EQ2: free heroic (level 95) character

Kind of a public service announcement post today. Daybreak is offering a free heroic (level 95) character on any account if claimed by 6th September.

My Shadowknight was dinged from the low teens to level 85 using the original heroic boost, back when the boost was introduced. I’ve since levelled him to the cap of level 100 through normal questing.

EQ2_000041

However, I’ve since come to realise that, although I love playing the Shadowknight class for solo and public event-style content, it’s not necessarily the best choice for proper group content – since I have no interest in actually playing him in the tank role.

So this offer is rather well-timed as it will allow me to boost either a ranged DPS class or maybe healer to near the cap so that, after dinging the remaining 5 levels, I have a capped character that is more suited to guild dungeon runs.

To boost or not to boost..?

To boost or not to boost..?

I’d be tempted to boost my Warden healer as it’s a character I enjoyed playing when I first started the game, but I kind of abandoned him because healer’s aren’t always the easiest role to level solo in MMORPGs. Likewise I could ding my existing Inquisitor, another class I really enjoyed playing but left behind to concentrate solely on my Shadowknight.

I haven’t played any pure DPS characters in the game before so that would be more of a learning curve than if I boost a healer. Based on my experiences of melee DPS in other games (WoW, LOTRO etc) I think I’d be better opting for a caster/ranged DPS character as melee tend to get take a whole lot more damage in group content.

Lots of potential options here, but thankfully I have almost two weeks to think about the options and to ask guild mates for their opinions before making the final choice!

 

 

Posted in EQ2, Gaming | 1 Comment

WoW: Invasion thoughts

One week after re-subbing to World of Warcraft (via Token), I’ve had the opportunity to play quite a few of the Invasion events on various characters so here are some spoiler-light impressions.

Alongside the titular events are the two sections of story quests. They take little time to play through but are well put together with the usual mix of in-game NPC dialogue, cut-scenes and combat. They also feature instanced solo content but do not take long to complete. The events themselves are pretty accessible: they’re available for characters of level 10+, showcasing the level-scaling tech that WoW is introducing to the new open world areas of the Legion expansion.

WoWScrnShot_082016_111732

Active participation in the events rewards your character with the obligatory event currency (Nethershards), a chance at level appropriate random gear (item level or ilevel 700 for a capped character) and a goodly amount of XP. The events are good for levelling low-level characters or gearing capped characters for the expansion or a combination of the two.

So far I’ve geared my Shaman main, levelled a hunter his last few levels to 100 and fully geared him and dinged a lower Horde Warrior alt three levels (now level 85). I still want to take my Paladin from 95 to 100 and gear out my level 100 Mage. We’re saving out reward chests on any levelling characters to open once they reach 100 the chance at a full set of ilevel 700 gear is just too good to pass-up on lower gear that your character will very quickly out-level.

Follow that zerg!

Follow that zerg!

The events are typical zergy public-quest style fun: in my opinion best enjoyed in moderation. There’s not that much variety to them, at least in comparison to the rift-system in Rift. But as a pre-expansion event I think they’re one of the better offerings Blizzard have given us. The complete removal of tapping and, at least on our PVE-RP realm, the presentation of opposite faction as friendly (green nameplates) the events seem friendly and griefing-free so far.

The difficulty level of the events, as a measure of this new scaling tech, is harder to judge. I’ve found them to vary a lot in this regard. Lower level characters, even a plate-wearing Warrior, may have a rough time with the tougher named mobs and ‘Commander’ boss fights. I’ve suffered a good number of puzzling character deaths, not counting those due to obviously standing in the bad stuff or not running away from a big attack move.
It’s less enjoyable on melee characters as things tend to die before you even reach them if the event is well attended. On my Hunter or Shaman I’ve had no problems tagging everything, whereas the events are an exercise in frustration on my Warrior.

Best to not get too close

Best to not get too close

I’ve also found it much more enjoyable on characters with healing spells. Any character can pick up special super-bandages from their faction capital but they have a cooldown on use. Having a stack of Draenic healing potions is a good idea if your character can’t cast heals, as the boss mobs do lots of sudden and high damage attacks, and healing from other players is not dependable in such a casual grouping scenario.

More healing, less taking screenshots needed...

More healing, less taking screenshots needed…

Overall the events are fun for what they are; they’ve certainly proved the remedy to having a lot of cherised alt characters stuck at the start of Draenor with no real motivation to repeat that expansions content in a rush before Legion launches. I do hope there’s still a little more to reveal story-wise before the expansion launches next week.

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 2 Comments

LOTRO: finally there (105)

Without really paying that much attention to it, the last level of my champion flew by during recent Lord of the Rings Online gaming sessions. He now stands at the current cap of level 105 – my first ever character at the cap in this game.

ScreenShot00739

According to “/played” he has 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour 31 minutes and 40 seconds of playtime in total. It doesn’t seem like that much really, considering I created him way back in October 2009. That doesn’t sum up my true involvement with this game though, as I have spent many hours on my stable of alt characters, some of whom are more developed crafters than my main: my warden for example has max-tier weaponsmithing even though he’s only character level 27.

First ever screenshot

First ever screenshot

It’s been a sporadic but ever-enjoyable journey to get him from his home in Combe to this distant field of battle. That journey doesn’t end with the cap of course, I’m still working him through Volume IV Book 6 of the epic quest-line. To actually have a character up-to-date with the epic story will be another first.

ScreenShot00729

The last few of these epic story quests have been pretty breathtaking in their execution, grand adventures indeed! The questing is interwoven amidst a sprawling battle between multiple armies (four at least?) with notes of urgency, desperation and hope mixed in.

Beyond catching this character up with the current epic story; I should really start to work on his deeds as he has so many incomplete slayer and explorer deeds to finish off. I also have a desire to start doing some group content in LOTRO once more, so I’m contemplating levelling my minstrel or a new runekeeper so I can get some healer practice in the game’s dungeons and skirmishes. Whatever I do next, more adventures in Middle Earth await!

ScreenShot00742

Posted in Gaming, LotRO | 1 Comment

DDO: instance scale (and Karazhan)

We played another session of our new Dungeons & Dragons Online trio earlier in the week. In that time we managed to quickly wrap up the final quests on the Isle of Korthos and to transition across to Stormreach city proper.

ScreenShot00151

The last dungeon, Misery’s Peak, is singular in the early experience because it showcases what a dramatic scale the game’s instances can take. The design of the instance truly gives the impression of delving deep into a whole system of caves beneath a mountain. Cavernous chambers, with multiple layers accessible by ramps, are contrasted by tightly sloping passages.

ScreenShot00156

The next zone for the game, the Harbour, is the most constrained perhaps. Adventures there are mostly confined to the sewers and the warehouses found in that district. Getting lost was a problem for me when I played DDO originally – the dungeon maps were often larger than I was used to and distinctly non-linear!

My first proper MMORPG, World of Warcraft, has/had some stellar examples of sprawling instance design – Blackrock Mountain, Maraudon, Uldum – to name but a few.  Many dungeons are smaller, “corridor” dungeons. A model of dungeon where a few groups of trash mobs are scattered between each boss fight with no real choices of order, direction or approach. That’s probably a good thing as the contrast in scale makes the very large dungeons noticeably that more impressive. Back in DDO the sewer and warehouse dungeons that follow Misery’s Peak are claustrophic in contrast so it’s natural to look back at those caverns with a renewed wonder.

Definitely not a linear corridor...

Definitely not a linear corridor…

It has just been announced at Gamescom, that the first patch post expansion (7.1) for Legion will include a revamp of the Karazhan raid as an epic 5-man ‘almost-raid’. That announcement definitely has me interested – Karazhan was one of the first raids I ever took part in towards the very end of the Burning Crusade expansion era.

The original was a masterpiece of intricate and lore-rich design (as a non-raider I won’t comment on the boss-fight design merits). If the pattern follows from Cataclysm and subsequence revamps of 5-man dungeons by Blizzard, it is likely to be a lot shorter and more linear than the raid was (12 boss fights across a sprawling multi-level map). But the location and lore offer Blizzard the materials to produce a very interesting and non-linear new dungeon so perhaps the devs will keep some sense of scale to this iconic location.

 

Posted in DDO, Gaming, WoW | 1 Comment

WoW: back to Azeroth

Yesterday I bought a WoW Token at the login screen to get me back into the game ahead of the launch of the Legion expansion. There was some sorting of character abilities and inventory to do but I only have two level 100s at present so not much effort was needed.

Talent respec

Talent respec

I decided to stick with my Shaman main for the first run through of the Broken Shore scenario that leads your character into the demonic invasions event. As per usual I’ll avoid spoilers as much as possible although the screenshots may have some minor spoilerific details.

Continue reading

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 1 Comment

Feeling left out

Stargrace of MMO Quests posted about feeling left out by not playing No Man’s Sky at launch. Other than a mention of it on my WoW guild’s Facebook page, this particular space sim hasn’t been on my radar. However, I can empathise with the feeling all the same for different reasons.

SWTOR
Unfortunately I unsubbed after the last chapter before realising there was one more release due. The big reveal at the end of part 15 just seemed like a “cliffhanger season-ender” to me, and by coincidence my sub was due a couple of days after that content dropped, so I cancelled the renewal with no thought there might be one more chapter.

Since my playthrough of chapter 15, I’ve barely logged into the game as I have so many gaming priorities. So for now I’m deliberately missing out on the excitement of discussing the real story ending and am having to avoid blogposts about it.
I’ll be back in-game: either for the launch of the next expansion, or if World of Warcraft keeps me occupied longer, in time for the cinema release of Rogue One. It’s a safe bet that watching a new Star Wars movie will get me back in the mood for some SWTOR again.

WoW
Having just mentioned the game above, the other MMO release I’ve not touched yet is the pre-Legion patch for World of Warcraft. As a consequence I’m also having to avoid a lot of blog posts about that new content as well. As you may imagine my blogroll is full of posts I can’t read at the moment! At least I’ll be able to start on WoW sooner – my husband returns from working away next week so we’ll find time to do the pre-Legion events before the expansion launch at the end of this month.

Despite missing out on the buzz of new content as it drops, I can’t really complain since I’ve had good gaming sessions in other MMOs to fill my free-time.

Posted in Gaming, SWTOR, WoW | 1 Comment

EQ2: a game of cat and mouse

I created a new character in Everquest 2 to play with a friend while showing him the game. After some discussion I ended up creating a Defiler cleric and he chose a Monk tank. This pair need to be able to handle themselves if we’re to do dungeons in later levels (with the odd mercenary to assist), so a tank+healer duo seemed prudent.

A cat and a rat went to Neriak

A cat and a rat went to Neriak

Everquest 2 has so many choices of classes, races and starter zones – with restrictions on what combinations you can choose. I’m no expert, but I had an idea of what starter zones to recommend trying (Neriak or Gorowyn). For races, the friend chose Ratonga, and I had chosen Ferra. So when our characters entered the world, it was as though we’d recreated a heroic version of the cat and mouse.

In the first session we played through the first couple of quest hubs of this Dark Elf starter zone. The levels come quickly enough, by the end of the session our character had hit level 8 and had a hotbar’s worth of abilities already. Heroic opportunities are now available so I can finally get some experience of trying to complete them in a group – I’ve mostly solo’ed in this game over the years.

The profusion of classes and races is one of the reasons why I recommended we try EQ2 over other, older, MMORPGs. The game also has some systems that help make duo gameplay that much more viable – mercenaries, mentoring (if one of us gets out of sync level-wise) and chronomancy level-sync so we can repeat lower level dungeons for variety.

The cat, err ... tiger.

The cat, err … tiger.

This close to the Legion launch we’ll not have that many opportunities to play I suppose, but it’s something we’ve talked about trying for quite some time and will be an activity to come back to when my husband is raiding in WoW later in the year.

 

Posted in EQ2, Gaming | 2 Comments