It’s crazy summer season once more. The temperatures have been soaring and I’ve been mostly stuck in-doors with a study deadline. It also means I’m not finding the thinking time or mental energy for blogging at the moment. When I do game it’s generally friends/family oriented grouping stuff. Helping people with dungeons, our Elder Scrolls leveling trio, etc.

So my posting isn’t likely to be on the usual every other day schedule for the next couple of weeks, I’ll continue to post when I can though.

Enjoy the sunshine whether real or virtual!

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Magic the Gathering MMORPG?

A rather intriguing bit of gaming news has appeared on Massively OP this week. Cryptic it appears is to be launching a Magic the Gathering inspired action MMORPG. The IP is enough to get my considerable interest up-front, I collected and played this card game for years, although none of the online attempts at creating a game from it interested me that much. I have more cards than I can ever use from the early years of playing.

An earlier card, but I love the guildmages.

What actually interests me more than mechanics or comment debates over classes, is which of the many and highly varied ‘planes’ the game will feature. The lore of MtG stretches across dozens of different magical settings, traversed by the ultra-powerful mages known as Planeswalkers. Some of my favourite settings are likely to be of niche interest I would assume.

Mirrodin, a plane where all is made of metals

The settings offer countless possible opportunities for variety of zones and expansion ideas, whether Cryptic link the game’s stories to the back story of published card-sets or not.

Kamigawa – samurai and dangerous ‘kami’ spirits

Perhaps one my favourite setting of all is the more recent Ravnica, a plane covered entirely by a practically endless city. The setting is dominated by the politics between ten rival guilds of mages, ready-made factions that players could join or gain reputation with through their adventuring? I have very few cards from this set as it came out years after we stopped actively collecting. I suspect there are other sets that are more popular or more likely to be chosen as the main basis for the game – if Cryptic’s more recent releases for the Neverwinter game are anything to go by then this new MMORPG is likely to feature content that ties into upcoming MtG cardsets to cross-promote both the cards and the game among fans.

In any case it’s a game I’m likely to try just out of curiosity, the potential is certainly there to deliver something a bit different and more varied lore-wise.

Posted in Gaming, Neverwinter | 5 Comments

WoW: class mounts

The last major patch for WoW has brought a few new things for the more casual player, like myself, including the unlocking of new class mounts.

Pictured above is my Druid main in his new owl flight form. I haven’t played him since unlocking this, I’ve been too busy on my Paladin unlocking his mount, but apparently like the travel form (the stag version), the owl is a ‘passenger’ mount. This allows you to carry one party-member with you! Since I haven’t ever unlocked the sandstone drake mount, it is my first flying passenger ‘mount’.

I’ve just finished unlocking the second class mount, the Paladin’s valorous charger. This is a flying mount despite the lack of wings. It’s a nice mount for sure but I normally use Tyrael’s charger on him as a paladin-appropriate yet winged horse.

Next up will be my Shaman to unlock his elemental mount. Each mount requires a class-specific quest chain, assuming that you’re already up to date on the weekly quest series of the Legionfall campaign in the Broken Isles zone. I found the Druid quest pretty easy on my Boomkin, but the Paladin quest was a pain as Holy (mainly due to ‘dumb as rocks’ AI companions). My Shaman is a healer too, hopefully he’ll have an easier time of his quest!

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First ever MMORPG pics

A little late to party, I noticed the official Everquest 2 Twitter account had asked for players to share their oldest screenshot. That’s a rather fun idea, looking back through old screenshots is always fun!

Everquest 2

Baby Inquisitor

Created back in August 2010 when I joined the Freeport server, this is my first EQ2 screenshot from an early play session in Frostfang Sea.

Guild Wars 2

Freshly minted Mesmer

It’s not many games where I have screenshots of a character actually being created. My beloved Mesmer from Guild Wars 2 stands here as I make choices about his background.

Lord of the Rings Online

Baby Champion

This dates from October 2009, although already he’s level 18 so I must have played for some time before that.

Neverwinter (Cryptic)

Control Wizard’s humble beginnings

Here’s my solo character from Neverwinter in his very first session fighting zombies near the city of the same name.

Star Wars the Old Republic

A now lost Sith Warrior

A rare beta screenshot, yes this is the Sith Warrior I played in SWTOR’s beta, wiped along with all the beta characters as the game prepared for launch. I deliberately chose to play a character from the faction and a class I had less interest in as I intended to play a ranged Jedi character at launch.


A test character in Tera

Before I ever played Tera properly, I tried playing it through the Gaikai streamed gaming service. This now-defunct idea was to play MMORPGs through a browser by running the game on a server-farm and redirecting screen, sound and input to a light-weight browser client. Here I had created a Warrior to play through the original, ‘play level 20 preview’, rather confusing starter experience.

Sadly for some MMORPGs, World of Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons Online among them I have no complete archive of screenshots – so my first pictures from Azeroth or Stormreach are lost in time after one too many changes of computer.

Posted in EQ2, Gaming, Guild Wars, LotRO, SWTOR, Tera | 1 Comment

How well do you know your virtual world?

I’ve been picking away at the Anniversary quests in Lord of the Rings Online the last week or so and it’s reminded me just how enormous and complicated Middle Earth is. The quests named after individual heroes of the Fellowship are particularly far-ranging – the Boromir one for instance had me going to a few obscure locales that I may not even have ridden past before.

The frosty frontier

Taken at a leisurely pace it’s a rather fun way to explore little corners of this virtual world, but I do find it hard to remember what places are where. Doing these quests without some help from a wiki would be impossible.

Minas Tirith has a map room?

Perhaps it’s in part the deep linguistic underpinnings of the setting, Tolkien invested a lot of time and effort in creating languages for his fantasy world so place names have common patterns and roots. This makes the setting more believable, but also makes it easy to confuse places – just how many places are there starting with ‘Echad‘ for instance?

Back in Angmar

I was left wondering if I could do a similar style of quest in other virtual worlds without needing any help? Certainly I could make a good try of it in Azeroth, I’ve played more hours of World of Warcraft than any other MMO. Sections of Norrath (EQ2 version) I do know well but then there’s the upper middle zones that I skipped over and haven’t yet played on any character (~50-85). Back when we were playing FFXIV, I could probably have done such a grand tour in Eorzea from memory because the main story quests basically had you doing repeated trips to all corners of the world as a matter of course.

How well do you know your favourite virtual world (or universe)?

Posted in EQ2, FFXIV, LotRO, WoW | 1 Comment

Treasured items

On my more MMORPG well-played characters¬† I have certain treasured items, items that I value for their utility or style rather than their raw power. I give a few examples below of such items to illustrate what I’m talking about and why I like them.

LOTRO: Horn of the Dwarrowdelf

This item, from certain editions of the Mines of Moria expansion, is a freebie that you can choose towards the end of the tutorial (if you have a qualifying edition of Moria). It’s a reusable buff item that gives +1 Hope for a short time – not a useful effect unless you face one of darkest evil of creatures, those giving the inverse Dread debuff that requires Hope to counteract.

But I always really liked this item, it’s a limited version of an end-game feature that is readily available to all my characters. Moreover it has a very apt in-game cast visual – my Champion blowing some ancient horn to rouse his spirits always made me smile.

WoW: Everlasting Underspore Frond

I loved this item through WoW’s Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions,¬† it was available in one of the Zangarmarsh dungeons. This reusable item creates a stack of health & mana recovery items – like having a mage always on hand to conjure a snack for your character. Since Wrath the health and mana recovery was too small to use but I’ve kept the item in the bank out of nostalgia. The item was simple and of limited value but it appealed to my Druid’s sense of self-sufficiency.

Do you have any treasured items, perhaps long-since made irrelevant by a game’s evolution?

Posted in Gaming, LotRO, WoW | 1 Comment

WoW: Arcane Mage time

I’ve been playing a Mage alt in World of Warcraft as the latest character to play through the class hall campaign, he was my instant level 100 back from the Legion expansion’s launch. I haven’t had much time with this class since back when I had a Blood Elf Mage alt back in Cataclysm, it’s been a long time.

Arcane Missiles love

Although gameplay or ability rotations for most of the classes have changed a lot over the years some of the class features that I appreciate remain in place. For Mage, I can still polymorph for crowd control and I can still conjure food and drink (though it’s combined in one item these days).

A slow fall jaunt

It’s not necessarily that useful anymore though as mana isn’t that much of an issue for most classes in the game, ironically Arcane Mage is a specialisation that has mana management as a feature. So if nothing else he’ll need the food himself on occasion.

Mana Buns, nomm, nomm!

This is probably, in part, a nostalgia thing as I have fond memories of the great utility features of certain classes in WoW – the Mage with conjured food and portals, or Warlock with healthstones, the summoning portal and the soulstone. In any case I’m enjoying the current take on Arcane Mage – it’s a tight but interesting ability rotation and the flavour of the Mage still runs through this specialisation.

Warlocks and Mages can still bring the utility in WoW

Posted in Gaming, WoW