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. πŸ˜‰

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

 

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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 SaΓ―d, 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.

SWL – Scorched Desert

I’ve been lollygagging in SWL but I buckled down and reached the Scorched Desert. Again, if you count my previous char in TSW. πŸ˜‰

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After defeating Beaumont I was transported to the ice cave, which I think it cool and atmospheric. There are some memories you can trigger, and the narration for each is all about power – what true power is like and how you can have power if you just accept the gift…

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And I said heck yes! If some mysterious group is offering me untold power, I’m going to take it. πŸ˜€

What exactly I’ve done isn’t revealed yet – perhaps it will come clear in the future storyline. For now, I’m back in the furthest zone I’ve been to in TSW/SWL, and I’m determined to keep going.

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To get here, I decided midway through Savage Coast to just beeline the story. I did all these quests already and will come back later to finish off the achievements for exploration and questing. I reached level 30 during the Blue Mountain section of the storyline, which is what I needed to advance so I kept on going, and am now level 31 newly arrived in Egypt.

I still plan to advance the storyline as much as possible. It gives good AP/SP rewards, plus I’m sure I’ll hit a level barrier soon. I plan to keep the side questing to a minimum in an effort to see more of the game and story.

GW2 – Forum Anger

Every once in a while the playerbase, at least the vocal group that hangs out on forums, spills their collective guts in a (hopefully cathartic) bile spewing session(s). The most recent culprit was anger over GW2’s mount adoption licenses. The gist is: spend gems, get a random chance of cool looking mount skins that you don’t already have. There are 30 skins and getting them all is 9600 gems. Or in dollars… $120 (8000 gems for $100 and 1600 more for $20). I’m sure there are sales (right??) and you can always farm gold all day long to buy gems but yeah, these skins cost most players actual money. Lots of it if you only want a few specific skins.

This move was seen as a cash grab and loot box apocalypse and at one time on Reddit, there were 12+ angry ranting threads active:

Mind boggling! Well not really, I wonder how long the average MMO playerbase gets annoyed at something. Probably every other patch/update. πŸ˜‰

This is somewhat moot for me as I don’t even have PoF and thus no mount at all. And I’m NOT buying PoF until I actually get there in the storyline. Which might be 4 years from now if I keep my current pace, haha.

My medium term goal is to take a break from the story and finish off exploration in Tyria. I need 165 more hero points to train my druid skills so I’m going to do that, starting with one zone in the Ascalon area I haven’t been to (Fireheart Rise), one zone in the Shiverpeaks I haven’t been to (Frostgorge Sound), most of Kryta, and most zones south of Lion’s Arch that are crawling with undead even though I helped kill Zhaitan. Oh well. πŸ˜‰

I might jump back and forth and advance the Season 2 storyline a bit, for variety. If I had to rank my current goals in order they would be: 1) train druid skills, 2) zone exploration, and 3) advance in storyline. At some point when I finish Season 3’s storyline I’ll buy PoF.

GW2 – Victory or Death

I finally finished the Personal Story of Guild Wars 2… 5+ years after the game shipped. What can I say, I wandered away from the game, switched which profession I played as a main, ran a bunch of alts, got to a certain point twice and stopped.

But after pecking away here and there and now… I’m done.

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Overall I enjoyed it. Yes, your character is doing everything on behalf of other NPCs (Trahearne) but what else are the writers going to do? GW1’s Nightfall campaign had you doing things on behalf of Kormir who barely helps at “Abaddon’s Gate” and usurps all your hard work to become a goddess. πŸ˜‰

My only complaint is the session play, where you take over another character, a vehicle, or in this case, turrets. Not my favorite mechanism. I can see why devs do that, since it can provide a more consistent initial point. After all, by forcing a new skill bar onto every player, they can tune the fight and the difficulty they want. What if a player has no ranged attacks, or their ranged weapon is weak? They’re gonna fail miserably attacking flying dragons, etc. Easy solution – force the players to take over a launcher and now every profession/class is on equal footing in the mission, or at least for that particular fight.

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However, the reason I pick a profession/class and play it is to use whatever skill set they have. I didn’t sign up to be a rocket lobber or whatever. So overusing the session play (or taking over a vehicle, or become a trebuchet etc.) mechanic is annoying to me. And this mission had a lot of rockets to lob.

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On the other hand, LoTRO does this to great effect. In that game, session play lets you relive the Chamber of Mazarbul battle, play as an Elf Lord, play as an Angmarim, etc. and otherwise lets the dev team write a better story. I don’t find the usage in GW2 to be at such a level.

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Anyway, afterwards I started up the Season 2 content. I missed parts of Season 1 (Scarlet Briar) and there is no way to replay it, so instead there is an NPC that will summarize the events for you. I did that and went off to Brisbane Wildlands to start Season2.

Once there I was confronted with some jump puzzles which kind of turned me off. I get it, players love jump puzzles and/or platformers (hey I’m a huge Ratchet & Clank fan!) but it doesn’t seem to mix well in what is theoretically an RPG. It took me a half dozen tries to land the “target jump” (Lightning Pull) that was the 2nd obstacle. I kept over/under shooting even after targeting the plateau – my char would NOT jump to the spot I targeted. Maybe this is just a UI miscalibration/failure.

While I would like to advance through Season 2, HoT, and perhaps buy PoF, I think I might take a break and work on some other MMOs. We’ll see!