GW2 – Overland to Fort Trinity

Bee-lining the Living Story chapter one has been pretty fun. Since Eve is already level 80 with a complete set of gear, the only thing I really need to do is run to the next spot. Rewards along the way are deposited (crafting materials) or sold (other gear, since it is worse than what I already have).

I make an occasional detour to grab a waypoint, but have been skipping everything else like vistas, points of interest, hearts/quests, and hero challenges. I do plan to go back to get the waypoints (because being to travel rapidly is very convenient) and hero challenges (to help with masteries) but the rest will be delayed for another time. I’m more interested in jump puzzles and vistas but I suppose one longer term goal is completing the exploration which means picking up the points of interest and doing the quests.

Doing the storyline chapters back to back, I noticed a significant change starting with the Battle of Claw Island. Before this, the story was quick and simple, generally taking less than 10 minutes and involving few fights. But with the Battle of Claw Island, and the same with A Light in the Darkness, the storyline quests balloon up to 30+ minutes, with multiple stages, lots of fighting, etc.

After completing Willing Captives, I turned to run over to Fort Trinity, where the next stage begins. Along the way I saw notice of a Ley Line event, so I detoured over to it, and found a typical GW2 massive fight going on. I find these fun, even if they are a bit zergy.

gw131

The fight lasted a few minutes and I simply targeted the toughest mob around and joined in. As a revenant, my hammer rotation (using demon stance) involves Unyielding Anguish to lay out a dark field, followed up by Drop the Hammer or Phase Smash, which are both blast finishers. Plus, in a group if I notice another field out I’ll try to blast finish that too.

After finishing the event, I continued my journey to Fort Trinity and decided to stop there, to continue later. Soon Eve will pass up my other two characters that are also around Fort Trinity in the storyline! I stalled out before shortly after this point but I’m determined to keep going this time.

GW2 – Revenant Boost

I’ve been fiddling around in GW2 and decided there are 2 related issues with my game enjoyment: the ranger was my favorite profession in GW1; I don’t like the GW2 ranger as much for various reasons mostly due to build and pets.

Build and pets further breaks down: the first 5 skills are locked to weapon choice (I miss the near-total freedom of making a build in GW1); GW2 rangers sort of need to have a pet to be most effective (in GW1 I didn’t use mine much – but then, GW1 had henchmen and heroes so I basically did have ~7 other “pets” for a lot of my adventuring. However, heroes/henchmen were a lot better than a pet).

Thus I did a level 80 preview on an engineer and revenant but not a ranger. I decided using a level 80 boost for another ranger was insane – all that would really get me is a different racial elite skill.

After some experimentation in the Silver Wastes, I opted for the revenant.

The way ArenaNet did the level 80 boost is really nice – the character gets a full suite of equipment, weapons (including underwater weapons), and trinkets. All skills are trained, except for the elite specialization. Even better, you don’t have to click through getting all this stuff, or even for each level (like you would for the level 20 and level 30 boosts). Use the boost and you are ready to roll as a level 80 char! The only thing you might do is tweak the build.

I like the revenant because it feels sturdy, using heavy armor, and the weapons have a good mix of combo fields and finishers. Especially the hammer which has a field (dark) and finishers (blast, projectile), and is a ranged weapon too! (What?! But it is). That’s my weapon of choice with sword/sword as my weapon swap (those were the weapons from the level 80 boost).

gw115

This char is already leveled, has unlocked traits and skills, so I’m going to ignore vistas, hearts/quests, and points of interest. Instead I will open waypoints and detour for an occasional hero challenge, while bee-lining the storyline. I believe emphasizing 100% map completion before moving on was a factor in my various burnouts and stalling midway through.

ESO – Ebonheart Pact

I decided to try a Templar, a Dark-Elf (Dunmer), so back to Bleakrock Isle. Like every class in ESO, Templars have melee and magic skills, so when I used my sword and shield, or two-handed sword, I was careful to block (right-click) when I noticed an enemy winding up an attack, use a stronger/overloaded/heavy-swing/whatever it is called attack (hold left-button) when they were vulnerable (typically after a successful block), and interrupt (left click + right click) skills.

And this time the melee went a lot better.

I made it off Bleakrock Isle onto Bal Foyen and finished up there as well. So now I’m in the Stonefalls at Davon’s Watch and before continuing too much, I’ll go back and play my High-Elf Sorceror a bit more in Vulkhel Guard and decide which one to emphasize.

I do like the Ebonheart Pact zones so far. Actually, everything in ESO is beautiful, but Stonefalls reminds me a bit of Morrowind. It’s a fantasy landscape that isn’t too bizarre to be believable.

20160416000858_1

LoTRO – New Minstrel

Well I couldn’t stay away from LoTRO for too long. The game is celebrating its 9th year and I’ve played for 8.75 of those, off and on (mostly on).

Naerys can now level past 100, and I’ll get back to further adventures from Minas Tirith, but as I mentioned before… Naerys isn’t the class I want to play for group content. A guardian is fun for me solo, due to the survivability and reactive skills, but tanking means lots of encounter/dungeon knowledge and gear is pivotal. I’d rather play a healing role which I like better.

So, I started another minstrel, a hobbit names Heliconya – hobbits are named after flowers and jewels, however Heliconia was already taken so I had to misspell it –  and played through the Shire, which I haven’t done in years.

It’s pretty much the same with the exception of Bingo Boffin and quests related to him. Maybe a few other things too. But all my favorite lowbie quests are there, and it was really fun to do them again.

There was Free the Tree

2016-02-27_00008

Spectre of the Black Rider

2016-02-27_00012

Adelard’s Chapter, Bandages for Callum… I forgot to screenshot these ones.

I even explored some of the lesser traveled areas between Bree and the Shire, such as the fields/ruins north of Brandy Hills.

Good times!

Heliconya is now level 19, ready to start Vol.1 Book 2 (The Red Maid) as soon as she levels up a bit.

 

EVE – Ship Rescue

Last year when I was in Brave Newbies, we were fighting in Catch and staging out of GE-8JV. To participate, I flew out in a covert-ops frigate, a Buzzard, and over time bought a few ships that were available at the station.

My goal was to fly logistics and/or EWAR ships, and maybe even stealth bombers, but as it turned out, it was very tough for me to make any of the scheduled fleet activity.

I wound up unsubbing EVE, and in the year that has passed, GE-8JV is under new owners, Against All Authorities. Actually that was who owned GE-8JV before the Brave Collective took it over.

Now I’m back and while I looked over my various items spread out over New Eden, I noticed that stealth bomber I bought last year.

Hm… a stealth bomber, fitted with a covert ops cloak – this is a ship I actually have a chance of flying out of nullsec! If I could only get there in the first place – but as it also turned out, I had a jump clone at GE-8JV, established when I was in Brave and we owned the system.

So I decided, what the heck, let’s spend a little time getting my ship back. I plotted a course from GE-8JV to Jita, near where I’m currently staging out of. 30+ hops… well why not I think it would be fun to attempt.

I jumped to GE-8JV, got in the Manticore, and plotted a course to Jita.

20160423181552_1

I noticed a few things weren’t available: insurance, fitting – all due to the current owning corporation (Rage and Terror) not getting along with my current corporation, Perkone, an NPC corporation. In fact even trying to undock gave a warning “the owner does not like you, you will be unable to redock”. But I had no choice if I wanted to get home.

So I clicked undock, clicked through the warning, and bugged out as fast as I could.

Travel in nullsec under possible hostile conditions is a bit different than hisec. Besides others being to open fire on you without CONCORD intervention, there is also the possibility of a warp disruption field, a.k.a bubble, which are used to trap ships.

I haven’t done this before but after reading up the general idea is to not autopilot (long period of being a sitting duck) and be careful of warping from one gate to another (players sometimes put bubbles in the way).

If I had the system to myself, I would just jump 0 km off the gate and then jump through ASAP. I figured the chances of a bubble being out when nobody was around was low. Of course, you can’t tell what’s on the other side without jumping so you have to do that, and be prepared to jump back through the gate if it looks ugly.

20160423183248_1

If there were other players, I would first jump 100 km off a celestial object (typically a planet)

20160423183043_1.jpg

then jump 100 km off the gate to do some recon first

20160423183446_1

and then decide whether to wait a bit, approach from a different trajectory, etc. In the screenshot above, I warped 100 km off the gate and noticed a player orbiting with a bunch of drones out. I thought there was a fight between two players going on… but that didn’t look like what was happening. I waited and eventually backed off to another planet, then jump to the gate and through.

By going from gate to planet to gate, I hoped to avoid the direct route which was also easy to bubble. And in fact I did encounter one, in HED-GP, the nullsec border system with Keberz in Khanid.

20160423184236_1

I’m coming to the gate from a planet and the bubble is quite visible. I zoomed out to show how close to the gate it was.

20160423184610_1.jpg

Whew!

I decided to remain stealthed and slowly move to the gate, in order to watch and see if there was any activity around the bubble. Nothing happened and when I got close enough to the gate, I did not hang around.

The remainder of the 20+ jumps were uneventful and I was able to get my stealth bomber out of nullsec. I’ll have to abandon the rest of the ships I have in GE-8JV since I can’t dock in order to pilot them out. Also, my jump clone that was there is no longer available, probably due to the switch in station ownership, so I can’t just appear at the station anymore. That’s fine, this time around I’m planning to be an explorer so I just want ships that can fit covert ops cloaks, and the rest of the ships are logistics cruisers, EWAR ships, and so on.

Mini break

I had some out of town visitors last week, so I didn’t do much gaming. It is interesting to me what games I thought about and was eager to get back to, and which ones were bucketed into “eh, I can wait”.

BDO – I just can’t get into. It offers a lot to do, but it turns out I’m not all that interested in lifestyle skills, simulating a trade empire, fishing or raising horses. What it does have going for it is exploration…

…which brings me to EVE. One goal there is to wander the universe in a cloaked ship, exploring relic/data sites as I come across them. This playstyle doesn’t have a direct analogy to other games with exploration (GW2 for instance) so EVE bumped up on my interest list. Of course, while away with my visitors I kept my skill queue full and working on my behalf.:) I probably still can’t reliable make corp/fleet activity, but I think I can get my monthly sub fee’s worth of a few hours on the weekends.

GW2 moved back into interest. I saw a giant patch containing tons of fixes, most of which probably don’t effect me. However, one thing did – a level 80 boost. Earlier I mentioned the one thing I’d change about my char is switching races Norn to Asura. Well, this is my chance! I have a level 80 elementalist, guardian, ranger, level 60 mesmer, and I’ve tried thief and necromancer and didn’t really like them. That’s fine, there isn’t a game out where EVERY class appeals to me. Closest would be GW1 where I did actually play all classes through all storylines except one… the elementalist. That’s because my GW1 elementalist was my mesmer, who freely swapped skills between professions, and had fast casting instead of energy storage.

I used some level 30 boosts on an engineer and revenant, and a level 20 boost on a warrior. So basically, I have a level 80 boost to use on either a ranger, which I know I like but would like to switch races on, or on an engineer, revenant, or warrior, which are fun but unknown. I’ll think about this and maybe play through the first chapter of the storyline on the engineer and revenant and see before going with another ranger.

LoTRO also moved back into interest. I’ve taken breaks from the game, none lasting too long. My guardian Naerys can level from 100 to 105 now, but I had another project in mind: starting a new minstrel. Which I did and puttered around a bit. I’ll post on that later.

ESO also remained of interest. Zenimax is adding some really interesting DLC (the recent Thieves Guild and upcoming Dark Brotherhood); the game is fun and has beautiful graphics; I like the skill system which lets every class train every weapon, armor, and crafting skills, while retaining 3 skill lines unique to the class.

TSW as well, I want to press along in the desert and not spend ~2 years wandering very slowly around before the next new zones, like I did with Kingsmouth – Blue Mountain.

What fell out of interest was FF14. It isn’t a bad game game at all; I’ve enjoyed all 5 mandatory dungeons I’ve done; the class system is the best. The playerbase seems friendly, the storyline is bizarre but fun to follow. It comes down to the sub fee – given my rather haphazard play schedule, it doesn’t make sense to sub to multiple subscription games. So in the contest between EVE and FF14, right now EVE wins since the play style EVE offers, that of the stealth explorer in dangerous territory, well that doesn’t exist elsewhere. The others are B2P or F2P, and I do support them by making store purchases from time to time. I like this model since whatever I buy doesn’t come with a time limit like game-time with a sub fee does, and I don’t feel as much pressure to play to a quota each month.

There is probably a “fantasy game overload” thing going on as well – EVE is a sci-fi universe while LoTRO/GW2/ESO are fantasy. So FF14 as a 4th direct fantasy game, let’s just put TSW into a different category, is maybe too much for me.

I’m subbed for another cycle under FF14 so I’m not vanishing instantly, but I’ll be thinking about whether or not I want to keep working on my summoner/monk versus exploring null sec in EVE.

Anyway, I’ll see how ESO, TSW, ramping back up in GW2 and LoTRO, and EVE go. 5 games is still 3 too many.😉

ESO -Aldmeri Dominion

I’ve allowed events in MMOs control my schedule lately. From picking up TSW due to double AP weekend, resubbing EVE due to 10 days for cheap (promotion along with the current in-game war), to playing ESO over the weekend due to anniversary celebration experience-boosting cake.

I’m a pie person myself😉 but I spared some time to reroll a character to play through some new content to me – a High Elf sorcerer which allowed me to see the Aldmeri Dominion initial island: Khenarthi’s Roost, the city of Mistral, and fighting off Maormer treachery.

I decided to start a new char for two reasons: it had been a long time since I played, and I never really got high level anyway. Heck, I didn’t even get medium level. I picked High Elf sorcerer mostly because I don’t really like playing a Wood Elf (bosmer) or Khajit so High Elf (Altmer) were the 3rd option. Or I suppose Imperial since I have the fancy version.

20160410224347_1

I’m not very good at melee combat in Elder Scrolls. Not just in ESO, my ineptitude with melee also carries over to Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, etc. Since those games came first, perhaps I should say my ineptitude at melee carries over to the MMO.

The reason is melee takes more work here, which I do like. It’s just that I’m not used to it so I get pounded on more. In this game, you need to specifically block (right click) to partially negate an enemy attack – sometimes it leads to a chance to land a bigger attack (hold left click) in response. You can also interrupt (left click + right click) an enemy attack. In most other games you don’t really need to specifically block, it’s factored into your stats or gear so combat means standing there dishing out offensive skills. You also need to be close enough to hit, otherwise you can swipe at the air.

20160412001304_1

Anyway, magic comes easier to me in the Elder Scrolls games so I played through the starter island and made it to Vulkhel Guard.

Now I need to decide whether to continue the storyline or take a minor break and give a melee char another go. I do like that melee combat isn’t just standing there taking hits – you can block and interrupt – I need to overcome muscle memory from other games.