Friday, 28 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP12 - Interfacing Incompetence

I enjoyed the fight a lot more in this video, but I did need to cut about 5 minutes near the end which consisted purely of me equipping my heroes to the next fight, including fully kitting out a hero and then completely forgetting to hit the replace button, or forgetting I had already adding them to the party.

Ultimately I am not sure if those issues are just mine, or possibly the games. Probably a mixture of both but I feel that I should take the majority of the blame there.

The random event this week is thematically interesting. One of the most terrible choices a real person can face, but significantly neutered by the knowledge that this is just a game and ultimately every "person" involved is a bunch of numbers inside RAM. Makes it very easy to say "Well, they can and hopefully will have many more, so we can sacrifice this child", not a choice I would want to have made for me either in real life.

Next week I will get to deal with a pretty significant set of changes from the most recent patch, but I will talk more on that next time.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP11 - The Silliest of Fights

The fight in this episode is pretty dumb. Even 34 seeds isn't actually a challenging or interesting fight at this stage of the game, despite sending in what is one of the worst match ups against that enemy. It pretty much felt like a mop up operation from the very start of the map. If I had paid a little bit more attention when I picked the battles I could have anticipated this and sent in only alchemists to make it even more of a cakewalk.

I suspect that this encounter is either meant to fire much earlier, when groups of 4 - 5 are a threat,  or to fire a little bit later with some advanced seeds that can actually create a cradle. Without that it was just kind of

In the strategy layer I am definitely having a slight problem with hero gender balance. It looks like one of my families has a pretty strong presence of Queenmaker as a pretty common trait which has resulted in too many ladies. It isn't too much of a problem yet, I haven't had a situation where I need a man and there are none around but it has certainly limited my choices and I will definitely need to keep an eye on it to ensure that I don't run out of men later down the track.

Finally I should note that one of the features I have been looking forward to the most, hybrid classes, is definitely at least still on the agenda, the team recently asked for class name suggestions on the forum. It is kind of hard to know how much impact the hybrid classes will have on the game.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP10 - She's Older Than She's Ever Been

The Wrinklers are proving to be a problem given my heavy reliance on hunters and their now lower damage output. Stephana is lucky to be alive if that second blow hadn't glanced she wouldn't merely be 10 years old, she would be dead. As it stands she is now going to get one to two fights fewer than she otherwise could have participated in.

On the other hand the hunter relics I have are starting to get better and better as I actually think to equip them on heroes I am sending into combat and now it is looking like I could get some relics for other classes which should help me use them to greater effect too.

It occurs to me now that perhaps some of the damage reduction I am dealing with is the loss of the region bonus from the area the Sagewrights guild was located in. I think that location gave me a dex bonus for all hunters. Something to check on next time I load up the game.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP9 - Great Twitch Skills

As far as I know the twitcher is the last of the enemies that the game will introduce. There are advanced forms of most of these, which are basically just higher level versions but I don't think there are any entirely new types.

That said, still not actually had neither of these new enemies hit any of my heroes so I haven't really had a chance to see how they actually work, nor have I seen my Alchemist's explosive armour do any damage because whenever it has gone off the nearby enemies have just died. Will try to keep things that way for as long as possible.

I also want to note that these nicknames are ridiculous, I mean "Cheese Arms", "Whats-her-name" and "Mr. Pancakes". These are definitely all nicknames sure, but not exactly nicknames forged in the heat of combat, they feel very jarring to me given that they are all bestowed just after one of the cadence is taken down.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP8 - A Wrinkly Issue

It really hurts to go into battle with too few heroes. Mostly it hurts my pride. I thought I was in such a good position and then quickly saw how wrong I was.

I really like the way that Wrinklers and Lapses remain a problem no matter how good your tech is because they do a form of damage that is permanent. Because battles are years apart healing times are pretty much irrelevant, but a hit from a wrinkler potentially will remove one fight from your heroes career and it will most likely drop their fertility too which is a pretty important consideration for their future positions.

The other thing that comes up in this episode is the disposition of relics. I keep giving them to people that I also then want to use for strategic roles. Definitely doing something wrong there. I need to try to maintain two mental lists. Good strategic and good tactical candidates. The problem is that both lists are pretty similar which is why relics keep ending up on people who aren't in combat.

The UI for these screens does leave much to be desired. Yes you can sort by marital status and by relic, but it would be much better if there was also an icon which indicated the current role of a hero Regent/Partner/Standard and one that indicated the number of relics a hero currently owned, perhaps including the relic level. It would reduce the need to search through their more detailed information and reduce some of the mental burden during these decisions.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP7 - Mistakes Were Made

Perhaps my pronouncement that I had enough people and children that my staffing problems are over was a little... premature.

That fight in the Cinderlands was a bit problematic, I was a bit too aggressive and took some risks I really didn't need to take and as a result Sapphire and Emma both lost their lives. Worst of all was just not thinking through the potion throw. Emma was not in much danger but it turns out that my heroes dish out a lot more damage than the enemies do, so friendly fire is really really dangerous.

It is an interesting contrast to XCOM. In XCOM you and many of the aliens use the exact same weaponry, meaning an assault with a plasma rifle will do about the same damage as a thin man with a plasma rifle. The compensation for greater enemy numbers in XCOM is in general greater HP and better stats on your soldiers. Both sides to similar amounts of damage but your troops can take more in any given encounter.

In Massive Chalice, the Cadence and the heroes don't at all operate in the same ways, they are mechanically much more distinct from each other than aliens and humans in XCOM. Whilst you can research weapons inspired by (and using parts from) the Cadence you never really pick up their moves. As a result, Cadence mostly have higher HP and lower damage output, and heroes lower HP and higher damage. This means Alchemist friendly fire is basically always going to be really dangerous. I  try will avoid making that mistake again.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP6 - More Than Enough Babies

With the work we did the last couple of episodes, I've now got more than enough heroes to fill all of my strategic roles. This is great, it gives me a bit of breathing room and time to push out my buildings and research to ensure that I continue to have a decent technological and training advantage over the Cadence.

The real question will be how long this will last, there are still a number of enemies types left to encounter. There are some entirely new ones, but also advanced versions of many of the initial types. I really won't be able to afford to send out undermanned squads in the future.

On an entirely meta level, I really appreciate the way the game keeps throwing me into fights around the half hour mark. It is kind of nice to have that natural cliffhanger built in to this series.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP5 - Baby Pipeline Functioning

I really like the kind of periodicity you get on a per keep basis. As the regent and the partner age off and become less fertile they mostly stop having children. So each keep has its own rhythm over the course of the game. Definitely important to strike the right balance between enough keeps and kids and enough other structures.

Kind of difficult to know what to talk about with each of these individual episodes. But I guess the key part is that I went into this episode worried that I would basically run out of children and upcoming heroes for this timeline to be viable. But during the episode my keeps really started working for me, feel much more positive about my chances now.

I should also mention that as of yesterday, Massive Chalice has hit early access, which means you can get it for yourself if you are interested.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP4 - Relics Passed Down Through Timetravel

Sigh, looks like the video took a few seconds to start recording, which cut off the opening to this episode. Something I should really start paying more attention to those details, it is always a bit painful to see stupid mistakes like that when I go back to write these posts and clean things up a bit for YouTube.

A few major milestones this episode, first relic weapon, and first combat casualties. And I don't actually have a particularly effective baby pipeline just yet, so I am kind of stuck with slightly too few heroes to both fill out my strategic roles and still have an effective combat squad. I really need to spend a bit of time ensuring that I have enough heroes doing their duty and having as many kids as possible or we are going to lose this war.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Massive Chalice EP3 - Aged Squadren Assemble

I should apologise for the framerate issues in this video, the game was having some problems at points, but it definitely feels worse watching the recording than we did here.

The AI really does seem to need some work, the enemies just don't seem to remember where you have been. They just seem to have a fairly simple set of rules they follow based on what is visible at the start of their turn. This is fine except that the melee troops are both too clever and too stupid. If they can't get close enough with their move they hide. Then they seem to promptly forget where my guys are and revert to random movement unless I have revealed myself to them again during my turn. Here is the Loading Ready Run episode I mentioned in the video by the way.

I also like the tension between wanting to use my "good" characters for strategic roles and needing to keep some back to fight.I have definitely been erring on the side of pushing them into strategic roles and I can see it coming back to bite me later on in the game as the enemy forces grow in power.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Heroine's Quest Episode 6 - I'm Out

Not an ideal way to finish up a series. The "One Mo" at the end of the video was an interruption caused by my partner getting home, but I am just not interested in going back to this game. The Thieves Lodge puzzle will remain as that one dang puzzle that I got stuck on.

For me it was encountering it out of order and the game not really giving me good feedback on why I failed. What am I supposed to do down there, I cannot fight, attempting to initiate a fight results in an instant death. I cannot talk, the talk icon doesn't seem to show up, I can't walk, I can't climb the ladder. All I appear to be able to do down there is die.

I thought maybe I could get help or some kind of clues by raising the subject with other people, but you can't talk about the lodge directly, you can only talk to NPCs about the thief in your room and they are all pretty unsympathetic or oblivious to that as a problem.

To be clear I am not completely stuck, there are other things I can do in the game, I can explore the map further, I can explore some of the towns a bit more, I can push on to doing some of the other puzzles, the problem here is that I just don't care. The last puzzle I dealt with was obtuse and unrewarding and I have literally hundreds of other games I could be playing. Not finishing Heroine's Quest isn't going to result in me feeling left out of any discussions with friends, it will just be a bit of a disappointing way to have spent my time.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Let's Play Massive Chalice: Not Enough Babies!

Today we continue with Massive Chalice, my last recording session with Heroine's Quest really drained a chunk of my enthusiasm for that game and I was still quite eager to get to grips with this one.

I am the kind of person who plays XCOM and really doesn't roll with the punches, I will reload to redo a mission because mostly I don't like to lose. It is a character flaw I am aware of and I try to avoid causing me problems but I definitely enjoy winning much more than losing and so I am happy to save, load and reload to get by tricky events by brute force if necessary.

This means that I have lost maybe 2 or 3 soldiers total in my XCOM runs, it is an avoidable portion of the game if you aren't on ironman. One of the really unique aspects of Massive Chalice to me is that hero loss is inevitable, your heroes are mortal, they age, they die and hopefully their children replace them. You have to roll with the punches, even if you are willing to save scum, because no amount of luck will let your first generation live to 300.

That combined with recording my play should make for a pretty different experience for me. I feel that save/load retries aren't that fun to watch so there is additional incentive for me to try out this play style that I haven't ever really done before. I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride.

As a reminder, you can find out more about Massive Chalice at

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Daily Challenge Challenge

I had planned to post the second episode of Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice today, after recording it of course. Unfortunately it looks like I didn't actually press the record shortcut or something. So of the two episodes I recorded I only have the second, which is missing a couple of decades worth of play. It is pretty frustrating and I am kind of hoping I can go back to my previous save and kind of redo most of the decisions and see if things can line up closely enough, but I may just have to redo the whole thing. Just glad I chose to use a new save rather than recycle the old one.

Here is one of my best Spelunky runs

I figure however that now is a good time to talk a bit about The Daily Challenge Challenge, which is a YouTube series I have been doing for about 5 weeks now. The basic concept is that I record my play of the daily challenge of various video games (currently Spelunky and Crypt of the Necrodancer) and put it up online every weekday.

It started as an excuse to practice these games and try to get better at them so that I could reliably score better than Jarenth at the game he gave me. It is also just a fun personal challenge, seeing how reliably I can keep it up, despite travel and other aspects of life just getting in the way. I was able to continue to play, record and upload while I was in New York last week, but I don't anticipate keeping the streak unbroken forever given I have a trip to Australia coming up in December.

One of my best Crypt of the Necrodancer runs

During these videos I of course talk about the game itself, but I it has also become a little bit of an audio diary, I will complain about being sick, or talk a bit about interesting things I have done or come across. I am not sure how relevant it is to my fairly small audience but it keeps me engaged and hopefully avoids there being too much dead air.

In general since it is a daily series I'm not going to be putting every episode, or even many episodes directly up at my blog. The easiest way to keep track of it would be to follow me on Google+, Twitter or subscribe directly to my YouTube channel

The worst, and thus shortest of my runs.