SWL – Stuck in Tokyo

I’ve hit an interesting situation in Secret World Legends – I’m stuck on a quest.

The mission is Contract Killers and I’m stuck specifically at the “reach the top floor” portion. What’s in the way of success are… demonic little girls. The barrier they provide is if you leave their line of site, you are killed. Must be something along the lines of “see no evil”, but reversed.

I couldn’t figure out what to do so I looked up the quest. Now knowing what I need to do, I still fail the mission at the point where there are 2 of these girls – keeping both in my line of sight, walking backwards to the next part… I haven’t been able to do it.

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That little girl with the green eyes – I can get by her, it’s later when there are 2 I keep dying.

On the one hand, I do like how SWL sometimes throws these sorts of challenges in. Ones that you just can’t fight your way through. Ones where your weapon level, gear level, etc. don’t really matter.

On the other hand, this is a storyline mission and I can’t get to the rest of the Tokyo story, and thus presumably can’t get to the South African content that is coming, unless I complete this mission. Plus, how are you supposed to figure out what to do other than by looking it up? That’s kind of annoying. I’m all for puzzles and challenge but this one feels a bit out of place.

So yeah, I’m on the verge of rage quitting the game. I’ve got a large backlog, why be frustrated here?

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SWL – Tokyo Arrival

Well I’ve been slacking on the blogging. Part of that is I haven’t been playing MMOs too much, probably half the days I just jump in to LoTRO and/or SWL and grab the daily login reward.

But, I did progress in SWL, zipping through Transylvania (Besieged Farmlands, Shadowy Forest, Carpathian Fangs) following the storyline. Now I’m in Tokyo!

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I also hit level 50 somewhere along the way in Shadowy Forest or Carpathian Fangs.

I’m enjoying the storyline but I do have a few (minor) criticisms about the game.

One is that many quests are overly padded. A typical quest in this category had this template: perform some task X times, say 5, where 2 or 3 would be just as good and not merely drag out the mission. Examples include Venice Is Sinking, where much like the Last Train to Cairo mission that bridged the storyline advancement between major zones, it was a lot of repetitive “pursue/run/climb, fight, click gizmo, repeat 4 more times”.

In Tokyo one offender is Hell of a Blow, where you plant 5 bombs, which is concurrent with The Right of Way, which is double tier repetitive mission because for tier one you have 4 mini-boss fights to get to tier two where you have 5 or 6 “pursue, fight, get by puzzle, click gizmo, repeat” sequences to get to the final showdown.

Usually after finishing one of these type quests I stop for the day, needing a break.

The other is that combat is a bit dull, however that may be due to my build. I’m a pistol main with fist secondary, but I typically only use 3 skills during a fight: Controlled Shooting, Trick Shot, which are bound to LMB and RMB; and Kill Blind, my stun/interrupt. So it’s a lot of dodging/kiting while rhythmically clicking the mouse, and occasionally using a heal skill (Clean Slate). I’m going to mix it up and take 2 fist skills (Beserk, Feral Growth) to make better use of my secondary.

So I’ll try Beserk, Feral Growth, Kill Blind, Controlled Shooting, Trick Shot, and maybe Ricochet. Ideally I’d start using more skills per fight and use fist abilities more often as well.

My third criticism has to do with gear advancement. I now have all purple gear and I’m seeing the complaints from other players about how tedious it is to advance/grind up. It takes 2 max level green items to make a blue item, 2 max level blue items to make a purple item, and so on for purple->orange, and orange->red.

Multiply that by 2 weapons, 7 talismans, 9 glyphs, and 6 signets (I think) and you’ve got a massive amount of stuff required to advance.

I get the need for a throttle, but a side effect here is you are effectively locked into a weapon past a certain point, since switching from say a high purple or better weapon means a serious amount of stuff just to get back to where you were.

And one thing I miss from TSW is the variety of skills available and builds possible. Granted many builds weren’t effective but now with 2 purple weapons and around 30 skills total to pick from for those 2 weapons, I’m kind of locked in going forward. Which is why I want to revamp my build from 6 skills that I only use 3 of 80% of the time.

I’m not sure how much more storyline there is but I’ll be one of those players that takes a break after reaching “the end” since Funcom hasn’t released any new content yet.

SWL – Black Pharaoh

It has been a busy time but I did manage to squeeze in some advancement in SWL. I hit a level block – the last few missions in the “Black Sun, Red Sand” storyline required level 45 – so I did a few quests around City of the Sun God. I was level 44 so it wasn’t too far to catch up.

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Why yes, I do think I can fight a god!

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The Black Pharaoh fight wasn’t too bad, although I did have to try it 2 times before succeeding. He uses a skill that you need to run to the edge of the room to avoid, except the 3 available bridges disintegrate as the fight continues. First time I took the bridge I entered the room on and fell to my death (i.e. repeat the fight). Second time I panicked and ran to one that was dissolving. Argh. The 3rd time I planted myself with a good view of 2 of the bridges, and whenever I had to run, I did a quick scan to check I was going to a solid bridge.

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Later in the “ice floes” world I was given another choice, pray for forgiveness or fight the messenger. I chose to kneel and pray – truth is I’m not really sure what I did in the first place, but I figure I might as well go along with what the mysterious beings want. Later after I get the knowledge/power, I can backstab them. 😉

The Black Watchmen

I like the puzzles and alternate reality vibe of TSW/SWL. Granted I don’t always solve an investigative mission (at least not every step) but the mechanic where you have some information and need to think about the clues plus use information outside the game or even external websites created for the game (e.g. http://orochi-group.com/) appeals to me.

A friend of mine sent me a link to The Black Watchmen, which has all of these features! I played the tutorial missions and really like it so I bought it and did mission #4. In return I made it a Christmas gift to the friend who sent me the link and another friend who expressed interest.

Anyway, this game is in the vein of SWL’s investigative missions without the MMO part.

 

SWL – City of the Sun God

Moving along in SWL, instead of working for a mummy I’m now working for a family of statues.

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I think in the relaunch FunCom revamped the flow of this city. Players used to complain about how annoying it was to move around, but now, when you accept a quest from on of the statues, there is a portal just steps away that takes you to the new location. And when finishing, there is a portal to take you back. I get the feeling that previously you were stuck criss-crossing the map and that can be tough/annoying since this city has cliffs and canyons all over so you might find yourself stuck at an unclimbable wall. (I don’t seem to take any falling damage in SWL, I just jump right off various heights and land with no problem).

The new quest flow for the main storyline is essentially find each god’s statue around the central ring and do a quest for them.

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One of the early missions was to free slaves, accomplished by freeing a golem and them helping them beat down enemies. By the final stage I had 3 helper golems fighting with me, and that’s pretty fun.

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It’s not an MMO until you fight a giant spider. 😉

Anyway, I’m almost through the “Black Sun, Red Sand” storyline mission… I should be advancing soon.

 

SWL – Annoying Quests

I advanced in the Scorched Desert, catching up to where I left off in TSW.

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This is the exact spot where I logged off my Dragon character in TSW, to resume as a Templar in SWL. From here on out everything will be new to me!

The storyline has me working some errands for Saïd, who is… a mummy. He wears modern clothing, uses a cell phone, hangs out under an umbrella on top of a hotel, but all the same, he’s a mummy, just one that wears a white suit instead of bandages. I kinda hope we get more background on what’s going on.

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One task he set me to, which is required for advancing the storyline, is the quest “A Time To Every Purpose”. The summary is you travel back in time in order to clone and steal a relic for him, in exchange for information.

Except this quest is broken in addition to being annoying. If you are spotted by guards, you are sent back to the start which means 1-2 mins just getting back to where you can try again. The broken part comes from the crafting portion, where you craft a fake relic in order to substitute in.

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I tried a half dozen times but couldn’t get the “assemble” button to work. I got the various ingredients again, moved everything around in the crafting area, tried adding the central piece first/last… finally I gave up and googled. And I found a reddit thread of players complaining about how broken this quest is. I tried the /reloadui quick fix but that didn’t work for me, so I followed the steps in the top post and was able to craft the ancile, thankfully, otherwise I’d be stuck unable to advance the storyline.

Now I’m just stuck with an undeleteable “umno” leftover from the quest, but at least it is in the mission inventory instead of my regular inventory.

I kept going, eventually reaching the Last Train to Cairo mission. It involved fighting on a train, dodging obstacles, and was easily 300% too long. As in, 2/3rds of this mission could be chopped out with no loss, because it is so repetitive.

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I was more relieved than excited to advance by the time I kicked Abdel from the train.

Anyway, I’m level 40 now, and the next tier of the storyline is entering the City of the Sun God!

FF14 – Console Learning Curve

I finally bought a PS4 Pro last Friday – Black Friday – along with a few games, including 2 MMOs: Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy 14. It took a while to install (downloads on the console seem throttled) so I let both complete overnight after putting the console into “rest mode”.

I started up ESO first, but it requires a PS+ membership. Those are $60 a year, currently on sale for $40 a year, but FF14 doesn’t have the same requirement. So I switched over to FF14 instead. I’ll get to ESO later.

Rather than use my old account, I started a new one. Establishing an account was awful on console – doing all the “enter name, password” fields using the controller made me want to get a small keyboard to use.

But I made it through and created a Lalafell character because I like short/tiny races.

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After a bit of fumbling around I figured out how to take screenshots and transfer them over to my PC using a USB stick.

I also started on a “new” world, Adamantoise, and as a bonus I’ll get a 100% xp bonus to level 60 (or until the population stabilizes). I hope to benefit from this boost for a few weeks!

Last time I played FF14 I started as a Lancer and then changed classes half a dozen times until settling on Arcanist (eventually opening Summoner and Scholar). This time I just picked Arcanist with the plan of opening up Summoner and Scholar in the future. I’m also interested in Rogue -> Ninja and maybe even Pugilist -> Monk but for now I’ll be good with Arcanist -> Summoner and Scholar.

Using the controller took a bit of getting used to. I was very grateful for the slow ramp up in FF14 – having a choice of several tutorial quests that involve moving around the city, talking to NPCs, fetching items and handing them over, interacting with the environment, attuning to an aetheryte crystal, etc.

You know, the annoying quests I take for granted in most MMOs I’ve played, irritated that I have to do this stuff rather than fight monsters and level up!! Here, every one of these quests let me practice using the controller to navigate and interact with the world. Even the initial combat quest was welcome as I picked on ladybugs and sheep while building some muscle memory on how to do it via controller.

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So far so good, the only thing I’ve noticed is that selecting monsters to fight (basic targeting) is clumsy. I need to rotate my view plus hit the left/right arrow keys on the d-pad and I still don’t quickly target what I want to fight. I was thinking that the tab/shift-tab from a keyboard should translate well to left/right arrow keys but somehow I wound up cycling through nearly everything in radius before targeting what I wanted. I’ll poke around some docs and see if I’m missing something. Maybe I was cheating by using a mouse click to select when I played with keyboard/mouse on my computer.

The good news is combat feels pretty good. Holding the L2/R2 button pulls up a cross overlay (seen above with the tan background and the blue words sprint/auto-attack/return/teleport) that lets you use skills by pressing buttons (triangle/circle/cross/square clockwise from the top). So for instance if I wanted to cast “return” I’d hold L2 and press “cross”. As a low level Arcanist my combat rotation is currently Bio and Ruin so combat is basically L2+circle and L2+cross. Obviously as I gain more skills to use I’ll have more buttons to press.

Hitting the regular R/L button cycles hotbars, which currently is how I get to my pet bar. So far I’ve been ignoring my carbuncle and just relying on it auto attacking whatever I’m fighting.

The other way combat feels good is that my hand and knuckle doesn’t cramp holding a controller. Draping my hand over a mouse for an extended period makes my knuckle lock up and get really stiff. I have to do stretches (tight fist, open hand and spread fingers, repeat) periodically if I play for any amount of time using a mouse/keyboard.

Meanwhile playing with a controller on my PS4 means I can sit on my couch and be far more comfy. I’m liking that a lot!

LoTRO – Trollshaws

After a bit of questing in Evendim, Spessartina reached level 37 which is the suggested level for starting Vol 1 Book 4: Chasing Shadows. So I bailed out of Ost Forod to Bree and then to Ost Guruth and across the Last Bridge into the Trollshaws! Since I’ve done the SoA content a few time I’ll just quest as needed to keep level with the storyline and at all time prefer advancing in the storyline.

It’ll be a ways until I replace my guardian Naerys with my new minstrel Spessartina but I’ll enjoy the journey.

One thing I like about LoTRO is how many player activities are always going on in Bree. One some random evening there may be a concert outside the Prancing Pony.

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I always stop and watch for a few minutes, dancing my favorite dance (Hobbit Dance 1).

Anyway, I stopped at the skirmish camp south of Bree to upgrade my gear to level 37 items, and then on to Thorenhad.

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Fall colors view from Thorenhad.