable tank.


I played a few matches in 8-bit mode for the winter showdown……… and I just don’t care too much about it.    This doesn’t grab me.    Apparently the tanks are fantastic trainers for crew, but I’m still in the mode of playing up my “not played much” tanks, and doing the personal missions.

Credits accumulated are 3.7 million; expecting to buy more tanks with the next sale, versus continuing more Tier X grinds.

Yes, it’s a World of Tanks update



It’s interesting how the meta for World of Tanks keeps changing.

Just after release, the big idea for most players was moving up a selected tree, and getting their Tier X tank.   Whatever it was.     These players then moved on to adding additional Tier X’s to their garage, usually for clan wars reasons and a desire to get “the best tank”.    Adding clan wars and E-sports rounds out the “lofty” goals for the metagame.

I did things a bit different.     Without a specific goal in mind, I think I can back into it better at this point by saying I wanted to unlock the entire German tree – this is the rare “Technical Engineer” achievement.

This goal still has a LOOONNGGG way to go.   Not expecting to achieve this in 2015.

This goal still has a LOOONNGGG way to go. Not expecting to achieve this in 2015.

I next found myself moving up many different trees, and keeping most of the tanks earned along the way.    This shifted me to being a “Tank Collector”.    And after getting (a very large number) of tanks and tank slots, I find the collector allure fading.   When you own a tank and can’t ever play it, why did you find it necessary to get it again ?

Tier X play isn’t that much fun for me.    Why am I running the matches exactly ?    I don’t play clan wars.     There’s nothing to unlock.   You don’t make silver credits, you lose them.     The handful of Maus and JPE100 matches I’ve had have been enough.   And if I want to see my crew improve, that’s what premium tanks are for – which both improve the crew, and make money.

I guess the question of “Is the Tier X fun ?” is not as relevant as you’d think, given the other game choices.

Today, I find myself thinking the following about the game :

  1. Move up the trees and unlock tanks.   It takes a very long time to do this, leading to secondary goals.
  2. Move my tanks up my personal match history as desired.    This included the finally finished “Project 370″ as well as, why are tanks that I own on the bottom of the list ?   I have all kinds of personal points that I (just barely) want to move my tanks past, from 10-12 matches all the way up to over 185.
  3. I am pretty sure no one reading this really cares about how many matches I’ve played in a KV-2, etc.   But I bet you care about your own list.   Maybe a little, and maybe a lot.     That makes this another piece of the meta game.
  4. Finish the personal missions.    Talk about scattering the metagame.   I have to play specific tanks to move this forward, which conflicts with Goal #1.

I have spent the last week progressing the missions, and now need Light Tank # 10.   I’m finding getting 1,000 assist damage difficult, to say nothing of not being spotted, which is the mission requirement.    700-800 happens a lot, so I’m sure I’ll hit it at some point.

With two TD’s on the “Bottom” of my personal match history, I started trying to complete TD #1 as well, and I’ve finished it, but not yet with honors.

So it looks like the game will now be a slow progression along many, many different fronts.     This also means it’s more difficult to blog; I have to look for game outliers where I do something “Awesome”.    But the game still continues.

And then there’s the “super secret game” that I can’t talk about other than to say “Wow”.   Or maybe I’ll double that – “Wow”s.     Heh.

French Translation misses subtleties


City Domination is partially a game of taking territory – or even, mostly.     This can consist of both taking squares away from bot players and human beings, and also of reinforcing and maxxing their defense.     But neither of these activites get you good points on the leaderboards.

It turns out that I was mistaken about “$” missions.   Despite the unhelpful text which mentions that your income will go up by “a little bit”, you income can increase 10x over the course of running several of these on a square.    So I began to de-emphasize getting the 5X missions going (which reward a ton of men and money) and instead to run the $’s.    Each of them complete within no more than two hours, and the results so far are pretty nice.

Suddenly, #1 in LA

Suddenly, #1 in LA

Just 11 left.  But mostly Headquarters.

Just 11 left, Burbank squares for Amahoser. But mostly Headquarters.

So now it’s a question of seeing how high I can get the gang up the leaderboard; talking HoS into joining my gang, which would put us into the top 10 nationally; and wiping out these last squares, to set up completely covering Burbank in these iron crosses.


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