Author Archives: Wilfrid

Roger Water’s Dark Side of the Moon Redux is a Cringfest

Roger Water’s re-recording of Pink Floyd’s 50-year-old classic without any of the Pink Floyd members is very unpleasant to listen through. His long-winded spoken words are a constant distraction. And when he sings, he does so in such a low-key that makes me cringe all the way. The only part that is remotely enjoyable is when Roger Water neither speaks nor sings. The music is okay though I miss the real music from the original setup. Some parts are quite enjoyable, like his bass line. And then he sings, that spoils everything.

Album artwork

I forced myself to listen to the entire album in one setting. Because I am one huge Pink Floyd fan. My verdict: the original classic is so much more epic than this.

Sorry Roger, David is way more talented than you. You probably thought that this “Redux” album would prove otherwise. The truth is, Pink Floyd was fine without you. You are not good without Pink Floyd.

Yes, Go For 32GB RAM

It is a common struggle. Should I spend more money to get 32GB of RAM or would 16GB suffice? Today, I played Diablo 4 while letting my video editor run in the background. Yes, my laptop utilized more than 16GB of RAM. I suppose, 32GB RAM is … justified?

Finally Upgraded to a Meshed Router Network – Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

When I moved into this current home thereabout five years ago, mesh routers were expensive. And I opted to set up my home network with two routers. One was set up as a router and another one as an access point. With dual-band, I ended up with 4 SSID, which was a nightmare to connect. It also made my Sono connectivity kind of wonky as I had to connect all my Sono devices – Playbar, Sub, two SL One, and Roam – onto the same network and kind of defeated the purpose of a router/access point setup. I should have opted for a mesh router network solution when all SSID collapsed into one!

Paired, from the factory.

After much research, I have decided to pick up a pair of Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) as my network solution. The Lazada 6.6 discount was generous. It is a midrange product and it suits my need.

Looking back, setup was still easier than in the early days when I had to go through the menu and figure things out. Now, I just need to connect the routers, download an app, and configure the network from there.

Except, the QR code scan didn’t work for this model. I had to go through a manual setup by manually connecting to a temporary network (and I had to guess which one of the two, which wasn’t that difficult judging by the network strength). I had to guess an alternate option to set up through the app (not ZenWiFi but a generic Asus router because the app doesn’t support the QR code setup of this model!). The node did not work immediately. I had to try to extend it manually. It seemed to have failed and then magically, the app recognize the node.

Cool thing. My mesh network is up! Took me a while to figure out how to upgrade the firmware (the app is really not that user-friendly). But I got that sorted.

Switching my Sono app to the new network was a pain. First, each device would try to connect to my new wifi and it would fail. Next, the Sono app would prompt me to manually reset each Sono device and connect to a temporary wifi (Sono). It would fail once but the next time it would work. Then it would take 3 mins or more to update the network.

Each and every Sonos device! I have 5.

Of course, I couldn’t guess which of the Sonos SL One – left and right – the Sonos app referred to. It was kind of a guesswork.

Next, resetting the wifi of the Mi Robot Vacuum was much easier than Sonos.

The rest were standard procedures. Like my gaming laptop, Nintendo Switch …

What a hassle. But I enjoy one single SSID for sure!

And WiFi 6.

Diablo 4 Early Access First Impression – It’s World of Diablo

In this blog post, I would like to share with you my first impression of Diablo 4. And at the backdrop of this video, I have recorded a recent legion event at World Tier 2 difficulty. It took my character a long walk on foot to reach the very southern end of the map. But it was fun nonetheless.

In a nutshell, does Diablo 4 Early Access meet my expectation? I would say yes. Does it worth its price tag? I still think that Diablo 4 is a very expensive game. But it also has a lot more content compared to its previous iteration released 11 years ago. Compare to recent AAA game launches, I would say Diablo 4 is very stable. I have not encountered any bugs or problems logging into the game. 99.99% of the time, the game runs smoothly. Except for some rare stuttering perhaps due to other players joining the area online.

Diablo 4 reminds me of World of Warcraft. The design of main quests with clusters of side quests populated the entire map, which is a familiar scene if you are a WoW veteran. Resource gathering. Claiming Altar of Lilith in D4 versus collecting Dragon Glyph in WoW. Online events. Mounts. PvP. The list goes on, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Time will tell if this concept works assuming that Diablo 4 doesn’t grow as World of Warcraft does with each content patch and expansion. Will the content feel stale? We shall see.

I also like the non-linear aspect of Diablo 4. I could focus on the main quest. Or I could take a break and do some side quests, explore the map, claim altars, do cellars and dungeons, join events, and be rewarded for the effort such as additional skill points for all my characters in the same realm.

I really like the storytelling aspect of the game which connects to me emotionally such as the time when Lilith found her son Rathma dead and self-reflected as a mother. The cinematic is beautiful. If you don’t mind talking to the NPCs and doing some of the side quests, examining the objects such as paintings or books, you would experience another aspect of storytelling whereby the same story is told or further elaborated through a different person or object. A town is not just a convenient location for salvaging stuff or crafting. Each town comes with its unique culture and challenges. In short, take some time at least for your first run to experience the story, when the characters and the world come alive.

Onto the combat, it is responsive. I play on World Tier 2 Veteran difficulty. The pace is slower. But the combat is more engaging as I would need to dodge a fair bit and think before I pop certain skills. The fight can be satisfying as well, especially when I overcome some really difficult situations such as Butcher. It is still too early to comment on the skill tree and gear design and class-specific mechanism. I’ll have to experience more in the end game. So far though, I must say, I enjoy having to make difficult decisions and trade-offs when it comes to skill point allocation and gear choices. And that is good news.

As for the cash shop, so far what I’ve seen are cosmetic items and they ain’t really that enticing to me, for now. The price tags are pretty in line with other aRPG such as Path of Exile. But Path of Exile is free-to-play though. But you know Blizzard. Nothing comes cheap.

Warhammer: Chaosbane – A Review

Surprisingly, in the universe of Warhammer, there aren’t many real-time action isometric or 2.5D role-playing games. There is Inquisitor and there is Chaosbane. To summarize, Chaosbane released in 2019 is a casual aRPG, very accessible to players who are new to this genre, and very easy to pick up. Just that, you shouldn’t expect Chaosbane to be on par with other mainstream aRPG such as Diablo 3. The storytelling is basic. Voice acting has its hits and misses. Maps and enemy types are limited. But what I really like is the multi-stage boss fight that is epic and fair. The combat is fluid. Last, but not the least, you wouldn’t need to invest a lot of time to progress well in this game.

Chaosbane has a total of six classes. All gender locked. One is available as a DLC. You start with a story mode. Act one to four and act six are included in the base game while act five is a DLC.

Like Diablo 3, you can pick a difficulty that suits your current progress. The higher the difficulty, the better the rewards in terms of loot quality, gold, fragments, and experience point.

Chaosbane supports different tiers of gears. The approach to set gear is rather refreshing. The more set items you collect, the better the single effect. Higher-tier gears do have special benefits as well. Overall, it is uncomplicated and new player friendly.

There isn’t crafting per se. But you can bless your items by utilizing your fragments and currencies. There is a randomness to the outcome and that is probably one of the reasons to keep you playing the game, collect more of the same item for random blessing.

What is most refreshing about Chaosbane is their approach to skill tree and god skill tree, the latter can be unlocked through a DLC, and to me, it is almost a must-have. Each skill has three tiers. Each tier may have different effects and potency. To equip the skills, you need to work within the finite skill points and skill slots you have. There are trade-offs to be made to equip skills with the relevant rank in creating a build of your own. For example, you can’t have all the skills at the max rank of three. You can however hunt for gears that allow you to equip certain skills at no cost.

Like Diablo 3’s paragon system, Chaosbane has a legendary ranking mechanism. Experience points earned after the level cap contribute to the legendary rank. You can further boost your offense and or defense through legendary ranks. Again, trade-offs are to be made and the legendary ranking in Chaosbane is slightly more in-depth compared to Diablo 3’s paragon system.

Story mode is just one of the game modes of Chaosbane. There is a game mode called Towers of Chaos whereby each floor has a specific objective. The difficulty escalates as you progress through the floors. So are the rewards. At some points, you would have to decide if you want to keep going or take the profit and end the game. Once you open the chest upon completing the objective on any given floor, the game ends. If you fail to complete the objective, you would lose the chest.

Another game mode is called Boss Rush. You can pick any of the bosses from the story mode and repeat the experience of taking them down without having to go through all the leading storylines and quests. You may augment the difficulty level for better rewards by picking up to four hazards. Obviously, the number of bosses is limited. And tackling a boss at a higher difficulty can take a much longer time.

There is also a game mode called Relic Hunts. Like Boss Run, you may augment the difficulty level by picking up to four hazards. You may upgrade Relic Hunts with relics for better rewards. It is basically a game of clearing up the trash mobs and down the boss in the end. Kill streaks are the key factors to determine how much loot you would get at the end of the run.

Last but not least, Invasions is another game mode that allows you to transverse through the map and reap certain rewards such as stats, passives, and specific gear according to the map layout. There are many missions within the Invasions. And every time you change the rank, you would need to start all over again.

In conclusion, if you like the Warhammer universe and need more depth to any given game, play Inquisitor Martyr. If you are new to the genre or in between games like I do waiting for Diablo 4 to launch, Chaosbane is a good option.