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Erollisi Day, flowers, and what EQ2 did wrong

Even though EQ2 may not have it’s fingers grasped so tightly in me lately, I did log in and find a pleasant (and also saddening) surprise with their set up of Erollisi day, which is Valentines day pretty much. There was no shortage of house items, two merchants stood outside the Inn in Qeynos Harbor (they may look familiar, I suggest you go in for a peek and watch their head-bobs in sync for yourself) with flowers, heart shaped pillows, and boxes of chocolates for sale. The price has gone up significantly from what I remember house items (from vendors) first going at, 1g50s-2g each piece, with well over 20 different types of items for sale. I of course bought one of everything, and two of the pillows and boxes of chocolate.

Checking my mail also proved to be a little fun, a secret admirer apparently sent me a rose (everyone in game should have gotten one) with directions to the two quests that also focus on the holiday. Unfortunately after buying the house items I wasn’t really in the mood to play any more, and logged out without experimenting with the new quests.

The reason why I say this is saddening, is that Eq2 has been concentrating on providing the quick little things that satisfy their customers, rather then the big picture. So many of my friends have now left in preference to Vanguard, which is basically still in beta when you play it there are just that many bugs. Yet they still would rather that then play in the boredom that is Eq2. Unrest is still not in game. EoF was a very nice expansion — for some. Here’s where it failed.

If you were already level 70, with a nice set of gear, who raids fairly frequently, there was just enough content and quests to get you your extra 50 aa, and to complete the few raids that there were, and then you were done. Two months after the expansion came out. Clockworks is a joke with crappy gear. Freethinkers was slightly challenging, but once you got the tactics down, it was a breeze. Emerald Halls is very difficult, and fun — however the zone is so full of trash mobs that drop nothing at all it makes it annoying and frustrating to work through just to get a chance at the names who may or may not be up. Inner Sanctum has been revamped a few times now, after people complained it was far too easy to farm the fabled class gear. Mayor Mayong being the only ‘real’ challenge in the zone.

Then there’s the gear. Very little of it is actually upgrades from KoS. Also, with KoS we saw the introduction to relic gear — where at least you had a chance to roll on the type of armor that your class wears, for example, leather. Chain. Plate. With EoF however, there is class specific gear, where you may see 10 coercer pieces drop and not have a single coercer in your guild to take advantage of the loot. It takes a lot longer for anyone to get anything they actually need. You start to get doubles fast, and unless your 24 person raid force has 2-3 of the same class, things start to go to waste, and you could be waiting literally months before you see your specific piece drop. Frustraiting.

EoF was great for people who wanted to start new characters. Who had alts. Where they could explore each of the new zones and the instances as they leveled up, and earn their aa along the way (which is so much easier now that they start at level 10.. imagin being level 70 and having to try to max out those aa from named and quests and collections that are already very grey to you, while the level 10 can do it all as they level). The fact that the level cap was not raise, seemed like a good idea at the time, it gives people a chance to catch up. However, with the mentor system in place, there’s no reason why the level cap should have stayed at 70. Having your friends catch up is no longer an issue.

I can’t speak for other servers or other players, just what I’ve seen and experienced myself. On Lucan D’Lere the server is practically dead. The 5 ‘hardcore’ raid guilds have diminished down to one. Players, leaders, and members leaving for other servers and other games. Where as I saw Eq1 running strong when I joined it after it had already been live for 5 years, I do not see the same for Eq2 and SoE is going to have to implement drastic measures if they want to hold their audience. Vanguard may be buggy, but it’s also a huge new world, with unique methods of battle, harvesting, crafting, diplomacy, and various other things. It’s complex, which is what the hardcore Eq2 crowd is looking for. Games like WoW may have a huge player base, but the game is not complex lets be frank.

Anyhow, that’s enough of that rant. It was nice to be back in Eq2, but I don’t see it keeping me there any longer. I’ll be keeping my account open since I’ve got station access (for now) and it lets me play both Eq2 and Vanguard, we’ll see where it goes.

Vgplayers.com – oh how I love you

A partial screen shot from http://www.vgplayers.com

One thing I loved about eq2 (when they finally implemented it) was their leader boards. I like to keep track of my characters, see where they’ve been, where they got their levels, where they are in comparison to everyone else on their server and even world wide. It’s fun, and gives me little baby goals.

So I was very happy to see it carried over to Vanguard, and done so very well. I looked up my character Tashina just to see what things looked like. The blog, is an awesome idea. It auto-updates every time your character does something of significance, such as hitting level 5, or 10, discovering an item. The portraits are a neat feature that let you update from in game as well. It would be great to see more of these sorts of forums set up for other MMO’s, I’m pretty sure WoW doesn’t have anything at all like that.

I started a new bloodmage, level 5 so far and I may have stumbled into my new favorite class. They use blood points, basically every offensive attack you do has a reward of blood points. When you cast a heal after accumulating some of these points, the base heal gains a bonus. It strikes me as a combination between healer and necromancer. I eat some of my health to cast a dot, then heat the mobs health and regain some of my own as a heal. Very fun to say the least. They also wear cloth, making them slightly weaker then the other healer types who mainly wear leather chain or plate, but their abilities more then compensate for this.

Stuck on you… literally

Tashina, level 6 necromancer, stuck on a chair

Encountered my first stuck character issue last night, there’s a little blue chair in front of me while I’m talking to this quest npc, even though it doesn’t look like I’m really that close to it, I found (after trying to wiggle around) that I couldn’t, I’d some how latched myself onto the dang thing! Thankfully there is a /stuck command, and a /stuck yes confirmation command. They take notes on where you get stuck and (hopefully) fix it some time in the future. A minute or so later and I was ported to a safe(r) location to continue my adventuring.

The way mobs display their difficulty is some what new to me, and confusing. It works through a method of coloured dots. I haven’t seen anything higher then two dots yet, and I can handle those that are two levels higher then me and yellow, so I assume those are still solo mobs. I know the colours work pretty much the same way they do in any MMO, blue is lower then you, white is even, yellow is moderate difficulty, and red is dangerous to attempt. The dots throw me off though.

Necromancer is quite fun. There are of course some bugs. On occasion my pet will fall through the world and I’ll lose him. Some times (often) the mobs he’s fighting will fall through the world. I can’t see if he has any buffs on him nor do I even know if I can actually buff him, I can cast the spell but no icon flashes over his head.

Battle is pretty much the same as any other game with necromancers. You kill over time, with powerful dots. I have three dots now, one direct damage spell, and a fear. I’m still only level 6, but I did get to 25 diplomacy before I encountered one I can’t quite beat yet. I seem to have a general grasp on the game, but it’s hard to explain, it’s really one of those things you have to learn and read about on your own. There are some good tutorials out there though.

Also got myself some diplomacy gear, though you don’t get any special bags or anything to keep the spare stuff in, so that’s a little annoying. I finally understand what it means when you try to engage in diplomacy and get the message that it requires a certain amount of presence with the people before you can talk to them.

Now if only the graphic engines ran some what better..

It’s fun to play with dead things..

 

Level 5 Dark Elf Necromancer, Tashina

Updates!

Vanguard: Loving diplomacy. Easy to see how people can get wrapped up in it. I haven’t quite figured out diplomacy gear yet, but I’ll get to that. My skill is only 10 so far. I know I know that’s nothing in the grand scheme of things. But I’m having fun doing it, which is what matters, right? My necromancer is on her way to 6. I like the slower paced leveling I seem to be doing. I still have not figured out crafting. Harvesting is easier now, though there’s not that many nodes. The character models are slowly growing on me. Still lots of bugs and today the graphic glitches were everywhere. /flush is still my favorite command. All in all the game as a slight hold on me at least. More so then Eq2 but not as much as WoW.

World of Warcraft: My priest is sort of at a stand still. I spent too much time on her right away I think and now I’m bored. That always happens to me in WoW, and the server I’m on is just.. well. Lots of ‘interesting’ people on there, we’ll say. So I’ve started a new hunter and a new warlock and a new uh mage! Just to play around on. I love all those classes and aside from the hunter I’ve never leveled them very far. So I’ll try to work the others up and work my crafts and dabble in it when I’m in the mood.

EverQuestII: Account is still open, even though I think I’ve logged in twice maybe in the past month. The new video card I have lets me run around every zone in extreme quality, the game looks brand new and still it’s not quite enough to entice me into playing more. Lucan D’Lere is a small server that’s getting smaller by the day. Old friends are moving on, either to Vanguard or new servers. Raid guilds are breaking apart so much so that there’s only one or two left any more (top end raid guilds) and people are left floundering about. In my opinion, LDL needs to get merged into AB (the other RP server) or it’s going to just simply die. There’s barely a population there any more and it reminds me of Eq1.

All in all the games are treating me well. Don’t think I’ll branch off into anything else, I like what I have. I’ve always flittered from EQ2/WoW since either of them came out, becoming bored of one or the other and then having my interest piqued again, so it’s no surprise that I’m doing it now. As a side note. I love what Vanguard’s done with their vgplayer.com site. It’s wonderful. The detail that I can look at my character stats in, is very nice. Even though it doesn’t seem to be updated too frequently since my characters are not listed there except for two that I’ve already deleted.

In any case, 3 more days and I’ll be back home at my own place. Looking forward to that! Not that I mind house sitting, I hope my folks are enjoying their cruise, but it’s true. There is no place like home.

Diplomacy and Crafting

Tashia, level 3 wood elf Shaman

I decided to try another class last night. There’s certainly no shortage of choices. Tashia, my level 3 shaman was fun to play. The starting area was absolutely beautiful, a glade of sorts. After two fast quests they send you in further towards a city, right away. Where as my necromancer was level 5 and still hadn’t seen any cities, the shaman wandered right into it.

Diplomacy. The concept sounds like a lot of fun. I even managed to get a title by doing some of the quests, I’m now “Devotee Tashia of the Wind” (whether that’s due to her ability to blow a lot of hot air around, or some other reason has yet to be proven). It makes me feel like I’m playing Yugioh or some other card game. I know there are tactics to it, and rules, but I basically just go with my instinct and play whatever card I think will work. I haven’t figured out how to tell what card set up to go in there with yet. I typically try a few, if they don’t seem to be the right combination, I switch them out. I have 12 cards to my deck now, and can only use 5 (or is it 6?), so it’s always fun to decide which ones to play. After I got the title (and gloves that give +1 inspiration!) I decided to wander around, I had a quest for crafting.

Crafting was.. interesting. It’s complicated. Not to mention the fact that you keep seperate sets of clothing depending on what you’re doing. So not only do you have an adventuring set that allows you to kill foes, but you have a diplomacy set, and a crafting set. Each set gives you attributes for the skills you’re going to be using in that field. Ran around and got my tool belt and tools and decided to go with the one that lets you make boats and what not. Boats? I had to take a second look at that, it certainly seems fun.

Made a piece of wood! I win at life.

Basically you start the crafting process, and you’re allocated points. Each skill you need to use takes up a certain amount of points. You need to go through the entire crafting process and not run out of points before you hit the end. The more points you spend on skills (and still hit the end) the better quality the item you make is. I haven’t started harvesting yet, I’ll attempt that another time.

Still lots of bugs. At one point my screen depending on where I stood was just a mesh of black lines. When the crafting tips came up they blurred and mushed together so I couldn’t read them any more. Less lag, but shesh still a lot of bugs.

Laying Down the Law

My little necromancer, Misako, laying down the law

Since today is Tuesday and it was the weekly 8+ hour down time for WoW, I decided to play on Vanguard for a little bit (WoW has been attempting to do live patches, every second week or so it seems, which are very nice, when they take place at least. They’ve been having Tuesday patching for as long as I can remember now). Anyhow.

I decided to make a necromancer. According to the manual they sounded pretty fun. I like pet classes typically. So, Misako was created. Nothing’s changed in the character models, they’re still horribly ugly. Just. Yeah. It does grow on you after a while I admit, but it’s still just… ugh.

So I did the beginning quests again, the same ones I’d done on my blood mage — low and behold, there were updates, seems a patch took place.

The first thing I noticed, that I complained about yesterday, was the spells being cast. Yesterday as I played, I’d cast a spell, watch the cast timer go – it would land and then I’d see the graphic (albeit small) go off. So my character basically looked as though she was spending 90% of her time in combat just standing around. Today, that’s changed. The graphic for the spell goes off as you cast the spell and watch the casting bar do it’s thing. A huge upgrade for me, I like this much better, even if the spell graphics are simplistic. I don’t need big complicated lag-inducing spell graphics. I just wanted something going off as I cast it, rather then afterwards.

Played on balance with little issues at all. Doors still lag me horribly. Love the way I actually have to turn on my torch at night or else I can’t see more then a few paces in front of me. In Eq2 there are torches that give off light, but you never ever had to use them.

Ran around the Dallerjuba Village and completed various quests. I always take the time to read through them the first time, they were not too bad. They were your typical MMO type quests. Go investigate such and such a place, go slaughter such and such a beast, go find such and such a missing article. Along the way I got some small gear upgrades and coin, and the little necromancer hit level 5.

So the game is not utterly hopeless, I just wish it was a little more refined. I’m sure it will come in time, they do seem to be making progress.

I did notice that the man mounted on a dragon at the beginning of the game did not disappear from my screen like he did yesterday every time I approached him, however every time I walked up to a particular beast and ordered my pet to attack it, it slipped under the world from my view.

Speaking of which, pets are.. interesting. To say the least. I haven’t found a way to hotkey the pet attack key yet, I’m sure I can find a key binding for it though. I hate having to mouse click for my pet to attack. Your pet (necromancer pets at least) are also equipped with a skill called “sneer” which is basically their taunt, and you have to physically click it in order to set it off.

The pet comes with the same basic stances that every pet gets. Protect you, protect themselves, follow, stay, guard. Those sorts of things. I assumed they could be toggled some how, but hitting them didn’t change the graphics or what my pet did it seemed. I ordered it to protect me and instead he stood by staring while I got slaughtered. There’s also two slots for “grafting”. I assume this means I can graft other parts or something onto my pet.. some how. Nothing at all was explained to me about it, so I really don’t have even the faintest ideas of how this works. I figure I’ll work it out as I go.

All in all, the game has potential, like I already mentioned.

First impressions of Vanguard

My first human

So. Even though I know Vanguard has issues, I’ve heard about them almost none stop for months now, I decided to give it a shot. It’s part of my station access deal which I actually like. $24.99 a month and I have both Vanguard and EQ2 on there. Gives me some extra characters as well, and for EQ2 it means the adventure packs are free of charge. I’m expecting this price to go up over time though.

The game is pretty. I can run it very well on balanced settings, and if I go one higher I can still play but get a little lag. I have a brand new video card though, before I got it the game was barely moving at all. The world is pretty, but I found it lacking any sort of opening story. I sort of felt like I was plunked down “here you go, we need you to kill scorpions and collect weeds” right away. Only one of the ‘starter’ places seemed to have a story line where you work and beat some soldiers and then betray the emperor and get stranded naked in the next little area. I wish every starting character had something like that.

The games UI is exactly like WoW. Makes me wonder if they had to pay royalties it looks so much alike. In fact, a lot of it is the same. You hit escape to bring up the menu much like WoW.

I don’t like the fact that as you cast a spell, there is no graphic at all. It looks like you’re standing still until .05 seconds before the spell lands. So for half of my battles I look like I’m just glancing off into the distance.

The characters themselves.. well. They’re horribly ugly. Try typing the /sit command, and see what I mean. Who on earth actually sits like that? With their arms jutted out at 90 degree angles. In an mmo world, looks matter a great deal. Not that we’re all shallow and selfish people, but you want to play something that looks good, lets face it. Even if your view of what looks good verses someone else’ view is completely different.

I only played for ten minutes or so before I decided to give it a break. My eyes were starting to hurt from looking at the screen. Is there a mini map? Mine seemed to be missing the whole time, maybe we don’t get one and I just never noticed. It’s frustraiting to remember where my quests came from. Telling the level of some things was annoying too as I tried more then once to take on something one or two levels higher and they squished me soundly. I like both EQ2’s and WoW’s method of displaying mob level.

Anyhow, we’ll see how it goes. For now I’m on 30 days free before they start charging for it. It has potential, everyone I know says that. But who wants to wait 6 months for a game that’s already released to finally get some where.

60 Sage (finally)

Faydai manages to hit level 60 sage

Finally out of the dreaded succulent root teir (on one character at least) and onto T7! I’m quite happy with that. It brings my total crafters (who also all adventure) to 70 provisioner, 66 jeweler, 60 woodworker, 60 sage 50 alchemist and 29 tailor. I really should try to grind the jeweler the last few levels it takes to level her to 70, I’ve just been slacking. That goes for the woodworker too. When you only get 1-2 recipes a level though, there’s no motivation besides grinding out guild writs which can be.. well, it’s just plain boring.

You may have noticed for the past week or so that any time you tried to log into character select directly (it may have only been an issue on Lucan D’Lere, I’m not sure) it would give a message that said “finding character (name of server here)” and instead of loading in the character of your choice, it would try to find the name of your server as a character name, and boot you to the character select screen. I found this mildly annoying as I’d much rather just log in a particular character then having to go through the log in screen and select from the 6 I have. Today though, there was a small download to fix that (finally). The Eq2 servers have been awful lately. There’s speculation that it’s due to Vanguard servers coming up in preparation for the big opening day, but I’ve really no clue. Most have experienced excess lag, and just little weird bugs going around. It’s all of these small annoyances though that eventually add up.

Hello there Bork!

Stargrace’ newest house pet, Bork

I typically don’t keep house pets in Eq2. I find they cause a whole lot of lag, and wander around in the most absurd places. Like the time I came home to find Mittens my cat drowning herself in my vat of eggnog on the dining room table. That was not fun to explain to company. Bork on the other hand, was far too irresistible. He comes from the Rujarkian Blademaster quest, from a semi-rare tablet that drops off of (you guessed it) the rujarkian blademaster himself, located in the cleffs of rujark. I can’t remember how I ended up with one, I must have been smaller or mentored or something. Needless to say the quest was still a pain to do, and he sits proudly watching over my home now.

Computer is up and running! Took a lot of fixing last night and a whole lot of reinstalling. A huge huge thank you to Shadowgeist for getting most of it done for me while I groaned over all of the missing pieces I’d have to install later. Windows reinstalled and we’re crash free (thus far, knock on wood!) and the bad hard drive error went away after it was formatted. If I wanted to play Vanguard I suppose the up side is that I have room for it now. Too bad I’m not interested. I copied over my Eq2 and WoW games, since I dreaded having to reinstall and patch those things. 8 CD’s for WoW and I’m not even sure how many for Eq2, not to mention the last two expansions I downloaded digitally and don’t even have disks for. Just the thought of it makes me shudder.

Played WoW yesterday off and on while my computer was down, the hunter (which is a solo type class that I’ve always adored, mostly for farming. Everything is ten times easier with a pet) managed to grab level 11. Which means she has her pet now, wuwu! I’m excited about that. I’ll probably play her until I get bored and then switch back to the priest. I still haven’t even looked at my 40+ characters yet, having too much fun with the new zones and content.

In Eq2 I harvested. Since the crafting revamps (which are now all but a distant memory that us crafters lament over, missing the old methods of crafting) everyone goes through a whole lot of raws. I miss the old way. I miss sub components. There, you heard me say it! I actually miss making the 4-5 pieces that were required to make the finished product. At least it was a way to grind through the dreary levels. Hopefully my tailor gets to 30 today so I can move on from the dreaded T3 (dreaded because you’re still using level 10 +durability buffs and they’re grey, and combines hurt) and move on to something a little more productive. The sage should hit 60 today as well. Here’s hoping!

Stupid computers

As happens with computers it seems, once you buy one new piece, the rest falls apart. So, after buying the new monitor I now sport, my drive has decided to stop working on me. How nice. 3 random reboots and 5 crashes later, a disk scan and a defrag and virus scan and a whole lot of other tests to see what was the issue, Shadowgeist determined that it was indeed the drive while I pouted and stomped my foot.

Granted, the drive was almost 5 years old, and I do use my computer quite heavily every day, but still it’s disheartening. Especially knowing I’ll get to re-install everything that was on it. Including WoW and EQ2 and all their patches and expansions and adventure packs. Ew.

So I’m on the 2nd computer for now. Which of course is not nearly as nice as mine (ok it is just as nice, but I miss my keyboard and my computer chair and my UI on games and all the rest already) to update my blog. I miss the off line blog updater I was using too. Just little inconveniences.  No wonder I hate computers.

So if there’s a lack of posts (there shouldn’t be, I imagin it’ll be fixed late tonight or early tomorrow) well, at least know that I’m blogging in mind!

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