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Friday, June 23, 2017

PlayNotes Issue 6: Guild Wars 2

My main character here is a level 35 Sylvari Ranger.  Somehow, though I've tried to progress logically from one area to the next, she was in a level 20 area, the Brisban Wildlands.  I needed to find my way to a level 35 area, and play from there.

I looked at the larger world map and just did not see a clear route from where I was to where I should go.  Here's another game where I just don't know the world well. 



This led me to wander from one area to the next, examining the creatures as I went to see if I had found a place to stay.   23, 26, 28, 20, 23...   I'll find it eventually, though I wish the world were laid out more logically.

There are few worlds more beautiful than Tyria.  Whoever their artists are, they do spectacular work.  If Exploration is a draw for you in a world, you can't go wrong wandering  in this game.


An Airship


A Garden Estate


In the Land Of the Undead


By the Lake


On the Open Road


A lively tavern full of conversation and clinking glasses

A Wondrous Windmill


A vendor in the middle of nowhere.  He's big, he's snuggly, and I want to take him home.  Look at that bandolier, with three big pockets up front and a big pack on his back.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Conundrums of Guild Life

Guilds, guilds guilds.  If I analyze myself, I'm going to posit that I'm doomed to never be happy in guilds that aren't like the first guild I was ever in, Galaxies Style.

It Offered:

Lively personalities, excellent guild chat.

Good Leadership (though this point varied/changed/proved the ultimate downfall of the guild along with the advent of World Of Warcraft entering the MMO scene)

A core group of about five players who were reliably on, always helpful, good at recruiting new members, always working to make a guild and ultimately a city that allowed the group to thrive and grow even more.

Regular events such as hunts or doing Rebel missions/base attacks to help people advance in the GCW (Galactic Civil War).



Anyone asking for help gets it from whoever can help.

Players who were generous with their time and crafts.

But what do I really want?

I've joined, often briefly, dozens of guilds from random invites.  The first things that gets me is silent guild chat in guilds with 500 members and only five ever on.

These have mostly been in Wow.   Early on, guilds that claimed they'd help you level would do nothing but direct you to Thotbott with any questions.   I want my lowbies to have someone help them with fights they have trouble with (doesn't happen much anymore at any level, but there used to be sticking points in WOW's terrain.) 

One of the best ways to level, and most fun for me is dungeons.  In any game, I'd like the guild to be willing to organize dungeon runs, just regular dungeons.  This not only provides, or should provide, leveling help, but it's a great opportunity to train players in a non-harsh PUG environment how to play their classes well in a group. 

Did you see Eliot Lefebvre's article http://massivelyop.com/2017/06/21/perfect-ten-mmo-grouping-advice-you-shouldnt-bother-giving/    
This, as they say.  None of these things are helpful to anyone in the entire dungeon group, certainly not to those trying to learn skills.   Ideally, the guilded player doesn't need to PUG, and won't hear these things, and they are a far better player for it.

Sharing of resources:    I know Guild Bank Management can be a pain, and people toss in all sorts of stuff, trying to contribute to the group.  Most often, they have no idea what is useful and what is not.  The frustrated GB manager can often be heard threatening people for putting in useless stuff which they're going to toss or sell soon.   This can shake newbies to the core and make them feel like fools.  How does this contribute a  sense of welcome and camaraderie?

It's called Guild Chat for a reason!  I have hardly ever run into a player who was a motor mouth and they never were silent.  I personally don't appreciate or take part in conversations about the real world, I'm here to leave that behind  zzzzzzzz.   I do think that players in guilds, particularly the Officers, should be in there talking to people about the game, seeing if anyone needs help, has questions.  There should be some spark of life in the place.   One of the things a guild might recruit for is personality.  Look for it, find it, encourage it.

Make newbies feel welcome.   The people recruiting should be aware of the person's class and profession, and should help to introduce the player to the others.  Let them know who is good at a particular class and profession so the player can have some idea of who can mentor them.  Having players who will be new member mentors is guild role that can be key to a guild's health and survival.

My Own Efforts

I don't find these things often, and so in the past I've created my own guilds.  Because we have had enough family members to keep things interesting, it hasn't gone beyond that.  Early on I encouraged everyone to go ahead and invite other players to join, but aren't we all such introverts that we never did it.  As the leader, I polled people and it turns out they didn't actually want strangers in the guild, making them be social and putting their mitts in the guild bank.  Rofl, rofl, rofl.



Undaunted, I really wanted to be the super duper guild leader I desired to find myself.

I created a guild blog that had tips I'd learned from voracious reading about the game, and interesting articles.  How I wanted to share!   Nobody but my beloved spouse, who generously reads all my blogs, ever looked at the blog.

I had my crafters leveling as quickly as I could and I provided potions, scrolls, armor, weapons, every single thing I could make so people could grab and go.

I put money in the bank as I could. My formula was that any of my characters who had over 50 gold would drop the "excess" in the guild bank.   Guild repair money, training money, mount money.

We did a few battlegrounds as a group.  I was awful, but I went in.  These didn't last too long.

Guild dungeon runs started out not too bad. 

Three of us liked dungeons and enjoyed running through them whether guild or pug.  The others, not so much, but they'd do it.    For the weekly guild runs, which I loved because doh, I actually knew the people, I went into overdrive.  I created character sheets for the dungeoneers and ahead of the weekly run, checked the WOW Armory to see what they had armor wise and sent them new pieces if I could make better.  I sent scrolls, potions and jewelry for their class and level.

One person (who doesn't read this blog) had a Paladin and Warrior for the runs but only liked cloth armor and they wouldn't wear anything else.  This person ultimately felt I wouldn't let them play their class as they liked because I sent things with stats that they actually needed.  On the plus side, I learned a lot about the games classes.

Only one person would tank regularly, and was that dread thing, a Draggy Tank.   Here's where the big disadvantage comes in to a family group--nobody would ask him to slow down or talk to him in any way about the difficulty of keeping up.  Instead they complained to me.  When I mentioned this to Draggy Man, he blew it off and those who were unhappy claimed they loved loved loved his tanking and wouldn't change a thing.  So depressing.

That whole problem eventually ended our dungeon runs.  We actually made it much farther than I imagined we ever would, up to Wrath of the Lich King dungeons.   Then kablooie.

Now hardly anyone is playing, and all on different servers most days.  I think sometimes of opening up one of the guilds to Real People (ha!) but then I have to play more, be there, find a solid core of officers.  As you can tell I'm scattered across several servers myself in World of Warcraft, and I play ten other games at any given time so I can't the do the job right, and thus I won't do it at all, unless something changes.

The Point Of All This

My new guild, which was fun at first, has had guild chat fall mostly silent.  Oddly if you say hi, you get a ton of responses, but if you ask a question, you're now getting zippo.  Sad face.

It seems to now be mostly becoming a Raiding guild, and nothing else is worthy of consideration.

Guild Dungeon Runs have only ever been for Mythic and Heroic and I'm bummed because I hoped to have this guild be one where people ran dungeons together to level up.  I don't know if I can think of a diplomatic way to see if regular runs, maybe even just once a week, could be set up for normal dungeoneering.    Why why why am I still Pugging in a group like this?

The guild bank is on major Lockdown, I don't know what happened there, because I'm not around all the time, but every tab is Deposit Only or Locked.  Lazy dog, I hoped when I started my first character here that I could just be a gatherer and toss stuff in the bank and some sweet crafter would provide basic bags and potions I needed.

I now have my alt army in place there with all the crafts covered, but you have to level those characters too in order to get anything useful for the other alts.   There are only so many hours in a day, or night, as that's usually when I play.

This is kind of the point at which I usually silently leave a guild all disappointed, but I think I have to hang in there, and try to talk more in guild chat myself, try to work out some of these things, because there are many many nice people in this group, they're just chasing other goals than I have myself.

See? I do have some deep thots in my head.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

PlayNotes Issue 5: Everquest 2

I was having the best time with this game, leveling several characters up in rotation, then ESO Morrowind came out, and I found new interest in World of Warcraft characters, and they fell to misadventure.

Back in tonight to work on my Monk and Conjuror, the last two in the lineup.

Although I like my Monk for her catlike grace and smooth martial arts moves, the fights seemed interminable until she got to level 6.  Then it was better. 


It felt like these spiders had to be killed one leg at a time....so slow....




By the time we got to this guy, it was all legchop, handchop, legchop, eeeeyah!


Since she was now at the desired level, I left her among the Sapwills and Defilers because I just couldn't find some totems, and the area was pretty thick with these.


The Ratonga Conjuror coming into the same area at level two was briefly nicknamed "One Shot Willie" by me because she had no trouble in any fight.   She has a small Earthen Avatar which may be helping her fight.  He's small and sort of weird and is always right under the Ratonga's legs.  Except in the picture below.



Heroic Opportunities keeps popping up in fights, and I'm going to read and absorb this:    https://forums.daybreakgames.com/eq2/index.php?threads/almost-complete-guide-to-heroic-opportunities.296464/

It is apparently some sort of chain thing a party can use.  Wasn't there something like that in LOTRO?


So far I really like (because they're tough fighters) the Conjuror, the Fury and the Warden best.  I'm not sure about the Ranger or the Monk.  I'm going to keep playing them in rotation with the others for now.

At the end of the session I went ahead and killed off my boosted level 95 Wizard, though (sniff) she had a house and everything in the City Of Hate.   I wasn't going to play her anymore, and that opens a slot to try yet another class.

Maybe another Ratonga.  They are so adorable.   But they make me think of this:



Sega Forever!

Whoa!!!!

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/21/15846752/sega-forever-netflix-of-retro-classic-gaming-ios-android

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

PlayNotes Issue 4: Elder Scrolls Online

Another download/update tonight, ack!

Long load screens at login, I suppose this means everyone's playing.

Tonight, my level 5 Warden who is doing quests from Vivec.


Going to the closest npc/quest location, I am offered a boat ride to a place I've never heard of, and the map marker for it is way across the land mass.  I'd rather wait till I have the quests nearby before I go off somewhere new.


Next closest is a simple one, find a stone, take some rubbings, help find the location of a lost library.


Rubbing stone


The cool thing is, this gives me a piece of a map in an Indiana Jones like display.  I get to find all the pieces. Then what happens?


It's night time and very very dark...

Next the charming family saga quest Like Blood From Stone.  I'm to investigate a brother who may be doing something shady in a mine.  Nobody ever does anything good in a mine, particularly in this game.

You can't get into the mine unless you lockpick the bad brother's front door and steal the key in his house, or find the mine foreman in Balmora and pick his pocket.

I can pick locks in the Elder Scrolls games, but not here.  I snap all the lockpicks or get a couple and freak at the timer going kablooie.  I wasn't meant to be a thief, truly. 

I had to look up how to pick a pocket in the game.  It worked fine but I felt like a real scum.  Again, not joining the thieves guild any time soon.  With a 75% chance of success, I plucked the key.

Another Night, Another Game, Another Mine 

 

Then I'm asked to murder someone.

This is all just going against my grain.  Hello. Good guy.  Heroine!  See me be a low, scummy killer thief instead.   I tried telling myself this was no different than any set of fetch, then kill the named npc quests in any other game.  There shouldn't be this desire to back away and not do what is so wrong.   It shouldn't even seem wrong.   Nice writing, if it can have that effect on me.


Notes:

I should should buy a million lockpicks and pick pick pick till I am not freaked.

H calls your horse.  I found this out with quite a bit of searching.  Not intuitive.  No, not even thinking "H" for Horse.

Haven't been able to summon my Warden Bear.   I finally find it looks like I have to slot him on my toolbar.   My toolbar with what, five slots to start with?   Other games might give you a few too many skills and toolbar slots, but this is bad, just the few given, and to use one to summon the bear, that's pretty low.

Monday, June 19, 2017

PlayNotes Issue 3: Lord of The Rings Online

I'm pretty tired, so this is a bit hinky. zzzzzzz.

My Level 61 Hunter has a quest sequence in Moria.  This should have been easy, but somehow all my saved Stable Master locations are gone, and I spent two play sessions trying to get from the Chamber of the Crossroads or the 21st Hall (Followed the snaky road at the bottom of the map from the Chamber) to Tharakh Bazan.

It looks simple on the map.   Just go here, then over there, then take a left and a right.   Hahaha.


What looks on the map like a pathway turns into a solid wall or dead end.  The place is thick with orcs, goblins, morrovals and crows.   Every time I stop to look at my map, I get whacked by something.  It's all ten levels lower than I am, but still, pretty annoying.  Let me read my map!

At one point I had a bad thought, wondering how the designer of this twisty maze of a place sleeps at night, knowing people are running into walls, chased by goblins, muttering "I can't get out..."


I started at the 21st Hall tonight, because where I left my character last time.  Looking closely and reading the quest text again, I went back to the Chamber of The Crossroads and inched my way up, finally getting to Tharakh Bazan.   I remember the first time I saw this area, it was so cool to find an area of lush gardens deep underground.  Right out of Journey to the Center of The Earth.



The objective is in a twisty cave full of Globsnaga Skirmishers and Warriors.  Globsnaga?

Even more charmingly named is the Boss Grawulun the Caerog.  I had a moment where I thought I've come all this way and this guys going to pound me into the ground.  I will be sad.  Luckily he was EZ.


Off to the Mustering Halls for part 2 of this quest.   

I seriously have had this character all over Moria, and I wouldn't mind  any of the exploration if my previous efforts were still recognized.  Too bizarre.



Sunday, June 18, 2017

PlayNotes Issue 2: Rift

I decided to send my Mage to an area appropriate to her level (50).  This turned out to be Storm Legion expansion territory, with a choice of going to the continents of Brevane or Dusken.  I know nothing about these, being way behind on the games actual content.  I had trouble finding recommendations from others, the best I saw being that Brevane is "life themed" and Dusken is "death themed".

Always choose life, I say.

Landing in Cape Jule, there's a big landing of sorts with all kinds of vendors, but only a single quest and zero players.  There's only one way off the landing, down some stairs.  My quest is to disarm some traps.  Each deactivated trap releases a level 50 guardian to fight.




I'm thinking that since each fight is taking me to 1/2 health, I'm fine as long as I only have one mob to fight.  Then an automatic type quest pops to kill Daemon Loci, just because I killed one.   They're easier than the the guardians were, all good.

I'm in a big room with multiple stairways up and down.


I decide to go down because I can see a Daemon on the steps there.  As you can see I have quite a few skills on my bar.  I was using mostly the bottom row, but injudiciously it turns out, I hit one on the second row that transported me a few yards away from the stair top to another spot in the room.  Whoa, whoa, somehow the guy I was fighting was joined by another guy I hadn't even seen.   Though they're both suddenly right in front of me, I have no line of sight to fight them, but they are able to whack on me.  Oops.




Ran back up the original stair way and only one followed.  Since he was miraculously in my line of sight now, I finished him off.

Still in combat with his unseen pal, I started back down the stairs and poof there he was.   My efforts weren't so successful, and at a quarter health I ran back up the stairs, hoping a guard would take him out or I'd reach that magical spot where mobs are out of their natural range and they stop chasing you.

This sort of worked.   He stopped chasing me, but didn't go away.  He lurked on a bridge over the steps.


My health went up, I went and killed him with ease.

A short but exciting introduction to a new area of the game.

Notes to self:

Get more potent health potions

Work on improved armor

Doh look at the tooltips for my skills so I don't transport or do anything else potentially deadly to myself by mistake.

Friday, June 16, 2017

PlayNotes Testing Testing

I've spared you the actual notes, (until now) but somehow on Monday my coffee fueled brain went all crazy on World of Warcraft thoughts, and I wanted to write a well composed post from my notes, but you know, that just isn't me.

Then I saw this great E3 summation by http://xyzzysqrl.livejournal.com/502505.html   
and really enjoyed the way it was a list of sorts, but a greatly entertaining one.   I like lists. I make them every day. 

This led my twisty mind to devise an experiment wherein I will take notes while I play and just pop them into this space after the session.  I personally enjoy reading blogs not just for the Big Ideas people have, - and there are some brilliant game bloggers out there having them!- but for seeing what people think about games as they play them, because sometimes they feel the same way I do and sometimes they give a glimpse of other ways to approach a game.

What to call this experiment?  I used the title "Afterplay" previously, and it's descriptive but somehow I don't like it.  I'm going to go with PlayNotes, though I also came up with the obnoxiously funny Raw Thots. 

I'll start Sunday and will play each game in my rotation for the week, taking notes as I do and dropping them in here.  Boring yet fun! Hey, it's summertime!


PlayNotes Issue #1  (So you can skip the rest of the week if this makes you buggy.  However if this makes you buggy, all my posts probably do, and you don't read this blog anyway.  Hmmpf.

I've been leveling my WOW Paladin and decided to just push her forward to the top, because I have the rare opportunity with the guild I'm in to do the biggies: Mythics, Heroics, Raids!!!  I'm quite certain they'll make me a better Paladin and Player. 

I have been having a great time working in the lower areas of Azeroth, and really sort of hated to abandon them to move forward in the game to areas up ahead I don't enjoy so much.  This thinking led to my disjointed notes:

For me, Wow is almost 4 different games

From the beginning to Northrend.   Great maps, love all the dungeons, storylines make each area unique. 

Pandaria, where they take away flight for awhile for the first time and dungeons become uninteresting.  The grind of Dailies appears.  Rep grinds galore.  The grind of the Timeless Isle to get decent gear to move forward.  GRIND-O-MATIC begins!

Draenor  Once again no flight till they decide you've earned it.  Killed Inscription making it a bizarre little gambling game for the Inscriptionist.  I do not know why people didn't complain more about this.   Crafting generally takes a big shot for actual crafters in order to give non-crafting types their very own insta-gear, but only three pieces.   Here is where I thought crafting was just gathering endlessly and dropping it all down a hole to come out the other side as...not much.  As I've said elsewhere, I craft to make things for other people, and this was all just me, me me.    You absolutely had to do the gear grind in the Tanaan Jungle, whether your character is of the gear grinding type or no-you could not move an inch in Legion without a certain level of gear rating.   Something they did right but refused to go further with: The Garrison.  This was wildly popular in beta, and many more features were added than originally intended because people loved it and wanted more.  Still, they wouldn't add guild features, or make it easy for others to visit, or let you customize it in any way other than by the choices of your garrison buildings and where you placed them in the compound.   Interestingly, they offered some decorative packages for Holidays, which could have been expanded in so many ways to let people at least choose decorative packages and feel like they were making the only real home they'd ever been given in the game their home.   

Legion   Again, a long wait and grind to fly.  Crawl on your belly like a snake if you want to fly, player!  Here they actually killed crafting, in essence.  Not just a grind to advance, but roadblocks everywhere, including making you go in raids and dungeons to advance in your crafts.  Sometimes game developers seem to hate crafters, but not this much.  So they make you do raids, but don't allow random Looking For Raid grouping because...why?  This is the first time ever class changes arrived with a wallop, making actually most classes not any fun to play.  I usually just adjust to changes for classes, adapt and move on, but man, they whacked everyone.  Except my Druid who was once again great.  Awful Dungeons, that you're REQUIRED to go through over and over. None of the game areas are enjoyable to explore.  Stories are meh.   Endless artifact grind.  So you don't get to enhance your character with new skills anymore. Your weapon, which looks like everyone else's weapon, (unless you grind to get a different appearance) gets all the glory!   You are just a puppet.  I shall call Legion the Rats On A Wheel Approach To Gaming.

Ta da!  More than was on the page because blah blah blah goes the mind.  See ya Sunday, Rift Day.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

World of Warcraft: A New Start

On the heels of my EQ2 character wipe and remix, I killed off a few characters on a WOW server and started a new set on a new server.  It has been awhile, I'm realizing, since I started a brand new character in World of Warcraft.

I changed things up a bit in creating these.  I always find myself using my Druid as a main character, but I'm leading with a Retribution Paladin this time.  I find I have neglected my Paladins somewhat, though they really are fun to play and useful in groups.  This time, ta da, the Paladin wins.

The big stunner is, I've actually found a guild to join that is everything I've wanted.  It has made me think that I really need to try to find a guild in the three other games where I think life would be more fun with guildies:  LOTRO, Rift and EQ2.  

As I created my characters, I gave the Paladin Herbalism and Mining to be useful contributing materials.

Alt-itis soon struck, as it seemed the guild bank was mostly full of high level materials and my puny staff wasn't so helpful.  I now have eight characters, one of each craft set so I can craft my way along happily as I'm prone to doing.   There are lower levels too, so maybe someone can benefit from my skills.  The ideal situation for me as a crafter is to have people to make things for, not just to grind level or sell at auction, but to make useful things that make others game play easier and happier.  Sigh.

I'm finding the early regions of Azeroth changed a bit, quest chains changed or missing.   I am taking my time and trying to get all the achievements with my main, and it is somewhat frustrating to not see this particular character's progress in the Achievements panel, just that some other character completed it six years ago....zzzzzzz.

Dungeoning once more!  There have been changes to these as well.  Blackfathom Deep was the most changed, and I got lost for a bit, so embarrassing, I'm surprised they didn't boot me.  Everything in there was different.  Gnomeregan is next up and I'm almost afraid to see what they've done to it.  Even so, I am enjoying working in a group so much.

I saw on my character sheet my less than level 10 characters were assigned a specialization.  My Paladin automatically Retribution.  My Warlock is assigned Affliction.   My Mage Frost Mage.  You can still choose at 10, but hmmpf, I don't know that I care for it.

Changing things up, I went with Demonology for my Warlock since I always do Destruction.  I don't know if it's me, or if Demonology isn't so great, but I'm dying on this character anytime more than two mobs attack, and I'm not used to my Warlock having any trouble with anything.

At this time not doing Priest, Rogue, DK, or Demon Hunter.  See me be so focused.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Everquest 2: Kung Foo Kitty

Logging in this morning I noticed you can purchase characters right from the character select screen for 1000 DB (Daybreak Cash?).   Somehow I happened to have that exactly!!!!   Plink!

One of the classes I was considering when looking through what is available was the Fighter Class Monk.   Voila!   Kung Foo Kitty is born!  She's so cute, I love the Kerra race.  You should see her making those martial arts moves.  So adorable.



Now I don't need to kill off the Evil Wizard (who is all mooshy on the inside).

I now have a Kerra Ranger, A Halfling Warden, a High Elf Fury, A Ratonga Conjuror, a Kerra Monk, and a Ratonga Wizard.

So far I'm liking the fighting abilities of the Warden and Fury best, but we'll see if that changes as the characters gain levels.

You can go home again, you can start all shiny and new again in any game.