Mass Effect Andromeda initial thoughts

So, I have played 5 hours of the Mass Effect: Andromeda campaign. Here are my thoughts.

I tried to keep things less on the spoiler-y side, focusing on aesthetics, combat, and dialog. But since the game does not launch until the 20th, by the very nature of things there will be minor spoilers.

Meet Dick Ryder! I am SO sorry, my beautiful daughter, but I can never pass up a pun.

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Astoundingly beautiful Fallout 4 mods you NEED to know about

While I love Fallout 4, there’s something about the environment of the Commonwealth that bothers me. I’m obviously not a climatologist by profession but 210 years after atomic destruction, shouldn’t there be more regrowth and flora blooming across the state? The Commonwealth in its vanilla state feels flat, and after significant time invested… it’s somewhat even boring. The desolation of the Mojave worked in New Vegas because of the arid temperament of the southwestern United States. Coastal New England? Not so much.

Enter some bad ass mods that breathe new life into the Commonwealth. Unique cloud formations! Gorgeous sunsets! Overgrowth on bridges! Moss overtaking old buildings! Weeds! Flowers! Vegetation! CORAL REEFS! What was once a stagnant, lifeless world has come to life in glorious colour.

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Fallout 4 Survival Mode Beta Review

If I could use only one word to summarize Bethesda’s new survival mode rework, it would be “brutal“.


The Fallout universe is one that I am familiar with.  I had little trouble with the original survival mode that shipped with launch, so I went into the beta feeling cocky. I dealt with juggling an appetite, thirst, and the need to rest in Fallout: New Vegas’ survival mode, so how much harder could the addition of diseases and the removal of fast travel be?

Really, really goddamned hard.

Every time you take a Stimpack, you gain a point of dehydration. This easily overwhelms when you when you are far from vendors or bodies of water to replenish yourself. (Much like I was in this screenshot. Look at those stats! Ouch.) When you take RadAway, your immune system becomes suppressed and you easily gain diseases from the drugs and food that you ingest to try and make it to another battle. Oh, and drug use ALSO causes dehydration. Good luck downing the delightful combination of Med-X, Psycho, and Jet because you will end up Severely Dehydrated. You see that “fatigue” debuff? It is a disease I picked up from using chems that I do not currently have the antibiotics to cure. It forces me to continually seek shelter so my “weary” debuff does not continue to build. Plus, being Fatigued damages my Action Points and the AP refresh, so a lot of combat situations have to be done without the assistance of VATS.

As for the combat, even with the new Adrenaline perk, it is rough. My biggest enemy in early game, besides my friggin’ health problems, are grenades. It is Game Over when a Raider lobs one of those bad boys at me because I cannot get out of the way fast enough. Which then puts me back at the last place I saved, which typically is far from where I died at because you cannot automatically save in survival mode. (Your progress is only saved when you sleep for an hour or longer.) The best way I can describe early game is that you constantly take two steps forward and ten steps back. Tough combat and even the disabled save feature does not bother me, sure it can be irritating when you have to clear out a place for the fourth time because you accidentally trip a mine but that is a challenge that I expected.

As for the personal need system? I think it needs some fine tuning before Bethesda launches their live survival mode. It is much too unforgiving in its current state. I do not think there is enough water in the entire Commonwealth that could quench the Sole Survivour’s constant dehydration!

If you are up for a challenge, FO4’s survival mode totally delivers. I however, will stick to the original difficulties because it is a little too much for me.


Fallout 4 Mod Masterpost


Here is the long promised Fallout 4 Mod Masterpost. It’s only taken me eightyfouryears.gif to get around to making it, but hey, I didn’t plan on getting sick. Every mod on this list has been extensively tested and are 110% Heatherbee approved. I’m nearing 400 hours on PC for FO4, so trust me when I say I’ve tried out a metric shitton of mods!

To install these mods, you will need Nexus Mod Manager.
(Making FO4 mod compatible is a little more involved than just click and download, the Nexus Wiki has a good installation guide. Need any extra help? I’d be happy to assist. Modding games is. my. jam.)

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WildStar Mod Masterpost

Empress_Kerrigan.151010.195255One of the best things about PC gaming is the rich world of user created add ons. I’ve always been a huge fan of making a game my “own” through customization and when I picked up playing WildStar again, I was excited to see what the user base had created. Although the community is smaller than some of its competitors due to the newness of the game, there’s some real talent to be found!

Through trial and error, here are my top add on picks for WildStar.

Changes the fade properties of the original chat box. I like it because it adds extra legibility.

A very clean looking total UI replacement. Reminiscent of Tukui, of the World of Warcraft UI replacement world. Since it’s in beta, there are a few growing pains but I think it’s well worth it.

A compact user frame add on targeted for healers. I love the auto targeting on mouse over feature, makes healing easier! If you’ve used Clique / Grid / VuhDo in WoW, it’ll feel familiar to you.

Lightweight add on that adds labels to nodes out in the world.

Target assistant add on for healers. Allows you to target the lowest health player within 40m with a customizable keybind.

My holy grail, OH GOD WHY WAS I EVER PLAYING THE GAME WITHOUT IT, add on. TapThat autocompletes the Client Side Interactions* whenever you interact with them.
*Rapid tap, Simon, etc. Does NOT work to automatically un-stun you; that you still have to do yourself.

The nameplate add on that I like the most. (I use it in place of ForgeUI’s default nameplates.)

A straightforward damage / healing meter.


Oh WoW, let’s kill some Dragons!

Recently I have fallen back into gaming. As like any hobby, my enthusiasm ebbs and wanes. But this November is special because of two games: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor and Dragon Age: Inquisition! Both are dear to my heart; WoW is the first game I was ever “serious” about and Dragon Age: Origins is the game that started my love affair with BioWare and led me to explore other IPs outside of Warcraft. I am a territorial kind of nerd, what can I say? 😉


Since I have my Warden and Champion all situated for my first DA:I play-through, I have been focusing on WoW. Leveling alts (I went from one level 90 to 4!!), cleaning up some easy achievements, and running old raids for fun and profit. Mostly profit because scuttlebutt says that Garrisons are going to be costly and I have a major addiction to dropping mad gold on transmog gear. Ha. What’s amusing is that I walk away from WoW with intentions of staying away for good but the game itself is serious comfort food.


For DA:I, I am torn between creating an Elf Rogue or a Qunari Mage for my first go around. I am impressed with the creative folks I follow on Tumblr who already have their parties situated, love interest chosen, and backstories for their Inquisitors at the ready because I am probably going to end up jumping into the Character Creation screen head first and wing it. #HowIRoll

Since I have been screenshotting and talking my head off about games, I have kept most of the chatter to likeminded spaces.

Anook_logoAnook is a social network that I picked up a year ago and let go whenever my appetite for gaming decreased. It is still a clever, well designed site and perfect for dumping screen shots and short blurbs that will not unfold into actual lengthy blog posts. The developers and community are also quite friendly, which is nice especially with the lousy attitudes that can overtake the gaming community at times.

gamemerseGamemerse is a brand new forum that is the brainchild of an acquaintance that I met off of Anook, Maeka. Right now the community is in its infancy so if you like chatting about gaming, various aspects of culture, and are not generally a butthead – you should come and play! Tell ‘em Alenko sent ya. 🙂


Dragon Age: Origins Mod Masterpost


If you are playing DA:O for the first time, please do not look into Skip the Fade, Dragon Age Redesigned, or DsC new faces for Zevran / Sten / Alistair / Morrigan / Leliana. Play the game in its original integrity first; it is one of my favourite games and deserves to have your party members in their vanilla skins and well, you just have to experience The Fade for yourself!


You will need a BioWare Social Account and NexusModManager.

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