Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Gaming Year in Review

I started off this year where I had been for the past 4 years: in World of Warcraft. My guild was close to finally killing Illidan Stormrage and moving on to Sunwell Plateau. In between hardcore raiding and mats farming, I was leveling up the 7th or 8th of my 9 level 70's. After killing Illidan and putting Black Temple on farm status, I started to feel an ennui which even tackling the new challenges of Sunwell Plateau couldn't dispel. Around May and after finally leveling the last of my level 70's, I bid my guild goodbye to seek greener gaming pastures elsewhere.

The first stop was Age of Conan, based on the positive experiences I had during the Open Beta. Unfortunately, the experience I had during Open Beta which had a level cap of 20 proved to be the shining moment for this MMO. You know that standard warning for online games where they say: Game Experience May Change During Online Play? That's exactly what happened after level 20 in AoC. It soon became clear that the title was rushed out into production before important MMO mainstays like content and polish were applied. I think I lasted until level 63 before I stopped logging on which took about a month or so.

While I was waiting on Funcom to fix their game, I downloaded the trial for Eve Online. When I found out I was having more fun with the free trial than my subscription to AoC, I knew it was time for a change. In the second week of my 21-day Steam trial, I applied for and was accepted to Eve University. This was around June and Eve consumed my playing time as I strove to learn everything I could about this complex MMO. Started reading and following the various Eve blogs which inspired me to try my hand at this here blogging thing.

Around August, intrigued by the reports of various gaming blogs of the unique features of the upcoming game, Warhammer Online, I decided to pre-order the game which allowed me access to the Open Beta. Before this, I thought I might play this title but wait until a few months had passed in order not to repeat my AoC experience. At literally the last moment, I decided to apply for Casualties of WAR and they were foolish enough to accept my application.

Events after that have been covered already on this blog so I won't go into them again. I do want to mention that I've trialed some more games recently that were on my to-do list. Among them were Vanguard, Everquest II, Lord of the Rings Online, and even Tabula Rasa. Sadly, the title that I was most impressed with turns out to be Tabula Rasa which will unplug for good in a few months. I don't think I can ever get over the art direction in Vanguard and EQII enough to actually enjoy the gameplay offered. In my younger years, I would've jumped at the chance to live in Tolkien's world but now I just yearn for a good game to play and I don't think Middle Earth can really provide that for me. But we'll see as I still have some time left in the free trial.

I can't wait to see what the next year holds for the future of WAR and other MMORPG's.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Epilogue

This concludes the blog series I started about a month ago. Of the three classes I have leveled to 40 so far, the Bright Wizard was the most painful to solo with. Yes, being a DPS class meant kills came fast and furious. But the Combustion mechanic and the inability to handle multiple mobs meant more deaths as well. I'm a big fan of the slow and steady approach and not as much of the respawn and die again method of soloing.

Mythic needs someone that actually plays their game to handle the itemization for Bright Wizards. I went through almost all the chapters in all the zones in the game and not once was there an elite influence reward that tempted me to grind for it. Intelligence is, of course, our primary stat. Our secondary stats are the various survivability ones with Wounds being the front-runner because of our Combustion mechanic. Toughness and Initiative is always welcome as well as any resists you want to throw our way. We don't want Willpower. Yes, it helps with resists but other casters are not our bane. It's those pesky melee and the other stats will help more than Willpower will.

I didn't want to offer an opinion about the nerfing this class took but I will say that we were absolute monsters on the battlefield before the various changes and fixes. I'm fine with being reeled back into the pack but they need to take another look at Combustion along with the identical Sorceress mechanic. I feel they need to dial down the damage we take from it to make the ratio of risk versus reward more appropriate in light of the changes made.

For my next trick, I'll be working on getting my Ironbreaker some renown so I can wear some of this ward gear I have laying around. After that, a melee DPS class - most likely a White Lion.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 34-37

Day 34: Christmas Day. No time to log in to my Bright Wizard today so he got a boatload of rested XP. Ended the day CR37 RR26.

Day 35: I can smell the finish line from here. Finished off the chapter 18 quests in Thunder Mountain. Went through the entire Bonds of Fellowship epic questline that had me traipsing from zone to zone. As expected, I died multiple times doing the bits in Chaos Wastes with the zombie/undead spawns of doom packed around the quest area. No good gear rewards but awesome XP. Queued for all scenarios sporadically but Serpents was the one that popped the most. Finished off all the chapter 18 quests so I moved on to chapter 19 starting with Praag and also finally finishing off the Unholy questline. After that, it was off to Dragonwake for the chapter 19 quests there and finally to Thunder Mountain. There was a bit of a bug where it was impossible to finish one quest if you turned in another. A Prod in the Right Direction has you using a zapper to weaken a Hero mob blocking your way and a bag of black powder to gain access to a hidden dwarf city and a quest NPC who gives you the Champion of the Lost Forge quest series. If you turn in the Prod quest, you lose both the zapper and the black powder bag making it impossible to return to the quest NPC and turn in the completed Champion quests. Make sure you finish all the quests from that NPC before turning in the Prod quest back in the chapter 19 town. Started on the chapter 20 quests in Black Crag. Ended the day CR39 RR27.

Day 36: Weird thing I noticed when I logged on. There was a bag of black powder in my quest items where before there wasn't. Good thing I kept that completed Champion of the Lost Forge quest in my log instead of abandoning it. No zapper, though, so I was forced to kite the hero mob while I blew the hole in the tunnel. Got that quest completed and got a travel quest to Altdorf afterwards. After that, another quest to send me back to that remote NPC. Only trouble was the bag of black powder was gone again. Sigh. I sent another bug report in. I decided to finish off all the quests in the Dwarf pairings instead of the Elf lands like I did with the last two characters. It will take me a little longer due to the unfamiliarity but I figure the new content will be more enjoyable and there's always warDB if I get stuck. I wasn't even going to try the Empire zone; Chaos Wastes undead hordes for the lose. Order managed to lock Dragonwake so we got Caledor Woods as a new scenario to queue up and no Serpents. Pretty enjoyable change of pace unless you get a scenario with seven Bright Wizards like I did. No way were we going to hold the ground needed to win with that group setup. Also found another bug with the quest, The Grudges of Karak Drazh. In the part where you have to find these books or chronicles, it seems they moved the items to new locations. The trouble is they forgot to update the map circles. Read the newest comment on warDB for the new locations. Finished off the chapter 20 and 21 quests in Black Crag and moved on to chapter 22 in the same zone. I wanted to push to 40 but just ran out of steam at 90%. Ended the day CR39 RR27.

Day 37: Finishing up the chapter 22 quests in Black Crag. Too early in the day for scenarios so none popped. With the rested XP, it didn't take me long to get the 10% I needed for rank 40. Here's the screenshot of the time it took me. I was a little more efficient this time around ingame than with my previous 2 40's according to this post. But it took about the same real time as my Ironbreaker; about 5 weeks according to this diary. No surprises there really. Ended the day CR40 RR27.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 31-33

Day 31: Started to take the Bright Wizard out for a spin but just wasn't feeling like leveling today so I put him back in Altdorf to get some more rested XP. For some reason, the holiday bonus is having the opposite effect on me that it does on others and making me less inclined to play my toon. Maybe it's because I know that I can really take advantage of it to level even faster than I usually do. This makes me feel like I have more time to goof off and still keep up my usual leveling pace. Ended the day CR36 RR26.

Day 32: I finished out the chapter 18 quests in Praag and still had that Unholy epic questline hanging around from chapter 17. But the questline had me going to the chapter 19 area of Praag so I thought I'd leave that for when I got to that chapter. So I went to Dragonwake to work on the chapter 18 quests in that zone. Remember what I said about the cyclical nature of scenarios? It seems Destro is suffering from not being able to win a scenario now for whatever reason. It's my opinion that the cyclical nature owes a lot to the fact that you can't queue scenarios as a warband and I hope Mythic never caves in to the whiners demanding such a feature. I enjoy not knowing if I am going to win or lose instead of dreading every queue like I eventually did with WoW battlegrounds and their premade groups. Ended the day CR36 RR26.

Day 33: 'Twas the day before Christmas and my Bright Wizard was burning through all the rested XP Santa Mythic had given him. I had finished off all the chapter 18 quests in Dragonwake except for the Awakening epic questline. So I headed out to Thunder Valley to start on the chapter 18 quests there. There was a good grouping of quests in Cinderfall, which is a subzone of Thunder Mountain. Unfortunately, like all the other subzones it was impossible to queue scenarios from there. I worked around this limitation by binding to the chapter 18 town and scrolling back every once in a while to fly out to a zone where queueing was possible. There were 2 groups of Keg's End NPC's right next to each other in Cinderfall so I also worked on my Live Event influence as well whenever they respawned. Ended the day CR37 RR26.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Whatever it's called and whatever faith you believe in, holidays are a wonderful time to share with friends and family. Sometimes, memories of loved ones are all that we have now so be sure to make many more with the ones that are still with us. Here's hoping that the holiday spirit lasts throughout the year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 28-30

Day 28: Didn't touch the Bright Wizard. Strictly Dungeon Runners and then logged on my Ironbreaker for some epic open RVR. Patch 1.1d had fixed an issue where the Dragonwake scenarios weren't contributing their victory points correctly, making Dragonwake impossible to lock. Tonight, Order locked it first then moved on to Caledor before being pushed back all the way to our fortress. Then I and many other Order logged on to push them all the way back to Caledor again. Good times. Ended the day CR35 RR25.

Day 29: Since the Unholy epic quests were all that remained for me to do in Praag, I turned my attention back to the rest of the chapter 17 quests in Dragonwake. This meant going back to the Isle of the Dead. I had enjoyed this zone before as one packed with quests that when completed was usually enough for a level or so. But for some reason I was having problems doing them as a Bright Wizard. It could be the island's mob density and fast respawns were not conducive to a squishy that couldn't heal themselves. Also, I don't remember the Screamer mobs being level 42 before. That seemed out of place for a zone with chapter 17 quests so I sent in a bug report for those. Whatever the reasons, I made one death run after another. After I had about enough of doing those, I decided I'd much rather be doing something else so I ported back to the Altdorf to take advantage of the increased rested XP Mythic was giving out over the Holidays. Ended the day CR35 RR25.

Day 30: Started the day creating a brand new White Lion alt to level up to 5 before parking her in Altdorf for the increased rest XP. Kimba was already taken as a name, so I went for Kimbah instead. Then some Dungeon Runners and Tabula Rasa before football came on TV. After watching my Eagles lay an egg against their rival Redskins, I turned my attention back to WAR and my Bright Wizard. Being an obstinate SOB, I gave Isle of the Dead some more tries. Managed to finish the quests there save for the one that had me killing 6 of the level 42 Screamers. It wasn't happening at my present level of 35. I then moved on to the chapter 18 town in Praag to clear off those quests. Ended the day CR36 RR26.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 25-27

Day 25: Spent most of the day playing my Guild Wars trial. But I did manage to get that out of my system as I got my guy up to level 7 and past the Sundering event. I was able to spectate a GvG match which is the GW equivalent of a keep siege. Very interesting to be able to watch any PVP match I wanted and it was pretty enjoyable but, Holy Cow, did that really just say the match has been going on for 4 hours already? Pretty hardcore, that. Unfortunately, I then installed the trial to Dungeon Runners. Ended the day CR34 RR24.

Day 26: Keg End Live Event starts today. But even that wasn't enough to tear me away from the Dungeon Runners trial. This thing can be seriously addictive. It's like Diablo crossed with Monty Python as an MMO. You know those guys that rant on MMO forums how their game would be different if they ever got around to making one? The devs are those guys. Ended the day CR34 RR24.

Day 27: Finally decided to stop my slacking and get some leveling done. But first, some Dungeon Runners. I am so gonna buy myself the retail box for an early Christmas present. I needs my Bling Gnome, yo! Had previously cleared off all chapter 17 quests in Praag with the exception of the Unholy epic series. This quest series provided me with a few 10k XP rewards. I love epic quests. Hooked up with a Warrior Priest as I headed into some Skaven caves and he was kind enough to share 2 quests I completed along with the one that sent me in there. That saved me a return trip and also was good for some additional XP I didn't have to go out of my way to get. Ended the day CR35 RR25.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trials and Tribulations

So I let my subscription to Eve Online expire yesterday. Rather than be content to have some extra cash laying around especially with the coming holidays, I found myself looking around for a possible replacement. There's a whole bunch of MMO's I've been meaning to trial but have never gotten around to for one reason or another. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to go through my mental list if only to discover if there were any hidden gems I'd been depriving myself of.

I wanted to try out LoTRO but discovered there was no way to install a free trial short of borrowing someone's install discs. Seriously? In this day and age, why is this still the only possibility? Next up was Guild Wars. The lack of a monthly fee marked it as a serious contender for a second MMO along with my current WAR subscription.

In the few days of playing the trial, I've come to the conclusion that this game would not fit in very well as a casual alternative for the times when I don't feel like logging on to WAR. It looks and runs great on my system but, to really get the most out of the game, you really need to be hardcore about the PVP. While in another place and time, I would be all over Guild War's unique gaming concepts; that time has long since passed for me I think. I will keep an eye out for Guild Wars 2 which is being developed at the moment.

While I had the NCPlay launcher open, I scanned the other offerings available. Hmmmm....Tabula Rasa, I really should try that out while I still can. Dungeon Runners, didn't know that was published by NCSoft. This was one title which had completely flown under my gaming radar. I knew almost nothing about it save its name. Even then, I thought it was a Dungeons & Dragons Online clone because of that name. Still the price to buy and play: free with more content available with a $4.95 subscription fee seemed like it wouldn't hurt to try it.

Letting the launcher download the necessary install files for Dungeon Runners, I thought I'd read a few reviews just to see what exactly it was I was getting into. After reading a few, it turned out this game was not really a DDO clone but something which had me actually impatient to get on with playing the game instead of waiting for it to download and install. The brief time I had left before it was way past time to get to bed convinced me that this game is definitely a hidden gem.

If you play MMORPG's, and why would you be reading this blog if you don't, do yourself a favor and try Dungeon Runners out. It reminds us that even with MMO's being serious business and all, a little mindless fun is never a bad thing when you play games.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 22-24

Day 22: Started on the chapter 16 quests in Eataine. The first two scenarios of the day were Howling Gorge. Got tired of Order being content to engage in a massive scrum with Destro without making any attempts to try and score or prevent them from scoring. So I decided to queue up Serpent's Passage and Dragon's Bane exclusively the rest of the day. Serpent's, while ubiquitous, was one scenario Order seemed to have a handle on. Dragon's Bane because I had never seen it pop ever. It's like my Holy Grail of scenarios now. One day I will see its loading screen at the very least. I took advantage of Order locking the Eataine, Kadrin Valley, and Reikland zones to run the RVR lake travel quests for some quick, easy XP. After finishing up the quests in Eataine, I then moved on to chapter 16 in Reikland and then on to finish Kadrin Valley. Ended the day CR33 RR24.

Day 23: The chapter 17 quests got a bit tricky. Originally, I started out in the eastern part of Dragonwake. After I quickly finished off the quests in the surrounding area, the next batch had me going north to the Isle of the Dead zone. The zone is annoying in that it is tightly packed with mobs higher than my current level and you can't queue for any scenarios from there. If you die, you respawn south in Dragonwake and have to make the run back north again. After a few untimely deaths, I went with plan B: finding a more appropriate chapter 17 zone to level in. I found it in the Dwarf zone even though it was a bit of a hassle running to the chapter 17 town from the warcamp. After clearing out all the quests there, I moved on to chapter 17 in Praag. Ended the day CR34 RR24.

Day 24: Continued clearing the chapter 17 quests in Praag. Installed an awesome new quest tracker mod called Kwestor. It provides a much clearer display of your quest progress and you can even set it to filter your quests by zone. Pretty darn cool. Was going to be time limited today so didn't even bother with scenarios. Well, I did optimistically queue up for Dragon's Bane which, of course, didn't pop. Broke early to watch the Monday Night Football game. Go Eagles! Ended the day CR34 RR24.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 19-21

Day 19: Finished off the rest of the chapter 14 quests in Badlands which left me in a quandary. I would have to move to a T4 zone to continue questing but I was loathe to queue up for T4 scenarios at my present level of 30. I had no problems starting on T4 scenarios at 30 with my Warrior Priest and Ironbreaker but for some reason I was really dreading it with my Bright Wizard. I found out that I wasn't eligible yet for all the T4 scenario quests so I decided to wait until the next level when they should be unlocked for me. In the meantime, there was much shuttling about with flight masters as I queued scenarios in Averlorn while I started questing in Eataine. Said goodbye to my awesome dragon staff as one of the last Badlands quests I did rewarded me with the typoed Surpressing Staff. I couldn't resist the combination of high Wounds and Intelligence stats on it so it was back to wielding a fiery broom of death. Order was making another push after their success yesterday in locking 3 zones so I logged over to my Warrior Priest. Ended the day CR31 RR22

Day 20: Patch day cometh. Looks like there were quite a few changes to the UI with 1.1 resulting in some broken mods. Chief among them zMailmod and AutoDismount. Found a link to a fixed zMailmod zipfile on the Curse page and a simple lua edit fix to AutoDismount on the WHA UI forums. If I can just get WindowCleaner working, I'll be in UI hog heaven once again. I tried my best to ignore the squeals of delight from my guildies on Vent and guild chat as they recounted the tales of intense RVR action that exploded in every tier it seemed on my server. The weird part was even with this open RVR-mania, the T3 and T4 scenarios I queued up seemed to pop pretty regularly. Finished the chapter 15 quests in Eataine and dipped my toe into T4 scenarios with my Bright Wizard. As I feared, it was a glut of Serpent's Passage that featured my lowbie Bright Wizard dying in a number of gruesome ways to the higher level Destro in there. Nobody seemed to be taking advantage of the new main assist button which annoyingly did not want to stay where I moved it to. Found some new quests added in Eataine which was a nice surprise. After I finished up all the Eataine chapter 15 quests, I decided to reward myself by flying to Averlorn to queue up T3 scenarios where I could lord it over the lowbies for a change. I found one of the new chicken run quests in that warcamp that had me scouting the objectives in the T1 RVR lake as a chicken. My reward was the title Bawk, Dont Run. Ended the day CR31 RR23.

Day 21: Moved on to the chapter 15 quests in Reikland. One thing I've noticed is the lack of PQ influence rewards that appeal to my Bright Wizard. It's a mixed blessing as this means I'm not tempted to solo grind the influence like I did too many times with my Warrior Priest and Ironbreaker. Looking back, it wasn't worth the time better spent leveling and getting to higher levels where better gear awaited me. Scenarios weren't too productive for me today so I decided to queue them only when I needed a break from questing. Finished the chapter 15 quests in Reikland so that left only Kadrin Valley for that particular chapter. Tried to squeeze in some T3 scenarios when I could figuring I might as well while I still qualified for them. Dinged just as I finished off the last of the chapter 15 quests in Kadrin Valley. Pretty good timing. Reluctantly, I abandoned the unfinished T3 scenario quests from my Tome for the last time. Ended the day CR32 RR23.

Friday, December 12, 2008

1.1 Patch First Impressions

The Good: The new RVR influence system seems to be igniting open RVR across all the tiers of my server yesterday. It remains to be seen if this will persist after the new shiny phase. A lot of welcome additions to this game which, while individually small things, add up to a lot more polish. Sigmar knows this game needs it. Some prime examples were the item linking and right click menus on names in chat. Renown gear got a makeover and I found out my Warrior Priest was eligible for a second piece of Annihilator's without any extra renown grinding needed. Sweet!

The Bad: Some UI mods were broken. Not a big deal if you go default but really annoying for those who like their copious mods. Even the default UI exhibited rather strange behavior like buffs that behaved like bad dinner guests and simply wouldn't go away and a main assist button that would not stay put if you decided it was better somewhere else on your screen. Mythic decided to add some more money sinks in the form of increased flight master and merchant dying fees. They have since rolled back the cost of using the flight master to their 1.06 values but it was quite a shock to find out it would cost you almost a gold if you wanted to fly anywhere.

The Ugly: The client stability and performance was a mixed bag. I suffered more CTD's than usual yesterday. Scenario performance was very good even with all effects enabled. So good I'm tempted to up them from its fastest framerate settings. I didn't participate in any open RVR so I couldn't tell you first-hand how it held up with a mass of players around. Reports on Vent were positive but reading the forums and some blogs, it looks like the client took a few steps back in regards to mass mob action. There was another fortress zone crash last night on our server after I had logged off for the night so that is still a work in progress, it seems.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 16-18

Day 16: Finishing the High Elf chapter 13 quests meant an end finally to the epic questline, Control. When a quest is labeled as epic it usually means a number of quests that send you all over the place with a rare (blue) reward at the end of it. This epic questline started in chapter 10 Averlorn and finally ended in chapter 13 Saphery. The quest reward was a very nice staff reward that had a unique look that was a change of pace from the regular fiery broom of death I've been wielding for quite some time as seen here. Didn't have much time for leveling between watching football and a guild Bastion run which I tanked with my Ironbreaker. I did finish up all the Talabecland quests except for the last 2 set in the PQ Unterbaum Castle. Wait until you get both quests to send you there so you don't have to run this crowded, fast-spawning gauntlet twice like I did with earlier characters. Ended the day CR29 RR21.

Day 17: Noticing that PVP survivability in T3 has gone down compared to T1 and T2. If melee gets to me, my only hope is Fire Cage which at this level most of them will have a counter to get rid of it. I usually don't survive long enough after to try anything else. So I have to play with my head on a swivel and get ready to start running away the second one of them looks at me funny. Finished up the Unterbaum Castle quests so that left only the Dwarf lands for the remaining T3 quests. Headed for the chapter 14 quest hub and finally won a Doomfire Crater for the first time in 4 days of trying. Huzzah! Finished a few of the chapter 14 quests in the Badlands before I dinged 30. Unlocked the flight masters to the T4 warcamps so I did the travel quests to them for quick and easy XP. It sure beats having to ride up to each of the warcamps in question. Ended the day CR30 RR22.

Day 18: Kept plugging away at the chapter 14 quests in Badlands and queueing for scenarios. The most competitive scenario for T3 Order right now is Toc Anroc and I've been having some fun with my morale ranged knockback in there. Did the Buying Time and Ancient Horror quests which sends you scampering Indiana Jones-style on elevated bridges set high over a precipitous canyon and eventually through a long, twisting cave to the bottom of said canyon. Do yourself a favor and get both quests before setting out on this lovely jaunt. I made the mistake of not doing this on a previous character and just deleted Ancient Horror rather than slog through that mess again. The call went out to Order to take some of our zones back from the grubby Destro so I logged on my Warrior Priest cutting short my leveling for the night. Ended the day CR30 RR22.

Pie in the Sky

Remember what I said about a time and place for Paul Barnett's brand of humor? Trying to place the blame of a faulty RVR contribution system on the fellow employee next to you: not really. Playing damage control so you don't come off looking like a total jerk : spot-on.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Random Thoughts

Paul Barnett's video regarding the coding goof in RVR contribution was very informative if a little squirm-worthy. After I watched it, I thought to myself: self, did I just watch what I thought I just watched? There's a time and place for Paul's brand of dry British humor, but that wasn't it I'm afraid.

Official forums most often are nothing more than a wretched hive of scum and villainy. But they are also very much needed if you want to project yourself as a grade A MMORPG. Doling out info to the masses via fansites just isn't the same thing, no matter how much spin you put on it.

My Eve subscription runs out on the 16th of this month. The 30-day pilot licenses have actually gone up in price since I bought my first one and not down as I thought they eventually would. My passive isk generation can barely cover the cost of another month so it looks like it might be time to shut down my account for a while. But I have said this before only to extend my subscription when push came to shove.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 13-15

Day 13: Dufftimers got picked up by another author and was updated for 1.06 today. Now I can get rid of these laggy, ugly default buff icons. It seems like much of the lag was due to the default buff icons and going back to Dufftimers improved my client performance in scenarios immensely. Turned all effects back on so I can spot those nasty purple puddles. Still some issues with Dufftimer not being able to just display your own debuffs on hostile targets but at least it's working again. Destro already had some lower 20's Blackguards in the T3 scenarios I queued up today. A shame I didn't see any Order KoTBS in there as well. Just what I need - another melee class to chase me around. Mopped up the rest of the quests in Averlorn including the problematic Control quest set inside a troll cave. Then I did the same thing with the chapter 12 quests in High Pass. All that was left was chapter 12 in the Dwarf Lands. This chapter town is located in Black Fire Pass, not Badlands. Chapter 13 in Dwarf tier then doubles back to Badlands again. Started on a few of the quests in there before turning in for the night. Ended the day CR27 RR19.

Day 14: T3 Order can't seem to win any scenarios whenever I queue up anymore. I think I may have won one Tor Anroc all day. Rather than blame this on class or faction imbalances, I like to think these things are cyclical. I can certainly remember stretches where it seemed Order couldn't ever lose a scenario. I can't wait for the default main assist button in scenarios coming soon in 1.1. I certainly saw some instances yesterday where our side could've benefited from having such a tool. Finally saw some low level KoTBS in the T3 scenarios. One tip for ranged DPS is a handy dandy mod that can do many things: TheSeeker. I like to set mine to look for healers as they can be hard to spot at range especially if they are bunched up. I finished up Dwarf chapter 12 in Black Fire Pass so I set out to Saphery to start on the High Elf chapter 13 quests. Finished those up so I headed south to the chapter 14 hub. Order put a call out for all able-bodied T4 players to assemble in Praag for a takeover attempt. So I logged over to my IB who needed the renown more than my WP. Ended the day CR28 RR20.

Day 15: It's becoming more apparent that this current crop of Order has no idea what it takes to win at Doomfire Crater. It's a shame as I have enjoyed this scenario in the past before on my WP and IB. But when every single time it pops the scenario quickly devolves into them camping our spawn, it's time to do something else. Like the old joke about the guy complaining to his doctor about how his arm hurts every time he does this, I'm taking the doctor's advice when he says: "Well, then don't do that." Luckily, this is easy to do with a handy mod called Join Selected Scenarios. This addon pops up an additional window at scenario select with a list of the available scenarios and checkboxes along with a Join Selected Scenarios button. Very nice when you don't feel like queuing for that really annoying scenario. Finished up the chapter 13 quests in Talabecland which cleared out all the pairings and made it time to move on to chapter 14. Now that I'm doing these diaries, I'm paying more attention to the chapter names of the quest hubs. Before, I paid about as much attention to them as I did the quest descriptions. Finishing off the current chapter in each pairing before moving on to the next chapter should result in more efficient leveling than my previous freeform strat. Destro was feeling froggy as they went and locked down Kadrin Valley and started moving on to Stonewatch Fortress. I logged out my BW and logged my IB on for some fortress defense. Afterwards, I knocked off most of the chapter 14 quests in Saphery. Ended the day CR29 RR21.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Return of The Case of the Missing T4 Scenarios

If you remember from this post, I posited that the missing T4 scenarios were not actually missing but rather locked out due to the nature of the T4 zone control system. Since our guild's move to the more populous Badlands, I've had the chance to see these normally locked zones become contested and note which scenarios are associated with them. So here is the list I have compiled so far:

Dwarf vs. Greenskins

Kadrin Valley - Gromril Crossing
Thunder Mountain - Thunder Valley & Logrin's Forge
Black Crag - Howling Gorge

Empire vs. Chaos

Chaos Wastes - Maw of Madness
Praag - Battle of Praag & Grovod's Cavern
Reikland - Hills of Reikland

Hish Elves vs. Dark Elves

Caledor - Caledor Woods
Dragonwake - Serpent's Passage & Dragon's Bane
Eataine - Blood of Blackcairne

[EDIT: 1/7/09] Since this page gets a lot of hits, I thought I'd update it with confirmation that the Caledor and Eataine scenarios are, in fact, correct. [/EDIT]

After looking at this list, there does seem to be some missing T4 scenarios, after all. Fragendorf Castle and Skaven Caverns don't seem to be associated with any zone. So I have no idea if they are actually playable or not yet their associated quests still linger on in the game.

A mystery for another day, it seems.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 10-12

Day 10: Finished up the chapter 10 and 11 quests in High Pass. Destro must be having an off day today in the T3 scenarios. Saw such oddities as a Doomfire Crater win with only a Warrior Priest as the sole healer and me ninja-ing a Highpass Cemetary cap while about 10 Destro were chasing a Witch Hunter around. Never mind the bright orange guy carrying a fiery staff. I finally get to rank 25 and get Rain of Fire which is the Bright Wizard equivalent to the Sorcerer's purple puddle. I also finally get Nova in the Incineration tree which will add some more burst damage. The one Tor Anroc I was able to get in before turning in for the night shows some promise with the new abilities I must say. Rank 25 also unlocks the warcamp travel quests so I was sure to complete those for some quick and easy XP. Ended the day CR25 RR18.

Day 11: 1.06 Patch Day. Waited for the servers to come up after work and then spent the next hour or so redoing the mastery points of my Ironbreaker and Bright Wizard. Found out I had to redo my Renown training as well as any tome tactics I had previously learned. Then had to fix and replace all the broken mods brought on by the patch. Biggest hit was DuffTimers and I had to settle for the ugly default ones for now. Everyone and their brother was out in the newbie Empire zone rolling Knights except for me, it seemed. Since I had finished off chapters 10 & 11 in both the Order and High Elf zones, I figured I'd do the same now for the Dwarf zone. The chapter 10 quests had some grey mobs that gave no XP when killed but they were easy to do so I completed them for the completion reward anyways. Moved on to the chapter 11 hub in Badlands and started on those quests. I decided to call it an early night as I was feeling a bit tired. Ended the day CR25 RR18.

Day 12: Mythic claims the new client is supposed to improve stability and reduce lag. I don't know as my experience seems to indicate the opposite. I had to set effects to self only in scenarios where before I was able to run all effects enabled. Even then, the performance of the client was still bad and my performance in the the scenarios suffered as well. Finished up the chapter 11 quests in the Badlands. Destro then locked Reikland and were marching on the Reikwald prime time. This should be an interesting test of the new client's capabilities so I switched over to my Warrior Priest. By the time I got to the fortress, Destro had already broken through the outer walls. Slideshow time...followed by the inevitable client crash; several of them as a matter of fact. I switched over to my Ironbreaker as I figured I'd be a more effective defender now that Destro was pushing into the inner keep. That was when the server decided to get in on the crashing fun and when it came back up, it seemed that Praag had reset. I can only imagine what choice curse words Destro was throwing out there as Order quickly decided to fly out to Praag and grab back the keeps and BO's. Placed 32nd in the first keep siege and 1st in the second and got a massive loot bag for my efforts. So I got my second Annihilator piece (shoulders) for my IB. Now I just need to grind up the renown to wear them. After that, I decided to get back to leveling my BW as it seemed like the open RVR was dying down. Headed back to Averlorn to finish up the chapter 12 quests there. Ended the day CR26 RR18.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

WAR 1.06 Open RVR Changes

They snuck some last-minute additions to the 1.06 patch notes that many might not be aware of. In the Realm vs. Realm section is this bit of welcome news:

Realm vs. Realm

Based on player feedback we have made some additional changes to Tier 4 Victory Point contribution. The following changes will reduce the amount of time necessary to capture a Tier 4 zone as well as place more emphasis on open field RvR:

  • Battlefield Objectives and Keep contributions have been increased.
  • PvE contribution has been decreased.
  • Prior Zone control contribution has been decreased.
  • The amount of Scenario Victory Points to take a zone has been decreased.

This will indeed place more emphasis on open field RvR. Combined with my guild just graduating a batch of 40's, this may lead to less alt leveling time for me and more play with my 40's. I will, of course, keep chronicling my Bright Wizard's progress but the updates may be fewer and far between.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bright Wizard Diary: Days 7-9

Day 7: Having hit the High Elf and Order T2 zones, I wanted to next check out the Dwarven zones. Questing in the Dwarven zones can be tricky for a number of reasons. Unlike the other zones, the chapters can ping-pong between both zones which irritates the completist in me that likes to complete one zone before moving to another so he doesn't ever have to go back to the previous one. For example, Chapters 5 & 6 are set in Marshes of Madness. Chapter 7 has you taking a brief tour of Barak Varr before you come back to Marshes of Madness again for Chapters 8 & 9. Navigation can also be tricky as suspension bridges mean going from point A to point B isn't always as simple as it looks. First thing I did was fly to Barak Varr and start walking south to head towards Marshes of Madness and check out Chapters 5 & 6. I noticed the mobs I would be killing for those quests would be grey to me so I abandoned them to make room in my log except for Eye for an Eye. This one needed me to kill 80 players so I kept that. I figured I would be able to complete that eventually without too much added fuss before I outleveled T2. So I skipped almost all of Dwarf chapter 5 & 6, finished up chapter 7 and made my way down to 8 & 9 in Marshes of Madness. I cleared out chapter 8 and got to the chapter 9 hub; now would be a great time for some Mourkain queueing as the warcamp to turn in both Mourkain quests was right next door. Dinged 20 and couldn't wait to get my mount. Finished Dwarf chapter 9 and since I had cleared all the Order and Dwarf T2 quests, all that was left was the Ellyrion zone. Destro was making a push towards locking Reikland and making a move towards the Reikwald fortress so I hopped on my Warrior Priest to help out on defense. Ended the day CR20 RR14.

Day 8: Finished up the rest of the Ellyrion quests. Noticing that as my gear improves, the chances of blowing myself up improves as well. I'm really not looking forward to going from high man of T2 to low man of the T3 totem pole. But you can't really linger on even if you want to as everything you do in this game gives you XP. Took a break from leveling to engage in some open RVR in Dragonwake with my Warrior Priest. Came back and started on T3 content with Averlorn. This proved a bit of a hassle as I had to go to a T2 zone to queue the T2 scenarios up. Also annoying was Reikland Factory now considered me a T3 player so I was forced to keep that out of the queueing selections for now. It was only appropriate that I leveled to 22 in a Stonetroll Crossing scenario. I just needed less than one percent of my XP bar to level and I wondered if I'd turn into a chicken in the scenario when it happened. To my delight, I didn't chicken out but proceeded to crank up the ownage even more as a 22 in a T2 scenario. What a great way to bid goodbye to that tier. Ended the day CR22 RR15.

Day 9: It seems like Destro just love seeing my low-level butt in their T3 scenarios as my fate is to invariably be one of the first targets to be focus-fired and chased by their bloodthirsty melee. Or it could just be I'm so used to being ignored as a WP and IB in PVP. It's really making me think about respeccing as Incineration doesn't factor in as heavily when I'm forced to move around so much. But the lure of another instant nuke in Nova is just too much for me and I doggedly hang in there for now. Finished off the chapters 10 & 11 quests in Averlorn except for the epic questline of Control. The current quest in this questline has me going into a cave that spawns melee right on top of me and is a bit problematic still at my current level. After a few failed attempts, I decided to start the quests in High pass and come back to finish this when I'm higher level. Participated in a keep defense in Averlorn and noticed that the range on the walls weren't all that great for nuking. I hope I was just doing it wrong as it would be dissapointing if this turned out to really be the case. Ended the day CR24 RR17.