I’ve recently started playing a D&D 4e campaign. We’re going to be playing online using a web based tabletop in combination with Google+ Hangouts. Old school pen & paper gaming meets new school online gaming.
We played through a test encounter last week and I have to admit that the combination of the bare bones tabletop provided by the fine folks at Roll20.net with the video chat of the hangout made it feel like we were all sitting around a big table throwing dice. The Roll20 site basically provides you the tabletop map and a dice roller. It’s up to the players and GM to figure out what they need to roll and when so everyone has their character sheets and the books handy just like you do around a physical table.
It took us about 3 hours to get through a single encounter but a lot of that w... Read More
If you have the new Age of Discovery expansion you can now hire mercenaries to help you out if you have to solo or to fill in a needed spot in a group. Read More
I know a lot of this has been posted elsewhere by now but due to traveling and having to upgrade my main computer to Windows 7 when I got home – the beta build is expiring so I have to upgrade to the RC – I never managed to get this stuff posted. Still, I want to get it out there and I hope I can help clear up some of the confusion that I’ve seen here and there over the last couple of days.
The first session we attended on Saturday was the premier of EverCracked, the Jace Hall documentary about the creation of EQ. I can strongly recommend that you grab a copy of this when it comes available it as hilarious as well as an interesting look at the people behind the game.
Almost 4 1/2 years after launch and I’ve got my first max level character. In fact this is my first max level character in 10 years of playing MMO’s.
Even scarier is that the next day:
Acsis only took me almost 3 years to cap.
Shortly after that Lore also managed to ding 80, I’m not sure what her played time is but I did manage to snag a screen shot of her ding
I also managed to get Sisca to 80 in Alchemy over the weekend so now I just need to get Acsis 10 more levels of Tailoring and I’ll go from 10 years of no characters at any level cap to 2 characters with both tradeskills and adventuring levels capped.
We also started doing the daily quest for Void Shards and managed to get the first 2 pieces and by the end of the week we’ll have the third... Read More
Friday night Lore had to babysit a server upgrade so she wasn’t really going to be able to devote her full attention to gaming but she did want to get some play time in. We decided this would be a perfect opportunity to check out the new tradeskill instances from TSO. She could craft and if something needed her attention it wouldn’t be a big deal for her to stop for a few minutes.
Since she hadn’t really gotten any of her other tradeskillers through the introductory quest line in the Moors she brought along Serrenial, her 80 Provisioner. This matched up well with Sisca, 67 Alchemist (Sage line), and Acsis, 52 Tailor (Outfitter line), giving us coverage of all 3 of the base skill lines. So off we went to isle of Mara.
Apparently the Gnomes in Steamfont were having an issue and could use the help of some skilled crafters so Acsis fired up a portal and we headed off to see what we could do to help. When we arrived at Gnomeland Security we spent several minutes running around looking for someone to direct us before we realized that there was a new doorway that led to an underground research workshop. Zoning in there we saw this giant dragonbot on a rampage tearing up the place. Talking to the foreman revealed that they had built the dragonbot to help defeat the bot that had gone haywire and driven them out of Ak’Anon all those years ago but, again, something had gone wrong and he was malfunctioning. Not to worry though, they had a cunning plan! They would just build a bigger and more powerful bot to beat up the bot that they had built to beat up the first bot. Gnomish logic. Oh well they were willing pay good money, they were providing all the raws and I had a druid to get me the hell out if it all went horribly pear shaped.
Fair warning, this is likely to ramble a bit.
Tuesday saw the release of the fifth EQ2 expansion – yes kids there are other MMO’s out there that don’t have War in the title anywhere and they’re still going strong. From all accounts the launch went pretty smooth, to be honest this has become expected from the EQ2 dev team so hats off to them for raising the bar.
Some initial impressions:
Despite the title this isn’t a political post.
Since Lore had to work almost every night last week I started out the week doing the D.I.R.T.Y. quests to pick up some more of the furniture available from the vendor. Since I was going to Loping Plains anyway I swung by Kelethin and picked up the writs with both Sisca and Acsis because, with the guild halls, we can use all the status we can get. I also really want to get the harvest chest amenity, which is 5 million status up front.
After doing the first round of writs I realized that Acsis had almost 1.5 million status and Sisca had another 600,000 so with the 2 million we already had in escrow we were getting close. I became very focused on getting to 5 million and spent most of the week doing the D.I.R.T.Y. quests and a round or two of writs every night.
On Friday I realized that I was halfway through 67 and 70 was within reach so I became focused on reaching 70 before the release of The Shadow Odyssey. Either Lore or I have said in the past that we wanted to push to level X but we always managed to get side tracked by something – finishing off some gray quests just to get them out of the book so we could start, grinding up tradeskills so that we could catch up our spells and gear to make easier etc. – but for some reason this time I decided to force myself to stay focused.
When I was a kid my parents were involved with a wide variety of groups from garden club to bridge groups to bowling leagues while I was involved in scouting and church groups. As an adult, back before the spread of the Internet, I was in my share of bowling leagues or softball teams. I also was a member of HAL-PC (the Houston Area League of PC Users) back in the early 90’s and not only participated in the BBS message boards but also attended the monthly meetings and other social gatherings. All of these things were really about finding a group of people that you enjoyed hanging out with and creating an excuse to hang out, laugh, joke and talk about the things you had in common.
While listening to a recent Van Hemlock podcast [27 August 2008] I came to realize that, for me at least, MMO’s... Read More
Last night we had originally planned to spend a leisurely evening killing some storms but Lore’s new Mystic, Crystalshade, was still in Sundered Splitpaw and she needed one more quest to get the glowing shard that would allow her to teleport back. So I started the storm killing with Klubya while she headed in to try and complete the solo quest in the Arena. Unfortunately, she’s never been a great soloer and hasn’t really gotten a handle on the Mystic yet so she was unable to take down the multiple encounter.
After killing off one last storm Klubya gated back and we decided to tackle the hideout mission again since it was the quickest that we had done. This basically involves going into an instance, slaughtering gnolls – any day you can slaughter gnolls is a good day as for as Klubya is concerned – then using the ever present explosive barrels to blow up their supplies. 30 minutes later we had blown up the last of their supply crates, woot, done lets get out of here…oh wait, it didn’t count for her shard?!?.
For those that don’t keep up with EQ2, especially the changes that are on Test, last week they implemented a very major change for tradeskillers. Basically they removed the tradeskill instances that had been present in each of the starting villages and moved the tradeskill stations into various shops around the major city zones (North Qeynos, South Qeynos etc.). Needless to say this has created quite the uproar in the crafting community as they feel they’re being yanked out of their comfortable instances and put on public display for no good reason. It doesn’t help that the city zones are some of the laggiest in the game, even when there are no people in them.
If you’re interested in watching the uproar check out the In Testing Feedback forums of The Development Corner section on the EQ 2 Forums, especially the Tradekill Changes, Feedback and Playtest thread.
As you might have noticed they did a play test of the new system last night and, while it lived up – or possibly down – to the players expectations as an unmitigated disaster from a gameplay perspective I also felt it was at least beneficial. After about 30 minutes of testing Glendral, the tradeskill person, basically called a halt and gathered everyone around for a Q&A session. For the first time the reasons for wanting to make the changes were given…they want to make the tradeskill community a more intregal part of the overall EQ2 community. This sounds like a noble cause but, if you play the game, you might be a bit confused I know I was. You see I already think of our crafters as an intergal part of our community if for nothing else than their breadth of knowledge about the game in addition to their good humor and company. If what they’re actually trying to do is make the crafters a more “needed” part of the game then they’re going to have to work on making the items they produce more valued by the adventurers and that’s a whole other issue.
Personally, I think they’re worried that a new player, or worse a reviewer from some website, will log in to the game and find the two major cities all but empty. I hate to break it to them but this has been the case almost from the begining. Adventurers rarely go to the city zones except to pickup a new city writ and instead conduct all of their business in the smaller villages. The crafters spend most of their time in the tradeskill instance, also located in the village of their choice so any business conducted outside of the instance is conducted in that village. Once an adventurer decides to go off hunting he leaves directly from that village or, at higher levels, zones into the “harbor” section of the city proper and immeadiatly uses the bell to be on his way. So I think the real goal here is to use the tradeskillers to make these under-utilized zones look busy. If that’s the case I think it’s a pretty crappy way to treat some of your most loyal players.
I’ve tried to remain positive though, especially since Glendral really seemed to want to get the player feedback and I know from having met many of the dev team that they really do care about the game. I just think that sometimes they get focused on something and lose site of their players.
After the break is a copy of the posting I made in the feedback thread, I’m posting it here as kind of an open letter to the EQ2 Dev team.
Sisca Read More