New Shiny

[City of Heroes, Guild Wars, EVE Online] This has been an interesting time for in-game new shinies.

A little while ago, I logged on to City of Heroes and just was not terribly interested in doing anything. I had hit the level cap, and I did not have a strong urge to begin the climb to level 50 again. I decided to try out my Kheldian and see how that went. Level 22 is the first time that you can have the best enhancements possible (before end-game raid loot), so it was pretty cool to fly around and two-shot large groups of even-level enemies. I mentioned the glory of Striga Isle and the content in the 20s, so that was great. I flew up 7 levels fairly quickly, worrying more about out-leveling content than about leveling. Actually, I did fly past one of the Striga contacts, but he let me proceed to the next. I re-did the re-furbished Citadel task force on my Tanker, since our group needed one. After that, the shininess just sort of faded. Hmm.

My wife, of all people, expressed an interest in trying Guild Wars. She likes City of Heroes, but the other games she likes all have “Mario” in the title. Still, Guild Wars is pretty, and if she likes CoH… A friend of mine lost interest by level 11 there, so I borrowed his copy/account. Not too shiny; I have played several fantasy MMOs, and for a non-PvP player, there was not too much shine. Level 9 (8? whatever) came pretty quickly, but it is not calling me back. The wife? Logged on twice, didn’t like the controls, and it is too much like World of Warcraft. Yeah, I know, there is a world of difference between the two games, but in the beginning and in the ways that matter to her, they are not too far apart. Besides, if you click on anyone, it looks like you are inviting them to group, and that made her nervous.

Okay, shiny #3: EVE Online. Now this is distressing: we cannot have three bloggers on a site commenting on the same game. Well, maybe we can, but would you, the reader, stand for it? Maybe, since there are differences in perspective. Anyway, EVE Online looks a bit like A Tale in the Desert (deep economy and trade skills, player-run economy) without the developer-run social experimentation. This may or may not be an improvement, based on your perspective. Oh, and prettier graphics.

I suppose there was a point here…one moment… Let’s go with:
Rapid experimentation is fun. Having friends to borrow from is always good, since games can get expensive. Sometimes it takes many shinies to find a prize worth keeping.

At any rate, I have my City of Heroes supergroup, and I have a new corporation in EVE Online. The two games have vastly different play styles, so we shall see if I can stand playing two MMOs at once and still have a life, such as it is. Now if only I could get the sound card to work in EVE without crashing me…

: Zubon

Trebuchet

[Guild Wars] I’ll give you another screenshot from GW. This time it’s my elementalist.

gw e1

Oh, interestingly enough, if you join a guild – all your characters join the guild. I did not know that. I had made a guild with one of my characters just to see how it works and next thing you know all my characters were in it. Since I am in a real guild now (with capes and a hall!) I had to log in all my characters to see if they had the cape too. They did.

The nice thing is, in the guild list it shows your current character name as well as connecting it to the name of the character you original joined the guild under so it’s easy to see who you really are.

Tonight, my Necromancer got to fire a couple of trebuchets at the enemy. That is my favorite word right there, trebuchet. Trebuchet. Sweet.

The mission involved driving back the Charr forces. As I got closer to the wall I needed to push them behind, I noticed a guy standing by a broken trebuchet (there’s that word again!). He told me to find three parts he needed and we could use the trebuchet to detroy the large groups near the wall.

I located piles of rubble around some other broken trebuchets and eventually found the parts he needed. After giving them to him, he showed me how to use the trebuchet. It was fun to see all the Charr forces falling beneath my bombardments. As I got closer to the wall I found another trebuchet I could fire and of course I did. Nice sound and visual effects.

– Ethic

It’s a curse…

[Guild Wars] I swear I have this curse regarding video games. Whenever I start to really like a game, something happens to smack me back down where I belong. Tonight was one of those times.

Feeling pretty good about GW, right? Yeah I was. Until I got these two quests. One was to go find some census papers from the wilderness and the other to escort some recruits to a guard station.

For the census quest, I picked a few henchmen and off we went. We got out to the chest the paper was supposed to be in and an ambush closed in on us. We got wiped because of some stupid gameplay by the henchmen (I swear I did nothing wrong, lol). My screen tells me it will be 10 seconds until resurrection.

We resurrect, but the healer henchman is missing. I can see her name in my group panel, but she is nowhere to be seen. We head back towards the chest and I can see that she is taking damage so she must be somewhere. Eventually we show up in the same area and I can see her dot on the radar but she was not there. After watching the pathing of some ranged attacks on her, I realized that she is under the terrain. Nice.

I opened the chest and nothing is in it. No census. Fun. Map travel to town and come back out again and this time it is in the chest. Quest completed. This brings to light an issue with the instancing. I hate that I have to clear out the same areas over and over everytime I leave and then re-enter the instance. Can’t they make it save for a few minutes or something? Would be nice.

Next quest, escort the three recruits to the guard station. I find them easy enough and off we go. A few times I have to go back as the recruits must have failed orienteering. Finally I get to the guard station and he yells at me because he was expecting three recruits and I only have two. Um, what the heck happened to the third guy?

I ran all the way back, retracing our steps and eventually find him standing in the same spot as where we found them. Nice job, soldier! Back we go again making sure he was following this time.

You know the saying that an army can only move as fast as it’s slowest soldier? This guy is living proof. I had to stop over and over again, waiting for Private Lazybones to get it in gear. Eventually, quest completed.

One last thing, I joined a guild tonight. Nobody I know, but they have a nice guild name and there is not one stupid character name in the guild so far. I have a cloak and a guild hall too, kind of cool. They seem like nice people. I guess I’ll find out how this is all going to work.

– Ethic

New Content For Free?

[Guild Wars] I just read that ArenaNet is going to be giving players two new explorable areas for free. Yeah that’s right, a game with no monthly fee is adding content to the game for free. Why aren’t you playing this yet?

As part of our commitment to bringing you new content via our free live updates, the first streaming update for Guild Wars offers players access to two extensive new explorable areas: the barren expanse of Grenth’s Footprint and the fiery depths of Sorrow’s Furnace.

I’ve been trying to think of things that GW doesn’t offer that other MMOs do. I am having a hard time thinking of one single thing I personally miss. Anything that is missing is usually something that sucked in the first place. Perhaps more time will cloud my dreamy view of the game.

– Ethic

Guild Wars For Dummies

[Guild Wars] Judging by the large amount of questions bandied about in the main cities in GW, I assume a lot of people prefer to be led through the game by hand. I guess nobody wants to figure anything out on their own, so I’m here to save the day.

First we will start with the most important questions I keep seeing:

How do I dye my armor? As it says when you move the mouse pointer over the dye, double-click it and then click the item you want to dye.

What is this “salvage kit” for and how does it work? Again, the mouseover trick should do wonders for you here, but in case you still aren’t sure, you double-click on the kit and then click on an item in your pack. If it is salvageable, it will break down into components like “wood” or “bone” or “shell” or “leather”. These can be taken to a crafter that will make things for you.

How do I identify this sword? See the vendor where you bought the salvage kit and buy an identification kit. It works the same way, double-click on it and then click on the item you want identified.

How do I dance? Type in /dance and the coolness begins immediately.

How do I get those cool sparkly effects shooting from my hands when I dance? Buy the Collector’s Edition.

How do I play “rock, paper, scissors”? Type in /rock or /paper or /scissors and let the fun begin.

How do I roll a 20 sided die? Type in /roll 20 (you can use other numbers for extra zany nerd simulations).

Where are the collectors? See those people standing around all over the game with (collector) in their name? Try asking them.

Do you want to join my guild? We have a cool cloak! No.

Why does this little girl want to follow me around all the time? Oh Gwen? Just ignore her and you’ll be better off.

How to I get more pack space? See the collector right outside Ascalon City? Just to the left? Ask that guy.

Now onto more important stuff:

What do you mean this is the newbie area? Well you see, in the beginning of the game you are in “pre-searing”. This is the newbie training area. You can learn about classes and skills and grouping and questing and things like that here. This is where you choose your 2nd class as well. You can stay here as long as you want, but the real game starts in “post-searing”.

How do I get to “post-searing”? After you get a few levels under your belt and you have chosen a second class, go talk to Sir Tydus in Ascalon City and go to the Academy.

What is the Academy? This is where you get your first taste of PvP. You will be put in a random group of 4 people (or maybe some henchmen if there is not enough people joining the Academy at that time) and will be forced to battle in an arena. The winning team moves on, the losing team stays to fight again. It’s not hard, so have fun. (I’ve been corrected here, I guess the result does not matter and everyone moves on. In that case it does not seem as exciting and I am disappointed.)

What is the “searing”? Well if the name is not enough for you, just wait and see. Needless to say, things won’t ever be quite the same again.

OK, final tip for now: The “Adventure with an Ally” quest asks you to go find someone else and join in a group. Then you should return to get the resurrection signet. Now, lots of people stand around asking for someone to join them, but it seems they don’t understand the grouping part. As soon as someone says they will join you, don’t just run off. You must actually invite or be invited to a group and the invitee must accept. Then and only then should you go off to get the signet. I am amazed at how many people have done this to me.

– Ethic

Paladin Protagonist

[Guild Wars] I took my warrior/monk (W/Mo in GW terms) up to level 7 last night, still in the “pre-searing” area. I did not realize how much content I had missed here, there is a lot of map to explore.

I found 2 new cities as well as finishing several quests. I gave up on one quest where I had to keep someone alive while they hunted down someone else. She kept charging into a group of 8 bad guys and I could not keep her alive. I want to finish this one however as it is a part of a line of monk quests and they grant more skills. Instead of staying back to heal her, I’m going to charge into battle myself. That might do it.

I managed to find all(?) the collectors that would trade warrior armor for items that different creatures drop. The only piece I have not upgraded is the helm and I’m not sure there is an upgrade. I like the idea of the collectors, it pays to save the odd stuff dropped if you can.

One thing I will say is that (so far) a W/Mo combo is very strong. I can outlast most anything and if I am in a crowd I have several area effect skills to help take them down. I now have a few warrior skills that work in a combination and it does very nice damage. The first is a bloodletting skill and the second only works if the person is bleeding. To use these skills you need to let them build up (rage? adrenaline?) before you can use them.

I have every intention of exploring the whole map and doing every quest I can find before I leave. Perhaps I will be level 10 by then, hehe.

– Ethic

Having A Great Time, Wish You Were Here

[Guild Wars] I decided to roll up the last remaining class I had not yet tried in GW and that is a Warrior. But let me go back a little first.

I took my Monk/Mesmer through the “searing”. It was quite amazing and once it was over I immediately found myself longing for the old towns and fields and streams. I felt like my home town had been destroyed. It was something I wished I had waited longer before going through and thus decided to abandon him for a while and go back in time (pre-searing) since I could. Thus the Warrior was born.

Fast forward to Saturday night. I rolled up my Warrior and went out into the world. It didn’t take much time before I was level 4 and had chosen Monk as my second class. I was given a quest to find someone inside a nearby dungeon. It was this quest that really sucked me into the game. It felt like a classic dungeon crawl from my old pen and paper days. What a treat.

As you work your way deeper into the underground, the scenery changes. The lighting gets darker, the air even seems stale. You find yourself confronted with undead creatures at first. Eventually I found myself in a creepy area. It was in this area that the spiders attacked. It was great. They would drop from the ceiling on a strand of silk. The further you went in, the more would drop so you had to pace yourself. It was pure joy to watch. After getting through that area I came to a corner where my radar lit up like Rudolph’s nose, red everywhere. I did not want to meet up with whatever was on the other side of that wall, and luckily I didn’t have to. The guy I was looking for was just around the corner.

I’ll sign off with this one nitpick. Please put in a feature to autolog people that /dance for more than 30 seconds. These nutjobs dance all around the merchants and the other NPCs and it is driving me nuts. I beg of you.

– Ethic

First Observations On Guild Wars

[Guild Wars] Oh boy the number of losers playing GW is awfully high. Every time I turn around some dude has stripped down to his shorts and is asking all the “girls” nearby to dance with him.

Now, most of the dance moves are downright stupid, but the people playing this game have reached a new low braincell count record. Honestly. In fact, I think the “no monthly fee” thing is going to turn this game into a loser-fest of the highest magnitude. When people don’t have a financial obligation, they must turn into total idiots. And really guys, those girls you ask to dance with you, you know the ones with the suggestive names, are not girls.

If it wasn’t for the instances, I would never get a moment’s peace. Blissfully, I run into the swirling portals…

I rerolled a few times because I clicked “accept” instead of “decline” on a few quests that offer you a 2nd class. It’s tricksey and false and it fooled me more than once. I know I should spend some time reading what they are saying, but sometimes a dude just wants his phat xp and loots and wants to move on.

I love the instant travel, open the map, click on a town, boom you are there. Sweet mother of mercy it rocks. I hate those damn worms that go back in the ground once I start attacking them and then they pop back out and my autoattack has to be reset. I hate that I can’t tell what will aggro and what won’t. I hate the way I have to walk around invisible barriors. I hate the way the game puts you on rails and won’t let you explore too much. I love the cost. I love the graphics. I love the skills and the quests. I hate how every character in a class looks like every other character in the same class. It seems like everyone can use every weapon, that is interesting. I totally love some of the quests I have done so far, they are really well done.

No, I have not settled on any specific class yet. They all are fun yet they all suck. Necromancer is still the most fun for me, but why do they all look like Prince? And all the warriors look like Conan, I mean they have the Conan hair selection so I guess people like that but why? All the female characters look like some anime sex pervert’s wet dream. Haha man I need a drink. I wish I could remember who first called this game “Gwar”, I think it fits.

In The Beginning

[Guild Wars] Since I feel no rush to level in GW, I have been playing around with the different characters. I level one up to about level 3 to get a taste of the class and try another. They are all pretty interesting. I am liking the necromancer the most so far, but the monk is not far behind. I mostly played a ranger in the preview weekends so I am not playing one right now.

I hope to have more free time later this weekend to really play some, but I only have a few hours in so far and it’s hard to say much about the gameplay. It still has the new shine on it right now but I can see it is not something I can play a lot of. But so far so good.