Post 100, and That’s The Ballgame!

The ballgame for daily posts on this blog…No, I’m not abandoning or shutting down this most entertaining blog.  I write it for me, my spouse and my three very loyal readers.   I now internally think of them as The Big Three.  If you watch This Is Us, you know how special that is.  Hugs!

My goal for blog posts for each year now is 100 posts.  Thanks to early ramping up for Blaugust in July, Blaugust itself, and continuing a post a day into September, we’ve reached the big time.  Side note, I actually deleted 5 Blaugust posts for reasons, as they say, so my actual count for Blaugust was a respectable 42 posts.  I learned quite a bit with all of this.

I’m now playing Star Wars Galaxies, World of Warcraft,  Lord of the Rings Online, Elder Scrolls Online and Everquest 2 regularly.  They are all so rich in story and world and game play.  I’m having a great time.  I’m in the glorious position of playing the five best MMOs ever made.  I’d like to sneak Rift and Secret World time in too, then it would be the seven best!   Life is good. Play is good.

See you in the funny papers!

Crafting, Dungeoneering and Wandering

Even More Elder Scrolls

I worked on Crafting Writs for my Khajiit today.  The Clothier ones went well, but I’m out of Moonstones for her motifs, and no other character has more.  I’m stuck till I find more.

Still and all, it’s fun to be able to pick up everything I come across again, except…a few inventory problems, and the bank runneth over.  It is 6, 800 gold to buy new bank slots and you only get TEN for that.  Yowza.  And the cost just goes up for each set of ten you buy.

None of my characters has that, so I set another character to learning the Alchemy/Enchanting/Provisioning set of crafts and I’ll have her use the many plants I’ve picked up to make potions.  I’m hoping that eases the bank space.

The Khajiit is still the one who will have all the crafts, so she can make furniture.   I’m impressed by the money and XP, just actual XP that is getting her bow skills upgraded as she crafts, for instance.

Now that the others are in the mix, I need to really look at good builds for them.  I’m not quite happy with anyone but the Dragonknight, whom we shall call Ms. Perfecto.

World of Warcraft

My Rogue was up today.  Drustvar and a run through the Shrine of Storms dungeons netted her a ton of leatherworking ingredients.  So many dead piggies and wolves laying around everywhere waiting to be skinned.

I am getting weary of the Freehold, Waycrest, and Shrine of the Storms dungeons.  I’ve just been through them too many times.  They need a lot more dungeons.  Pronto.

Though the leveling is the same for all the Seven, there’s still one at 111, the others are 112 and 113.  It seems as if they should be more equal.

I’m keeping up with the war campaign, grabbing any treasures I see in the world, and sending out Followers on new missions as each characters “turn” ends.   I pick Reputation quests every time because nothing slays me like a reputation grind.  I want any point I can get anywhere.

Elder Scrolls Online Getting Crafty

Because I love my fierce little Dark Elf Dragonknight so much, I decided on a character to be a crafter.  Yup, DK becomes the Main.

Because Medium Armor will help the DK a great deal, my Khajiit, whose fighting skills are murky, is now CraftCat.

I started with Tailoring, and while the crafting seems a bit complex, I’m ready to try it out.

I found two guides that look like they’ll be helpful.

I thought the Writ person in game also did a nice tutorial.   I’ve a bank stuffed with gathered materials, and I had to stop gathering because it was overfull.  Now that I’m using materials, I can happily pick every plant and mine every node once more.

Elder Scrolls Online Adventuring

I really want furniture for my house, so aside from playing my Warden each evening, I’ve been looking at my other characters to see who I’d like to be a total crafter..

I meant for a Dark Elf Dragonknight to be my all around crafter.  However, while playing her this week, and looking into a DPS Stamina build, I switched her to Dual Wielding and she’s really fun to play.  She has only died once when I got turned around in a town and six guys were all around.

Other than that, I need to put many more points in Stamina as she levels up, because it drops pretty fast.  Still, she wins the day.

I’m liking the story line for the area she’s in as well.

My poor Warden, while looking for a fern, of all things, got a bounty for trespassing in a Restricted Area right where she needed to look for the fern.  Grrr, those creepy bounties.    She spent the night in the middle of a swamp so nobody could attack her or steal her gold.  Luckily the bounty was gone today.  Now that I know exactly where the fern is, I should be able to get it without trespassing the next time I get the quest.   I think it’s kind of cruel they set you up for that.  Step away from the gold, bozos.

And…ready for Murkmire with this adorable Argonian.

Bits of Game News

Alan Wake on TV

From Gamasutra, Alan Wake, that game which has proven to scary for me to play, is being developed for television!  How great is that.   I can just put a blanket up over my eyes when it gets too intense!  Ideal.

I considered taking a look at it tonight to see if I could get past the axe guy.  The very beginning!  They make it sound easy, except, I could only see notes for console controls, not PC, so axe guy would get me yet again.

A Gamasutra Reprint

Also from Gamasutra, in a fascinating article, Mike Fridley does a postmortem on Kingdoms of Amalur.  He was an executive producer with Big Huge Games.   The article covers the time spent on the game that ended up being Kingdoms of Amalur, though it had other origins.  What went right, what went wrong. 

When I heard THQ bought Kingdoms and rights to Copernicus, I was so excited, mostly for Copernicus, which seemed guaranteed to succeed and be incredible with all the talent they had on board.   I’d be happy to see Amalur further developed, but, all my real hopes go to Copernicus.

More on Amalur and Copernicus

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Review

In case you’re a Tomb Raider fan, here’s an early review from Gamespot.  Some of Lara’s moves sound an awful lot like those in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell.

Tuesday Night Shorts

 Lord of the Rings Online, Burglar

Did you say short?   I thought my Lord of the Rings Online Burglar was done with her Skirmish Tutorial but there was another section.

I wasn’t rewarded with anything that has value to me at this time, so I sent her back to the Lonelands and will try out the next skirmish camp I come to.

World of Warcraft,  Discipline Priest

I’m falling behind a bit in World of Warcraft, but the only thing I’d like to be doing that I’m not yet is trying Warfronts.   Instead, it’s a perfectly piggy time in Drustvar’s Fallhaven for my little Priest.

She seems to be able to take on anything, slowly wearing them down while taking no damage.  Since the fight with Betsy the Pig was long, but not life threatening, I practiced my camera angles  in fight scenes so my character’s very mobile face could be seen.

Out of the pig fight, into the hangman’s noose.

Elder Scrolls Online

You’ll be pleased to know my Warden is no longer sporting the Scary Helm.

From The Archives: How I Thought Lord Of The Rings Online Stacked Up

At one time I wrote up a list of my most desirable MMO qualities, based heavily on what was lost with Star Wars Galaxies.   I just found a document in which I looked to see how Lord of the Rings Online measured up against my ideals.   This is probably ten years old, so don’t judge.

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Plot: Story arc, background, quests, IP or original storyline. Everything in the game should tie into and revolve around the plot in some way.   Perfectly done! Middle Earth feels like Middle Earth in every way.  The stories and plots as revealed through quests are engaging and help the plot move forward.  They help give depth to the world.

Character creation options: Face customization including options for all features, eyes, nose, mouth, hair (long hair! not in a braid or bun!), hair and eye color options, cosmetic options, body size options including height and weight. If there are different species they should be very different and have tons of ways to customize appearance.   Terribly done.  Very limited character creation and customization tools.  You should have more hair, eye, head shape options.  Mouth-ack you can hardly see any change when you try to manipulate this feature.  I understand the whole “it is too taxing on the database” thing with customization and coloring, etc.  I can’t believe that you can offer more options up front though.

Classes: if there are various classes, whatever they may be called, they should have very different roles, abilities, and functions solo and within groups.   Well defined for me: Hunter, Minstrel, Loremaster, Burglar.  Captain, Champion, Guardian very fuzzy.

Advancement: There need to be a variety of ways you can advance your character. It cannot be that the only viable method is following a particular quest string, or even only quests period as the way to move forward. Sometimes, you just want to explore or craft, or gather resources by shooting stuff. You have to able to break free of a set path.   There need to be more opportunities to do side things such as the in-testing Reputation stuff that can help your character advance.  I haven’t had an opportunity to test the chicken play yet (tried this morning and got a message I had my max no. of quests….I have 28…argh.  Yes I bugged it.)  I think this type of alternate play is a good thing.  Anytime you can wander off and do some side quest it makes the game more appealing.

Option for good and evil and other faction types. In order for the world to be more complex, there should be a choice between being good or evil. How this plays out can vary widely. There should also be some neutral/gray areas or other factional influences that will distinguish your character and their life in the world.   MP and the Reputation stuff are good ways to go.  I do think more can be done here within the main PVE game environment. 

Setting: Time period and genre: Too many fantasy games for sure, but they could still distinguish themselves from one another by varying the time period they are set in. LOTRO has great attention to world detail, they have this right on the money.

World Size: Yes size does matter! If people are to spend alot of time in the world, then it needs to be large and varied and worthy of exploration.   I am all admiration for how much LOTRO packs into every inch of its world map, as revealed thus far.  I know everyone wants to rush to Moria and Helms Deep etc, but for the story and game to unfold as it should, given that we are living in the backstory of the world,  it should take time to unveil it all.

Travel options: We all want to drive cool machines, ride amazing creatures on land and in the air, move freely about the large world that has been built.   For LOTRO, this can be done with more horse options, with carts and wagons and carriages.  Are there catapults and siege engines for use in the Ettenmoors?  I thing more time frame appropriate mechanisms could make it more interesting.

Instancing: Some things should be instanced, mostly group type stuff so some camping fiend can’t spoil things. Some instancing can be for mazes, puzzles, or such things that can be randomly reset for each user or group so it is a new experience each time.   I really like the use of instancing in LOTRO.  I think more solo options would be nice—what session play is getting at I take it?  I always thought the monk guy on the island-bah I can’t recall his name who gives you keys to the chests?…I thought it would be great if those rest and the locations of the chests moved on the island so you couldn’t just memorize.  However, I just did this on Isen and you only have to solve 3 riddles now?  That really is too bad.  In any case, I’m in favor of more puzzles, riddles, and instances which are not quite the same layout wise or mob or treasure wise each time you enter, both for challenge and replayability.

Sandbox! Yes, make the world a big, open, explorable many optioned thing. Let those who wish a more predetermined path set out along quest sequences if they choose. Give people choices all along the way between being led by the snoot and doing what they want to do next.   Funny! You do have way too much leading by the snoot going on here.  You can explore but it does not really pay off unless you’re just wandering collecting ore or hides.

Mail: make is easy and intuitive to send/receive mail. Make it simple to send to multiple players. Allow some sort of mail save feature that puts it in Notepad or someplace you can get to it out of game.   Needs work.  Too annoyingly expensive still to send mail.

Bank: easy to use, includes storage. Nice on the extra storage being offered now. 

Bazaar: system for buying on the spot or searching player vendors.   No player vendors, no player merchant system that is viable and distinctive. 

Player vendors: Different vendor options. Customizeable to look like player or other in game characters.   Nope.

Group sizes: Small for regular groups, larger for raids, larger yet for social groups (entertainers).  Fine for the groups and raids.  Can use more mid-level group sizes…looks like that is coming so so fine..  More social options and band options needed for musicians.  I would like to be able to play the same song as the band leader, for instance.  Playing music should give some reward or xp or have some stylized clothing…anything to make it more of a social and true entertainer ability.   Dance needs to be added.  There should be dance troupes playing at the fairs and on the stages of Middle Earth.

Tutorial: Well defined tutorial area. Basics of chat, combat, social interaction, money and banking, User Interface should be covered.   Really well done.  Very engaging as well.

Guild management: Guild lists, chat, halls, management of membership should be easy to use.  I think the Kinship lists are great and dynamic.  I like the recent addition of seeing at a glance who is online.  Guild Halls need to be added.  Shared environments, places to meet and trade and drop off goods for others.  It would enhance the community feel greatly.

Resource management and collection: It isn’t all about the loot! There should be a deep crafting game that includes resource collection of many types, both hunted and mined. Both combatants and crafters should be involved in and interdependant.  Well, everyone is forced to be a combatant.  You can’t advance in your craft because of the nature of the craft quests without ubering up your toon.  It is just not right that the dedicated crafter needs to do that.  While there is interdependency in the crafts, the crafter should be able to gather for himself non-hunted materials.  A woodworker of any stripe should be able to gather wood, for instance. 

Crafting game: This should involve being able to be a combatant or not. You should be able to create and customize a wide variety of useful and decorative objects. What a player makes should always be the best item available factoring in their skill level, resources used, and the requirements of the object.   I still agree with me here. J  Hopefully over time more useful objects can be crafted.  Right now I don’t use myself my own crafted goods because my character always seems to outlevel what I can usefully craft at any given time.  I can always get a better reward from quests than I can make at any given time.   There is very little that can be crafted that is ornamental in any way.

Loot: I love loot! I want it to be decorative or useful to somebody though. No need to spend time or effort making pure crud dropping, we’re talking no brains, stomachs, glands or whatever, that I can’t use in a recipe or schematic or drop onto something to make it better or more attractive.   I’ve gone to the dark side on this one and treasure any old boar part I come across or any bone that gives me repair money.  On the other hand, useful crafting items and components should drop at a much greater rate.  Loosen that loot table!

The Arts and Imagination: Entertainers should be in the world with the ability to dance, sing and compose. Artists should be able to paint and sell their creations. Writers should be able to author and sell their stories. There should be some version of a newspaper or other way of allowing events in information to be passed to the denizens of the world.   No sign of anything like this, except for the ability to compose.  I thought when I wrote this that that would open up a world of possibility, but without a supporting set of emotes and clothing and entertaining skills, it has not.

PVP: Consensual. Instanced or allowed in certain areas so there aren’t people clogging up the main game areas with their showboating contests. Competitive. Duels, fields of battle that require tactics, Capture the Flag, tournaments with leaderboards. Perhaps put versions of real world sports contests such as soccer in so that it fits with the world.   I haven’t MP’d but think from what I read it goes a long way towards this one.  Chickenball, and things like that, if they worked really well, would be a good start on the tournament thoughts.  Still would like to see jousting.  Also racing, horse racing, or wild boar races through the shire!

Solo vs Group: There should be both solo and group advancement and play options. There should be no required quests that you need to do with a group only that will keep you from advancing your character through the story or their skills. There should be other advantages to grouping–more money, more resources or loot collected, better chance at phat loot in a group, faster character advancement (xp gain) perhaps so it is desirable to group but not necessary.  Here is a real problem.  Too many story arcs do require a group, and a full group at that.  Also, it needs to be easier to step in and help someone with a quest even if you already completed it or haven’t completed it or whatever.  I hear people all the time asking for help and you can’t get into the instance, or you have to crawl to Timbuktu to get to a spot where you maybe can help.  Make it all friendly! 
Quests:  Story arcs (static and monthly/serial); side quests that develop the story or give depth to a region/city/planet/area; repeatable killing quests that yield xp and resources or money; delivery quests that do not involve long distances or backtracking; race or profession specific quests;  quests that allow you to solve a problem or piece together and item or puzzle.   I can’t fault quests in this game for sheer number, variety, cleverness and fun.  The quests are a pleasure to read and play through.  Just make them easier to complete or help someone else to complete! 

Wildstar, Exit Stage Right

It’s a sad day when any online world closes down.  People’s lives change, adventures end, dreams for the future are done.

I’ve always loved the world and the gameplay but I couldn’t play this one one due to motion sickness.   I could never play for long.   Weirdly, as I’ve been playing recently, this wasn’t happening.

Here it was, a science fictional world, just what I’d really like to play, and I couldn’t play.

Watching the world chat recently, (I’m not sure what it’s called here)  I’ve been really taken by the community, and how generous they were answering questions and helping people out.

Someone was asking last night where everyone was going to go, what other game the community might be part of together.  That says a lot about a game, and the care that has been taken by it’s creators to make a world where everyone wants to live.

Here’s what I had to say about Wildstar in the past:

On the plus side the ship quests went much faster this time and I’m out in the world happily exploring every single inch of the game at my own pace.

Combat feels a bit different live.  I really need a new keyboard.  I have pounded the beezus out of my current one.

One of my favorite newer games that I didn’t get enough chance to play at length was Wildstar.  It is a science-fictional universe, populated by cartoon characters on something wild.  They SPROING through the world.
Dark Wing Duck gone insane.  Must clear hard drive space by fall…

I downloaded Wildstar and will be playing my Medic.  It took me a few minutes to get reoriented to the game, but I’m glad to be back, giving it another try.  Such a great looking, dare I say, happy game.

I never got a real chance to play Wildstar at release, and I’m pretty happy to be able to start again and give the game a proper play through.   For a variety of reasons I couldn’t play during opening week.  Even getting in this week, the place is crowded and it’s a battle to interact with npcs and kill mobs without one or more people bouncing in from out of nowhere to get it before you do.

I’ve made one of each character class and am actually excited to play the Rogue-like Stalker.  Since my level 95 Wow Rogue is my favorite character in that game these days, I’m willing to give stealth classes a chance.

When you enter stealth she pulls out incredibly long Wolverine like claws and away you go.  I’m pleased to see her stealth isn’t easily broken, so she can move ghost-like through the world.  While I’d like to rotate between all of my characters, she is a favorite and will probably get the most play time for a bit.

Random things I like:

The music is so vigorous and uplifting. Energizing!

The Announcer with his “Double Kill!” makes you feel like you’ve scored big.

Lots of achievements, including lore bits to find and exploration of the map.

Paths…I took explorer with an earlier character and really liked it, took Settler with Stalker and am not so enchanted with it so far.

I love that you get so many opportunities to jump and double jump and practically fly in so many places.  It is a joyous thing.

Some interesting posts on Wildstar and its history and closure:

Screenshot Saturday Games This Week

I’ve been working on my screenshots, trying for some combat shots, and taking character pictures with them facing the camera, instead of always just seeing the back of them.

World of Warcraft

Ummm…they made my Rogue look scared all the time so she could look like this in a fight.

My Mage and her snake buddies.

I personally love the Azerite interface, it’s like playing a little mini-game.

I love this guy, now that’s a man of the sea.

Darkmoon Fair is so messed up.  I’m going to pass it by until they fix it.  My Jeweler got the Jewelry, Cooking and Fishing quests, but did not get the 5 point skill up, nor did she get the quest xp.   Most of my characters see no quests here (the high levels) at all, except for the boatload of Darkmoon quests you get in a dungeon.  No xp for those either.

No Angels of Death for the Horde.  The guy mocks your death.

My Death Knight in Ratchet on her way to her first Legion Class Quest.

Horde Taxi Service is cool, though

My Paladin in Boralus

A Vulpera.  I want one badly.

My Mage takes a selfie in Freehold.


Mery tries to get to level 14 so she can drop the Red Rocket house, but eek, game shut down is announced.

Elder Scrolls Online

I’ve been logging in every day hoping to get the 100k at months end for a house.  While leaving Vivec, I notice a paper flapping in the wind offering an apartment in the city.  Hmmm, another closet for me?   The building certainly is nice.

It is actually pretty, and larger than my other place.  It needs lights!

I can imagine it looking more like this.

Or My Dream Home from another loading screen.

Meanwhile,  I’m out adventuring when I log in each night.  I try to do one quest at least, and am trying to clear older ones first.   Way over to the east was this puzzle.

I have a pokey horse, but like the Siltstriders.  Seriously, the horse walks like a cow.

I dunno, this guy seems a bit like a vigilante.  But I said I’d help.

I can’t get my helmet off.  Driving me buggy.  I’ve always had it off before.  None of the tips work.

So I can wear this mohawk thing.

Or this new helmet with better stats, but yikes!  I feel like my character can’t breathe in there, eek.  Send heeelp.