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New Story in the Beginning Phase

I am working on a new story. You can find out more about it and why I have added it to my workload at New Story Added to my Stories.

Sahara (2005) glowing clam shells

I like the 2005 movie Sahara, staring Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, and Penelope Cruz. It is a fun adventure film when one looks at it as that and does not look too closely at the science of the small bits of sideline trivia tossed out in the film. Such as the scene, roughly 24 minutes into the movie, where Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) pauses to look at some shells and tells Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz) about two shells he is buying. In the film, Dirk says responds to Eva’s asking if diving was the only thing he thinks about with: “No. Sometimes I think about Petricola pholaditormis.” Eva is perhaps justifiably confused by the response, particularly when Dirk proceeds to hold up matching white clam shell halves that seem to form the perfect shape of angelic wings the way he holds them. “The angel-wing clam,” he says, “This river’s the only place on Earth they’re found. When they’re underwater, they glow in the dark. Now the amazing thing’s that modern science cannot explain why.” Perhaps the reason that modern science can not explain it is because it is not true.

Not only do Petricola pholaditormis not glow in the dark under the water, but those are not even Petricola pholaditormis shells he displayed in the movie. What he held up were Cyrtopleura Costata. Petricola pholaditormis are known as “false angel wing”, and are bit differently shaped from the shells that Dirk was holding. The Cyrtopleura Costata, which were seen in the movie, is found in shallow waters of the north west Atlantic between Cape Cod and the Gulf of Mexico as well as other areas of shallow waters in the Atlantic.

The shells also do not glow, although, like most white items, the Cyrtopleura Costata shells will glow if exposed to ultraviolet light.

Still, it is a cute scene, despite the scientific error of it, and is easily forgiven in the overall scope of the film when one opts to not worry too much about the scientific inaccuracies and just enjoy the film as the treasure hunter adventure that it is.

Rogue Agents spreading Holiday misery

The season can not be said to be the best of seasons. Over half the people I know are suffering from the nastiest case of the flu that I’ve seen in many many years and the world is still completely off-kilter from the recent loss of my nephew. I am unemployed and trying hard to not fall into the darkest depths of depression having spent my Christmas Eve making out my unemployment forms rather than a wish list for Santa.

Today, while others are opening gifts and enjoying the warm glow of the holiday decorations, I am curled in my trailer hoping the electricity can be kept on and taking some quiet time to work on my character in The Division.

It seemed like a good way to spend the day, running around exploring post-apocalyptic New York frozen in a state of holiday decor in the wake of the devastation wrought by the Dollar Flu. Perhaps a bit dark given that there is a flu making the holidays miserable for so many, a flu that stole the life from my nephew not long after Thanksgiving… a very dark way to cope with the holiday, I suppose, but it is how I wanted to spend the few hours I have to try and escape my worries today.

I need to upgrade my gear, which means that I need to gather Division Tech. My character is just shy of being level 45 in the Dark Zone, so I decided I would spend my time killing cleaners, LMB, rioters and Rikers while going place to place opening the cases that hold Division Tech. And, throughout it, I would aid what fellow agents I found and maybe help a few others get gear out of the Dark Zone today.

Not quite focused enough to do much in the game I went down to the E 34th checkpoint in Zone 2 where the enemies are soft and squishy and lower end players are running around.

I marked the Division Tech that was only a block and a half away and stepped out of the checkpoint. There was a group of cleaners headed around the corner and I readied my seeker mine to toss at them when another agent stepped out beside me. I hesitated, knowing that as a lone agent in the Zone I had few if any allies in the Zone, but they did not make any aggressive moves, so I tossed out the Seeker Mine and started idly popping shots toward the enemy. I was still very uneasy about the agent beside me, so I conserved ammo and paid more attention to what the other agent was up to than what I was shooting at.

Things seemed calm enough, if they were a Rogue Agent they seemed content to not attack me, so I focused a but more on clearing out the path ahead. That’s when it happened. “Warning, an Agent in your vicinity has gone Rogue…”

I do not know if it was the person who had been beside me, I did not catch their name, but I did catch the names of the two who stood behind me and opened fire on me. AH-6DeathMaker and rodriler. I crawled my way bleeding into the nearby checkpoint (respawned in there) and stood near the door a few moments, the two were most likely not the one who had been beside me helping me clear out the cleaners, because they had attained Rogue status 2 by the time I had made it back to the Checkpoint and peeked through the door out to where they were. (I could see their names through the door.) They stayed out there for a good long time, shooting the door and throwing bombs at it. They clearly knew I was there and were intent on making sure they took me out if I tried to step back out of that door.

I could have gone to anther checkpoint, or out of the Dark Zone, but I stayed where I was and waited, a good long time, until they tired of spawn camping and moved away in search of other Agents to attack. As long as they were focused on me and trying to take me on, they were little threat to my fellow Agents in the Dark Zone.

And, that has become my role in the Dark Zone… to safeguard my fellow Agents from threats not only of the enemies that lurk in the Dark Zone, but from Rogue Agents when I can. I am alone most of the time, so the best I am able to do in most instances is to lead the Rogue Agents away from others, but when I can I will stand and fight – even if I know it will always be a losing battle. Yesterday I lured a Rogue away from another agent and into a building where I realized I was not going to escape, so I stopped and turned to fight. I had almost taken the Rogue Agent down when they landed the finishing shot on me. Another agent, the one I had tried to save, arrived and opened fire on the Rogue, the two going down at the same moment. I was happy to see the Rogue pay for their actions, but it was so much nicer when two agents passed me a little bit later and one of them called out over open mic, “ShadesDaughter, I got that Rogue that took you out.”

I tried to respond, but by the time I got my mic plugged in and on they were out of range. The other agent had heard me and paused, however, and we had a nice long talk about the fun of playing in the Dark Zone and the low levels some Rogues will go to to ruin that fun. Such as the Rogue Agent the night before who had joined a party I was in and ran with our group for a good half an hour as we picked up some stash crates. When we went to airlift the crates out ReviKillz left our party and tried to hijack the loot off the rope. I and the person with me opened fire on ReviKillz while I called out to the member that had moved out of the area to get back to the area and help us. ReviKillz managed to take me and the person with me down, but our buddy arrived and kept the Rogue Agent away from the rope long enough that our items were safely airlifted out.

Another agent I met because I had gone to help them extract their loot. It is something I will do, go to extraction points and take on the enemies while the other agent(s) get their loot out. It is good experience and can sometimes make the difference for solo agents who might be getting overwhelmed by enemies. It also adds a bit of help should a Rogue Agent show up. After I had helped the person get their loot out the two of us set off through the city, we were not planning to run the same path, at least I was not, but we ended up heading to the same checkpoint. Just before arriving at the checkpoint we paused and gave a few emotes of thanks and yer welcomes on the aid I had given, then… “Warning, an Agent in your vicinity has gone Rogue…”

I had not realized until then that if an agent went Rogue it meant that *I* could not enter the checkpoint either, but it popped up with a warning when I tried to go in that I could not enter a checkpoint when in PvP. So, I turned and took cover at a nearby truck while the two of is paced a bit and weighed our options on how to best come out of the encounter in one piece. My options were limited, so I dropped my Seeker Mines and the Rogue Agent turned to run from them while I headed for the door to try it again. I guess enough distance had been placed between me and the other Agent, or something, because the second time the door opened and I was let into the Checkpoint. It was Rogue Agent done right. No sneaking, no backshooting, no finding an agent under fire and helping the Rikers or Cleaners finish them off, and no pretending to be a buddy only to try to take loot when they think no one is close enough to stop them. That Agent Gave me time to react and the two of us had an enjoyable few moments of figuring out the best way for us to get though the situation. I would go play Tag in the Dark Zone with that person any day. I would also play tag with those who have in the past helped me get my gear out then stepped back and went Rogue and given me time to react before the fight started.

To those who spawn camp or pretend to be friendly only to pick the best moment to attack Division Agents… I’m getting my gear improved and, despite your efforts, I am earning more experience in the Dark Zon, and soon… I’ll be hunting you down.

Overkill’s The Walking Dead

This four-player co-op multiplayer game is set to release in the fall of 2018 and will pit players against hoards of walkers with the option to either move in for quiet stealth kills or charge in firing. Improvising is going to be a key factor, as is teamwork. Each member of the four man team brings in their own special skills, abilities and story arcs, as well as having specific roles in the squad and different play styles, so players will need to work together as a team to survive in post-apocalyptic Washington D.C..

In a press release issued on December 10th, the game’s action is described as close-up and intense with players working together on a variety of missions and raids to secure both supplies and survivors for their base camp. Strengthening that base camp, by any means necessary, against both the walkers and the living.

First announced to be released in 2016, the game has had a number of delays. Overkill has now given us a look at the first playable character for the game, Aidan. The video starts out with problems most can relate to, a rapid-fire series of voicemails being listened to about mundane issues such as needing to pick up groceries and deadlines at work, the kinds of things that give us headaches on a daily basis. But then the scene changes in a closeup on Aidan’s eyes and we see him in post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. walking along a city street, baseball bat in hand, bodies all around him.

It is a lovely cinematic that is not representative of the game’s actual play, but it is a very good look into who this character was and who he has become in the world of The Walking Dead.

 

Could there be a sequel to The Division?

Polfeldt, a Managing Director at Massive Entertainment could not talk too much about it when he spoke with IGN in a recent discussion, but there was enough said to pique the interest. I have seen the possibilities in a world such as the one we see in Tom Clancy’s The Division, and it is encouraging to me to see comments such as the one that Polfeldt made; “I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful brand that has so many potential stories in it. There are a lot of things that we didn’t do in The Division 1 that are interesting to look at for that brand. I definitely think there’s a lot of space for continuation which is beyond just keeping The Division online. But… I can’t talk about that too much right now.”

While this is wonderful news to me, I find it even more wonderful that the company intends to keep supporting the current game for some time to come. I fell in love with the story and the setting and would be concerned that any sequels they make might take us out of New York and to some other area where the virus had spread to. I can still see lots of things to explore and do in New York, perhaps with one of the choppers taking agents to a new map area somewhere else in the city? Polfeldt also said “The way we see it is that our first obligation is to make The Division awesome. That’s not something that ended on launch day. If it ever ends, who knows when, right?” They are getting closer to the game they had envisioned, and something that is making the players happier.

I saw comments in the forums about how after the release of update 1.8 people were seeing positivity in the forums that had not been seen since launch, and that is good. While I know that reporter types are supposed to have objective views and to keep their personal opinions out of things like news reports and reviews, I can’t help it, I think that The Division is a great game and I really hope to see it continue to grow and evolve in the future.

My only complaint about it so far is the insistence for me to have PlayStation Plus to play multiplayer and for my roomate to have internet access to prove he has the right to play the downloaded version I had bought for him. Should our internet have any issues he will no longer be able to play unless I lend him my disk. But, those are not issues that the makers of The Division can control, so, overall I am quite happy to have been able to get The Division when I was able to and I look forward to enjoying many many more hours of gameplay in New York with my agent and others.

Something I would like to see in a sequel would be if they could look toward features that would attract role players to the game. Emotes that let you sit in the chairs and areas where players can socialize and use an in-game text based chat system. I can see a lot of wonderful roleplaying possibilities in the setting and would love to get the chance to hook up with some fellow roleplayers and try that out.

The Division Global Event Strike Tier 1 Reward

I ran the recent Global Event Strike on Tom Clancy’s The Division by Ubisoft enough to earn most of the items I wanted, including all three of the event masks, unfortunately I did not get the holster for the Classified Banshee set.

After the event ended I was in the first tier on the leader boards, the lowest tier that earned a reward. This got me two event caches, one with a single piece of gear in it, the second with two possible vanity items in it.

The video below shows what I got and where you can find your Global Event reward crates if you are having any trouble locating them.

Destiny 2 players want to see Eververse removed from the game

The forums for Destiny 2 have lit up with demands to have the Eververse trader removed from the game. The microtransactions debate ignited with the winter event, The Dawning, because much of the loot that was added to the game for the event is locked behind Eververse. It is possible for players to earn through grinding the daily and weekly milestones, however, that still leaves a large number of items that players can only attain if they pay real world money to get a chance at getting them.

Players are upset because they say Eververse items in Destiny 2, (Sparrows, ships, and shaders), are things that players had got with the base game in Destiny 1. Now the customization items are locked behind Illuminated Engrams and the Eververse trader.

 

Two man run of The Division’s Lincoln Tunnel mission during the Global Event Strike

The city had gone to hell thanks to the Dollar Flu, and amid the chaos rioters laid siege to the Lincoln Tunnel in a poorly thought through desire to blow the flood gates and get out of Manhattan. A team of agents had been sent in to help stop the rioters, but they were immediately pinned down and being overwhelmed.

I arrived soon after the fighting began and moved to provide cover fire and healing support to the three men who had arrived ahead of me. As I got them up and moving each of them fell back, leaving me to keep the rioters from following the wounded back up the street.

Once the mob of rioters was dealt with I moved to check on the two agents still on their feet. A fifth agent had been sent in and as he moved toward me I headed on into the tunnel once again, expecting for us to all continue forward. Within moments, however, I realized the two who I had saved had fallen back and headed for the base, leaving just me and the newest arrival to hold the tunnel until more agents could join us.

Neither one of us thought twice before we ran forward, determined to complete the mission, no matter the odds. Even if it was just the two of us and a handful of JTF against the rioters.

How to Get The Division Global Event Masks

I have seen a lot of upset comments on the internet about the Global Event that Ubisoft is running for Tom Clancy’s The Division game, where the commenters are complaining that they will not be able to get the masks for the event because they can not get into the top tiers on the leader board.

If you want the masks seen in the image here, you do not have to get to the top of the leader board, they are gained by participation in the event itself.

To find out how to get the masks, open your menu and go to the Dossier in the top left corner. The 9th file in the Dossier, should be the bottom left corner, is the GE-STRIKE commendations list. You can see in this listing the requirements for all of the masks and the patches for this Global Event.

The camouflage mask is attainable by completing the Strike Boss Killer challenge. For this you need to kill Riker bosses during the event. If you find it difficult to kill the bosses in the missions, you can also seek out and kill the named bosses affiliated with the Rikers that was free roaming the city or are part of your Daily Mission missions. They count toward the mask.

The Best Frenemies mask is for completing a Strike Mission without taking any explosion damage from an ally. You need to enter a mission on World Tier 5 (go into your map and you can change world tiers (hold triangle on PS4 to change world tier). Set the difficulty to Hard or above, and set it for Tactical Strike. You will need to be in a group, so you can’t just solo to get this one (I don’t think), but just make sure that you keep enough room between you and everyone else so you do not get connected by that red line. This is probably a good time to practice backup healer and sniper on missions.

The Bomb Proof Mask is probably the hardest to get, but also really easy if you can get a few folks to help you out. You will need to play on World Tier 5, Hard difficulty or above, and in Pre-emptive or Tactical Strike, and avoid taking any explosion damage from either your allies or the enemies that are killed. (Probably bombs as well.) I got it by running a mission, Lexington Event Center, with one of my friends. First I stayed back while he went ahead and cleared out the enemies, with me providing healing and revivals during the mission (one really good revive where I had to go out where he was amid the bad guys and avoid them all while getting him back up, then I had to run find cover. It is doable though, so find someone who is willing to help out or a few folks to take turns with you on staying back in the group to you all of you this mask.

The leader boards are a harsh climb, but they are not required to get these masks. If you are on a PS4 and need some help, shoot me a message at ShadesDaughter and I will see if I can help you out before the event ends.

The Division down for maintenance today, not Tuesday? And NinjaBike messenger bag.

I was going through a legendary mission at the Times Square event on world tier 5, and we were doing really good on it, up until I was suddenly kicked out of the game and a message popped up when I tried to log back in that says:

!Error
The Division services are not available at
this time. Please try again later.
DELTA                                             C-1-200

On the sign in screen there is a message that says:

Scheduled Server Maintenance
This Tuesday at 09:00 CET, 03:00 AM EDT, 12:00 AM PDT. Estimated down time: 3h

Hopping over to the Twitter account for The Division and I find:

The Division – 13m
Heads up, Agents! The in-game maintenance message accidentally says “Tuesday” instead of “Thursday”. You did not time travel. We are sorry for any confusion caused!

So… argh… I have a few hours to spend on things not Division when I was all comfy and settled in to do some good runs on a few places before everyone doing the event things went to bed for the night.

The next few days are going to be really busy for me, so I was looking forward to gaming tonight, but, ah well… I got some nice things, including The Pakhan exotic light machine gun with a score of 264, The Urban MDG exotic with a score of 266, and… drumroll please?… the NinjaBike messenger bag exotic, score of 273, but the best part about the NinjaBike messenger bag is that it can take the slot for any of the Gear Set items. This means that I can equip one of give different Gear Set items into my gear slots for everything other than the backpack, then put the NinjaBike messenger bag in the backpack slot, and it acts like I have two pieces of all the rest of the gear equipped. I am currently running it with three pieces of the Alpha Bridge to get the the benefit of not worrying about where my mods ago, so I can increase the firearms more, then adding a couple of other pieces to help with my Dark Zone funds (20% boost to them), and a Gear Set that lets me do a bit more damage.

I am so delighted to get to add the NinjaBike messenger bag to my gear collection. I had heard about it earlier this evening from another player, and I never dreamed I might actually get it during the event.