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Flawless Raider, Part 1 : 07/13/17

howdy friends!

I wrote this blog originally for the Activision blog… but since they couldn’t use .GIFs… it didn’t really work. part of the fun of video game posts is seeing the video game action, so not being able to do that meant the post just wouldn’t be as interesting. that being said, this was one of my favorite blogs that I wrote, and the first time I’ve ever “trained” for an eSport. by which I mean, I practiced and played a LOT to accomplish a very specific and rather challenging goal.

so without further ado, please enjoy this blog.

so a few months back I was looking at my Destiny trophies from Year One and realized there was just one that I had yet to earn – “Flawless Raider.” Just by the name, this one seemed near impossible. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never finished a raid without dying. and I don’t think I’ve ever been in a party that didn’t wipe at least a few times. most of the raids I’ve been on include multiple wipes… with lots of deaths in between. (“wiping” means your entire six person team dies and you have to start a section over.) just think about getting “Flawless Raider” made me a little anxious, but I still wanted to get it. it’s not that I’m one of those gamers that has to get every trophy/achievement… in fact, I’ve never done it, but knowing that this was the ONLY one I had left was like an itch that I couldn’t scratch. I needed to get it done.

my first thought was to get a group of clanmates together for a weekend attempt. everyone would need to block out the entire afternoon, commit to multiple restarts, be skilled and mellow… but people are busy and it was getting harder and harder to get a group together for a “normal” run, let alone an attempt at flawless. so it just didn’t seem practical. for a while I gave up on it, but then I stumbled upon a step-by-step guide to getting the Flawless Raider trophy by doing Crota’s End solo. yeah, solo. as in, instead of six people you do it alone.

back when we used to run this raid weekly, we’d often send a Hunter ahead to finish The Abyss by themselves while the rest of us had a dance party at the spawn. A cheap trick? Maybe… but it was no lamp-jump, that’s for sure. so I knew that part could be done by one person.

The Bridge was another story. while I’d seen people sword-swipe across the chasm, I’d never been good at this, by which I mean that I’d never been able to make it across the pit without the bridge being formed. this section required three people standing on plates plus another guardian holding the sword. I’d completed this part of the raid with only four players, but that usually meant the three that stayed behind would die, leaving the sword bearer to complete the encounter. obviously in a Flawless Raider world this would not work. this meant that having anything less than a full fireteam of six would require people sword swiping across and that just seemed like more trouble than it was worth. better to learn how to cross on my own.

after that was the “Thrall-way” I didn’t expect that to give me any trouble. then the witch, Ir Yût, who I figured would be challenging but not impossible, and finally Crota. I’d never beat Crota solo, but I’d been able to defeat Thalnok aka “Mini-Crota” in the Court of Oryx by myself many times and I was now so over-leveled (ahem, 400) that it couldn’t be that hard, right? well, dear readers, I would soon find out.

step one research. I boned up on my Reddit reading and youtube watching. these pretty much confirmed what I’d been thinking. I was impressed that there were guides for soloing with every class, but I’m a Titan guy — so that was going to be how I’d do it. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, so I committed to multiple days of training. my plan was to play through the raid, no matter how many times I died, until I had it down. I wouldn’t worry about starting over until I could clear every section on the first or second try.

I was ready to start, so I loaded up my Titan, leveled up my Universal Remote , and equipped No Back Up Plans. for those of you that don’t know, Universal Remote is a shotgun that fits in your primary weapon slot, and No Back Up Plans give you a force barrier on shotgun kills… I planned on shotgunning my way to glory through the waves of Thralls in The Abyss. then using my Tormod’s Bellows rocket launcher (with Tripod & Tracking) dispatching the ogre at the end.

literally my first run…


okay, so it had been a while since I’d done Crota’s End. obviously I needed to wait a bit longer for the bridge to form.

no problem. once on the ground it should be a cakewalk for a 400 level Titan like myself…

Abyss Nope

I could barely make it past the first few lamps without dying. and there are 15 of them


this did not look good.

okay, what about my Hunter? back to The Tower I went. I knew I need a few things, 1) the Mida Multitool. this scout rifle, in addition to being a brutal weapon gives +2 agility. more speed = more better. 2) a good shotgun for the Knights. no problem, I have those in spades 3) the aforementioned rocket launcher for ogre at end and finally 4) the Don’t Touch Me gauntlets. these exotic gloves give a brief period of invisibility when taking melee damage. so if you get hit by say, a Thrall or a Knight, you vanish!

perfect. back to the Moon I went!

The Blade Dancer actually has a bunch of perks that help increase your invisibility-ness. Escape Artist for panic-blink-strike vanishing, Shadowjack for longer invisibility effect, and Stalker to crouch and disappear. with all these selected I was feeling pretty good. this time I cleared The Abyss on the first try. YESSS. I was stoked.

Abyss Loadout

The Bridge however, just as I suspected was another matter. I switched to a Harrowed Doom of Chelchis scout, a LDR 5001 sniper, and the Gjallarhorn. with “yellow bar” Wizards and Ogres on the other side, I was going to need some serious firepower to kill them on my own. (yellow bar enemies are significantly harder to kill then normal bad-guys) I also took off my Don’t Touch Me’s and put on the Bones of Eao. these boots upgrade your double jump to a triple jump, so you get the “Gun Slinger” jump on a Blade Dancer and with a bit more height. the perfect thing for jumping across a giant death chasm, right? but man, I have the hardest time landing on stuff with the blade dancer jumps. maybe it’s my Titan-bias. maybe I just need to “git gud”, I dunno. either way, just getting on a pillar to shoot the Sword Bearer was challenging (and honestly I never got it down), but luckily, being my light was high enough I could kill him from the ground, if need be.

then came the matter of swiping across. as predicted was a bit challenging for me. but I found that if I headed straight, angled to the left, then at least landed on the rock, I could sword-swipe up the side of it. who knew?! once I finally made it up to the top of the platform, I was able to defeat the Gatekeeper and all the other bad guys without too much trouble. again feeling pretty good. it wasn’t long before I was at Ir Yût, The Deathsinger. she proved a bit challenging for me, but I stumbled my way through. (Naturally, the next day I read/watched a great post about defeating her solo style. I’ll get into that technique next week…)

finally, I was at Crota. And let me tell you it was really, really freaking hard. I tried a bunch of techniques. I tried Gjallarhorn, Sleeper Simulant, Dragon’s Breath… I could NOT get him to “kneel” consistently. and if you don’t get him to kneel, you can’t damage him with the sword. and if you can’t damage him, well… then you’ll never kill him.

Crota nope

was I not doing enough damage? was he glitching? what was the problem? (glitching refers to a problem with the connection or the game… as in “it’s not my fault I swear!!!!!”

I don’t know… but eventually after many, many tries I finally got him. it was a pretty good feeling to take out that giant space jerk by myself. suck it, Crota.

Hell Yeah!

but on that first attempt at the raid I’d died about a bazillion times which if you’re keeping track is about a bazzillion times more than I could. getting the Flawless Raider Trophy was going to be a bit harder than I expected…

next week: does Yeti break his controller? leave personal hygiene behind? abandon his friends, family, and career in an attempt to become legend?

find out right here… with even more awesome GIF action!


p.s. “Yeti” = “yetiesque” which is my PSN gamertag. let’s play!

fun with beards : 11/01/13

hey friends!

sorry I missed last week… have been pretty slammed with editing work.

BUT, I have something new for you this week.

last winter, I grew my traditional “winter beard” and just about everyday, I took a picture of my face. here is what four months of beard growing looks like.

of course, it would be a shame to grow a glorious beard like that and not do something fun when I shaved. so I decided to make this.

but beyond just doing something “fun” with my beard, I also wanted to help promote a future project of mine. last year I wrote a screenplay entitled “Natural ‘Stache.” it’s a comedy about Bigfoot, mustaches, and bad decisions. the story begins and ends at a Beard & Mustache Competition in Portland. so while this video wouldn’t be a part of the final movie, it takes place in the same “world.” hopefully when I send people the screenplay and the link to this video, they’ll laugh and get a general idea of the tone I’d like the movie to be.


SDCC 2011- Epic Story Telling : 08/11/11

hey friends,

here’s my first blog from SDCC…

a big part of Comic Con the last few years has been the EPIC Hall H panels. for those of you that don’t know, “Hall H” is the largest room at the Convention Center. it can fit probably 6,000 people and it is the location for the biggest panels for the biggest movies. this is the place where the Twilight fans lined up the night before in order to guarantee their spot for a panel the following afternoon.

Hall H line

the line got to be so crazy, that if you wanted to see something at ANY point during the day, it was better to line up in the morning and spend the entire day in the Hall. and last year I did just that. there were several days that I didn’t leave until the afternoon or evening.

but this year was different…I’m not really sure why. I just didn’t have the desire to do it again. maybe I wasn’t as excited about the movies that were showing? maybe it was that some of my “Hall H friends” from last year weren’t at the Con? but for whatever the reason, I ended up seeing a lot of smaller panels.

one of the first I went to was on “Epic Story Telling.” I didn’t really know exactly what the panel was on, but the headline interested me. there is a large guide with detailed descriptions of the panels, but I throw that away pretty quickly. first, it is BIG and I don’t want to carry it around. and second, part of what I like about SDCC is being exposed to different mediums and different types of creators. if I’m a little loose about the panels I go to, I figure I’ll be exposed to a greater variety of subjects & people.

“Epic Story Telling” ended up being about epic, “Lord of The Rings” style novels. I didn’t know any of the authors – or any of their books. although it turned out that the author of “Game of Thrones,” George Martin was a panel member. but they never referred directly to that title… I guess they just figured those in the audience would “know” who he was.

the question was raised, “why epic stories?” throughout mankind’s history, we’ve told our tales in this format. from the Illiad, to the Bible, to Star Wars – we are drawn to these types of stories. several of the authors had insight to this. one remarked about “actions of consequence” things that move beyond our “daily lives.” another spoke on the idea of “immersion” that a longer, and bigger story could pull the reader into the world more.

both of the points strike true to me. the immersion helps pull us into the large and fantastic worlds, where things matter. actions have meaning. the fate of the hero (ourselves) and their loved ones (our families) hangs in the balance. maybe even the entire world is at stake. we relate to these stories AND get to dream about bigger and extraordinary things.

the is obviously a HUGE subject, and not something that a 1 hour panel can fully answer, but it was nice to hear other writer’s talk about it.

it was also great to hear about their creative process. it really varied from person to person. one author didn’t outline at all. another had a 90 page outline for his book. some started with characters, some started with worlds, some started with ideas/themes. each one had found a technique which suited their personal creative process the best. there was no “right” way to go about writing.

Tolkien and his process of starting with “language” were often mentioned. in fact, I’ve never heard one single influence mentioned SO much at a panel. you’d think that the genre would not even exist if not for him. but weren’t their dragons and knights and orcs and dwarves and other magical kingdoms and realms before him?

a few also mentioned the “beautiful accidents” part of writing. when you think you know what you want to write, but for whatever reason, something changes while you are working..inspiration hits and you come across something new and unexpected. occasionally this will be JUST the thing that you are looking for. sometimes, it ends up being nothing, but it is an interesting part of the process.

this is something that I’ve experienced in my own work and it was nice to hear that I’m not the only one…

ok, that’s enough for now. my render is almost done and I need to get back to editing.

tonight is the Red Carpet for the HollyShort Film Festival. I’ll try and tweet some pics later at http://twitter.com/lukeguidici