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.
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Heading Back to Trove

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I’m back to playing Trove again this week. Sometimes I want a game I can turn my brain off and play and feel like I’m getting somewhere. It fills the same role as Diablo 3 for me, grind a few levels get some new gear while listening to music or something. I also have a group of friends who get together to run the weekly Shadow Towers, which are the closest thing Trove has to challenging content.

Lately I’ve been looking for a game I can play with no sound so I can catch up on some podcasts. Trove is perfect for this as I don’t have the game sounds on anyways because they’re a little repetitive. I think the entire soundtrack consists of 3 songs.

This week I took a break from my main class the Ice Sage and have been playing the Pirate Captain. I’ve had him for a long time and I don’t know why I haven’t played him before. He’s got a really great set of skills with parrot manned turrets, explosive decoys, and a giant cannon the fires molten cannon balls. In my adventures so far I’ve leveled him up past the 5k Power Rank needed to do higher level content with my friends. Also I got a class gem that lets me spawn 2 Parrot Turrets instead of just one. And we al know more turrents are always better.

Trove hasn’t had the sticking factor that it once had for me. Jay has been playing it every day for the last year and a half and I can’t seem to get into it for more than a month or 2 at a time. I used to really like unlocking and playing around with all the classes. When the game first launched there were new classes almost every month. As of late the class releases have slowed dramtically with the last one being released in August of last year.

Trove has been really slow with content updates as well. While there have been some major patches since the release of Mantle of Power, which came out last summer, none of them have added new features to the game and have seemed to just added more stuff to the store. In fact there was one “major update” that was just an improvement to the store UI. Apparently they’ll be adding sub-classes and a few more shadow tower bosses later this year but a release date hasn’t been mentioned yet.

I’m not sure how long I’ll be playing Trove this time around. I could be a few weeks or it could be a few months but right now I’m enjoying my time there.

 

Out with the Old and In With the Older…and Older

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I tried, I really tried to get another 5,000 blocks placed in trove this weekend but my heart just wasn’t in it. As the two week long anniversary event drew to a close so did my interest in doing anything in the game. So I threw in the towel at 6,000 and decided I could live without the extra 5 Golden Ticket Chests.

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I don’t know what this is

This morning I opened my new shiny 13 Golden ticket boxes and got a whole lot of nothing. I wasn’t really expecting anything out of them but there’s always a chance with lock boxes, part of the excitement of opening them I suppose.Honestly, I just wanted some new mounts to ride around on, that would have been nice not sure I’d be all that excited for a full year of patron subscription.

While it was fun for a short period of time, I got bored of the endless zerg in the higher level portals. Plus it always crashes when I launch Spotify along with it. If I’m going to mindlessly grind I want some music to grind to. I’ll definitely try it out when it comes to consoles though.

Dark Souls 2

I’ve played Demon Souls, I’ve played half of Dark Souls, I finished Bloodborne, but I never got around to playing Dark Souls 2. It’s my friend Jay’s favorite game and he’s been bugging me for years to play it. For years I’ve been telling him that if I ever found it for 5 dollars or less I would get it figuring that would by me sometime. Well I walked into my local game store a few weeks ago and found Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin for exactly 5 dollars and, keeping my word, prominently bought it. Which,means yet another game to add to my backlog

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This weekend I started playing and streaming Dark Souls 2 partly because I had some friends who wanted to watch and partly because I wanted to try streaming solo. Me, Jay, and some other friends had been streaming Diablo 3 as a group which was a blast but I wanted to see what it was like by myself. It was a fun time, I’m sure my more experienced friends had a good time heckling me very time I died as well as giving me a few pointers.

I sunk about 4 hours into it Saturday night. I played Demon Souls and Bloodborne mostly Co-op so this is the first time I’m trying to complete a Souls game completely by myself. So far it’s been difficult but fair and I had a good time with it.

World Of Warcraft-Trial Edition

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I never played WoW at all. Ok that’s not true, I played a few private servers in high school with friends but that wasn’t fun. You were too powerful and gained everything too quickly. It probably wasn’t the best way to be introduced to a game. Of course, the game was around when I lacked any sort of disposable income of my own and my parents didn’t understand why I needed to pay monthly to play a game.

With all the hype around Legion coming at the end of next month, I wanted to sit down and try for myself the king of MMO’s.  I started my exploration into Azeroth as a Draenei Monk. It was a pleasant way to pass the time doing quests, killing things, looting things, leveling up. All of it was great, the quintessential MMO experience. I managed to get to level 15 this weekend and plan to get to my account level cap of 20 next weekend.

I like games with a lot of classes. With 13 classes to choose from it looks like it would keep my attention for a while.If it wasn’t for the inability to delete my character I would have re rolled countless times and probably not made it past level 10. But I like my name and being a blue space goat felt right so I stuck with the Monk for the weekend. Plus,those hooves look like they’d hurt to be kicked by.

Though strangely enough, playing World of Warcraft over the weekend actually made me miss Final Fantasy 14. If it wasn’t for No Man’s Sky coming out in a few weeks I would have plunked down some cash for the starter edition of Wow or Heavansward and upped my sub to FF14. I have a feeling most of my gaming time in August will be taken up by my quest to explore the universe and name some plants and creatures. Maybe even fly some spaceships or something.

Creativity is Such a Grind

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I’ve been playing more Trove this week snatching up goodies every day from the one year anniversary event. I have to admit, they have been pretty lack luster. Most of the time its 2 Golden Ticket Chests that are a lot like scratch off tickets. You could win a pack of mounts or a whole years subscription but most of the time end up  getting a measly style surprise.

Trove holds competitions every week and players can compete and climb the leader boards for prizes. This week one of the competitions is Blocks Placed. There are no prizes for being a certain place on the leader board, all you have to do is put down 10,000 blocks to win 20 of these Golden Ticket Chests. So instead of building a 10k block wall I decided to try my hand at actually building something.

My friends who play have always been really into building sometimes more than actually playing the game. They’ve built some interesting stuff including a giant monopoly board,  a large city,giant pinatas, and even a whole club world dedicated to aviation history. They’re creations always look crisp and well planned out.

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Meanwhile I built this Narwhal once while watching Interstellar.  As a result I was banished to building in the desolate corners of our club world.

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So I sat down and thought about what to build as I rode far away from our main hub. I wanted to build a robot, one that looked like one of those tin toy robots with the square body and square head, a classic robot. After about 3 hours and one delightfully awful horror movie later, the Grinda-Tron 5000 was built. While he’s not exactly what I envisioned I think he turned out pretty well. He consists of 5,100 blocks and is my second creation in Trove.

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I was never a fan of building in Trove. It’s kind of clunky and there isn’t a good way to do anything fast. If you’re building something tall and accidentally fall off, better hope you have enough jumps to get back to the top. Sometimes it can be insanely frustrating and it takes a long time. For a game that tries to promote creatively and building, there should be some useful tools in build mode to make it easier and more fun.

Despite this, I am excited to build some more and get my boxes at the end of the week. Building was somewhat fun once I got over all the limitations of the game and things started to come together. It was almost like doodling in 3D. I’m not quite done, I still have 4.1k blocks left to place, maybe Grinda-Tron needs a friend.

 

 

Happy 1 Year Trove!

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It’s been one year since Trove officially launched and to celebrate Trion is putting on an event from July 13th to July 5th. They’ll be handing out free stuff and who doesn’t love free stuff? Players will receive a few items when they log in each day including Golden Ticket Boxes which give a chance to win a bunch of mounts, a collection of Dragons, and a full year of patron (Trove’s paid subscription). If you’re above mastery Rank 20,  you get  2 days of patron every other day when you log in.

I took a break from Trove last month and didn’t really have any interest in coming back but I really enjoy free stuff, like a lot. The two days of patron help bolster my enthusiasm as experience is doubled,you get 4 daily lock boxes, and 1500 cubits (Troves free in game currency) instead of the meager 500.

It’s been quite a year for Trove. A lot has been added to the game since launch, some of it has been good like additional classes, flying, and rune crafting. Some of it has been not so good like only being able to buy classes with premium currency. Trove released an expansion which raised the level cap fro 20 to 30, added in new ways to power up your character, and class gems that modified abilities. A lot of this was hit or miss with the community. The devs had made some interesting decisions over the course of the year and have left players wondering “who thought this was a good idea?”

A few things have changed since the last time I played. The level requirement for gems has been lowered to make them easier to access. Trove’s experience curve after level 20 is really steep, gems being available earlier give players more power rank earlier and let them go into higher level worlds for that sweet loot. Some of the awful RNG has been taken out of upgrading said gems. After so many failures the gem is guaranteed to upgrade.

I’m going to log in every day, run a few dungeon, and get my cubits for the duration of the event. Who knows maybe the enthusiasm I had for the game back in May will come back. If not, there’s always the console release to look forward to.

 

NBI 2016: 6 Features I Want in My Perfect MMO

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This may have been last weeks NBI 2016 writing prompt, but it’s been a busy week and not a lot of writing has been done here. I really need to stop telling myself I’ll write tomorrow, because that doesn’t happen.

Thank you Faeldray at Lair of the Wolf Dragon  for coming up with the prompt.

 

1. No Mini Map

One thing I notice myself doing a lot in RPGs and MMOs is spending more time watching the little arrow cross the mini map when traveling than actually looking at the character and scenery in front of me. I think ESO’s compass bar to show you which direction the objective is really helps to limit  map starring.

2. Training Skills By Using Them

I’ve always liked when skills have to be used to make them more powerful. It makes more sense  that if my character never uses a skill then it shouldn’t get more powerful when he levels up or puts an ability point into it. Games like FlyFF used to have this and it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed Runescape so much. While I can see how some could see it as a grind or a time sink, it’s another enjoyable layer of progression for me.

3. Voice Acted Quests

I’ve seen arguments against the voice acted quest. That people can read faster than the character can talk, that it ruins immersion, that it’s usually poorly done. If I have an option between reading or voice acting I’m going to choose voice acting every time..It’s not that i don’t like to read, I love to read, but in a game I’d rather the characters talk to me, it feels more alive that way. I noticed when I was playing FFXIV that I’d read through the quest dialog or story dialog and by the end of it I had no idea what I just read. Maybe I’m just lazy when I play a video game.

In MMO’s I do prefer the silent protagonist though. In Guild Wars 2 it irks me that every player character sounds exactly the same. I like the Secret World’s approach where the NPC’s are voice acted and my character asks questions via text

4. In-depth Gathering Classes

If I could play a game completely and utterly as a gather I would. I love to gather. I love going into the world, finding the resources, and hording collecting them. Runescape had this to some extent, it wasn’t super in depth but a lot of the skills weren’t either, you leveled up and could collect different things and use different tools. I wasted many a summer day cutting down yew logs. Finaly Fnatasy 14 has some pretty fun gathering classes as well. I kept hearing they were a grind but when I finally tried them out, I spent almost as much time leveling them up as I did running dungeons with my combat class.

5. Classes Advancements with Branching Specializations

I first experienced this in Flyff. You started out as a vagrant, after level 15 you chose a more specialized class like a mercenary or a magician, at level 60 you picked an even more specialized class like a Knight or an Elementalist. It added this carrot on a stick that if I grind out a few more levels I can wield a new weapon or get some better skills. I wouldn’t have had so much fun though if the title didn’t change. Outside of Korean grinders I’ve only seen this in Final Fantasy 14. I’ve been eying Tree of Savior because of their immense class system but haven’t heard great things about the game so far.

6. Robust Wardrobe System

Let’s get to the real reason to play MMO’s dressing up virtual dolls. It’s odd, it bothers me knowing everyone has the same voice in a game but it doesn’t bother me that everyone looks the same. I have no problem looking like the guy next to me as long as the armor looks awesome. Through Diablo 3, I have found the joys of transmoging and mixing and matching armor. I like the way Diablo 3 saves the style of the armor/weapon when you pick it up and it can be applied like a skin whenever you’d like later on. One of the strong points of Trove for me was collecting different weapon, hat, and face styles to mix and match later on. I also want some vanity items to drop even if their stuff like extra hair styles or slightly different looking armor, or weird outfits, but then I guess there would be nothing to sell in the cash shop.