GW2 – Jumping Around

Check out the quick start guide that Azuriel put up – lots of great info there, complete with handy screenshots! The guide also shows how to fix the “slow turning camera” issue I mentioned in my last post – so many thanks! Now I can turn (via the mouse) and not feel like I’m stuck in molasses.

I’m continuing to have fun in Guild Wars 2, taking it easy, seeing the sights, exploring and doing various quests (filling in hearts). So far I enjoy the Asura and Sylvari areas the most, because of the scenic landscapes. I don’t enjoy the Charr area quite as much, with its blasted wartorn wasteland vibe. I think the artists nailed the Charr area; I just happen to like a different look.

Anyway, I’ve found something kinda fun to do – those jumping puzzles to get to scenic vistas! When I’m near one, I spend a little time trying to figure out how to get to the map piece. I totally get that some people hate them, but so far I’m having fun with them.. For example, here is my Sylvari mesmer at the bottom of the jump puzzle inside The Grove near the Caledon Path gate. The glowy map piece is visible at the top.

Jumping Puzzle
Jumping Puzzle

Midway up I decided to check my progress…

Midway Up
Midway Up

and after a few more careful jumps, I reached the top! My only advice is obvious: straighten out, line up each jump, and don’t jump with auto-run. πŸ˜‰

The Summit
The Summit

The map piece activates for a view flyby, a bit of xp, and progress on filling in the tracking bar. I took a screenshot towards the end of this one:

Flyby View
Flyby View

GW2 – Pre Launch

So, the much anticipated day that Guild Wars 2 rolled out early finally arrived… I couldn’t stay up until 3 am Eastern time (or maybe midnight since there was a hint the game might open early. But I’m not staying up late just in case.) so I tried grabbing some character names I wanted early Saturday morning.

I had limited success, only getting 1 name out of 4. Oh well. The name I did get was “Glyneth”, from one of my favorite fantasy novels: Lyonesse: Suldrun’s Garden. The other 3 names I was hoping for were also from that book: Aillas, Suldrun, and Dhrun. Since other guild members from GW1 left a message that they were going to Dragonbrand, that’s where I started. Eventually I hope to catch up to my former guildies and join them again.

I didn’t have much time over the weekend to play, and as a result, I only have a level 5 Asuran elementalist. Yeah only level 5… I wonder if anybody hit max level during this head start weekend? πŸ˜‰

The ele is a different choice for me, because the one profession I didn’t have from Guild Wars was… an elementalist. Not that I’m down on eles, its just that I made a mesmer first, really enjoyed that profession, and decided I’d be a bit slack in leveling another character and simply buy/unlock the ele skills on my mesmer; then when I wanted to play an ele, I’d go as an Me/E instead. I wouldn’t have Energy Storage, but with a Glyph of Energy and some other energy stealers, it was decent enough. But I digress…

The reason I decided to try an ele in GW2 first, is from reading other blogs that noted how many different skills eles have – basically 4 times as many considering the elemental skills unlocked across all the weapon types. I figured that would provide huge variety so why not see if I liked an ele from the start?

I took it pretty easy, deciding not to rush or do anything like that. Instead, I plan to complete each zone, doing the various quests and exploration unlocks, and follow the storyline when I’m the right level. I didn’t do any of the jumping puzzles in the preview weekend, so I also gave that a shot – here is my Asuran checking out the view near one of the Viewpoints:

Metrica View
Metrica View

I also rolled up a few other characters, filling all my slots. I made 5 different races and 5 different professions – not that I’ll play them all, but I may dabble a bit. I have an Asuran elementalist, a Sylvari mesmer, a Norn ranger, a Human guardian, and a Charr engineer.

So no thief, warrior, or necromancer for me, unless I buy more character slots. Even then, I’ll be plenty busy with the 5 I created, no need to bury myself even more.

So far so good, and my only complaint is with controlling the view. Turning (rotating the view) seems sluggish, like there is a bit of delay at first and then an acceleration to catch up. Perhaps this is partly a graphics card/driver issue or an option somewhere.

LoTRO – Level 75

I finally hit level 75 on Naerys, turning in a quest at a camp just north of Thinglad. While I’m glad I made it before Riders of Rohan releases, I’m also probably the last person on Landroval to hit the level cap. πŸ˜‰

Level 75
Level 75

At this point, my play style will shift a little bit (except not so much this time – more on that later).

Epic Storyline vs Questing

When I hit max level, I prioritize the epic storyline over regular questing. That’s because epic quest rewards are often nice equipment upgrades. I do enjoy regular questing and am somewhat of a completionist, so I’ll continue exploration/regular questing… after catching up on the epic storyline.

Currently, Naerys is at III 6.6 – Downriver Dangers. Goal: finish up before RoR releases!

Virtues

I don’t worry too much about virtues while leveling; however at max level they are something I revisit and tweak a bit.

Naerys slots:

  • Charity – 14
  • Innocent – 14
  • Zeal – 11
  • Honour – 10
  • Valour – 10

I believe in mitigation over straight stat bonuses, which is reflected in my virtue choices (except for Valour). It may not make sense to slot Valour anymore – Naerys’ morale is hovering around 9000, so the Valour bonus of +389 (if Valour is maxed at 14) is 4%, not very compelling, especially considering some of the kill deeds I’d have to do.

Every little bit of morale helps, but the only time that 389 extra morale would literally make a difference in avoiding defeat would be in the following situation: Naerys is brought under 389 morale, and then survives the fight. After all, lowering morale via damage to 500 and then avoiding defeat means that the extra cushion wasn’t needed (the margin would have been even thinner, but still positive); meanwhile lowering morale down to 500 and being defeated anyway also means the cushion didn’t matter. But in that small space where Naerys is in a fight and gets down to 200 morale (for instance), has time to heal or drink a potion, and then goes on to survive… well then, in that case, the Valour bonus actually mattered.

So I’m considering booting mitigation and/or resistances further and slotting one of these virtues instead of Valour: Patience, Tolerance, Idealism, Compassion, Fidelity, Confidence. Idealism has a slight advantage in that Naerys already has it to 13, meanwhile Compassion and Fidelity at 12 are not far behind.

Crafting

I do enjoy crafting and making gear, but I survive on quest rewards until I hit max level. Naerys is an Armourer, and will work on Metalsmith and Tailor… meanwhile Dhrun is my Tinker (Jeweler) but he’s 10 levels lower and way back at Echad Dagoras.

I’ll inventory the armor Naerys currently uses, and see if there are reasonable upgrades available via crafting. Lately, the top crafting recipes come via reputation vendors or crafting guild recipes, so I’ll also investigate there as well. (Building up reputation is one reason to peck away at exploration questing vs epic storyline).

Legendary Items

Naerys is also using the same Legendary Items she had 10 levels ago. That’s right, a Third Age level 65 club and Third Age level 65 belt (I have the Second Age LI from the epic storyline but haven’t built up its legacies yet). I just don’t have time to grind out incremental improvements. At least I’ve been leveling up secondary items and deconstructing those for shards, relics, etc. so eventually when I get new Legendary Items, I’ll have something to slot on them.

I need to figure out where to get level 75 Legendary Items – usually it is a barter NPC.

Traits

I’ll get into this in another post, since a trait loadout ties back to Legendary Items and the legacies chosen for them (i.e. pick legacies that buff the traits you choose to equip!). I’ve been using the same general class traits for many levels and am happy with them, so I’ll probably stick with my choices. I saw the Dev Diary highlighting upcoming changes for Guardians in RoR, but nothing I read made me think I need to make sweeping changes.

Skirmishes

Skirmishing is fun – they are all quick enjoyable action with variety in settings and goals (offense vs defense). One nice bonus is earning points which are useful for other goodies, from skirmish skills to LI boosts to gear.

I don’t skirmish much while leveling – once again it is something I shift to doing at max level. If I don’t get to skirmish much, I’ll at least try out the new ones that have released.

But not so much this time

Earlier I said these play shifts usually occur, but won’t as much this time around. That’s because there isn’t much time before Riders of Rohan releases, whereas previously I’ve usually had max level chars for week/months before an expansion. Heck last summer I had plenty of time I decided to work on World Renowned! Also, I’d like to move Dhrun (my burglar) along since he’s also fun to play and my Tinker. If he doesn’t level up nobody gets new jewelry to wear. πŸ˜‰

GW – Temple of the Intolerable

Even though Guild Wars 2 is almost out, I am determined to finish up the War in Kryta content.

Quest Start
Quest Start

First I went to see Princess Salma in her area in Lion’s Arch, to pick up the quest. I hurried along and spoke to Jiaju Tai and soon found myself fighting my way through D’Alessio Seaboard making my way to the Temple, where Koril the Malignant was.

Scenic Viewpoint of the Temple
Scenic Viewpoint of the Temple

Most the fights were straightforward with the usual caveat of picking the location carefully so as to avoid extra patrols. Inside the Temple, the fights were tougher as there wasn’t as much room to maneuver, and the patrol frequency was faster! After clearing for a bit, Koril was alone… with a group on the right I quickly dealt with.

Koril the Malignant
Koril the Malignant

Being the boss, he summons reinforcements when his health drops to certain levels.

I fought him by spacing out my heroes via the flags, so that Koril’s Vampiric Swarm necromancer skill didn’t hit all of us bunched up. And as we fought, I regretted not changing my build over to a Broadhead Arrow build, because Koril was able to heal with Life Transfer as well, and all I had for interrupts was Savage Shot (plus of course what interrupts I had loaded for the heroes). I’m not the greatest interrupter, and was only able to catch 40% to 50% of the ones Koril used, but the heroes did fill in a few times as well!

There was a time when the battle got really ugly – Koril was down to 25% health and summoned reinforcements, and the tide turned very quickly – only 2 heroes were left alive. I thought we would soon fail and have to start over, which would allow me to use a different build… but miraculously, both heroes survived to rez 2 others (including me), and the 4 of us were able to finish off the reinforcements to create some breathing room.

During this time, I decided to use some boosts I carry around – Armor of Salvation, Grail of Might, Powerstone of Courage – hoping the stat bumps and death penalty wipe would make a difference. Those items are valuable, but then if I hoarded them and never used them, what good are they? Never using them is like not even having them in the first place!

Victory!
Victory!

We kept fighting, and things started looking much better when the other two heroes were rezzed. A few tense moments later, including battling Koril’s reinforcements when he hit 10% health, and we were victorious!

After seeing Princess Salma, I picked up the next quest in the series: Mustering a Response.

LoTRO – Farmer’s Faire

I felt like taking it easy, so I participated in the Farmer’s Faire. I hadn’t played my Rune-keeper Daerellaen in quite some time so I logged in on her for a bit.

Farmer's Faire
Farmer’s Faire

After speaking to the Festival Announcer, I took the tour in order to familiarize myself with the available events. First stop was to visit a fishing hole, then an Egg Scramble, and finally a Mushroom hunt.

Egg Scramble
Egg Scramble

All sounded interesting but I decided to try the Mushroom hunt first. The goal was to eat 8 mushrooms without being spotted by the farmer’s dogs.

The field was medium sized and several mushrooms spawned in the borders… the key was to keep moving and duck into another row when a dog was near. Some of the mushrooms gave a minor poison effect, while others gave a hallucination effect, with a washed-out view similar to what happens when you drink too much.

One of the more amusing hallucinations was this:

Mushroom Hallucination
I ate a bad mushroom, or perhaps the NazgΓ»l are mushroom lovers too.

Unfortunately I was spotted after eating 7 of 8 mushrooms! Argh… so I tried again. I failed even sooner, at only 2 of 8, due to bad luck moving from one row to another right on top of one of the dogs. Sensing this wasn’t my night for the mushroom hunt, I returned to the Festival Announcer and completed the quest, earning more tickets so I can try again later.

A Casual Stroll to Mordor has an excellent guide available for this event: Farmer’s Faire Guide.

FE – Embry Crossroads

I hadn’t played Fallen Earth in a few weeks, so I decided to wander around in the Wasteland again. Ouch, it was a tough evening, as in difficult to play because I forgot quite a bit and/or had a challenging time just doing basic things!

Nearby thugs
Nearby thugs

First up, I forgot how to enter “fight” mode. I finally stumbled on… the TAB key. This let me fight some nearby thugs and mine the copper they were guarding.

As close as it gets to a hospital
As close as it gets to a hospital

After getting that sorted out, I went to clear two lingering crafting quests I had: Do No Harm, and Brewing Trouble. Both involved making supplies for the outpost, and involved items that were easily found or purchased. I went to the medicine crafting section in South Bluff and purchased some trade skill books, and soon enough was almost ready to craft the needed items.

While fighting mutant prairie chickens looking for tainted eggs (needed for one of the potions), I leveled up. This opened up more quest givers and I got one that took me to the next larger outpost in the area: Embry Crossroads. So I saddled up my trusty horse and rode there… but just outside my horse slowed down and I walked in the rest of the way. I couldn’t figure out what happened, when it hit me: I hadn’t fed my horse so it was low on food and thus very slow. Oops, sorry about that horsey!

Embry Crossroads
Embry Crossroads

Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out where to by extra feed – previously, I bought some at a garage outside South Bluff, but that would be a really long way to go on foot and/or a super slow horse, from Embry Crossroads. I wandered around to no avail; I need to find a garage near Embry Crossroads to get more horse feed.

Food for my horse
Food for my horse

EDIT: I got a little more time to play later in the evening, and decided I couldn’t stand having my horse starve. Oh, and also be stuck walking everywhere. πŸ˜‰ So I searched around and found the garage on the outskirts – basically head north out of Embry Crossroads, take a right, and it is right off the road after a bit.

I attempted another quest, to collect DNA samples from four species surrounding Embry. I had to bumble around to figure out what to do here as well. The first species on the list was a creeper, so I search and found some of these scorpion-like animals. I fought and killed one, but the quest wouldn’t update. I didn’t have the skill to harvest it (needed my Nature skill to be higher) so I was stumped until I tried using the DNA kit in my inventory on a live creeper. That worked, except I died taking damage while taking the sample. I repeated this pattern two more times, including the deaths, for lizard and coyote samples. Fortunately, the prairie chicken didn’t kill me too, and I was able to get my fourth sample without dying.

Maybe I need to level up a bit more, or upgrade my armor or skills or figure things out more. πŸ™‚

DDO – Butcher’s Path

I entered a dungeon/sewer called “The Butcher’s Path”, where the goal was to kill 80 kobolds, survive to the NW exit, and slay Witch Doctor Kneeza.

Not too complicated at all… the fun and challenge comes from the design where packs of kobolds (5+ at a time, often 8 or 10) attack. As a monk, I just kept clicking and using ki attacks when possible, and generally survived each fight slightly beat up.

In this game, unless you drink a potion, find a rest shrine, use a skill, or get healed by another player (I suppose), your health doesn’t come back. So no standing there in between fights (like in Guild Wars) and topping of health! So after battling through a few waves, I was happy to avail myself of the first rest shrine I found… and later, another one. I also drank a few health potions, so I need to visit the store and look into buying more. I’m not sure where to buy more health potions, but I’ll guess they are for sale in the DDO Store (the cash shop, not the in-game merchant you can sell/buy/repair at) since this is a F2P title.

I used the tunnels and corners as much as I could, trying to get the monsters to attack me one at a time. The kobold shamans were problematic, as they cast spells – such as fear, which stopped me from attacking for a few seconds! I quickly learned to target the shamans first, then deal with the rest.

Anyway, I emerged with enough experience points to reach 3rd level, so I went to the monk trainer and selected new class feats (Toughness, Path of Harmonious Balance) and enhancements. Now I can use Void Strike as an attack, which opens up a few more finishing moves. It looks like I don’t get any new feats until level 6, but at least I should be able to select more enhancements along the way.

Unfortunately I have no screenshots of my play this evening – I hit Print Screen a few times, thinking I was getting a few. To my dismay I was using the wrong key – F12 takes screenshots. Argh! Well I won’t forget that and won’t make that mistake again.