I hadn’t really planned on spending the bulk of Sunday wrestling with my outlander in T2, but here we are. When I logged in this morning, I was just going to do a little fishing and tidy my inventory. I’ve had an urge to make biscuits for a couple of days now, and I have a good book that I’m halfway through. I was just going to fish while the water boiled for tea. That was four hours ago.
Ozzy’s just been such a difficult puzzle that I kept banging my head against it, dying over and over again. There were my existing problems of needing a lot of potions, and not having a lot of power to my ammo. And then my pet is really double-secret useless. I know they’ve all got the same base stats on them, so I can’t explain why this panther runs away and dies so much faster than any of my other pets. Maybe that’s a function of higher difficulty. He doesn’t have especially good tags on just yet, but neither did my other pets early on. He has the best things available equipped. Even as a warsnout in regular mob fights, he’s dead almost immediately. So I’ve basically just been ignoring him. I’ve had to step lively to keep myself going, so I’m not stopping to heal him. When I can get Vampiric Spider Eggs, that seems to do the trick for him and he’s much stronger and does great damage. [Side note: he is a blockily animated panther in a game that doesn’t take itself especially seriously, but it still feels really, really bad to ignore him while he limps away and keels over in a corner.]
So there I was, slogging away in the best gear I could equip, with my potions stacked to the rafters, dying and dying and dying. I could kill anything out in the world. I could kill anything in dungeons, but it was expensive and took ages. But I could not kill a single boss. All the Act I quests I did up to the boss fights, and then died almost immediately in those. Because I’ve not played either an outlander or this difficulty level before, I wasn’t sure what combination of those things was making this so hard. I looked for a better shotgunne, but couldn’t find any for sale. So I just kept slogging on, leaving all the bosses unfinished. It was insanely frustrating, but not boring. There was just enough progress I could make that I didn’t want to give up.
And then I finally caught a break. A better shotgunne dropped, and when I equipped it, it cracked the game open. The numbers weren’t crazy higher – about 20% more than what I’d had – but because Ozzy’s build is entirely wrapped up in shotgunne skills, it made a huge difference. I started being able to do dungeon monsters without going through piles of potions, and I went back and finished off all the bosses I’d left hanging. It still took ages, and lots of healing, but I did all the bosses but one without dying. That gave me about three more levels, which is that much more strength and dexterity, and then I got a shotgunne that was better still.
It’s still difficult, and I’m going through way more potions than I ever have on other characters. My panther is still not a great source of help. But I have a handle on surviving and moving forward now, and it feels really satisfying. A year ago, I’d have rage-quit this, and now I can keep myself going, and make progress. On top of being fun, that feels really good.
(This is the eve of the end of Blaugust, dear readers.)