WoW Me!

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It’s that time of year again. The tie when the blogosphere gets me hyped for a 14 year old game I’ve never played. Seriously, no matter if your excited or pretty meh, everyone is talking about Battle for Azeroth and it’s infectious.

This happens every time a new World of Warcraft expansion comes out. There’s a lot of buzz, people talk about all the good times they have had with WoW, people talk about all the changes, and I go and putter around in the free trial.

WoW has always seemed intimidating. There’s 14 years of discussion, history, and content behind it. It’s a huge game that people have grown up with, one that I grew up around  friends stories and second hand accounts. I’ve always loved the big, cartoony, colorful art and I love reading about peoples time in Azeroth but I’ve never put enough time in to say I’ve “played” World of Warcraft. I really don’t even know what the story other than Alliance vs Horde. Sometimes it can feel like I’m theres a big gap in my gaming vocabulary.

I know I’m in a weird minority of MMO players. WoW was a a lot of people’s gateway MMO. Mine was Runescape and then an assortment of free to play games.But even so, when an expansion is announced or released I get a little bit exited. That feeling usually fades as time goes on and there’s less to read about it as everything becomes old hat again. But for a few weeks out of the year I have the strongest urge to play.

That’s why I’m glad the free trial exists. It takes a while to level to 20. Just long enough, in fact, because by the time I hit level 15 or so I find myself losing interest. A part of me wants to stick it out some time and see the world I’ve spent so much time hearing about. Kind of like a curious explorer.

What is WoW like in 2018 for new players? I’ve heard a lot about what WoW was like for new players in 2004, and I’m gonna be honest guys, it all sounded a bit tedious.  Of course, over the years it’s the internet says it’s been dumbed-down to the point of being unplayable…or so I’ve heard. There seems like there is plenty to do, and a variety of ways to play, which there better be with 14 years of content to sift through. On the other hand, I have so many  games to play do I really have time to play the largest MMO out there?

Maybe my this time around will be different. I might just make a go at getting past level 20 and continuing on. Blizzard did just announce that purchasing the base game was no longer necessary. I’m participating in Blaugust this year so I’ll need something to write about for sure. In all likely hood I’ll be going through the motions of the trial again and move on to something else but who knows?

 

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The 15th time’s the charm

Every time I take a break from writing it takes longer and longer for me to come back. I could have sworn the last time I had posted was sometime in March or April but apparently it was the begging of Febuary…. and now that I’m writing I realize how much I’ve missed writing. It’s actually been so long it took me longer than I care to admit to admit how to insert a picture into a post,  but I digress.

I’ve been playing mostly Guild Wars 2 for the last month or so. I had some friends who were playing and hyped me up to get the expansions and now I’m the proud owner of Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire. Never mind that I’ve never beaten the main story or that the last time I leveled a character to 80 was about 4 years ago.

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I decided to try playing a thief. It’s the only class I haven’t seriously played yet  which is weird because my main character in Guild Wars was an assassin. Actually I have a little head cannon going that somehow my assassin has survived for 200 years and is now in modern Tyria. He’s  old and grey and has a very pointy beard these days but he’s still pretty nimble. I’ve also heard he can  sit in chairs now too,  younger Rave would have been so jealous.

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He looked so spiffy back in the day with that Vabbian armor

I’m surprised how much it has its hooks in me this time around.  I’ve started countless characters over the years and the same pattern emerges. Everything is going great and then there’s one skill or weapon I don’t like or I get an idea for another character and I’m back to square one. As a result I’ve explored the starting zones and the zones next to the starter zones more times than I care to count and that makes leveling brand new characters pretty boring. And yes I am too stubborn to just use my level 80 boost.

It’s a good thing to because I’ve been enjoying leveling and I just hit 50 last night.  In fact I’m almost disappointed I hit the next story chunk so fast, I was really enjoying completing zones that I haven’t been to in a long, long, time. Also that raptor mount really helps a lot so glad I was able to run my Guardian through the first Path of Fire mission.

I’ve been  less focused on completing the zones as quickly as possible and going from heart to heart and waypoint to waypoint. I’ve actually taken time to do events when they appear and follow the multiple stage ones, something I never really did before. It’s been way more fun this way because I’ve gotten to do new things and sometimes it’s led me to some unexpected places like the Forsaken Halls last night.

Right now I’m planning on at least completing the core personal story. I almost feel like if I say I want to beat the expansions too the spell Guild Wars 2 finally has on me will be broken. It’s taken 5 years for this game to click and it’s been a really long time since I’ve had that “wow it’s bed time already” moment with a game.

 

EQ2: A Frog in the City

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This week I left the Frostfang Sea and set sail for Qeynos. I had run out of quests I could reasonably do and the rest were 5 or 6 levels above me plus I was tired of looking at orcs. The leaper mount was quite handy in avoiding a bunch of level 19 mobs and getting me over to the docks to leave. I plan on returning once I’m level 18 just so I can finish the story up in that area.

Arriving in Qeynos was a little disorienting. It’s big and ,though you can’t tell it from the picture, there were a ton of NPCs. Some of them had little quest feathers so I ran over to them and was greeted with level 5-8 quests. These were quests I could do but there wasn’t much incentive.   I made my way to the capital district and found some quests a little closer to my level. Definatley nice to see quests names that weren’t in red.

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After running around the city for a while I exited into the big open plane that is Antonica. This area offers a lot of quests and mobs that are around my level and not much in the way of scenery. There are a few structures and a couple of trees but it’s mostly big green open space. I was a bit surprised how much faster killing mobs goes when they’re the same level as you. This area feels a lot less dangerous than the Frostfang Sea and it also has more varied wildlife (aka no orcs).

Unlike the Frostfang Sea, Antonica doesn’t seem to offer streamlined questing. There are quests all over the place but they very in level, sometimes by a lot. A level 10 quest can be right next to a level 15 quest and a level 18 quest. It’s a bit confusing but once I picked up a bunch it seemed like no matter where I went there was a mob to kill or a thing to collect for a quest.

I’m drowning in quests in Antonica. Not only are there a ton of NPCs with quests but I was culling the deer population and they dropped a bunch of Far Seas Requisitions that have tasked me with killing certain mobs. Again these vary quite a lot in the level requirements. In the end it’s not better or worse just different. Also there seems to be less shiny collectibles around here.

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My favorite quest out here so far was given to me by a poet down on his luck. After getting his poems back from some pesky gnolls he gave me a copy of his book to read. It started a quest where I have to visit each place he wrote a poem about. I’m enjoying this one because none of these places are labeled on the map and you have to figure out what they are based on this guys poem. I like that it forces me to be a little more observant of the world as I’m running around completing quests. I swear I ran by one of these locations 3 times and didn’t realize it was a literally a giant sword until I did this quest. There’s another quest from another book I found in the same vein that’s sending me on a tour of the area.

I think my curiosity is beginning to wear off a bit. I still enjoy playing but I’m finding myself log off sooner and sooner. Part of it is because it’s been a really busy week and part of it is that I’m just not as into it as I was at the start.  It’s hard to say if I’ll be staying with Fallen Gate or even EQ2 after this month. Who knows maybe once I have a little more free time in the coming weeks the game will really grab me again.

Are Launches Exciting Anymore?

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With Albion Online set to launch next week, it looks like we’re about to see one of these crowd funded MMO’s actually launch. But what does launch actually mean?

Well the server will be wiped for the last time,a persistent world will follow and a brand new baby virtual world will be born. Now player’s won’t have to worry that all their progress will be lost forever in the name of development. All the founders will get to say “I was there in the beginning”and see their investment come to fruition. People who want to play a finished game can do just that.

As an outside observer and potential new player by the time something like this launches I’ve already heard about this game for the past couple of years.  It’s different from when a game is announced and then you get videos, blogs, little marketing events that hype it up. Most of the excitement comes from the initial announcement of a project. Then you get to hear all about it for years. And instead of having a closed beta or open beta weekend, people get to play this game from the very beginning stages to the eventual release as long as they pay for an unfinished product.

I understand that games are very expensive to make, especially massively multiplayer ones, and that crowd funding has the potential to raise enormus ammounts of money. But when a game opens itself up before it’s finished it takes away the magic of when it is finished. Everyone whos been there from pre-alpha, alpah, or beta already knows what tier getting gameplay wise and those who didn’t buy in but were interested already know whats going to be there except now all their progress will be saved going forward. I’ll admit that is probably enough to get new and old players in to the action.

Now there are a whole slew of projects being crowdfunded and I’m sure I will feel pretty ambivalent when every single one of them makes it to launch. It is cool to see a game that’s been developing for so long reach the finish line but the most exciting thing, for me, will be to watch the narrative go from will it ever be finished to what’s next?

 

 

EQ2: Ice, Snow, and Orcs

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It’s been quite a week in EQ2 for me. I thought after a week my curiosity would wear off and I’d return to my regular gaming habits. But truth be told I haven’t touched Guild Wars 2 since I started on Fallen Gate. I started the week at level 5 and have slowly fought my way to level 13.

At the beginning of the week I found myself doing more tutorial quests. One actually taught me about gathering and collectibles and gave me a nice materials chest for my bank so it wasn’t a waste of time. The boat I took from the Isle of Refuge was destroyed and I found myself in a very cold and desolate world of the Frost fang sea. Orcs seem to thrive here though because there are plenty of those all over the place.

Leveling from 5-9 had me doing quests for a band of travelers as they prepared to move to their next step on the journey toward New Halas.  I collected things for them, I found missing children , and I  even tamed some snow lions to get them through to the next leg. After all of that they still just sent me to the Great Shelf on my own. They didn’t even give me a lion for protection.

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One of the things I’m finding is that the quests in EQ2, at least in this revamped starter island, are actually interesting. Each quest hub has a few quest lines that all tie together and form a coherent story for that particular area. I can’t even say that there is a main quest right now except getting to New Halas but the collection of side-quests really works for me. I especially like that I haven’t found a single one and done quest. Every quest giver has had three to five quests. It makes me feel like I’m actually helping this particular NPC instead of running around from person to person. Oh and I can’t forget to mention how much I like the little conversational flavor text for your character. Essentially their just next, yes, no, accept buttons but it’s so much more entertaining to make snide remarks instead of just blankly agreeing.

Let’s talk about quests for a minute on Fallen Gate. The quests have been out leveling me by a lot. I know I said I wanted to play this server and see all the old content but I did not expect to be level 13 and have all my available quests be level 16+. Was it like this at launch? Is this intentional? Maybe I’m just a spoiled millennial gamer but I’m not complaining, it makes accomplishing said quest a little victory all of it’s own.

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Getting to level 10 felt like such a slog. I had a collection of gear and some skill books to use at level 10. I managed to find a repeatable quest where I slaughtered orcs and turned in the quest over and over again for about an hour until I finally dinged. I also received this hideous mount, the Pedipowered Posterior Punter. At first I didn’t get it, putting the mount on makes my Froglok walk instead of hop  and he looks like a creepy marionette. And then I jumped…straight up a cliff. It’s been quite a useful tool for exploring and avoiding some encounters.

Levels 10-13 have had me take part in a war between the Orcs and the Dwarves that live here. There’s orcs of ever flavor, magic orcs, warrior orcs, lazy orcs, necromancer orcs, you name it, the Frost Fang Sea has an Orc for it. The nice things about leveling so slowly is that I’ve honed my orc killing techniques.

I can’t help but feel like I might be going about this leveling the wrong way. I’ve made it to the Cragged Spine and have been doing level 16 quests when I can. It’s been a slow go and I haven’t seen all that many people around me to group up with . Nevertheless, it’s been fun. I have my own little goal of completing all of the quests here, getting to New Halas, and leaving for the mainland. I think I still have a while to go but it’s definitely been an adventure so far.

 

 

 

 

July Goals: Level All the Things!

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June In Review

This month I came back to the blog after a few months hiatus. It’s good to be back! I didn’t have any goals for myself in June. I was testing a few games out seeing what I wanted to stick with for a while. I’ve mostly been playing around with a mix of Guild Wars 2, Trove, and a few single player games. I also started a character on the new Everquest 2 TLE server Fallen Gate.

July Goals

  • Get my Guild Wars 2  Elementalist to 50.  I’m looking forward to spending more time in Tyria doing the personal story and exploring the world. As far as I remember the leveling didn’t slow down that much and I’m having a blast completing the zone maps.
  • Level my Coercer to 20 on the Everquest 2 Fallen Gate server. I’m subbed up until the end of July and I’m still curious about EQ2. So far I’m really enjoying the world, the quests, and the class. It’s been a slow start, I’m only level 10, but it’s been quite a different experience than what I’m used too.  I’m looking forward to getting out of the New Halas starting zone and seeing something other than an icy tundra and water.
  • Get my last gear piece to Stellar, the highest gear tier, in Trove and possibly get to level 26. This is the first time I’ve had any sort of goal for Trove but now that it’s my go to podcast listening game I’ve been spending more time in it. I’ve never payed much attention to gear progression in Trove. Like everything else it’s a grind requiring a mix of crafting materials, money, and items locked behind weekly Shadow Towers. I’m really close to getting the last Shadow Tower item I need before I can start to try and catch up to my friends. Right now my Pirate Captain is sitting at level 25. After 20 the XP slows waaaayyyy down so who knows how far I’ll get level wise when I only play 30 minutes a day.
  • Finish Batman: Arkham Asylum. Currently I’m about 7 hours in and I don’t think I have all that longer to go. The game’s story appears to be rapping up and at the moment I’m not all that interested in finding all the collectibles. There are a few challenge levels I might try though.

Baby Steps on Fallen Gate

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Since the Everquest 2 Fallen Gate has launched I haven’t had as much time to sit down and play as  I would have liked. But I did get to play a little over the past couple days. I chose to make a froglok coercer and go around the Isle of Refuge enslaving every mob I saw.

It all started on a boat, as all good tales do, with a thinly veiled tutorial on how to do MMO things. Like opening chests, buying and selling to merchants, and of course, killing rats. My biggest surprise right off the bat was that I had 4 inventory slots, just 4, and it stayed that way until level 3 when i picked up another 4 slot bag. It looked like I was either going to be going back and forth from the merchant to sell things often or just not pick up every piece of junk that dropped. I chose the latter.

Combat is harsh, I can barely take on 2 mobs at the same time even with a charmed creature fighting with me. It’s gotten to be a fun little dance of mesmerizing and rooting targets when I aggro one too many. But at the same time it takes a long time to down each one. Not excruciatingly long but long enough that it’s noticeable. I’m sure re once I have a few more skills to press it won’t be as noticeable.

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I made it to level 5 and completed  all of the isle of refuge and set off for the Frostfang Sea. Mostly because it sounded cool. Maybe that wasn’t the greatest choice as my boat was attacked by orcs and I seem to be on another tutorial island. It even told me how to gather and fight things again. But I quickly moved past all the level 1-4 quests and am on my way to a new area of New Halas.

So far the leveling hasn’t been too much of a turn off. I knew it would be slower than the live character I made but right now it doesn’t seem too bad. The chat is lively with people looking for groups, guilds recruiting, and the general chat making the same jokes about some new game called World of Warcraft. It was also nice to see people in the isle of refuge instead of walking round a ghost town on the live server.

I’m enjoying myself so far. I’ll definitely be playing a little more over the weekend to get a better feel for the game. One thing I really like is that the quests are in chat bubbles instead of a separate page to read all at once. It feels more like a conversation between the NPC and your character as opposed to the NPC just ordering  your character around.