Newbie Bloggers Initiative (Newbie Blogs)

My small value-add is an attempt to categorize the NBI blogs into the games they cover. That makes it more useful to me, and perhaps to you too. There is a catch-all “General” category as well, for blogs that are more difficult to categorize (ones that aren’t obviously about a few MMOs, very new blogs, etc). I made a best effort, so results not guaranteed, warranty not included, void where prohibited, and so on.

Apologies if I missed a few. I’ll make corrections as needed, when I notice or if somebody points it out. 😉 You can always check Syp’s master list, or the NBI HQ forums.



Anarchy Online

A Tale in the Desert

Diablo 3

EVE Online

Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2

Lord of the Rings Online

Runes of Magic

Secret World

Starcraft 2

Star Trek Online

Star Wars – The Old Republic

Team Fortress 2


World of Tanks

World of Warcraft

Wurm Online

Newbie Bloggers Initiative (Sponsors)

The team of bloggers collectively known as Syp, publishing as BioBreak1, started a Newbies Blogger Initiative to encourage and foster new MMO bloggers.

Most folks posted a greeting and link when starting… I figured I’d wait until the last day(s) of the initiative in order to link to all the new blogs started, the sponsor bloggers, and toss out more publicity for the NBI project. Due to overwhelming participation, I decided to split this into two posts: sponsors and new blogs.

Also, I hope to figure out how to add a blogroll and link thing-a-ma-gizmo to the right column. I figured out how to make a bundle in Google Reader, now I just need to export it somehow. I see this all over so I know it can be done!

What is a little surprising is the number of NBI wrap-up posts. I thought the initiative ran through the end of May, so there is still tomorrow. Right?! In any case, the sponsor list is unlikely to change, so here are links to the sponsor’s blogs, and the next post will be a link to all Newbie blogs.


  1. ALT:ernative
  2. The Ancient Gaming Noob
  3. Ardent Defender
  4. Ardwulf’s Lair
  5. Ark’s Ark
  6. Avatars of Steel
  7. Beau Hindman
  8. Berath’s Brain Burps
  9. Blog of the Vagabond
  10. Blue Kae
  11. Blog de la Burro
  12. Bullet Points
  13. Casting a Shaddoe
  14. Casual is as Casual Does
  15. Casual Stroll to Mordor
  16. Contains Moderate Peril
  17. Creep of the Prophet
  18. A Ding World
  19. DocHoliday’s MMO Saloon
  20. Dragonchasers
  21. Epic Slant
  22. ETCmmo
  23. Gamer BC
  24. Games and Geekery
  25. Gamer LadyP
  26. Gankalicious
  27. A Green Mushroom
  28. Grimnir’s Grudge
  29. High Latency Life
  30. Hunter’s Insight
  31. I Have Touched the Sky
  32. Inventory Full
  33. Jaded Alt
  34. The Jedi Gambit
  35. Journeys With Jaye
  36. Just One MMOre
  37. Just One More Unlock
  38. Kill Ten Rats
  39. Levelcapped
  40. Life is a Mind Bending Puzzle
  41. Live Like a Nerd
  42. LOTRO Fashion
  43. Malchome’s Mind
  44. Mana Obscura
  45. MMO Compendium
  46. MMO Fallout
  47. MMO Gamer Chick
  48. Mr. Meh’s Supplication
  49. Nerdy Bookahs
  51. Parallel Context
  52. Professor Beej
  53. Psychochild
  54. Restokin
  55. Roll One Hundred
  56. Scary Worlds
  57. Screaming Monkeys
  58. Shards of Imagination
  59. Sheep the Diamond
  60. Skycandy
  61. Star Shadow
  62. The Stories of O
  63. Stropp’s World
  64. Tales of the Aggronaut
  65. Tastes like Battle Chicken
  66. Tiger Ears
  67. Tish Tosh Tesh
  68. Tremayne’s Law
  69. T.R. Red Skies
  70. Vicarious Existence
  71. Wadstomp
  72. Welcome to Spinksville
  73. West Karana
  74. The Wild Boar Inn
  75. World of Matticus
  76. Yeebo Fernbottom’s MMO Love In

76 Sponsors! That’s a lot of support; thanks folks! Apologies if I missed any blogs… leave a note and I will add to the list.

1. See reference post.

Massively – Jump Puzzles

I saw this post over on Massively, about jump puzzles in MMOs. As I struggled to remember my login info, I thought to myself, hey I have a blog, why not post there? 😉

Anyway, a jump puzzle has to be done “well”, otherwise it isn’t any fun. I remember a jump-puzzle dungeon in Asheron’s Call, either the Jahannan (fire) or Amperehelion (lightning) Vault(s), and the jump puzzle was initially executed terribly. Also, the game had a Jump skill for your character, that you could spend points on and increase. This meant that some chars would over-jump and not be able to do anything about it – literally their minimum jump was too much for some of the jump elements.

The entire experience was very frustrating. Imagine spending at least 15 minutes, sometimes 30 or 45 (due to battles along the way) minutes or more fighting your way into a dungeon, climbing ramps, making a few successful jumps, being elevated high above the floor, partway through the jump section… and then mis-aligning a jump or over-jumping, and falling to your death in the lava (? I remember boiling away so perhaps the dungeon was the Jahannan Vault). Or being a victim of lag when you were maneuvering slightly… As an early MMO, Asheron’s Call also featured item loss on death, so after failing you then had to decide if spending the time to get back to your body to loot your stuff was worth it. After running back from the nearest lifestone you rezzed at, or perhaps summoning yourself if you tied to the portal.

Frustration: off the charts.

The devs caved and changed the geometry of the various tunnels and planks, added stoppers and other elements that would catch you from over-jumping (as I recall you still had to align yourself fairly accurately). This was widely received with joy.

Anyway, in a modern MMO, that doesn’t punish you on char death with item loss… well no this mechanic would still be very frustrating. It all depends on how difficult the jump puzzle is. I suppose I wouldn’t mind if it was on the easy side, and screwing up didn’t cost you too much time to redo. I have yet to encounter a jump puzzle in the current crop of MMOs; perhaps they aren’t as bad as the one I remember from a decade ago!

LoTRO – To Starkmoor

I wrapped up the quests in Tur Morva, and advanced in the storyline to Avardin, a quest hub in the Starkmoor region of Dunland. Along the way Naerys reached level 68.

Leveling by the Lake
Leveling by the Lake

What a scenic spot for a level up!

I enjoy the humor in LoTRO’s quests – someone at Turbine must enjoy slipping it in. The quest giver, Iwan, swore revenge on those who would join Saruman, so he asks me to kill some frogs and extract their venom. After completing that task, he tries some of it. As a result, the followup quest is for me to find the village healer for a remedy. She voices “ach… you do not taste the poison you make” and gives me some medicine to take back.

Yeah, it was just a fedex quest, delivering stuff. But it was funny, and I enjoy that.

ATiTD – Citizenship

I just had a few things left on the checklist/intro quest: learn the Clothwork skill, build a small distaff, spin twine, and tear down my Wood Plane (I guess that last one teaches you to clean up after yourself rather than leave little buildings all over).

Waiting for flax to rot
Waiting for flax to rot

Tuition for Clothwork was 20 Rotten Flax, so I spent some time growing and harvesting flax. Then, I threw it in the water and waited for it to rot. When it was ready to be picked up, the orange buoy turned to white.

My Crafting Area
My Crafting Area

Next was building the small distaff. That required boards, brick, and wood, so I gathered from a few trees, and also made bricks. Eventually I built the distaff, and stood back to admire my little crafting area by the water.


After spinning twine and tearing down my wood plane, I became a Level 1 citizen!

This game is certainly a lot different than other MMOs. So far so good, but I’ll see what gameplay has opened up now that I can take Tests in the various Disciplines of Man.

SWTOR – Free Weekend

I couldn’t resist checking out Star Wars: The Old Republic over the free weekend. So I downloaded the client, and patched… and waited… and roughly 4 hours later it finished up and I was able to enter the game.

Character Creation
Character Creation

I’m not up on Star Wars lore, except for the very basics, and didn’t know there was a green-skinned race called the Mirialan. I thought they looked cool so I made a Jedi Consular (fuzzy on what that is exactly, but as long as I get a light saber I’m good).

Planet Hologram
Planet Hologram

From there I entered the game in Tython, and quested around a bit. I was only able to play 3 hours the entire weekend, due to travel, but was happy I could be in the game at all. I made it to level 5, and am at a quest in Lower Kaleth where I need to search for the Lost Blade.

Some impressions:

I like the voiced quests and full video – it made the normal “get quest, do quest, speak afterwards for reward” feel conversational and a bit more immersive. I usually read quest text, but sometimes skim it. Here, I paid attention.

So far, and admittedly I’m barely into it, there are fewer quests than typical. But, in other MMOs the larger number of quests generally include a lot of filler. Basically the main storyline quest and an isolated extra quest here and there. That’s OK actually, I’m good with following path as long as there is always something to do.

The separation between the world and your story is seamless – just a green glowing field to indicate you are about to enter a storyline area, or a red glowing field to show you can’t enter. Nice!

If you have the map up and are standing still, it is opaque. If you start to move, it turns transparent, letting you see the world and the map. This is so handy!

This is a nit I always had with Star Wars in general – this is a universe with high tech all over (spaceships, warp, laser weapons, etc) and the best hologram technology is some crummy low resolution blue projection?

Fast Travel, Star Wars style
Fast Travel, Star Wars style

GW – Vabbian Armor

Playing in the GW2 weekend preview got me a bit excited about GW again. So I concentrated on finishing off some quests for trade contracts, scoured my inventory for anything valuable to sell (fortunately I had a stash of diamonds which were worth a decent amount at the trader), and grinded a bit for money.

And so, I *finally* got enough money together to buy the materials needed for Vabbian armor, for my main char Dawn.

Armor Collection
Armor Collection

The significance with this armor is that it gives me 3 Hall of Monuments points – 2 for having Vabbian armor, and 1 more displaying 5 sets of armor! Of course, that awesomeness is tempered by the fact I was at 30 points, so 33 doesn’t get me anything new other than being closer to 35 points, the next reward level.

Reward Calculator
Reward Calculator

Naturally I kept checking the reward calculator just to make sure I got credit for the Vabbian armor. 😉

I’m not complaining though, it may be possible for me to get to 35. I counted up my minipets and I have 48 of them. So just 2 more of those (ones I don’t have that is) and I’ll hit 50 which will give me another point. Unfortunately this one comes down to luck. I could do challenge missions and outfit more heroes with armor, or grind for more weapons… anyway, 35 is definitely a possibility, and if I don’t make it that’s OK too.

As much as I love Guild Wars – I played a huge amount from 2006 to 2007 – I can’t seem to get motivated to return for any significant length of time. After taking many characters through Prophecies, Factions, and Nightfall, I was burned out. I only finished Eye of the North on 2 of them, only finished the Bonus Mission Pack on 1, and only started the Guild Wars Beyond content.

So I have this unresolved issue with Guild Wars – I’d like to finish up Guild Wars Beyond before Guild Wars 2 releases. I hope when ArenaNet announces GW2’s release date, that impending deadline will be the motivation I need to finish up!

LoTRO – High Level Noob

I wanted to play some LoTRO, but get some variety on another char besides my guardian. So I logged on my second favorite character, Dhrun the burglar, who is questing in the Echad Dagoras area of Enedwaith.

However, I hadn’t played him in months. As a result, I was essentially a level 65 noob burglar. Ouch! I was rusty, and had to re-read the class skills and tooltips, re-recognize the skill icons, re-allocate Legendary points on his dagger and tools, and remember how to fight as a burglar. After a bit of time I was able to play and be somewhat productive as a burglar again. Whew.

This made me wonder – does this happens to others? Surely I’m not the only person to take a break and come back to a feeling of déjà vu – familiar yet strange. As initially disorienting as it was for me, it could have been worse – I could have returned to a char that underwent significant changes, such as Minstrel or Warden from LoTRO, or the Dervish from Guild Wars.

I’m just glad I wasn’t playing my Minstrel. If somebody would have asked for help (e.g. group content needed a healer) I would have been forced to reply “Sorry, I’d love to but I don’t remember how to play this class.” 😉

Anyway, I quested around Echad Dagoras, digging up supplies and rescuing captured men.

Ranger Rune
Ranger Rune

The Rangers in Echad Dagoras sent me out to find some supplies they had buried in the area. They had an elaborate system of marking a rune on rocks or trees, and then pacing to the north or east… I think they should use the Vault-keepers like the rest of us! 😉


This quest makes me laugh. The Ranger Amarion is over his head and climbed up some rocks to await rescue. Dhrun, hobbit burglar (cunningly hiding in the shrub at the base of the rock), to the rescue!

ATiTD – New Arrival

A Tale in the Desert
This is going to be very different…

For a long time, I have been interested in trying out A Tale In The Desert, a non-combat MMO focused on crafting and trading. I finally decided to do it!

Initial Exploration

New Arrival
New Arrival

Logging in and creating a character was simple… in fact I just took the defaults because there didn’t seem to be a preview system. Basically I could select a few attributes (hair color, clothing style) but I had to close the menu to see the effect, and after a few minutes I just took whatever happened to be there.

Running Through Grass
Running Through Grass

The tutorial started out with some simple tasks: rotate the camera, movement, and simple resource gathering. After a quick lesson on how to pull up the map, I was off to find a School of Architecture.

Stone Blade tuition
Stone Blade tuition

I made my way across the landscape to the School of Architecture, where I was to learn Stone Blade Fabrication. Learning from a school is easy: merely click on the school and select what you want to learn. Paying tuition is a different matter, because it involved bartering resources. The cost for Stone Blade Fabrication is 7 slate, and I had none.

I followed the tutorial directions and went to a nearby river to look for slate. I clicked on everything, but to no avail, I couldn’t find slate anywhere! Then I noticed the “gather slate” icon would appear at certain spots. It seems the the slate nodes have no visible graphic on the landscape, other than the gathering icon. I finished gathering slate by inching along the shoreline, stopping wherever the icon displayed.

My Wood Plane
My Wood Plane

This pattern continued – gather resources to pay for tuition, learn a new skill or buildable project, gather more resources to make the next item in the tutorial. Eventually I built a Wood Plane, which I am proudly standing by in the above screenshot.

After that I build a brick rack and then dried bricks… feeling happy with my progress in the game, I decided this was a good stopping point – in the overall intro quest to become a citizen, I’m midway, at the point where I need to visit the School of Art and Music and get flax seeds.

Flax Harvest

After a little break, I fired up ATiTD on my Windows notebook instead of my Mac, and played a bit more.

Growing flax
Growing flax

I traveled to the School of Art and Music and picked up 3 flax seeds. The tutorial instructions were “See if you can figure out a way to grow more flax”. Hm.. what could that mean?

I didn’t over think it and just planted a flax seed and watched… a few seconds later the graphics changed, adding some greenish plants to my flax plot. I checked the action menu and there was an option to weed the garden, so I did. This repeated but eventually I was able to harvest flax.

Now I had 2 flax seeds and 1 flax, so evidently what the tutorial message meant was that I need to figure out how to get more flax seeds.

I planted another seed and this time, didn’t do any weeding. Eventually when I checked, I discovered I grew a “wild flax plant” that could be harvested for seeds – aha! With this figured out, I was able to balance growing for seeds and growing for harvest and accumulated the flax I needed.

So far so good, and next time I play I’ll push to complete the welcome/intro checklist and become a citizen!

Soaking up Info

I have this OCD condition about gaming and MMOs in particular – I read/study tons of information about a game, before ever playing it.

Part of that is due to the nature of these games, with so many choices about a character (race, class/profession, skills, etc.) that I hate feeling lost right off the bat, and for some largely unfounded reason, fear making a “wrong” decision early on. While I do like to have a vague idea of what’s going on, I think it may be excessive when I find myself digging up too much info on character design (classes and skills), quest optimization, things to avoid, etc. all before I’ve even created a char!

This is easy to do these days, with the wealth of info available on wikis, forums, strategy guides, blogs, youtube videos… when I catch myself diving in too deep, I stop. It isn’t that I think I’ll ruin the game, it is more that I tell myself it is silly past a certain point, because I can’t really get a feel for a game by just reading about it.

My new goal along these lines is to limit myself to reading tips for newbies, and then actually try the game out. That would be kinda fun, to be a bit clueless at the start, and have to experiment.