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.

CRPGs and Solo MMOs

I broke down and bought Divinity: Original Sin, without waiting for a Steam sale (the horror!!) and so far, I’m enjoying it. Computer RPGs and I go way back, starting with Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, on an Apple 2 back in… 1982 I guess.

After playing a bit, I looked over my Steam library of games, to see which RPGs I have. Those were:

  • Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition
  • Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition
  • Deus Ex: GOTY
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Divinity: Original Sin
  • Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
  • Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
  • Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
  • Fallout 3: GOTY
  • Fallout New Vegas
  • Jade Empire
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Titan Quest

I know some of these straddle the line of FPS and RPG, but I’d classify Deus Ex and Mass Effect more on the RPG side, as opposed to Borderlands/Borderlands 2 and the Bioshock series, which are more on the FPS side. Also, I didn’t include Torchlight or Torchlight 2 since they fall more and the action-clicky side for me. I’m arbitrarily deciding that the game needs a certain amount of complexity of char growth (skills, talent trees, whatever) in order to make my already long list, I don’t mean to throw these great games under the bus.

That’s just Steam; GOG purchases I’ve made are:

  • Baldur’s Gate: Complete
  • Baldur’s Gate 2: Complete
  • Fallout
  • Fallout 2
  • Icewind Dale: Complete
  • Icewind Dale 2: Complete
  • Neverwinter Nights: Diamond
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Complete
  • Planescape: Torment
  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition: Director’s Cut
  • Wizardry 6
  • Wizardry 7
  • Wizardry 8

I’ve purchased Baldur’s Gate/Baldur’s Gate 2 at GOG and Steam. What can I say; the GOG purchase was on some crazy discount, and the Steam purchase was probably through a sale (I can’t remember exactly) and the fact is the Steam purchase is really nice since those versions have modern resolutions.

These lists could grow a bit more depending on whether “stealth action open world” games belong. If so, add in Thief, Thief 2, Thief Gold, System Shock 2, the Assassin’s Creed series… heck perhaps the newest Tomb Raider qualifies (and I have this game as well).

My wishlist on Steam includes Wasteland 2; over on GOG I have Wasteland and Witcher 2. Yeah, the original resolution of Wasteland would make my eyes bleed but if it gets cheap enough, I’d pick it up just to have it. ;)

Basically, I really enjoy RPGs.

Meanwhile, the MMOs I have currently installed are:

  • Age of Conan
  • EVE Online
  • Fallen Earth
  • Guild Wars
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • The Secret World

Age of Wushu and Dungeon & Dragons Online get installed and uninstalled depending, but they are both currently not installed.

The point of all this is that I’ve come to realize that what I like about CRPGs – storyline, character development, self-paced advancement, etc. has bled over into how I play an MMO.

In a single player game, I proceed carefully, build up a certain amount of character/party strength before tackling a tougher challenge. I use quicksaves so that losses/defeats set me back a little but not too much. So when I play an MMO, I also proceed slowly and carefully, minimize risk, avoid PvP, etc. and wind up playing them mostly solo. I group, but I think that wouldn’t amount to more than 20% of time.

In many ways, the original Guild Wars was perfect for me because I could play it like an RPG; it featured henchmen and heroes so I could direct my group just like I would in a single-player game. Yet if I wanted to group I could, or jump into Alliance Battle without loss of items, etc.

One super feature of the CRPG is being able to pause/save and walk away, whereas an MMO is a bit more demanding – ideally I could block a chunk of time off and not get interrupted for that duration, but that is tough for me to arrange.

So, I’m pecking my way through Divinity: Original Sin. The graphics and soundtrack are great so far. I got destroyed in an early fight and decided to restart with a different mix of characters, so I’m working through the first dungeon again:

First Dungeon

First Dungeon

EVE – No Way Out

I had grandiose plans for my EVE session tonight. Well, grandiose for me. ;)

Aurora finished training Drones 5, and is ticking down on Caldari Cruiser 5. So I was going to fly out and buy a few more skills books: Drone Interfacing, Drone Sharpshooting, Caldari Battleship, and probably a few other misc ones.

Summer and Autumn have both finished training Interplanetary Consolidation 5 and are ticking down on Command Center Upgrades 5. They both need to haul goods to market (Coolant and Mechanical Parts), get extra Command Centers, and do some misc stuff (buy Water to finish off a mostly completed Nano-Factory, upgrade clones, etc).

But… none of that happened because something seems to be wrong with scanning, probes, the updates, I’m not sure.

This is Aurora, zoomed in as far as possible on a signature, but only getting 0% resolution.

0% Resolution

0% Resolution

Without finding the N110 exit, I couldn’t really do anything so I logged off a bit disappointed. I needed to get to the market and access medical facilities, so the exit to hisec was absolutely required.

I searched outside EVE and found a bunch of old posts about broken scanning, but nothing seemed recent. So… not sure. I guess I’ll check back in a few days and see if it is working again.

Planet Explorers

If you want to play an open world, sandbox, crafting/building game, there are several choices. Minecraft, Terreria, Windborne (early access), Starbound (early access); if you add in simulation then perhaps Kerbal Space Program, Space Engineers, and Habitat also qualify, at least partly…

So recently when I opened up Steam, another one caught my eye: Planet Explorers. I read the blurb and the game is described as “an open world sandbox adventure RPG game set on a distant planet”. Wait a sec, RPG in addition to the other stuff? Hm… very interesting! I watched a few of the videos and liked what I saw. When I noticed the game was also 40% off (dipping the price for this Early Access game to $15), I grabbed it.

After starting up, I chose the single player story mode. I was treated to a quick video showing an attempt to colonize a planet, with an unfortunate ship crash:

Planet Explorers start

Planet Explorers start

Next I found myself standing by a wrecked ship with somebody calling for help.

Crashed Ship

Crashed Ship

Various dialog options led to some help screens, and I imagine as the game is fleshed out, the tutorial will be more comprehensive.

However, I could experiment and try to figure some stuff out. The top 4 icons by the mini-map were inventory, missions, build, and replicate, so I tried some stuff out. Basically the first “mission” I was given was to locate supplies, but to do that I needed to build a shovel, and in turn, to do that I needed to harvest some wood. I was given a shovel recipe, which I right-clicked to learn.

After a few minutes I figured out that I needed to equip my dagger, then walk up to a tree/plant, and attack it (left-click). That started a progress bar showing how far along I was to chopping down the plant.

Lumberjack

Lumberjack

One plant gave me 5 wood, another gave me 3, etc. I needed 10 blocks of wood so I gathered that up, then checked the replicator pane. The hammer icon was lit up so I clicked it and created a shovel.

Replicator

Replicator

With my new shovel I wandered around the ship looking for a good spot to dig up the supplies. I spotted a half-buried crate near the rear, so I dug it up and found medicine.

Anyway, to sum up, the next few missions involved harvesting plants to make medicine, then getting water in a pitcher. After helping my fellow survivor, I got a mission to look for others somewhere to the north.

Search Party

Search Party

Unfortunately I had to stop, not having too much time available to play.

So far so good, I think I’ll dabble here and there and see where the mission goes!

Raiding

I missed Wilhelm’s post on raiding – I must have skimmed through my RSS feeds too fast, trying to catch up over the long weekend.

I don’t really have any deep thoughts on the matter, except to add my lone anecdote. In the post, Wilhelm says:

I cannot name a single raid in LOTRO.

I know one *raises hand*.

How about the Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu? An epic adventure where 12 bold explorers battle their way to the ancient evil contained in the depths of a mine, an imprisoned balrog named Thaurlach

Sorry, got carried away there. ;)

Anyway, just teasing a bit. The reason this comes to mind is that the Rift is one of the few raids I’ve done, in any MMO I’ve ever played.

Here’s some clarification.

AC didn’t really have raids, I think the closest large group high level content was the Lady Aerfalle quest chain on Aerlinthe island. I took part a few times.

GW didn’t really have raids, instead it had elite missions sprinkled around. Those weren’t multi-group, and portions of some were soloable. I did most of those, several times.

GW2 falls into a new design offering landscape events with no fixed upper limit on players and no formal grouping. These are also shorter in duration than typical raid content. I’ve taken part in a few Living Story events, a few wandering dynamic event groups, and a few dragon kills (Tequatl).

LoTRO, I mentioned above. The one LoTRO raid I’d always heard about when my kinship was active was Helegrod. But we couldn’t field 24 people for the Dragon wing so we did the Rift instead. Oh, the LoTRO Wiki has a list of raids, and I count 17 non PvP ones (counting Helegrod as 4 raids). Two of the ones in Angmar, Bogbereth and Ferndúr the Virulent, and Filikul in Moria, are essentially single boss battles with trash mobs, so they are quite short compared to a typical raid. I remember doing Vile Maw once… anyway, the Rift is the one I’ve done many times, although the last time was years ago.

WoW? I never made it to the end-game content. I did a few dungeons here and there, but by the time I started playing, it seemed like the only lower level characters around were alts of people that raided, so it was all about grinding to max level and it was hard to find a group to do any of the content along the way.

EVE? Well, I’ve never even been in a fleet with anyone else, so no “raids” or the EVE-equivalent of “ginormous space battle”. I am thinking of moving Aurora to a PvP corp as two wormhole PI farmers should be plenty.

I’ve dabbled in a bunch of other MMOs, but not enough to get to the “raid” content in them, if there is any.

It might seem like something drastic is lacking in my MMO experiences. However, as much fun as I had raiding in LoTRO in the Rift, I’m not really eager to become a raider. I had more time for playing MMOs back then; now I can’t imagine devoting 4+ hours 2 or 3 times a week to work through raid content!