AFK

Just a quick post to note that I’m away for a week so there’ll be no posts for a bit.

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Happy gaming everyone!

Posted in Gaming

EQ2: pre-expansion XP bonus and public events

Daybreak have announced the next expansion for Everquest 2, Kunark Ascending and there is double XP this weekend as part of the build-up. I finally gave in to temptation last night and used my free level 95 on my existing Inquisitor character. He was already level 55 but logging back into to him was so nostalgic I just had to plump for him in the end. I wanted to have a healer to play in new content and he can bring a nice mix of good damage skills and self-healing.

Newly dinged level 95 Inquisitor

Playing newly dinged level 95 Inquisitor

The expansion news post also mentions that there’ll be bonuses each week in October as part of the build-up. This could be a good opportunity to drag my Inqusitor through those last five levels to the cap of 100. Having two capped characters ready for an expansion will give me some variety for gaming sessions  – I’ve learned that from the recent preparations for WoW Legion, expansions can bring a change of perspective on which character I want to play going forward.

or Shadowknight in Thalumbra...

or Shadowknight in Thalumbra…

I also spent a bit of time to go check out the public quest events that are happening in various zones. I’d done a few in a previous session, by randomly grouping up with another player. This time it was the more usual model (these days) for public quest participation: I joined in on an ‘anon’ character who had just started the event so we fought together solo.

EQ2_000197The two sessions were an interesting contrast in two different experiences to such content within the same game. The first time a player grouped up with me and we approached the fights as a coordinated pair with me making use of my healing skills and paltry offensive spells. The second time we both just fought each creatures one after another, together but apart. In Everquest 2 my healer cannot heal random characters during combat, grouping is required.  That’s kind of a serious limit to my potential fun playing a healer in such events. I’ve had problems in other games as a healer, notably in Rift with PVP flagged characters not receiving my heals, but to have a blanket ban on healing others in EQ2 without formal grouping is rather at odds with the nature of such events; at least how most players seem to participate in them in other games.

Posted in EQ2, Gaming

MMO snacking

Legion has launched and there is a veritable banquet of new content before us: new zones, world quests, rare spawns (gotta catch those stars!), class halls, artifact weapons and, eventually, dungeons. The class halls and artifact weapons are a particular draw for me as they offer snippets of lore and some very nostalgic trips back to older era zones.

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That makes me, on one hand, want to play all the classes and see all the cool stuff as soon as possible. But thankfully I also have enough rationality to recognise that I simply do not enjoy bingeing on a game anymore. Too much WoW in a short space of time is likely to put me off the expansion quickly enough – I almost over did the invasion events last month in this way.

How many times have I done this fight?

How many times have I done this fight?

So instead of falling back on old patterns of alting to stave off overload, I’ll need to take time out from Azeroth to see other worlds. Multi-gaming is the norm for me these days, and for my writing on this blog but when a really big event occurs, like a major MMO expansion, it can be tempting to concentrate a little too much on that one game or new thing. So after a bit of a binge on WoW this last week or so, it’s time to return to the MMO smörgåsbord

smorgasbord

 

 

 

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 3 Comments

WoW: Legion unleashed

The timing of the launch of the Legion expansion for World of Warcraft meant, for UK customers, that it launched at 11:00pm on Monday evening (29th). That day the servers had been hopping and our guild was super busy with people getting their last-minute tasks done. As the hour approached we were in game and logging in and out of characters to check on gear levels and event currency amounts.

Nethershard shopping

Nethershard spending spree

It’s kind of unusual that we were actually around and free for the launch: normally we have happened to be on holiday or I have been away working for WoW expansion launches. After the pretty hectic pre-launch event of the demonic invasions, and the short but atmospheric quest chain involving Kadagar, the expansion launch was of the “flip the switch” kind. Suddenly people reported receiving a quest to start their journey to the Broken Isles.

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Thus the starter pistol was fired and people raced off to begin levelling again. I played the intro questline on my Balance Druid as far as the point of choosing which zone of the Broken Isles to start questing proper. It took maybe an hour or just under to get him to that point.

Choices, choices

Choices, choices

From the little that I’ve seen already I feel my excitement for the expansion is justified. The story-telling is immersive, I particularly liked how the class hall and artifact weapon intro quests took my character to points in old zones of Azeroth before leading me on to the Broken Isles. The design for the new zones is beautiful from what little I’ve seen as well.

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At this very early stage it’s difficult to write much without spoilers but I do feel it is a good time to be back in Azeroth. I’ll be wandering through the new zones on a few characters over the coming weeks. Ironically I’m away next week without a gaming computer, so I fully expect to be behind on the levelling curve soon – that’s a good thing as I want to explore this expansion at a sedate pace.

Have fun in Legion for all those playing!

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 1 Comment

Calm before the (demonic) storm

It’s that special time – the calm before the storm when a major MMO expansion is about to release. I’ve resisted the urge to double-down on invasion running in an attempt to level all of the characters, using last week’s spare gaming time to enjoy a variety of games.

World of Warcraft
I’ve done pretty much everything I wanted to do before the launch of the Legion expansion. I have five characters as the cap, all geared up with ilevel 700 weapons and armour from the invasion event rewards.

Sniperkin

Sniperkin

I’m going to take my Balance Druid through Legion first. I’ll have to evaluate what impact the artifact weapon and class hall systems will have on my gaming time to see whether I play just the one character all the way to 110 before starting on alts but I will want to get my Mage levelling too so I can develop his new jewelcrafting skill further.

My new Alliance-side jewelcrafter

My new Alliance-side jewelcrafter

Lord of the Rings Online

In the lull before Legion I’ve managed to log a few more sessions of LOTRO and have completed the latest chapter of the epic storyline, so my Champion is all caught up (both in levels and solo content) for the first time since I started playing. I doubt I’ll get around to working much on alts in the near future but my baby Runekeeper is waiting on some more levels so I can start trying out low-level dungeon healing.

Dwarf RK

Dwarf RK

Everquest 2

Having dipped back into EQ2 to consider options for the free level 95 boost, I’ve also managed to squeeze in another duo session or two on the cat & mouse pair. Low level gameplay in most MMOs is simply the best in my humble opinion. That feeling of discovery and learning a new class is always a joy. Although I’ve played most of Darklight Woods before, I’ve done almost none of Neriak’s story quests and none of the follow-up zone of Nektulos Forest, so I’m looking forward to eventually exploring more of the these.

Cat & mouse vs the cultists

Cat & mouse vs the cultists

Posted in EQ2, Gaming, LotRO, WoW

WoW: who to play in Legion?

The launch of the new World of Warcraft expansion next week brings with it the dilemma of which characters to concentrate on playing first. It’s more complex than in the past given this expansion’s new leveling zones combined with the new features of the class hall system and the artifact weapon progression system.

It seems likely from the class revamp preview available since last month in the pre-expansion patch that I will be dropping my Shaman down the pegging order at least several notches. He’s been my main character since the Cataclysm expansion, he took on the inscription profession (which I loved but Legion has utterly wrecked) and I discovered a love for the Shaman healing style back then. My Balance Druid main has languished woefully out of date for some time, but with the super quick levelling in the Legion invasion event that was quickly resolved.

My Shaman may be on the bench in Legion

My Shaman may be on the bench in Legion

The Balance class/spec as it currently stands seems to be a lot more enjoyable than I found it during the twilight days of the eclipse mechanic era. He’s also my alchemist character, and that’s one of my all-time favourite crafting professions. Incidentally he’s a pure DPS character, always has been despite my love of playing the healer role.

The Boomkin is back

The Boomkin is back

I’ve also insta-dinged two characters, a hunter and a mage: classes that I’ve never played to cap although I have lower-level Horde-side alts for both. Mage has some very powerful utility spells still – teleports, portals and food conjuration (in the new era of healers running low on mana) plus some good crowd control – the latter always useful in early expansion dungeon runs where overpulls are likely to be fatal. Hunter’s have something rare in this game, at least for ranged characters, they have lots of mobility. Having played so much The Secret World, Wildstar and Guild Wars 2, I’ve found it painful to be locked in place when casting so much in WoW. If I were to consider dipping my toes in the raiding waters again this expansion (certainly only the easiest mode) then Hunter would be a very sensible choice since I can still do damage while moving out of the endless amounts of fire/poison/etc that spawns in boss fights.

Hunter on a named-pet hunt

Hunter on a named-pet hunt

So I read with interest, if a little wariness for spoilers, Justin of Bio Break’s post about his ranking of class halls. I’ve not even read about the Legion beta in any length, let alone stepped a character into it – I want the expansion’s new content to be fresh and ready to discover come next week. But it would be very difficult to choose who to play first without some information, and the general impressions Justin where just informative enough to help my own decision. It’s an interesting coincidence that his top three ranked class halls happens to coincide with my likely candidate for main (Druid) and my two insta-dinged characters (Mage and Hunter) that I’ll certainly want to practice playing more in this expansion!

I’m hoping the class halls will be a positive aspect of the expansion for players like myself, who like to play different characters in MMOs; the garrison system in Warlords quickly became a burden given it’s linear development and heavy entanglement with the levelling zone stories. Class halls at least should present, I presume, an extra layer of variety (however thin) to the levelling process for each new class you take through the expansion.

Do you have any character dilemmas for who to play in Legion?

Posted in Gaming, WoW | 2 Comments

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.

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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 | 5 Comments