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Review: Ark Survival Evolved

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Did I mention how pretty it is?

And finally a review on the game that has eaten my brainmeats lately, ARK Survival Evolved.

Lets get the basics out of the way first. I do play on an unofficial server which is owned by my good friends, Reikonyx and Relax. You can find out more information on it via the Steam Group, my Steam Profile, the About Me section on this website, and on the Ark Servers Website. I am an admin/moderator on the server and am happy to help out any new member to the server.

Now that’s done, moving on to the game itself.

To describe the game: It is as if Minecraft, Jurassic Park, Fallout, and DayZ, all got together and had a baby. Take the best elements of each thing and bam you have ARK.

In its simplest form it is a survival game.

Description on the Steam Store page describes it thus: “As a man or woman stranded naked, freezing & starving on a mysterious island, you must hunt, harvest, craft items, grow crops, & build shelters to survive. Use skill and cunning to kill or tame & ride the Dinosaurs & primeval creatures roaming the land, & team up with hundreds of players or play locally!”

But I like my description better.

I cannot describe in simple words the sheer beauty of the game. All pictures in this post are from my actual gameplay. I run the game on medium settings and every week they increase the optimization of the game so my screenshots have progressively gotten prettier as time has gone by.

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The Crossbow and Miners Helmet – Two of my favorite additions to the game.

The game is still in its alpha infancy so there are many bugs, however for the first time in the history of the time I have been reviewing games, I am seeing developers that listen to their players. Each week they produce an ARK Digest, describing features in the most recent of their frequent updates, to upcoming bug fixes and dino’s they intend to include in future updates. At least once a week we get something new and cool, a new dino or tool, and performance/graphics gains.

An ARK Digest

You have the ability to play on the official servers or to find an unofficial server or host one of your own. One of the downsides to the game is that on PVP servers griefing can happen if the moderator is not active or if good rules are not in place.  This is particularly frequent on the Official PVP servers.

Hosting a server is not recommended on your own machine though it is possible. The sheer amount of bandwith and processing it takes lends itself to being best served by a external host. This will cost extra if you decide to go that route. On a good note, even if there is a wipe on the main servers your admin may choose to wipe the server or not, so you are less likely to lose everything.

I think one of the biggest issues that people have with this game is they forget a few basic things. The game is in Alpha. It is a survival game. It is a building simulator. You will die, there will be bugs, and yes it takes a long time to gather materials to build that awesome building you want to create.

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No Sylvester Stegalone, dinner is not ready yet!

As it sits you wake up on the beach naked with this implant in your arm and immediately you need food, water, clothing, and shelter and you have no idea why you are there or what has happened to you. They don’t play around. There have been times I have spawned 2 or three times and been killed 5 seconds into the game by a random raptor or dilo. However once you get your feet under you a bit, find a spot, build a thatch hut, and tame your first dinos, the game becomes slightly easier.

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Trabe and I in our new fancy flak armor, colored to match our dino saddles.

The tribal system in the game is vital to your survival. While you can play solo even on a server with others, the game becomes infinitely better with friends. Tasks that seemed daunting before are capable of being achieved. Need 1000 chitin? Sure I’ll take out the Sabertooth and grab some for you, while you gather stone to make cementing paste. Don’t have an engram for that saddle you need to ride your new Sarco, someone in your tribe does. And if you are smart you wont all take the same engrams.

Engrams

On the subject of engrams. Engrams are how you learn to make things. As you level up and you can level up just by surviving alone, not to mention from crafting, killing, gathering, and your nearby tribe mates doing any of the above in your general vicinity, you learn engrams. At this point you cannot learn every engram on your own, so you are forced to either pray the ones you need come in a supply drop (more on this later), or work with others on your server to get the materials / items you need.

One of the quickest way to gather materials to make your newly learned engrams (from walls to weapons) is to tame a dino to help you gather. Each dino has a purpose in the game, even if that purpose is not immediately evident, it is there. For instance, the Anklyo, is a flint gathering machine, the Mammoth gathers wood like you wouldn’t believe, and the Trike loves to help you gather thatch. Dinos can gather more than one thing but they seem to be best at one thing. Sometimes that is simply having amazing stamina for long runs, or speed, or poison to help you tame other dinos.

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My Scorpion has helped me tame many a dodo for my eventual dodo army.

Taming in and of itself is a process that takes a time investment on the end of the player. I am going to explain the process to the best of my ability in a concise manner.

1. Knock dino unconscious. You can do this a number of ways, including punching it in the face. But the best methods are tranq arrows with a bow/crossbow, or utilizing a scorpion who has a tranq attack.

2. Add Narcotics / Narcoberries and preferred food to its inventory. (Carnivores like meat, Herbivores like berries, and they even have preferences as to which ones they like more ie: Prime Meat, Kibble, and preferred berry type, be sure to look up its preference to increase tame speed)

3. Watch its torpor, and remote use narcotics in the inventory as needed. Higher torpor means less loss of efficiency, more efficiency = higher level dino and skills when done.

4. It will eat at certain intervals increasing its amount tamed. When the bar is full, you will be able to name your new dino!

There are many different guides and speculations on taming strategies. From feeding it an item it doesn’t like in order to make it eat faster, to starving it before giving it food. I think it is based on personal preference and I have found that regardless of my method the taming time for a dino depends more on having food it likes in its inventory and staying nearby as it tames to keep its torpor at max.

My first Tame was a trike. I named her Princess

My first Tame was a trike. I named her Princess

 

This game is hard at times and you will want to scream at the screen, and at others you will die laughing, and ultimately you will return to it time and again because it is fun. I can’t wait to see the final release version because even in its infancy it is far better than most at this stage.

As an added benefit the game has controller support as well as VR capabilities. I personally am excited to try this game with an Oculus as it was built with VR in mind.

Be sure to check out our server and let me know in game that you found us here and I will be sure to stop by and give you a welcome gift in game!

GG

 

 

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Update: XBOX Preview, Upcoming Reviews and More

So a lot of things have been happening lately that has kept me from writing as much as I want to.

Ok, so the truth is, I have become addicted to ARK Survival Evolved. Today, I promise I will get a review up on that and more but I wanted to give you an update on all the things I am working on.

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I have been an XBOX Ambassador for quite some time now, occasionally I will log in and answer a few questions for people. Very recently, I received an invite to the XBOX preview program as well. I have the ability to invite others into the program and am happy to do so, within reason.

If you would like an invite to the program, I do ask that you do a few things for me.

1. You must friend me on Xbox. I can only invite people on my friends list. You can find my Xbox info via my About Me page along with many other places you can game with me.

2. You must follow my blog, twitter, facebook, tumblr. You don’t have to follow them all, just one. When you do send me that inevitable friend request via Xbox, I want to know who you are, and where you follow me at so I can possibly chat with you in the future about updates and get feedback on the games you are playing and how you are enjoying them. I want to invite friends, not just random people on the internet.

3. Actually use the application and give Xbox feedback on its updates. They aren’t doing this so you get free content before everyone else. They are doing it so they can get feedback and create the best release version of the update they can. Your input is as important as anyone else’s.

4. Keep in mind the entire process takes awhile. So be patient. If you send me multiple messages asking why your registration hasn’t gone through… I will … give you a cookie and tell you to calm the hell down. Wait I forgot…

keep calm

So now that all that is established, feel free to hit me up and let me know you want in the program.

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In other news, I also recently received a review copy of RPG Tycoon. Unfortunately there are a few bugs that need to be worked out before I can give an accurate review of it.

I am excited for it as it looks super cool, however I think the issue in the game I am experiencing may have something to do with my recent Windows 10 Update. Hopefully I will be able to work that out today. The developer of the game is quick to respond to bug reports and is already working with me on a workaround to figure out why it is happening.

 

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And last but not least – WINDOWS 10! This bad boy of an Operating System is a BAMF!

At first glance your all like – Yay… a revamped Windows 8. And then you start playing around, and realize you can talk to your computer, stream your Xbox games directly on your PC, and your husband can play Witcher 3 on his computer, signed in to his profile on the XBox, while you answer messages on your Xbox app signed into yours. I intend in a few days once I’ve played around with it more to give a more in-depth review of the features and aspects I enjoy about this OS as well as some tips and tricks.

So, all that is coming. But for today – ARK Survival Evolved.

Be sure to take a look at the ABOUT ME section of the website to find more ways you can connect with me.

GG

 

 

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Dear Beloved Readers,

Ark Survival Evolved has eaten my soul. Forgive my absence lately and expect a full review with details on the server I play on soon.

Hugs and Loves,

Geeky Gorawyn

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Review: Evil Genius Deathray

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I am going to put this out there first instead of at the end of the article like I normally do because I want you to back this game. Check out the kickstarter here for Evil Genius Deathray.

Over the last weekend I attended the Treasure Coast Comic Con, and had a blast. While there I was able to play a demo of a game called EVIL GENIUS DEATH RAY. I feel the need to put that in all caps because in my head it is said in the voice of Dr. Evil from Austin Powbe164a6f2abb63da0d0b9ebfb4ace207ers. The creator reminded me of a mad scientist. He had awesome wild white hair and a scientist coat on… but what got me the most was his passion for his game. Not to mention the games marketing genius was dressed like Batman.

After playing a game I can understand why he has so much passion for it. It was absolutely a blast to play.

The jist of the game is YOU are an Evil Genius. You need to build your death ray (seen above) by assembling the parts, and destroy the other evil genius’ death rays in order to reign supreme. A full description of how to play the game can be seen at their kickstarter and because I want you to go and check it out, I am not going to give you any more on game mechanics than that.

I will tell you some of the things I loved about it though. The game itself is full of puns and nerdy references. I played the genius Kerry Gan who was able to block any attack once a game. Cause she is just that awesome.

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This is what I sat in on my death ray. Men In Black got nothing on my egg seat.

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And of course I had to fire them fffffffazers cause you know… you mad bro.

Overall, this game was awesome. The art ingenious and the creators and directors are passionate. Best of all – It’s three guys who love games making a game, backed by gamers. Can’t get more indie developer than that.

Now to go build my Evil Genius Death ray and terrorize the neighbor’s cat.

(No animals were harmed in the creation of this death ray, they did however chase around a red light on the floor for hours until given tuna.)

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ESO Review: Crafting

smithingmeme

 

I love crafting. I have spent entire games leveling from crafting alone and The Elder Scrolls Online has scratched my crafting itch in much the same manner that Skyrim did. In this review I will take a look at ESO:TU’s crafting system. While this is not a guide it is intended to give potential crafters an overview of how to craft in ESO and the benefits of doing so. I will only be able to go over the basics in this review and hope that if you are looking for a more indepth overview you look up some of the more detailed guides out there for the specific craft you are trying to level.

The Basics

There are six crafts total.

The Equipment Crafts: Blacksmithing, Woodworking, and Clothing.

The Provisioning Crafts: Alchemy, Provisioning, and Enchanting.

Each craft has its own materials. The equipment crafts have the same mechanics: Refine materials, Creation, Deconstruction, Improvement, and Research. The Provisioning crafts have different mechanics from one another based on the item in question. Provisioning relies on looted recipes, Alchemy on discovering traits of reagents, and enchanting on combining runestones in a specific order.

Gathering Ingredients

Each craft has ingredients that can be gathered in world. You can find these in barrels and crates or growing in the countryside. You can also improve skills in your skill menu under the crafting tab to increase your ability to see these items inworld.

Crafting Stations

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You can find crafting stations in most major cities and sometimes hidden stations in the world. Hidden stations will help you to craft specialized items so be on the lookout for them for later use down the line when you are out exploring. Personally I like Davon’s Watch in Ebonheart for my crafting as every station is near one another and I work all the crafts I can at once.

 

The Equipment Crafts: Blacksmithing, Woodworking, and Clothing

Blacksmithing

Blacksmithing

 

Woodworking

Woodworking

Clothing

Clothing

These three crafts have the same mechanic. At each station you can refine ingredients you have gathered: ore, cloth, leather, or wood. You then create items from those materials based on what station you are working at the time. You can deconstruct items found in world to gain ingredients. However you should not just deconstruct everything you come across. Some items grant more “inspiration” from deconstruction while others are more useful being used as a learning tool via the research tab. When researching keep in mind it can take a long time to learn a trait. The longest I have encountered so far is 12 hours. So carefully review your items before deconstructing them. As you level up each craft you will be able to put skill points into that craft for certain benefits.

Improvement : You can use certain materials to improve your creations, though without skills invested the chances of improvement are low and you risk losing the item you just created. When improving keep an eye on the chance for success and weigh your options.

The Provisioning Crafts: Alchemy, Provisioning, and Enchanting

These crafts vary in mechanics so I will review each one separately.

Alchemy

Alchemy

Alchemy in ESO is very similar to alchemy in Skyrim. With a few exceptions. There are less ingredients to gather and less combinations possible.

Solvent-List

Solvents as seen above are the way the level of the potion being made is decided. Only one solvent is used per creation however with the right skills the alchemist can make more than one potion with a single solvent.

Reagent-Pics

Above is a list of the various reagents. You can use two reagents (so I have seen so far, though I believe it is possible to add more in later levels) per creation. I will not go over the different traits associated with each reagent so there are no spoilers. However you can eat one of each reagent to learn its first trait and only its first trait. After that it is a matter of combining the right ones in order to get the potion desired. There are anti traits on some of them to keep the balance between the different reagents, which cancel out certain traits.

Enchanting

Enchanting

Enchanting is the creation of glyphs which can be applied to armor, weapons, and jewelry. It is accomplished through the combination of runestones which are found throughout the world. There are three types of runes. Potency Runes, Essence Runes and Aspect Runes.

If we wanted to enchant a weapon with Fire damage each rune would tell the glyph how to create that enchantment via the following formula:

  • The Potency rune is needed to tell the glyph what it actually does, in this case it simply ‘deals damage’. It also determines how high level you must be to be able to use the Glyph.
  • The Essence rune tells the glyph what kind of damage it does, in this case ‘Fire Damage’. It determines the attribute or stat that the enchant affects.
  • The Aspect Rune tells the glyph how much damage it does, in this case ’15’. In short, the Aspect rune determines the quality of the Glyph. As you can see in the pic above, I have several circular runes in varying colors.

As you learn the different runes and “translate” their properties you will be able to combine them to create potent enchantments for your gear.

Provisioning

Provisioning

No I wont make you a sandwich. Provisioning works differently than any other crafting skill. It relies on recipes that are dropped in world or sold in guild stores in order to create items of various levels and types. So far I can make tea, alcoholic drinks, fruity dishes, vegetable dishes, and meat dishes. Each dish buffs you for a certain amount of time and you can increase the length of the buff timer through skills. As you gain more recipes and higher abilities you will make better food with better and longer buffs. Provisioning is so far my favorite and I have entirely too many ingredients and too few recipes.

Crafting Writs

Crafting Writs

When you first start crafting you will find quests in the fighter and mages guild in Davon’s Watch that will certify you in each of the crafts. I am not certain where the certification quests are in the other alliances.

You can certify in all of them. I know the quest dialog is confusing but trust me here.

Certification essentially is “Go get me 10 maple, refine it, craft me a bow, awesome, you are certified, go do some writs.” Pretty simple for each one.

Once certified you can pick up crafting writs from the boards nearby. You can see what they look like in the above pic. Once you have a writ create the items in question and then turn them in to the consortium. They will grant you satchels of crafting goodies, everything from materials to maps to where there are lots of materials in world. They also grant character XP based on your level and the item crafted.

Crafting Addons

I highly suggest you get some addons that help with inventory management, showing if you know a recipe or not, and showing if an ingredient you have is used in a particular recipe. This is kinda vital if you intend to work with provisioning especially as you pick up ingredients non stop. Also – LOOT EVERYTHING. It helps. I sell the ingredients in the guild store that I do not currently have recipes for because I quickly run out of space.

I hope this post helped to give you an overview of crafting in ESO. I love it but it is time consuming. I also suggest you get a good crafting guild to help. I am in Craftaholics United and they have been super helpful! If you would like to meet me ingame send me a message to @Gorawyn

Happy Crafting

Geeky Gorawyn

 

 

 

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ESO Review: A Second Look at The Elder Scrolls Online

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As many of my readers know, I am a hardcore Skyrim fan.  I have played it so long and for so many hours now that I have developed odd habits in the game. Like collecting boots off people and then placing them inside a single room of my house. I have leveled characters completely from crafting and building houses. Run around using Th’uum to push NPC’s off cliffs, or did my best to make my horses fly via giant.

Skyrim is one of my favorite games and Bethesda is one of my favorite developers. So when The Elder Scrolls Online was announced I was one of the first to jump into the beta test line and get on board with that.

The first beta test weekend I was invited to arrived. I had downloaded early but when I went to log in on that Friday night, I was unable to do so. They did not get the issue fixed until the next day and then I only had a few hours to play.

Needless to say I went into the beta test frustrated. Coupled with that frustration was that the test that weekend was for the PVP aspects which you cannot access till you reach level 10. The leveling system in ESO is very slow. So I did not even reach level 6 in the weekend I played.

When the invite to the next weekend came to my inbox. I ignored it. I was disappointed in many things ESO had to offer during the beta.

I knew it would be glitchy but overall the game just did not make me want to play it. It felt like one huge grindfest with very little reward.

So I did not go back.

Then my good friend Reikon who runs a multi-game guild with me called Paradox  told me he had two keys to ESO and wanted to give it another shot. He offered me a key and I reinstalled the game.

I decided to give it another look with less frustration involved and once the game had really had time to develop. Boy was I impressed.

After a full 9 hours straight of playing I am only level 7, and I never even noticed how low my level was because I was having so much fun just playing the game.

Some major differences that I have noticed at this point in the game are the justice system, the death recap, and the dye systems. There are many other aspects that have been tweaked over the time I was gone that have significantly improved gameplay but they are too numerous to review in one session so I will focus on these three to begin with and review others as they impact my gameplay.

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The Justice System

When I first tried ESO there was no genuine Justice System. You could just random do crimes without repercussion. Now every single crime can lead to punishment. You can steal, murder NPC’s, pickpocket, and break into homes now but not without possible repercussion.

Bounties

Bounty is how crime is accounted for in ESO. There are multiple levels of Bounty on your person and NPC’s and guards will act according to the level of bounty you have on you when you are around them.

Disreputable, Notorious, and Fugitive

At the lowest level you are generally disregarded unless you directly approach a guard. At higher levels guards will chase you down and demand you pay, and at the highest level guards will outright try to kill you.

You can lower your bounty via various ways but most often you just end up having to pay.

The good news? If no one sees you there isn’t anyone to put a bounty on your head.

Thievery

In general things in peoples homes and shops can be stolen. The item tooltip when you mouse over it will show in the color red with the option to steal. If an NPC or guard sees you steal something you will have to pay a fine, do it enough and your bounty will go up.

Stolen goods must be sold to special merchants in Outlaw Refuges where criminals can’t be attacked or stopped by Enforcers).

Pickpocketing

NPC’s now have inventories you can pickpocket from. Crouch behind them and target them to have the option to pickpocket.

Murder

Most NPC’s can now be murdered. Other NPC’s will react if they see you murdering someone. You cannot murder key NPC’s that are vital. I have not checked yet if there is a timer for respawn on murdered NPC’s but I think it would be awesome if they didn’t have one or had a very very long one.

Enforcers vs Outlaws

An aspect I haven’t really explored is the role of the Enforcer. You can uphold the law and PVP kill those whom you find committing crimes or having bounties high enough. To become an enforcer find the Enforcer tower and speak to the NPC there. You will be given a tabard that enables you to see the crime bounties of all visible players when you have it on and can then elect to PVP those who have committed crimes.

Overall really digging the Justice System. I haven’t played with it much yet because before I go delving into being chased by every guard everywhere, I want to get a good handle on the game.

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The Dye System

One of the coolest additions I came across in my playing of ESO is the dye system. Dye stations are found in at least one city in every major area and using them is simple. Activating the dye station like any other crafting station will bring up the above menu.

Each dye is unlocked via achievements and you can view the achievement needed for every dye presented. As an achievement hunter in most games myself I really like this. Visible rewards for spending hours to get that achievable? I’m sold.

Some might be turned off by the achievement aspect but honestly unlocking the lower tier ones has been happening just as I play the game and not even actively searching out achievements. I imagine the higher tier ones are going to take some work but when I have the set I want, I will be proud to show off my hard earned colors.

death recap

The Death Recap

Last but not least. (Yea I did that.) The death recap. This addition was nice. I like being able to see what enemy was killing me with what skill after death. I imagine this comes in handy in raiding when you are trying to see what you were missing, not avoiding, or what stupid you happened to be standing in. The recap tells you what was hitting you over the last few hits and how much damage it did to you and tells you how you might even the odds in the future based on your skills and armor rating. It also informs you of the killing blow with a skull and crossbone symbol next to it.

Conclusion

Way to go ESO, you managed to bring me back. You haven’t quite stolen me from SWTOR but I do now feel like I am playing multiplayer Skyrim with an awesome storyline. I can’t wait to check out becoming a werewolf or vampire. I love the crafting system and a review will be coming in the future on this. I did not expect to have quite this much fun after an abysmal beta experience and wish I had given ESO a shot again sooner.

Added note on ESO – Addons are available and I would highly recommend that returning players and veterans alike go check out http://minion.mmoui.com/ and get the addon manager for ESO. Works like Curse’s addon manager but covers ESO. In my opinion the Lootdrop addon for ESO is a very necessary addition to your game.

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Vape Review: The Magma RDA

magma

At my birthday party my good friend Reikon presented me with this RDA. Prior to this I had been only using tanks and had not really gotten into dripping, other than occasionally sampling his drip when he was over.

He told me when he gave it to me that it was difficult to build on but would at least give me something to start out with.

When my brand new IpV4 came in, Reikon came by and taught me a few things about building coils. So for the first week I was using the coils he had built on there.

Then I had to build my own coil.

The wire I used is 26 gauge. The wick is standard cotton wicking from Cotton Bacon. Which can be purchased here at Lightening Vapes.  I love this cotton, tastes great and easy to use.

I made two coils and put them on the Magma. First thing I noticed was there was not much room to build on the magma itself. While you can technically put two coils on here I found very quickly that the Magma works better having just one. Primary reason is airflow. The air flow comes in from the bottom in two small holes. When you add in wicking from two coils it restricts the airflow and the coils produce intense amounts of heat.

The next issue I had was no matter how tightly I built the coils they were hitting the sides and causing low resistance. I had to spend quite a bit of time tweaking them to sit correctly. Removing one of the coils made this task a bit easier as well as increased the airflow.

Next was the issue of leakage. The wicking well and the airflow holes are in line with one another so there initailly was leakage. I get around this by painting my wick with juice instead of dripping directly in. The problem here is that makes this a rda that is not easily transported as you will need to disassemble the top to rejuice and you must do so more frequently than say direct drip.

I managed to get the coil to fire at .7 Ohms. which is pretty decent in my opinion for a first build. I run it at 20-30 Watts depending on how big a cloud I really want.

On the plus side the biggest selling point of the rda is that it produces flavor at a maximum. Other rdas I have had the privilege to try produced better clouds but this one is definitely a flavor chaser if you spend the time to work with the limitations of the design.

Overall I like this RDA and it will remain one that I use, however I do think I will be searching for a new one to use more frequently as this one is not as user friendly as I would like.

If this review was helpful to you please feel free to share it. If you would like me to review your product please feel free to contact me via facebook, twitter, or email. 

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