500 Hours

After seeing others posting about games they have 500 hours in, I too was interested in checking.

My list is dominated by MMOs.

Completely certain

  • Lord of the Rings Online – the Steam launcher shows I have 504.4 hours, so there it is. But that’s only a fraction of my time played, because I played LoTRO before it was available via Steam (which says it launched Jun 6 2012, but I started Jul 2007), and also have skipped Steam and installed directly (how I have it installed right now).
  • Elder Scrolls Online – Steam says 268 hours. But I am 100% certain I have 500 hours here too. I remember starting this game on Steam in 2015 or so, but I also played a year on the PS4, and am heavily back since Jan 2021 on PC directly. Oh yeah, this is the one MMO I can play while visiting family because it is available through Stadia, so I have a bunch of hours via Stadia as well.
  • Guild Wars 1 – I’d have to reinstall the game to log in a check my hours. But I am also 100% certain I have 500 hours. I played nearly+ every class through all three campaigns, repeating missions to get the Protector title on every mission for every char. For my main character (Ranger), I got the Guardian title for every mission, plus Legendary Skill Hunter. There is no way I don’t have 500 hours.

+ Nearly every class… the game had 10 classes total (6 base, 2 factions, 2 nightfall) and I played 9 of them. The only one I didn’t technically play was Elementalist, because the game allowed dual classing. What I did was make my Mesmer my Elementalist – I would sometimes equip nothing but Elementalist skills on my Mesmer. I’d lose the Elementalist primary attribute Energy Storage and instead have the Mesmer primary attribute Fast Casting, but for all intents and purposes that was an Elementalist.

  • Asheron’s Call – my first MMO, started in Feb 2000 and played about 2 years. Lots of adventuring around with friends from work, we’d stay late and conference call each other. For me to have 500 hours in 2 years means an average of 21 hours a month? An easily cleared hurdle.

Probably

  • World of Warcraft – I’d have to reinstall and resub to check – and I played on different servers each time I tried it. There was my first foray, in 2008/2009 on a PvP world (Firefoot, I think) with a friend/coworker. And I hated server-wide PvP. There was the 2nd time, on Zangarmarsh, where I was in the official guild of “The Guild”. There was the third time (Gorgonnash and Earthen Ring), with friends/coworkers in 2015 ish where I had the most fun raiding after using the level boost that came with Warlords of Draenor. There was the fourth/most recent/final time in WoW Classic where I got to the low 50’s on my priest.

Close but not quite

  • Final Fantasy XIV – Steam shows 80 hours, but that was my first account. I started another one to take advantage of the much larger free intro (base game plus Heavensward with level 60 cap) in Sep 2020. Yes, I am a cheap bastard. Logging in there shows about 250 hours. I also played some on the PS4, but it definitely wasn’t the ~170 more hours I’d need to get to 500.

That second PC account is one I’m still playing, poking along the Stormblood Main Scenario. I recently arrived at the Azim Steppe. Login queues are still high in prime time (hey this is a really good problem for a game to have) so I sneak in a few hours here and there, mostly late morning on the weekends.

  • Eve Online – Steam says 320.3 hours, a very solid number that even I was surprised at. This is a great game with a very different design attitude. I was in Eve University for a while, joined a small corporation that did wormhole planetary interaction, eventually joined Brave Newbies… it was fun but ultimately I didn’t have the time to devote to it. If I do come back (haha, wait it could happen) my next plan is stealth ship exploration in low/null sec.
  • Secret World – Steam shows 215 hours for Secret World Legends, but I don’t think that includes time I spent in The Secret World, the original pre-rebooted version. Great game I think about all the time, when chatting with friends about games. Great skill system (in the original game, but even the reboot let you make a variety of builds), awesome quests, unique crafting system that sometimes would appear in quests, entirely cosmetic clothing because all armor/buffs/stats came from trinkets and jewelry… oh heck I might fire this up again soon.
  • Slay the Spire – 340 hours on Steam. This deckbuilding roguelike really grabbed my attention. Fantastic game, with a great balance between luck and allowing choices/decisions that let you steer things better ways. Great replay value with four classes that feel different enough, plus a daily challenge. I bought this for Switch as well, and have 70 hours there. So total of 410 hours, and counting higher a bit here and there.
  • Splatoon 2 – 175 hours. This is Nintendo’s take on a PvP team-based shooter, and it is a lot of fun. The game involves crazy weapons shooting paint, and your 4 player squad wins the match not by racking up kills, but by having the most surface area of the arena painted your team’s color. Of course, knocking an opponent out helps because it takes them out for a few seconds. Game has events (Splatfests) and nice variety of arenas and weapons. I never finished the single player campaign, but should. Also, Splatoon 3 is coming out and I am absolutely going to buy it.
  • SSX Tricky – this game hooked my on my PS2 for months. I 100%ed it, played every course to gold medals and so on. No way for me to check but I had to mention it as the game I played the most on my first console. Based on my Slay the Spire and Splatoon 2 hours, modified down since there wasn’t as much to do, and guesstimated up due to playing a lot of split-screen racing and competitive mode with friends… let’s say 125-150 hours as my best reasonable guess?

I also loved Ratchet and Clank but I just played through the storyline. ๐Ÿ™‚

ESO – Many Chars

I’m the proud (?) owner of 6 level 50 chars in Elder Scrolls Online, one of each class. And a 7th char is level 48 so very soon I’ll have 7. This seemed near impossible a year ago, and I don’t mention this as a brag – it’s actually relatively easy to do.

The secret is: the random dungeon queue. Well, plus the double xp buff during festivals. That festival xp buff takes the form of some themed drink/food (New Life Mead, Jubilee Cake, Witch’s Brew, etc) and also stacks with xp scrolls, which you can get from daily rewards.

Level up fast by group dungeons. You know, the main reason for playing an MMO. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In ESO, each character can get a huge xp bonus and 10 transmute crystals for a daily random dungeon. Figure the queue time is 10-15 mins for DPS, the dungeon is 15-30 more (yes, this will vary wildly depending on what you get and the rest of the group), so ~45 mins per char for a huge xp chunk and 10 transmute crystals.

It was turbo mode compared to my usual leveling pace.

I found my two favorite classes are Templar and Dragonknight, so I’m focusing on them. But still doing the random queue on as many as time permits, for the transmute crystals (more on those in another post).

I went the healing route for dungeons on my Templar, and am enjoying that. For everyone else I enter as DPS. I’d be willing to tank but I’d like to be more familiar with every dungeon first… and ideally start tanking in the base game dungeons. Except there isn’t really a way to select that from the random queue – other than the workaround of taking a lower level character along (dungeon access unlocks as you level so taking a lowbie along limits what dungeons you will get). Or of course tanking for my friends, which is where the bulk of my experience comes from.

Tales from the Random Queue

Most groups are just fine, players just want to enjoy the content.

  • Many groups try to avoid fighting as must as possible, mostly by running at the edge of the map and skipping “trash” mobs. Various rooms in Castle Thorn, jungle areas in Ruins of Mazzatun, the initial area of Falkreath Hold – consistently avoided. Even in one of the first dungeons you can access, Fungal Grotto, it is possible to jump off a waterfall and skip about 40% of the dungeon to beeline the final boss. And players do this – Fungal Grotto 1 on normal has got to be the fastest dungeon to complete.

Players are optimizers – the good loot drops off the bosses, not the trash mobs, so skipping the trash makes the run faster without sacrificing goodies.

It’s rough if you want to do the quest, you really can’t read the text or anything. Save that for friend groups.

  • One controversial practice is the “fake tank” or “fake healer”. That is a player that queues for the tank or heal role, but actually isn’t one. Typically they are DPS, and do it because the queue times for tanks are extremely short (instant) and the one for healers is as well (not as fast as tanks but definitely shorter than the DPS queue).

Since the 4-man dungeon party is 1 tank, 1 healer, 2 DPS, the group winds up 3 DPS and tank or healer, or possibly 4 DPS.

To be honest, a full on tank and healer really isn’t necessary for regular base game dungeons. The thinking is 4 DPS will burn down all the bosses before most mechanics come into play. Or even 3 DPS will. In fact, sentiment online (reddit) is a player that is fully healing is a bit of a detriment.

And that’s probably true. Most healing builds I’ve seen have some damage skills, typically on the backbar (frontbar is for healing) even if you only do 25% the damage of a DPS player, that’s something.

A tank might not do a lot of damage, but if they can group the enemies up, DPS AoE can finish them off faster so having a tank can speed the run.

But for harder content, veteran mode dungeons or DLC dungeon, or veteran DLC dungeons, having a real tank and real healer become more necessary.

There’s some overlap of course, base game veteran dungeons are harder but not ridiculously so. Some end bosses in regular DLC dungeons can be tough unless everyone is playing well.

I’ve had fake tanks and fake healers and it gets ugly in some of the harder dungeons. Two come to mind: one time in Red Petal Bastion, the tank couldn’t take 2 hits without dying. They kept taunt on bosses never. The healer didn’t appear to slot any group heals at all, or energy orbs. Most large fights to this point were rez juggling – the tank or healer was down, so one surviving player stopped to try to rez them. We were fighting half strength most of the time, due to this.

At the final boss after trying a few times, I typed that I was leaving, and did. I think there is a requeue time penalty, but I just switched to another char and didn’t see it.

Another time in The Cauldron, we slugged it out to the final boss. Same deal, tank and healer just couldn’t do the job (different players than the other time). After a handful of tries, they both ported out and dropped group! Leadership passed to me so I requeued, we got another tank and healer, and were able to complete. Which felt really good.

  • Sometimes, typically in a long DLC dungeon that isn’t as popular (i.e. it doesn’t have desirable gear sets), the tank will drop nearly immediately. This has happened a few times and I think it is for one of two reasons: 1) they were actually a fake tank and realized they weren’t at all equipped to deal with the dungeon the random queue gave them, or 2) they were a real tank that didn’t want to spend the time in the dungeon. There is a penalty for dropping, but tank queue times are short anyway, and sometimes it is faster to get a different shorter dungeon, if the only goal is getting the daily transmute crystals.
  • I play my Templar as a healer in group content. I’m considering making my Sorcerer a healer as well, because I’m not liking them as DPS. That’s only if I can cobble together enough healing gear, without spending my precious transmute crystals, to outfit the char. I think I can do it.

I need to do a massive inventory clearing/consolidation anyway.

  • Players generally don’t talk much in a PUG. It boils down to three main interactions:
  1. At the start, if somebody is looking for gear available in the dungeon, they’ll say so. Usually abbreviated like “looking for EC” (so if you were in Stone Garden, they meant Elemental Catalyst gear).
  2. In the middle sometimes they’ll say “HS” or “Chest”. HS is a Heavy Sack, an item everybody can loot. Chests can also be looted by everyone, after somebody picks them open.
  3. At the end, “TYFG” (thank you for group) or something similar. Here is where someone looking for specific drops will again ask. Players are generally receptive to trading gear somebody needs that they don’t.

EDIT: My 7th char reached level 50, from just starting level 48. I had a scroll going for double XP and also did the quest in the dungeon. After setting up their new level 50/160 gear I decided to apply a motif at the outfit station. This is Medium Glass Armor. Hm… I remember Glass Armor in Morrowind being a LOT more green. Maybe I need to dye the armor too!

EDIT again: ugh the in-game pics come out so dark. I suppose it was nighttime. The character load screen has better light at least.

ESO – Armory

Well it’s been a while. I’ve been playing ESO and FF14 of course, more ESO than FF14, but I’ve mostly been taking a break from blogging.

ESO

Things are going well in ESO.

My two friends and I decided to try our first Veteran Dungeon – Fungal Grotto 1. There’s a symmetry there; one friend and I tried when we were newbies – as I recall I was level 40 and she was just over 45 (high enough to get the Undaunted Pledge which is why we picked Fungal Grotto 1 in the first place) – and it was rough. We were attempting to duo and while we did finish we died a lot. Still it was extremely satisfying to beat the dungeon.

We thought it would be fitting to make our first Veteran Dungeon Fungal Grotto 1 as well. So we convinced our mutual friend and dove in. It went pretty well minus a few deaths at the boss – in Vet mode the boss AoE attack does a huge amount of damage, and my friends didn’t always dodge roll. I was a tank and had twice their health, but also moved out of the way. We did finish up and it went reasonably smooth overall.

We also tried a few DLC dungeons – Moongrave Fane and Lair of Maarselok. I picked those because I wanted the 3rd wing to my Hall of the Lunar Champion. ๐Ÿ™‚ One thing nice about tanking is I survived essentially everything and that meant the group did too. Even if I was the only at various times and had to combat res if I could get ~6 seconds away from fighting.

This could also mean I need to practice tanking more, haha.

Armory

ESO introduced a quality-of-life item, the Armory. This lets you save and reload a build, which is really handy. While you could always change up your char by a respec of attributes, skills/morphs, and champion points, the Armory lets you save the results and quickly switch back and forth… without spending in game gold.

It saves your current attributes, skills/morphs, champion points, gear, “disease” (i.e. vampire or werewolf), quick slots… but oddly enough not the mundus stone.

Still, the Armory is fantastic. Loading an empty build clears everything out, which let me more efficiently spend my skill points. And the save/load function makes it easy to add a second build to characters, so my main can now heal and tank (OK I bought a 3rd slot), my tank can have a dps build and quest a bit faster, etc.

FF14

So what about FF14? Well I’m still pursuing that ideal balance of (attempting to) play multiple MMOs. I have not bought Endwalker, mostly because I’m not there in the main story yet! But I will.

In the meantime while I sort that playtime balance issue, I’m considering transferring to Cactuar, to be able to join the Super Dungeon Friends (advertised here again).

I know that cross-DC play is coming to FF14, but the timeline seems murky/vague. So I’ll see what it takes (how much it costs) and if it is even possible given crowds and queues due to Endwalker.

Hey, it’s a good problem for a game to have!

ESO – Quasigriff Mount

Well I’ve been slacking since Blaugust. Sometimes I only have time to play games rather than write about playing games, you know?

I finally got my Dagonic Quasigriff mount, so I can ride around in style. Probably like thousands of other players, who also will obtain the mount… but I don’t care, I like the looks of it.

This mount is obtained by participating in various celebrations/events this year – collect event tickets, trade into the Impresario for one item towards the mount.

First you need to get the Unstable Morpholith, which in turn required Deadlands Flint, Rune-etched Striker, and Smoldering Bloodgrass Tinder. Then since I wanted the mount, I obtained Black Iron Bit and Bridle, Black Iron Stirrups, and Smoke-Wreathed Gryphon Feather. Combine, and voilร , there’s your new heavyweight mount.

This might sound tedious but it really wasn’t. It made you play a bit every day (during the various events), doing daily quests to get the ticket rewards. The dailies were generally: do a delve, fight a world boss. Since you could only get two tickets a day, you couldn’t obsessively farm… I suppose on the other side are players that for whatever reason couldn’t play enough each time. However I think ESO has them covered since there are supposed to be two more events with more chances to get tickets, etc.

FF14 – First Storm Lieutenant

It took me a while to figure out the squadron system. What helped a lot was the extremely informative post from Late to the Party Finder. Read it, heck read it twice if you want to know something.

I’ve been pecking away at the missions and reached First Storm Lieutenant. Huzzah!

But there is so much more to explore with the system.

For one, I’ve only done squadron missions, to promote my team, and of course the flagged squadron mission I had to pass to get my promotion to First Lieutenant.

There are also priority missions to try out, when I level them up more.

Both of these types are somewhat passive: you rejigger stats via training, possibly shuffle members around (but I am sticking with my current team of 4. I did make a swap in the not-too-distant past after I realized my squadron had 2 tanks. Oops.), send them off and check 18 hours later.

What I’d like to try out is a Command Mission, where I enter a dungeon accompanied by 3 of my squad members! Doing 5 unique command missions is a required for final promotion to Storm Captain.

Furthermore, I’d like to run a dungeon with my squadron with me as tank, so I need to level up Marauder just a bit more to level 20…

Blaugust 2021

Woohoo, I joined the Silver Club 2021, collecting the silver medal.

It was… tough. Major kudos to folks who could join Gold or Rainbow Diamond.

I’m not sure I could do 31 tweets a month, much less blog posts!

Since I decided to rotate among games, it did “force” (in scare quotes because playing games isn’t exactly onerous. It’s one way I relax, haha) me to log in and spend some time in various games. Where my natural tendency is to binge a game until I reach some natural break, pause, then go to another game and repeat.

I’m gonna try my hand at balancing playtime in game better going forward. Which means ESO and FF14, and then as a second priority, LoTRO and DDO. This is already too many MMOs for a sane person to play to we’ll see how this works.

I’m also celebrating a minor milestone: this is my 500th blog post. And the blog will reach 11 years old soon. O_o. Mind boggling. In a good way. ๐Ÿ™‚

LoTRO – Back to Arkenstone

LoTRO has basically been my #1 or #2 game since I started playing. Sure, I’ve wandered off and played other MMOs, but I still would spent time in Middle Earth. I’d take breaks from MMOs entirely, but come back to LoTRO.

However now I have 2 friends playing ESO with me, and a lot of enthusiasm for FF14, LoTRO is getting moved to #3 game in my MMO rotation. Basically I’ll log on every week or so and play a bit, more as a way to add in some variety or do something different for a few hours.

That made me crunch some numbers about which server to concentrate on. My Beorning on Shadowfax is level 21, at roughly 96K total XP according to the character XP table section, with ~8 hours played. My Beorning on Arkenstone is level 41, at 1200K experience, with ~50 hours played. Basically 12.5 times the experience points with 6.25 times as long playing.

Obviously it is difficult to compare due to server rules differences, but it got me thinking… and my gut feeling is that the xp boosts from Shadowfax and the increased landscape difficulty I picked (tier 3: Deadly), are mostly offset by how much longer combat takes.

That is to say: I leveled slower on Shadowfax than Arkenstone, even after a 1.25 (landscape difficulty) X 1.25 (Derudh’s stone) X 1.5 (Shadowfax XP buff) = 2.34 xp multiplier, due to how much longer combat takes. “Longer combat” entails everything – having to pull more carefully, moving for better positioning, picking off one or two mobs at a time; having to heal more; having to run out of the AoE of Eye of Sauron, etc.

The real way to compare would be to start another Beorning on Shadowfax, take the normal difficulty, and play for 8 hours and see where I end up. Without actually spending 8 hours I think I’d be far past the start of Vol 1 Book 2 (where I am with my first Beorning on Shadowfax), or at least have ground out various virtues by doing deeds in the Bree area.

On Arkenstone my char has decently leveled virtues because I spent the time finishing quest deeds, exploration deeds, kill deeds, as well as farmed historian/scholar mats to level crafting.

I have done zero of that on Shadowfax.

One other significant advantage of Arkenstone are skirmish camps. I do have fun playing the skirmishes, but the real perk there is upgrading my gear every 3-4 levels. That’s huge, I don’t have to deal with crafting and the gear is much better than the quest drops. Yes, some quest rewards are great, but your character has 7 jewelry slots, 1 pocket item (taken by the Derudh’s stone, can get ones later with a higher level cap), 7 armor slots, and up to 3 weapons (primary, secondary, or two-handed; ranged) and it’s tough to keep all that reasonably current. Except skirmish camps make it easy.

Skirmishes don’t appear until the server advances to Mines of Moria. The camps are there but the NPCs aren’t functional.

I don’t mean to sound down on Shadowfax, this is more me trying to figure out how to optimize the playtime to advance in the storyline. It’s been a while since I’ve played through Shadows and Angmar and Mines of Moria and I’d like to revisit but also get to the large amount of content after those!

My bear is the one in the foreground (in human form), not the camera shy one on the hill in the distance.

So, I’m planning to resume playing my Beorning on Arkenstone. He is level 41, early in the Vol 1 Book 5 storyline, with virtues in the high teens (max virtue is half your level), on a server with skirmish camps… too many advantages.

ESO – Another Friend Playing

I had elaborate plans to advance in FF14… ok not that fancy, just keep following the MSQ… but on Mon my other friend did indeed buy ESO on the Steam sale, and messaged, asking if I wanted to play. Well heck yes!

We actually played Mon, a little bit Wed, and Thu as well. My friend plays tons of single player games but was leery of trying an MMO due to concerns about forced grouping.

Monday

I decided to roll a new character, with the plan to group as early as possible. I already had a named picked out: Amanita Phalloidies, that being the botanical name of the deadly White Cap Mushroom. Unfortunately, some other genius ๐Ÿ˜‰ had the same idea so the name was already taken. I had to spell the name Falloidies instead. I thought this was a great name for an Imperial Necromancer, Imperial because it is Latin, and Necromancer for obvious reasons. I joined the Ebonheart Pact since my friend made a Nord Dragonknight.

We called on discord and started in. I was interested in seeing the new tutorial especially with the finals room of portals to all the various starter zones.

While the tutorial isn’t a private instance, it wasn’t possible to join up. We grouped and I tried to “travel to player” several times at various points, and always got an error. It was fine, we had discord and I kept asking what point in the tutorial she was up to.

One point she said “oh no, I’m out of inventory space”. There’s a room in the tutorial where you can choose weapons and armor… and my friend apparently took everything. Haha!

When I got to the portal room I found the Bleakrock Isle portal and told my friend that was the one she wanted. I just wanted to make sure we started the correct faction storyline. My other friend that played bought a combo package that included Morrowind, so their starter zone was Vvardenfell. Which is fine, but then had no idea at all what faction they were and wound up doing zone stories in essentially random order.

Once on Bleakrock Isle, she was able to travel to me and we finally could play together. Our other friend soon joined us and we worked on a few quests together.

I pointed out aspects of the game as we went long. Skyshards for example, I explained that discovering 3 skyshards granted 1 skill point. ESO’s tutorials and help popups are pretty good but having somebody answer questions is even better.

As we ran across Bleakrock Isle, I stopped at various harvest nodes (wood, ore, plants, enchanting) and gave a quick description. I showed the slightly different icons of zone quests and side quests; the zone quests tell an extended story while the side quests are shorter and more local. I advised that if given the choice, do the zone quests first since those grant better gear and sometimes skill points, etc.

Some other key tips were wayshrine usage – at a wayshrine, clicking on it lets you travel for free to any other wayshrine already discovered; clicking on a wayshrine from the map costs money to travel.

We wrapped up the first evening still on Bleakrock Isle. With great progress though!

Later, I dug around my setting and passed on some changes to make:

  • options -> nameplates -> nameplates on options -> nameplates -> friendly npcs (show) -> always
  • options -> gameplay -> prevent attacking innocents -> on
  • options -> combat -> (display ability bars, timers, stats, etc)
  • options -> social -> auto-decline duels -> on
  • options -> audio -> (subtitles for NPCs and videos)
  • options -> gameplay -> quick cast ground abilities -> on

I think my friend absorbed everything and said she had fun.

Wednesday

The second session was short as I got on late Wed evening. My friend quested on her own and finished a few more quests on Bleakrock Isle. My only further advice was on spending attribute and skill points. She wants to play a stamina dragonknight (loves wielding dual weapons) but wasn’t sure how to allocate.

Fortunately I got her to spend all points into stamina, explaining that unlike many other RPGs where you try to balance stats a bit, ESO rewards full blown concentration into one stat. Mostly because how damage is calculated.

As far as skill points, she had already spent a few in the skills that the in-game skill advisor suggested. The skills advisor defaults to an “Initiate” build which is magicka-based. I told her how to change that and she selected the Venomous Dragon build, which is stamina-based. Now the game will suggest skills that build towards the playstyle she wants.

Thursday

My friend crafted my newly-playing friend some gear – a level 10 Hunding’s Rage armor set. Due to level scaling, your armor level being at your character level makes you equivalent to a level 50/CP 160 character, other than skills and champion points. So we’ll try to keep our friend in reasonably current gear.

We exited Bleakrock Isle to Bal Foyen and continued questing. Since Bal Foyen is even smaller than Bleakrock Isle we finished that and moved onto Davon’s Watch in Stonefalls. At this point, we leveled up to 10 and my friend could equip her armor.

In Davon’s Watch we took a break from questing to tour the city a bit. I got us to join the Fighter’s Guild, Mage’s Guild, Undaunted (my friend thought the initiation ceremony was funny). Since finishing the Undaunted initiation quest involved visiting – not finishing, just visiting – a group Dungeon, which in our case was Fungal Grotto, our other friend ported over there so that we could “travel to player” and save the run across Stonefalls. It isn’t much, but both of our lowbie characters have basically zero speed mounts, and no wayshrines along the way, so it would have taken a while, especially with stopping for fights.

Before logging off I pointed out another critical town service – the Outlaws Refuge. We explained this was where to go to sell or launder stolen items, and often sneak out of a city bypassing guards. This was handy because right before, at the bank, there was a safebox (which I managed to steal from when the NPC wandered away!) so I had some stolen loot to launder.

Later I checked and my level ~11 newly-join-Undaunted character is able to get delve dailies from Bolgrul. Excellent!

This is super cool. I haven’t had more than 1 real-life friend play the same game as me since… Asheron’s Call. Back then we used to stay late at work, conference call each other, and play for a few hours in the evening. Good times.

I’m glad I rolled a new character to play with my friend through the low levels. That way I can see the quests and objectives too. I could have used my warden or dragonknight since they haven’t done those quests but I figured I’d transition to those characters eventually, might as well try out a new character for a bit.

Speaking of that, I did stamina necro. I have a magicka necro that has terrible sustain problems (runs low on magicka all the time). Maybe I’m doing it wrong or it gets better with various passives, skills, etc. But the stamina necro plays solid right from the start, I like it more.

So I crafted myself a set of Night Mother’s Gaze and Mechanical Acuity gear, in the Daedric style because I have a ton of the materials needed for that motif. For a level 12 character, hehe, what the heck that’s the benefit of having your own crafter.

ESO – Molag Bal Quotes

You can’t be an evil overlord without dramatic quotes. Here are some that Molag Bal says before/after the final encounter at a dolmen.

I decided to collect them, so here is a non-exhaustive list. Also, whoever does the voice acting sounds great!

  • A mortal for you to feast upon, Rhagothan. You may feed now.
  • Destroy the body, and the animus is cast into darkness. But the animus returns.
  • Destroy this anchor, and scores more will take its place!
  • Dogs! Filth! You anger a powerful enemy.
  • Drink in your victory. It won’t last long.
  • Fool! Did you think Molag Bal, the Lord of Domination, would be defeated so easily?
  • I admire your tenacity, mortals.
  • I am patient. But not that patient, fool.
  • I don’t want revenge. I want your submission.
  • I will dominate this world and all others in time. The strong should always command the weak.
  • I will ensure no tales are told of your valor.
  • Kill my minions and you only remove the weaklings from my service.
  • Like all worldly things, you will in time wear and be used up.
  • Man is mortal, and doomed to death and failure and loss.
  • May your soul burn.
  • My minions will gnaw the flesh from your bones.
  • My minions will gnaw the flesh from your corpse.
  • My subjects failed me. They deserve to be destroyed.
  • Nothing you can do will end this.
  • Pointless. Ten anchors drop for each that is destroyed!
  • Sometimes the prey turns and nips us. It’s a small thing.
  • Submit, and become mine! Fight, and be destroyed!
  • The daedra. The anchors. You destroy them in vain.
  • The end of Nirn is at hand. Come forth and destroy!
  • The plan is in place. You are but an inconvenience.
  • The planemeld will go on as planned. You cannot stop it!
  • The skins of those you love will fly as my banners.
  • The soulless one thinks I can be defeated. Not so, fool.
  • These mortals are strong, but not strong enough.
  • They serve by choice. They serve the strong. They serve me.
  • This will not finish me!
  • Thrashing you thoroughly will please me, mortal.
  • Unexpected. I will call forth someone more worthy of your strength.
  • We sometimes admire our prey, and secretly applaud when it cheats our snares.
  • Weakling. Pathetic piece of filth. Leave while yet you can.
  • When Nirn and Coldharbour are one, all will serve my will!
  • When you are destroyed, the flies will pick your bones clean.
  • When you destroy the next, this one will have returned.
  • Wretches! All my servants are wretches! Perhaps these will do the job!
  • Wretched mortals. Worms.
  • Wretched things, mortals. May a storm wash you into Coldharbour.
  • Yes. Sacrifice those servants in my name. Let’s give you something worthy to sacrifice!
  • You are unworthy to kiss my feet! Begone with you!
  • You do not yet know fear? I shall make you afraid!
  • You will now be a gift to my most favored pet, Menta Na.
  • Your death will mean nothing to me. You are but a minor distraction.
  • You’ve done nothing, mortal.
  • You’ve only destroyed my whelps. These minions will not be so easily defeated!
  • Your soul is mine. I own you! Come. Let us play.

FF14 – Blue Mage

Blue Mage is an interesting class – it uses monster skills obtained by defeating a monster that uses them. Guild Wars had a similar mechanic – various elites have skills you can capture with a Signet of Capture. But in Guild Wars you still had your normal class skills. The Blue Mage, outside the handful of spellcaster common skills (Addle, Swiftcast, Lucid Dreaming, Surecast) has nothing but monster skills.

Earlier I tried it out and got to level 15 before hitting a roadblock. Essentially… no healing. The skills I captured were fun and different, but it was getting very difficult to win fights and stay alive. So I went back to the regular classes/jobs and didn’t plan to continue on Blue Mage.

But, a conversation in the Newbie channel caught my eye. Someone asked where they could get the “1000 Needles” skill because they were a Blue Mage and heard it was really good. They got several responses and several players commented on how great that skill is, how it’s the bread and butter attack for a Blue Mage until level 50, etc.

Intrigued, I did some research and found out where to get the skill (outside Little Ala Mhigo). I made my way there and pondered how to pull this off. After all, I was level 15 on Blue Mage and the mob I had to defeat was Level 26.

I tried attacking but eventually ran away – each of my attacks was doing maybe 5% damage, if they hit, yet I was taking ~25% damage.

So I stood there thinking how I might ask someone to help, when a FATE popped up, literally right across the path from where the Sabotender Bailor I needed to beat was standing.

I kept watching, seeing level 20 NPC guards run out to attack the level 22-23 monsters. I threw a few attacks in, figuring why not, but being so much lower level I wasn’t doing much besides getting aggro and running in circles. Eventually I lost aggro and stood around again.

Then a player showed up, and another, and they started fighting to complete the FATE. A plan formed in my mind… what if I pulled the Sabotender Bailor to the FATE… maybe they’ll help me kill it?!

So that’s what I did. After tagging the Sabotender and positioning him right in the middle of several FATE mobs, the other two players (and NPC guards) starting attacking as well. I threw out a few monster skills but the others did 80% of the work.

And seconds later, the Sabotender was defeated. I got the game message that I just learned “1000 Needles”. Woohoo!!

I immediately tried it out during levequests from Aleport. And yes, 1000 Needles is fantastic. It’s only weakness is the 6 second cast time. O_o. But for 1000 damage it is still worth it. At level 18 I get Swiftcast so I’ll be able to cast 1000 Needles twice, when Swiftcast is available. Two in a row should shred most regular monsters I’ll be fighting!

OK, I forgot to take screenshots while all this happened. Afterwards I went back to take one. You can see the Sabotender Bailor, and the question mark in the mini-map is a quest giver in Little Ala Mhigo. The Sabotender is just outside, literally seconds from the Aetheryte Crystal.