Cloak Tower

It turns out you can queue up for a dungeon with  letter K.  Also when you first log in it comes up as an option.

The Tool gives you no idea how long the wait might be, so you have to examine your toes, check the bank, whatever.

Neverwinter Cloak Tower Queue

 

I got twitchy so I started an escort quest bringing a certain googly-eyed Mrs. Linkletter through the sewers (is there any other way?) to meet the oily wizard Razzad.  I was right at the end of it when the Cloak Tower group popped up as ready.  Had to start over after the tower, of course.

Speaking of googly-eyed, I worked on my character’s features at length, but when she arrived in the world she was sort of bug eyed and she is stuck “gooning” everyone, as we say around our house.

Neverwinter Ranger

The environments were cave areas, and everything was underground with the way between levels being spiral staircases.

Fights were fast.  Boss fights were fast and no problem.

If we were operating at all with the traditional tank, healer DPS roles, I couldn’t discern it.  Everyone just went flying in, killed the npcs, and that was it.

I won’t worry about the next one, and I’ll hope I’m on some shorter quest sequence when the queue is ready.

Got Nuthin’

Neverwinter

Played quite a bit of Neverwinter tonight.  Did the three big bads in their bandito hideout.  I didn’t realize the door to where they were was right the heck around the corner from where you come in.  Spent a bunch of time looking around the area for those bosses.

I did a Foundry Quest and could not make myself stop critiquing it as I went.  I don’t do that with a staff written quest unless it is really awful.  As it turns out it was really well done.  I rated and reviewed it.

Reached the level where I could go in the dungeon but couldn’t see how to queue for it.  People were lfg for the Cloak Tower  left and right as if they were desperate. easily enough for a few groups but nobody seemed to want to take charge and nobody wanted to just ask all the others to be in their group.  Very odd!  As they were all asking for lfg other not so helpful souls kept asking why they weren’t using the lfg tool.  The first bozo-ness I’ve seen in Neverwinter.

Rift

Ran my Cleric tonight.  I’m trying some of the yule events but I am not exactly made merry by any of them.  I can’t find the Father Christmas guy’s hearth so I can put the coal in his hearth.  You know how that goes.  Did you see Grimm with the Krampus and his lumps of coal?   The Yule trees have split waving tops like a Rift.  Kinda creepy.

I may toss my cleric in the dungeon since my Pyromancer is outleveling it.  I’ve been practicing on unsuspecting types at Rifts and in Instant Adventures.  For a character who is a dedicated healer, she really doesn’t have very powerful heals.  People don’t take as much damage as fast as they do in WOW, either, is how it seems to me.

Big excitement, I looted a shrub for my dimension.  I placed it there and went to sleep on my nice blue rug in my hut but when she comes around again she’ll be standing around Sanctum.  Reminds me of the space ship/yacht in Galaxies you could decorate, but not live in because you’d be standing around in the starport next time you “woke up”.

See?  The loading screen said I was in Sanguine Shores on my comfy rug but I was sleeping like a bum in the grass in Sanctum.

Sanctum Snoozing

I realized tonight that I like that Rift music too much.  That drumbeat, man.  Bomba-da Bomba-da, yo.

World of Warcraft

BW inscriptionist Still circling the K3 area.  Have been doing the quests while I’m there.  It seems to be a big Roleplayer hangout.  I say nothing, but good grief  “Blah Boinklinker  takes off his helmet and shakes his hair, carefully removing the comb from his pocket given to him by HER, hands trembling, he tries to compose himself.”     I’m thinking.  Get. Away.

Hunter still working the tundra.  You know that woman on the strand that you have to fight your way to, then she sends you to get a trident, then to kill some guy?  Gack.  All different on Goat back.  Nice torturous preview for her of Draenor.  I’m going to have to take the time to put some stuff on the auction house so she can fly.

To Do List

Written from my iPod…

If I play Rift or Neverwinter I become totally absorbed and tend to forget playing other things.

If you can imagine the horror, I forgot to send my characters in World of Warcraft through Darkmoon Faire completely this month. That hasn’t happened since I discovered the usefulness if the Faire for leveling Trade Skills, ack.

List maker that I am, during some downtime yesterday I made a broad to do list to help move all my beloved characters along.

World of Warcraft
Blackwater: check bank to see what needs to be restocked. I sent my inscriptionist out to K3 to gather herbs daily for a few days because this area is such a good source of Icethorn and Lich Bloom. There are never enough scrolls in the bank. I’m going to concentrate on her.
My BW Mage is stuck on a quest, so annoying, I’ll see if my spouse can get her past it.
Other servers: I made placeholder characters on Wyrmrest Accord some time ago when it seemed like a sort of place of excellence. CRZ has shown that it is in fact not such a showcase of good players. I’m killing them off and will –gasp– create a server of Horde bozoids to see how the other half lives. I can also, dept. of Spy vs Spy get the layout of the Horde cities and regions down so my Alliance characters can sail in more efficiently.
My characters on server 2 who range from levels in the 40s to 70s have no money. I used all they had to set up a guild and a guild bank. Luckily my beloved sister agreed to take that guild over so I only need to keep an eye out on BW. I picked my Hunter here to level to 90 for Draenor purposes. She’s working her way on Goat’s back through the Borean Tundra and I can tell you that us a royal PITA.

Everquest 2
I need to spend time leveling these characters. I read about Landmark and EQ Next every day and it makes me want to play in and get to know that world.

Lord of the Rings Online
I was playing my low level girl to reacquaint myself with the game. Playing my awesome new Neverwinter Ranger has made me miss the great archery skills of my level 60-ish character here so I ‘ll go back in and get my “real” character up to speed.

Rift
I ‘m going back and forth with my Cleric and Pyromancer equally. The Cleric is a bit easier to play since she can heal herself all day long.
I ‘m working on my crafting skills trying to keep those on pace with the area they ‘re in.
Have not tried flag for a dungeon since my failure at the cave.

Busy busy busy, blah blah blah.

Neverwinter Ranger: Updated

I just had time to kill off my poor mage and create a ranger.  She looks just like the mage and by chance I could give her the same name.  You know how it is when you get a good character name, you hate to let it go, but it was no problem.  Here we are on the beach looking snockered.  No doubt from too much seawater after the crash. You know how that is.

Nv ranger

12/10/13   I’ve been working on my Ranger.  She is doing really well. I’m comparing her to my cleric who I really like and she is tougher.  I’m using few potions.  I got a ridiculous initial roll of 19 Dexterity for her and it is now 20.  I can really scoot out of the way of the bad guys.

Edit: Ok I have Nature kits as my assigned kit.  I spend all my money on kits and potions.  At level 13.   The Tower district is pretty tough, but I got in there at level 11 because I’d finished the BlackLake District.  Didn’t get pounded as much as I should.  Only died twice, once because the server kept crashing.  So not too bad.

Again I really like the game and this is one of the few things I’ve played where I would spend real money.  I’m not sure on what quite yet but I can see I would like to try the other character types.

I’m pretty busy staying alive, but when I look at the world chat, this seems to be a pretty good community, helpful, really enjoying the game themselves.  There’s something priceless right there.

12/11/13   At level 15. About to finish the Tower District I think since the next quest involves killing three bosses.  Never fear, all stocked up with kits and potions.

All Kinds of Good Stuff

Yesterday I had nothing at all and broke my nice run of posts.  Today, cool stuff galore.

Project Update #26: Torment: Tides of Numenera    I missed the poll somehow because I would have voted against Turn-based combat for all of the reasons listed in their update:

Comment #1: Turn-Based combat can be tedious

If one were to take Planescape: Torment and, changing nothing else, switch to TB combat, the result would be miserable for many. You’d be stopped midstride in every Hive back alley to perform the same boring actions on meaningless thugs and zombies.

This isn’t what we’re going to do.

Turn-based combat certainly can be tedious, but that comes down to encounter design. As we stated during the Kickstarter, Torment will have no trash mobs—those hordes of filler battles that require little thought from the player. That type of gameplay is at odds with our emphasis on the story and character development, so each Crisis in Torment will be hand-crafted. It will have narrative relevance and consequences. We’ll iterate on them until each one is a quality encounter and provides the experience we seek for that moment in the game.

If any combat situation in Torment were tedious, it wouldn’t be because it’s turn-based. It would be because we failed in our goal. And our Crises aren’t just combat. They contain exploration, dialogue, and time-relevant actions and events that can exist outside of combat, like pursuits, environmental puzzles, and application of special skills. You’re going to have to work throughout the game toward your goals, and the Crisis concept is a primary way that we put your intentions to the test.

We understand the importance to you of combat not being tedious. Emphasis on encounter design is important for any CRPG, but for Torment, the bar will be even higher – we believe that through well designed encounters, and extensive gameplay iteration on them, we’ll be able to address the majority of the concerns expressed by those who favored RTwP.

Comment #2: Turn-Based combat can break immersion

“Immersion” is a tricky term that can mean a lot of things, but generally this comment is referring to the jarring sense a player gets when they’re walking through a town and suddenly the whole world stops because, say, a feral dog saw them coming down the street.

Again, this isn’t what we’re going to do. In general, we don’t plan to “surprise” you with a Crisis. Through the design of the areas and the pacing of the game, you’ll know when and where combat is a possibility. The situation will feel tense and in some cases, you will be explicitly initiating the Crisis. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever ambush you, of course, but if we do, it will be very deliberate and not an arbitrary event.

We get that you don’t want to be pulled out of the game in this way and we’ll look for ways to keep you in control and prevent Crises from disrupting the normal flow of the game.

That said, Torment isn’t an action game. Real time doesn’t pass in conversations, for example – you have as much time as you want to decide your choice. And while exploration occurs in real-time, it won’t include twitch elements. All of your decision-making throughout the game will consistently be free from real-time considerations. Torment is a game about thinking and deliberation and will not have any actual time pressure, so turn-based combat will maintain a more consistent feel.

Comment #2a: Turn-Based combat isn’t realistic

A variation of the concern about immersion is that TB gameplay isn’t realistic. In a real battle, you don’t patiently observe while your opponents orderly take turns one at a time.

This is true, but the lack of realism is inherent in most videogame combat and gameplay (again, turn-based conversations come to mind), and RTwP combat isn’t immune to this issue. What we strive for isn’t realism, but creating an immersive experience that allows you to suspend your disbelief. In other words, realism is not at the core of Torment’s party-based combat.

That said, we will strive to make the combats as dynamic and visceral as possible – attacked characters will animate appropriately when struck instead of standing lifelessly, for example, or perhaps having readied actions such as overwatch or interrupts to take actions on the opponent’s turn. We will maintain tension and flow, creating the sense that you are in actual danger and making your tactical and strategic decisions matter.

Comment #3: Controlling the entire party in Turn-Based can be boring

The idea behind this concern is that if only one character in your party is relevant to the combat (e.g., it’s in a narrow passageway or a specific skill/weapon is needed for some aspect of it, etc.) then gameplay gets bogged down. It’s not fun to have to skip most of your characters’ turns, cycling back to the one character who can actually do something.

This problem also comes down to encounter design, and we’ll be paying close attention to this aspect in our specific Crisis designs. Strong support of ranged combat will help, as melee-focused battles can exacerbate this problem. The Numenera rules also help here because skills, while beneficial, generally aren’t required to accomplish specific tasks, and Effort can be expended to give any character a better chance of success at tasks outside their character build. Adam discussed how this works in Update 21 (in the context of dialogue, though it applies to Crisis gameplay as well), but we’ll copy it here again so you don’t have to search for it.

Using skills will be different, too (side note: I say “will,” but we’re still in pre-production, so any of this can change). Say there’s a difficult task you want to attempt—lying to a prison guard or deciphering the text on an ancient puzzle box. Typically, in D&D-style RPGs for example, if you don’t have the associated skill, your chances of success are very low, or you might not be able to attempt the task at all. In Numenera, all such tasks are treated the same, and anyone can try them. Training in a related skill or skills will lower the difficulty of the task, but even if you’re untrained, you can still apply Effort.

Effort is a concept from the Numenera tabletop game. Essentially you spend points out of the appropriate stat pool (Might, Speed, or Intellect) to lower the difficulty of a task. The idea is, even if you’ve never been trained in lock picking, a very smart or dexterous character can, with some Effort, increase their chances of cracking a lock.

Your stat pools are renewable with rest. And of course, all of this is balanced. If you’re trying to crack a combination lock created by a culture that died out millions of years ago, which requires a combination of smells rather than integers, well . . . you’d have to have a high-level character specialized in the task, who spent all the Intellect they had on Effort, just to make the task possible. That character would still have to roll ridiculously well.

Effort provides more options to customize your character and tackle obstacles. If there’s a task you want to attempt—even if it’s something normally contrary to your character build—you still have a chance of succeeding if you can use enough Effort. On the other hand, someone who has trained or specialized in that sort of task will have a greater chance of success, and will maintain that edge in similar tasks throughout the game.

Note also that party members can “assist” others in particular skill-based tasks, boosting their chances for success.

In short, we’re fully aware that cycling can be a painful way to play, and that this aspect of gameplay is important to you, and we’ll design the Crises to keep your entire party engaged.

Comment #4: You should implement both RTwP and TB and make it a gameplay option

This solution may sound ideal, but it wouldn’t give anybody what they really want. Area and encounter design needs of the two systems are very different. Designing for both would dilute the quality of the encounters for one or both systems, and most likely require so much time and resources as to impact the rest of the game. In a deep RPG like ours, where combat isn’t even the focus, trying to implement two combat systems would lead to an inferior game across the board.

Comment #5: Planescape: Torment had Real-Time with Pause combat, so the new Torment should too

This is a reasonable perspective and valid point of view. Shouldn’t we stick with what made the original great?

But is RTwP combat what made Planescape: Torment great? For some of you, the combat may have been an important part of your PST experience, and we hope that you’ll find the combat in Torment: Tides of Numenera to be at least equally enjoyable. But we don’t think PST’s combat system was what most players loved about the game.

We believe PST is considered one of the greatest RPGs of all-time, not because its combat was Real-Time w/ Pause, but because of its emphasis on the narrative and on role-playing your character.

Kickstarter

Neverwinter’s new expansion Shadowmantle has gone live.  this includes a new hunter/ranger character.  You can have two free characters there and I like my cleric so I will kill off the mage to make one of these.  I shall let you know what I think.

neverwinter shadowmantle

Broken Sword 5  The Serpents Curse has been released.  Adventure/puzzle fans will enjoy this which is being released episodically.   A little pricey for episodes one and 2 (one is out now, 2 to be released in early 2014) at $19.00 from the good folks at GOG and elsewhere.

Broken Sword 5

Massively’s Jukebox Heroes Plays Mos Eisely

Now they’re playing my songs!  There is a regular column called Jukebox Heroes I hadn’t noticed but boing! they’re talking songs from Star Wars Galaxies so I’m all ears.   Part of the game’s immersion factor was that it used so many of John William’s thems from the films in so many ways.  After playing the game for a time, I’d watch the movies and go oh this the music from Theed!  Ah, Endor and that soft twinkling music.

Any who, my own favorites of the ones selected by Justin Olivetti are “To start a journey” which played at the loading screen or character screen, and “Star Wars 1” which he refers to as “Entertainer 1”.  I can’t tell you how many times I played that and dozens of others to get a character to the point where they could play Ceremonial on the mandovial.

Jukebox h

Character Creation Grumpiness

Writing this on my iPod so no pics, but a Bethesda blog on character creation set me off on a round of grumpy thinking.

Hair! What is the deal? Male characters get about a hundred hairstyle choices and there are like five female styles, all variations of the infamous BUN. What?  Buns, top knots, pony tails, braids?

Look around you guys, long hair is in.  Shoulder length is not long. Mohawks are not long.

I haven’t  any idea what ESO is up to, but I bet it is all bizarro bowl cuts and snipped styles.

Stop, just stop.

/rant mostly off

Write for EQ Hammer’s New Weekly “Ratonga Rodeo”

EQ Hammer is Ten Ton Hammer’s all thing Everquest page.  I could be imagining it but Ten Ton seems to be experiencing a resurgence of good MMO coverage once more.  Maybe they have an all new set of writers.  They’re doing great articles lately on all kinds of topics, follow them on Facebook to see what’s new.

They are starting a weekly series where they give a topic and community members can submit articles they’ve written on the topic.  These are specifically focused on EverQuest Next.

Here’s the scoop and a link to the site so you can pen something weekly:

How is the community of EverQuest players shaping the development of EverQuest Next? Is their involvement a boon or a bane, or perhaps a little of both? Write down your thoughts this week and we’ll round them up for the Ratonga Rodeo next Monday. To participate, all you have to do is send a link to your published article. Here are the details:

Submission Deadline: Sunday, December 8, 2013 Rodeo Publication Date: Monday, December 9, 2013 Send submission link to: shayalyn@tentonhammer.com


FAQs

What the hell is a Ratonga Rodeo?

It’s rats on broncos. Duh.

But seriously, it’s a writing challenge. We ask everyone in the EverQuest Next community–be ye fansite writer, blogger, or forum poster–to write down their thoughts on a specific topic during our challenge week. At the end of the week, we round up all of the articles with some key quotes and link to them so that readers can find them in one easy-to-navigate spot.

How do I participate?

Just look for the Ratonga Rodeo announcement each Monday at EQHammer.com, then pen a brilliant article, blog post, or forum post on our chosen topic. (If you don’t have a fansite or blog, you can post your thoughts in the EQHammer.com forums.) Once you’ve published your article, send a link to shayalyn@tentonhammer.com
to be included in the weekly roundup. (There’s no need to notify us of forum posts–we’ll look at those automatically.)

What’s in it for me?

Fame! Fortune! (Okay, well, maybe not fortune.) By pooling our creative talents and visionary thoughts, we’ll bring a laser focus on hot button issues. Also, it never hurts to have a prominent fansite like EQHammer linking to your stuff. What’s more, our collective discussion will provide another means for SOE to gauge community sentiment on key topics.

Anything else?

Just one more thing–spread the word! If you participate, please link back to the Ratonga Rodeo page to help people find other articles by your fellow writers and fansite colleagues. Share the love (and the link) on Twitter, Facebook and G+. (Don’t forget to mention @ShayalynTTH and @tentonhammer in your tweets!)

Last Chapter Weekend Edition

Spent a little time on leveling cooking in WOW’s Pilgrim’s Bounty Holiday. Love that holiday.

Neverwinter is double xp this weekend. I hadn’t done my paragon path research before playing again as I had meant to so I made some wild a$@ guess choices. I also hired an alchemist companion who has theoretically ventured out somewhere on my behalf to gather resources. I actually like gathering my own, thanks.

I think from what I’ve read SWTOR’s companions work this way and it sounds like WOW’s Garrison minions will too. Is this a way of giving crafting abilities to those who hate to craft? I understand the thinking but there are tons of us who do enjoy crafting and we have to let some automated weasel have the fun?

I realized I was having too much fun with Rift so entered the queue for the dungeon. Somehow instead ended up in it with one other person who stomped in killed the first set of mobs then broke up the group.

My spouse of spouses has entered the game and is gathering burlap for me, the sweetie, so I will wait and try again with him by my side.