Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rift Holiday Event

Trion is doing a wonderful job with World Events coming out regularly and the variety of new vanity items associated to each one.  Continuing with that Telara is celebrating the Holidays in typical style - the Fae Yule Celebration. It's scheduled to be a three phase event over six weeks.

Daily quests to be completed in town and of course destroying specific Rifts, as well as a Christmas Village feel, complete with random snowfall.

A lineup of Christmas Corgi's.  Various edible treats will turn you into a Corgi or an odd-looking reindeer (see below).

Both the Rudolph-red-nose Corgi and the Reindeerish mount, the Spotted Festive, Fae Yule Vaiyuu (that's a mouthful!) can be purchase during this World Event.  Vanity clothing and Lesser Essence are also available purchase.
There is still time to get your vanity gear and other goodies before the event ends.

Rift Zam guide to the Fae Yule Celebration.

Monday, November 28, 2011


After the long holiday beta weekend - all I can say is WOW regarding SWTOR.  I've honestly been so lukewarm over TOR - preparing myself for it to be more hype than substance. But EA has created a wonderful player experience.

 So, I really put in some time Friday-Monday on testing the different classes, start zones, some crafting, PvP, exploring and Flashpoints.  I didn't get past level 13, as I do want to keep the advanced storyline and questing fresh for when TOR goes live.

No screenshots though, apparently that is still turned off by EA as part of the NDA.

But even without pics, I did test every class over the last two beta weekends and it's really hard to pick a favorite.  They're all fun.  My preference would probably go to the Bounty Hunter/Trooper - just a ton of fun to play - but I honestly liked all the classes.  Some of the races (I think they're technically called species), I preferred (personal taste) over the others, and a couple of the male/female choices will have to be worked out as I didn't care for the female and/or male voice acting combo.

The start zones, I'd have to say the Sith Inquisitor/Warrior had to be my favorite as far as quest lines, not necessarily the look of the zone. Least favorite and I really found it to be on the boring side was the Smuggler/Trooper start zone on Ord Mantell.  I really don't know why, but I found it to be a bit of a yawn.  The other two start zones were excellent and definitely gave the feel for the classes starting there.

The worlds are completely wonderful and each has a different feel to them.  The capitol cities were truly unbelievable - huge, with tremendous detail and felt like a city or at least what SciFi tells us futuristic cities will look like.  Everything seems BIG in TOR.  Lots of running pre-mount (level 25), so definitely bind an auto-run key!  It's going to be truly amazing to see the other planets after launch.

Crafting is definitely different, but you really get hooked on the send the companion off to do the crafting while you carry on doing whatever - in this case my GM, another guildmate and I were doing a Flashpoint.   By the time it finished we had a bunch of crafting mats and a couple of  pieces of gear/potions - pretty sweet!

PvP in TOR is fun.  Huttball has to be experienced to truly appreciate it.  I love the added humor from the announcers, the speed of the game and learning the strategies.  There were some players that had obviously mastered the game - as they had nice titles and really knew the strats for the different PvP zones.  Each has a different feel.  Not a drop you in a zone and duke it out, but you felt like you were there with a purpose.

I only had the opportunity to try the first Flashpoint, but it was great.  The first time we did it three players and a companion. While the second was two of us and companions.  I don't know if it scales, but it was definitely do-able for two with pets.  I did do both Empire and Republic side of the Flashpoint to see the differing view points.  (Now to find out what a Moff is?  I'm sadly lacking in Star Wars lore/info.)

Any down side to TOR?

It still needs work, and I hope they'll have time to fix the issues before launch.  It's not horrible but definitely things you really hope will get fixed.

We've all experienced the bad MMO launches that make us cringe, and many of us were extremely impressed with the wonderful launch Trion accomplished with Rift,  They really raised the bar on what we all expect with a quality launch. 

I do hope EA can achieve that, they have an awesome game, but too many 'issues' will make people leave, it's happened before.

Changes I would make?

The UI - make it movable/sizable.  All the crucial info is at your fingertips, but I something's don't move and are larger than many of us need/require.

Characterization - sliders for the different facial features (eyes, eye brows, body height, size, etc.)and more variety of hair/skin tone/colors.

That said, I'd recommend TOR, if you're any kind of Star Wars fan, or an MMO player - it's definitely worth buying and playing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rift - Ember Isle

I've been enjoying the new zone, it reminds me almost of  an adventure pack, then just a 'bit of content'.  I rode around the perimeter, just to see how big it was, and it took better than an hour.

It's not a huge addition, content-wise as it's really for the 50 level players, but speaks well for TRION and their commitment to continually providing great content and listening to their player base.

The questing is doable solo, but really feels designed for grouping as the mobs are in general level 52 or elite. Do a few quests or invasions there, Stillmoor and Shimmer Sand feels almost easy!

The dailies (there are quite a few scatter around the island), involve defending the Sourcewells , in the form of Onsalughts, against invasions. Fortunately there are NPCs there to help and defensive and healing turrets powered by planar charges (hmm now we know why we get more with our Planar Attunement!), but there are plenty of planar anomaly crystals to recharge depleted planar charges scattered around Ember Isle.

On my tour, I did discover a giant waterfall hole - reminiscent of Stranglethorn Vale post Catacylsm - a giant hole, the Dormant Core - only this one was full of elite dragon cult and other mobs.  There is an achievement, Cliff Diving into Dormant Core, and fortunately a crystal that will return you to Ember Watch.

Above it I found in Ember Watch, The Keeper's Quartermaster.  New recipes and other goodies (rep needed) as well as an armored Ash Strider. Ember Watch is the neutral quest hub for both factions.

Ember Isle has some interesting Achievements such as:
Dancing Delivery - you have to dance on specific mail boxes throughout the zone, including two in the oppositions towns.  A rogue with sap helps quite a bit.
A ton of new rare mobs, artifacts galore, new rep to grind, etc.  Defeating the four invasion bosses (In Golden's Grasp, Fires of Rebirth, Ithkus' Rise & The Seed of Change) earns you a wonderful hat!

There is also one of the Rift puzzles for this zone, Emerald Enigma, which rewards you with an adorable new companion pet, Bernie

The new instance - Caduceus Rise
is fun.  Nothing super new as far as boss mechanics go, the one puzzle, does require a bit of thought - don't do it when you're tired! - but we did both upper and lower before any of the "how to" guides came out, so lots of fun learning the mechanics.  Caduceus the final boss, can be a bit buggy still, and we've actually given up once - too many people to tired and frustrated with the buggy fight.  A master mode combining upper and lower is expected out in an upcoming patch.

All in all, we're thoroughly enjoying the new content, but tend to go in duos or a group - its more fun and definitely easier!

Rift Zam's guild to Ember Isle : http://rift.zam.com/en/zone.html?riftzone=676

Here's a great link: Orientation to Ember Isle

Sourcewell Info: Onslaught, Sourcewell and You!

Monday, November 14, 2011

SWTOR & beyond

It's a little over a month until the launch for SWTOR, one of the most anticipated MMO's.  I did get a chance to spend some time in the weekend beta (11-13th) and found it to be quite fun.

Because of the NDA I can't share many details, but I will say if you're a fan of BioWare games, and/or Star Wars - you'll love this game.  I did test both side Empire and Republic and liked them both.  Surprisingly the class I thought I'd like the least is the Jedi Knight and it was one of my favorites.  I guess all the lightsaber fighting was so Star Warsy!  Definitely fun.

The guild I'm in Hammerfist Clan is hitting launch with two teams Republic and Empire and we're excited with the opportunity.  HFC already has great teams in STO, LoTRO, Rift and a few other games, so two TOR teams will be awesome.  A team is also forming for GW2, Diablo 3 and TSW. So if you're looking for a great multi-gaming community - check out HFC. 

The HFC Empire team has been in the works for almost two years, and has built up a wonderful store of information, and is ready to go!  While the Republic team just formed up a month ago and has been recruiting, so we should have an excellent group to match the Empire gang at launch.

I'm planning to hit launch with characters on both sides of the war, fortunately we'll be on different servers so I won't have to fight guildmates on purpose in PvP - which I haven't tried yet but definitely looking forward to.

Sadly with the advent of TOR, I'm finding I'll have to let go one of my old favorites - WoW.  My sub is up in December and as I rarely play now as I'm thoroughly enjoying Rift and LoTRO, the time isn't there for it.  So, I'm going to work on the few things I still wanted to accomplish, take a ton more screenshots, then take a farewell flight or two around Azeroth before my subs up.  I may resub when Panda-mania breaks out to try being a Panda monk, considering my first and favorite character in EQ2 was a Kerran Monk.  A WoW monk should be fun.

Some people think the Panda's look lame, but I think it will be fun.  Definitely a light-hearted fun class to add to the mix.  I was hoping they'd add the Ramkhan (from Uldum) would be a playable class - they just look so fun!

2012 is going to be the test for MMO gamers though, as not only will the old favorites be around but with TOR we'll also have GW2, Diablo 3 and The Secret World as big launches and a great group of other games such as Tera and ArcheAge.  So it's going to be a wonderful MMO buffet out there.  Now to figure out how to justify and juggle the variety of games.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What do you do when your current MMO has lost that bright and shiny luster?  When the idea of leveling, crafting or running an instance doesn't appeal?  When the next new bright shiny MMO is still months away?

What I did was start playing one that I've never really got hooked on before that has gone Free to Play (F2P).  That would be LoTRO (Lord of The Rings Online).  I started LoTRO in beta and played for a couple of months after it went live, but never got hooked.  I tried it again and even bought another Xpac, but I'd hit mid-teens and fade out, or run back to EQ2 or WoW.

This is going to be it.  My third and final attempt to love or at least have a strong like for this game! I've always wanted to like this game and spend some time giving it a chance, so I re-subbed for a year (ViP $99 sub) and bought the Isengard xpac. Now I have gorgeous gear, mounts for all the alts and more to do whenever I get to max level - lol!

I mean who doesn't love Lord of The Rings?  The lore and story are so awesome, and Turbine has done a fantastic job with the world they've created.  It's visually gorgeous.  The characterization is a bit lack luster (the facial expressions remind me of placid cows out in a field or zombies), and honestly if they didn't look so bleah, I think more people might play.  But it's a HUGE world.  The hunter dinged 22 and finally abandoned a bunch of quests just to get out of Bree!

The artwork, the beginning cut scenes mini movies, the gear and world are all top notch.
Therefore, a couple of weeks ago I jumped into LoTRO with a guildmate from Rift with our intent to play casually and spend some time waiting for GW2 to come out.  A few other friends from HFC have joined us, and we've invaded the LoTRO Chapter of our guild - Hammerfist Clan. (Quick plug for an awesome mature player (over 18+ only) gaming community.)  Awesome guild/kin, they've played together for years and are extremely patient with our endless questions.

To date, I have five characters (typical altaholic) - hunter (original has been around forever), lore-master, minstrel, rune keeper and a warden.  I have to say I'm enjoying all of them.  Different play styles and abilities but all are fun.  I've also picked up the different crafting on each with the bank alt stepping in for metalwork.
Lore master with her blood raven

 The alts are between 11-23, but I think the hunter (23) is likely to be my test for awhile.  The runekeeper and warden are neck and neck for the next ones to level though.  Much of the game is solo friendly, but again its better in a fellowship (group).

Dwarf runekeeper

 It's been fun, a bit challenging learning all the LoTRO specific terminology - radar not mini map, kinship not guild, fellowship not group, traits and destiny and legacy stuff,  deeds and tasks,. Skirmishes, destiny, and the bazillion acronyms - it definitely keeps you busy and full of questions! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guild fun

I think I've finally found a permanent home and great guild with Hammerfist Clan.

HFC had it's 10th anniversary a few days ago.  Happy 10 years HFC.  Our part of the Clan took a group shot of some of the Rift chapter members.

It's been truly awesome the past few months getting to know people in the Rift chapter of HFC, and finally having a drama free, mature, fun group that understands life is more important than any game.

The members come from all over the U.S. and abroad, and HFC plays across games (current support games are Rift, LoTRO, SWO, SWToR, but others are represented). This is a huge plus for me as I'm so tired of starting a new MMO and then trying to locate a guild that
1) stays together without drama
2) isn't run by a twelve year old or elitist jerk
3) allows for variety in play style - pvp, raiding, solo
4) understand life>game always

AND is about having fun!

This past week we had more 'naked' instance races.  We've done this twice and it's funny.

Everyone that wants to play forms up in a raid, teams are decided, we all strip to on two-handed weapon or one ranged/one handed. Teams reform, and off we go.  Our team zipped through RoTF (Realm of the Fae) finishing minutes ahead of the other two teams.  The last race we won by 15 seconds.

Friday, July 1, 2011


It's been awhile since I last posted, but life has been busy and not allowing as much time to game as I would like...oh well!

I've been playing RIFT when I can, and highly recommend it as I'm finding it lots of fun.  I did play through most of the betas and got hooked.  Sadly WoW and EQ2 are shelved (not cancelled yet), as there isn't enough time to play all.  Which is hard on my MMO ADD!  But, RIFT with the variations on souls and different rolls you can change on the fly (as long as you aren't in combat), is great.

I dinged 50 a few weeks ago with the cleric, and have alts on three servers I've been trying between 18-46.  I've tried all classes - cleric, rogue, mage and warrior - and honestly like all of them.  I had 'assumed' I would love the rogue/ranger the most as I love hunters in WoW, but surprisingly I'm enjoying the cleric the most, followed by the mage and rogue class.  Warriors have never been my favorite class to play but I'm enjoying that class to when I do hop on one.

So far I've played on PvE, PvP and RP shards, all are fun with an overall much more mature crowd, so alot less of the WoW-like trade b.s.  A big yeah!  I've also noticed most people are in general helpful when out in the world and appreciative when you stop to help them.  I've yet to see much of the whining, bitching I've experienced in WoW and some elitism, but not much.  I'm sure that will change as the game progresses with more people at end game, but for now it's refreshing.
Guardian start zone, getting your second soul

Monday, February 7, 2011

RIFT: Planes of Telara

Another beta weekend down, and I'm thoroughly enjoying RIFT.  I have to say I haven't enjoyed a game this much since I first started EQ2 years ago.  I thought I took more screenshots, but apparently didn't click the button hard enough or ?, so I only have a handful.

I love the look of the world, it's gorgeous on ultra, but very playable on low settings too.  As I'm in need of a motherboard upgrade, I'm playing on low.  Ultra though I still have a higher FPS than I do in other games, even with a busy beta weekend on a full server.

Telara has the feeling of a world in crisis., something so many MMO's fail to capture  - the tension and upheaval.  I love the worlds MMO's designers have put out there, but ones like World of Warcraft, I've never felt the tension between Qeynos and Freeport or between the Alliance and Horde (I've read all the books and it's absent from the game), the impending doom that is supposedly always threatening.  I've actually enjoyed the changes they've made in Cataclysm, but still there doesn't seem a huge threat of destruction, like I feel in RIFT.

(Beginning of a rift outside Meridian)

RIFT, you feel it.  The rifts can't be ignored, well they can, but if you don't stop them, the quest area/zone you're in can be controlled by an invasion.  The NPC's get into the fight and if they die - you can't turn in your quest or travel or stand in one place for that matter! You literally have to be involved with what's going on.  It's not safe to go cruising down the road or afk in a quest hub or out in the world as you may run into an invasion force and you're dead!  They attack everything - the mobs roaming around, other rifts - its a world in continual chaos and it's awesome!  During beta the sky has been black a few times with the number of rifts they were throwing at us, but how wonderful when they were all cleared - the land was at peace, skies were blue - a sense and feel of we've saved Telara for another day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WoW Call to Arms Weekend AV

This past weekend was Alteric Valley - Call to Arms weekend.  I try to hit as many CtA weekends as possible for the added XP, honor plus I love PvP.

So, I played Thursday night through Monday on the Rogue, Warlock and Hunter.  I don't think I'm that great of a player, really.  I toon jump around toooo much and would say average on most classes, but I try.  Generally when I'm up against someone that really knows their class, I watch what they're doing as they kill me - learning in a strange way.  I almost want to applaud their ability.

My warlock just bought her level 70 PvP set, and is gemmed/enchanted. Some could be better but between my gold and the AH, well beggars can't be choosers at times.  Warlocks still feel a bit OP to me in BG's, but I do like her survivability, I just wish I'd put the time in on her Engineering/Tailoring too.  The Hunter bought a few pieces too, but is still missing a couple of items, but is getting there, and I've been testing different pets (raptor, bird of prey, spider, hyena, cat, so far).  The Rogue is saving honor for level 60 or 70 PvP gear (she's at 50 right now), but they're so awesome.

This past weekend's AV went from extremely great to OMG when will it end as so many of these CtA weekends go.  The group makeup from one to the next can make you crazy.  I know when I start typing comments in the BG, other than calling out incoming, etc., it's time for me to stop BG's for awhile.

A few things I noticed this past weekend:

1. Why do DK's always want to defend Bel when no one else does?  Every AV it's always a DK that wants to defend her.  I wouldn't be against that strat if half the team was on D and actually defended the bunkers and graveyards, but as that seems such a novel concept for most, I'll pass on defending her too.

2. Sitting on your mount next to a graveyard flag is a lovely invitation to a rogue.  I thoroughly adore that free kill.

3. Hunters - traps and flares are there for a reason.  Feel free to use them. Often they're really helpful. Really.

4.  Death Knights - you have Death Grip which you love to use, but griping that warrior into a group of DPS is just so appreciated.  Thanks for bringing him into melee range.  Just where I wanted him....

5.  If you take a graveyard, feel free to babysit it for the next few minutes. Or do not bitch when you're rezzing at the top of the map or in the cave.

6.  The guy that tells you, you only need Relief Hut and NOT to take other graveyards, so you'll rezz there as a strat because PWNSNOOBs told him.  Great once you're south and have taken out the towers on the way or maybe in a premade where everyone knows there job, but a PUG? It's a long ride back down the map or a bloody fight at the bridge.

7.  If you have buff (druids/pallys/priests/mages) feel free to use it when you rez.  Reagents aren't that expensive nor is the mana cost.

8. Warlocks it cost you ZERO to use Ritual of Souls in the cave. It might help someone, so don't be stingy.

9.  Capping and Recapping isn't someone else's job. So yelling 'someone grab...' feel free to go get it.

10.  Yes, you can kill Drek with a tower or two up, but please have Relief Hut first and really good healers and really good tanks.

11. Defense is important as well as a good Offensive in AV.  Otherwise it's a speed run, and losing by a few seconds is not fun.

12.  Taking the mines aren't always critical, but in an a win by attrition, it doesn't hurt either.

13. When you ride past a bunker that is 'red', stop and help out.  Look at you're bloody map if you can't see all the "Horde" in there.

14. People that AFK in the cave or auto-follow out of graveyards -  we should be able to kill them, just like the parasites they are and then they can't re-queue for a few days.

15. Calling people Noobs or Scrubs doesn't motivate them to do anything.  At least not me.

16. Why don't Hunter pets get XP in BGs?  I keep asking that... Why Blizzard?  I really want to go gain 3 levels on the new pet I'm testing.  Warlocks, Mages, Death Knight's their pets level with them?  So, why put us at this disadvantage?

Warsong Gulch Call to Arms weekend, coming up.  That should be fun.