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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Swing Away

For the next few weeks, or however long it takes, I'm swinging away from logging in to an MMO.

Despite being cancelled several months ago, my WoW subscription ran out today. And since the release of The Witcher 2, I haven't logged into RIFT either. Although I was starting to enjoy instance running in RIFT with Hinny. Instance running is a much better educational tool if you do it at level.

Anyway, TW2 has had me in a vice like grip of suspense pretty much all weekend. Okay, not all weekend, because I did get out of the house and do stuff on Saturday, but Sunday was an almost inside only day (with a brief trip to the shops for some fish and chips for dinner).

I can't give TW2 a 10 out of 10, but will say that it's pretty bloody good, as far as fantasy RPGs go. As a sequel, it's pretty bloody good as well.

According to my XFire profile, it took me 45 hours to get through The Witcher. So far, XFire has me at clocking up 22 hours, and that's excluding the first two nights of play, before XFire had released. My Steam account reckons 25 hours, so lets go with that.

I'm currently in Chapter 2, quite possibly near the end of that chapter. To chose to go with the Scoia'tael, and I've done my trip to the Nilfgaard camp to find Triss. I've picked up a small object of Power, and I'm about to wander into the Quarry and find a bigger object of power.

I'm more interested in the story line, so I'm playing it in Normal mode, and Geralt is maxing out his Swordmaster skills. I've just got access to the adrenaline mechanic, and I've only had one opportunity to use it. It just happened to be a life saver. My life, that is. Couldn't say as much for the three armoured Nilfgaard goons in my immediate vicinity.

As I mentioned earlier, I couldn't give it 10 out of 10. So why not? Here's a few of my gripes, though they're quite minor, given that wonder thing called The Internet that is only an Alt-Tab away from searchy goodness.

Tutorials. The prologue does a pretty good job of tutorials, but there are somethings that I needed a bit more help with. Maybe I'm special, maybe it wasn't immediately obvious.

Something that wasn't obvious was arm wrestling. Most of the instructions all say "use your mouse", but they never go into details. What should be clarified is that you use your mouse my making small side movements to keep the disc within the sliding bar. There's a bit of swing action with it, so if you slide your disc too far to the side, and swing it back too quickly, it will probably go too far. Arm wrestling in later stages can get a bit challenging. It may take a couple of tries.

Boxing was also something that was a bit challenging to start with, but is probably one of the easier mini games to contend in. Keep your guard up by keep a finger on the E key (on a QWERTY keyboard), and press the W, A, S or D keys as they appear on the screen. Don't dilly-dally, either. It's timing sensitive, though the combos are mildly entertaining. You may as well max your money and bet as much as you can every time.

Mutagens are something that don't really get mentioned in the game, but they're there. After slaughtering a bunch of nekkers, rotfiends and harpies, you're likely to have quite a collection. You use those by looking for tiny circles on the borders of your character abilities. You'll notice a Mutate option at the bottom of the screen when one is selected. Go to town, and fill one in. As a swordsman, I've been aiming for Greater mutagens in the flavours of adrenaline, vitality and critical hits.

Failed quests. In the first chapter, you'll come to a cross roads in the quests. At this point, once that choice has been made, certain uncompleted quests will be automatically failed. That's a bit of a bugger. I guess keep an eye out for quests giving you three choices, with one of them being "I have a few things I have to take care of first". That might be your hint to do a proper save of the game (not a quick save), perhaps make a choice and see which quests fail, then reload and go finish those quests. Though I didn't cotton on to that until Chapter 2, when I returned Triss's bandanna to Philipa, and failed the Flicker of Light quest. Luckily, I noticed it immediately, reloaded and finished that quest before continuing.

My only other gripe is a current quest called The Harpy Contract. Again, it's made minor because of The Internet, but could be quite frustrating if you weren't referring to outside sources when you get stuck. In the quarry, there are only 4 nests. Once you've destroyed 4 nests, any additional harpy traps laid will just get carried away, if they get carried away at all, and wasted. Pooh. I've read that the remaining 3 harpy nests are behind the big stone door in the quarry, and you'll need to continue through the storyline to get that open. So just put those 3 remaining traps aside. Oh yeah, save at least 7 timber for those traps. I had 28 timber on me at one point, and it was weighing me down, so I sold it all. Then I found out I had to build these traps. Bugger. I ended up having to buy 3 traps at 100g each.

The Witcher 2 is proving to be pretty fun. I'm still undecided if I'll bother renewing RIFT at the end of the 6 month subscription. I won't be going back to WoW for the time being. Maybe next expansion. Single player games, and single player RPGs in particular, might be my thing for some time to come.

And while I remember. That Stennis is such a douche. Saskia should have let him bleed out. I hope he gets what's coming to him.

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