Last weekend was a LAN weekend. Man it’s been awhile, some suspect a decade or more. We did it up in the basement of scooter’s abode and it was gibbing madness. Some of these games I hadn’t played in a looooong time so here’s a run down of my feels here in 2017.

We played a mess of FPS games, originally thinking we would run the gauntlet of Doom all the way to new Doom.  We almost did, but there were games we skipped (and one we shoulda skipped!).


Always a great time, but not great when you have more than four players as the monsters aren’t fun to play as. Interesting? Yes, but you end up looking at the respawn screen a lot more than if you are one of the survivors.


We gave this a try at the LAN and got pretty confused by the maps and environment.  This is one that is likely better not at a LAN and just in normal internet play.

The Bad Place


While unbalanced weapon-wise Quake is an amazing death match game STILL in 2017. We used the RUNE mod which has runes lying around that you can pick up that give you X2 damage, damage resistance, rapid fire (not my favorite) and regeneration. I would argue that Quake still has some of the best Death match maps ever made.

We tried to get BRUTAL DOOM up and running and it desynched constantly. While we didn’t deathmatch this, it was fun for the hour or so we were able to actually play. Brutal DOOM is something to check out for sure.

Quake 3

The penultimate death-match FPS. While many have tried, nothing has come close to how good this game is for straight up death match. With the weapon balance that Quake lacks and some really awesome DM levels, I think we played this the most out of any of the FPS games over the weekend. It just shows that it’s not the graphics that make a good DM game at all.

I didn’t get on this, but people said it was a good time. We played this because we could not get Battlefield Bad Company 2 working for everyone, which was too bad.

this is the screen you LOVE to see in newDoom because it’s over and you can go on to any other FPS!


Playing Quake, Quake 3, UT3 and OG Doom just before trying newDoom showed how awful the death match for the New Doom really is. Great single player, amazing graphics still makes newDoom a fantastic game, but don’t bother at all with the death match. It feels like you are inside a robot suit slowly moving and turning around. It’s not even worth trying out to see how bad it is.

I got a single round of Vehicle CTF with maurice!Bastard and it was great. While UT3 is not a very good Death match game compared to nearly all other games (it’s still better than NewDoom), I’ve always found it’s Vehicle CTF to be absolutely superb. Totally insane vehicles, very fast movement speed across large maps and the whole bevy of weapons that UT brings to the table makes me wish I had the chance to play this more.


We played three RTS games and all three were enjoyed, though one for very different reasons for the other two.

Planetary Annihilation

This is on the cusp of being a good game, and certainly it’s fun for a bit.  However there is just so much going on and you are spread out over so many areas (planets and strategic layers) with your units and buildings that it makes it an unmanageable mess.  We got in a few games of this vs the bots and after winning easily on normal, we tried it on hard and it was comedy.   The bots ended up nuking our commanders on a planet we had total control over.   Overall, fun but the game devolves into ALL orbital combat after awhile.  There’s minutia and counters here, but it is all just a unit-flood steamroll of some sort in the end.

Warcraft 3

The best RTS had to get busted out.  We played coop again vs the bots and I forget that this has a very steep learning curve to it with the heroes and creeping and total disregard for the base-defense that other RTS games rely on.  I also forgot nearly everything I had known about the game and played terribly, but still, really fun game– especially the battles.

Total Annihilation

People begged to bust this out and..was a total joke.  We jumped into the game with 5 players and two of the commanders were D-cannon’ed within the first minute.  RTS games have come a long, long way.  While Starcraft, due to updates, stands the test of time with it’s controls and UI, Total Annihilation does not at all.  As compelling as it was in the 90’s it just is not any more.  Frankly if you want the TA feels, Supreme Commander is the way to go these days.


We got in some Torchlight 2 both Hardcore Elite and non-Hardcore Veteran.  While the chance of permadeath is fun, the MASS hitpoints the enemies have in Elite multiplayer makes it slower than I really like in my TL2 madness.

So yes, we should do it again but bring some candles or votives or something for the rump gasping.  There’s only so much bad air a basement can hold before spontaneous human combustion sets in.

Rebel Galaxy!

A few of the core members of Runic went off and made this while we were all still playing Torchlight 2.  Bad audio I know, but it gives you the FEEL of the game despite the incoherent babble:


It’s a lot like Privateer and you have to wonder if this small team was able to pull something like this off quickly, what will happen to STAR CITIZEN?

And more Torchlight 2

Torchlight 2 addiction is in full swing, so there hasn’t been the normal cavalcade of posts about stuff recently. Needless to say, Hardcore TL2 is a harsh mistress. My problem is that I get finicky about my class selection and just can’t stick with one character. Likely because I’ve played Berserkers for so long that I want to try something new, and that’s been the outlander. Outlanders, well, no one plays them that I know, so I’ve never seen one in action that I could say– “wow that’s cool!” I built a close combat Outlander but the build is only viable once you get BURNING LEAP at level… 35! As soon as I got that high, the character died almost instantly. With Sensless at about level 65 or so dropping loot down to all of us, it’s been really easy to build characters back up once they are toast… but when he croaks during some Mapworks misshap, who will help then?

Mods. Synergies I know is solid, but I tried the HACKANDSLASH essentials mod today for a bit and it’s a massive hodgepodge of a ton of other mods. Some of the classes looked cool, but I am skeptical that it will all work well together and am not sure I want to time sink to find out. Synergies is a total overhaul mod, like Zyel for Diablo 2, and I can get behind that. I think once Matt finishes the game hardcore (which will take months most likely because he refuses to run a shield/wand combo with his embermage for survivability) we’ll switch to non-hardcore synergies.

I’d also like to get a legendary drop one of these days…

The Mimic that destroyed steve

Torchlight 2 Hardcore. With the MAC version out where we can all play together, we have. Vanilla so far, but Synergies is likely just around the corner.

There have been, in the back-ass of ACT 1, deaths due to cold and Chillhoof and Mimics, but other than the sighing and loss of items, it’s really not a big deal since an hour or two later a new character is back in the game and lessons learned. Still– when you get over level 20, the stakes get higher and HIGHER.

TL2 Hardcore Victory!


While I used the Essentials mod while pulling this off rather than vanilla, I finally got my Veteran hardcore badge for Torchlight 2.  I still am only about level 34 in Elite hardcore– and I do NOT like my build very much at all.  The lack of farming and the really really difficult and long fights you encounter in Elite mean it may be…ah….never before I get the elite hardcore badge.

It was a good run.  I learned a lot about the berserker– I’m no expert but getting there.  I used Ice with northern rage as my AOE and Raze as my 1 on 1 attack.  I was doing massive amounts of damage with Northern Rage at the end there and had a power that would proc to increase casting speed by 50% or so which made Raze crazy insane.

Offense means very little in hardcore though, it’s all about the defense.  Having over 600 armour and 400-500 in every resistance is an absolute must.   The only way to do this efficiently is to run a shield.  Always always run a shield in hardcore, regardless of your class.

That said, I lost a lot of characters pushing through to the end.  Here is a list of the fatalities:

Buttdust_0 – level 32 Embermage-– died in Korari Cave (got caught in one of those bone traps and couldn’t get away).

Lipstitch – Level 8 Berserker – The Bone Gallery (oops!)

Dead Rose – Level 22 Berserker – Watchweald Temple

Poofias – Level 51 Berserker – The Broken Mines Floor 7: this one hurt emotionally since it was right near the end. I didn’t have my electric resistance high enough…

Poofias 2 – Level 22 Beserker – Watchweald Temple (again!!)

Vagisillica_0 – level 44 Berserker – Forgotten Halls floor 1. Just a bad mistake IIRC…

Vagisillica_1 – Level 44 Berserker – Blightbogs. This was on a critical hit from a champion troll. However I got overconfident and ran a pistol and sword rather than a shield. Stupid, stupid stupid.

And the final iteration of the berserker that pulled it off:

Vagisillicus 2
Vagisillicus 2 – the two handed sword is just for show.

Torchlight 2 Mod: “Essentials”

Like Diablo 2 with the Zyel mod (a collation of other mods + an awesome crafting mod), we’ve been waiting for a definitive collation of good mods for Torchlight 2 and here it is in “Torchlight Essentials.” The issue with mods is 1) which to get, 2) making your friends get the same ones, 3) getting games where everyone has the same mod. Collections of mods in one package,in my opinion, are essential to reduce the insanity. We tried it out Friday night and it was superlative.

New Pets!
New Pets!

The mod has a new class that mixes the mage and a close in fighter, the official 8 player muiltiplayer mod, the two mods (Blanks and Extra Chunky) from the Runic developers and a host of other vetted mods.  Highly Recommended.

Subscribe to the mod here:

Finished a game- Torchlight 2

The look at the end game.
The look at the end game.

Ah a rare thing, actually finishing a game…I finally beat TL2 on elite (not hardcore) vanilla. It took over 60 hours with a single character to win it… that was with just a bit of help from sensless with a couple of items that I could only use at the end of the game. Elite was very very difficult– I died about 500 times and probably could have died a lot more but just wanted to get it done. I know I could have farmed at lower difficulties or with other characters, but this was about being almost pure with Elite– going through the whole game from start to finish with nearly zero help. I finished the game at level 52 and I can say that most of my gear was about 10 levels lower, so I definitely hadn’t farmed up enough to really run the end game comfortably.

The next time I go through I can farm up with a higher level character and pass items down, potions, spells, everything because the elite hair on the chest has been grown…

The build
I used a berserker and focused on Shadow Dash/Wolfstrike with Frenzy Mastery and Blood Hunger as primary skills. All of this is for survivability rather than damage output. Essentially she would heal whenever she landed a critical and could shadow dash for insta heal and escape when she got in trouble. The key path is to stay on the edge of a mob and use your normal attacks to build your frenzy meter since when you are frenzied it’s all (well almost all) criticals. Once frenzied, you can stand toe to toe with any boss that cannot one shot you (which aren’t many!). For my primary weapon, I used a large mace that I placed the rift ember in (+10 Mana steal on hit) for max amount of DPS for my AOE’s (Wolfstrike/Shadow Dash) and then switched to two rather lackluster claw weapons when I was frenzied for any bosses– increasing my attack speed by triple or more.  I just could never find any better claws by the time I finished the game.

Big Death
Big Death

In addition to the skills above, the berserker extra pet (via Wolf Shad) was huge and I maxed points whenever I could.  The summon gives damage output increases, attacks stuff itself for mass damage and heals you when it does damage. I would say it’s the best skill in the game.  However, I have this feeling that there was an XP drop when wolf was on the screen…like very little XP at all.

There’s a lot more to explore with the berserker, but I won’t be doing it on Elite unless it’s my Hardcore character who is the sole survivor of our early days hardcore elite group.  With him I use very different tactics (sword and shield and a lot less gung ho).  The end bosses of TL2 look extremely difficult on Hardcore elite so the farm up will be necessary.  If I was to do it again, I would have started on Normal, finished the game and then passed items up to a character on Veteran who then passed items up to a character on Elite.  This is tough to do on Hardcore since, well, your characters get croaked.