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jakob187

I'm still alive. Life is great. I love you all.

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jakob187's Game of the Year for 2018...and HELLO!

It's been a year since I bounced off the site to put some things in life together. Those things didn't get put together. Actually, it went terrible. However, I've bounced back from those things. There's lots of bouncing.

Anyways, I figured I'd bounce back on and put my two cents in on something way too early because there's honestly nothing else I care about playing lately, so my GOTY isn't going to be changing.

Magic The Gathering: Arena.

That's my Game of the Year, folks.

Despite having some flaws (terrible system for handling duplicate cards, Standard-only formats and cards, no rewards past 15 wins, lack of friends list and private matches), it's Magic the Gathering in video game form...the way that it should be. It's excellent. It runs well. It makes me want to collect Magic cards all over again. It brought me back from my year-long hiatus from Magic the Gathering.

Once this moves out of beta and becomes feature complete, I'm pretty sure I won't have any other games that I'll want to play other than Path of Exile...which would be my second GOTY for 2018. The Delve and Incursion leagues have handily proven that Grinding Gear Games is the king of ARPGs, and Blizzard should just put Diablo to rest at this point.

Anyways, that's it. If you haven't played MTG Arena, you should, even if you know nothing about MTG.

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jakob187's Favorite Game of 2017...and a Goodbye.

Hey everyone. Some of you know me, and some of you don't. If you do know me, you're old now. Like me.

Destiny 2 stole my heart this year, despite the fact that I've easily dumped more time into Black Desert Online than I did into Destiny 2. I've been on the game for about three weeks now, and it's been pretty great. I love a good grind, and this game delivers on that pretty decently while still making things attainable (unlike Black Desert Online, which can make the grind seem like an insurmountable task pretty easily, but very rewarding when it is achieved).

If you haven't played Destiny 2, you should go play Destiny 2. It's great with a group. It's great with PUGs. It's great solo.

With that said, this is also working as an official farewell from the site.

For one, I'm moving soon from my hometown of Waco. Back in April, I left my job of 11 years at Lansharx Gaming to begin working at Mouser Electronics. I started in warehouse order pulling, and I've quickly started working my way up the ranks. In turn, my time for internet (and even gaming) has basically been limited to the weekends (since I do not own a cell phone...and will continue to not own one...seriously, it's the greatest!). I'll be moving to be closer to work (as I currently have an hour and a half drive).

For the second, I barely visit the site anymore. I'm going to sound like a broken record, but the site just isn't what I originally came here for, but that doesn't mean the site is bad by any means. I'm glad to see that @jeff and the guys have taken this little thing they created in a basement and turned it into one of THE places for video games, to see that the vision of a gaming wikipedia has been a success. I'm also glad to see that they are still solely focused on gaming, something that many other sites cannot claim anymore. Y'all have done such an amazing job with the site. It's been a looooong nine years, and thanks for allowing me to be a participant in this community (when I'm sure I could've been banned at least once or twice in the past).

I'm gonna miss all the old folks, the OGs that helped form this community and continue to help make it flourish, that gave me infinite amounts of laughs and smiles and tears and advice. There's not a lot of us left, and now I reduce that number by one more.

Sayonara, well wishes to all, and thanks for the good times.

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jakob187's Favorite Games of the Year That Are Not Necessarily a Top 10 List

2016 was an interesting year for me when it came to video games, as it is now the year I spent playing the fewest overall games as any year before it. In total, I played maybe twelve or thirteen games this year. That's it. In turn, the ten games that I picked for this list are out of a short pool, and for all I know, they may not even be the ten best games for this list. However, they are the ten that I spent the most time with and found plenty of enjoyment with.

This list is in no particular order:

Battlefield 1

It's been a really, really long time since I've enjoyed a Battlefield game. I'm one of those old Battlefield 2 diehards, although I also played a ton of Bad Company and its sequel. Going from the massive levels of destruction in Bad Company 2 to the nigh lack of destruction in Battlefield 3 and its more close quarters focus on combat just didn't please my appetite. I put about three hours into Battlefield 4 and Hardline, and there was nothing interesting in either of those games for me as well. Battlefield 1 feels like that return to that absolute fucking insanity that I want in a Battlefield game. Wide open spaces, solid destruction on environments, lots of combat tools to use, and battles that genuinely feel massive and dense. The map design in this game is far more akin to the glory days of DICE's franchise, with only one map genuinely feeling like a pile of hot fucking garbage (and you all know which map it is - it rhymes with Suez). The single player campaign is great, I'm sure. I haven't played it. There's too much multiplayer left for me to play before I can be bothered with that.

Let It Die

I love Souls and Souls-like games. There's a quirkiness in the way they control that I enjoy, and they typically have a larger focus on 1v1 combat, making each encounter feel like it matters, that it could be your last. Let It Die is this weird late-year entry to the fold that breaks many of the conventions of a Souls-like game by adding smart rogue-like mechanics into the mix, giving you genuinely meaningful forward progression mechanics, and then somehow adding in a form of multiplayer component that feels like Pimp Wars with a better production value. It has that weirdness and oddball nature that I want from a Suda51 game, characters that I actually give a shit about, combat that gets me moist whenever I splatter someone's brains on the fucking floor, and enough systems in place that keep me digging through menus for days. There's a lot of other stuff the game does well, but it's the sheer breadth of things it offers that makes it such a phenomenally surprising release. Also, it's free. Did I mention that? It's fucking FREE. At THAT price tag, I'm willing to pay $60 for it.

Overwatch

You know why Overwatch is a great game? It's a solid arena shooter by Blizzard that oozes with character. If you need any other justification for why it's on any list, here's probably one of the best things: did you ever think you would hear the words "solid arena shooter" and "Blizzard" coming out of ANYONE'S mouth in your lifetime? The fact that the company best known for strategy and RPG games comes out with a shooter and it excels at what it does to the point of being a worldwide phenomenon that continues to grow in size is INSANITY. Nonetheless, they did it, and when you further consider that it's the byproduct of some game they worked on for years before cancelling that project and coming up with this, it might also be one of the greatest success stories to come from something that was potentially going to be vaporware!

Devil Daggers

I love Doom-like games. I love dark, gritty, odd shit. I love shooting stuff. I love simplicity. Devil Daggers does all of this, and it absolutely scratched that Doom itch for me this year...and it probably would've been more talked about and satisfied that Doom itch even more this year...buuuuuuuuuuuuuut...

Doom

The new Doom is not a piece of shit. It's far from a piece of shit. It's actually really good. Here's the question I've constantly had to ask myself, though: is the new Doom good because I had super low expectations, and it happened to just not be a total piece of trash that I was able to say "yeah, it's good," or is it actually something that builds on the Doom legacy in a meaningful way while still paying homage to the first two games in a respectful manner? Yes. Yes, it does all of that. Who would've thought that the game that didn't show well at gaming conventions and people were worried could be the death nail for the franchise turned out to be absolutely fucking incredible? The music, the level design, the weapons, the sound, the hidden things, the homages, the blood, the guts, the gore, the combat, the speed, the pace...everything is just right. The melee kill system is a solid progression for the franchise, keeping combat visceral while making those melee kills MEANINGFUL. So we can all stop thinking it and saying it to ourselves: Doom isn't great because it turned out to be a shocking surprise of a game amidst low expectations, but rather, Doom is a great game because Doom is a genuinely great game.

The Witness

I played a total of about two hours of The Witness, and I haven't gone back to it. It should say a lot for a game that only two hours of it was able to make me put it on this list. Granted, I only played about thirteen games this year, so it's not like it's a super deep pool to pick from. However, if I had played every single game that came out this year, The Witness would still be on this list. The hand-crafted feeling of the game, the mystery of the world, the simplicity of understanding how to interact with that world and then realizing that you haven't even seen EXACTLY how to interact with that world... There is just something special and marvelous about how Jonathan Blow can do so much with so little, and The Witness is the prime example of that.

Dark Souls 3

Remember earlier, as I talked about Let It Die, that I said "I love Souls and Souls-like games?" The fact that we had both a solid Souls-like in the form of Let It Die and a proper Souls game in the form of Dark Souls 3 released this year is a fucking miracle to me. However, if you had told me that Dark Souls 3 would be the game that finally made me FEEL something in their world, that made me CARE about the story and lore... If you had told me that Dark Souls 3 would make me mourn and cry and envelop myself in an overarching sadness, that it would send me into my very own existential crisis upon learning the stories of all these characters and seeing all these tragic backstories unfold, I wouldn't have believed you. I'm not the type of person that generally cares that much about story and lore. It's rare that a game grasps me with it, and the first two games didn't do that at all. I just liked PLAYING them. However, Dark Souls 3 finally let on more about what it was doing, where it was going, and by the end of it, I felt finality. I felt completed. I hope they don't release another Dark Souls...ever. This was a beautiful ending to a fantastic franchise, and I hope they don't backtrack on their promise that this is the end. Thank you, From Software, for making a game that genuinely affected me.

Nuclear Throne

You know how people will put games on their end-of-year lists that may not have necessarily come out that year, but they played the ever-loving shit out of it? I spent the better part of two months playing nothing BUT Nuclear Throne. The worst part? I still haven't beaten one loop on the game. I never claimed to be INCREDIBLE at the game, but I love the visceral and intense feeling that it ramps up to. I love the action, the overblown mix of the sound, the weapons, and the overall gameplay. It's simple, solid, and effective.

Warframe

Remember when I said "you know how people will put games on their end-of-year lists that may not have necessarily come out that year, but they played the ever-loving shit out of it?" Warframe is that other game for me, even more than Marvel Heroes (which I imagine will have a prominent spot on my list next year after it becomes Diablo-3-afied). There was a massive overhaul on a ton of systems in the game, and it has FINALLY...FIIIIIIINALLY found its own identity. More than that, though, Digital Extremes has figured out how to do so many things in the best way possible: the free-to-play model, how to interact with your community, how to handle events, how to create an expanding lore, how to include community content in a meaningful way, and the list is ever-expanding. Sure, the game is still a grindfest, but there is never an end to the amount of grinding to do, and the group play in the game is fun enough that I can easily come back to the game after a month off and have plenty to do.

Hearthstone

Remember when I said...okay, the joke is old. However, Hearthstone is one of those games that just keeps getting better, and with the release of Whispers of the Old Gods, One Night in Karazhan, and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, they've mixed up the deck archetypes and kept their Standard format fresh at all turns. Decks are ever-evolving, strategies constantly need to change, and it's because of those things that Hearthstone continues to remain fresh and relevant. These expansions have offered the most meaningful cards to happen for the game in a while, truly defining it for what it is rather than just being the "hey, Blizzard failed at making a good physical trading card game so they just translated that a little bit over to a digital game."

Game I Wish I Had Played So I Could Put It On This List: Stardew Valley

I feel like a truly atrocious motherfucker this year, and it's solely because I did not commit one minute to Stardew Valley. I do genuinely WANT to play it, and I even bought it...twice (once on Steam, once on GOG). Why haven't I played this game? Well, as you can see from the list above, there are a lot of timesinks in place. Add in that I started getting serious about playing Heroes of the Storm this year (finally!) as well as the amount of time I sunk into Marvel Heroes (about 400 hours), and you can easily see why Stardew Valley just fell by the wayside.

Other Game I Wish I Had Played This Year: Obduction

I. Fucking. Love. Myst. Obduction is one I'll get to next year. I swear that I will get to it next year.

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No Man's Sky is dope, and it's okay to not agree with that.

Divisive games exist. There's no way to get around that. In an industry where everything we play is going to be subjective to the person who plays it, we have to learn to accept that we just aren't going to like some games that others do like.

Enter No Man's Sky. It's a game that takes place on planets and in space. When it comes to gameplay mechanics, there are basically only four things to do:

  1. Fly around space
  2. Explore planets
  3. Go to waypoints and essentially "liberate bases" ala Far Cry (meaning that you interact with whatever place you are at)
  4. Mine stuff

Sure, you can sell stuff at the Galactic Trade Network, learn languages, pick up blueprints and improve your exosuit/multi-tool/starship, buy new starships, and a handful of other things. However, in terms of the pure gameplay mechanics themselves, there are four things to do in the game.

Personally, I like simplicity. This is why I did every possible thing in open world games like Assassin's Creed 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Far Cry 2 and 3, Skyrim, and so many others: the mechanics of exploration were simple. As a matter of fact, it was the main thing that even kept me playing those games at all. It's the reason why, after all of these years, Oregon Trail is still such a solid game: simplicity and exploration.

There is the survival game aspect as well, and many can say that it isn't fully realized and that it's beating a dead horse. I won't disagree on the latter, as anyone with eyes who can look at Steam Greenlight knows how insanely flooded the marketplace is with survival games at the moment.

No Man's Sky never feels like "survival game" is its core aspect. Exploration is always front and center. The rest of the package is a way to interact with that exploration on a deeper level.

Nonetheless, there are a lot of voices out there screaming and crying out "the game is boring" and "the game sucks." To those people, I speak with simplicity in the same way that No Man's Sky offers simplicity in its gameplay: that's okay. You don't have to like the game. It's not going to be a game for everyone. For a video game company, that's not the kind of thing they want to hear about a game that has been in development for a little under half a decade. Video game companies want to make money so they can keep making video games. At a $60 price tag, people are looking at the simplicity of the game and wondering "should I spend money on it, wait for a sale, or avoid it completely?"

The answer is "do whichever feels right for you."

In this, I personally look at No Man's Sky as a commentary on itself within the video game industry. The worlds and creatures you will explore and analyze within No Man's Sky will start feeling a bit like the same thing over and over after a bit, but everything has its little quirks and bits of uniqueness. If you don't care for one of those things, there are plenty of others out there that can appeal to you and do right by you.

If you don't like No Man's Sky, that's fine. There are other worlds out there for you to explore, but let those who wish to explore this one be at peace while they do so.

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Fallout 4: How to Melee Build and Wreck Everyone

I've received a few different direct messages after my last blog about doing a melee build in Fallout 4, and I figured "what the hell, I'll give everyone the secrets." Now, I'm not going to say that this is an end-all be-all of melee builds, but it will give you a good idea of where to start and what to look for. There MAY be spoilers somewhere in these parts, so be aware of that (though I doubt there will be).

Let's start with some simple information: doing a melee build in Fallout 4 is fun as hell. It's INCREDIBLY fun. However, it will cheese the hell out of this game on low difficulties, and it will be somewhere between fairly difficult to nigh impossible on Hard and above. Much of this is because you will have a ton of damage up front with very little genuine survivability until you have worked up some legendary gear with great affixes (Sentinel, Martyr, and stuff that generally has percentage damage reduction on it). You'll also need to get Armorer and Blacksmith at some point in order to improve that armor and weaponry, which is what you'll focus on past level 20 or so.

Skill points

Here is a basic breakdown of where you'll need to allocate your SPECIAL points as well as what perks to focus on for the first 20 levels or so:

Basic build

  • 9 points in Strength (use the SPECIAL book at Shaun's crib to give you a 10th point if you are going to use power armor and Pain Train)
  • 9 points in Endurance
  • 6 points in Luck
  • 2 points in Intelligence
  • 2 points in Charisma (use the SPECIAL book at Shaun's crib to give you a 3rd point if you are not going to use Pain Train)

With this build, you are looking to unlock the following perks as fast as possible...

  • 2 points in Idiot Savant
  • Full points in Iron Fist (if unarmed) or Big Leagues (if melee weapon)
  • Full points in Rooted
  • 1 point in Ghoulish
  • Full points in Medic
  • Full points in Bloody Mess
  • Full points in Lone Wanderer
  • Full points in Toughness
  • 1 point in Cannibal
  • 1 point in Aquaboy

This will cover about the first 20 levels or so for you.

Idiot Savant is ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT, as it's going to level you insanely fast. Some people like to go three points into it so they can essentially get mini-quest levels of XP from enemies in the game. However, I prefer the 5x XP from popping a quest. Fun trick - you can quicksave before turning the quest in, then turn it in. If Idiot Savant doesn't proc, reload your quicksave and try it again. If it does not proc on the second turn-in, it won't happen at all.

Iron Fist and Big Leagues are your bread and butter for getting big damage out of your fists and weaponry.

Rooted gives you additional damage when standing still. Fun fact: when you are in VATS, you are considered standing still.

Ghoulish means that food that would give you radiation will actually heal you for MORE. You will still get RADS on your health bar, but it's really great for making the low end stuff heal you really big early in the game.

Medic is just great survivability, and when you eventually get a legendary piece of gear that offers Legendary Slow Time, it makes it that much more worthwhile.

Full points into Bloody Mess gives you 15% increased overall damage, as well as an essential Exploding Palm proc.

Lone Wanderer is excellent for you, as it'll give 30% damage reduction and 50% additional damage. That's just killer, and you can have this active WHILE having Dogmeat with you. Fun fact - Dogmeat is NOT considered a traditional companion, so Lone Wanderer STILL works while having him around. Moreover, he's actually really good crowd control for you, and with good dog armor on him, he's survivable enough. We'll explain some of that in a second, though.

Toughness is base damage resistance. That should be self-explanatory in and of itself.

Cannibal only needs to have 1 point put into it, and this is only because of Mr. Strong. We'll explain that in a minute.

Aquaboy is good solely because it lets you swim around freely, and there is quite a bit of water to traverse that makes trips far shorter.

Once you've gotten these levels grinded out (which shouldn't take long with Idiot Savant), you'll want to get your points in Armorer and Blacksmith (both located in Strength). Put full points into both of them. If you are interested in lockpicking, you can take points into that as well. That doesn't mean you'll have to put points into Perception (requires Rank 4 Perception to get Locksmith perk). If you want to hack things, then you could do that as well...I guess...but it's going to make Idiot Savant proc less, which will slow your leveling. Honestly, I don't feel like many things that are hacked lead to many great things anyways. One point in Awareness is also decent so you can see what your enemy's level and resistances look like, and points into Refractor also aren't bad for energy resistance. You can focus on these later in the game, and in all honesty, you are going to be one-shotting almost everything you encounter on difficulties below Hard anyways, so Awareness is kind of here or there really.

If you are going to use Pain Train (which is the highest melee damage move in the game), then...I can't help you. I don't use Power Armor. I'm a man, goddammit. I would suggest finding a guide somewhere else for that.

Skills to AVOID are Lead Belly, Rad Resistant, Basher, Penetrator, and Pickpocket. The first two are simple: radiation heals you from Ghoulish. Moreover, Rad-X will give you all the radiation resistance you need, and RadAway is not hard to get. Basher is if you use a gun to melee someone, and that's pointless since...you know...you'll be a melee build. It just won't do much damage. Just hotkey your melee weapons, then switch over quickly. It doesn't take much longer to do that, and you'll be able to knock the shit out of someone. Penetrator is really only good for guns. Pickpocket is for rogues. You aren't a rogue. You are a goddamn barbarian. Barbarians don't steal stuff. They kill and take what they want.

Another thing to point out: YOU ARE GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST DRUG ADDICT AND ALCOHOLIC EVER! You are a damn barbarian, so act like it! When you are going to fight something big, get fucking SMASHED! The best part is that the penalties you'll be taking for being wasted DON'T MATTER! They are not going to affect your damage in any way, and when you lose -1 Charisma or -1 Int, it just means you are losing the effective stats from them. You can still unlock and use the perks, even with these losses. There are few things that will make you lose Strength and Endurance in the game once addicted, so just be wasted whenever you want. If you WANT to take some Addictol or a Refreshing Beverage here and there, have a doctor cure your addictions, or take those dumb perks for not getting addicted, I...GUESS you could do that, as well.

Weaponry

With an unarmed build, it's actually easy as hell to get your endgame weapon: the Furious Power Fist. Just head to the Boston Common, then go to the little pond there and hit the boat. A behemoth named Swan will come out of the pond. Kill him and he will give you the weapon guaranteed. Congratulations. You never need another weapon, as Furious weapons will add damage to eat attack after your first if you haven't killed the target. Specifically, it adds an additional 40 damage to each attack. Furious weapons are ridiculous. Another solid option is the Deathclaw Gauntlet, which you can get from the Museum of Witchcraft. Go there, kill the Deathclaw, pick up the Pristine Deathclaw Egg, and then put it back in the nest. It will give you the weapon. It's up to you how you want to play that out. One option is a burst weapon, while the other is a DPS weapon.

If you are going the melee weapon route, your options are a bit crazier. A good starting option would be Grognak's Axe. The weapon has stagger when you hit someone, and the damage scales pretty well until you get my personal favorite options. You can find this (and Grognak's Costume) in Hubris Comics.

My personal favorite options are the 2076 World Series Baseball Bat/Rockville Slugger or the Kremvh's Tooth/Furious Machete combo. The World Series bat is located in Jamaica Plain, on display in a case in the treasure room. It has a unique ability that can send an enemy flying through the air on a proc chance. It's hilarious and makes me giggle with glee every time it happens. It also has a TON of damage on it, but like the Furious Power Fist for unarmed builds, it is a burst weapon. It is also not very VATS-friendly. Therefore, you might want to consider trading it in to Moe in Diamond City for some caps and buy the Rockville Slugger from him. It's a small decrease in damage from the World Series bat, but the bonus is that your attacks will cost 40% less in VATS. Where the World Series bat can usually get two or three swings, the Rockville can get about five or six. Therefore, it's technically a damage INCREASE against bigger enemies that you (for some reason) don't one-shot.

Kremvh's Tooth is located in Dunwich Borers, and it has a really...interesting...quest to do with it. If you played Point Lookout in Fallout 3 and remember the Dunwich quest there...and you are a fan of Lovecraft, this is going to be fun for you. Nonetheless, Kremvh's Tooth is a sacrifical blade, which means that it deals bleed AND poison damage.

If you can get a Furious Machete, however, then you are winning. Break down the Kremvh's Tooth to a regular machete, and the sacrifical blade mod will be added your inventory (which gives the bleed and poison damage). You cannot upgrade the Furious Machete past a serrated blade at your Weapons Workshop, but you CAN add the mod from Kremvh's Tooth to ANY LEGENDARY MACHETE! This takes the Furious Machete from being a weapon that does good base damage and gains increased damage with each swing, but it ALSO gains supplementary bleeding and poison damage for the mod you added from Kremvh's Tooth.

With both builds, however, you are going to have to have at least two guns on you at any point. I know. I know. This feels like a cop out, but there is one genuine reason for it: turrets. They are in all kinds of places, and in higher levels, you'll find that MKII and higher turrets can have staggering bullets that will rip you apart. On higher difficulties, they will hit you like trucks. Therefore, having a Combat Rifle and Combat Shotgun will help you greatly with ensuring you can take them down. I personally have a legendary Combat Rifle that I found which is converted over to .308 rounds, and it's my go-to gun. With the ammo being more scarce than others, the Combat Shotgun is just solid backup. If you ever find an improvement to either of these laying around, pick it up and turn it into your new main.

Apparel

When it comes to gearing, you have multiple options. The best options are legendary pieces that will give you as much DR and ER as possible while also being able to be improved to higher quality. Affixes that you want are Sentinel/Titan (15% damage reduction while standing and not moving), Assassin (15% damage reduction vs Humans, the most common enemy type in the Wastelands), Fortifying (+1 STR and +1 END), Cavalier (15% damage reduction while blocking or sprinting), and Bolstering (up to +35 energy and damage resistance the lower your health). You will need at LEAST one piece of Martyr gear, which will give you a temporary slow-motion effect when you hit 20% or lower health. This is a perfect spot to pop a Stimpak and get your health back up, or you can use it to utilize your Bolstering gear and do some severe damage to people. As far as what type of gear you want, that is totally up to you. Combat Armor offers probably the best pound-for-pound DR/ER hybrid, but some people care about vanity a little bit more. I know that I do, and we'll explain that in just a second. With a helmet, I'd go for Combat Armor helmets, but if you can't get on, just about anything will work. Frankly, headgear isn't the most important piece (unless, again, you care about vanity).

Now look... I'm a barbarian in this game, literally. One of the best pieces of melee weapon armor that I've found in the game is Grognak's Costume, in terms of damage at least. I've tried replacing it with a +1 STR and +1 END chestpiece (Black Ops Chestpiece, specifically), and it's just not as much damage. However, you CANNOT upgrade the Costume at all, which means it is constantly going to leave you with less DR and ER than you'd like to be super survivable. I also personally wear the Mascot Head (which you can get from Bosco in D.B. Technical School), as it does actually give 5 DR (the only things higher are basically Synth Helmet or Combat Armor Helmet), and...it makes me a BAR-BEAR-IAN. It's basically amazing.

Supplementary Things

There are multiple other things to consider getting for the build, some of which are companion-related, some quest-related, and some just general pickups in the world. Here's a short list of the most important ones:

  • When you reach the maximum positive relationship status with your companions, they will give you a permanent perk each. The most useful ones are Paladin Danse (20% damage to ghouls, super mutants, and synths), Codsworth (+10 damage resistance against robot energy attacks), Preston (20% more DR and 20% more damage when outnumbered), Curie (heal for 100 health if under 10% HP), X6-88 (20% more ER if hit by energy weapon), Mr. Strong (20% more unarmed/melee damage if under 25% HP), and...if you are really daring, Hancock (20% crit hit if you are over 250 RADS).
    Of these, the two most important ones are Mr. Strong and Curie. The combat heal from Curie will save your ass so many times, and Mr. Strong just gives us more damage. Danse also does this, but it's to particular enemy types. You'll find yourself in situations with little health more than you'll find yourself against three specific enemy types. Mr. Strong...likes it when you kill innocent people...and when you eat corpses...which is why you took that one point in Cannibal. Makes sense now, right? Meanwhile, Curie likes it when you say good things about synths, are nice and kind to people, and heal Dogmeat or give her items.
  • Grognak the Barbarian comics are an obvious thing you need in order to beef your damage up further. However, there are a couple of other really good magazines to keep your eyes out for: Massachusetts Surgery Journal (increases limb damage with any weapon by 2% per per magazine) and Unstoppables (1% chance to completely avoid all damage dealt to you per magazine). Beyond that, there are a few issues of Astoundingly Awesome Tales andWasteland Survival Guide that can get you some good additional damage, DR, healing abilities, etc.
  • Chems and alcohol are your friend. You love them. Booze almost always give you more strength and endurance, which leads to more damage and survivability. Alcohol of the same category cannot give you a corresponding stack. For instance, if you drink two forms of alcohol that gives +1 STR, then you only get +1 STR. Therefore, what you want to do is drink something that gives +1, something that gives +2, and something that gives +3 for a total of +6. The other option is to drink whatever the fuck you want. Who cares, right? Just get shitfaced for the fuck of getting shitfaced and hit things really goddamn hard. Each point of Strength you gain gives you 10% more unarmed or melee damage, so it's worth it!
  • The Cabot House quest line will lead you to making a decision: either kill Jack Cabot and his family or kill Lorenzo Cabot, the patriarch housed within the Parsons Insane Asylum. If you want to be awesome at melee, then you kill Jack and his family. Lorenzo will give you an endless FREE supply of Mysterious Serum, which will give you +5 STR, 50 damage resistance, and take away -36,000 RADS. Yes. That was correct. -36,000 RADS. Ridiculous.
  • There will be at least one Bobblehead for Strength and one Bobblehead for Endurance that you can find in the game. Get them and be happy with your permanent +1 increase.

Conclusion

There's not much else beyond that to the unarmed/melee setup. Utilize your entire toolbox of tricks and you should find the Commonwealth to be your own personal punching bag of dastardly fun! I hope that this guide has been able to help you substantially in learning more about an unarmed/melee build in Fallout 4. The last thing you need to know is simple, though: praise be unto the One True Grognak, for He is the Light and the Savior of the Commonwealth. I will share with you all very soon pictures and a blog about my founding of the Church of Grognak soon enough, and you'll understand it all.

Take it easy and good luck out there!

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On Fallout 4 and Its Density...

No Caption Provided

Finlee Kilgore, the Wasteland Bar-bear-ian has entered Vault 81. As he walks in for his second visit, to the jeers of many for being Commonwealth trash, he helps save a small boy's life and gain the adoration of everyone. Despite still being questioned about whether that is his Pip-Boy or not, Finlee journeys back into the Wasteland, wearing his Grognak loincloth and wielding the great barbarian's axe with the dilapidated head of a former sports mascot. He seeks revenge against whoever murdered his wife and stole his son.

This has been my experience with Fallout 4, and it's going to be a LOOOOONG time until I find my son.

The delay in finding Shaun isn't because he isn't important to me. As a matter of fact, Fallout 4 didn't have to do much to get me attached to my main story mission. As a man who has always wanted to be a husband and a father (but am neither), that motivation alone is enough to get my blood boiling. The reason it's taking so long is because...well...there's so much shit to do!

Fallout 3 and New Vegas had their density, but it just can't quite reach the level of how Fallout 4 has achieved it. There's a ton of places to venture to, little "dungeons" with hidden secrets and cool side-quests that offer a one-off experience. This is typical of the franchise at this point. It's the additions to all of this that make matters so much larger. The innumerable number of companions available to you, the absolute depth of the perk chart coupled with the lack of level cap, and even the addition of legendary enemies with special versions of weaponry give the game far more flavor than it already had.

The crafting system even gives you depth, letting you turn your gear into whatever you need it to be for your play style: stealthy, gun-toting, melee-wielding, broad-shouldered tank, and the list goes on and on.

The settlement building lets you create towns that, to many, won't matter. However, the fact that you can essentially build your OWN Megaton, that YOU can be the one who creates the new crown jewel of the Wasteland...and that you might have to defend it... This idea is just extravagant in ways that the series has never known outside of community mods.

The game is packaged with all of the stuff that I wanted, and I can only hope that the DLC will expand on it.

This is why I say that Fallout 4 is my Game of the Year, even with a month and a half left and only 24 hours played on my main character. I already know that I'll be playing this for hundreds of hours to come.

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I don't want anything.

I'll never understand the need for people to overcomplicate things because it goes against what they think they need to do. I give them the reasons, and they don't think they are good enough by their own fucking standards. It pisses me off, and then they wonder what is wrong.

To reference what this is about, my family and friends feel the incessant need to get me gifts for my birthday and for Christmas. For most people, this is a usual thing, and they don't think twice about it. Personally, though, I don't like receiving gifts. I just don't.

It's not like I'm trying to make someone feel bad when I say "I don't want anything." That's not the purpose, and it's never the way it is delivered.

"What do you want for Christmas," they ask me.

"I want nothing," I respond.

They call me a troll. They get me gifts like a toy sheep that shits candy called the Party Pooper. They wonder why I get pissed off at them afterwards.

"Oh, take a joke."

There's no joke there. I don't want gifts. I want nothing. You didn't get me nothing. You did not satisfy my wishes, which you apparently valued in some way because you asked what I wanted in the first place.

"Too bad. I'm getting you something anyways."

I didn't make the suggestion of "I want nothing" with some form of hostility. I made the suggestion because I appreciate simplicity. I don't need material possessions from someone in order to feel like I'm some goddamn special snowflake. I would rather have the company of good people and conversation. Maybe I should just ask for that? I'd probably still be considered a troll or a party pooper in their eyes.

It annoys me to no end. Then, when they continue to drive the point and I finally blow up at them, I'm the bad guy. I'm spoiling their fun.

I don't give a fuck about your fun in that situation. I'm making it simple, and YOU...you overcomplicate it for no reason.

What do you have to get me? Literally nothing. It's fairly easy. You don't have to drive anywhere, pick anything up, purchase anything, find anything, spend time wondering if it's something I'll like, go without dinner for a night because you spent the money getting it for me, wonder how you are going to make the rest of your water bill, or whatever shit comes up.

You don't have to do anything but bring your ass over, sit down, hang out, and let me enjoy your goddamn company. That's it.

Why are people so hellbent on pushing some kind of goddamn gift on you? Is that really what we mean to someone - material possessions handed over as some token of appreciation? Some sign that you mean something in their life? If you are in my life at all, then you've already achieved that shit. I don't need a new video game, a shirt, a pair of socks, or anything else of the sort to signify that shit.

I don't want anything. Don't get me anything. Simple words. Simple logic. End of conversation.

/rantover

Start the Conversation

I don't give a shit about a title.

I haven't blogged in a long time. It always feels pretentious to me when I type into this pale white box, believing that any of the words on the screen will mean anything at all beyond my own bullshit ideals.

Today is not a good day. This week is not a good week. This month...this year...none of it is any good at all.

Where to begin... Let's go back a year.

My girlfriend leaves. She dumps me for her ex-roommate, who lives in Montana...and leaves dog shit laying in the middle of his kitchen floor. This killed me. It destroyed whatever remained of my already scarred and calloused heart. It took 31 years to find someone I felt I could spend forever with, and it took her only a year and a half to crush it completely, thrown away in a dumpster with the other trash.

Because the life we were building was based around two incomes, this made paying bills much more difficult. I was tied up in a lease already, and leaving would've cost too much. I made her pay her rent until the end of the lease. Her parents made her as well (because they took my side...of course, why wouldn't they take the side of a good guy that got dumped by a cheating cunt?). She did...until the last month.

I kept trying to get her to wire the money to me each month. It was easier and far more reliable than mailing a check or money order to the apartment complex. She wanted to be difficult about it. That's no fucking surprise. She wouldn't even take the time to properly check her A1C every goddamn day (I had to get onto her about it regularly). Why the fuck would she be able to wrap her head around the idea of wiring money? Man, I picked a winner, didn't I?

The money order she sent on the last month was late...and also sent back to her... This led to a downward spiral. I had to use my car payment for that month in order to pay the rent, and she would get the money back to me. That wouldn't happen for a little while (a couple of months). She had to get a refund on the money order, and then of course, excuses came up with her. I didn't budge. She finally got the money to me.

It was already too late. I had to borrow $400 from my parents to help cover some stuff, and I had to start taking some payday advances from my boss (getting my check early, not a loan or anything necessarily). This threw my budget completely out of whack.

I called my car payment company multiple times. They wouldn't budge on anything. Finally, they told me that I could have my payment date changed once I'm caught up on my car payments, and that the payment for the month would be pushed to the new date on the next month. For example:

Make payment on February 27th

Payment due on March 27th

Call before March 27th to have payment moved to April 11th

11th of each month is new payment, and I've been given a two week gap to catch up on everything

It was all working to plan. I was doing it. I was getting back up, recovering from this depression I was falling into. I had become lethargic, like nothing I did was going to get me ahead in life. I was destined to be broke, playing catch up, and never getting anywhere.

I get caught up...

...and then April rent happens.

I go to the same corner store I've went to for the last six years to get money orders. I get my money order for rent. I take it to the front office, drop it off, and think nothing of it...like always. Five days later, I get a call saying that the money order was being denied by the apartment complex's bank because it was "either fraudulent or printed on expired paper."

What?

I call the store I got it from. They sound confused as hell. Expired paper? I call the apartment complex again. They have never heard of something like this happening. They call their bank, try to find out more. I call Western Union.

Their bank says that they can't cash the money order. Western Union says that the money order was cashed already.

Someone is lying...or fucking stupid...or both. I don't know. Western Union tells me to send in for a money order refund, so I do just that. It will take thirty days to get the money order refunded. The apartment complex has no problem with holding off from evicting me for thirty days while the refund is processed. I use my car payment money plus some extra money in order to just pay the rent (plus the bank's checking fee, the fucking bastards). I don't want that hanging over my head. What IS hanging over my head now, though...is my car payments. Rearing their ugly head all over again, the debt keeps creeping up on me like an infection that won't go way. However, when I get the refund on the money order, everything will be fine again. That'll cover the car payment I missed plus the next car payment. It all works out...

...until I call today to find out why I haven't received my money order refund.

They tell me they aren't sending it.

The money order was cashed. They can't refund it.

It's at this moment that I go into one of the most rage-induced tirades I've ever spouted to someone at a phone. I just made someone's day absolutely fucking terrible, and honestly, I don't even give a flying fuck. I just don't care anymore. I let it all loose, every single frustration with this whole situation and how it is financially "bending me over the hood of a Gremlin while your company shoves a pineapple up my ass and asks if I want KY, blood, or cum as my lube."

It wasn't pretty.

I called my family lawyer to see if there was anything I could do about this money order situation. He says "no."

What?

There's nothing that can be done apparently, and even if he could do something, "it would cost more in court fees and other costs than what the money order was worth, and the chances of winning when their records show the money order as being cashed? Just let it go and cut your losses."

That man is no longer my family lawyer, by the way.

Meanwhile, all of this is happening...after I have now been a non-smoker for almost two months. That's right: no nicotine for two months, and I'm ready to light an entire town on fire.

Why am I dispensing this information? Because I have no one else to talk to. My parents will just give me the same answer as they do for everything: "find God." My brother has too many of his own problems that he can't help someone else with theirs. My friends...or the people that will soon no longer be my friends...could give a shit less about my overall existence, let alone whether I have problems. None of them perceive any of my issues as ever "actually being issues" and that I just over-dramatize the situations.

I'm out $700. That's not over-dramatized. That's fucked up, and it is in turn fucking up my life.

So I'm trusting in this pale white box that I get to fill with text. I'm sharing this with you so you can know that, whatever difficulty in your life, there is someone else who is just as down, just as pissed, and just as ready for the extinction of the human race as you are.

Done.

2 Comments

jakob187's 2014 Game of the Year: The Nemesis System from Shadow of Mordor

Everyone's going to be listing off their top 10 or top 5 or however many games they want to put together with numbers in front of them. We do it every year. Also, anyone who knows my previous GOTY entries is aware that I don't follow the norm with this shit.

In a year filled with mediocre releases and a handful of really awesome ones, there was nothing...NOTHING...that impressed me nearly as much as the Nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor.

"But Josh, wouldn't that mean that your Game of the Year is Shadow of Mordor?"

No. Shadow of Mordor in and of itself is little more than an amalgamation of Rocksteady's Batman combat system, Assassin's Creed's parkour and movement, and light-ended open-world exploration ala every fucking game that exists in this modern day and age. While some games can excel greatly at being an amalgamation (i.e. the original Dead Space), I didn't feel like this entire blend of gameplay mechanics would've mattered nearly as much if the game didn't have its Nemesis system.

When you first experience the Nemesis system, nothing seems special about it. You kill a few captains, then others replace them. It's the moment that you die where you really see the depth of it all. That Uruk that just killed you? Yeah, he's a captain now...because HE killed YOU, the Shadow of Mordor. Now HE matters in this world. Now HE is going to be dueling with others for a higher position. HE is going to be ambushing other captains in a coupe for more power. YOU might not even be the person who brings him down.

All in all, within the ecosystem of Shadow of Mordor, I began to realize that in the grand scheme of everything happening in Mordor, I was nothing but a ghost story. All of this motion within the ranks of Sauron's Army was the thing that really mattered.

That was the other thing that made me love the system: it DID matter to me. When a berserker killed me and it was revealed that his name was Raksha Black-Heart, he had a mouthful of shit to talk to me upon our next meeting. He killed me again, having been bestowed with poison on his axes and commanding about twenty other Uruk to slay me alongside him. Funny enough, he would no longer finish me off. He'd walk away from the fight at the last minute and let his minions take care of me. This created more and more captains, all of which had their personal names and stories.

At least eleven Uruk became promoted through my hunt for Raksha Black-Heart, who at this point had climbed to the rank of a level 20 Legendary Captain. I wanted him down. I seethed with anger that he kept getting away. I hated that I had not been able to kill him yet, especially because he was susceptible to stealth attacks. All I needed was to be stealthed, sneak up, and slit his fucking throat for all the setbacks he had caused me. I slayed every Uruk in my path, interrogating every one of them to find out everything I could about this goddamn army, how I could slay every one of those captains that killed me.

Finally, the moment arrived. Raksha Black-Heart was next to a bush, only two people next to him.

THIS WAS MY CHANCE!

I sneaked up with a quickened pace. My heart was racing with excitement and vengeance.

I reached out of the brush, grabbed his hair, yanked him upward, and stabbed him repeatedly right in the chest. The two with him, frightened and demoralized, try to run. I chase them down, slitting one of their throats and decapitating the other. Everyone else runs, and I let out a battle cry of glory!

I then realized that it was 3:00am in the real world, and that the battle cry I let out wasn't in the game. It was me. I just screamed in my apartment at 3:00am...because I killed a virtual character that had caused me to virtually die multiple times.

This is the depth and the level to which this particular, individual character was able to connect to me in my adventure. This is something I've never experienced to this level in a game. I was on a two-hour long journey just to kill one goddamn Uruk captain in a video game because of how emotionally distressed and angry he made me because of his actions against me.

I have completed MAYBE five or six story missions in this game.

I've thought on multiple occasions already how much better the Nemesis system could make multiple other games:

  1. Marvel Heroes
  2. Warframe
  3. Diablo 3
  4. Divinity: Original Sin
  5. Sunset Overdrive
  6. Borderlands

The list can go on and on and on.

My Game of the Year is the Nemesis System from Shadow of Mordor. Argue amongst yourselves if that is legit or not, but when it comes down to it, that entire system is a game in and of itself.

16 Comments

There is No Black Friday Blog This Year.

Every year, I've kept a blog going of all the deals that are happening on Black Friday. This was a thing I volunteered myself to do in order to make sure that you, my fellow gamers and Giant Bomb family, would be able to plan ahead and know where, what time, and how to get everything you wanted.

This year, I announce that I am no longer doing this.

It's not any type of moral choice or anything, so don't worry about that. I still firmly believe that if someone wants to work on the day after Thanksgiving or whenever they decide to make the store open, that is their choice. The people who are essentially forced to work? Yeah, your bosses/companies are dickstains, and there's not much I can do there. I choose to work on Thanksgivings, though. I like having extra money in my pocket, and my family's Thanksgiving lasts a grand total of about two hours.

It also has nothing to do with my general lack of participation on the forums. I used to post a lot. I don't anymore. That's just due to overall work schedule and creating content for my YouTube channel (which I'm not going to advertise here because that would be crummy as fuck to do).

It's because...well, it's fucking boring to do!

Seriously, trying to go through every single ad that has poorly been put onto the internet, find the deals, make sure that it's accurate, digging for all of that information...and then typing it up and posting it through a blog I made? It's actually way more time-consuming than you'd think, and I'll be honest: I could be playing Marvel Heroes instead...or Magic the Gathering...or Dicemasters...or Heroclix...or literally anything else.

Therefore, I open it up to whomsoever would like to carry the mantle: if you want to make the Official Giant Bomb Black Friday Thread this year, the torch is yours to take.

I want to thank everyone for the past however-many years for your support, and I hope that your Black Friday this year is as good as the previous ones.

31 Comments