Monthly Archives: May 2010

Red Dead Redemption

I play games. I’ve done so since the late 80’s starting with a vic 64. Got onto PC with my 8086 but I own every single console out there and I do find some time playing games on them. With one exception – Wii. It’s not my thing and it has nothing to do with the graphics either. It’s just a very bad control scheme to me.

While DDO have consumed a lot of my gaming time I do switch to other games as well; latest being borderlands and even GTA IV on my PC.

I don’t know what got into me, but I saw a commercial for Red Dead Redemption and watch a walk through on the TV in one of those gaming shows. And it seemed to appeal to me a lot more than it’s modern cousin GTA. Maybe it’s because I’ve played GTA in it’s many version and outside story and graphics the basics are the same. Be a criminal, do criminal stuff and get tired of doing mission and freeform driving, stealing, killing people and cops.

So what’s so different when it comes to ‘GTA’ in wild west? I don’t know if it’s the compelling story, handling horses, breaking in horses, capturing wild horses, killing all sorts of animals for meat, feathers or skins or just do whatever freform stuff you’d like to do either good or bad.

Like randomly riding around coming across a cannibal trying to kill and eat a kidnapped woman. Or running into a guy challening you to shoot so many birds within a time limit. Or by mistake killing a regular person (not a bad guy) and get a possy on you, outrunning it but still have a bounty on you that you can pay off or use a pardon letter to get rid off (that you can find in outlaw camps).

There’s something really nice about having the freedom to do whatever you like and to follow a mission. To buy a rabbit foot for luck (when pulling loot) and to get a 2 barelled shot gun or maybe a sniper rifle. To help a man being attacked by wild dogs and kill em. Or help a prospecter ambushed by a couple of bandits and get a treasure map as payment. (I haven’t found or started looking for the treasure but it does sound fun).

Or survive and win a duel against some trashtalking hick. And then read about your exploits in the newspapor as you gain fame or infamy.

Righ where it hurts

Did I just imagine something?

I’ve run sins of attrition twice before so this was my third time. We ran it on normal. I don’t have a screen shot on how many times we died, but it was painful – very painful.

It was so painful that I felt like a bad noobie healer. Despite using heal mass and cure light mass (and spot heals) 2 pots and one personal shrine we got smacked around more than a waitress @ss in a sleazy bar.

It was pretty darn bad. And on top of that we managed to run into every single trap we could find; 2 traps that flings you up in the air into a bunch of pikes. Check.

Pikes, spikes and giant pointy blades out of the ground. Check.

Going the wrong way all over the place. Check.

Ending kind of a anti climax after having died so many times along the way that we had to stop and rest several times to remove the death penalties. Check.

I haven’t repaired my stuff yet – and I do feel that it’s going to be many thousands and possibly some perma damage.

It’s ironic though – the other 2 times wasn’t as bad and I can’t remember anyone dying like that.

Maybe I just lost my mojo J

What’s in an event?

Every step you take is another step on the journey of something. Like building the kind of toon you can truly face all unknown challenges with. Or waiting for the dryer to stop beating the metallic zipper against the inside of the drum.

3-4 months ago I had the brilliant idea of making a permanent blur item. Back then I was playing around with different concept as to what I wanted to be able to do. My SP cloak filled a definite need for my divine caster, but my next item had to be a little bit more than a SP reservoir – more like an item that I could use with any class I might TR to.

So greater fire resist, +5 lightning and +10 fire with 2 displacement clickies and permanent blur was finally completed about 3-4 shroud runs ago.

Cleansing it didn’t happen with much fanfare, but it certainly began under dramatic circumstances. Like our only caster DC’d in the beginning of round 1 and me and another healer picking up the slack to kill the critters coming out of the portals. We began round 2 without caster trying to figure out how to destroy the crystal without a good firewall.

Luckily the caster finally came back and after a couple of really shaky trials and errors we managed to survive it and move on.

3-5 wasn’t all that eventful – we managed fine without any further snafus and I unceremoniously charged a high stone – loaded the stone of cleansing, the power stone and the item in the altar and crunched it.

So now I can use my GS cloak and the goggles at the same time.

Earth didn’t shake – no eclipse or volcanic eruption; just the subtle short step towards something that I haven’t yet defined.

In other games there are endings. Some games that are very long have a definite end. You get off the island, you rule the world or you finally get off that spaceship and planet before you’re turned into another walking dead alien infested cadaver. And there are endings here as well. Each quest we do, each items we get and each time we do ToD we walk towards the end. But it isn’t the end. We can reincarnate and walk it all over again, but this time a little faster because we have everything we think we need.

We find a ring that fills a gap until we find the ring we really want. We craft the weapon and finally make it complete. We dream of other things, items and we conquer quests and challenges with fewer resources spent and with less problems each time.

So when does it end?

When the light is turned off in a server room somewhere. A hard drive formatted – a memory dumped.

When a man called a dev, throws his jacket over the shoulder, pick up the box of memories, look out the window and reminisce about the good old days. The level with the free floating tree. The issues with objects that can only have so many lights on them.

But not today. Today I’m just happy I got this done. Tomorrow there’s raids and after that something else. I eagerly await module five and potential new challenges. Then Module 6 and everything else and the light stays on in the server room. The only reason mr Dev flings his jacked over a shoulder is because he’s going home after a long day of fine tuning the aspect of next release so that we here and now – can imagine what’s next.

Things we like

I sometimes end up blabbing with people before or after a quests; things we don’t like, things we like or the ‘in your face’ where people show what cool items they have and I end up showing them some sturdy D bolts, we also talk about quests we hate. Like I HATE the pit and coal chamber – a HATRED I think a lot of us share. And there are of course always some that love it because they know it like the back of their hand and have developed strategies that makes them manageble and doesn’t take a million years.

I like soloing a new invasion for the same reason I like to solo irestone (back when I was low level). They’re fairly large quests but can be over in 30-45 minutes. There’s a lot of different opponents that require solid tactics and it can be very rewarding; 5+ chests in each and in the case of a new invasion – shroud mats and special named ones.

You’re not going to get rich farming irestone, but you are going to get a decent amount of XP and appropriate level stuff that you can either sell or keep.

I can think of several similar quests and wilderness – that are lucrative, can be finished within an hour despite a certain randomness and provide enough XP to be worth it.

I prefer to do a new invasion over a weapons shipment. You can solo both and both have a certain amount of linearity to them, but the pace of the weapon shipment is pretty slow and there’s only one chest in the end.

You could argue the same about a new invasion due to the random nature of the 3 floors, but unless you stand around a lot you’ll find critters in almost every room, a couple of intense ambushes and several rare encounters on each floor – requiring many different tactics and it’s hectic and intense. You could of course use invisibility and skip straight through most of it. Or you could make the best of it and loot as many chests as possible for maximum run.

A new Invasion unlike most of the other Amrath quest is very straight forward and solo friendly. I’m not saying it’s easy – but you’re not required to pull timed levers, solve puzzles or deal with traps. It’s smack heads, run through a labyrinth for 4 floors with progressively tougher critters. And if you’re well balanced and have enough heals to stay the course, you’ll have a definite blast. It is timed – 1 hour 30 minutes, but for most part you’ll be ready to drop down to the final boss with about 45 to an hour left on the clock.

Only downside is the final boss. It’s easier for someone who can heal and AOE themselves through it. It’s tougher to DPS the devil since there’s a lot of curse wounds involved and the devil hits pretty hard. I can very much imagine it being a greater challenge for a solo fighter type class than it is for a caster class. But that’s why each quest represent a different challenge for different classes. It’s fully possible that I’ll find other favorite quests as I TR to a melee class and quests I once loved becomes hated.

 

 

Mired in Kobolds but slapped by a elder dragon

I remember running mired in Kobold around 14-15 or so when the new F2P quests were released. I read and heard how people had been playing them and literary raved about these new quests. I ended up playing all of it; the tavern with the madness theme was amusing and the Acid Wit (played only once) interesting.

We all wiped on Mired in Kobold because after having beaten the young dragon, the group decided despite the suggestion of the one who had run it before to kill the elder.

Safe to say I and caster were the only one left in the end and I only survived due to my healing (until running out of SP). And it’s true – we didn’t have the DPS to even scratch it’s back.

I didn’t play it again until today since there was no real reason too; after all there are no named drops, I don’t care about XP and I can find better loot running other quests and wilderness. But I was curious – what would it take for me to complete it? At 13 it’s well below my 20 levels  so purely out of a level perspective I’m well above most critters. That meant that the Kobolds and the younger dragon didn’t really represent any problems. A few BB’s later and I had my sight on the pile of gold and the final battle.

What made me stupid wasn’t so much the fact that I was armed with buffs and such and had 2500 SP worth of kiting, but that I didn’t realize the kind of arsenal and MASSIVE amount of HP that the dragon have.

I did use the crystals to stun it and then hit it as much as possible, but that accounts for maybe 10 percent of its HP (if you’re lucky) and the rest is the slog.

Plus it likes to de-buff you and have you run through spike growths that slows you down. Luckily I had a great acid resist ring I could use so I at least could avoid some damage. 4 Major mem pots later (I should have shrined right before starting it and had the bauble to use) and countless heals and BB’s later the elder dragon died with a very anti-climactic 0 percent XP.

It was painful – I got 2 more chests which didn’t pay for the damage to my equipment but I managed to solo the monstrosity only due to use of more resources than it was worth.

But I will use this as a watermark. My hope, like I did with a new invasion and countless other quest is to adopt a tactic using my items to overcome, adapt and finally beat the dragon without using any pots.

If the worst I can face are elder dragons and devil bosses and I can survive them, than anything else that I face will be more than manageable.

As a footnote I still hate the lich in the separate Deleras quest where the floor slowly falls out and it’s VERY tolerant to your light damage.

I hate it not so much because I can’t kill it – it’s because I don’t have the spells to really trounce it like any caster could. And the fact that the darn floor falls out and I can’t beat it’s ugly head off. So no satisfaction.

Reavers, VoD and Hound – Ooooh Myyyyyyyyy

Yesterday was a very busy raid day. I wanted to run ToD, but ended up running 3 other raids instead including a Gianthold Loot run.

And I didn’t even have to waste potsin VoD, which is almost impossible despite heal scrolls. But we had 2 good healers (I include myself of course).

While I didn’t pull anything named out of VoD or Hound (those chests are cursed to me) I did pull the necklace with lightning resist out of Reavers. Not bad – greater lightning resist with prot +4 and 3 lightning clickies. With my greater cold resist and greater acid resist ring – I’m covered when it comes to most elemental damage.

That’s not really an issue for my FvS since he can either use spells to boost all elemental protections and also have 3 class boosts to pick from (and I picked Acid, Fire and cold).

But I’m thinking TR – having the ability to use rings and such to help me seems like a good idea for a fighter or barbarian.

I still want to get ToD done – I don’t know why. I just feel like it I guess.

YEAH! 20th run…but no cigarr

Temptation is the mother of all grief; I know what I needed to take but the greedy greasy gremlin in me saw all those wonderful +3 tomes and ‘wantz it’.

Yes – on my 20th shroud run I eagerly shook hand with the quest giver – toasted a drink. Nixed to marry his daughter (something about Evilyn the hideous) and succeeded my diplomatic roll with a 18 plus whatever ridiculous skill score I might have. It was a close one. But he opened up is coat and offered me an assortment of +2 and +3 and one stone of cleansing.

So I took the stone. I had too – the infernal remembering to switch between my SP cloak and GS goggles is becoming a pain. I mean we’re talking 300SP so it’s not some small insignificant number. And it does pay dividends when used; like running smack through a horde of clay golems in Rainbow with displacement – especially when you get surrounded by a bunch of critters while harried trying to kite them through a blade barrier. You get smacked; less so with a 50% miss chance. Even 20.

Plus it helps to have 50 in fire resist against fire ellies and the end boss.

Which reminds me that I really want firestorm greaves. I don’t know why. It’s some kind of primal ‘I don’t want to be a human BBQ’. Plus I’ve noticed that taking less fire damage in some key quests is a good thing.

Like failing once in shroud 4 when the devil kept kicking me as a healer because my mass heal pulled to much agro. I have close to 400HP when optimized but that’s a drop in the bucket when high end bosses decide to focus on you.

Like in VoD – when your healing earns you the ‘chains of not being able to walk’ – those are fun. There goes the devil, chains you to the ground while pounding you with claws, lightning and everything it feels like.

I’ve tried to diplo the dude to remove agro – but I’m not sure it works. It would be cool tho – but practically I don’t know how that works. I mean I can understand intimidate; like ‘hey you ugly mother – I once dated someone that looked like your wife’.

But what do you do when you diplo someone that just chained you to the ground and decided to make you a chew toy?

‘Hey – take the construct over there – much yummier. I’m not nearly as meaty’.

I dunno – the end result after yesterdays shroud is that I have to run another shroud to cleanse my GS goggles at the last altar. It doesn’t exactly feel like ‘WOOOHOOOOOO you just completed shroud run 20!!!!! – now wait another shroud run, get your hands on a high power stone and cleanse it after you’re done – now be gone because your 20th wasn’t that special’

I’m kidding of course; while some are on their 100th shroud run ( if you do 50th you should get a +3 Tome as a choice and if you’re doing your 100th there should be several choices of +4 tomes) I’m just happy that I’m one step away from cleansing the item.

Right now I’m going for 40 before TRing – in that time I hope to be able to get all other raids to 20 including ToD. Then I’ll have the agonizing choice of picking what class I really want to grind through. I’m thinking ranger, but who knows.

Thinking

So it made me thinking; I read a post about running things on casual and how that might be perceived as ‘wrong’ and that the author made a note out of avoiding anyone who created a group to run on casual and how casual should be restricted to solo or duo play only.

Not to attack the authors view point; I think running things on casual is just fine.

The elitist in me would like to run everything on Elite and Epic. That’s some kind of  badge to hang on the wall. Practically it only means 2 things; more XP and higher end loot. In some cases it leads to a better chance to pull a named or specific items, but for most parts it doesn’t (I think the eye of the titan is an exception where the eardweller only drops on hard and elite with twice the chance on elite) but in all other cases normal through elite have the same drop chance while casual might not.

That would be mats for making GS items and the stone (Vale quests) and even runes in Reavers (I got skunked running Enter Kobold on casual but got both runes running the monastery).

I have run with a k!ck@ss guy many times that created a guild around running TOR on casual. He have checked and he statistically pull the scales as many if not more times on casual than on normal.

To me running casual usually servers one purpose; accomplishing a goal. I don’t do it because I’m bad at the game – I do it if I know it will yield a similar result as running it on anything else. While running something on Elite is a prestige thing, if I can get away accomplishing my goal (let’s say get a scale) taking less time and damage to my equipment I will gladly give up the prestige. I don’t feel at all that bad about running something on a lower difficulty if I have to grind for stuff anyways. If I knew for a fact that I had triple the chance to get a scale or named item by running it on elite I would. That means less grinding and me going onto bigger and better things.

I’ve run with groups that argued running shroud on elite. Because you can get better random drops – not that you have a greater chance at material. No thanks. I don’t run shroud for the anarchic burst long bow. I run it for the devil scales and such. I run it so I can get a stone of cleansing and get tier 3 on all my items. I don’t run it because it’s a love thing; I run it because every 3 days I’ll have another chance to get another completion done. I run mostly GH Reavers on Elite and partly because reavers on anything else is so simple. So it wouldn’t necessarily be that quicker by running it on casual.

I’ve always felt that the difficulty scale of things always divide people into a not good enough mentality to best of the best. Yet I walk around with some pretty darn good equipment and it does what I and others need it to do and that has more to do with my ability to play the role I take on, rather than my above the rubes attitude.

I think casual is a good thing; it allows people to waste less time doing something over a steep curve towards elitedoom. Elite is still there and now Epic. Plenty of room for elite players to get their A game on and there’s absolutely no need to restrict casual to 2 or less players since there’s a very slim chance that anyone that plays elite only will ever play casual anyways.

It’s kind of like a sand flavored ice-cream; it’s not for everyone but if it’s financially viable I think someone should go ahead and invent it. Despite the vanilla or chocolate ice-cream fanatics. They will never appreciate the texture (ask any 1 year old and they’ll agree with it – ask my dog about crayons – and she’ll get statistically fanatic about it).

Slogs and rants

Ran both a new invasion and Amrath solo (amongst others). Both turned into very sloppy bare knuckle fist events.

Perhaps I’m getting a little too impressed with my ‘permanent blur’ item but the biggest reason why a new invasion turned into such a slog was because I ended up bouncing into several rare mini bosses including the beholder.

Safe to say; nothing sucks your mana like first bouncing into the rare Orthon (you can’t easily kite him through BB’s and his save against energy drain is pretty high) and running low on SP and being de-buffed by the beholder. I ended up drinking 2 pots; not exactly something I wanted to do. Furthermore – I ran into no less than 3 ambushes on the second level. That’s when you end up teleported into the middle of a room full of critters. The first was by my own making; found the portal to the second level which always leads to the middle of an ambush and I’ve ran into other ambushes before – but not 2. It’s kind of like running Rainbow and dropping into a lava pit with several elder fire ellies. There’s the trap randomly placed inside the quest and then there’s the ‘trap’ possibility by the only shrine. The odds of actually running into 2 random ambushes is slim, but perfectly fitting if you have the long slog ahead of you.

I had to suck down the second pot right before I could shrine on the third level. It appears that I ran out of SP and faced a clay golem without a Blade Barrier. I don’t have fancy clay golem killer weapon so my option was to plink away with my GS rapier or drink a pot and BB it to death.

Things didn’t exactly get better from there; I ran into the rare spell caster and managed to pull the rare Troll at the same time. So choking on acid and fire and unable to really see I tried to kite both of them as much as possible while avoiding the triple smack down from the troll. Try doing that and energy drain the caster at the same time while avoiding getting lost in the fog of fire and acid. Not complaining; 2 rares in one go – only thing is that the troll had to come from somewhere and it wasn’t exactly next door. I spent a good 5 minutes trying to backtrack my steps to where I’d pulled it before I found the chest.

The end boss died fairly uneventful and compared to the over hour brutal blow by blow inching along, it was a 5 minute kite through blade barriers without getting curse wound even once.

Amrath felt a little like that too – generally it’s kind of painful anyways and mostly because when you start BBing the rares you still have to take more than one hit to kite them around. The upside was the new found use of invisibility. That allows me to skip by most roaming critters without pulling the whole lot with me and suffer level 5 dungeon alerts. I did my regular loop of going up by the ridge where you have the Weapon Shipment quest to hit the rare Orthon (wasn’t there) but I ran into the smaller devil below by the other quest. I also ran into the larger Devil by the battleforged and tried desperately to lay down enough BB’s to kite him around in it. But I ended up on my back most of the time when the battleforged smacked around.

Things didn’t get better By the battle golem – a darn trog shaman kept laying down BB’s of his own and the nearby battleforged kept having me land on my @ss every 10 seconds. While the battle golem fell, the stupid sergeant bearded devil and a couple of trog stalkers kept evading the BB’s.

I was literary down to a couple of 100 SP when I hit the shrine by the second battleforged and I had to slog through the thick of all of it and ontop of that the battleforged decided that it didn’t like me very much. I rounded it all off by kiting the deamon doggie rare nearby through an un-eventful BB by lowering its save and HP using a couple of energy drains. Luck had it (finally) that the trogs nearby didn’t get involved. Always a pain having to avoid stalkers since they hit you for con damage and have evasion. Only way to kill em is to first energy drain them a couple of times and have them slice themselves in BB’s or go up and close and repair constant con damage while trying to beat them down.

It all works, but it’s a lot of finger dexterity to try to hop backwards and energy drain a trog. Plus paying thousands of gold to repair damage when you sometimes get completely skunked on rares is a little bit of a painful lottery to suffer through. At least both of those events paid for itself and I didn’t suffer any permanent item damage.

Hopefully I’ll be able to do my 20th shroud run tonight and 5th ToD for another chance at the warchanter ring (and one more trophy closer to upgrading my warpriest ring).

On a different note I read the trickle of update 5 info coming out. While nothing really affects me (Favored Soul), there was one part of it that didn’t come as a surprise. The Sentinel quest will now drop Token ‘fragments’. The excuse for not including tokens (when Sentinels was released) were because the quests wasn’t considered long enough. Silly I know, since some other Epic Quests are even shorter, such as VON 1. They’re currently re-aveluating dropping more or less tokens according to the length of the quests so in other words; some like VON 1 will probably get fragments and others like an offering of Blood or the tomb of the Lich King might get 2 full tokens.

Never mind the fact that the scroll, seal and shard system is broken – lets take the only reason why people play VON 1 and remove the insentive. Heaven actually forbid that tokens – the least valued of the things that drop will be an even lesser commodity – since apparently people are running those to get tokens to get heart of wood so they can TR.

If I had a choice between the endless grind of Epic quests to make your stuff permanent level 20 or TRing I will take TRing.

Both are grinds; one is a grind for XP and the other a grind in HP and pain – but TRing is at least rewarding. XP farming is a pain but if you have everything you can think off there’s no real reason to run specific quests to farm items. You do it for XP and be done with it.

I don’t want to gripe about it – I just want to feel like I’m making progress toward something. Such as shroud or even ToD. They’re grind – but every grind get you closer to that one piece you’re looking for. Every Epic grind is just time bashing and pain. Some people do it very well and have guilds that are committed at running them, but running VON 1 for a fragment isn’t exactly my dream.

Non thinkers

So today I decided to get aq2 out of the way and get another shot at the green blade. First group was filling up so I missed the last slot. No biggie. Second group didn’t look full so I joined and they allowed me in. Only thing was that they had already started so there was no way for me to actually get to the demon queen. I could battle myself through the fire critters and took a lot of damage doing so, but I couldn’t get to the queen itself (portal was down).

In other words; I wasted a completion. Strike that – I got the completion but I could not get my stuff. I guess that’s why people really don’t like to PUG. Oh well – nothing like wasting time and have to wait another 3 days to get the stuff done.