Friday, August 27, 2010

Raiding: Bruiser Love

Fun fun fun. And a nice bit of loots too. That’s the short summary for raiding last night. I was allowed to take Voltaan along which really made my night. Bruisers are so underrated in EQ2 that I didn’t think I would be allowed to go, but luckily we have a raid leader who sees their value.

The plan was to head to Toxx and then back to Palace to finish from where we left off last Thursday. Toxx was a lot of fun. I got to join in as normal for the first two waves of mobs/nameds, then for the last part of the fight with Vuulan I hooked up with my buddy Jahf to run round and round the instance (if you have never been there, it’s very small) killing the wobbly eggs. If we don’t kill them in time, well I’m sure you can guess what happens. It seems a bit silly but it was great. I felt like I was knocking out laps on a nice Sunday afternoon jog with the occasional stop to beat up some wildlife thrown in. Jahf and I had absolutely no problem dispatching the eggs and we arrived at the next set early each time before they began to wobble. In no time the instance was finished.

Then it was on to The Palace. This is where we struck a problem. Apparently the zone is bugged and if you don’t have an instance open already, you cannot start a new one currently. The problem we had was that there were a few on the raid who weren’t here last Thursday and so the instance even though some were already locked in to it, wouldn’t allow any new people in. It was a shame because we were going to have a go at bashing the Three Sages and Volt was more than likely going to be tanking one. It would have been fun for sure.

As it was though, we headed to Labs instead to give the ones who couldn’t get into Palace a chance at continuing the fun. Labs although a bit easy up until PC, the last mob where it gets a bit more technical, was a huge amount of fun. Not sure how much fun everyone else had because I know quite a few have run this many times before, but for me I had a blast. I’ve done Labs before but only once and it was not from the beginning and I joined in later. So doing it all the way through this time was great fun.

We didn’t get PC down, but I think that was for a variety of reasons. We had some rather nastily timed LDs and it was quite late and peeps were tired. In a fight where you have to be busy busy busy all the time and even though quite easy when all falls into place, getting everything to fall in to place is a different matter, especially when you add the issues we had. It’s no worries. We will return I am sure on Thursday all refreshed and ready to give that nasty Lich some severe mega-wedgies.

I got some nice loot too. Voltaan got his fabled feets and chest piece and a nice ring and a secondary /ranged slot item to boot. Not looking too long until he will be fully kitted and hopefully I can better support the raid force then. Although I didn’t do too bad a job. My parse was not too bad and beat the fully fabled monk on our raid around 50% of the time. And a couple of times when mobs went a wandering I managed to grab them back from the squishies before main tanky grabbed them again. I should rephrase that. I guess I was one of the squishies as I was one who seemed to die the most as we did the PC fight. I know the problem with that. Too low crit mit and too low resists. It’s a work in progress and already I’m making good headway there. Hopefully soon I won’t be such a drain on the dirges and healers for resses.

Ema got some nice loots too for her alt Coercer, Floh. She commented that soon Floh will be better kitted than Emarald, although I’m not so sure about that. Ema is pretty sweetly attired. Nice to see Jahf getting some loot love too. In fact it’s always nice when anyone on your raid gets anything. Let’s face it, it’s a team effort and the stronger individuals get in the team, eventually, the stronger the whole raid gets. So grats to all winners!

Looking forward to some normal instance smashing tonight on Volt. Try out my new armour to see how it complements The Freeport Hammer.

It’s a long weekend this weekend with a national holiday on Monday, so I will try to head back to keep you updated, but you know what I’m like at the weekends. More play, less say ;)

Be well.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Main Switch?

Raiding went well Monday night. We powered through Toxx no problems whatsoever, a ten minute job, then headed to The Palace of Rohan Theer. Palace was fun too, again no issues what so ever and very smooth sailing until we hit Three Sages. Sadly our group setups were fine, but our Monk really struggled to gain agro on his mob and it kept running off to join in the fun with one of the other Sages, causing repeated wipes. The Monk was pretty disconsolate about the whole thing, not happy at all with no understanding of what was happening or why he couldn’t keep aggro. I must admit it had me baffled. You should see his equipment. Very fine kit indeed, SF tier 3 Fabled raid gear. A strange issue. Maybe SoE have added to the script that Brawler taunts don’t work on him or something, although I doubt it without notification.

Looking at the raid roster last night got me to thinking. I mean, wow, we have a fair few Dirges for our raids. Overall we now have five including Adurj. Because of this I have requested that I be allowed to change my main raid toon to Voltaan my Bruiser. We have a Monk who raids with us, but no Bruiser. There is one member who has a Bruiser alt like me and sometimes plays him, but other than that just a monk at the moment.

I dunno if they will allow me to change my main raider with the raid force and I have already stated that I have no problem doing whatever is best for the raid. But in my biased opinion a bruiser can be quite a nice addition on a raid. I’m actually aware of discussions in forums about Bruiser snap taunt tools not working so well on raids, if at all when in x4. Such as Divide & Conquer, Drag being resisted a lot by anything bigger than x2 mobs. In groups I have no problem. I guess if I am allowed to play Voltaan we’ll have to see how well they work. I know the devs are looking at Brawlers and hope the come up with a few lovely extras, like a bit more mitigation, the ability to not just tank, but to do some good dps at the same time, not one or the other. Whatever changes they make, I guess we’ll just live with them. It won’t change how much I like to play my Bruiser I don’t think. Let’s see if he’s allowed to raid, and if so, how well he does. I’ll report back on that.

Last night I had a load of fun. Initially Jahf and I hooked up in a group so we could chat on voice. After about an hour of sitting around chatting about the game, anything and everything at Moonfield in Stonebrunt, Jahf and I ventured in to the wilds so I could try out my newly tinkered Cow Flinger and Turkey Launcher. Those items are hardly any use at all as dumbfire pets, but wow, what a huge amount of fun. I have decided my Cow Launcher is coming with me on Thursdays raid. It’ll be fun to see heffers flying through the air during the serious fighting.

At some point Jahf offered to help if I needed any updates etc, so I checked my journal and we decided to head to Moors as I needed an old update in OoA for The Shadow Odyssey chapters (yes I know I’m slack and these should have been done an age ago). Anyhow, we headed in to OoA, just Jahf (Dirge) and Voltaan (Bruiser) and to be honest it was plain sailing all the way through. The only time we had to stop and work out some tactics was during the jumpy fight but in the end we both jumped and I engaged the mob but used a lot of AoEs to help with taking out the floaty skulls. Worked like a dream. It was nice having the plat chest for just us two also. Long story short I got my update and we agreed that I would get Voltaan up to speed to Chapter 5 where Jahf has some updates himself and then we can go duo the rest. I’m pretty sure we won’t be able to duo Palace of Ferhzul though, but we can always drag Emarald along for that if need be. A fine night spent indeed.

Be well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Weekend that was...

I had a great weekend both in and out of game. The weather here in Spain is crazy hot at the moment and so what did I think I should do with my time in this oppressive heat? Yup, that’s right. Yard work [Hahaha, your wife think you should do, you mean – Ed]. So I spent the devils share of Saturday putting up bamboo cane to keep out the neighbours and their prying eyes and placing some brushwood sheeting across the overhead trellis to give us a bit more shade. Was it an easy job? Yup. Did I manage to make it a hard job? Of course. Well, to be fair the sun beating down added to the ‘fun’ of the task.

Weekend EQ2 play was pretty standard, albeit a load of fun. Of course there were the usual instance runs and assisting guildies with quests, epics etc. Saturday night saw us head to WoE for a quick run through there. Sadly though, things took a little longer than expected, mainly due to real life interference which of course cannot be helped. We only have Aiden left however and I may get the gang together to get that done tonight after my T9 raid. If not we can finish him tomorrow.

Some of the more fun parts of the weekend were split pretty much 50/50 between guild fun and non guilded friend fun. Guild wise, we had a great run through Library with Voltaan tanking which I really enjoyed because to be honest Volt doesn’t really get to tank that much due to the preconception that all tanks must be Plate wearers. Of course Library is an easy instance, so we had no problems there at all (I’m confident Volt could tank most but the hardest of instances in SF) Actually, that’s not true, there were some problems, but on my second visit there. I headed back last night with Adurj to help a guildy out who needed some updates there. Whilst we were there we decided to make a concerted effort to get the ‘Mystery of the Slain scholar’ quest finally completed. For those who don’t know the quest it is like a game of Cluedo (or just Clue if you are from the States..I think). You have to tell the guy at the end where the murder took place, what weapon was used and who was the guilty party. If you get it all right one of the scholars comes down from his little hover board up in the roof and you kill to get the update. If you get it wrong, the person you accused comes down to beat you up anyhow, but no quest update.

I have run Library so many bloody times and never have completed this quest on any of my toons. It seems the groups I have been in there with have mostly done it, or cannot be bothered to gather all the clues. Well, last night, for once we all got on board about wanting to get that darn quest finished. Sods Law then that we couldn’t find the murder weapon at all. I knew who had done it, where it happened and all that was missing was the murder weapon. I guessed, but of course it was not right and we didn’t get the update. So even with the concerted effort of the whole group we couldn’t get the darn quest finished. We had a laugh though trying to find the update.

Tonight is raid night with my raiding syndicate folks. Looking forward to that. I hope someone else gets some loot this time so I don’t look like too much of a grabber. Whatever happens I am absolutely sure it will be a good laugh.

One last thought to leave you with. A disturbing thing happened for me last night during the last hour before I logged to go to sleep. Sounds ominous huh? Well, kinda I guess. The last hour I spent online last night was a veritable toon hop fest. I sat at my computer and systematically went through my accounts looking at toons to see if I would like to play any of them (apart from my two mains obviously). I logged in a few, and it was nice to see Killzum getting some reaction from a few. Was quite popular for a troll that big guy. Anyhow, it’s not the toons themselves that make for the perhaps worrying part of this. It’s the fact I was toon hopping. The last time I did that, trying to find a sliver of interest in any one of my toons to keep me in game, I did it for about three nights running way back at the end of 2009 and then I left the game for a 4-5 month break. I guess I must have been searching for the fun again, which was why I had been hopping toons.

This time however, I hope it’s a bit different. I don’t think I’m losing interest in EQ2, but by the same token, I am getting excited about RIFT quite a bit. I wonder if that is having some sort of psychological effect on me with my commitment to EQ2? {You mean psycho ? – Ed}. One things for sure, I’m still enjoying being in AoV with friends, I have some great friends who are not AoV and I’m raiding tonight. So, for the moment. Yup, Happy.

Be well

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lootz R Us

Man did I clean up on the raid last night. Both Adurj and Voltaan got their first raid T9 shoulders from a quick run through Toxx. I’m starting to get a bit self conscious about it and I’m pretty sure my fellow raiders are quite rightly thinking I’m a lootz ho. I know the real reason is that they already have everything they need from the first few mobs we kill, so the stuff would just end up being muted anyhow but I’m a worrier by nature so I hope they don’t judge me too harshly!

I’m actually doing them an injustice when I say that. They all are so nice, they are probably pleased for me and the fact that the more folks in full raid gear, the further we will progress. There are a few new faces that have appeared on the raid force from when I used raid with them back in 2009, but mostly it’s the same crew and I personally have had only good experiences with them. I guess I just have a guilty personality and it feels weird being the one walking away with the good loot all the time. Like I said, I know why it is, but it doesn’t change the fact I do feel a bit guilty about it.

Anyhow, that being said, I really am enjoying getting back into raiding again. With my armour not being quite up to scratch I am finding I am dying quite a lot so like last night, I am spending most of my time at ranged at the moment making sure debuffs are kept topped up, healers who need it are Grav’d and resurrections are my baby too at the moment. Hopefully that leaves the rest of the raid force a bit more wiggle room to operate in and a few less things to worry about.

In addition to the cool loot I grabbed, I also looted the head of Vullan for AoVs guild hall. Not sure if anyone else has donated one to the guild yet, but if not it’ll be a nice addition to our trophy display in the courtyard.

Last nights raid was only a short one as our normal raid leader is in Vienna on holiday, although it didn’t stop his diligent self popping on to join us for an hour from his laptop. I hope you are having a fantastic holiday in Vienna mate. Now stop playing EQ2 and go see the sights (and bars) :)

After the raid I thought it was about time I got Voltaan off his ancient butt and back to the workbench to get his tinkering back up. I haven’t done any tinkering since the expansion came out and I was sitting at 400/450 skill level. I caught up with replenishing my stock of over clocked manastones and also indulged in the creation of a few other items that are fun and sometimes useful. Yup, I created a few Turkey and Cow flingers (dumbfire pets) to disrupt my enemies. Nothing like a flying heffer to put you off your battle swing I find. Sjlverwolf my guild leader gave me a Brellium, bringing my total to 5 which is enough to make the new 68% run speed hover mount which I created as Voltaan did not have a mount and previously relied upon totems for run speed.

I also stocked up on my over clocked defibrillators (or whatever they are called, I don’t recall) as I have found on a few occasions when 2 boxing that I have needed one but obviously was lacking. Well, now I’m all stocked up again and after about thirty minutes tinkering now sit at 406/450. It’s gonna be slow progressing the skill, but I will probably fit in half an hour a play session. It’ll max sooner or later.

I noticed the tinkering items seem to becoming a bit boring. This expansion we had another set of recipes the same as before pretty much, but with better skill levels. One thing we have got now is a personal harvesting depot, which although not much use to me is a great item for others. Not sure if it is one of the tinkered items that you need to be a tinkerer to use though. I may check that out tonight and if there’s no restriction, I’ll knock a few out for the broker. It’s about time I got those Xegonites too and made my mender bot. I may sort that out tonight too.

Oh man. I’ve just realised something. When crafting in EQ2 you usually get some by products from the combine. Those are usually just crappy trash that generally being too lazy to sell low end items, I destroy when I get them. I did that last night. And I have just recalled that one of the by products for creating the hover mount was three Brellium rares. That’s worth about 28plat {I pity the fool who combines with Voltaan – Ed}. What a doofus. I wonder if I could petition SoE to get them back? Wow, I’m so click happy at times.

Be well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

GU#57, The Fallout

I’m not sure if it’s because I use Profit Reborn and only had to do a tiny bit of juggling last night when I logged in to EQ2 after Game Update #57, but I really couldn’t believe the amount of whining about the new UI in channel 1-9 on AB server. Of course there were a few who seemed to like it and just got on with it, but most of the people voicing their opinions in channels it seemed they did not like the new UI at all. I can’t comment because I haven’t seen it or tried to live with it.

Normally when they change anything in game there’s the usual crew from the ‘I Fear Change’ consortium who will object and whine just because they like to. But last night there was a huge amount of people complaining about it. Thing is, although they were moaning about the change, not once did anyone actually pinpoint what they didn’t like about it, just that they disliked the new UI. So I’m none the wiser. I’ve been trying to think how bad the new UI must be for so many to complain so vocally about it. I might disable my profit after raiding tonight just to see what everyone is going on about and if their moans are justified.

There has been further discontent amongst EQ2 ‘fast levellers’ with a sneaky stealth fix to XP gain. The community seems to be kicking off about it. Check that out here. What I don’t get, especially after reading Feldons excellent break down about XP gain and XP bonuses here at The EQ2 Wire in a post about the same thing is why people are moaning. I guess the key is, it is about who is moaning. Now I power level toons on occasion, but I have never ever used Refer a Friend and the resultant 200% xp bonus. Part of the reason is I’m already happy with the speed that I level when powering. I don’t need the RaF bonus, because if I did, I’m pretty sure I would miss a crap load of content that I enjoy and is part of the fun of going back to level a toon. Yeah, I may want to level quicker than normal, but not at light speed. I have never   power levelled a toon because I need one at max right now, I only power level generally through content I  dislike or have done a thousand times. So I guess my point is this doesn’t really affect me.

Aside from that though, although I understand the need sometimes to get a power levelled toon, say if you have a key member leave your raid force and cannot get a replacement. But generally, the need to level that fast is probably down to laziness and a mixture of need to be at max level against boredom of having already done the previous content. It’s just that this is not really the way I do things. I get much more satisfaction from doing things properly, kinda.

Overall, if the fix the SoE guys put in was to help maintain the levelling curve as it should be, then I respect the decision. One thing I do disagree with that SoE have said, is that they have used the fix, to fix an exploit. I think it’s wrong to call it an exploit when they have been aware of it for so long and done nothing about it. A bug, an unfixed coding error, whatever. But to call it an exploit, puts the blame back at the feet of those using the RaF system to level amongst other XP gain items/potions. The people using RaF XP bonus to level, are not exploiting. They are using a tool provided by the devs. A well known tool. A tool that everyone knew about. Yup the Devs made a mistake as to how the XP is calculated and how it stacks, but that’s not the players fault, and let’s face it, no one has been particularly underhand when using the system or tried to hide it, they have just used what SoE provided. Fix the issue, yeah. But don’t say it’s an exploit.

They did the same way back when there was the issue with the Thuuga quest item issue. But the difference here is that as a player, using a game weakness to obtain another quest reward from a quest giver when you have already had one, in my eyes is quite an obvious dishonest thing to do. As someone who had levelled a toon up to the point where you would be doing the Thuuga questline, you should know by that point that using a game quirk to get two legendary quest rewards would be wrong. Yup, it’s ok to call that one an exploit. But seriously, with the RaF XP gain thing no one thought they were doing anything wrong. It was generally accepted that this was how SoE wanted it to work. That’s not an exploit. That’s the Devs getting it wrong then moaning to their bosses that players are actually using the dodgy system they put in place. What did they expect to happen? No one to use it or come forth to state “This is simply not fair. I have gained more XP than my guildies for the last week. It’s not fair on them or me”. With things like that, it’s impossible for the player base to know if that is what SoE actually intended or not when they did the programming. I have laboured the point enough. Not an exploit, but probably best that it’s gone anyhow. Let’s keep things balanced if we can, I mean other areas of the game are so unbalanced in parts let’s not support further areas of unbalance like crazy XP gain that ruins the levelling curve.

On a final note, I know if I was a dev I would be fuming mad that peeps wanted to zoom through all the fantastic content I have lovingly created without stopping to take a fresh or indeed nostalgic look around. Lucky I’m not a dev then coz we’d have XP deficit weekends, or ‘you must run Firemyst Gully untwinked’ weekends.

Be well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Thanks to a lot of help from friends last night Voltaan eventually got his enervated update and all of his Tier 9 expert skills delivered. Along with the pieces of SF raid fabled items he has already got from Adurj raiding with Volt as his designated alt, he’s starting to become quite nicely kitted out.

The Cella run was quick and very easy. Mainly because we had a couple of great healers from Acolytes of Valor (Arbor and Kethel, thanks!) and wifey came a long and brought a couple with her who were pretty darn awesome. Respit who I already know as he raids with our SF raiding syndicate is a crazy uber Swashy and our tank was Kaarkula who is an equally OP’d SK. The instance was like a knife though butter. So thank you kindly to Respit and Kaarkula, you made a crappy instance quite fun actually.

After we had finished the instance Volt ran off and finished the ‘Epic Repercussions’ quest and finally picked up his enervated Epic Weapon. As with Adurj the weapon lost it’s ‘Mythical’ status which is was sad but not too bad as he hasn’t even got it equipped anymore, favouring the Fabled pieces from SF raids. I must admit I got a very strong sense of self satisfaction when I had finished. More so than when Adurj handed his in. I sat drinking my cup of tea for five minutes trying to understand why I was feeling so pleased with myself, why I felt such a sense of achievement.

I didn’t figure it out until I was riding my motorbike into work this morning. It’s a great ride along sweeping coastal roads on the Mediterranean and it takes me about 25 minutes to get into work. I always have some good thinking time on that ride and this morning was no different. I was cruising, enjoying the morning sunshine and the pretty sight of the Med, when I had a brain realisation (I think the Imagination Movers call it that). I was overjoyed and felt a very strong sense of satisfaction when Voltaan handed in his enervated and got all his expert skills, because I have finally caught up, just about.

The current expansion came out in Feb 2010. I had quit the game a little before this and had the first few months of the expansion away from game. So when I came back I was woefully behind. My guild and other friends were running instances that I could not take part in. My old raiding gang were hitting content in SF with gusto already. I was dreadfully lacking and needed to do some serious catching up. With being used to having about seven toons at level cap and at least a few of those in raid gear it was a real baptism of fire for me to be dumped back into game like that. Well, OK I wasn’t dumped back there, but to log in and see you have so so much work to do to even be competitive and useful to anyone is a tough thing when you have already done that before. It actually delayed me getting started as I was so daunted by what I had to do, just to catch up. Everyone else was already there and I was months behind.

So, after a long time I managed to muster some enthusiasm and I slowly started to slog along and went from feeling the need to rush back to feeling the need to chill and take the progression easy. But through it all I now am in a situation where I have two toons at level 90. To top that, they are both my very fave toons to play. They are both fully experted and mastered to some degree, and Adurj has better kit but both have very very substantial equipment, which will only get better because I’m now back into raiding.

And that’s why I felt such a strong sense of satisfaction. I was finally there. At the point where I can take part in things, join in, not have to say “Sorry I can’t come because I can’t find enough kaborites to harvest and I’ve no money to buy them, so all App1 here!” I was at the stage where I can finally play the game again and not have to worry about things dropping or lost loot rolls, I can just get on with it and play the game now. All my hard work had finally paid off.

It was a really nice feeling I can tell you. The feeling that I am finally getting to where I want to be and can see the path clearly ahead. It’s time to really start enjoying the game again, instead of enjoying it with that hint of ‘rush rush rush’ simmering in the background. Feels good and I’m looking forward to logging on tonight and being able to do what the hell I want.

Oh, I almost forgot. When I was purchasing Voltaans rares for his expert skills (I simply got fed up with harvesting for hours and I’d made enough money to buy by then) I bought three off the broker from my buddy Jahf for around 8 plat each. Now I know what Jahf is like and if you try to send me the plat back matey, we will be indulging in a serious case of ‘1,2,3,4, Clear the Floor its Plat Mail War’, coz I’ll just send it back, lol. You did the hard work and deserved to get mullah Bro, keep it in good faith. :)

Be well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blog, huh! What is it good for?

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m sadly excited by the fact I have for the first time exceeded 13 posts in one month, or the fact that I missed the anniversary of my hundredth post on this blog. I think this is the 102nd post. Indeed it may be because I’m stuck at work twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone else to produce a report so I can produce mine, but whatever the reason, I’m blog crazy today.

So what’s next up? Well aside from the Fruity Crumble I am enjoying with my cup of Rosey Lea at the moment and using my scissors to remove the escaped crumble from my keyboard (I dread to think what else is in there) I’ve been thinking about EQ2 and the blogging community. What got me to thinking this is I started cleaning up my favourites list whilst waiting for the report a few minutes ago and there are quite a lot of blogs there listed that no longer exist, or the last post was an age ago. Just have a look at the left hand column and you’ll see a few blogs that haven’t posted for a long long time. One of them is my old Revenants blog, and another by one of my friends who moved to Japan for a year with work and blogged about their experiences there and that is all it was ever going to be. So it’s understandable why they are so ancient.

But it got me to thinking why people stop blogging and about the community in general. Let’s start with that, the community. For me I guess it’s not much of a community. I have been to other bloggers sites and have some I regularly read, but aside from that I don’t delve much in to the community of EQ2 bloggers. Probably one of the biggest and most well known EQ2 bloggers is Stargrace over at MMOQuests and Nomadic Gamer. She has been blogging since she was in nappies (or so it seems) and still churns out good digestible content, although not always about EQ2. She is a true gaming blogger. I was actually guilded with Stargrace back in KoS days on AB. Seems like a really nice decent person, although I’m pretty sure she didn’t like me too much. That’s understandable though. I can be disagreeable at times [HAHAHAHA. Best laugh I’ve had all day ”at times” HAHAHA – Ed]. Just like Keen and Graev, they are true all gaming bloggers and report on many games and their opinions are valued (or rallied against depending on who comments on their blog). The point I am trying to get at I guess, is that a huge amount of people read their blogs. I think I have about 6 or 7 readers. One of whom is my Bro and he reads to make sure his little Bruv is loved and cared for :) yeah, I’m sure that’s why. Unless he’s keeping tabs on me and reporting back to Mom!

Now, go back to the start of most EQ2 gaming blogs and pretty much most of them say something along the (paraphrased) lines of;

“I’m starting this blog so my friends and I can stay in touch out of game”

“I’m starting this blog for me, just so I can track my own progress and experiences”

For me, it’s no different. I started the Revenants blog for the same reasons and in fact started this one when I found out that I missed blogging on Revenants and to keep my buddies updated and a nice little history record of my MMO gaming for nostalgia at a later date. I mean, what else is one going to do with lunch hour?

So, how do they go from being a small personal blog to the bloggin’ Leviathans they are today? You know, I’m not sure. I guess that over time more and more people found their blog and because of the quality of writing decided to stay and keep updated. Over time that must have grown. Then there is the ‘link’ love bloggers get, just like my ‘Jolly Good Read’ section to the left. They promote each others blogs. So I guess a new reader hits blog A and then gets hooked on blog B, C & D also. A nice way to build your reader base. Problem for me is I don’t get on with or majorly support any other blogger. Don’t get me wrong, I visit their sites and read, but don’t really comment on anything and move on to the next. So I guess no reciprocal love there from my part.

One thing I have to stop and consider is that I do get a lot of first time readers, and they simply don’t like the way I write or present this blog. So they don’t stick around. Maybe I’m just not as good as I think I am [Of course – Ed]. Or, indeed, as I have never bothered to find out an analytics program to track this blog, I really have no idea how many readers in total I have. I’m assuming the 6 or 7 from people who have commented to me in game and knowing which of my close friends read, but in reality I could have a thousand readers and have no idea at all about that. Anyhow, none of this changes why I write my blog. I DO write mainly for friends, fellow guildies, players and for the main reason, my own satisfaction. Even if I had a hundred readers, or 5 thousand readers I would still write as if I am writing for my own peers and own enjoyment. That would not change, because that’s why I do it.

Maybe one day I’ll become a blogging Leviathan. Thing is I don’t think I would know anything about it, not tracking who visits here. Maybe Adurj should become a Twit, err, start Tweeting I mean. Surely that would be interesting?

“Adurj just ran through West Freeport, they still haven’t cleared the mess up from Lucans Tower coming down” /yawn. Maybe not.

So why do people stop blogging? I guess usually it’s a change in circumstance that dictates the cessation of bloggage. Either they stop playing the game they were blogging about and hence lose interest in the blog, or real life changes such as a new job, new city, new partner. Whatever the reason, I have noticed that reading through some of these old blogs (for example Brackish Water or Gestalt Mind, both blogs I used to read and admire) there is a huge amount of content there for the original authors to get all nostaligic over at some point. I mean I got a bit nostalgic reading the older posts, thinking, ‘Wow, I remember this from the first time I read it’. So even if our blogging heroes do stop the blog, it is a medium that as long as the web pages exist the history they scribed is still there, for all to see. I dunno, I guess it’s just nice to leave ones mark on the world of web.

On a completely different matter I have left my mark on a different webspace recently, although I’m not sure if it’s been accepted by the editors yet. Head over to the Urban Dictionary to see if FlipFatFoot is listed.

Until next time,

Be well.

Had me cake. I ate it too.

It was pretty cool that last night both Floh and I dinged 90 within a few minutes of each other. I know Floh is my wife’s second character to 90 just like Volt is for me, but she was a lot quicker with the first one than I was (by about 4 months). Yesterday we had been questing in Stonebrunt Highlands and it seems the previous day my wife stayed up after me and rushed ahead with the quests. So last night after our raid (more on that in a bit) we went our separate ways. Me to finish the Deepwater pavilion quests and Floh was off doing the E’Arad Isle quests.

I had a bit of a discussion with my wife over this next bit, and it seems we have differing views. Well I assume so seeing as when i told her my thoughts on the matter I was labelled as being ‘sad’. What I’m talking about is where we dinged. As I approached 90th on Voltaan and got to about 90% into 89 Ema kept offering to give me some money to go and finish up with some quick collection purchasing. I politely refused. Why? Well, I do not like it when it says on my character info screen on EQ2 players that I dinged in my guild hall. I like it to say the location of dingage [Yay! He’s back to creating words again – Ed] as being an adventure zone not a city or guild hall or a house. Now to some that may be ‘sad’, thanks Ema by the way for that, but it’s important to me. I like to do it the hard work way if I can, especially at this stage. I didn’t do all that hard work and running around to have my 90th level listed as dinging in a Large Qeynos guild hall. No siree. Don’t get me wrong I have used collections to ding in the past, but that’s usually at very low level and the first part of when I power level a toon.

Anyhow, Floh was about 15% in exp behind me, so when I dinged, she could not resist the urge and went shiny purchasing. Lo and behold, two minutes later, Floh had 90 love too.

Last night saw me join the raiding syndicate again for some fun in Toxx then on to Palace. We didn’t have a full raid force so luckily for me, the raid leader allowed me to bring Voltaan along also in case any alt rolls were successful. That way it would not slow the raid down when I had to log him in to loot stuff. Voltaan is on a different account to my Dirge so having him as my designated alt is a little awkward. Although the frequency Brawler loot drops in these SF raid zones is crazy and I probably won’t have to worry about it for too long as I’m sure Volt will be kitted pretty quickly.

When I say, ‘worry about it’, I’m not kidding. Not knowing the fights or the set up for the raid zones we were visiting it was pretty tough having Volt there and me worrying if he was hindering the raid force in any way. I know a few times when he died someone threw him a res (although he obviously didn’t accept being boxed at the time, better to stay dead). But that was a res that could have been used for someone else, or a casting time that could have been spent on a debuff. That’s why I was stressing about having Volt along as well as Adurj. I didn’t want to delay the raid but also I didn’t want to force a ‘fail’ situation. Anyhow, it all worked out for the best with Voltaan and Adurj both getting some very nice loots indeed.

I like it when you start to raid again with a force that has already achieved a huge amount in an expansion. The main part of the raid force already has all the loot of the first few mobs in a zone so for that first hour or so of raiding it is possible to walk away with five or six drops for example. Last night between Adurj and Volt, they picked up four fabled pieces. Not bad for a couple of hours work.

I have to keep reminding myself that I have only just started raiding again. My kit is not amazing for raiding and as such I did tend to get one shotted a fair amount. I’m dreadfully aware that everytime that happens I am another drain on the raid force. My parse last night was nowhere near up to scratch either. I need to at least double it and provide all the utility. I’m sure that will come with better kit and better survivability. As it stood last night it came to the point in several fights where I just backed Adurj off so he wouldn’t need anymore res’s! Instead I stood at the back and debuffed like a lunatic and jumped on ressing any fallen comrades. At least I could offer some support that way instead of being a burden. As it turns out when I decided to do this, things started going a bit smoother for me and with not dying so much I managed to help a load more with utility stuff. Like I said, I’m sure as I get more and more equipment my survuivability will increase and then I’ll be able to go back toe to toe with the mobs and work on upping my dps again.

The parse was quite frustrating for me last night. I absolutely know why it was so low. Kit and the fact I died all the time. Anyhow, on my parse, after palace I was only at about 7k dps. Not too bad maybe, but when the other dirges (we had two, good ole Jahf and the lovely Piki) were parsing upwards of 12 to 15k, it was a little embarrassing. I know my support role was good and solid and mostly I was quick on res’s, but I like a little parse fun too. I know I’ll get there. In some instances with the right group I have been hitting between 10 and 12 k dps with some support thrown in too, so I know I have the ability. I guess I just need to relax a little and wait patiently for equipment, then I can get back into it. It’s much easier to dps when you’re not squished on the floor. That’s my goal on Adurj, better survivability, then the parse will naturally follow.

Over all I had an awesome time. A fantastic and fruitful raid with the old gang (thanks a load guys, was great mashing it up with you lot again), then Voltaan reaching 90th a little later. Not a bad night really. Now I just have to get Voltaans last update for his enervated in Cella, then I can equip the awesome Fabled raid weapon I have. I think I’ll try and get a group to head there tonight.

Be well.

Monday, August 16, 2010

90 #2

That's #2... no more for a while. Not sure I could stand those quest lines again. Especially the Hua Mein village runabout..strewth!

The Cantankerous Old Git hits the Big Time!

Be well.

Weekend update.

I noticed I mentioned in my previous post that I would let you in on how my weekends gaming went. I kinda got sidetracked from that in to some musings about how I spend my time. So, without further ado, here’s the update.

Mostly I spent this weekend trying to catch up with the things my limited time online doesn’t usually allow for. Such as harvesting rares for expert spells. That went well in that I managed to get a lot of ‘node face time’, but relatively little luck in finding the rare drops. I only picked up one Ulterian Diamond and one Brellium, and that’s it. From about 4 hours worth of mining. That’s not going to help me too much as I need about 6 more Brellium (to Tinker my hoverpad and get some resist jewellery together) and precisely 17 Kaborites for Voltaans skills. Adurj is fully expert/master on his skills.

I also did a couple of instances with Adurj and Voltaan (separately) without too much drama and had a lot of fun with my guildmates doing those. But, the most fun I had all weekend was questing in Stonebrunt. By far. I know it seems a strange thing to say. Anyone who has done the SF questlines will know they are kinda fun, but also a little tedious with a huge amount of running around (although I think the Panda area in Sundered Frontier is worst for that). So why did I enjoy all that running around so much? Well, I was grouped with my wife on her Coercer, ‘Floh’. That’s why. That may seem like a weird thing to say in that most probably think I play EQ2 with my wife all the time. Well, we are online at the same time, we are sat a few feet away from each other when playing but very rarely play the game together. In fact I would say we haven’t gamed together seriously for years. It’s something some of my old online mates struggled to get to grips with. One couple who we met through game but get on with very well in real life (Hi Cyllan and Kael!) always grouped together and I know for a fact Kael when he played EQ2 did not like doing anything without his better half. As such they struggled to understand why I spent pretty much next to no time online with my wife.

She has her group of dedicated EQ2 mates and I have mine. Yeah, some overlap and I get on very well with her main guildy friends (I was in Tapiolan Sankarit for a while too). The reason we don’t group so much? Well, my wife is a bit of a leet player. I’m a dedicated casual I would say. In short, I and the people I hang with (in the main) cannot compete with her groups that she sets up. They are (mostly) simply crazy awesome in skill, ability and equipment. So I rarely get asked to go join them. Why would they? I mean I know I have a scintillating personality, but when given a choice of asking Adurj along against their normal dirge who is pretty darn mega, there is no contest. They like to conquer content and progress, quickly. I like that too but I guess our play styles are just a little different is all.

So, anyway. That’s why I enjoyed this weekends gaming so much. I got to spend not just real life time but in game time with my wife, which is rare but pretty wonderful seeing as she’s not just my wife but also my best mate. We had such a laugh as we were going through the quests we had to stop regularly to get our bearings because neither of us were concentrating and were just messing about.

Tonight is my first proper raid back with the old raiding crew again and I’m really looking forward to it (Wifey will be on raid too-yeah!). Mainly because the people there are such nice folk, I love spending time with them. But also I am excited to see what content there is and how we can conquer it. I know my resists are going to let me down though. I just hope they don't let the raid down too much. I am going to try and organise my equipment so I am wearing my best resist stuff but until I can afford the three sets of Brellium jewellery, I know my resists are probably not going to be good enough. I just hope I’m not a burden to the raid force because of that. If it gets to the point where I am a drain on the raid and need to be constantly res’d then I’ll revaluate until I can get some good resist gear. I guess I have to remember that I have been out of hardcore raiding for a while and it’s going to take me some time to get back up to speed. I’m certainly looking forward to it though.

As a little side note, we're only half way through the month an already I'm closing up to the max amount of posts I have ever posted in a month on this blog (Nov'09 = 13 posts, Jan'10 = 12 posts, June'10 = 12 posts, August'10 = 12 posts). Looks like it's gonna be a doozy of a month with lots of content from me to help you sleep ;)

Be well.

I need a little time..

I’ve had a thoughtful weekend. The gaming was fine and actually quite a lot of fun in places, but I’ll get to that soon. My weekend was strange because of a phone call my wife got from a very old friend of mine. You probably have some knowledge of this friend if you follow this blog and my previous one, Revenants. My friend is Daltieri/Takoul and the many other guises he held when an avid EQ2 player (he quit about 2 years ago).

The reason my weekend was a thoughful one was a direct knock on effect from the phone call and what it was about. Now my friend is quite a solitary person. To the point that his friends (including me) worry about him and how he is getting on living what I consider a more solitary lifestyle. He has a good job, a nice house, and plenty of spare time, with which he used to game online and has a fantastic personality that always made me think it was strange that he used to spend so much time alone. Not that that is how he always was (he lived with me for three years) and he was always in to his gaming yeah, but because me and another mate lived with us (Yes, it was very much like ‘Men Behaving Badly’, but with three not two) we always found time to not only game but to go out drinking and socialising. Of course I didn’t have children then :)

Anyhow, the phone call. It looks like my mate is considering coming out to Spain to live not far from us in a bid to see more of the world and experience life a little bit more than he used to. To give you an idea of how he is mentally changing himself, he actually broke his computer and didn’t replace it for a long time. That would never have happened in the past. It would have been straight down PC World to buy whatever he could to get back online for that evening. He is obviously making a very real and substantial effort to change some things in his life.

This is where the thinking comes in for me. I usually know where I am headed in life and don’t question too much if it is right for me or not, I just get on and do it if it is best for my family. It got me to thinking that if he can change his life, should I? Is there anything else I would rather be doing than playing EQ2? This obviously led me on to thinking about what I get up to in real life against how much time I spend online (which to be fair is already a lot lot less than a couple of years ago) against my other hobbies and my family. Well, to be fair I don’t go online unless my kiddies are in bed. Admittedly quite a bit over the last few months I have had disruptions to my spare time as the little one hasn’t been sleeping too great. Not a problem and obviously my children always come before a computer game, but still a shame for the countless groups I have bailed on recently (usually guild so luckily they are understanding and know my circumstances).

Seems like a silly statement that your children come before a computer game, but for some it is not. I recall raiding with a group who I didn’t usually hang with, in fact I think I only raided with them this once. I was trying them out as a raid force and likewise, them me. The raid leader and his wife/partner/better half both played the game. One was main tank, the other main healer. As you can imagine, quite indispensible in the main tank group. One of the reasons I never went back is that raiding with them broke my heart. Nearly every time they came across Ventrilo you could hear their child screaming in the background. Like constantly. Not once did either of them go afk to sort their little one out and in the end (after about an hour of listening to the poor mite) I made my excuses and left. I did make my thoughts known to the couple later though even though it is really none of my business, I do feel it is every humans business to question things in life if they feel strongly enough about it. At the time, and this was over a year ago I hadn’t heard of the Korean couple who spent more time raising their online baby in a digital world to the point that their own real life child died of neglect. A harrowing story, but thankfully I think the two are now in jail.

So, taking in to account my main and most important role of Dad and the fact I have that down without problem or interference, do I spend my spare time valuably? Is playing EQ2 a proper use of that time? Well, I know for sure the more my family grows and spends less time sleeping, my time online has already diminished massively. When EQ2 first came out and for the first couple of years my first daughter was young enough and content enough to allow quite a bit of online time. She slept for like 17 hours a night, which is a massive amount but meant the wife and I got to spend a lot of time online. As she grew obviously the time dedicated towards her grew too. Now we have another child, but my time online stays the same as I still spend every moment they are awake and I am not at work, with them and not doing other things. That won't change now. All spare time I have, if my kids are awake, is spent with them, and that's that.

So with children in bed, what do I do? Usually of course I do a few chores around the house then log on to EQ2. Occasionally I will read a book, or watch a TV series I like or play a different computer game. There is a load of things I like doing, it’s just that I really love MMOs and have forged some very strong and lasting friendships playing them, so I choose to play EQ2 mainly with my spare time. I certainly do not view it as a worthless way to spend my time. BUT, if I didn’t do that, what would I do? The answer to that is quite simple, probably watch TV or sit in the garden reading. But, what I would do and should do are different here. I am trying to work out if I ‘should’ do something different with my spare time. Should I get in to another hobby? Perhaps a physical one so I can get back to being fit again? I think the main, I ‘should’, is spend the time more constructively and get some more of my novel written. And that’s not a problem because I love to write, although getting started is usually a bit of a struggle, but once I’m there I can write for hours and hours. I do have to be in the right frame of mind, but once started, that's it, I'm off. I know I should spend more time writing and it is not a difficult thing to do for me, I never struggle to write but it’s a solitary thing again. I don’t get to interact with others whilst doing that.

Then there are other things. I live in Spain but only speak basic Spanish as I work in a British overseas territory and spend most of the time where I interact with others in English. Should I get off my lazy ass and learn Spanish? Well, the answer is yes, I guess I should but languages do not interest me and I probably wouldn’t stick it out.

I guess as it stands I’m glad I asked the question but in the end I’m pretty happy with how my time/life balance works out. The most important bits are with the most important people, my family. After that I need a hobby that doesn’t make me too much of a hermit and actually lets me speak to other people without the hassle of going out every night and MMOs fit perfectly with that. Take in to account my wife plays a huge amount too and it’s a no brainer. If anything, I really should try to make room for just two more things that I feel I lack currently. I should try to make more time to indulge in my writing. I really really enjoy it, but because it’s a solitary thing and sometimes a little tough to get started, I tend not to spend as much time doing that as I would like. Secondly, I guess I should start going out and getting fit again. I used to do a very physical job and was fit as a butchers dog, but now, well, not so much. Aside from that, at the moment I’m happy with my time spent on gaming.

I think everyone who plays such a time intensive game as an MMO needs to evaluate that stuff occasionally. How you spend your work/life/MMO balance. It's something I feel we all need to keep a check on. It's important to remember there is a real world out there and there is, sometimes, other stuff you could or 'should' be doing.

Be well

Friday, August 13, 2010

Voltaan Jones

It's been a while since I have posted any roleplay stories concerning my EQ2 toons. In fact, I think the last lot was way back on my old Revenants blog. So, without further a do, here's a nice little introduction to my Bruiser, Voltaan. It should give you a little look into the cantankerous old fools personality. I hope you enjoy.

Sun dappled the courtyard of the Inn as a light late summer breeze rustled the leaves above the patrons taking shade. The sound of children playing filled the courtyard, their laughing and screaming giving testament to the relaxed atmosphere outside Irontoes East in North Qeynos. A mixture of quiet conversation alongside raucous jubilation played a counter tune to the children playing as locals, workers and adventurers alike enjoyed the clement weather, a beverage and a fulfilling home cooked meal on their day of rest.

Two young boys indulged themselves in a mock battle whilst their parents, a fat jolly looking man and homely woman along with the boys younger sister, all relaxed at a nearby table. Waving wooden swords menacingly as they circled each other, their saucepan helmets and big round pot lid shields appeared comical to those looking on. The taller of the two boys attacked, his voice cracking as he released a battlecry and leapt at his brother who barely managed to bring his wooden sword to play in time to stop his sibling smashing it on to his saucepan helm. The rapid movement caused the pan to tilt, covering the boys left eye and as his brother drew back for another swing he did not see this time the play weapon moving in towards his temple, his view blocked by the comically tilted pan. A loud ‘Clang!’ rang out as the sword connected and the well orchestrated battle scene quickly turned into two boys wrestling as they each tried to disarm the other. Eventually, with both boys breathing heavily they collapsed in a heap on the grass laughing uncontrollably.

The old man sat quietly watching the scene and smiled, remembering the exuberance of youth. Placing his flagon down on the table in front of him, he leant back and stretched his huge but ancient frame, his back cracking as he worked out the cramp from sitting too long in the same position. Leaning again on the table he once more nursed the flagon of warm ale in front of him and swapped his gaze to the rest of the patrons, enjoying their frivolity and warmth, feeling a part of their lives for a brief moment even though he sat alone. Sighing he placed the large tankard down and smoothed out his well trimmed silver beard, wiping the froth from his top lip as the joyous noises of the afternoon were broken by the sound of thundering hooves approaching the Inn.

Voltaan watched with interest as four Qeynos Guardsmen dismounted and led their mounts to the tether post. Noting their uniforms and studying the Lieutenant who led the group as they tied their mounts securely, Voltaan surmised he was a man of uncivil character, the harsh looking black trident goatee mirroring his stern cold grey eyes. He noticed also how the Lieutenant scanned the crowd, it was obvious he was looking for someone. Voltaan kept watching, aware that as a Freeportian he was unwelcome here in Qeynos by the Guards and wondered if they were looking for him, and indeed if so, he wondered who would report the quiet old man for having a drink and a steak and ale pie in the shade?

But the Lieutenant looked directly at him and without pausing, continued to scan the crowded courtyard. They were not after him and Voltaan sighed in relief. Not because he had any fear of the Guards here, but because he rarely got to enjoy quiet moments of relaxation and to ruin that would have been a shame. Continuing to watch the scene with interest Voltaan saw the Lieutenant had found his quarry as he moved with purpose, his hand resting on his sword hilt, towards the family that he had seen earlier, the two playing boys now watching with interest also as the Lieutenant stopped to stand in front of their Pa at the table.

“Corsten Riley of Starcrest. You are hereby under arrest for misdemeanour, theft from her Ladyship Antonia Bayles court” the pompous Officer loudly stated as he reached for the fat mans shoulder. The man looked up bemused and managed a stuttered “Wh..wha..?” before the Lieutenants gauntlet crashed across his cheekbone with a vicious slap. Voltaan felt his anger rise as he saw the now not so jolly fat man look up again, this time with fear etched in to his features, his top lip bloody from the strike. The young daughter of the man began to cry and moved to her father’s side muttering through her sobs “Pa, Pa!” as she clutched at him.

The Lieutenant pulled the man to his feet from the table, the mans wife quiet and white as a sheet with her hand to her mouth as is stopping herself from speaking. She knew the cruelness of some of the Officers of the Watch around here and to speak could make her husband’s situation worse. The young girl, who must only be around four years old, thought Voltaan, did not know the correct etiquette when dealing with guardsmen and clung to her father’s arm trying to pull him back from being taken. The Lieutenant pulled the large man with some force and as the girl started to fall away, her grip no match for the grown guard, the Lieutenant back handed the young girl with force that sent her sprawling across the grass at his feet.

The older of the two boys started forward, collecting his wooden sword from the ground with the intent on helping his father and sister, but before he could reach the Officer he felt a strong but gentle hand on his shoulder. Turning and looking over his shoulder, he saw Voltaan, huge bare scarred shoulders sticking out from the deeply polished leather breastplate, the symbol of a raised fist in black at its centre. Looking in to Voltaan eyes, the boy shivered and realised that the huge old man was not looking at him but had his eyes firmly upon the Lieutenant who was by now stepping over the fallen girl and puling his struggling father to the tethered mounts.

The boy watched as the old man let go of his shoulder and moved past him towards the Officer, the easy grace with which he moved contradicting the image of his lined and weather haggard features.

“Sir” the boy heard Voltaan say, his voice deep and rich as he addressed the Lieutenant. “What is this man’s crime?”. The Officer stopped and handing the arm of Corsten Riley to one of his men he slowly turned and faced the aged warrior. Smiling on seeing an old has been in front of him, the Lieutenant replied with a hint of disdain in his tone, “That is none of your concern old timer. Be about your business. I’m sure your ale is of more interest to you than a poor mans crime.”

Voltaan smiled back, nodding his head ever so slightly, as if in agreement. The Guards watched him as he slowly looked over his shoulder at the young girl who was now in her Mother’s arms crying inconsolably. He looked back towards the Officer.

“And the girl Sir. What was her crime? Protecting her Father?” Voltaan offered as the Officer had begun to turn his back on him.

Returning to face Voltaan, this time his hand upon his sword hilt, the Lieutenant reiterated his point “I have told you old man. Stay out of this. Nothing here is of concern to you..unless you wish to join our friend here in enjoying the cuisine at the Jaol.” He laughed at his own joke and several of the guards smiled.

Taking a deep but purposeful breath Voltaan took a deliberate step towards the Officer, who on seeing this slowly began to draw his sword.

“If that sword leaves its scabbard you dung beetle, you are sure to reassess your decision. Now run along like a good little puppy and leave these good folks be laddy. Perhaps you can swing by the nursery on your way back to the guard house, knock a few kids around. Make you feel more important, you pumped up peacock!” Voltaan spat, his anger growing.

The Officer quite obviously enraged by the biting comments now nodded to his men, who all but one who was still holding their prisoner, fanned out to surround the old man.

“Look old timer, we have no wish to hurt an old man. You look like a veteran,” he said, his tone turning conciliatory. “You know this business I’m sure. They break the law and we...”

“..beat up children.” Voltaan finished for him, his tone flat. The patrons of the Inn had now gone deathly quiet, watching the spectacle unfold as the old man faced down the young lithe Officer.

“I’ve had just about enough of this. It is your choice. You brought this on yourself”, the Lieutenant said with a note of finality in his voice. “Take the old timer in also”, he said to the guard nearest to him and began to turn away from the crowd back towards his mount.

Just as the guard was moving towards Voltaan with a billy club raised in his hands Voltaan moved forward with astonishing speed to meet his advance, stepping inside his reach and squared away a savage head butt, splitting the guards lip and smashing his nose flat on his face. Without a sound the guard slumped to the floor, unconscious. Witnessing the sudden violence from the old man, the Officer fully drew his sword and moved in to take Voltaan with a skilled lunge. Side stepping the attack to his right Voltaan grabbed the Lieutenants collar with a huge fist, and bent slightly, his other hand gathering up the Officers crotch. Turning and standing to his full height at the same time, Voltaan lifted the fully armoured pompous Lieutenant clear above his head and in one swift move cannoned him directly in to the path of the other guards now moving towards him, knocking them all to the ground.

The silence was deafening as the guards gathered themselves up, one helping up their friend with the smashed nose, another helping up the Lieutenant. Each turned their gaze to Voltaan, and one by one they all drew their swords.

“Aww, come on now me lads. Four armed men against one ‘old man’. How can that be fair?” Voltaan asked his lopsided grin and wild look in his eyes confusing them. “I mean fair is fair eh? You boys want to go back to the armoury, grab some long pikes or something? Maybe give you a chance?” Voltaan carried on grinning and now rhythmically pounded his right fist in to left palm.

“Who are you?” the officer asked, confused at why an old man would come to the rescue of scum.

“I’m Voltaan. And this..” Voltaan glanced at his right fist, displaying it in front of the Officers eyes. “This my friend, is The Freeport Hammer, and you owe the girl an apology”. Looking the Lieutenant directly in the eyes, his cold icy gaze portraying only awaiting pain and death, Voltaan waited.

The Officer, obviously understanding the way things were turning, addressed his men but kept his eyes on the old man, “Mount up men, let’s go deal with this thieving scum”. Looking at Voltaan, he snarled “We’ll be back old man, then I'll make my.... apology” and slowly turning away, The Lieutenant climbed in to his saddle, pausing only to grab the prisoner by his now fitted manacles. Taking one last look at Voltaan, he and his guards rode off.

Voltaan quietly moved back to his table and after righting the chair that had been knocked over in the scuffle he sat quietly, with all eyes still watching him. Voltaan looked at the receding backs of the Officer and his men, and stretching his shoulders, he muttered, “Aye laddy”. Clenching his right fist tightly, running his other hand across the heavily scarred knuckles, he finished, “We’ll be waiting”.

[Adurj is a silly old fool himself. He forgot to say that he reserves all rights as author in connection with the above post - Ed]

The reference to a fist being named as 'A Hammer', first came to my attention whilst reading a David Gemmell book concerning a young warrior, Bane and his mentor, a gladiator by the name of Rage. Go buy his books have a read of you haven't ever previously. They are amazing. The 'Hammer' reference came from a book in the 'Rigante' series of novels.
Be well.

Raiding, Raiding, Raiding, Rawhide!

Last night saw my first raid back with my old raiding crew. I only managed to get a spot on Toxx, Lair of the Dragon Queen as my timers wouldn’t allow me to help the gang out in Perah’Celsis Labs, which they went on later to do. It was a nice case of being dropped back in the deep end with a proficient raid force. I forgot how fast things move in a well organised raid. Having been casual for an eternity it seems I’m used to taking five minutes to dish out loot, ages to have each and every mob explained etc etc. I actually missed rolling on a couple of things because I was dithering about with my chat boxes (my /ran rolls are in the wrong chat tab!). I was pretty pleased I was messing about actually, because in my self induced panic (“Holy Crap!! Where’s my rolls gone??”) my buddy Jahf won his shoulder pieces, which was great.

I did have to roll against him on a couple of items later on though. Well, I think a couple, not sure if he rolled on the T9 forearms piece that I won, but I know Jahf definitely rolled on the axe I won too. Sorry mate, it seems lady luck was a smilin’ upon me. One of our other Dirges, Piki rolled a bit too slow on the forearms but beat my roll by a huge amount..just as I had clicked accept to get the item from our raid leader, Irja. So apologies for that Piki mate. I wish I had been a bit more tardy messing around with my chat boxes when that happened, I might have delayed clicking ‘OK’ and Piki may have got the item they had ‘won’. Shame really. But we will be heading there a huge amount over the coming weeks, so maybe they’ll drop again soon.

Whilst everyone else toddled off to Labs, I sat Adurj outside AFK, just in case the raid force decided to come out and reset their instance (meaning Adurj would have been allowed in), and I switched to Voltaan to go do some harvesting. About an hour and a half of giving the poor old warrior Volt a crick in his back leaning over harvestable nodes constantly, I’m pleased to say I harvested absolutely no rares at all. Man, that is why harvesting really really gets on my nerves. The drop rates for rares is crazy slow and some of us who rarely have hours to set aside to harvest end up spending a fortune on them at the broker in the end. Not very cool SoE. Not cool at all. What about those players who don’t have that time available? Don’t bother answering that, all seeing SoE. I know the answer. “Head on over to our new upcoming EQ2Extended servers and buy your rares with real life money”, to which my reply would be “Thanks! Why don’t you head on over to my rear end and start kissing!”. Grrr. Annoying. Actually there is something humourous about this. I went to the broker to see how much Kaborite rares were selling for (around 10-11pp on AB) and mostly people have one or two rares to sell that they have been lucky enough to find. But one guy had like twenty two or something ridiculous. He’s either, got no life, got a bot program, or an aggressive marketing plan where he buys all the cheap rares and prices them back up on the broker for a bigger profit. Either way, taking the time to harvest twenty odd rares, if you didn’t have a bot and went and got them legitimately, wow, that’s dedication.

Pretty much just as I was getting extremely frustrated harvesting, a group who I had started Cella with earlier (then I had to leave to raid –very sorry indeed about that folks”), gave me a /tell asking if I would like to replace someone on the last fight with the Queen. I jumped at the chance as I needed the update in there from the friendly dragon to conclude my enervated Mythical weapon questline ‘Epic Repercussions’. I arrived, we did it first try, nice and smooth like. Quite an easy fight really, as long as you have everyone concentrating. Anyhow, I got my final update and following a little bit of runnin’ around I finally got my enervated mythical. Now, I’m not as happy as I thought. Oh, don’t get me wrong I’m overjoyed I have all that finally sorted out and now I don’t have to have my ‘Myth’ equipped all the time and I have a lovely house version for an ornament. But, there’s an issue here and I have mentioned this in my blog before. I used to have a ‘mythical’ item. The rarest type of loot drop in Norrath. In your EQ2 gaming life it is unlikely you will hold a mythical item more than once. They are the rarest of the rare. And now I don’t have one anymore. I know it’s petty. I know it’s childish, but I really did enjoy the fact that I had a Mythical class of item. When you hand in your quest to obtain your enervated weapon, it arrives back in your inventory with a ‘Fabled’ tag. Extremely petty I know. But I want my Mythical back! How can any self respecting sorrowful musician expect to brag about his exploits in song without a Mythical weapon? Shameful! Of course I’m joking, it really doesn’t bother me that much at all, in fact it was more of a musing I had. It was nice having a Myth tho. Maybe I can sing songs to my Grandchildren about the Mythical Ballad of the Lost Lamentation. Oh darn it.. I need a digi-cyber lover before pixel babies, oh well. Maybe I should go seek "Ceciliantas" and ask him how it's done ;)

Until next time,

Be well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

“If you're not greedy you will go far, you will live in happiness too... like the oompa.... loompa.... doompity do.”

I decided to play Voltaan for a while last night. I had intended on heading out for a harvesting session but guildies were running a Library instance and asked me if I would like to go along. I know they wanted Adurj along really but I kinda wanted to play Volt as I wanted to put him through some of the instances he hasn’t done yet (most SF ones). When I joined the group we had another Bruiser, albeit 90th level as a tank, Llucky was the name. He seemed nice enough, but a bit quiet perhaps. No big thing that, the rest of us were guildies.

Anyhow, we kill one of the named , and I can’t even recall who it was but they dropped Zulfiqar’s fabled belt. It is a level 90 tanky belt item, nice for Brawlers and in fact quite a sweet item. Naturally we both rolled ‘Need’ and I won. Straight away came the indignant statement in group chat from Llucky, “they can’t even wear it”, to which I replied “yeah, for like 2 days”. Llucky went on to say “that’s why you should never take two tanks in a zone”. And that was it, nothing more said, Llucky wasn’t a douche about it and it was me who brought it up again, not Llucky.

The reason I brought it up again was quite simply I am no nonsense and very impatient where other persons moaning sessions come about, especially if you throw a bit of greed in too. Don’t get me wrong, I know I moan myself about things sometimes. In fact it’s one of the reasons I dislike moaners, because invariably, I end up moaning about them moaning. Now I realised this initial reaction of Lluckys had got my back up. If I roll against someone and they win, I show politeness and genuine pleasure for them and their advancement. It means the group has won, not just the individual in my eyes. A statement such as “Grats” would be issued and I would be genuinely pleased for them...not “they can’t even wear it”.

How about some good manners in game? I’ve preached this before. If I had been level 82, I could totally understand, but I’m like 1 level and 50% off 90. In my mind there is no reason why I shouldn’t roll on it as ‘Need’. Coz I will need it, not mute it or sell it, but need and use a few days. Anyhow, that simple comment wound me up. Why? Well I had had a pretty rough day and there was a nasty incident that makes you think about life and death, about what’s important. I’m not going to go into detail as to what that was, but knowing what I knew and how someone had suffered terribly that day, it just got my back up that a few hours later I had to listen to someone moan about some digital pixels not dropping their way. Kinda felt out of perspective.

So, what did I do? I can remember what is important in this life, what holds value, and it ain’t some pixels on a game, I can tell thee. If Llucky wished that item so much that it was going to piss them off not to get it, even for a moment and they cannot see or feel genuine pleasure for someone in their group getting advancements instead of them, hey what the hell, I petitioned it. Let them have their belt if it’s important to them.

Llucky was very grateful and thankful, stating “Thanks, but you didn’t have to do that”. All in all they were ok about it and I hope it brightened their day a bit getting an item they obviously really wanted. Good luck to you Llucky and, following on from my post yesterday, not bad tanking for a Bruiser.

Thought I had finished with my moan? Well, seeing as this is my blog, we’ll call it a discussion, and there’s more :)

I’d like to comment on the second thing Llucky said. “That’s why you never bring two tanks to a zone”. I didn’t pick up on this at the time. But what a crock! So, let me get this right, a Ranger and an Assassin can never group together? Throw in a Swashy? Ooo, no, not in the same group. God forbid some group members may actually have to roll against each other. I’m sorry. I’m aware it’s a little petty, but the whole attitude kinda wound me up. Of course same archetypes or even the same class can run a zone, unless of course it is a greedy run. My wifey did Cella the other day with 3 Coercers in it (They ploughed through it btw). The only reason you would start crafting your groups around loot rolls and so you ensure you are the only tank, and there is only one healer, and only one scout, blah, blah, because you are greedy. You want more stuff and you want it quickly. Not an issue with that as I’m aware it’s different strokes for different folks. If you are like that or have that attitude, good luck to you. But I’m happy I’m not that mercenary and can clearly see the important things still. Like, instead of worrying about loots...I had fun in the zone. I enjoyed spending time with our friends. Simple. Some give-eth in life, and some take-eth away. Amen.

I guess I should say [As an afterthought it seems – Ed] that just because I have my opinion, it does not mean I am correct just as it does not mean Llucky was wrong. I may have over-reacted here in summising the event. I mean all Llucky said was two sentences. But, that didn't matter to me, the die had been cast, the general attitude of 'I want I want I want' always winds me up.  All I’m saying is I personally prefer those who operate with teamwork in mind and if the group wins, we all win, rather than the “I’m here for myself” attitude. As a very good friend of mine said to me a few days ago “Love is love bro”. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

As a quick juxtaposition, I was wondering around The Hole last night after the Library instance with Voltaan attempting to locate the spot where the enervated update is near The Spiral, when I came across a couple of folks who were duo-ing down there. Turns out they were after the same thing and they let me join them. On top of that the waited patiently whilst I logged Adurj and got him there to two box him and Volt as they both needed the update. Not a word of moaning, just friendly help offered and genuine pleasure and grats when I got my updates. Thank you Sulena and friend. You were most gracious and courteous to a complete stranger. I very much appreciated your help and your sterling attitude.

Be well.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

EQ2 News

Head on over to the links below at  The EQ2 Wire for some great Q&A sessions at Fan Faire. Some good info and hints as to what is coming!

Thank you kindly to Feldon at The EQ2 Wire who put all of this information together. As ever, a sterling site keeping us well informed.

Be well.

Back in the saddle again..

Well, it’s official. I have been invited back to join my old raiding bunch on Antonia Bayle which is great news. I won't be leaving AoV and still get to raid with me old mates. As Hannah Montana says, "I have the best of both worlds"...or something like that. More than anything it’s great that I will be able to hang out with some great folks again who I have missed playing with. I still need to get my resists up, but plan on getting sets of Brellium jewellery for each resist bank to sort that out. Just need to get Voltaan harvesting this week so I can get those made. Will probably need 9 Brellium in total (that’s 3 per resist set) and hopefully it won’t take me too long to get my hands on those.

I have nominated Voltaan as my raid alt as Emarald keeps telling me that they just can’t stop brawler gear from dropping in the T9 raid zones. Apparently it drops pieces every raid night. He will probably be fully T9 fabled before Adurj! Not that I mind that of course. I love playing Voltaan. In fact he’s probably my favourite toon to play overall. It’s just that he is not that ‘wanted’ in raid or group setups. A shame really because many a time I have seen a plate tank struggle and wipe after wipe we have carried on. Until Volt tanks it that is. I think Brawlers are still generally underrated. They are a pretty good class, but you have to be prepared to work really hard if you want to play one well. There is the different AA setup, depending on Tank or DPS, then there is the kit, defence or dps, then there are the buffs, which I have found work well if you are prepared to be flexible with them, and by that I mean working hard and switching buffs in and out depending on which part of a fight you are at or the current aggro situation or...well so so many variables. But that’s the thing with a Brawler. Generally people think they are of little use, when in reality they are of massive use and have amazing capabilities as a tank...if played correctly, and because they are difficult to play very well, not many Brawlers seem to be that versatile or in fact good. Perhaps this is what helped spawn their not sterling reputation. It’s worth noting that a top five game wide raid force uses a Monk to tank all their raids...I still prefer Bruisers to Monks, but you get the idea.

I mean look at what tools they have at their disposal. They have a 30 second immunity to stun,stifle, knockback etc etc with a fairly quick reuse. I usually get to use this twice a fight. Then there is the self heal and the myth invulnerability. Of course there is Chi, then there is the three/four (if specced right) snap taunts that are so so useful, and two normal taunts and dps attacks that taunt. You get your raid wide buffs. Then on top of this there is their ability to solo and run dungeons using Feign Death. A better shiny harvester you will not find. Then they get three stance buffs, not two..the list carries on. The thing with a Brawler is that to be effective you have to be busy, all of the time when playing. There is no respite, no slacking off (which is easier on Adurj if I am feeling lazy, let’s face it he can just stand there looking pretty and the group benefits massively from his buffs). But Brawlers, nope. You have to be prepared to work hard at it to play them correctly.

Anyhow, I must say I’m really looking forward to getting in to raiding with me old chums again, no matter what drops I get for what toons, if any at all. I used to have a real good laugh with that gang and I’m hoping the same will be true now I am rejoining them. I am sure it will.

Tonight? Well, looks like I am harvesting Brellium..

Be well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The weekend that was..

Great weekend. I actually didn’t play EQ2 too much, instead spending quite a lot of time on Need for Speed:Undercover as I knew I was near to finishing the storyline and was excited to get it finished. Turned out to be not too bad at all as far as driving game plots go. Surprise, surprise the hot Fed woman who gave me all my jobs turned out to be a baddy, but through some aggressive driving I managed to pulp her car into a fiery ball of steel.

Overall, although the game play was good, I was a little disappointed with NFS:Undercover. The graphics were average at best, the car control excellent, the story line a little too cheesy at times and unclear . For example, I thought I was a suited and booted Fed guy until the end when I realised they were talking ‘to’ the camera, which was supposed to be ‘me’. All the way through it seemed that the guy who the Fed lass was giving instructions too was this dude, and I was left thinking, “How in the hell does a guy like that, balding, suit, tie..infiltrate a criminal car gang?”..Well it turns out I was being a doofus and that wasn’t me at all. Also on occasion some lass who is ‘involved’ in the gangs but keeps turning to me for help and protection, keeps phoning me on a pretty blatantly product placed mobile system courtesy of T mobile, that does actually serve no purpose other than giving you a bit of info...and placing the product. The involvement of the side storyline was pretty bland to be honest. All of these things are totally liveable with, seeing as it is a driving game and they got the important bit right, the driving is excellent fun and challenging too.

The one major gripe I have about the game is the speed with which you run out of jobs/races to compete in and how quickly the storyline is over. I barely managed to get enough money from winning races to purchase and kit out two top end motors. I had to sell my Porsche to buy my Nissan GTR (R35) for goodness sake!! Now that’s not cool.

Anyhow, now I have completed the game I can return to Mass Effect as my ‘offline’ game when I get bored with EQ2. I’m actually looking forward to getting back into ME as it’s been two or three weeks since I have played it seriously and fancy getting my teeth back into it. My Bro says the stage I am at is just before some of the best bits in the story, so it should be great fun.

Inevitably we move on to EQ2. Not a bad weekend in game really. As you can see from my previous post Adurj is now 90th and slowly getting his kit up to scratch for raiding again. I sat in on a couple of ‘Twisted Honor’s PuRs this weekend through Toxx and Labs. What a really nice bunch. But oh wow, man do my resists need looking at. One thing a Scout or Fighter class (aside from Crusaders) has to struggle with I have found when playing them, is resists. As they usually do not have a great Wisdom stat, the base resists are low with armour/jewellery being relied upon to boost that up to a reliable level. When I raided RoK and TSO resists tended to be high enough with just swapping out a couple of items depending on the raid mob. Now it seems it is back to the old school where full sets of resist gear are needed to boost that. To give you an example Adurj is wearing a combination of T3/T4 fabled with bits of lev 90 armour thrown in. Jewellery is 99% level 90 legendary or fabled. Yet my resists are still way way too low.

It reminds me of when I first started raiding in EQ2 back when the cap was 70 and KoS was the latest expansion. Way back then I recall having to re-kit my necro out as his resists were appalling. It is one part of the game I find annoying. If the devs at EQ2 are good enough to design some great kit that takes a lot of hard work to get, how come they fail on the resist section? Surely top end armour should have resists covered? Especially when that level of armour was quite clearly created to sustain you through that tiers raiding. I guess it just links in to all the stuff I keep reading on the forums about the kit being disproportionate. So until things are sorted in that department, I guess it’s back to creating macros to swap gear in and out. Oh well, I guess it will at least get me thinking about armour and kit and what purpose they serve.

Streiter and Starfeesh (really nice folks btw) at Twisted Honor asked if I wanted and was aiming to become a regular on their raids. I would like to but it was mentioned to me that they prefer to have people in their guild if raiding with them. I’m not sure it is in me to leave AoV again. I have been with that guild for so so many years and with me acknowledging that I really am only killing time until other MMO titles come out, I’m not sure I’m ready to up and leave my buddies in AoV for six months raiding gratification. Even if Twisted Honor do seem like a sterling bunch. I’ll have to think on it. In addition, what I would really like to do and am awaiting a reply to this, is rejoin the secret raiding group that are from all different guilds but meet regularly to raid at high level. I was previously a part of this force and have decided to reapply. Hopefully they are not swamped with Dirges, although I do know a certain Dirgey who they already have ;) I guess we’ll see what happens. Anyhow, until I can get my resists up, I reckon I am not going raiding anywhere! That needs to be sorted as a priority.

Until next time,

Be well.