Friday, October 31, 2008
I can't help but feel like the implementation of this event was rushed a bit. That's quite understandable given how close it was to WAR's release date. I'm sure there were a lot more important things to hammer out than what the heck they were going to do for Halloween. The first thing is the phase 1 objectives being that you must kill a certain number of the opposing realm in order to get to phase 2 and the boss spawn. Now I'm sure that when this was first drafted, it seemed like a really cool idea and, yes, I agree it is for something like a repeatable quest to get RvR influence. But for something to get holiday fluff? Not so much. Especially something that is going to last 5 days as it is. Not only must you depend on your realm to band together in enough numbers to actually make a serious attempt at the WH PQ but you must also depend on the opposing realm to do the same. And seriously, what is up with the restrictive zones in which to count kills and influence towards the PQ? Especially in T4, it felt a little like having to PvP in a closet.
But even with the negativity, I have seen it being successful in igniting open RvR in areas that are not used to seeing mass PvP in those numbers. So kudos for that, at least. I hope that Mythic sees from this experience what types of virtual carrots are needed to entice people away from scenarios and into the open RvR lakes.
The rewards for this Live Event might have been as rushed as the implementation but you would never know it from the quality. The masks look awesome, especially when you compare them to the masks given out for a similar event in WoW. There are 4 masks in all that you can collect. One is a random drop from Restless Spirits that are found outside the RvR lakes. One is an elite influence reward for capping the Witching Hour chapter influence. One is a gold bag reward for killing the boss spawn in phase 2 of the WH PQ. And the last is a random drop from looting a player's body in normal PvP. The cape and titles are a nice touch as well. In the info page on the official site, they also mention special potions and trinkets but I have yet to come across any of them in game. In total, I think the rewards were just enough for the season and the holiday itself.
For those seeking more information about this Live Event, there's a great post about it here.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I'm not a baseball fan. I know this in my heart. I've fallen asleep through too many Phillies games to think otherwise. I am a Philadelphia Phillies fan. The only World Series they have ever won was back in 1980 when I was still in high school. I was hip-deep in being an artsy proto-geek to care about sports back then. I was dimly aware of this event but hell if I could care less about something that seemed like only the jocks would follow.
In the years since I've developed a fondness for sport and for the Philadelphia teams in particular. In part, this was from growing up in South Jersey where Philly was just a 30 minute drive away. Since I started following the Philly teams, one thing has been a constant: the lack of championships. It didn't matter. Being a Philly fan meant that there was always a next year.
But not this year.
This year we are the champions. This year everybody else has to say there's always next year.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Also, Mother Nature really wants us Phillies fans to wait just a bit longer it seems. Boo to you, Mother Nature.
Monday, October 27, 2008
This plan worked all the way up until the level where the level 1 stabilizers failed to ensure even a slight chance of success even using the maximum of 3 per attempt. Obviously, I would need higher level stabilizers if I wanted to level up any further. The problem was, getting a steady supply would be problematic unless you had access to a scavenger or butcher. So whereas fragments were the bottleneck in TM which ensured you needed to also be a salvager to level efficiently, stabilizers were the limiting factor in apothecary. This means you need to either be a scavenger or a butcher as your gathering profession in tandem with the crafting of apothecary. I switched over to scavenging from my relatively high cultivation skill as soon as I figured this out. Luckily, I didn't need to grind in low level areas to start leveling up scavenging. In fact, it seems you can only level it through level-appropriate mobs and the drops improve as your level does and not necessarily have anything to do with mob level.
I have even found that there are apothecary main ingredients that can be scavenged or butchered. So where does this leave the gathering skill of cultivation? Well, all those seeds that find your way into your backpack will still need to be converted into ingredients via this profession. But it's the perfect alt tradeskill in that it isn't really level dependent or require you to do much travelling. Once you get to the chapter 2 town to learn the skill, you can just park by the mailbox and level from 1-200 from seeds sent to you from your other characters. I was not happy with the prospect of going through cultivation 40-50 again but there seemed to be no other choice if I wanted to level apothecary up anytime soon.
The tradeskill shares a similar interface with talisman making in that you get a crafting window where you can plug in the various vials, main ingredients, and additional ingredients you are qualified to use. After finding a mix you are happy with, you hit the brew button and depending on how stable the mix is, you will get a random result as far as potency is concerned. The main ingredients will inform you as to what the potion will untimately be but you can still get random results depending on the additional ingredients you choose to also include in the mix. A skillup is gained if you successfully brew a potion depending on your current apothecary level and the level of the main ingredient.
Is it worth it? Only if you like the idea of always being stocked with every kind of potion you might ever conceivably need. And if you just hate empty bag slots for some reason.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
When in Doubt, Right Click the Quest Item
It used to be you would be sent to collect 10 bear paws or whatever it was the NPC had a hankering for. After collecting the required items, you would then have to trek back through the whole zone to hand them in. Whereupon said NPC would then inform you: You know what, I need some bear guts too. Mind going back there and getting me some? As someone who likes to maximize their travel time efficiency, this used to drive me crazy. Mythic has gotten around this by saying what if you just right click on the bear paws and then you would know somehow that you then needed some bear guts as well. It's just crazy enough to actually work. And it does for the most part. Unless you are like me and you ignore the quest items and idly click on them while bored. You then realize there was a quest that needed to be advanced 2 tiers ago. They really need a big icon, maybe one that looks like the right mouse button that says Right Click on the Damn Quest Item Doofus, displayed prominently somewhere in the quest log.
Named Mobs You Need That Spawn and Home in on You
Seriously, how awesome is that? So awesome I can almost forgive Mythic for the reverse mechanic they also perversely included in the game: The named mob that looks identical to the dozens of mobs around it. Almost.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The trouble was everyone else was rolling out their own IB alts so mine would be lost in a sea of shorties it seemed. So I decided that just like my old Dwarf Hunter in WoW, mine would be the fabled female Dwarf. So was born Thunda the Ironbreaker. So far I have been enjoying the class. I found that it's more suited to the PVP playstyle I was trying to go for with my Warrior Priest; that of harrier and defender. I find I'm able to live a lot longer and more heals go my way when I'm charging into a mess of enemies. I still find it amazing that tanks actually can make a difference in PVP after my experience in WoW.
I have also decided to remove the need to sign up for an account in order to post comments to this blog. It's one of those things you don't realize until it's pointed out to you since it's an option that's enabled by default and an account is something that I've had since day one of this blog. Since it would be impossible to even start a blog without one on this site, it never occurred to me that there might be others out there who might not want the added hassle of creating one simply to leave me their two cents worth.
What exactly is a pocket item? A pocket item is one category of items that can be unlocked by the Tome of Knowledge. Usually it entails killing a special named mob of some kind. Since this notification can be easily missed, a good way to check for any items you are qualified to get is to open up your ToK and click on the Rewards tab on the left side.
Then click on the items submenu to see all the items you have unlocked so far in the game. If you have not yet done so, now is the time for you to make a trip to the Lyceum in the Inevitable City or the Library in Altdorf to purchase the item itself from the appropriate vendor.
After you have bought the item, you will then need to equip it in a pocket item slot. You can only equip two pocket items at a time. I guess Mythic didn't want us to have too many of these overpowered items active at any particular time. You will also need to drag the item to a hotbar slot in order to activate it. Activating it is as simple as left clicking on the hotbar slot button itself.
All pocket items have an emote associated with it that informs you and everyone around you what happens when you activate it. Some of them even have special animations and sounds. Pointless fun and great for any collectors out there.
Friday, October 17, 2008
The nice thing about having a blog is that it records things like actual dates automatically so I don't have to burden myself with trying to remember them. According to this post, it was exactly one month to the day that I started playing my Warrior Priest. One month to level to max isn't too bad and it wasn't like I really rushed either. There were plenty of hours spent just loafing around in Altdorf leveling up my Talisman Making, trying to coax the mail system to deliver my mail, and auctioning all the crap I kept looting off mobs.
Now all that is left is just leveling up my Renown Rank up to 80. The reasons being are the additional renown training and gear available to me. Additional renown training is always nice as the additional stats I can get will come in handy. I'm not quite sold on the renown gear, however. Even the epic and mythic sets don't really excite me. They suffer from too much quantity over quality when it comes to stats. Instead of concentrating on core stats and giving us some meaty values, they insist on giving us a potpourri (Do I really need +bonus to housekeeping?) of every stat under the sun and even some they make up out of the blue and then the values of each stat is anemic because of the fact that we get so many of them.
So I will likely just RvR and scenario for the fun and not for the gear I can get out of it. Which is fine by me but I suspect it won't be for the majority of folks out there. I really hope Mythic takes another look at their endgame renown gear and comes out with some sets I wouldn't be ashamed to be caught dead in.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Similarly, I found myself watching that game last night and simultaneously trying to get my Warrior Priest up to rank 40. I couldn't quite make it as I found myself at 92% by the time the game had ended. In my younger years, I probably would've pushed on as I probably could've dinged 40 with an hour or two more of play, but old age and the pragmatism it brings reminded me that tomorrow was another day. Besides, I was tired as heck and had to get up for work the next day. I figured I could relish the moment as much then as as I could now.
I probably would've been able to ding 40 yesterday if circumstances and server patches didn't conspire to cut into my available playing time. While waiting on the servers to come back up, I was finally able to log into Eve for more than just a skill change. With the Haiduken war over, it was now safe to pop over to Jita and buy the new ships I had qualified myself for while playing WAR. I bought the Hurricane and fitted it for salvaging but decided not to get the Retriever. While playing with possible setups in EFT in order to decide on what equipment to buy for it, I realized my current mining Rokh had a much higher output if I could just live with the faster cycle times of the Mining Laser II vs. Strip Miner. So I decided to take Fholcan's advice and hold out for the Hulk instead. I'll queue up the training for that ship as soon as I'm done training up for the Cheetah.
I was also able to check out a rather interesting game that I first heard about over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun called World of Goo. It's put out by an independent publisher, 2D Boy, and you can find a link to the demo at their site. It's Lemmings for the 21st century as imagined by Tim Burton. The game even comes with Danny Elfman-inspired musical overtones. I highly recommend it and bought it on Steam immediately after trying out the demo. You can't go wrong with subsidizing quality independent game publishers for only $19.99.
Monday, October 13, 2008
After this was done, I was able to convince my body clock that this was indeed the weekend and to let me get back into bed to get some more much-needed sleep. If I had known then what I knew now, I might've toughened it out to track the invasion from its very beginning. As it was, I didn't get back up until 9 AM EST and I set about to finish an Epic quest chain that was given to me by the Elven King which, in turn, led to more Epic quests given out by the Human and Dwarven Kings themselves. Epic quests are long quest chains which often have a blue Rare reward of your choice at the end.
During this time, I kept an eye on chat like I usually do. There really weren't any cries of alarm just yet on the shared Order channel. Even though Destro was making their opening moves, most of us on Order were so used to the map being a perpetual shade of red that it was just business as usual for us. Around 11 AM, there was finally some talk of a mass of Destro heading towards the Reikwald keep. I decided to mosey over there to check it out but I really wasn't rushing to get there. We had repelled a similar attack not too long ago and I figured we would do the same this time as well.
By the time I had gotten there, it was clear that the few Order folk that had shown up was not going to be able to hold back the tide of Destro this time. In short order, they defeated the Keep Lord and would be able to zone into the City of Altdorf itself. I respawned at the Reikland warcamp, unsure of what to do next. On Vent, there was talk of a new scenario you could queue up for so that looked like the way to join in the Altdorf defense. I queued up for the Streets of Altdorf scenario but, for some reason, this never popped for me during the invasion.
I worked my way back to the southern Altdorf gate and tried to zone back in that way. Success! I was finally in Altdorf and could take part in its defense. This elation lasted all of 5 minutes. This was the time it took to present a laggy slide show which resulted in my quick death at the hands of enemies which hadn't even finished loading on my screen yet. Followed immediately by a CTD.
After restarting, I found myself outside the city again by the southern gate. Attempting to zone back in, I was stopped by a popup which listed the number of city instances by ID and also the number of attackers and defenders on each. It then asked me which one I wanted to enter. Through trial and error, I queued up for the only instance I could, so now I was queued for 2 Altdorf scenarios according to my queue button. I stayed by the southern gate, helping the others who had also gathered there to stop the Destro respawners from running back into the city. Meanwhile, I listened on Vent as a couple of us who were still inside gave reports on the war action taking place.
After a long while, Destro managed to finally lock Order out of Altdorf. And my scenarios still hadn't popped letting me back in. I figured since I was queued anyways, I should get back to leveling after I finally died in that gate defense. I was really disappointed I couldn't do more to defend the city but at least I had made the effort. Hopefully, Mythic can fix the obvious bugs which were preventing me from doing so. Grats to Averheim Destro for being the organized war machine that was able to score this world first. Next time, I hope we Order can be more than just a speed bump for you all.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
They have also seen fit to have standard merchants carry level 1 fragments and even salvageable gear. This will help tremendously those just starting out with Talisman Making and Salvaging. No longer will you need to keep buying low-level renown gear just to start leveling those skills up.
If you've been on the fence about this profession while you waited for Mythic to fix it, now is the time to jump in. Now if only we can find us some other containers aside from these level 1 starters.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Mythic promised an innovative way to queue for their scenarios, which are the WAR equivalent of the WoW battlegrounds. A handy dandy button allowed you to queue from anywhere in their world and it would deposit you back in relatively one piece afterwards to where you accepted the queue pop from. This innovation was hailed as a welcome one to PVP'ers everywhere and even led Blizzard to shamelessly steal it for their upcoming WoTLK expansion. No longer would we have packs of players hunched around the NPC like a bunch of aimless drifters.
Or maybe not. Don't these people know about the innovative feature Mythic put in that allows you to queue anywhere? Yes, they do. But the fact is that, oftentimes in some servers, some scenarios pop almost instantly. In this case, it is the Tor Anroc scenario for Averheim Order. When that happens, the most efficient way to gain Renown and XP is by camping the quest NPC's that give the repeatable scenario quests and turn them in after every scenario. So much for innovation.
Something really needs to be done about this. I can't imagine Mythic would be okay with this considering they went to the trouble of providing us with the means to free ourselves from this sort of behavior. I don't know exactly what needs to be done and I'll leave that up to Mythic themselves to decide. Whether removing the repeatable scenarios altogether is a good move or not is debatable but removing NPC loitering is not in my opinion.
By contrast, talisman making is usually paired with salvaging and the only trainers for them can be found in the chapter 2 town in each racial pairing. Nobody is going to give you supplies for free and the only way to get them is to salvage any magical gear you can find short of some exceptions like belts and some other items. You better make friends with the renown gear vendor as, unless you have a steady and voluminous supply of magical gear, that is going to be the only way to level up your talisman making skill with any regularity. Buy the cheapest renown gear that will salvage into a fragment that you can currently use. Cross your fingers that the salvage operation doesn't fail and you don't need to buy another for a possible skillup. Plug the fragment into the crafting window along with some containers, gold essences, curios, and magic essences. Pray as you hit the fuse button that it gives you a skillup. Rinse and repeat.
There isn't a recipe book that lists ingredients and their results. It's a freeform process and the end-result depends heavily on the quality of the ingredients. There's a little power-up bar that might figure into it with the timing but I've been able to ignore that so far without any ill results. If you are just skilling up, you can get by with a fragment of your current skill level (I have found using fragments I have out-leveled won't skill me as dependably as current level ones) and level 1 ingredients in the other slots.
Is it worth it? Only you can decide this for yourself. The ability to create talismans on demand is offset by the number of talisman awards and drops you can find in the game. But it does get better as you find yourself being able to craft higher quality talismans; eventually even epic ones that have no expiration timer like most of the ones you will find yourself making.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
It's more likely than you think. I have seen quite a bit of folks that have dismissed the PVE content in WAR as an afterthought to the central PVP theme. It's got me scratching my head wondering if these guys are playing the same game I am. If WoW is the benchmark for PVE quality in current MMORPG's, I'd have to say I'm more than well qualified as any internet expert out there to comment on PVE content. Having leveled every class to 70 on both Horde and Alliance through solo questing and gone through every 5-man and raid instance in the game, I have literally seen everything that WoW has to offer PVE-wise.
I'm here to tell you today that WAR can hold its own when it comes to PVE. There are the standard quests that never get to the tedious "kill 500 mobs hoping for that one rare quest drop" stage that is far too common in WoW questing. The lore and story that accompanies the quests are of high quality which is a shame considering it won't get read at all by the majority of players including myself. Unless it's something memorable like the Duskwood pathos in WoW, I really couldn't care less. So far, there hasn't been anything memorable like that in WAR but it seems WAR doesn't do maudlin pathos well. The brutal reality that is WAR has your next contact be more likely to be found as a corpse in a field somewhere than waiting patiently for you next to the mailbox. When I'm questing, I just want to find new and interesting people in new and interesting places...and kill them. So far, WAR delivers this in spades. Unlike in WoW, I don't dread being sent into a cave or tower and dealing with wonky mob aggro or trudging through the same boring layout. Mythic has done a great job mixing up the vistas and opponents you have to fight through especially if you do the quests in all three race pairings like I've done.
Instances have been sparse but they are there with more waiting to be unlocked once we hit 40. There are the beginner instances in the capital cities which are kind of lacking in terms of XP or loot rewards. But they are there if you want a change of pace and are reasonably quick to get in and out. There's also the Gunbad public instance for the 20-30 range. This instance has a bit more depth and atmosphere compared to the beginner ones but, again, the XP rewards and loot don't compare to what you can get from PVP or questing. I think this was a conscious design effort by Mythic to prevent people from grinding instances to level or get that one uber piece of gear. I really hope this holds true for later instances as well; I like running instances but I don't want them running me. If you know what I mean.
Well solo questing and 5 mans are fine, you say, but Blizzard made its name with epic boss raid encounters. Where are those in WAR, I hear you ask. There are random lairs that can be found in the world holding various beasties for you to slay but I think the real parallel to epic boss encounters are the public quests that are sprinkled liberally in every zone. While on the surface the ease of doing public quests compared to raids in WoW won't enable you to make the connection right away, anyone with any raiding experience will recognize that public quests give you many of the positives of raiding without much of the negatives. When you get to Tier 4 many of the public quests get downright elaborate and there are many moments where you say to yourself, "Self, that's pretty cool.".
I'd like to close this wall of text with a screenshot of a quest reward from the Emperor himself. Karl Franz gave me his own warhammer after a long quest chain that is even labeled distinctively in WAR as an Epic Quest.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Eve University has been war-decced again and this time it looks like the OPFOR wants to play. Which really makes me wish I could drop in for some real PVP instead of station spinning. But I'm getting my fill of PVP action in WAR and I'm loath to slip out of my +4 implants into an empty skull right now. It looks like E-Uni is giving them hell anyways without me judging by the killboard. If this continues for another week, I might be tempted to come back and lend what aid I can.
Speaking of WAR, I'm still going full steam on the Warrior Priest. Currently at Rank 32, Renown Rank 25 and wishing more T4 scenarios would pop besides Serpent's Passage. I like the scenario just fine but I would like to see what the others are like; even just once. I think it might be a code issue that locks you into your first choice if you queue more than one. Since I, like many others, are using a mod to queue all possible scenarios at once, this will lead to only the first scenario listed popping all the time. I will refer to this phenomenom as the Tor Anroc Syndrome henceforth and Mythic acknowledges this is an issue with their announcement to shake things up a bit by moving Temple of Isha to the front of the class. I hope they come up with a more long-term solution as well as look at the scenario pairings in tier 4.