Seasonal Bits

rift-2016-10-21-06-15-27-31

diablo3season8

Tonight begins the next season for Diablo 3, and I have to admit much like season 7 this one completely snuck up on me.  Were it not for my friend Grace the beginning of the season would have passed me by completely.  For the last several of these we have done a Friday night vigil as we attempt to grind our way up to 70 on a brand new set of seasonal characters.  Once again I think I am going to go with a Demon Hunter, largely because they seemed super easy to push through the seasonal process and at least get high enough to collect the cosmetic goodies.  I am just not super into Diablo 3 right now, the evidence being that it just got removed from my side bar.  The challenge is that I can only have so many games that I actively care about at one time.  Right now I am spending the bulk of my time playing World of Warcraft, and attempting to steal as much time as humanly possible to feed my love of Destiny.  From there I am also juggling in some time for Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV…  while at the same time trying to keep a foot in Rift for when the expansion lands there.  This scattered approach at gaming has a lot to be desired at times, because it ends up leaving me feeling like no one game is getting the attention it deserves.  Diablo 3 fell off the radar once I managed to get last seasons cosmetic items, and I had not even realized the season had closed until Grace talked about merging in her seasonal inventory.  This in itself is one hell of a chore, but I find myself getting significantly more mercenary about this process as the seasons go along.  Pretty much any legendary that is not ancient quality or part of the actively equipped set of gear… gets sharded.

rift-2016-10-21-06-15-27-31

The above screenshot is just because I wound up setting up a new outfit in Rift, and thought it was cool.  I’ve loved the whole shade touched effect since the very first world event, and this time around for their “fall” event they are offering a shade touched skull that I could add to my wardrobe collection.  I also picked up the scythe made of bone… because I kinda have a thing for scythes.  The other interesting thing that I learned this morning is that apparently FRAPs does not handle DSR well.  Dynamic Super Resolution is a thing that Nvidia cards can do, where they essentially run the game in 4k on a 1080p resolution.  That is an oversimplification of what it ACTUALLY does but we are just going to go for that simplistic definition for the time being.  I am going to need to go out hunting and see if I can find another all purpose screenshot program, because fraps apparently only takes a single 1080p panel of the larger image.  This wound up with some rather comedic screenshots while trying to capture something for this mornings post.  I finally wound up doing Alt+PrintScreen and pasting it into photoshop to get the results this morning…  which also caused the FRAPs framerate counter to come along with it.  DSR works great for a game like League of Legends or Diablo 3, but it does some weird stuff as a result.  I guess I need to do some experimenting with the nvidia screenshot tool that comes with the new version of “Experience” and see if it works well enough to kick fraps to the curb.  Thing is that is really all I use it for… dumping screenshots from every game into a single “gameshots” directory for me to sort through for the purpose of this here blog.  In any case… the plan is to hang out in Diablo 3 tonight and do another grind ritual with the start of this brand new season.  I always have a blast doing it, even when I am not exactly prepared for it.

Regularly Playing: June Edition

rift 2016-06-12 19-07-37-18

Back in May I decided to make a monthly ritual of “truing up” my “Regularly Playing” widget on the sidebar to more closely represent the games I quite literally was playing on regular rotation.  Given that it is that time again… here is the list of things for June.  I added a few new games into the mix and also removed a few more… even if one is really only temporary.  Doing the thing where I write a blurb about what I happened to be doing in each of them.

Rift

rift 2016-06-12 19-07-37-18

In a weird bit of nostalgia, I decided to come back to Rift and give it another push.  There has never really been a period of time when I have not actually at least dabbled in this game, but so many times I failed to gain traction.  This time around I somehow managed to push from 61 to 65 and have started on  this mad mission to raise all of my tradeskills.  Now having almost accomplished that I will be pushing into the Planetouched Wilds and giving it a real amount of effort.  On top of this I am focused heavily on my crafting dailies, which often times means I need to venture out into the world in search of Sarleaf and Thalasite.  With the shift of WoW to the Garrison for most of your farming needs… I had forgotten just how much I really did love going off and ore farming.  There is just something relaxing about wandering around a zone with a purpose, looking for the next ore pop and trying to get to it before anyone else notices.  It is this weird game within a game that actually seems to work well for me.  I spent many an hour flying circles around Icecrown or Sholazar Basin in Wrath… and now am loving doing the same thing for Gelboro Reef.  Largely I am focused on that zone since, firstly I know it pretty well… and secondly the mobs are low enough level that I can go afk as needed and make it back to the keyboard before something actually kills me.  I am certain that I could be farming ore while wandering around the Planetouched Wilds, but the mobs out there are truly brutal.  Whatever the reason… I am deeply invested in Rift and its community once more and loving it.

Destiny: The Taken King

RemotePlay 2016-06-06 08-59-10-15

While I have slowed down considerably in this game, there are still regularly sessions of it… namely because I have been trying to get fellow AggroChat member and good friend  of mine Grace settled in game.  Monday night we managed to get her to level 40, and pushed through the Taken King quest content… which means that there is an entirely new world waiting for her of endgame stuff.  With Iron Banner going on this weekend, I highly expect that the two of us will be working on that or at least attempting to show her the ropes of the event.  We also have several more steps in the recruit a friend process, but as we get her gear level up there it should get easier to do cooler stuff.  Other than that other games have taken priority over the last few weeks, namely with my return to active duty in FFXIV and running stuff in Rift.  Hopefully the Iron Banner will be a good event to get me back into focus and moving forward in Destiny once more.  I feel pretty disconnected, and I miss the Thursday night Challenge of Elders stuff horribly, I just had a few crazy weeks with the St Louis trip, and Kansas City trip… and a bunch of other random occurrences that knocked me out of my schedule.  Hopefully I can start to rebuild said schedule and get moving forward once more.

ArcheAge

ArcheAge 2016-06-27 06-11-47-14

In a similar fashion to Rift, I have suddenly become involved and attached to the ArcheAge community as well.  Right now I am largely focused on leveling, but at some point I plan on doing all the tradeskilly things in this game as well.  Last year the AggroChat crew made a serious push into this game, and while we faded into the background… I still found it extremely enjoyable.  Additionally like I said yesterday, many of the early toxic aspects of the community as a whole seem to be gone.  Right now I am trying to get back in tune with the game and try and remember how the hell to do half of the things.  On the positive as I grind away at questing I seem to keep getting really nice drops for weapons and armor…  however I remember that most of the best stuff I had was crafted.  I just happened to time my return to coincide with some welcome back campaign, and I keep accruing rewards into my inventory that at some point I will figure out how to use.  Mostly I would like to hit the level cap before worrying too much with them, but I believe some of them are xp bonuses that I might as well use now.  If you are actively playing I am Belglaive on the Tahyang server, but I am not sure what all it requires to actually friend someone in game.  I am not sure if cross server friends lists are a thing there like they are in Rift.

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

ffxiv_dx11 2016-06-22 20-05-16-74

I spent most of the month deeply frustrated with this game, namely because I was sitting at what felt like an artificial gear cap and being prevented from progressing in the story.  Since then however I managed to get a Void Ark run with some friends and got over whatever anxiety I happened to have about tanking it.  As a result I am now sitting at 205 gear score, and bumping up against the Nidhogg trial in the story.  It is my hope that at some point this week I can get a few friends together and run this and hopefully complete the 3.3 patch story.  I am still enjoying the game, but I lack the drive to play it… that I have in say Rift or ArcheAge right now.  For at least the foreseeable future my activity in game is probably going to be limited to our Tuesday night activities, or the occasional expert or other event that I organize with friends.  I love playing this game… but right now I only seem to love playing it with a group of friends logged in at the same time.  It is still an amazing game, but it has shifted into the sort of role that World of Warcraft has been in the past… that game that I only played when there was an organized activity.

World of Warcraft

Wow-64 2016-06-21 21-31-39-73

This one admittedly is barely making the list, and keeping its space on my sidebar.  Right now I am occasionally logging in to run Garrisons and get my free gold, but not doing much more other than that.  There has been talk of myself, grace and a few others doing random old world content for transmoggy bits and honestly…  that right now is about all I am interesting in World of Warcraft as a whole.  I feel like I am in a “desperately waiting for the Legion pre-patch” mode.  Largely because I am tired of not having any bank space, and removing any of my outfits is simply not an option.  I am not joking when I say that right now the only important thing to me in this game… is looking cool with my collection of old raid gear littering my bank vault.  If the new transmog system were actually patched in… I would more than likely go through a flurry of activity as I once again do awesome old world content for cool threads.  However I quite literally have hit a point where I maybe have 15 bag slots total between inventory, bank and void storage…. so I simply cannot play Belghast anymore without risking removing something.  So instead… I run the occasional garrison mission as I alternate through my army of alts… and then log out once again.

Things Removed From List

Overwatch

Zero clue why on this one… but the game released and I just have had no desire to really play it.  I am amped about just how excited everyone else seems to be about this game, but honestly it feels like I am more interested in talking about the world and the characters… than actually playing it.  If the player versus bots game were more compelling I would likely play it more often, but right now it feels like to enjoy it I need a group of friend to play it.  Ironically I have a huge group of friends playing it… but I think I am going through a “quiet time” phase where I just want to piddle around on my own in games rather than do a lot of organized play.  The few nights I rode along with people… I lasted 3 to 4 games before feeling the need to run and hide again.  I am certain at some point I will once again get the Overwatch bug, but the truth is I am just not that into competitive games.

Diablo 3

Removing this one again temporarily because well…. the season is over.  I have accomplished everything I could ever hope to accomplish, and now is the quiet time until the next patch.  This will be returning once again as another season starts and we all go through the crazy happy madness that is a season launch.  For a bit I was still farming for pets and such, but with the addition of several games this got removed from the docket.  I still very much love this game and look forward to adding it back to the list, but for the moment we are in the off season and the game for me at least is dormant.

 

Revisiting Old Ideas

ArcheAge 2016-06-27 06-11-47-14

ArcheAge Resurgence

ArcheAge 2016-06-27 06-11-47-14

I have been on quite the Trion Worlds games kick lately after coming back to Rift, and that has how officially spilled over into ArcheAge as well.  ArcheAge and I have a bit of a torrid past, or at least it was not a game that I really latched onto from the moment I first played it.  In fact in those early Alpha and eventual Beta days… the game had a less than stellar community.  That however has changed with time and a significant amount of effort by Trion staff, and the community that exists today is pretty great.  I blame Kiwi entirely for me starting to poke my head back into the game, and right now I am largely focused on leveling.  Right now I am playing a Firran Bloodreaver on Tahyang server, however as soon as the 3.0 patch lands I will largely be restarting as a Dwarf which will place me on the Nuia faction instead of Haranya.  Because of the lag between the South Korean and American versions of this game, we have known that Dwarves and Warborn would be something that would more than likely eventually cross between versions…  so I have been patiently waiting.  Of the starter races the Firrans were by far my favorite…  but if you put Dwarves in the game there is zero contest.  So I will have to bid a farewell to the crazy oriental steampunk land that I have grown up in on my cat, and get used to a more european fantasy setting once again.  Not necessarily a bad thing, just different.

I believe the level cap is somewhere in the 50s, so I still have a good ways to go since I am sitting at only 36 and that leveling in general does not go terribly quickly in this game.  It seems like my return was well timed, given that they gave me some sort of a welcome back package.  It included a quest that opens every 24 hours for various rewards, and a bunch of tokens that can be spent on Mirage Island, but I have not ventured back out there to see what all I can purchase with them.  At this point I am sorta waiting until I hit the level cap before being too tempted by the shiny baubles.  The game has so many little systems and currencies and things that can be done… but I feel like I would need to do a bunch of research to even begin to start taking advantage of half of it.  That is why in the meantime I am largely focusing on the leveling game, because combat is something that I understand… and honestly enjoy quite a lot after settling on the Bloodreaver class that is a mixture of Battlerage, Occultism and Auramancy.  One of the big concerns I can remember having about this game is the fairly open PVP system, but for the last several zones I have been in “High Tension” zones and really have remained largely uninterrupted in my pursuit of leveling.  The ArcheAge community staff deserves some pretty major Kudos for turning the course around in this game, and fostering what appears to be a real sense of community in its players.  Looking forward to delving further into it the longer I stick around.

Working on Something

rift 2016-06-28 06-31-09-84

Last night was largely devoted to helping a friend of mine get to level 40 in Destiny and through the Taken King storyline missions.  However after I logged out of that game I poked my head back into Rift.  I worry that maybe folks reading this blog are getting tired of me talking about the game, but then again I am certain they also felt that way about Destiny, The Division and Diablo 3…  or any of the other games I have latched onto and obsessed over.  The weird thing about Rift is how much it has felt like “coming home”.  What you have to understand is that there has never been a period of time where I did not log into Rift, but for a good chunk of it I was honestly confused by the options.  What I mean by that is there are just so many different things that you can do in this game, and I felt like I was missing any real sense of bearing.  I would log into the game… see my insanely full bags, see the fact that I was nowhere near the level cap and struggle to sort out exactly what I wanted to do with myself.  Then like a sad little puppy I would log right back out feeling confused and frustrated because I had the desire to play… but somehow lacked the force to break the inertia of standing around in the Tempest Bay Canals district.  Granted right now… I still spend a good deal of my time in that location…  however current it is out of a sense of feeling like I belong there, and not out of a sense of being trapped there.  I go out into the world and explore all manner of new stuff, but I wind up returning back to my home base in the crafting area.

WYSBP_Rift_Revenge

A little over five years ago when Rift launched I did a series of posts called “Why You Should Be Playing Rift”.   The purpose of these posts was extremely misguided, and was my way of rebelling against “the man” at that time… aka trying to convert the folks still playing World of Warcraft to being Rift players.  It worked for some, and others it just caused them to delete my blog from their blog roll, and un-follow me over on social media.  The other day I started thinking about these posts and what I was trying to do with them, and decided that it might be interesting to revisit that concept.  However instead of writing them in spite, as a way of trying to show the world what they were missing…  the idea this time is for me to tell you all what I see in the game.  Rift is like that friend in high school that you have maybe drifted apart from…  but when you get back together it is like no time has passed.  Except in this case your friend has quietly evolved and developed a bunch of cool new things they know how to do.  Rift has remained trucking along in the background, seemingly ignored by a lot of the MMORPG players as a phase they maybe went through at some point.  It is a game that seems to keep figuring out new quality of life tweaks to make the game more enjoyable.  However it is also a game with a bunch of scary looking monetization methods that I think frighten too many players, and keep them from spending more time and getting to know the game the way I do.  So while I am adopting the same sort of name that I had the first time… as a sort of revisiting effort, the purpose is completely different this time.  My goal is to show you my readers why I feel the way I feel about various aspects of this game.  I am still working on the first part, but hopefully soon it will make its way to the front page and kick off the sequence properly.  More than anything I guess I wanted to warn my long time readers, that you are going to likely be reading a lot more of Rift and ArcheAge content in the near future.

The True Endgame

belghast_bahmi_outrider

Wardrobe System

belghast_wardrobe

Last night I had a marvelously relaxing evening working on “endgame content” in Rift.  By that I mean the true end game of any MMO… and that is wearing interesting outfits.  There are so many different cosmetic systems out there, but I have to say that in my personal experience Rift has hands down the best one.  How the system works is you have a tab on your character screen labelled Wardrobe, and at the bottom are a number of alternate outfits that you can save.  By default you get one free wardrobe slot, and then up to four can be purchased using platinum, with the second tab costing 10, third costing 50 and fourth costing 100.  If I remember correctly the loyalty system has a number of unlocks that come with various ranks in that, gained through either subscribing as a patron or spending money on the in game shop.  Up to sixty total wardrobe slots can be unlocked however through the cash shop currency, and each of them costs 144 credits which if you base that on the conversion rate for the $19.99 and if my math is anywhere near correct that is roughly 90 cents a slot.  What makes the system so special is that the game saves appearance and dye information at an account level, and simply looting an item into your inventory saves the appearance.  You don’t even need to equip an item to save its appearance, which means if you get a sweet bind in equip item that you are not going to use…  you can sell it and still have saved its appearance data.  Dyes work a little strange in that they are mostly unlocked through cash shop currency… however I believe you have some of the basic colors unlocked for free.  The individual unlocks are at tiers of pricing and are either 90, 270 or 450.  As I am writing this I am realizing that all of my information may be slightly off given that I have the patron discount applied to pretty much everything.  Essentially if you really want a color it isn’t terribly cost prohibitive to get it, however I wish their dyes worked like Wildstar in that they were drops out in the world and not something you simply purchased.

belghast_appearancesets

What makes the Wardrobe system so special to me is that for every single wardrobe tab you can save an appearance that you choose from all of the appearances you have collected, a primary and secondary dye color… and even toggle whether or not you want to display that particular slot.  What I love the most however is that you can save an appearance for two one handed weapons, a two handed weapon, a ranged weapon and a shield with every single slot.  That means when you are running around in this outfit and you switch specs to something that uses a sword and board, or something that dual wields… you don’t have jarring change in appearance, nor do you have the odd feeling of running around and fighting with a shield but it still shows your two handed weapon.  When you pick up any item, or look at an item in the crafting or auction pane you see a little note that tells you if you have collected the appearance for it yet.   What makes collecting gear so damned fun for me at least is that they have created this tab called “Appearance Sets” that tells which pieces you are missing from each set.  For the completionists there are a number of achievements tied to the collection of various sets as well.  I have lots of singlets and partial sets but you can see that as of last night I have completed 30 of 323 available item sets.  The only thing that I wish it showed… was where you could actually get that specific appearance item be it crafting or drops.  That said the Rift team gets amazing marks for me in the way this system works and feels to use.  What makes everything better… is that you can use ANY gear type on ANY character…. so I can have my plate wearing warrior in robes, or my mage sitting in full plate.

Bolstering the Sets

belghast_bahmi_outrider

So when I say last night that I spent the entire evening working on the true Endgame… what I mean is that I have been on this crafting kick.  Another feature that I love about Rift is that I can pretty much make one character do every single crafting profession in the game.  Granted this is cost prohibitive when it comes to credits, but when the free to play system launched they gave long time subscribers a pretty massive cash shop payout.  This allowed me to add everything but Apothecary and Outfitter to my primary Bahmi Warrior main.  At some point I would love to add those professions as well just so I can have a true omni-crafter in this game and to streamline the creation of items.  I have a max level outfitter on my Rogue, so last night I had to spend a good deal of time swapping items back and forth for the creation of fabric bolts.  Over the last week as I have been out in the world picking up max level crafting materials, I have been spending some time at the end of the evening pushing up my tradeskills and at this point I have several of them at the 450 max or pretty close to it.  This is the point where my brain goes a little off the track here, and shifts goals on me.  When they put in the Item Appearance system, I was a little disappointed because so many of the items left to collect were things that I had in my grubby little hands at one point.  Now I saved the items that really mattered to me, but wound up scrapping the vast majority of the items I handled over the years.  I always had it in the back of my mind that at some point I would start running old world dungeons and crafting old world items to help bolster my appearance collection.

belghast_bahmi_planaradventurer

So last night while watching The Expanse through the Syfy Roku app… I started in Freemarch and worked my way through the various zones of the Old World collecting ore, wood, leather and cloth and then taking it back to either Meridian or Tempest Keep and crafting item sets.  By the point I had shut down for the evening I had made my way through to Titanium and had crafted the Plate and Chain armor sets for each… as well as the armor bundles that were available at various points.  At some point I will follow up and do the same with weapons, but there are far more items to craft there… or at least it certainly feels that way.  I suppose at some point I will go do the same with my Rogue and collect the various cloth and leather sets, but since I am a pretty plate and chain focused person those weren’t nearly as important to me.  The truth is since this system went in during Storm Legion if I remember correctly, I have most of the post Old World craft-able sets already saved, so that leaves me with Carmintium left to craft of the easy sets.  At some point I would like to purchase the rest of the alloy metal sets like Steel and the rest of the Orichalcum set… but those involve farming up a bunch of crafting marks to purchase the patterns.  In the end I had a blast and knocked out a bunch of those things that I have always said I wanted to do.  I love the crafting system in this game because it is just intricate enough to keep my focus… and not a maddening mini-game that requires me tending it as I craft things.  I like systems that make the acquisition of raw materials the challenge, not the assembly of those things.

Exploring Draumheim

Great Sell-Off

rift 2015-08-13 20-59-21-07

Normally this morning I would go into my new game picks for the coming week to serve as alternate writing fodder to Blaugust.  However that is not going to happen because I am not really feeling like writing that post today.  I am struggling right now with a mix of allergies and asthma that have conspired to make me miserable.  One of the things about being sick is that you tend to surround yourself by things that feel comfortable or nostalgic.  Just as there is comfort food, there is also comfort gaming… and when I feel like shit I find myself wandered off into games I have pushed to the side.  Essentially when I am feeling my worst I am lease capable of dealing with the stress of interacting with other people.  As such yesterday and last night I ventured into a realm where almost nobody knows my name anymore…  Telara.  Rift was one of my games of the week for this past week, and with it comes a series of problems. Namely when I log in I am staring at a bag and bank full of dimension items and crafting materials.  I am not sure if you are the same as me in this aspect, but if my bags are a mess there are so many times I will log in and then log right back out because I cannot be bothered to fix that situation.  Honestly if I don’t do something quickly in Final Fantasy XIV I will be nearing that point as all of my retainers are clogged and my inventory continues to get more and more semi-permanent additions.

With Rift however I finally did something drastic.  Last October Rift released the Nightmare Tides expansion, and I still don’t have a character to the new level cap of 65.  During this time I have been accumulating crafting materials from doing the Minions minigame, and quite honestly I have more than I will ever actually use.  By the time I actually get around to hitting the level cap I will more than likely have just as much materials I do now.  So instead I decided to reinstall BananAH and post every single crafting material on the Auction House.  It cost a lot of plat to post everything, but luckily by the end of the night I had managed to quadruple the amount of plat I had going into this experiment, and there are still a bunch of auctions up there that may or may not have sold over night.  The money gained was a side benefit, the real mission was simply to clear the shit out of my inventory.  At some point I will do the same with the various housing bits, because there are some things I will quite literally never end up using in any design.  With the bags clear however I finally felt like I could actually go out into the world questing, and it improved my outlook on the game considerably.

Figuring Logistics

rift 2015-08-13 21-21-41-39

While the great sell-off took care of one issue keeping me from playing Rift, I still had another big one standing in my way.  Rift has quite possibly one of the most complicated character creation systems, namely that for a given class you can have any combination of three different souls from a pool of ten potential souls for each slot.  If my math is correct… and I would seriously question that… but I believe that gives us 120 possible combinations with a pool of 76 talent points to distribute between your three trees.  What I am trying to say is that basically every time I decide to play the game it requires a bunch of research on my part to determine what the current “viable” builds are and what purposes they serve.  To say that Rift changes a lot is an understatement…  they are constantly patching the game and tweaking things and often times these have ramifications have effects that trickle out and make or break the last patches specs.  The class that I tend to care about the most however is the Warrior, and while I have a level 60 rogue and a level 60 cleric…  I tend to mostly focus on Belghast first and foremost.  So over the last week I have poked around the Class Guide forums and stumbled onto one that looked promising titled:  Warrior Solo Leveling (61-65).  Luckily it was not too far off from the build that I had tried leveling with before, so I was able to tweak out my hot bars without much issue.

One of the big strengths of Rift is also one of it’s great weaknesses.  The macro system is excellent and allows you to do some really interesting things with it.  The problem being the game also gives you so many sideways and optional abilities that you feel like you are required to macro everything together for fear that you miss some opportunity for not having 32 fingers to hit abilities with.  The big thing I like about this incarnation of the soloing build is that essentially I am really only using one macro, and all that does is chain a series of high cool-down single target abilities onto Empowering Strike.  The combo point dump abilities are on my bar separately, as is the main reactionary ability that I hit after using one of them.  The feeling is that things are less random than they have felt before when I have played a suggested spec.  I am hitting buttons largely because I know what the effect is going to be, and because I want to use it at that moment.  Sure I still have one single mixed bag ability, but it feels like it is less important than the things I am not macroing.  The other big thing is that it seems like my survival has gone up significantly, which was a huge problem I had previously.  I am still under level for the region I am hunting in, but I am wondering if that just means that I missed something important in the previous zone.

Exploring Draumheim

rift 2015-08-13 18-54-02-01

At this point I had a spec and I had clean enough bags to be able to venture out into the world.  I had two ports available in Draumheim so I grabbed one and hoped that I had picked the right one.  It seems that I did as when I landed there were numerous quests available.  The zone is extremely cool with all manner of nightmarish abominations wandering around in the midst of the ocean that is being drained away.  The coolest thing about Draumheim is that it seems to be a nightmarish echo of Telara.  There are numerous places in the zone that represent areas from the game, for example there is absolutely a version of Meridian and Sanctum as well as a nightmarish version of Port Scion.  Similarly I ran into a copy of the great toad-like Greenscale, who represented the aspect of hunger.  When I first attempted to play Nightmare Tides I was not sure if I liked it or not, largely because I am not the biggest fan of underwater settings in MMOs.  Now almost a year later the subtlety of the expansion is starting to sink in.  It is less about us traveling to the physical plane of water, and more about us traveling into the physical manifestation of dreams and nightmares.  Nothing in the zones are quite what they seem, and last night I ended up helping out a series of existentially confused hay bales…  and I am not making that up… they are quite literally named that.

I still wish we had a more directed questing experience similar to the old world.  I know they went in this direction as a way of distancing themselves from the standard questing format of MMOs, but personally I find it somewhat lacking.  The story that is there is really good, but there just doesn’t feel like there is enough of it.  Mostly it feels like you can’t get through the content by only following the quests.  Instead of feeling like questing is optional it feels like I have to do every single quest, and do every single carnage quest that pops up when you kill any mobs…  and still do some dungeons or instant adventures or you run into the situation I am in… where I am one to two levels below the content I am  trying to do.  The leveling experience is much less directed, and this is a change that went in with Storm Legion… but the end result in both expansions was me constantly wondering what I am supposed to be doing next.  For most MMOs the leveling experience gets better over time, but I feel like Rift went in the opposite direction.  I get it that quest content is fairly expensive to create, and without the subscription model they don’t have that stable source of monthly income to keep said quest content coming.  The quests that are here however are really good, and one I did last night took me through a series of “computers” that showed little recorded vignettes from the past, all of them fully voice acted.  I like all of the things they have done to make finding quests more interactive…  but I wish we had more hub based quests as well to fill in the gaps in content.  I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t enjoy myself however, because I absolutely did.  I needed a game where I could be anonymous and lose myself in the experience of playing an MMO, and that is precisely what Rift gave me yesterday.  I still very much love Trion and the team behind Rift, and it is one of the games I will continue to suggest people check out on a regular basis.  I feel like they did the absolute best job of a free to play conversion that I have experienced to date, and I am willing to keep giving them more of my money.  I am just nostalgia for the way that questing used to feel in Rift is all.

Blaugust Games of Week – Week 2

Another Week Down

EverQuest2 2015-08-07 06-27-43-01 One of the things that I find easiest to blog about is when I am experiencing a new game, or re-experiencing a game after some time has passed.  As a result last week I started doing the Blaugust Games of the Week thing, and for the first week I posted  three vastly different titles.  While Marvel Heroes 2015 has been in my gaming rotation for some time now, Everquest II and Dirty Bomb were not and as such I spent a bit of time this past week playing both.  While I didn’t really talk much about any of the games this week, I hope some of you out there at least gave them a shot.  I spent the most time playing Everquest II on the Stormhold Time Locked Server.  It has been so strange starting from scratch without having some of my favorite leveling spots.  The later leveling zones like Darklight Wood and Iceclad Ocean are just better designed than the original Everquest 2 leveling process was, and as a result you could tear through them so much more quickly.

As of last night I hit level 10 on my Iksar Shadowknight, and in part I think I was doing things the hard way because I stormed right out into the Commonlands and attempted to start leveling off the mobs out there that tend to be significantly higher than my level.  One of the things that I had forgotten about the Commonlands were all of the Small Chests that drop additional quests.  At this point my quest log is full of level 15-20 Far Seas supplier quests that essentially ask you to kill X of a thing and then turn in the end result at an NPC.  I remember these being the bread and butter of early leveling, but I have to say the thing I miss is all of the individual neighborhoods of Freeport.  I think it was a huge disservice to the game when the revamp of Freeport got rid of these completely.  They are now instanced zones that you can only enter on specific quests, but I have to say these zones made up a lot of the feel of both Freeport and Qeynos and did a good job of explaining why the cities were the way that they were.  Of the three titles from this week, this is the one that I am most likely to keep playing because I am finding an odd enjoyment out of retracing my EQ2 roots.

Trion Theme

Since it is once again Friday it is time for me to pick another three games to talk about and suggest.  This time around I decided to go with a theme and as a result I am picking three games from Trion.  Again I am limiting my selections to games that you can download and start playing immediately without having to purchase a game client or pay a subscription fee.  My goal is to make it so folks who are stuck and in need of inspiration can pop into one of these games and get instant “blog fodder”.

Rift

rift 2012-05-31 20-38-58-07 Considering the announcement of the World of Warcraft expansion yesterday, I thought it was fitting to lead off this morning talking about Rift as it was the first game to actually pry me away from the WoW Juggernaut.  The game is designed in such a way so that in theory you can play one character and provide every possible role in the game.  This was not necessarily the case at launch but over time they have provided additional talent trees or “Souls” to help flesh out the missing abilities.  So now you can absolutely be a healing warrior or a tanking mage.  This game has an absolutely phenomenal early leveling game, and the first fifty levels are an absolute joy to level through.  The expansions however are a completely different thing.  I personally found both leveling in Storm Legion and Nightmare Tides to be extremely tedious, and found myself wishing they had not abandoned the early game that I enjoyed so much.

The core of the game though is great, but there are various things you are going to have to content with especially along the lines of ability bloat.  One of my key complaints about Rift has been that you end up with a lot of abilities where ability 2 and 3 are absolutely better than 1… but have long cool downs.  The end result is that you usually end up macroing all three together, which can lead to some fairly uninteresting game play.  That said the game excels at letting you literally branch out in any possible direction and build a character out however you want to.  There are some less than optimal options, but in theory any combination of three Souls will make a potentially viable character, which gives you a lot of freedom to customize things as you see fit.  Fortunately the game has an excellent set of prebuilt specs to at least get you going in the right direction.  As far as the free to play goes… it is among the least restrictive and there are not really any pay walls standing in your way.

Steam DownloadDirect Download

Trove

Trove 2014-09-25 19-18-33-410 I was lucky enough to get in on the first wave of Alpha invites for Trove and having played it that long… has been an interesting experience.  The game has changed massively in that time, and the key elements have shifted and morphed but the basic game is still the same.  I tend to think of Trove as Minecraft meets Diablo, and my recent Bel’s Big Adventure series of Minecraft videos has made me appreciate how important this really is.  Minecraft has a fairly horrible combat system, that is passible but frustratingly bad if you are going to spend much time fighting anything.  Trove on the other stand decided to go in a direction that allows you to pick one of several classes that each have their own built in abilities and a MOBA style character design.  I tend to have a natural synergy with the base Knight class, but have spent significant amounts of time playing the Gunslinger and Neon Ninja as well… and they are all extremely well built.  The core gameplay loop in Trove centers around going out into the world and fighting baddies to find interesting stuff in level ranged based worlds that steadily increase the challenge.

On top of this however there is a very awesome building system where you can build extremely complex custom worlds for your “Club”, or you can build out your cornerstone which is a traveling spawn point that you can move with you as you go out exploring the world.  I love this aspect of the game because it feels like I am able to take all of my most important resources and keep moving my base of operations as I go exploring.  The other thing that makes this game amazing is the community support, and the vast majority of the weapons that you will get were created by fans just like you.  The game has a silliness to it that is contagious, and I will forever cherish my Dapper Raptor mount that you can see above.  Another favorite of mine is the ability to collect item appearances and then make ANY piece of gear that you get look like that, so as you keep exploring you just keep opening more and more unique looks for your character. If you have never played Trove I highly suggest you download it and give it a shot.

Steam DownloadDirect Download

ArcheAge

ARCHEAGE 2015-06-18 11-13-03-53 ArcheAge and I have an extremely checkered past.  I was in the early Alpha process of this game and found the community to be among the most toxic I have ever experienced in any game genre.  As a result I pretty much actively ignored the game for some time.  However with some of the AggroChat folks started testing the waters and playing it… I decided to give it another shot.  The end result has been a pretty enjoyable leveling experience and allowed me to see just how subtle and nuanced the game really is.  I am not a fan of open world ganker style pvp… and early in the game that seemed to be extremely prevalent.  More so than that, the players seemed to revel in griefing others in non-combat ways as well.  If you AFK’d in town, someone might come along with a tractor and push you out into the middle of a dangerous area just to watch you die.  However all of those elements seem to have gotten bored and moved on, and what is left seems to be a bunch of generally nice folks.

The game play itself is also rather good, and while the quests are pretty basic the world is gorgeous and huge, and the class designs are really interesting.  While Rift has an issue with duplication of abilities, ArcheAge seems to be designed in a way so that there is natural synergy between talent trees without giving you a bunch of abilities that you will never actually use.  I have gone full circle on my opinion of this game and you can track the progress if you flip through some of my blog entries.  The game is absolutely playable on the free to play model, but there are some serious constraints.  Namely it is very difficult to do more than just one thing as a “free” player because every action is throttled by your abysmal labour points.  As a Patron player your labour regenerates when you are offline… as a free player you have to be logged into the game waiting on your points to come back.  The other huge constraint is that free players cannot own land, which means if you get very serious about this game you are likely going to end up subscribing.  However in the meantime the free model does allow you to get your feet wet.

Steam DownloadDirect Download

Developer Appreciation Week 2015 – Part 1

A few days ago my good friend Rowanblaze tagged me in his post about Developer Appreciation Week 2015.  To the best of my knowledge this event was actually started by Scarybooster, but I cannot for the life of me remember if I actually got a post in while it was going on.  If not then this is something I absolutely need to remedy.  This morning as a result my post is going to be a little contorted but I really enjoyed the format from Ravanel of Ravalation… so I am rolling with that.  Thus begins my super contorted and rambling Developer Appreciation Week post.

Funcom Games – The Secret World Team

TheSecretWorld 2013-06-04 06-15-22-12 This game is absolutely phenomenal.  I was lucky enough to get on board early and do one of the lifetime subscriptions and I have to say I have never once questioned that investment.  Knowing that it is always waiting there for me to return to the world of the Templars and the Illuminati…  makes me happy inside.  While there are a lot of interesting things about the game, the part that always floors me is just how well written the quests are in this game, and how well the whole cinematic feel of them works.  I greatly prefer silent protagonist games, because they allow me to substitute my own inner dialog into the scenes.  What is awesome about TSW is they manage to do this is a way so that the silence feels like an answer.  I desperately need to poke my head back in and try out the new combat changes, because the nightmare level content was ultimately what crushed the hopes of my group.  From what I hear a lot of these rough spots have been ironed out.

Square Enix – Final Fantasy XIV Team

ffxiv 2015-03-28 20-48-43-91 I am constantly amazed at just how damned good this game really is.  Every detail of the game has a loving care applied to it.  Once again it is the storyline that first sold me on the game.  It gave me a series of characters that felt like my party in a traditional Final Fantasy game… and then made me care about each and every one of them..  yes even Thancred.  What has kept me coming back however is just how good their content is, and how frequent their updates are.  I’ve heard that the team is only around fifteen people…  and that they are doing both the live patches and expansion development at the same time.  I am floored that they can manage to crank out a new patch every month, and major patch every few months…  all the while working on a brand new expansion?  The way they manage to make content remain relevant to the players is pure magic, because I really enjoy running low level content with friends… and making it feel like it matters again.  Last night they patched in the 2.55 content… and I am completely amped to log in and play it.

Turbine – Lord of the Rings Online Team

ScreenShot00004 If there was a list of games that I wish I played more of, Lord of the Rings Online would be near the top.  There is so much for me to enjoy in the game, even not factoring in the fact that I love the franchise behind it.  The gameplay is a bit of a throwback to an earlier era, and more than anything it has always reminded me a bit of a modern updated Dark Age of Camelot.  That said the part that has always stood out for me is just how well they have managed to create the world of Middle Earth…  everything is how I had imagined it while reading the novels.  There are so many moments like the above picture where I reach some fabled destination and I have to just stop and sit in awe that I am in this or that place.  Another strange thing that I love about this game are the horses.  They have the absolute best horse movement of any game.  As you are moving around the horse feels right, which adds so much to the feeling that you are in a living breathing world… and not just a themepark.

Trion Worlds – Rift Team

rift 2013-06-24 21-10-59-03 This was the game that finally came along and successfully dislodged me after playing seven years of World of Warcraft, and that in itself is no small feat.  What makes me love the game however is its class system.  I love being able to mix and match bits and pieces of class trees to make something unique that does exactly what I want it to do.  Especially from a tanking front, this game will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first game to give me both charge and deathgrip in the same build.  The raid content was absolutely insane, and I greatly enjoyed the times I was able to experience it.  This is one of those games that I boot up every few weeks to poke my head in, especially now that it is free to play.  I’ve spent a lot of its four year history with an active subscription, and there is just something about the world that keeps me coming back.  With the impending release of the new Wardrobe system I am looking forward to popping back in and playing some more.  Trion was the first team to make me believe that a company could keep a monthly content release schedule, and through it all they have created some very impressive work.

SOE/Daybreak – Everquest II Team

EQ2_000009 Everquest II for me is a tale of the path not taken.  With EQ2 and WoW releasing at the same time, some of my friends went to EQ2, and I and the majority of my friends went to WoW.  That said this has been one of those games that I keep coming back to so that I can re-experience this ball of nostalgia that is Norrath.  This game has hands down the best world building of any game on the market.  I love the world of Norrath 2.0 with all its detail and quirkyness.  Sure it is not exactly how I remember it from the original Everquest, but that is part of the charm for me.  Every now and then you will be knee deep in a dungeon, and you will see some little call back that makes you realize “oh my god this is that place” that you recall from your memory, changed over time and presented in so much higher fidelity.  While I have issues with the combat system and likely always will… this is a game that I cannot seem to keep myself away from for long.  Even today EQ2 is a sort of comfort food for me… where I will hang out inside and vege out on the couch dusting off my Shadow Knight and exploring Norrath with new eyes.

To Be Continued…

I feel like I have so many developers that I want to show my appreciation for…  that I had to break these up into multiple posts.  Tune in tomorrow as I talk about several more developers.  Hopefully this will cause your own upwelling of nostalgia and end up with you posting your own thoughts in blog form.  If you don’t have a blog, feel free to use my comment space for that same mission.  There is so much negativity out there, that I believe completely in this notion of the Developer Appreciation Week.  Reach out and show your appreciation to those games you love.

Being Bad at Mage

Big Damned Beta Weekend

eso 2014-03-04 18-57-08-03 This coming weekend that leads into Spring Break here in the United States, represents the last public beta weekend before the 4/4/2014 launch of the game.  Now the beta client you will be getting to play has a significant number of changes in it.  For point of reference the one that was used during the last public beta weekend was from early December, and lacked a ton of the polish changes that have gone in since.  As a result even if you had completely written off the game based on past public beta experiences… you really owe it to yourself to patch the game up and give it another go this weekend.  While December doesn’t really seem that long ago, what has happened between now and then is what I like to refer to as a “hallelujah” build… aka the one that fixes so many bugs and makes the game feel nice and tight and polished.

So many of the quests that have been perennially bugged out during the beta weekends should now be fixed and working smoothly.  In many cases this involved subtle tweaks to the flow of the quest to make it work more reliably.  Additionally this build is the one that introduces mob collision and the ability to skip the starter island.  The mob collision seems to fix some of the complaints about “floaty combat” that players have made, and the combat animations themselves have tightened up considerably as well.  There are still a number of features missing that are in the private test build, but overall I think players will have a more enjoyable experience.  The game is very much an Elder Scrolls experience, but unfortunately if you were hoping it would morph into a standard MMO interface… that has not and likely will not happen.

Another cool thing about this weekend is with my dabbling in twitch streaming with my “Bel Faffs About” series, I recieved an email from support saying that I could stream the entire weekend if I wanted to.  Granted we likely have quite a bit of things to do over the weekend, and Saturday since it is going to be nice out we hope to go out and do some photography.  However as much of the weekend as I can, I will be streaming out my gameplay.  I am not sure at this point if I will be starting a fresh character, or picking up where I left off on my Orsimer Dragon Knight from the previous beta.  For those who have not already tested the content, they are asking each of us to start a new character and test the new starter experience sans islands.  It works pretty well but is considerably more difficult since at the level you fight some of the encounters, you really don’t have a full set of gear yet.

Technicolor Voxels

I am still very much learning this streaming thing… and I feel like I still have so much more to learn.  I was having some issues with FFSplit, namely in the inability to stream Trove.  So after a suggestion or two from friends I loaded up Open Broadcaster Software overall I like the way it is set up, and it seems more intuitive to me.  However it has copious amounts of settings, and I made the mistake of just accepting the defaults.  The above video is passable at times, but pixellated as all get out anytime there is action going on.  After some tweaking I improved the results with the WoW stream later in the evening.  Additionally I am noticing that I really need to drop the volume of the game by about half so that I am not fighting to speak over it.  I was honestly being fairly quiet last night… and I need not to do that.

It had been awhile since I had patched up Trove and played around on the server.  With all the excitement over “pretty voxels” and Landmark… my enthrallment with Trove’s simplicity fell by the wayside.  This is one of those games where if you stop playing for a bit, you are absolutely shocked at just how much has been done the next time you play.  One of the coolest things from the above video is when I find a tree fort in a higher tier zone, and go hunting for the mushroom king that rules it.  Last time I played they did not have real “dungeon bosses”, and they actually do hurt significantly.  I cheat quite a bit in that the community chest was stocked full of rainbow weapons.  However in my travels last night I did manage to pick up an upgrade that looks like the gun from Portal.

The gunslinger class is extremely fun, and it feels more responsive at times than the Knight does.  Granted the Knight was their “first class”, so I figure at some point down the line they will apply a round of tweaks to make it feel more unique.  If you watch through the video, you can tell I am heavily addicted to using the “rocket jump” attack, that shoots your character up into the air.  I am one of those players that jumps constantly, so this only adds to my enjoyment when I can hurdle over big obstacles.  One of the things I never could find however was the snow biome full of robots.  I am wondering if they made robot parts significantly harder to farm, by only making them drop off punch bots and the dungeon boss robots.  I will try doing another stream soonish with fixed settings to make sure the pixelization is gone completely.

Being Bad at Mage

So as I said above, by the time I got around to streaming World of Warcraft last night, I had tweaked my settings significantly.  While the gameplay in WoW never includes the kind of spastic jumping that Trove does, it seems to be smoother and not pixellated.  I continued my quest to push my Mage to 60.  Night Elf Mage is pretty much the least possible “Belghast” character in existence.  I have always had a problem with Night Elves, and I do not do amazingly well at “Finger Wigglers” as I call them.  That said I have this silly idea that I want to get one of every class to the level cap, and I figured the only way I would actually do this is by using my free boost to 90 on a Mage.  Traditionally the characters I was least interested in playing were the Mage and the Priest.  When I accepted a scroll of resurrection some time ago, I made an instant 80 priest.  So that just left the mage, that I have never really managed to level past about 20.

Firstly I am fundamentally bad at playing a Mage.  I know this.  I had been using Frostfire bolt all this time… because it was “the prettiest”.  Really though the animation does look amazing as compared to the stock Frostbolt… so that meant it had to be better right?  Wrong… apparently it is a spell that no self respecting frost mage would ever cast except in the rare case of a mob being frost immune.  Last night oddly enough I had one of the best mages I have never known watching the stream.  Helkim was commenting over twitter, since I fail at using Twitch chat and gave me the realization that I should never press frostfire bolt again.  Sure enough my damage went up to respectable levels in dungeons…  viva la shorter cast time!

Towards the end of the video someone took the bait.  I made this channel on our guild Mumble server called “Bel Is Streaming”, and since my friend Drathis has no self preservation instinct… he decided to join me.  Within a few minutes several other friends had popped into the channel, and I think before too much longer we had all pretty much forgotten I was streaming.  As a result you guys get a glimpse into what our mumble sounds like on an almost nightly basis.  This might be confusing to the listeners because we end up often times playing completely different games, and there will be cross conversations going on about each.  Everyone else in the channel that was not me, was playing Diablo 3 torment mode I believe.  If I did not have this burning desire to get my mage to 60… I would likely be doing the same.  Basically I decided that I would far rather level a character to 60, than level tradeskills to 600.

Trove Crafting

First Winter

One of the things about weight loss that no one really told me is the fact that I would go from being very hot natured, to freezing all of the time.  This is the first winter after losing roughly seventy pounds so far, and I have to say it is a pretty miserable thing.  I am absolutely living in this Carhart black zip up hoodie.  I pretty much wear it over everything, because it keeps me at least somewhat warm.   I keep hoping that eventually my internal body temperature will regulate and I will get used to having less insulation.  It is essentially the same feeling as you have when you have just gotten a long overdue hair cut… but instead of my head being cold it is my entire body.

I am not complaining, the weight loss has had many other tangible benefits.  However as “snowmageddon” barrels down on my area I find myself shivering quite a bit.  We are supposed to get all manner of icy nastiness dumped on us around noon.  I am hoping that either it gets delayed long enough for me to get home tonight, or that it is not nearly as severe as they are expecting.  I am not really looking forward my normally fifteen minute commute turning into an hour and a half as everyone suddenly forgets how to drive.  At least my coffee helps warm me up.

Trove Crafting

 

Released another Trove video yesterday, this time covering the brand new crafting system patch.  I have to say I am impressed with the game so far.  The biggest thing for me was the addition of the ability to craft health potions.  This has enabled me to make some really bad decisions and survive.  I think over the course of the evening last night I much have gone through 30-40.  Each time I saw a bottle plant I made a beeline for it just so I could make some more.  Right now everything tends to drop monster parts, which I am guessing is a generic placeholder material that will eventually be updated to be various specific things.  Currently a Health Potion is 1 bottle from a bottle plant and 1 monster part, which makes them extremely easy to craft.

Similarly they have made bombs extremely costly to craft, and as a result the world is not nearly as marred with bomb holes.  I don’t even make them anymore, because really I don’t find them that useful even in combat with monsters.  In the video I could not figure out for the life of me why I was unable to make bombs… but then upon re-watching it I face-palmed over the fact that I simply could not count.  I want to say I was missing fire flower parts, or something like that.  The crafting system is actually really efficient so far, and I like it overall quite a bit more than I did the Minecraft one..  especially when it comes to bulk crafting.

Acheesements

2013-12-05 06_18_20-Achievements - Community - World of Warcraft

Since today is ending up a bit of a mixed bag update post, I figured I would also talk a bit about what I am doing over in World of Warcraft.  A group of friends and I have been knocking out the various achievements needed for Glory of the Pandaria Hero.  I am within a stones throw now of completing it, but at the same time we are catching up a player that has next to none of them.  What is going to be most time consuming I fear is finishing off Polyformic Acid Science.  Right now I think I have 3 of the 6 kills.  However I just found out that you can go into normal mode, solo the instance, get the vial and then hold onto it to give you double the amount of time to get through all the mobs for the achievement.

Past that I am working on farming Motes of Harmony on my Paladin to make weapon upgrades for my various characters.  That is the glaring flaw I have seen so far with the timeless isle.  You get really nice gear to catch you up, but it lacks anything even remotely similar for weapons.  The weapons you can buy off the timeless isle vendors are only ilvl 476, which are the same as the epic weapons that drop from the early heroic instances.  I feel like what we are missing are the Icecrown 5 mans.  They were a really good way during Wrath of the Lich King to help catch alts up, and the weapons there were viable enough to raid with, at least until you can get something better.  As a result I have several 90s with full timeless gear, but walking around with a 450 blue weapon simply because there is no really effective way to improve that.

I am not looking forward to working through the halfhill farm again, but I am thinking that might be something I just need to bite the bullet and do on my characters that seem to be mote starved.  At least that way you get roughly one spirit of harmony a day guaranteed.  I really wish blizzard would apply a patch and make Spirits bind on account.  On Belgrave for example, I have 5 stacks of them in the bank… because there really is very little you can use them on as an inscriptionist.  However every other crafter is starving for them, and ends up spending them on something the moment they get more.  I hope in general as we go forward into Warlords of Draenor that more things become bind on account.  I feel like the ability to trade items freely between characters can only be a net positive.  The more alts someone rolls, the more time they spend playing the game…  which in generally makes them less likely to unsubscribe and go elsewhere.

Quintessential Quintet

Farewell to Arts

 

I did another really quick video yesterday since we are supposed to have an impending server reset.  In the holiday weekend since the last restart folks have filled the server with all sorts of nifty stuff.  So I thought I would do a really quick video showcasing some of the cooler things.  The highlight for me is the alligator.  I am wondering who built it, because seriously it was perfect.  The server has essentially exploded with pixel art everywhere, some of it seeming to be freehand which is pretty amazing.  While this is all interesting I am hoping soon we get a bit more substance.

It was rumored that we would be seeing a new patch today or tomorrow and in it I am really hoping they introduce two things.  Firstly I want to see the crafting system and all the nifty things it can produce.  This is likely going to be a massive thing because this also means they will likely change they way the blocks work so that we actually harvest them instead of just destroying them.  Currently the game works a lot like Minecraft creative mode, where you have pretty much unlimited resources to place at your disposal.  While this is cool for free range building, the game however right now is lacking a “game”.  Wandering around and exploring, engaging in combat is fun but I feel like we need something to give us a sense of purpose.

The second thing I want badly is the cornerstone concept, aka your plot of lands that persists to each server you play on, and that no one else can disrupt.  Part of why I have not built much of anything yet is the fact that we still have way too many mad bombers on the server all to willing to destroy your hard work.  In fact I railed on Shawn Shuster of Massively a bit in the video as in his walkthrough that was posted yesterday… he was all too happy to blow up other peoples creations. 

There have already been some pretty epic works of art destroyed by some idiot who would not suppress their inner poo flinging monkey long enough to appreciate what had been created.  While I realize this is a side effect of having a game with no rules yet, it still depresses me to see the world as Swiss cheese.  I am sure once the new patch has gone life I will do another quick video showing off what it added.  So stay tuned to my channel and I will post something up there as soon as it is available.

Quintessential Quintet

WoW-64 2013-12-03 06-24-42-38

Also last night I managed to push my paladin Exeter to 90 and with it came an achievement that I was not expecting.  Apparently Quintessential Quintet is a thing?  I cut an odd path on this one, by the time I left Jade Forest I was already 87 thanks to all the mining nodes.  From there I made a beeline for Kun Lai, and critpathed my way through the zone until I reached the quest chain that lead to Townlong.  Similarly in Townlong I quested my way through the Shadopan chain until I reached the jumping point for Dread Wastes.  All of which was to set myself up perfectly to be able to start working on Klaxxi quests as quickly as possible.

Why you might ask?  This is my blacksmith, and all the nifty things you can create seem to be on the Klaxxi vendor.  Namely I wanted to be able to start creating masterwork weapons for all my other characters as I get them to 90.  That seems to be the big weakness as it comes to the Timeless Isle content.  You can gear your alts up with 496 extremely rapidly, but you have a few glaring holes…  namely your weapons.  Also I seem to have a much harder time getting Curios for trinkets, and the neck/ring slots to drop on the Timeless Isle.  So as a result I have ended up spending a fair amount of time trying to remediate their gear just so I can be able to queue for something.

Timeless Isle is nifty, but I really miss the equivalent of the Icecrown 5 mans.  I wish there were heroics that I could run that actually provided something viable for filling out a set of gear.  I feel as though they should really have put in a new 5 man that dropped 496 weapons to go with all the gear they are handing out like candy.  Even with epics…  a crappy weapon is still a crappy weapon.  Right now my paladin for example is using the treasures of pandaria BOA one handed sword that you find on the ground.  Which is better than anything he has gotten yet, but at least being able to create the masterwork hammer will be something slightly better.  I think those are 463 ilvl which is essentially what the heroic gear is.

What Next?

WoW-64 2013-12-03 06-39-31-95

I have to say getting Exeter to 90 was a pretty cool thing.  He technically was the very first character I created, and my intended main.  For years my internet handle was “Exeter” and quite honestly “Belghast” was my main over in DAoC, and it was not until late in Vanilla that I started to play that character as a main.  All the while through vanilla my main was Lodin the hunter, and it was an almost accidental occurrence.  I had a death in the family that pulled me away from Warcraft a few weeks after the release of the game.  As a result I got rapidly outpaced by the rest of the guild, and back then soloing a Paladin was a truly painful experience.

Hunters were the gods of soloing, so I started leveling Lodin just to be able to keep up with my friends.  Within a very short amount of time I had caught up, and when we hit 60… I got drafted into the raid group of a guild member as they wanted to replace a troublesome hunter.  I had no intent to actually play a hunter as my main, and in truth I am not terribly suited for the class… but I did for almost all of Vanilla because it was my “Raid main”.  Once you start playing a character in a raid group you are pretty much committed to always play that character until they no longer need it.  The positive effect however is that I met so many life long friends through raiding, and that the Late Night Raiders hunters were all such amazing people.

As soon as Burning Crusade was released, I saw this as my opportunity to leapfrog Lodin in gear and start playing Belghast as my main.  That is the awesome thing about expansions, the gear reset lets you change your focus.  From that point until the tail end of Wrath of the Lich King, I was a warrior main tank.  It was not until I needed a break from the hot seat that I switched focus to the Deathknight and fell in love with it.  All of this time I felt horrible for leaving Lodin abandoned in the dustbin.  It was not until Cataclysm that I actually managed to level him out of the outlands.  During one of my last sessions playing I pushed him up to Pandaria levels, so I feel as though it is probably his time to shine again.  I pretty much permanently run around in Giantstalker transmog in honor of the fun times I had with him raiding during those early days of Vanilla WoW.