AA – Queue Woes

I thought I’d check out ArcheAge, which has some great buzz and acclaim. So I downloaded Glyph and installed the game. When I tried to log in, I was greeted with a queue!

archeage queue

archeage queue

I haven’t seen a queue for an MMO in a really long time! The estimation was “>1 hour” for a queue of length ~3000. So I watched an episode of Homeland Season 3 (great show that I’m enjoying quite a bit) and when I came back, the queue was down to ~2500. So, in 50 mins 500 people entered, meaning if that ratio held up I could log in after 5 more hours. Hm… I found something else to do instead. ;)

After digging around on the website I found and read the launch update note and they are working on it. Syncaine suggests cutting off the free players (of which I am one), which might be drastic, but then the paying customers have to get priority somehow. I don’t mind waiting until extra capacity comes along or the queues shorten a bit before trying it out.

Early the next morning I was able to log in, but there were still restrictions. In the screenshot, the circled N, E, F, H means that character creation is restricted: N for Nuian restricted, E for Elf restricted (Syp would declare this should be the default), F for Firran restricted, H for Harani restricted. So… even though I got onto a server, I couldn’t create a character. Hm… so I picked another server (Ezi) with no restrictions and whipped up a character real quick, a Harani archer.

When I logged in, I found myself standing next to 3 or 4 other Harani archers, one sitting. It was hilarious actually, we all had the same bow slung across our backs, same intro clothing, etc. It was like clone-ville. I went to take a screenshot and unfortunately the client seized up big time. I couldn’t kill it via Task Manager so I wound up logging out of my machine to kill the process. Bad luck with a synchronization object problem somewhere in the client (deadlock) and not a problem taking screen shots, I hope! ;)

GW2 – Necromancer and New Intro

Well I’ve slacked off a bit, and I blame the good weather which makes it easy to focus on other hobbies. But the reality is I don’t have as much game time as I used to. So when I did get a bit of time, I jumped into Guild Wars 2 because it offers quick entry and action, i.e. I can spend an hour playing the game rather than spending half that time setting up running in-game errands in order to then play the game.

ArenaNet revamped the intro to the game, so I thought I’d roll a new char and fiddle around a bit. Thus, I created Eve the Necromancer.

Fierce Necro

Fierce Necro

I hit level 6, and these first few levels are definitely more guided than they were before. No unlocking skills through use; instead they come at a level up. The quest arrow led me around to each of the initial quest hearts for completion. There was a dodge tutorial thrown in at level 5, in between the location of two quest areas. After wrapping that up, the quest arrow suggested speaking to the next scout to unlock more hearts to complete, opening up more of the map. All in all, it was a nice guided tour, perhaps a bit of a funnel but I think a truly new player would be busy just getting the game down on not really noticing they were led around fairly linearly.

It was a bit annoying at first, but I just kicked back and played through this initial content and found it really wasn’t so bad. It did get repetitive using the same skills and only getting a new one to use at a level up (or not, sometimes the level up granted equipment). I figured out by swapping weapons I immediately accessed new skills, so I switched between the axe and dagger and that gave some variety.

I’ve been playing MMOs since 2000 and maybe all the stuff I would just take for granted are the things new players need to be taught, so I can’t blame ArenaNet for making the process easier. More experienced players can just skip right over the first 20 levels anyway – I myself had several insta-level-20 scrolls to use and have done so already… but I held back for this character just to see what the new process is like.

As I understand it, when I hit level 10 the storyline will pick up, and at that point I might use the insta-level-20 scroll – why not, of all the character classes I only have the necromancer and assassin as low enough level to be able to use them – but playing this new extended tutorial makes me realize that GW2 really hits the right design for people like me: ones that don’t have a tons of time each week, and appreciate a game that you can jump into and out of quickly.

EVE Online is not such a game. Not to criticize CCP – I think the EVE Universe, game, and overall mechanics are fantastic – but it is tough for me to do anything in the game lately. Just hauling goods to market can take about an hour to an hour-and-a-half of round trip travel time, then add in 15-30 minutes to collect everything off all the planets my 2 PI farmers are running, scan for the wormhole exit, take various precautions due to the “PVP everywhere” nature of the game… I think the minimum block of time to do something useful in EVE is 2 hours, and I’m finding it tough to fence off that kind of time right now.

I’m even mega-lazy and have set up 6 day 22 hour PI cycles so I only have to reset the extractors once a week. That process can take up to an hour, depending on how the distribution of planetary resources changed since the last time, which in turn means moving extractors and potentially re-routing or rebalancing the extracted resources.

Mostly the looming threat in EVE is loss, and how long it takes to recover from loss. Unlike other MMOs, you don’t respawn with all your armor and items (maybe damaged but easily repairable); in EVE, you respawn at a station and then need to repurchase all the stuff you lost, which in turn could mean traveling around to get decent prices, shopping for 5-10 modules. I’m in a wormhole so after all that, getting back could mean a 20+ jump trip. Ugh.

Basically, I’m going to peck away at my new necro for a few more levels, 30 mins to an hour at a time, which I can do in GW2 and make progress, as opposed to EVE where that little time really means I can’t do anything at all. I’d like to do some exploration in EVE, fly cloaked into unknown space and search for data or relic sites, but I’d need to block off several hours to do it and that’s difficult for me to arrange right now.

Bioshock Infinite

I’m one of those people that falls victim to the regular Steam sales. I love them, and being able to buy games at a steep discount results in “acquisition disorder” whereby my list of unplayed games grows ever longer.

To combat this, I decided to spend some time combing through my collection and uninstall ones I don’t like. My tastes in games tend towards RPGs, strategy, puzzlers, platformers, RTS, tower defense, stealth action, etc. and not so much in the FPS genre. Come to think of it, I could have just said that of all the genres of games, my least favorite are FPSes. ;)

Part of that reason is that I’m one of the people that gets motion sick while playing an FPS. This goes all the way back to the original Doom, which gave us a great FPS and the acronym DIMS, for Doom Induced Motion Sickness. Doom made me queasy, but I was determined to finish the game so I played it in ~30 min chunks.

So it is somewhat ironic that the game in my collection that I am currently working through is Bioshock Infinite. I picked this up for 80% not too long ago, and decided it was time to check it out.

Stained Glass Window

Stained Glass Window

The graphics are fantastic, there are great non-obtrusive cues (Hit ENTER to do some action, then in-game the character says something), action is good… but I can only play about 30 mins before I need to stop.

I’m not too far in, and it remains to be seen if I’ll get to the end (not sure if I’m motivated enough to fight the vertigo), but I’m enjoying it so far.

I know many gamers are eagerly awaiting the Oculus Rift. For me, that thing sounds like a torture device. I am 99% sure that wearing that while playing a game would result in me throwing up. Nevertheless I think it is cool, even if I will probably be unable to use one.

DDO – Another Monk

Reading about Syp picking up DDO again, at least for the month of August, made me reinstall the game and fiddle around. That plus I recently found an amazing guide for my favorite class, the Monk. So I skimmed over the Book of Syncletica, mostly to drool over the capabilities that higher level monks get, and then decided to roll up another one.

I took the advice and started from level 1, rather than use Veteran Status to boost higher. What the heck. Maybe I’ll spend August revisiting MMOs I haven’t played in a while, as other bloggers work on getting in a post a day. :)

Anyway, after finishing the short tutorial (again, but it’s good for me since I haven’t played in a while), I investigated the crypt in town. Yep, nothing like creepy stuff happening with monsters and odd noises from the crypt – hey do YOU want to investigate what’s going on?? Hehe.

Necromancer

Necromancer

I found out what the problem was. Apparently unknown to the townsfolk, they are being invaded by fish creatures who seek to raise the dead using various altars. Fortunately, I happened by and was able to kill everything and also destroy their equipment, ending this particular threat. ;)

Enhancements

Enhancements

Later I was confronted with the new enhancements panel. Whoa that’s a lot of stuff. Good time to break and skim through Syncletica’s book!

GW2 – Level 72

I have also slacked off magnificently in GW2. After using a birthday present (level to 20) and then a birthday xp scroll (bonus xp for 24 hours in-game) I stopped when Glyneth hit 71. So my goal today was to reach 72, and also peck away towards 80 throughout the month of August. When Glyneth hits 80 she’ll join Aurora as my other 80, and then I’ll decide between picking up the living story on one of them, or perhaps working on Summer, my level 40ish mesmer. ;)

I logged in and started working on quest hearts. Originally, I don’t remember much fanfare when completing a heart. In a later update, I remember ArenaNet adding a flying dove animation. Now, you get a blinky/shaky icon in the corner and a nice big message about the rewards you will receive upon hitting “accept”:

Heart Completion

Heart Completion

I think this is nice, maybe not totally necessary, but fine with me. At least you can choose when to get the reward, when the action dies down a bit – in case you complete in the middle of a large fight.

Speaking of large fight, that’s when Glyneth hit 72. I worked my way to the pirates in the middle of the Gendarran Fields, and fought along side a few others who showed up. I got the level up notice, but was too slow to grab a screenshot. Which was good, because at the time we were fighting a big group of cutthroats!

Level 72

Level 72

Anyway, after the fight was over I ran to the waypoint just to the north, and spent my new trait points on Quick Draw in the skirmishing line, to reduce the cooldown on my skills. I’ll see how that works out (I’m not sure there is something better to take right now).

LoTRO – A Need For Words

I have been slacking in LoTRO for weeks, so tonight I decided to move Naerys along the Vol 3 Book 13 epic storyline another step.

After logging in, I had to assign trait points again. Yeah, I guess it has been a while. Naerys was a Fighter of Shadow before, and this time around I thought I’d try something a little different, Keen Blade.

Spec Needed

Spec Needed

I still plan to play Naerys with a club and shield, like any proper hobbit guardian. Despite not having a “sharp” weapon, many of her new skills apply bleeds… hmm. Best not think about that too much. ;)

Keen Blade

Keen Blade

The next problem was finding Aragorn. The quest arrow pointed off to infinity (27000+ meters away) so I knew something was wrong. After looking for a while I gave up and consulted the Palantír Google for help and found an extremely helpful post. Aha, wrong timeline, need to use items on the table next to the NPC – of course, how obvious, how did I ever miss that?!

I may have stumbled on this entirely by accident, since if I couldn’t find any help, I was going to cancel the quest and retake it – this might have led me to redoing enough to wind up in the correct timeline. But holy smokes those are some unintuitive steps.

After gathering men to listen to Aragorn’s speech, and some praise for me – at least I think so; now that I read that again I think Aragorn may be making a hobbit joke!!! ;) – the instance ended.

Praise, or hobbit joke

Praise, or hobbit joke

My plan was to finish the next epic battle, but I spent too much time figuring out how to find Aragorn. So rather than miss sleep and be a grumpy hobbit I will adventure in the next epic battle another time.

EVE – Scan Success

I logged back in to check on my scanning ability, but another corpmate already made bookmarks. So I, being somewhat lazy, just used those ones instead of performing my own scan.

I was able to run the various errands I needed to for Aurora and Summer. But I ran out of time and left Autumn for another day.

That day was yesterday. The corp bookmarks were old, so I had some motivation to scan for myself. And fortunately, I found that whatever glitch that gave me 0% resolution, was now fixed – I was able to scan to 100% and found my own N110 to hisec. I was relieved, because this is a fundamental ability for a wormhole dweller!

The exit led to Uttindar, fairly close to Dodixie, so I gathered up goods from the planets Autumn is farming, and set a course for the market.

Enroute to Dodixie

Enroute to Dodixie

Once there I sold my cargo for a cool (to me) 164 million ISK. A few more months of this and I’ll have a nice cushion of ISK on all my chars! I’m tempted to train up PI on Aurora… if I can tear myself away from training up her missile skills and bigger ship skills (tech 2 Cruisers, Battleships, etc.)

After returning to the wormhole, I colonized a 6th planet, a gas planet that will produce yet more coolant for Autumn. I’m getting pretty handy at setting up these days:

Gas Planet setup

Gas Planet setup

This is a standard setup: 2 extractors which feed 4 basic industry facilities that feed 2 advanced industry facilities. Everything routes through the launchpad, which also collects the final product (coolant).

I’m experimenting slightly with this planet, and set a 6 day 22 hour extraction cycle. I’m just curious how much worse (or better) it will do versus the 3 day (in actuality 2 day 22 hour) cycles I set. Basically, less maintenance on a weekly basis…

Autumn and Summer are closing in on Command Center Upgrades 5. They are both running 6 planets, and soon will be able to upgrade to the largest planetary command center for the additional power boost. That will come in handy for more extractor heads after the necessary building and links are created. Out of the 12 planets I’m doing PI on, 9 or 10 are fine with the power/cpu that CCU4 provides, but those 2 or 3 other ones could use a little bit more. Soon… next time I check on my factories I’ll be ready to upgrade the ones that need it.