That’s just about as uncreative a title as I’ve come up with in awhile. /whap self. Also, my Google-fu has failed me for several months now – I am unable to write a blog post in Chrome. I can set all the options, etc. but I cannot type in the text window. I’ve tried deleting the cache and everything else, and every WordPress forum post I’ve read so far comes up empty and gets closed with no resolution. I’ve installed a few plugins but I can’t use them from Live Writer obviously.
Ok, so here we go with a status update on my attempt at juggling multiple MMOs and still hoping to feel like I’m getting somewhere and investing myself in the experience.
Star Trek Online
No new content since the Season 6 release last month, so I’m still mostly doing dailies for the 8,000 Dilithium per day. I was doing STFs a couple months ago and I have two of the three MACO ground pieces, but I’ve petered out a bit so getting the final piece to unlock the MACO Armor costume will take awhile. Otherwise, I try to get some Fleet Marks to help out our little starbase, especially during the Fleet Mark Events. During the day I’m often the only one on but sometimes in the evenings there might be enough fleet-mates online to queue ourselves up as a team, which is a lot of fun.
I know right? Petter mentioned something about Allods on Twitter, and I still had it installed from last year so what the heck, I patched it up and played a few hours earlier in the month. I actually had some fun but decided that I wasn’t in quite the same place as last year so I made a new character. Exact same role – Healer – but instead of the Xadaganian (Human for the Empire faction) Inquisitor, I now have an Arisen (Undead Cyborg?) Heretic that I’ve been playing on and off during down times and he is now level 13 or so as of last week.
I got into a group and completed the XAES instance. I think there were three, maybe four players, plus we all used our freebie Mercenary Contract to summon an AI to help us out. Very straightforward instance, no real surprises but that’s what I’d expect from a low level instance. Allods will be something I just do on the side every now and again, mostly out of curiosity plus it gives me a chance to see how a built-for-F2P game ends up and where the item shop starts coming into play. My impression has always been that item shops are always end-game requirements, though I’ve read about some that ramp up the XP curve so much around the mid-game that buying XP boosts becomes almost required. We’ll see. I didn’t play during the controversial launch that plagues Allods to this day even though all the prices were permanently reduced and the item shop death penalty has been removed. I will say for a straight up F2P game, Allods has the most impressive engine I’ve seen.
Earlier in the month, TERA had their Suit Up for Summer event, which involved finding glowing chests in coastal regions of the game, then being the first player to whack that chest to open it and receive a random reward. So, yes, just like the game content itself, this was a grind dealing with the random loot generation until I finally got the swim suit for my Baraka Lancer. In the meantime I did find some of the more in-demand suits such as the Castanic Female which sold for a hefty sum on the Auction House, so I now have plenty of gold to buy more Glyphs to experiment with my build a bit.
Last week, the Argon Queen update went live which added PvP Battlegrounds for level-capped players, and the game’s first raid. Also introduced is a new mechanic for Lancers and Warriors called Resolve. It adds a third bar to our vitals for us to manage, and for Lancers will force many of us, myself included, to alter our play style to fit the new mechanic because now our Resolve will diminish while using Stand Fast, our block ability. Up to now, many Lancers would “turtle” where they’d run up and use Challenging Shout (taunt) then Stand Fast taking the hits. Each hit you took while blocking slowly depleted your Mana, and if you turtled too long, you wouldn’t have enough Mana to activate one of your abilities, most importantly another Challenging Shout when you inevitably lost aggro since you’d been standing still blocking the whole time. I’ll admit, I often turtled in instances mostly because while leveling I don’t need to repeat instances to learn the enemy attack patterns, but I only held Stand Fast when I knew I was going to be taking hits. Once the boss wasn’t doing an obvious tell, I was busy smacking him to build more aggro and regenerate Mana. Resolve, on the other hand, begins depleting the moment we go into Stand Fast so it’s going to force Lancers to become much more active. To help with that, the patch also removed the one-second cooldown for Stand Fast, which burned me in almost every instance or group BAM fight so far because if you press the right mouse button to block before it finished, there’s no warning that it’s not ready, you simply stand there wide open for attack, which comes a few milliseconds later and you’re knocked down for a few seconds, taking quite a bit of damage in the process and that’s valuable time you could be losing aggro to your dps classes and possibly the healer now that you need to be topped off again (healing generates a ton of aggro in TERA). Finally, the patch also added two new skills for the Lancer: Backstep, which several (all?) of the other classes have, is just what it sounds like, an ability to jump backwards out of harm’s way. This can be useful in a couple ways for a Lancer. First, the obvious if you’re perhaps low on Resolve and you have aggro but can’t afford to block right that second, you can jump back to give you a few more seconds of Resolve regeneration while the boss comes to you. Second, you can use it to get behind the boss by exploiting the mechanics behind it. If you very quickly swivel your camera so the boss is behind you then do Backstep, you jump backwards through the boss where you have a few seconds to pound on him from the rear for bonus backstab damage! The new Wallop skill has your Lancer jump forward and slam his shield into the ground for a chance of knocking the enemies to the ground. Used on its own, it has a semi-lengthy (for TERA anyway) cast time, but if used as a combo with other opening skills it becomes nearly instant-cast.
The Secret World
I’ve had one hell of a time having fun in TSW, mostly due to a poor choice of weapons when I first created my Templar, then having to repeat the content over and over again while I experimented with other weapons. A few days ago, I switched out of Blades into Pistols and kept Blood Magic. I’m honestly not sure what synergy those two have, but I did find someone’s build they called a Battle Cleric. I went with it because it used all Inner Ring (beginner) abilities from both weapons except for one advanced Outer Ring ability which didn’t take too long to acquire since it was the only one I had to set a goal for. Now that I have this build, I can concentrate on working on some of the pre-made Decks and building my character up. I still feel he’s fairly inadequate but that seems to be mostly a gear thing. Very little gear drops in Kingsmouth, it’s most quest rewards to prevent farming. So I’m QL3 gear with a few still QL2 because I haven’t found replacements. I can deal with most of the Kingsmouth mobs one on one, but if a second one enters the fray I’m in trouble, and three I’m dead if I can’t get away. Since I end up doing a lot of circle-strafing, it can be easy to accidentally pick up new mobs that were nearby so it’s a bit touchy still.
Yesterday, I did finally manage to get enough of the quests done to open up the Dead in the Water quests which took me to the first instance, the Wreck of the Polaris. Like the game world, the instance exudes atmosphere and mood and I found it refreshing for a first instance to actually require some situational awareness and used some basic mechanics rather than the typical tank and spank that most MMOs go for with their very first group instance. My favorite part was the cut scene towards the end where I thought we were done then a very Cthulhu-looking monster flies up and swats our helicopter to the ground, forcing us to fight him. That was fun, and I had to switch to mainly healing a lot of the time (learning experience, I actually had no idea the couple Blood Magic spells would work on other players) so apparently Pistols/Blood is a DPS/Support build. I can get behind that!
Guild Wars 2
I’ve always enjoyed Guild Wars so picking up GW2 was no surprise. However, I was not planning on getting it right away. I figured I already had enough game-wise, work-wise and life-wise on my plate. But at the last minute I caved and bought the Digital Deluxe edition and spent a fair amount of time playing over the weekend in the head start launch. I hadn’t spent any time getting into the GW2 hype or educating myself about the various classes, but several months ago one of the players I follow on Google+ did her own rundown and convinced me to go for the Guardian class. I’m enjoying it so far and have no desire to start rolling alts anytime soon.
My main character in Guild Wars was always my Monk, Benjeth Lorhall so in deciding on the Guardian class, I also decided to continue Benjeth’s legacy. So here is Jheryvin Lorhall. The Guardian class in general seems inspired by the Paragon from the first game, while adding mostly melee weapons to the mix rather than throwing spears. That’s fine, the Paragon ended up being my favorite secondary character. Despite my loathing for RPG PvP, I do hope to become involved with World vs. World in GW2. I’m beyond terrible with melee PvP in particular so I was thrilled to learn the Guardian has some great support skills using a staff! He also gets some scepter skills which is another ranged weapon but aside from unlocking all the skills, I didn’t spend any time really learning which situations the scepter would be preferred.
I may do a proper writeup of my GW2 experiences, but I do have a couple of negative points:
First, the weapon skill unlocks. I am given to understand that during beta unlocking weapon skills was a lengthy and time-consuming process and that very late in beta it was adjusted to its current fast process. It hasn’t taken me more than five minutes to unlock every skill on any particular weapon, which begs the question: why bother with the unlocks at all? Second, since (apparently?) all weapon skills are hard-locked and I’ll never get more skills for a weapon, I am already feeling a bit limited. I get a staff, five minutes tops I have all five skills and that’s all I ever get. And I’m only level 2 or 3 at the time with 77 more levels to go. Yes, I can unlock character skills and switch those up but even then, the mystery and exploration of skills from Guild Wars is gone. I press H to open up the Hero UI and right there every skill I can ever unlock is before me. I can just sit there at level 1 and plan things out and once I have that plan, I can spend the additional skill points I get unlocking the rest for completion. That just doesn’t feel Guild Warsy to me.
Second, the dynamic events. Mind you, I am enjoying them where I didn’t care for the Public Quests in Warhammer. There are plenty of them and they’re quite varied in style so far. However, even with the backwards-only level scaling, GW2 is still a vertical progression theme park world and I do have concerns that once the initial rush is over, the lower level zones will start having population issues. With my job, I can only play a couple times per week. I experienced drastic low population issues within the first three weeks of both WAR and SWTOR which was a major factor in my cancelation of both those games. One does not cancel GW2 at least, but my concern is that I may have trouble getting XP to level in a week or few. I hope that’s not the case, but I feel it is a valid concern nonetheless at this point in time.