Frontier Update #6: Vanishing Act

Here are the articles that will soon be deleted from this blog, as discussed in Frontier Update #5:

White Knights and The Backup Ribbon Project

The “What Ifs” Destiny Players Are Asking

How Does Destiny Treat Female Characters?

Assassinations: Up Close And Personal

I Don’t Know A Thing About Game Development

Sparrow Racing: Options and Challenges

Are You Still Playing?

Rear View For Better Vehicles

Grimoire Cards And The Search For A Story

Not Everyone Loves Xur

Frontier Update #5: Big Changes

Things have been a little quieter than usual around here, and I should apologize for that. Rest assured, my desire to write has not been sated just yet. In fact, it’s that desire to write that I need to discuss with you, my wonderful readers.

Years ago, I co-produced a podcast and website devoted to nerd culture with a friend of mine. It lasted for about three years. The only remnants of it still floating out there is our Youtube channel, but it was doing alright for a time. It ultimately fell apart for various reasons, not the least of which was difficulty in finding contributors.

Recently, I had someone contact me via Twitter and offer me a writing job on his new website. Normally I would not be interested, but I gave him a chance to make his case and it turned out to be compelling. I ended up signing on with his crew as a contributor. I’ll be covering gaming, tech, science, movies, TV, comics, anime and plenty of other nerdy stuff. I’m also hoping to tackle Twitch and other multimedia. The site’s called (nerd+hardmode) and I hope you’ll give it your patronage.

It’s a bit of an amusing turn-around. I’ve been writing for a long time, and it’s only the second time in my life that I’ve been asked to write.

So what does this mean for Frontier? A few things.

Firstly, I will continue to write Destiny-related creative works and post them here. They don’t fit in on a news site. I hope you’ll still come by and enjoy the story, Exotic Concepts and the upcoming Lore Breakdown posts.

The biggest change will be that some of the non-creative posts will disappear from this blog. I’ll be taking them down and reworking/updating them for the new site. I have to take them down for ad reasons. I’ll post a list tomrrow of what will be vanishing, and I’ll leave them up for a while so that everyone can get some last-minute peepers on them. I’d like to thank you for reading them, and I hope you’ll check out the new and improved versions once they post.

That’s it for now. Posting frequency might be a little wanting in the near future while I get all my ducks in a row. I’m also adjusting my story plans a bit to get to the good stuff sooner, and considering how to attack the first batch of Lore Breakdowns. Good stuff is coming, I promise.

Stay tuned!

Exotic Concepts #7: Sol Vector

Gave the option of a Voidwalker or Sunsinger exotic to a particularly active reader. Thanks for being a fan, @Volk37!

To some, it may seem like the Sunsinger focus got the short end of the supers stick. Radiance doesn’t let you do anything new if you don’t include the Fireborn upgrade. Sure, you can take a little less damage or improve cooldowns for nearby allies, but it’s not as interesting as other supers. You don’t get to feel like blazing winged badass you look like.

Sol Vector is a set of warlock gauntlets that is supposed to give a Sunsinger the sense of complete power and domination one should be if one was a star by getting creative with your grenade and melee.

Apollo Arbalast – Launches a super firebolt grenade that continually procs while Radiance is active. Higher discipline equals faster bolt procs.

What’s cool about this is that it’s almost like deploying a limited-duration turret. If the defender titan is the ultimate in zone defense, a discipline-build Sunsinger is the ultimate in zone offense. While a minimal discipline build will fire off only two or three pairs of firebolts, a maxed discipline build should proc seven or more times.

Lambda Scorch – Scorch hits at any distance.

It’s important to remember that scorch is cooling down very fast during Radiance, perhaps instantly with a strength build. That amounts to a very powerful ranged weapon. It should travel about as fast as a fusion rifle bolt to force the user to track a moving target at long ranges. Accuracy should be as accurate as your average sniper shot because anything less than that would detract from the godly destruction you should be able to apply.

It’s important to note that using Lambda Scorch will drain your super metre, so if you’ve got Apollo Arbalast out, it’ll last less time than you expect.

The Infusion upgrade (Replenishes health each time you pick up an Orb of Light) rounds out the upgrades a lot nicer than anything weapon-based and fits the theme nicely.

In the interests of balance between the two major upgrades, I think a three-way equal split between intellect, discipline and strength would be best. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that before but given the nature of this exotic I feel it fits.

For appearance, I’d like this to look like gauntlets that would match the Heart of Praxic Fire. Same colouration and pattern.

If it seems over-the-top even for an exotic, take into consideration how dominating a Bladedancer is with the Mask of The Third Man. That’s usually the gauge for whether or not the exotic is truly OP.

So what do you think? Would you use this? Do you think I’ve finally lost my mind?

Exotic Concepts #6: FASTBALL

I think titans have gotten the best exotics when you consider how well they all integrate into effective build choices. Going over all the existing options looking for significant holes in the profile, I came up empty. I had to think a little more outside the box than usual, but it also had to be simple and executable.

False Axis Sensory

The “Fastball Special” takes its cue from a nerd meta-joke. Large hero throws small hero at baddies. Mayhem is assured. Ah, the mayhem. While you can’t throw other guardians at Valus or Phogoth (as much as you’d want to sometimes…), you do throw other things. Grenades. Grenades travel on a parabolic arc and don’t travel very fast. But you’re a mighty titan, are you not? Are you arms not… mighty? If a professional baseball pitcher can throw a small ball at 100km/h, why can’t you send a sticky grenade slamming into some poor fool’s face at several times that speed?

Fastball Special: Magnetic Grenades will be thrown extremely fast and in an almost straight line.

Fastball Encore: You get a second Magnetic Grenade.

At this point some of the more hardcore titan players will be hissing and booing at me, saying that discipline is a fool’s stat for titans. Indeed, the strength stat seems to be the only thing worth a damn if you go by the example of every other titan exotic, but since Destiny makes it silly to min-max to such a degree due to its failure (yes, failure) to allow upgrade stacking, why not have a discipline build? This exotic would have to have a crazy-high discipline-only roll to make it worth while, but we’ve seen that sort of thing before in other exotics.

Consider how many heads you can detonate if you’ve got a sunsinger warlock in your fireteam helping you proc these little messengers of loud pain even faster. I did promise mayhem, after all.

I’d also like to include a heavy weapon loader upgrade to round out its effectiveness.

So here’s my question for the readers: What does it look like? Let’s have some fun with this! Even if it’s a half-idea or a picture from something else that you think kinda sorta maybe is in the same ballpark, just drop anything in the comments section. Also, would you like to use it?

Exotic Concepts #5: Shinsō

Exotic weapons are all well and good, but armour is what other players will gawk at when you’re busting a move at the Tower, or holding the banner at the beginning of a Crucible match. They arguably affect more of your play style than any single weapon will.  So let’s see what we can dream up for exotic armour!

When it comes to the Hunter class in the Crucible, I’m all about Bladedancers. It’s more than just that crazy super, though. Building your entire hunter around your melee can be very rewarding if you’re into a super-aggressive style. However, the range at which a Hunter’s Blink Strike can find its target as compared to his super’s is quite shorter, not to mention it’s not really a noticeable improvement over any other class/subclass. The perk for Blink Strike does say it has an extended range, but it’s almost nothing, which is disappointing.

Shinsō would be arm armour that would have 60cm black blades coming out of each gauntlet. Any melee attacks (including the super) will have different animations to utilize these blades as opposed to the standard ones. I’d like them to incorporate smooth lines with sharp terminuses as well as the yin-yang symbol.

It’s perk would be called Ikorose and vastly increase the range of melee attacks. The internets tell me that the range of a Blink Strike is 5.8m, so a Shinsō-boosted range should be around 9-10m to keep it really interesting. If you’ve got a 100% strength build and are using the Fast Twitch perk, you’ll be simply wrecking in the Crucible. I’d also recommended Hungering Blade since you’ll be using your melee a lot. Having a high strength role and maybe a bit of intellect would be pretty important to the build you would want with this exotic.

I’m pretty sure I’d want the other perk to be Shotgun Loader to boost the reload speed of shotguns. As I’m more or less aiming this exotic for Crucible use, special ammo isn’t that hard to come by, so I feel giving something useful to a weapon that people already use in conjunction with Blink Strike would be the best choice. I’m aware some people find this combo annoying but it is effective, if not a bit suicidal.

This is my first crack at exotic armour and I’m a little wary about balance, so feel free to tell me if I’m off my rocker and how you’d fix Shinsō. I’m hoping to come up with something for Warlocks and Titans so if you’ve got ideas for them, let me know in the comments section!

Frontier – Act05 Chapter18 – Freakangel

Chapter 18: Freakangel

Towers sprouted up over the centuries around the Last City on Earth to fill the role of sanctuaries for the guardians who fought back against the forces that would lay waste to it. Inevitably, the deep interiors of these places were claimed in some capacity or another by a guardian of such and such group. Nobody really complained. There was plenty of room and everyone more or less respected each other’s claims.

Solas-3 has been around for a very long time, even for an Exo. When a freshly unearthed recruit by the name of Ikora Rey with a bad attitude and an uncanny ability to roll over instructors appeared, it was Solas-3 that took her under his wing as his apprentice and taught her how to hone that tenacity into a weapon. He gained a reputation for being calm, focused and determined. He called the warlock Iron Lords Skorri and Timur among his friends, valiantly fighting with them at the Battle of the Twilight Gap. He was Arch-Magus of a small but well-regarded Warlock Order. His official power rank was AAA+, though some believe his true limits may be well beyond rank S. He was known as The Blind Dragon.

Her blonde hair shone brightly under the harsh hallway spotlights as Angela walked down the hall, looking at the labels on the doors as she went. Guardians and staff noticed the young girl and stopped to offer assistance, recognizing her from vids telling of a new Speaker’s apprentice. Angela thanked them kindly for the offer but declined, preferring to take advantage of the few times she was not waited on like royalty. Her arms encircled a huge tome, holding it close to her chest. Within the book was documentation of Solas at a monumental event in the City’s history. She hoped to use this as an excuse to spend time with someone she considered one of her few and precious friends.

She was so excited and nervous that she almost passed Solas’ lab entirely. In fact, the door seemed to almost not be there unless you looked at it directly and focused your mind on it. The door was only marked with a glowing ward in the centre that was about the size of someone’s hand. A lock? There didn’t seem to be any other mode of entry. Angela placed her hand on the runes as it came to life, warming up and vibrating.

“Angela. I want to see my friend, Solas.” she said. She was not quite sure, but the door seemed to ask a question, to which she responded almost without her own intent. Her training allowed her to make sense of some of the glyph’s design, parsing out spells that could force the truth out of unwilling participants. It glowed in many colours and hummed in many tones as Angela’s hand remained on it. Was it deciding whether or not to let her in?

The door bled from view, as did the entire hallway. Immediately it was replaced with the interior to a dimly-lit but extremely well-equipped laboratory about 2000 square feet in size. The Speaker himself would have been jealous of what Angela saw, as was she before backtracking to how she got inside in the first place. She could see no door or window around her, and her best guess was that Solas somehow kept his lab separated from normal spacetime by sealing it within a pocket dimension. Windows showed her that the lab was indeed floating in the bleed between realities. Perhaps that door was not the only point of access.

Still clinging to her book, Angela walked around the lab, silently observing all the wondrous experiments. Several frames seemed to handle the lab’s various workings and ongoing experiments but didn’t bother interacting with her. She considered trying to get the attention of one but decided it was best not to impede their work.

She came to a curious device in the centre of the room. It resembled a large metal seed, lacking any readouts but several conduits snaked from it and around the pedestal it was set on, leading into the floor. She hadn’t touched anything else in the lab, but something made the thought of touching this curiousity compelling. Her hand grazed the platinum shell and felt the presence of her friend. Was he inside? Bracing herself, she firmly placed her right palm flat on the pod, the book occupying her entire left arm to hold. She closed her eyes and focused her light into her hand like she was taught to, extending her senses and projecting her mind forward.

Bright and warm sunlight washed over Angela as she opened her eyes and found herself in yet another place. The smell of old books, older wood, dazzling crystal and a vague something baking filled her nostrils. It was instantly the most comforting place she had ever been, yet she was pretty sure it was not real. It was too perfect, but that didn’t make it any less wonderful to her.

The true secret of this place was that it was not a place at all. While Solas’ body rested inside a sunflower seed-shaped platinum pod of his own design, his mind had room to expand and evolve, thanks to the pod’s supplemental memory and processing capabilities. The warlock’s celestial-scale mind was indeed contained fully within the Exo’s frame, but he built the pod some time ago to allow his intellect some room to breathe and stretch. All of the wisdom that he’d collected since his resurrection was stored here. Every book. Every experience. All of his knowledge stored in this place to be constantly reviewed and analyzed.

Still clinging to her own book, Angela’s curious eyes ran across dozens of other book spines. She found that she could taste the data within them if she just focused on them a bit. She was checking out a recovered Golden Age scientific journal about using exotic matter resonance fields to stabilize quantum slipstream travel, when she felt a new warmth coming from the third floor. Turning, she saw a silhouette of pure light. It didn’t have any features but Angela could not only tell it was Solas, but that he was looking and smiling at her. It was stunning to her because Solas always had his emotions under strict control, but this side of him was free. With all his balances and barriers left behind, the Exo was able to simply be. He was intensely happy to see her. Moving through the construct of the library, Solas floated down to her and lifted her up, embracing her in a warm hug. Angela could hear no sound emanating from him, but she knew he was laughing. He was so happy to see her it was a bit of a shock at first, letting loose her own laugh and returning the embrace.

They spent the day sharing stories without speaking, laughs without laughing and just reading in the comfortable silence of kin.