Into the Mists #ddounlimited #ravenloft

This weekend I got to try out the newly launched Mists of Ravenloft expansion for Dungeons & Dragons Online. The content is for level 10 (or level 30), and on my new server I only have a level 5 artificer so far.  Rather than wait through those levels I took this as an incentive to buy an Iconic hero character, a level 15 Bladeforged.

The little intro instance for the Bladeforged (a Warforged hero with the Paladin class by default) was very atmospheric, as a big fan of Eberron I was impressed with the little lore touches in the creation forge area. I chose to take a full 15 levels of Paladin, manually leveling the character would be more customisable but too time-consuming an endeavour for a solo character. Paladin is one of my favourite classes to play in any MMORPG anyway, and again the Eberron-specific Warforged character appealed more to me than the Purple Dragon Knight or other options.

Starting the new expansion I read on the wiki, is via a portal in House Jorasco. Once I’d stepped into the titular mists, my newly minted Paladin soon found himself exploring a distinctly creepy forest.

There was a short intro instance with an optional side objective;  working on this reminded me of a post by Syp talking about this aspect of DDO. These optionals give players a measure of choice on how to approach a given run. When repeating early content on new alts I do vary a lot whether I do optionals or not, with new content like this I’ll be trying for most of them to fully explore each new quest.

I soon progressed on to the wilderness adventure area of Barovia. It’s nice to see variation on the default quests in this particular area. Instead of exploring map locations, there are three sets of story fragments to find. So far the ones I’ve stumbled across have been voiced, another nice touch!

New monster types (again to me) are in evidence in Barovia too. So far I’ve seen Vargouilles – creepy batwinged, disembodied heads – and animated Scarecrows. The former gave me a real thrill of recognition seeing this classic D&D monster; I can’t remember ever having seen them in a computer game before.

After some exploration I parked my character in the first Inn he came to, limited time means I’ll have to leave the quests/dungeons for next session. More spooky adventures will follow I’m sure!

Posted in DDO, Gaming | 1 Comment

afk: early December edition

Ahead of the main Christmas break, I’m off for most of the week on a little city-break jaunt. No gaming time or easy blogging-access for me, so there’ll be no post till the weekend.

City exploration ahead!

Happy gaming everyone!

Posted in Gaming | 1 Comment

A:IR – an MMO to watch for in 2018?

I haven’t really got any new MMORPGs that I’m watching at present as games I’ll want to play, or at least I didn’t have any until I watched the lengthy and varied reveal trailer for Ascent: Infinite Realm (a k a A:IR apparently).

I’d not heard at all of the Steampunk/Fantasy title until just now, developed by Bluehole (same company as Tera), Massively OP have a more recent article than the above-linked one with a quote that first grabbed my attention:

[A] glossy steampunk-fantasy MMORG that boasts less grinding, more meaningful quests, and front-loaded fun, with a design that recognizes you probably play more than one game

Now that sounds rather squarely targetted at my gaming interests. I’m all for games with less grinding and meaningful quests. I loved the combat mechanics and class gameplay in Tera but the story was never very engaging, plus the class customisation was very poor indeed. The latter point is not addressed above, this new game may well have just as shallow class progression. But the trailer is worth a watch; there seems to be a good amount of gameplay variety, including a detailed housing system. Plenty of vehicle fights and aerial combat were highlighted, I guess to emphasize the Steampunk-theme as a selling point. Gliding is also a feature included in the video, the game world will feature vertical layers of content it seems.

I didn’t come away with any real clue about the classes shown in the video, almost everyone seems to be using big guns as special moves. There’s an overview of five classes on the official website, but again scant detail on how classes will play or be developed as you progress. Beta is scheduled for in the New Year, so perhaps I’ll give it a whirl…

Is this game on anyone else’s MMO-radar?

Posted in Gaming, Tera | 2 Comments

Planes of Prophecy: first impressions

My first proper play session in the Planes of Prophecy expansion started as expected, a message and a new destination on the Ulteran Spire network. A quick hop via the Enchanted Lands got my Inquisitor to the Plane of Magic.

My first impression was dominated by the instinctive action of taking off on my pegasus mount. No temporary flying bans here, in contrast to at least one earlier EQ2 expansion and of course several recent World of Warcraft expansions. I can appreciate the reasons for limiting flying early in an expansion’s lifetime to land-travel, but then the level of ‘mystery’ that the lack of bird’s-eye view may give new content is tempered if omnipresent map/mini-map locations give exact information on your next goal or destination. In Everquest 2 flying isn’t taken away from you, but since the last expansion the map-details provided by the game engine (or the very detailed EQ2Map add-on) are disabled instead. It’s a different take on complicating the early trials of adventurers.

Exotic landscapes

I’ve flown around the first few segments of the Plane of Magic’s central island, it’s a very impressive place – steep central mountains and an inviting-looking sea surrounding it. There’s some suitably magical looking crystals and other features, notably a huge pillar of light near the centre.

Time for a dip?

Very quickly my character was confronted with a choice of three factions to interact with. Initially at least it seems my character will be allied with one of them and, by default, become an enemy to the other two. It’s an interesting device, reminiscent of earlier zones in EQ2, and made me think immediately of repeated play-throughs on alt characters to see the other two faction stories unfold.

You seem like nice people…?

I chose the House Vahla faction simply based on the more pleasing architecture of their home area – visible as you fly into the zone. I’ll end up trying all three factions I imagine anyway, so any was just as good to start with.

Mind the sphinx…

Doing an early quest to defeat servants of a rival faction made me think of factional content in World of Warcraft. Sneaking up to the lower levels of the other faction base to pick off the monsters I needed without disturbing the NPCs (vendors, quest-givers etc) that were stood about. Unlike in WoW I wasn’t having to dodge hostile guards in this case, at least not yet: I am getting negative rep with this rival faction for each quest I complete.

Enough detail, perhaps?

The other aspect I noted as I played was the need to pay attention to quest details. If the map shows no real info at all, do the quest texts give me enough info? So far I’ve managed without the always available wiki guide, it’s quite a departure from the MMO norm to read quest text a few times and to then hunt around for the right locations and NPCs by sight and deduction (follow the river, what looks like ‘uplands’ on the map?).

Posted in EQ2, Gaming | 1 Comment

Content deluge incoming…

The next couple of weeks feature content-drops for several of my current MMORPG games, it’s a bit of a deluge of new stuff to do:

Everquest 2 is down today between 14:00 and 19:00 (GMT) to deploy Planes of Prophecy.

Blending in, in Kunark

Guild Wars 2 introduces the first post expansion story in the Living World Season 4 Episode 1 later today.

Ticking off the Griffon quest boxes…

Next week, on Tuesday 5th, Dungeons & Dragons Online will be launching the Ravenloft expansion. Typically I’ll be away next week when Ravenloft comes along, so will have to jump into that when I get back.

Is this a Ravenloft decor preview?

That gives me a week to see the new episode of GW2 content, and to get started on Planes of Power. That’s a lot of gaming to do!

Posted in DDO, EQ2, Gaming, Guild Wars | 6 Comments

Secret World Legends #IntPiPoMo2017

Although we’ve been playing more Divinity Original Sin 2 than Secret World Legends of late, the last week has seen one of our DOS2 quartet not around, so the three of us have instead been back in SWL. Here’s some screenshots from the latter game for my final International Picture Posting Month post of 2017!

1. Puzzling it out together…

2. Playing around with the new Anima Allocation system

I very positive change

3. Ak’abs are still annoying

4. Some flashy new combat graphics in SWL

5. The NPCs are still the stars

Limiting myself to 50 pictures was never likely to happen, I could have gone so easily way over the goal for the month, picture posts are too much fun to do!

#IntPiPoMo2017 count 53/50

Posted in Gaming, TSW

GW: griffon quest underway

We completed the Path of Fire storyline on our Asura duo last weekend. Other than zone completion, we still have the a bunch of points of interest to find and the odd mastery point to unlock, the main thing we still want to achieve is unlocking the griffon mount.

This mount is so very gorgeous to look at. Getting started on it gave us an ever so tantalising taste of the mount – like all the others there are temporary mounts in certain places that you can use but only until you are dismounted, fight something or need to use a different mount.

This mount unlock is pretty involved, we have a list of nine items per zone for all five zones. We’ve been working on gathering the easy and exploration-oriented stuff first, so grabbing the items you have to jump or glide to get.

A second category of achievements to unlock are the events or boss fights in each zones that you can only get meta-credit for once you have started the whole griffon achievement.  At least one of the big boss battles we’d completed before while playing through the zones following the main story but that didn’t count for this meta-achievement.

The third major category is one of spending 25g on each of 10 items spread across the five zones. That’s something we’ve been ignoring, we came into the expansion with a brief partial jaunt to Maguuma, and no regular playtime since the early days of Living Story 2. I think my character had gained about 15-18g playing through the main storyline, hard to say as I hadn’t paid any attention to it until we started looking at the griffon unlock. In any case this isn’t looking so insurmountable anymore thanks to a hot tip from Aywren on her blog. My character has gone from barely having a fifth of the money needed to having about 65% of the total in one quick trip to the Amnoon trading post.

We’re combining the griffon hunt with zone completion so I doubt we’ll be done that quickly, but it’s fun to have a goal while still mainly exploring about and poking our Asuran noses into all kinds of dangerous places…

Posted in Gaming, Guild Wars | 6 Comments