Game Dump: DCUO, EQ2, GW2

Brainiac dailies
Brainiac dailies

Didn’t take any good screen shots in our Sunday game of DC Universe Online, which was kind of a downer, because it was a really good night. Kaptain KY said he was going to be a little late, so instead of starting with missions, we went to the Brainiac Incursion zone in Gotham City to try and find some Sub-Avatars to kill. I think Spode or Sting hadn’t yet done the dailies, so we just started killing everything we saw.

Kaptain KY logged in, and we did his dailies, killed a couple more Sub-Avatars, and queued up for the daily double T1 mission, Watchtower Containment Facility. There’s a jailbreak in the Watchtower’s prison, gorillas everywhere, and Brainiac drones have subverted the guard droids and are turning the reactor core into a monster.

So, we killed them all, then spent a quarter of an hour finding all the green and blue discoveries.

We had more time, so we queued up for T1 Area 51 and did that no problem. We’re overgeared for T1. At the end of the night, KY had the marks to finish up his T1 armor set, getting him a CR of 44 and opening T2 missions for us.

My CR had been 48, but when I socketed my gloves, it dropped to 46. I’d have thought that would be impossible, especially since I had a socket affinity and it raised the level of the gloves by six. My first piece of T2 raised my CR to 47, but I’m still way behind Spode and Sting.

Loot is your only friend
Loot is your only friend

EQ2’s God of Mischief is back in Norrath, and aside from the regular quests of the season, his influence is spreading throughout the entirety of the game — even to replacing the treasure chests in the Daily Dreadcutter with friendly little boxes that love you.

I did the quests for the house items; the quest for this cube as a house item is really simple, if you can track shinies. Still my favorite tradeskill ability!

So blocky!
So blocky!

ArenaNet’s taken a ride on the 16-bit train by opening a retro-looking platformer within the game, just for the month of April. So, that got me to patch up and log in again :) Found out pretty quick that I wasn’t very good at retro platformers, even at “Infantile Baby Cannot Feed Self Here Let Me Help You” mode. Nothing like a little humiliation to put you in your place, right?

In “Infantile” mode, you’re told exactly where to go, and all the difficult jumps have rainbow bridges to make things easy, and the gates to the next section light up to show you which button to press.

The game is split into worlds, and within worlds, into sections, similar to Super Mario. I made it to the end of the second world before I lost all my lives and had to exit. I bet there is a way to not get burned by the pools of acid….

Am I caught up now? Yup.

Guild Wars 2: Ascent to Madness

The Dance of Madness

There’s a rhythm I get to in Guild Wars 2; bring up the map, look for a blank spot, and go there. Fill the hearts, look at the vistas, do the skill challenges, sell and move on. If there’s an event nearby, try to get to it and join in.

Having unlocked all my weapon combos and decided upon favorites, that’s done forever. My gear is limited by my level, so nothing I can really do about that. The story missions are fun, but most of the time in GW2, I’m just on auto-pilot. So it’s nice when things like the Halloween event comes by to break up the flow.

There’s been a lot of concern about how players would have to be in specific places at specific times in order to fully participate in the Halloween event. I just pretty much ignored it because I thought I (correctly, it turns out) would be too low level for it.

The Mad King

But, thanks to a friend (/wave @Longasc), I was pulled into the final Halloween event, the Ascent of the Mad King. He appeared in Lion’s Arch, and I can’t remember if there was a battle there or not. Regardless, he soon finished being mean or whatever, and poofed through some haunted doors.

Well, nothing to do but to follow him. Valnora (80 ranger), an Aztec Charr (16 something?) and I (21 thief) entered the portal and found ourselves in a Halloween nightmare. All of us had been leveled to 80 for the instance, but the crappy gear on us two lowbies meant Valnora had to do most of the work.

First was “Mad King Says”, which I failed at, even though I did the emotes when the Mad King said “Mad King Says” and did not do them when he didn’t. Either way, I got attacked by Halloween creatures. Eventually he tired of this and decided to just deliver a beatdown.

That just continued my litany of death. Die from being feared off the edge. Die from missing a jump. Die from being swarmed by monsters while balancing on a shaky chain above an eternal chasm. Die from pumpkin bombs. Die from finding myself beneath the Mad King after he teleported.

But we did eventually kill him, got the level 45 loot from his corpse and more level 45 loot in a hidden chest far below. The level of the loot seems a little arbitrary. If you’re 80, it’s worthless. If you’re a lowbie, it just has to sit in your bank forever. If you’re level 45, you’d be best just buying the stuff off the auction house, as there has to be a vast oversupply of level 45 gear after all these events.

In the Mad King’s realm

Afterward, @Longasc brought us to the Mad King’s Labyrinth, where we killed things until the huge number of people crashed the game. Everyone was upleveled to 80. Most of the people were low level. Things died soooo slowwwwwly.

Stuff like this really makes me miss Rift.

But, it was fun!

So was Rift, though.

Game Log: Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3

The Tipster in Brisban Highlands

I may have missed the Combat Wombat romp through the Brisban Highlands last night, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t run through it solo tonight! I was 16, going on 17… fellows will fall in line. Eager young lads, and grueways and cads, will offer me food and wine…

Well, okay, that didn’t happen, Baron von Trapp. Instead I fell into the clutches of the villainous Nightmare Court, a faction of evil Silvari, apparently. What would turn a plant evil, I wonder? And what constitutes evil among plants? Stealing sunlight? Hogging the fertilizer? Hosting pungent varieties of fungus? Wearing your lichen on the south side of your body?

Anyway, they were keeping some folks prisoner. The Nightmare Court guards were NOT very friendly, and would quickly debuff and kill me. I lurked around the edges taking on Nightmare Hounds and unwary Nightmare Courtiers until some other folks — Silvari all — came by, and then we killed the guards, freed the prisoners and finished up the event.

I also did some other exploration. There was a heart I couldn’t fill in because I could not FIND what they were talking about. Color something red and then lure it to something? I couldn’t find these things or where to lure them if I did, a clear sign I was in the wrong area entirely. I’ll go back. One day.

Still kinda weak in a fight. I like dagger/pistol, but might have to rethink that combo, get a little more survivability. I did change to a better heal with a longer cool-down. But my power does not seem to be scaling with my level. I should probably head back to the city and see if I can find any upgrades on the auction house.

Uber Zard

SPEAKING OF UPGRADES ON THE AUCTION HOUSE… someone wasn’t watching the AH as closely as they ought to have been, because I got such a bargain. See, we’re coming into the level range where level 60 items can have the attribute of reduced level requirements. So I snagged myself a sword with hundreds of INT and oodles of DPS for very little gold; I think it increased my DPS from 1800 to 8600.

So, that happened. There was truly only one possible thing I could do.

And that was to up the Monster Power to 10 — the max — and head to Desolate Sands on Nightmare mode and kill EVERYTHING. Every. Thing.

What was a struggle at Monster Power 5 was a faceroll at Monster Power 10 now. I’ve moved from Ice Armor to Storm Armor. Storm Armor randomly shoots mobs in the area. And with my new DPS and my insane damage modifier from such high INT, I could just walk slowly through an area and things would just die.

Got another chance at the Ancient Device, just need eight more variations to get the achievement. Also found a random dungeon I hadn’t seen before, it appeared after I defeated an elite rockworm. So I went down there, walked around, stuff would die, occasionally I’d blast a disintegrate.

Sure, as I approach 60, my edge in DPS will narrow, but that’s many levels away.

I really pushed to get into Puerto Mico before headstart ended in Pirate101, probably push some more into that tomorrow. Thinking about getting Skyrim running again and start exploring the DLC for that game. And I really need to finish Torchlight 2 at least once.

I don’t dislike T2. It just hasn’t got any pull for me. Probably because the over-arching plot is really lame (so far). I get it, I’ll meet the Alchemist at the end. But would it kill ya to make the road to the Alchemist a little more memorable?

Game Log: Guild Wars 2

Tipster, level 15 Asura thief

I’ve been in my Guild Wars 2 guild a couple of days, and I’ve come to appreciate just how ironically named the game _is_. Sure, it’s just a spam invite guild — Ranger Rabble or something like that, even though I’m not a ranger — and (not for lack of trying) haven’t spoken to anyone else in the guild and am really just in it because otherwise, my game time isn’t contributing to any larger effort. Ironic because this is a game that really doesn’t need guilds (lampshaded perhaps by GW2 allowing you to be a member of multiple guilds, changing between them at will).

Instead, this is a game that celebrates the solo player. Aside from a personal story that you can complete at your leisure, this game is for those who like to wander. In that ESAK spectrum, GW2 comes in high on the Explorer, places reasonably in Achiever and Killer, but Social — that’s not even on the table.

Maybe charge up my gadget, maybe end all life everywhere instantly.

Every class is pretty self-sufficient, with tanking, healing, ranged and melee combat all present in varying amounts. Makework tasks bring you to new areas to explore, and while there, events happen around you. The more people who join in, the better the reward, so everyone within range of the announcement pours in to repel an invasion, or guard a scientist, or get the power grid running again. Successfully completing one event often starts another, which, like the public quests in Warhammer Online, usually end in a boss battle too difficult for anyone to solo, but by then everyone with any interest is there helping out. No need for grouping or strategy. Everyone gets a reward based on their participation, and as importantly, fame with their faction. You can use that fame to buy goods at faction merchants.

I’m told there are dungeons once you reach level 40, or at least one dungeon, but dungeon crawling is not the focus of Guild Wars 2.

Pointing your character toward an empty area of the map and seeing what you can find is the focus of Guild Wars 2.

Discovering a vista

Obvious question being, what happens when there are no empty areas on the map?

First, GW2 isn’t going to make it easy to complete the map. Each map has several things to find — hard-to-reach Vistas, like the one in the picture above. Points of interest need to be uncovered, hearts need to be filled in (indicating completion of the area faction task), all the different kinds of native critters need to be killed for the kill count and kill variety daily quests, and once you’ve done all those in your native country, you need to travel to the native lands of other races and do all theirs. You’ll be deleveled to an appropriate level for the zone, so nearly everything you can do will be appropriate and give experience.

If you just like running around and killing stuff and occasionally having a go at a big baddie without too much stress or risk, it’s hard to see how any game could be better at that than GW2 — at least up to my still low level.

Out of the newbie zone

This utter lack of urgency is what kept me from really getting into the game. With nothing that particularly needs doing, no risk, and nobody to talk to, it’s always easier to just not log in. But then I started putting some time into figuring out what skills support other skills, which weapons support my play-style best…. oh, word about that.

Your skills are half determined by you class and chosen weapons. Everyone can wield every kind of weapon, though some weapons and armor are still class restricted. Still, if you want to have a dual pistol wielding mage, who’s going to tell you no? You’ll get some appropriate skills for your weapons depending on your class. Right now, I’m deciding between a dagger/pistol and sword/pistol arrangement for my Asura thief (Asura are basically a society of Stitch of Lilo &, which is why I love them). Both options allow me to jump into battle and mix stuff up with some ranged ability. Sword/pistol is more tanky, Dagger/pistol more stabby. Can change between them with a keystroke.

The other half of your abilities comes from skills and traits. You earn skill points by leveling and by completing skill challenges (you’ll see those on the map as well). You can slot these skills in any order you like. Traits are more general ability and bonus unlocks which, I believe, are the same for all characters of all races and classes.

Not quite alt city, here

Anyway, now that I have kinda figured out what I’m doing and am (finally!) out of the newbie zone, I’m beginning to have a bit more fun. For me, it’s the kind of game you can just be playing while watching a movie or something.

Things would probably be a bit more exciting in PvP, but I admit to not having tried that, yet. Those who have say it’s wildly fun, reminiscent of the best instanced battlefields of Dark Age of Camelot and World of Warcraft. I enjoyed the battlegrounds in Rift, I’m sure I’ll like the ones in GW2 once I get to them, but I feel I should really get a handle on the character and fill out the four skill/trait slots before I try myself out against other players. Come on — I’m a thief. Thieves die first in PvP.

Someday, maybe even today, I’ll try out a character of another race, maybe the plant people. Each race has a storyline; that was the secret sauce that kept me in Dragon Age: Origins for six months, that’s the innovation that kept me in EQ, DAoC and WoW, and that’s the lack of innovation that eventually turned me off from Rift.

I really do enjoy the stories.

Please don’t search through the archives to point out where I said the opposite ;-)