Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Hello all!

If you're reading this, then you may have missed the memo!  I just launched my website, www.thestarsmasher.com, which is where I'll be hosting my blog from here on out.  Blogspot was fantastic, but now I want to focus on more than the blog, so the evolution was necessary.  All of my past blog posts are already up, along with my newest update.  Every form of social media that I use is there, and, soon, I'll have a links page to other sites I'm published on and an image gallery to show off my gaming accomplishments/shenanigans.

Thanks to everyone that read my blog early on, especially Legendary Blades and the Scruffy Ninja crew!  You guys encouraged me to keep doing what I love and helped boost my confidence.  And thanks to my wife, Lilly Hammer, who continues to support me and reminds me to not be so harsh on myself.

Hope you all enjoy the website, and I look forward to the future!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

I Have Become Embered (The One About Dark Souls 3)

A beautiful night for hunting monstrosities!

First, my apologies for being MIA for a while; I've had a big helping of life smack me in the face on top of investing +70 hours in Dark Souls 3, so I've been a bit preoccupied!

I gotta say, the masterminds behind Dark Souls 3 have really outdone themselves.  After investing as much time as I have, which I have defeated every single boss, I can say that this is my favorite entry in the Dark Souls Trilogy.  The boss battles are challenging, the puzzles are clever, and the locations are gorgeous.  Jolly cooperation is the best of the series, and PVP is exactly what you'd expect from Dark Souls; entirely unpredictable, yet fun and grueling.

Which is why I'm somewhat upset with some of the community bashing/trash talking arguably the best entry in the series.  This doesn't seem to be coming from the "core" Dark Souls fans; it's coming from people who are either new to the series or casual players.  Mind you, there's nothing wrong with either player type...if it were nearly any other game, I would consider myself a pretty casual gamer.  And I was new to the series at one point (having dropped in at Dark Souls 2,) so I will relate to some of the new gamer frustrations with the game.  What I cannot relate to, however, is the nonsensical whimpering of those who simply don't "get it."

I would like to say that, to those claiming the game is too "easy" and made for a wider audience; you obviously didn't continue to play after the final boss fight.  This was experienced first hand by one of our members in our online group, or clan, which they now must go back through the game on a much harder difficulty and fight these monstrosities for the first time.  If you're speed running through the game to collect the best gear/armor and not spending time reading the lore and exploring literally every single nook and cranny, I feel that you're doing it wrong and should be playing more linear games (Lords of the Fallen may be a good alternative for you...not kidding...I love that game!)

The crew and I enjoying some Jolly Cooperation!  (I'm the middle back character)

This is a game full of challenge and reward...if you're willing to invest the time.  Even with as much as I've put in, I have barely scratched the surface of the underlying story.  The crew and I have done very minimal guide look-ups, only referencing the bare minimum while still maintaining the sense of awe and wonder the series is so famous for (I will admit, however, that I did look up one boss battle, but I was getting STOMPED.)  At end game, you're main hurdle is finding a good fight via PVP.  If you're finding that to be a breeze, it's time to up your game to New Game Plus.

And in regards to the complaining about stats, frame rates, etc, they're all trivial things.  The stats work near exactly as they did in the last entry, and, if you're not able to best your fellow "Embered One" in PVP because they maxed out one or two stats, you have some character leveling to do.  The frame rate rant, in my opinion, is bogus as well; with as many giant creatures, multiple minions, and up to six PVP-ers in a world at once, 30 fps was the obvious way to go to avoid issues.  Mind you, this argument is for the vanilla launch, so the horrible experiences players are having with patch 1.04 aren't being debated here.  But players knew of this before launch if they paid attention to anything that was published beforehand.

While it may be irritating, I'm not letting the whiny, yet very vocal, few cast a shadow over an excellent game.  Regardless of your previous experience with the Dark Souls series (or lack of,) this is a phenomenal game that is more than worthy of your time...I plan on investing plenty more of mine before moving on!

If you'd like, I invite you to check out my YouTube page, TheStarSmasher, or follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for regular updates, pics, videos, and random nonsense!  Also, there will be a central hub for everything soon (a dedicated "website," if you will,) which I will be sure to update on soon(ish)!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Destiny: The April Update

*Image is the property of Bungie: I lay no claim to it*

Yesterday afternoon, Destiny players were able to get the newest batch of content with what Bungie called "The April Update."  Since I'm still waiting on my copy of Dark Souls 3 to arrive (I bought the collector's edition, and it has to be shipped from another store...long story) I dove right in to tackle the new challenges they made for us veteran Guardians.  I'm going to assume that, if you're reading this, you've read the patch notes provided by Bungie and are somewhat familiar with the game...if not, you may want to check out the details on Bungie's website!

After waiting for the update to download and install, as well as for everyone in our group to get ready, we decided to tackle the story missions first.  I was under the impression that there were going to be 3 story missions, but I was mistaken; there were 3 quests for us to tackle, and they weren't all new missions/levels.  All in all, there is 1 new story mission and 1 new strike.  Our Fireteam took about 1-2 hours to finish these up alongside 2 of the quests.  We got a bunch of new loot, so it was worth our efforts (especially the new sword...it drops at light level 320!)

So, now that we finished the story missions, the quests, and the strike & Nightfall, we moved on to the content we were most anticipating; the new Prison of Elders and Challenge of the Elders!  Both promise greater rewards and fantastic loot, and we are all eager to hit the new light level cap of 335, so we went in, guns blazing.

The new Prison of Elders was, mostly, a breeze.  We tore through 5 rounds of enemies and 1 boss battle, with a few "diffuse/destroy the mines" tasks thrown in.  Our Fireteam is comprised of a 319 Warlock, a 310 Hunter, and a 315 Titan (ME!), so it should come to no surprise that we decimated the first challenge which has a light level recommendation of 260 (if I recall correctly...it was under 300 regardless.)  We then moved on to the Challenge of the Elders, which has a light level recommendation of 320.  Our Hunter was getting nervous, but our faith wouldn't be wavered; we came to conquer!

*Image is the property of Bungie: I lay no claim to it*

We, the Scruffy Ninjas (our Destiny Clan, which is what our Fireteam was comprised of) were cautious when we first entered the new arena.  As it turns out, we were too cautious, since we were able to breeze right through the new arena despite us being under the 320 recommendation.  The modifiers this week, which gave extra damage to primary weapons, may have had a hand it this, but I believe our group is just that well put together.  Our group was able to hit over 30000 points 3 times in a row; something that we didn't feel too pressured into obtaining, especially when we did this a third time around.  We filled up our score cards and finished off our night with running the Court of Oryx over and over to obtain more loot/drops to further boost our light levels.

So, after all of that, I feel pretty good about the new content.  The Prison of Elders update has been long awaited, in my opinion, and I'm sure I'll be eager to fight new foes with different modifiers each week (and earn some sweet loot as well...looking forward to the new Lord of Wolves!)  The new weapons, armor, and shaders are nifty as well, but I'll most likely stick with my Iron Banner gear for now.

I think what I'm happiest with is that Bungie assured their fans that they haven't forgotten Destiny players, and that there will be more content coming down the pipe (squashing my fears from an earlier blog post.)  Lets just hope Bungie follows through and continues to make content that is both rewarding and challenging!