Thursday, November 15, 2012

Guild Wars 2 End Game : Not there yet

Last night I managed to hit level 80 with my guardian, Colerejuste.  And now I don't know what to do.

Is this the problem that many people have cited with the Guild Wars 2 end game?  Not bloody likely. It's not that I've got nothing today. Now that I've finished level PvE, I need to find a new focus, and I've got so much to choose from, such as:

  1. Finish leveling my crafts.  I've got armorsmithing and cooking.  The cooking has been really slow going, due to scarcity of ingredients, and armorsmithing is getting there, but I need to collect many more rare materials.  That'll teach me to earn XP via daily bonuses, instead of grinding the mobs that drop the goodies.
  2. Finish My Story. I'm currently at level 71 for the My Story progression.  I was finding them harder because my gear was falling so far behind.  Now that I've upgraded all my gear to entry level purchases from the AH, they shouldn't be so bad.
  3. See the inside of the remaining dungeons.  I've only seen one, and it was a bit of a shambles, as the rest of the group had been there before.  I was struggling with just keeping up, trying to keep an eye out for when they decided to run past a bunch of mobs (as opposed to me who kept running into them).  Still, the overall result was good, and the group didn't call me names.
  4. PvP! PvP is it's own thing, with it's own ranks going up to 90, completely independent of PvE and WvWvW.
  5. WvWvW. It's PvP, Jim, but not as we know it.  Or perhaps it is.  Perhaps try this : It's PvP, Jim, but with your PvE gear. Like I said, PvP is it's own thing, gear included.  You're only a big PvP tough guy in the PvP area.  In WvWvW, you wear your PvE gear, scaled up to level 80, and incur repair costs if you die.
  6. Explore.  There's much of the world left to see, and much silver to be earned by completing heart quests.
  7. Complete skills.  I don't have a complete set of skills to pick from yet, but that should round out with continued experience and skill challenges.  Even though you stop leveling at 80, you still get experience and accumulate skill points.
See, plenty of stuff to do.

I was having another look at the PvP action last night, and decided that I don't like the guardian terribly much for PvP.  

One of the reasons that I went with guardian was that he was sword and board, and I liked the health back on damage mechanic.  That's all well and good, but when the tough gets going in PvP, I need to be tougher.  I was so accustomed to PvPing as a Prot Warrior in WoW, that doing a similar thing in GW2 just isn't possible.  WoW had intercept, rend and hamstring : lots of nice crowd control abilities.  The guardian doesn't play that way, and the abilities that I've seen so far are what you'd expect of a guardian : skills that heal the group, and cure their ills.

So, my crazy little thought is to try a warrior. Yes, it's absolutely bonkers.  I've already filled my characters slots with a variety of other races and professions (male human thief, female sylvari necromancer, male charr engineer, female asura mesmer), and I've just got to 80 with one character, and have so much stuff left to do.  On the flip side, I'm sure a female human warrior would do well in the Order of Whispers.  I would probably limit my PvE activities to the daily achievement, carried out in WvWvW, and spend the rest of the time in PvP. Although I'd still be doing regular PvE stuff until level 30, just so I could get into the Order of Whispers.

On my list of things to figure out, I also need to get a better understanding of Condition Damage, and which professions actually benefit from that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One thing led to another

Levelling in Guild Wars 2, later in the game, seems to go a bit quicker than expected.  I managed to knock over two levels today, and now I'm level 76, fast approaching the level 80 cap. However, I'm still working my way through a level 60 to 70 zone, and the My Story quest is at level 68.  And worse still, my gear seems to average about level 65.  I actually found a Basic (white) item that out geared my currently equipped Masterwork (green) item.

One of the things that struck me today about GW2 is how one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you've got a group event on your hands.

I was tooling around the side of some mount, and I noticed an event quest where the NPC needed reviving.  The NPC was in a cave behind an encampment, so I wandered in to have a gander.  Holy dooley!  No less than 4 veteran mobs were loitering around the NPC.  I had a go at kiting one of the mobs, but it was a bit risky and I was quickly overwhelmed and had to run out.

Then another player came along, and we had a bit more of a go at it.  With two players, kitting was a bit more successful, but it really came together when a third player joined in.  We were about to down the veterans, revive the NPC, guard the NPC while she did her thing, and defeat further spawning mobs and veterans.

Completion of that event spawned 3 more events.  The necessary destruction of destroyers!  Following the target areas on our mini maps, we made our way into the heart of the mountain and proceeded to lay waste to destroyer crabs and trolls. East side, south side and north side.

When that was completed, we found ourselves in the heart of the mountain, which was in fact, a volcano.  We grabbed a skill point, and then the next part of the event started to play out.  Three stabilizers were arranged around the magma pool.  Asura were stationed at each one, but they needed help keeping them going, and keeping destroyer trolls and crabs from stopping them and the stabilization process they were carrying out.  By this point, we had 4 other people helping, so we were able to defend a stabilizer each.  Many Large Claws were looted by all!

Once the stabilization process completed, a huge destroyer champion came out of the magma.  By this time, many more people had join the event.  There was running commentary from the NPCs to give guidance as to what to do (kill the baddies) and GW2s pattern of making red circles of death helped many avoid such a thing.  I must say, I do like the rally and revive mechanic.  It's really handy for keeping an event such as this going, without having a wipe and reset.

After what seemed like an age, the champion came down.  I had to make a little more room in my inventory, and then I was able to collect my rewards from the chest.

It's awesome when one thing leads to another, and culminates in a group event such as this.  A raid feel without having to actually be in a raid.

In other news, I finally uninstalled WoW, RIFT and LotRO.  Next months full back with be that little bit lighter.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another one bites the dust

My list of games related blogs to read from dwindles a little more.

Klepsacovic from Troll Racials Are Over Powered is hanging up his hat on blogging.

I've been following this blog since as long as I can remember, and it shall be missed.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Nostalgic for WoW. You could call it that.

Wilhelm Arcturus of The Ancient Gaming Noob has posted a piece on the nostalgia of World of Warcraft and a private/pirate server called The Emerald Dream.

Casting my mind back to my early days of WoW, some of which you can actually read about on this blog, there is a definite feeling associated with those early days that is warm, fuzzy and full of wonder and hope of an online world with possibilities endless.

Particular things come to mind about those early days.

My friend, Zaraq, nudging Pathak forward to tank a boss in a dark cavern on the Dark Shore border.  It's so long ago that I don't even remember what it was called.  Zaraq, a feral by nature, was having his own challenge by healing the group.  However, I do recall activating a bunch of statues and being overrun by very angry skittering mobs.

I remember spending weeks trying to work the auction house with my skinning and leather working skills to raise the gold for my first level 40 mount.  He was one of the dark cats, and I named him Storm Boy.

While leveling together, Zaraq and I also meet a third, Drkraven at about level 13 to 16.  He was a hunter, and an American who had located to Sydney, Australia.  We pretty much leveled together to about level 58, before the race to 60 proved too much, and we did our own thing.  Looking back, Drkraven could have left us in his dust, as was the grinding speed of a hunter in those days.  In fact, Zaraq could have done the same thing, since grinding was a little slow for an Arms warrior back then.

At about level 60, I learned to grind.  The Furby Grind. Timbermaw reputation : dedication or bloody minded focus.  I remember having a run in with a gnome rogue named Santaclaws(? : it's probably in the blod somewhere), who didn't like me killing "his" mobs.  The Furby Grind also helped me raise funds for my level 60 elite mount.

Just prior to the release of the Burning Crusade, I dropped my skinning and leatherworking, and took up mining and smithing, as I should have done from the start.  Not a lot of useful gear in the leatherwork collection for a level 60 warrior.  I think it only took me a week to hit 300 in mining, and a few weeks to max smithing.

There was definitely a good feeling about those days that would be known as Vanilla. I've not come across it since, and I doubt I will again.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Guild Wars 2

With my new baby, who is now almost 13 weeks old, and very interesting work at work, I've had little time for games in the last few weeks.  However, what little gaming time is being had, is being had playing Guild Wars 2.

I never thought that I'd go back to an MMO, after WoW and RIFT, but with Diablo 3 and the up coming Torchlight 2, who am I kidding?  A one off purchase price, plus a cash shop for make lift a bit easier (like bank space), it's almost like Blizzards definition of a single player game, but with a better maintenance schedule.

I'm currently playing a Norn (bloody huge guy) as the Guardian role.  Not surprisingly, he's called Colerejuste, as are most of my paladin types.  The only downside of playing a Norn as the first character is that you have little appreciation of all the NPCs who are also supposed to be bloody huge.  Looking at the loading screens that include images of the Kodan (polar bear people), I keep thinking, "Surely the in game Kodan should be huge as well".  But they are!  Trouble is, Norn are huge as well and the Kodan don't seem that impressive when standing next to them.  Maybe I'll try one of the little folk for the next toon, and complain about loosing myself in the mix of all else that is going on.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One does not simply finish Diablo 3

It's taken me a while.  It's taken me a long while.  But I've finally hit level 60 in Diablo 3 with my Demon Hunter.

Which is good, because I'm bloody well stuck.  Stuck on Rakanoth on Hell difficulty.  But now I've hit 60, I can farm Act 3 (Hell), get some basic upgrades that allow me to do the stupid amount of DPS usually required for Inferno Act 1.  Just before I logged off, I spied a blue on the AH doing 915 DPS and only costing 15K gold.  Beats my current weapon DPS of 400, which aught to boost my overall DPS beyond the current 14K.

Now I've got a little extra gold, I'll pick up some health pots, and try Rakanoth again.  After dinner.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

That Was A Bit Of A Nightmare

It's taken me a while, but I finally got my Monk through Nightmare in Diablo 3.  The final fight was actually a lot easier than expected.  Not sure if I'll continue with Hell straight away, or farm one of the zones in Nightmare mode, to try and get the components required for Whimsyshire.

Just for the record, my Monk defeated Diablo on Nightmare difficulty at level 51, with 2712 DPS, 10K HP, 1637 Armor (resulting in 39% mitigation), and 1019 Dexterity, resulting in 30% avoidance.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


We interrupt this Diablo 3 weekend to bring you some Salem beta.

Salem is a Java based MMO that concentrates on crafting as the main method of progression.  There's another game called Haven & Hearth.  If you're familiar with that, then you'll be familiar with Salem.

So far, it's been all about discovery. Tricky discovery, but discovery nonetheless.  For example, you know you have to craft things, and discover things and before that can happen, you need to gather things.  Except you'll wander around Boston for 30 minutes, discovering that there is nothing there to discover, or craft, or gather.

If you're lucky, there will be some wood chips in some barrels to study.  But don't study too much, or you'll run low on Black Phlegm. The health system in Salem runs on the four humours of old.  Each one is responsible for various jobs you can do in the game.. study, crafting, stamina, etc.  If you run too low, then you may get stuck. Eating certain foods will allow you to regenerate any one of those humours over time.

I joined with one friendly chap, and he suggested I swap my game client for Enders Salem Client.  This client builds on the existing client, and makes certain things easier and more fun.  Particularly, it adds a radar, which is handy for locating things you can gather in your vicinity.

It's still early days for me.  I haven't yet made myself a homestead, or earned any money, so I'll see how far I go.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Night Maintenance

When I stopped playing World of Warcraft, I thought I might be done with Tuesday night maintenance.

But my reward for buying back into the Activision-Blizzard franchise of games, via Diablo 3 is to be gifted with none other than Tuesday night maintenance!

Except this time, it's a Follow Your Own Path Adventure!

That's right. When you attempt to log in, you get an Error 3003 or an Error 75.  The former is supposed to be if the servers are temporarily down, and the later is if the servers are under load.

So, you try to log into your account via the browser.  Apparently, they'll be back soon, and I should check @BlizzardCSEU_EN for updates.  That Twitter account has had one update in 18 hours, and that helpful tidbit is a link to the EU Support page.  For shits and giggles, there also the Australian version and the US version.

Next, let's try the Diablo 3 Server Status page. It shows the apparent status of the Diablo 3 servers for all three regions, plus individual statuses for the different currency auction houses, and hardcore servers.  With the exception of the real money auction houses, they're all up.  But they're not, or I'd be able to log in.

Next stop, the Service Status forum.  This is where scheduled, emergency, and my favourite, the scheduled emergency maintenance notices are posted.  Except the last maintenance notice is for three days ago.

All that's left after that is is the General Forum. Apparently there has been a notice on the Login screen for Diablo 3 all day.  Except it's not there now, when I can't log in, so that's not exactly helpful.

For all the communication channels that Blizzard have put in place, none of the go to places actually have any useful information when it matters most.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?

Much to the dismay of my wife, I spent far too much time playing Diablo 3 this weekend.  It took me a total of 22 hours, but I managed to get through normal mode, finishing at level 32 on my Monk with 1.4K HP, and about 300 DPS.

I was really surprised at how quickly Act IV went by.  Then again, it was really quite fun, and I think I missed two areas that weren't a part of the quest, and didn't get a chance to go back and do them.

I think I did a similar thing in Act I.  I saw, and neglected to enter the Khazra Moon Clan Den and the Watchtower.  When I was done with the main quest for the zone, I tried to go back and locate them, but I couldn't find them.  Either I misremembered their location, or they just closed up.  Never mind.  When I go through  the zone in Nightmare mode, I'll be making sure to enter any and all doors that I haven't been in previously.  Even the rooms of Leah and Cain got a visit in Nightmare, earning an achieve that could have been completed on Normal.

Last night I did some fun teaming up with a friend.  He was level 36, I was still 32 or 33.  I died quite a few times, but then he chipped in that his higher level was making the elites tougher.  Perhaps.  I was thinking it was more because of my low HP (he was 2K at the end of normal on his Monk, compared to my 1.4K), and shoddy game play.  Either way, I'll be looking for more Dex/Vitality equipment on the AH.

Certain icons have significance.  So when I jumped on an alt to transfer my stash full of rare items, the glowing white/blue padlocks were interpreted as being items that could not be moved, not just items that could not be equipped.  I'm such a sign follower, that it didn't even occur to me to try and move the iconed items.  43K gold and 100K needed for a new tab, I was willing to do the grind.  With the short coop play, I managed to get up to 64K.  Shortly before the end of the evening, I worked out that I could move the items, so I ended up blowing a bunch of gold on blacksmith and jewel crafting upgrades, and a couple of bids.

Back down to 28K again, but it should only take a couple of nights to get all that back.  Especially now that I know with Subtle Essence pricing being about the 14g to 20g mark, you're much better of selling magic items worth more than 20g, than salvaging them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Haven't I Seen You Before?

I was creating my Diablo 3 alts this evening, and my wife came into the study, and looked at the character selection screen.

"That doesn't look like Diablo 3, it looks like WoW", she observed, with a tinge of apprehension.

I don't think I'll end up spending 6000 hours playing Diablo 3 like I did with WoW, but the concern in her voice was warranted.

I'm not past level 15 yet, or out of Act I, but I've gone ahead and have created alts anyway.  Predictably, I've selected names from my WoW characters for the various classes.

Pathak, previously a Night Elf Warrior, ending as a Dwarven Warrior is now a Babarian.

Dubh, once a female Night Elf Druid who had to be renamed an Anion, is now a Demon Hunter.

Chivers was my male Human Frost Mage, appears as Chivas a female Wizard.

Znakharka was my name of choice for female Shaman toons, and now appears as a female Witch Doctor.

Not sure if any of these alts will get much of a look in, but they're there for hand me downs and aesthetics.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Diablo 3: Initial impressions

Just because, my impressions of Diablo 3.

Firstly, I should point out that I haven't played WoW since the beginning of last year, or was it the year before. I don't know, I don't remember, I don't care to look it up.  It's been a few months since I've played anything resembling an MMO, other than Minecraft.  I've been riding the single player wave.  I also put my pre order in for Torchlight II the moment it was announced.  However, Diablo 3 was only ordered a couple of weeks ago, when someone asked me if I would be playing.

In short, I've gone cold on Blizzard and I wasn't all that enthused about getting Diablo 3.  Until yesterday.

Installation had a couple of hiccups.  I had already downloaded the 7MB installer, which then downloaded the 7GB installer.  So I was just expecting to fire up that baby, and install.  But no, it would show the install screen, and the dialog with the activate or not choice, but then through a error message.  After a bit of digging around in the help, I saw that I needed to download the 7MB installer again, point it to the location of the 7GB installer, and it would download the remaining 50MB and complete the install.  35 minutes later, I was ready to rock.

Then there was the sign in.  Even though there were warnings of loaded login servers, I managed to authenticate, but it declared I didn't have Diablo 3 associated with my account.  This turned out to be because Global Play had not been released yet.  Because my installation was UK English, it defaulted by region to Europe.  From the login screen, I changed my region to the Americas, and was able to log in.

And now to game plat.  So far, I've noted two things.

One, the game isn't the "wet my pants" experience I was expecting. That is, I don't like scary games too much these days due to my imagination (lots of dreams about hacking up hordes of undead things last night) and the emersion. D1 was a little scary, and I didn't get far in D2. I didn't get far in the last Doom game, because of the lighting, and even Bioshock could only be handled in small amounts. So, I was expecting to be jumping out of my skin, but it hasn't happened. So I'm guessing they've toned down the creep factor to cater for the kiddies. I'm not ungrateful for that.

The second is that gold in not scarce. So much so, that I've trained my blacksmith to a point where I can't actually wear the stuff he's crafting. I figure I've already dropped about 10,000 (or perhaps 8,000) into levelling him up. So buying stuff on the AH, real money or otherwise, would either be for vanity, or so I can pick up cheap magical items to scavange and craft something that I really want. (Crafting is a bit of a lottery, with random enchantments on crafted items).

The UI reminds me of WoW in many ways, though it's probably because of the statistics system that is in place.  The nice thing is that I don't feel like rearranging the UI.  Details for stats is there if you need it, but it's only for a cursory glance.  I guess if I get to a point where I get low on health often, or just keep dying a lot, then I'll look at my detailed stats to see how my mitigation vs avoidance is going.

I've started on a Monk, and his name is Colerejuste.  Long time readers might remember my WoW Draenei paladin was also named Colerejuste.  The name still fits the character, and even the accent of the Monk suites the name as well.  No doubt, I'll be recycling names from my other WoW characters as I try out the other classes in D3.

So far, I'm not offended by the game, it is kinda fun and I'll be looking forward to compare with Torchlight II.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bye Bye, Monster World

Monster World is leaving Google Plus on May 1st.

Whilst many folks would say good riddance to games on Google Plus, this is one pointless click grind that I would miss.

I guess the costs of running on the platform are greater than the money they draw in. Makes me wonder which specific parts of the game made it fail on Google Plus.

Clearly it is a lack of paying customers, otherwise it would be profitable, and allowed to stay. But is the lack of paying customers due to a lack of active players, of which a certain percentage are likely to pay? I have about 35 monster world neighbours, but only 5 or so are active.

Was it that the game was too easy? Zombie Lane is another game I was playing for a while, but the grind kicked it up a notch with the mass release of new zones, turning it into a soul sucking pointless grind, instead of a fun pointless grind.

Is it that Google Plus has failed as a games platform? There was much gnashing of teeth when games were first introduced to Google Plus. There was a fair bit of promotion by Google Plus staff for new games coming on. Though eventually, the promotion settled, and games stuck to it's tab and it'd dedicated stream without infecting the main public stream too much (except for the odd gamer who would copy stuff to the public stream, or turn on email notifications for posts to the game stream). By and large, many folks have come to Google Plus to escape the Zynga posts, and Google Plus has delivered a platform that leaves those folks alone, for the most part. Some Googlers aren't even aware that games exist, although the new Google Plus layout with text under the icons makes it pretty clear.

I'll miss Monster World a little, but not enough to start it on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bye bye, XFire

I've been using XFire to track my game playing hours since, well, way back when.  I can't quite remember what the earliest entries were.  Perhaps Oblivion, perhaps Fable, perhaps Battlefield 2.  For a long time, the only thing getting tracked was World of Warcraft, but that hasn't racked up any time since the beginning of 2011.

Recently, I've bought Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning.  There was a demo released on 27/01/2012, and it was released just last week (09/02/2012).  Thus far, no support from XFire, and not even a word to say that it will be supported.  I'm sure that it will be in time, but the primary reason I use the XFire client is to track game time, and it's no longer doing its job in a timely fashion.

So I've taken a screenshot of my gaming history, and have installed Evolve.  At least it is supporting the game.

There is another one, called Raptr, and it had quite a few more members.  At also tracks XBox game usage, as well, but since I don't have an XBox, I thought I'd try the newer one.

XFire History, QFT.