So what exactly does it mean to be level 27?

Update 9/22/15 – The Taken King & Light Levels:
With the launch of The Taken King (TTK) they have completely revamped the level system. Most of what’s listed below has been retooled to fit the new Light Level (LL) system created for TTK. Thanks to a post over on Reddit we have updated information on how damage is calculated. I haven’t tested / verified this personally, but it seems to be legit. In short, raising your LL is the quintessential stat now for encounters. The key data is as follows:

  • Being one character level below the enemy reduces your damage output by 5%
  • Being two character levels below the enemy reduces your damage output by 28%

On top of that penalty there is a penalty that stacks on top if that comes from the LL differential

  • If the enemy is recommended at 40 LL or more over you they are immune to your attacks
  • If the enemy is recommended at 39 LL over you’ll incur a 50% damage output reduction
  • This penalty scales down through to where at being below the LL by 1 you will incur a 3% damage output reduction.

Some examples to put this into perspective, using a level 40 Guardian with 240 LL as the base.

  • versus a L41 enemy w/240 LL recommendation takes a 5% penalty
  • versus a L42 enemy w/290 LL recommendation would do no damage
  • versus a L40 enemy w/260 LL recommendation would take ~ 25% penalty
  • versus a L42 enemy w/241 LL recommendation would take ~ 31% penalty
  • versus a L40 enemy w/220 LL recommendation would take a 0% penalty

So far data suggests there is NO BENEFIT to exceeding the recommended LL / character level. In the event you are either 13 levels over the enemy even with them, you will only do 100% damage to them. Matching their character level and having 40 LL over their recommendation will still only do the same damage as if you matched their LL. Personally I want to do further testing on this but as it stands this seems to still be the case as Year1 Destiny.

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Right now I’m sitting on a mountain of game content to play, all within three titles. It started with a clearing out of old games that I’d never revisit, a trip to Gamestop, and then I was three games deep via preorders. Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition (PS4), Destiny (PS4), and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (3DS). Each of these games individually offers a glut of content that could be played like a full time job for weeks without a shortage of play. It’s a blessing and a curse. Right now I feel like I could coast through the rest of 2014 with zero interest in any other new releases, saving a ton of money. Isn’t this what we want from games after all? A purchase that we could just live off of until we decide we’re done with it? So while this has created a bit of a problem for me, it’s a good problem to have. I’ll go ahead and take this in chronological order of how these games snowballed into a sick level of content that I may never recover from.

A trifecta of endless gaming content with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, and Destiny

A trifecta of endless gaming content with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, and Destiny

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Ridiculous name, Ridiculous fun. Everything I love about music and games.

Ridiculous name, Ridiculous fun. Everything I love about music and games.

I’m a simple man. There’s nothing remarkable about me. I enjoy simple things like talking about video games way too much. I don’t really specialize in anything, but enjoy dabbling in everything. Writing, coding, visual design… I’m groovy with all of those to varying degrees. Yet I never really learned much about music. I can’t read notes, I haven’t taken music theory. Music is incorporated into my day constantly though, almost as much as video games. I appreciate aspects of virtually every genre aside from country. I really can’t go a day without music to be perfectly honest with you. Thinking back onto my love of music lately I realized a lot of it intermingles with video games. Background music, orchestrated concerts, dedication albums. With Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call on the verge of release I felt it’s about time for some music appreciation on my blog. A trip down memory lane is in order at this point.

Age 8’ish (1992): Legend of Zelda’s Overworld lights a spark

Sitting in the living room. That’s where the big TV and Super Nintendo were. I thought I had beat Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past at my aunt’s house after grabbing three jewels and the master sword. Beating the wizard Agahnim just whisked me away to the Dark World (before it was known as Lorule) and the game was far from over. My aunt let me borrow the game and now I kept my journey going. Our massive 28″ CRT TV was so huge, it just made the world seem so much bigger. So I ran around, listening to the music and questing on and on. The overworld theme became ingrained in me. A magic spell to summon me to Link’s world of swords, hearts, and imprisoned crystal people. Unfortunately my mom was less a fan of the music. Never said much about it when I’d keep the volume at a very audible level, she just went about her day reading books or relaxing on the couch… until she asked me to turn it down one time. “That noise is giving me a headache, it’s the same thing over and over. Isn’t that noise bothering you?” – Not at all, I thought. Of course I turned down the volume, but it was the first time I really considered the music in games or how endeared I was to it. It wasn’t just noise. I loved to listen to games, but I didn’t listen to any music on the radio. Pop music did nothing for me at the time.

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Fresh off my finale of Persona 4 Golden, I’m still in reflection mode thinking about the game. It was unlike anything I’ve played before; offering a unique experience that was a mash-up of JRPGs, life simulator, anime, and social-psychological exploration. I’m sure pieces of it have been done before to various degrees of success. Especially if you include Persona 3 which I never got around to playing. My final clock time ended up being 91 hours and 43 minutes. Oddly it still felt like I was rushed to an ending as there was so much left undone. I had only completed about half of the Social Links in game. Those are kind of like your ally loyalty missions in the Mass Effect trilogy. Aside from building the relationship between the characters narratively it provides additional powers and content. How’d I go wrong? Why’d I miss so much of the content despite throwing over 90 hours at the game? The game gave me a choice and I chose… poorly.

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Then vs Now

Originally I thought about writing some thoughts on how toxic the gaming community can be. Then this whole #GamerGate thing started to take flight. It’s reminded me of some of my earlier thoughts and notes regarding “what the hell is wrong with everyone?”. So here I am, back to elaborate on those musings in the late summer hours of the night. Note, this isn’t a response at all to that garbage. It just sent a ping to my brain that I wanted to question what’s going on with the community and why was it turning to shit?

Looking back, I want to recall a telling change regarding the evolution of behavior in multiplayer games. I used to game on PC a lot, discovering mods and player-generated content for Star Wars Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight… Roughly in 1998. I dawdled with other games on PC before then, but around that time I played a lot of Ages of Empires and Jedi Knight. The special edition versions of Star Wars were still hyped and I was in bliss running around with a lightsaber and dueling other Jedi/Sith. Microphones weren’t very prevalent; there was no Teamspeak or Ventrillo. After a match with your opponent the respectful thing to do was end with a typed message of “GG“, short for good game. Even on a superficial level of just saying it because that’s how you conclude a match, it create a vibe of union. The other player and yourself just spent 5-15 minutes murdering each other repeatedly and shared in an experience. You both enjoyed the game despite being rivals. Like playing tag with your friends, it’s a competitive game that you play collectively. I noticed this going forward carrying into Team Fortress Classic, Counter-Strike, and whatever deathmatch style games I played on PC. “GG” was a staple of the community to show respect.

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