Thursday, September 30, 2010

Access: No longer denied

I read at EQ2Wire today notification that come general update #58 access requirements will be removed from Deathtoll, the tier 7 raid zone. I found this and Deathdlrs’ discussion surrounding the subject very interesting and it got me to thinking of all the other access quests they have scrapped. I also got to thinking how they decide these things. It seems to me that there is obviously some rhyme or reason to when they choose to remove an access quest and perhaps they even have some sort of statute of limitations thing going on.

Part of the discussion that interests me, is not the access requirements that they have removed, but the access requirements they have left in place, and I wonder why. Is it down to a time thing? Do they just automatically remove all access quests when an expansion becomes ‘so old’? But if that was the case, how come Veeshans Peak had its access requirements scrapped way before Deathtoll? And, I’m pretty sure some of the Sinking Sands / Pillars of Flames instances still need some access quest requirement completing, but I’m also aware that most of them were removed. I’m not sure on that, but if it’s so, why? Oh, I don’t have any answers to these questions, but it’s interesting to pose them anyhow. It would be nice knowing how they come to decide this stuff.

One thing I hope they never get rid of is the quests themselves. I would like a choice to do the questline for interest or AA reasons, even though I don’t necessarily need them for access anymore. I wouldn’t like it if they remove the ability to do the quests altogether. I know they may not as they may argue that why should they keep something there that get’s used a couple of times a year, but that’s a whole other discussion. I guess I just don’t like it when content is removed. I understand the seasonal stuff being removed as it’s there for a particular holiday or celebration and would lose its appeal if was available all the time. But other content, unless it was causing game issues, I really don’t see why they would remove it. One example I am thinking of are the World Events. Specifically the ones that were brought in before the Gods returned (You know the ones, they gave cool house items that give buffs). I still have some of those sat in my quest journal in the hope that the one day they decide reinvent them. I know that is more than likely not going to happen as they may be a bit irrelevant nowadays, but I’d like a chance to finish my quests.

Another thing I don’t like that they have removed is the fact I can no longer start in Queens Colony or The Outpost of the Overlord. It seems a real shame. Those two zones were my introduction to EQ2 many years ago and I have a lot of happy memories from there. I don’t like it that I am not allowed to visit anymore (unless I am trying to kill a Dragon that is as part of the Prismatic timeline). I actually have a level 5 Paladin who is still in Queens Colony. I have not levelled him or removed him from there and to be honest I could do with his character slot, but I won’t delete him as he is the only link I have left with those zones. Although character slots won’t be an issue soon. SoE have announced they may be getting rid of restrictions on number of character slots available.

I just don’t like it when content is removed. Revamped, maybe and even then I kind of wish they didn’t mess unless something was appallingly bad and unbalanced. But when SoE remove content or access to areas, it kind of makes me feel like a few of my memories are being taken with them. The reason I think that is, is because I usually only get nostalgic when I visit those places again. For example I popped my head in to Mistmoore Castle the other day or when I headed in to Firemyst Gully, or when I log on to my Pally in the Queens Colony. These are the times I usually let out a sigh and state with comfortable achievement “Ahhh, I remember this”.

Until next time.

Be well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"This f**kin' idiot darling"

We hit Toxx hard mode again last night. We were certainly getting in to the swing of it by the time we decided to head out to Labs. Toxx didn’t go down, but I guess that’s always the way when you are learning a fight. During the hour and a half we were there I believe we have the strats down now and next time we go there I’m pretty sure Toxx will go down.

I tanked Vulaan whilst the other two tanks were playing ping pong with Toxx, as every so often she eats one of the tanks and a clicky crystal is needed to set them free. The other tank takes aggro when this happens. We switched pulling spot so we could have some of the utility from the raid on Vulaan assisting the main raid group on Toxx. Was an OK place but the tree stump we were fighting against was not great at holding me against the knockbacks, so apologies to the melee dps’ers who needed their back attacks. Sadly nothing could be done about that , aside from moving pull spot again. Even so Vulaan went down without any issues and aside from the first pull the wipes came from the Toxx part of the raid, simply because it takes a bit of getting used to I think.

Oh, I would be remiss in not mentioning a couple of wipes took place because of me *cough*. Yes, I had a little FD issue whilst I was scouting a possible new pull spot. I pulled Toxx by accident, FD'd, watched the raid force die *cough*, then promptly got up from FD...only to pull again, so I ran, FD'd, watched the raid force die *cough...sorry!*. I didn't risk it again. I left the raid before getting up that time to avoid it happening again but I was well enough out of range. Funniest part of that was my wife who growled in exasperation "WHICH F**KIN' IDIOT KEEPS PULLING TOXX!?!". I tried not to smile as I quietly told her "This f**kin' idiot darling".

When we headed to Labs one of our raid members brought their Bruiser along. Now, I’m not normally that avidly watching the parse nowadays. I know where I come mostly on the list. But I did notice, that I appeared to be better geared than him and he was hitting higher numbers. Now in a raid it could have been for any number of reasons. It could have been the other classes in his group, it may have been that I was doing some pulling too so was in Def stance and Def armour. I think those obviously contributed. But I’m definitely going to speak to him to double check that is the case. In my eyes when I see something like that I’m not shy about it, I’ll go ask him what he was doing and how. In fact I already have mailed him with those very questions.

In my opinion, if you are a solo player and maybe group only occasionally, then sure, play your toon how you wish. But, I’m part of a raid force who rely on me and each other for us all to bring our very best performance if we can. And that means doing some research, asking for help or advice. When you see something like another person who plays the same class doing something better, ask them about it! I owe it to the 23 other people I raid with to be the best I can be. Wow, I sound like a military advertisement! “Be all you can be. Join the Navy Raid Force”.

On that very subject of self improvement, it’s about time I worked on my AAs again on Voltaan. It’s not acceptable turning up for a raid with less than 200. I’m nearly there, but nearly isn’t there. So I guess I need to get off my ass and sort some mentored down questing/mass pulling/named mashing sessions. I’ve never used one before but my wife tells me the AA potions are awesome and I should invest for my AA fest sessions. Think I may do that. If anyone has any ideas on great AA spots or tips’n tricks, please leave a comment and let me know.

Be well.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Loot Toot!

Our raid force have got in to a bit of a discussion about different loot rolling systems for raid forces. It’s quite an interesting debate really. So far there have been several suggestions on loot, including the most popular systems which appear to include DKP (Dragon Kill Points - if you have been hiding for the last 10 years), Leader run system and /random 100 systems.

I’ve always been intrigued about how other guilds do this as loot is inherently a sticky subject. A loot rule for one person may not suit another, or indeed it may suit one or two people, but not the rest of the raid, but the one or two it benefits, may be the leaders/officers. There are so many variations, so many tangents at which the discussion is taking, the debate seems to be getting some rather good suggestions put forward and not just about loot.

Other issues raised have been Real Life stuff, available playtime, quality of players knowing their toons, behind the scenes DKP dealing and a few other things I fail to recall now. What got me interested was the fact that as in any situation where you have a group of people coming together and in this circumstance around thirty I guess, there are SO many differing points of view and opinions. Admittedly most seem to fall in two main groups, which currently I would call ‘Team DKP’ and ‘Team Random’. Even in those two distinct camps though there are various takes on how it should be done. So what system should we go for? What systems seem to have less problems than the others? Well, the answer isn’t that simple. Because what works for raid force A, may not work for raid force B, again because of the fact that individuals are involved.

I stated in the forums I am not a big fan of DKP. I have had experience of this system before when I raided with Inquisition and later Elven Blades (think they had a DKP system, don’t rightly recall). Now not once did I have reason to gripe about the system. When I was running with it my main was a Necro. We had about an equal split of melee and caster dps in our force so all was pretty well balanced. But, it seemed, as every DKP spent mattered, that I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about if I should bid on an item or not especially when I knew there ‘could’ be better loots to come. For me the DKP system made the looting more onerous than it had to be. Looting seemed to take an age as the leader had to allow the members time to review their current kit against the dropped item and then decide how much to bid for it whilst taking in to account those you would be bidding against. It was a gamble every time and to be honest drew away from the fun side a bit for me as at the end of every fight, instead of relaxing and enjoying the victory I was frantically examining items against my equipped stuff in time so I didn’t miss the bid if I decided I wanted the piece. Just added a bit of stress where there need not be any. Throw alts in to the mix and that’s two toons you have to examine before placing a bid at different stages of the loot process.

I know some raid leaders may state that you should know what drops in a zone and work out prior to going there if you are going to bid or not. Now that’s not a bad idea, apart from two aspects. One is that no one is going to spend DKP without double checking if it’s the right decision. Which means taking a few seconds to examine the equipment against what you have. This is probably an issue that effects most raid loots rules actually, not necessarily just the DKP system. The thing that seems to take the time is waiting for the raid looter to go through the bids and wait to make sure all bids are in before making the choice. That brings us to another question. Integrity. If you don’t have a loot council (or have one that colludes) and rely on just one person taking blind bids (there are other ways to do bids, but this seems most common alongside the specific bid amount per item type/rarity etc)) then the raid is leaving itself open to an abuse of system. Hopefully it would get sussed out pretty quick, but in an age where such an (originally) respected business man as Madoff can pull the wool over every ones eyes (well not everyone but that’s a different subject ;) ) then some person who you think you know well as you speak to them daily on the interwebs in a game may not have any problems trying to fleece you. Single decision systems are dangerous in MMOs I reckon. There is no accountability.

Also, as mentioned above there are the various types of DKP system. The set price per item type/rarity system, the standard bidding system (open bids), and the standard bidding system (closed bids). There of course other versions of these and some go off into incredibly complicated sub rules but those won’t help answer the question of “What system is best for us?”. Personally if using DKP, I think the most fair system is the set price system, but even this to be totally fair should have points required assigned to each item that drops and not just slot/rarity/type. I say this because there are quite simply a fair few items out there that stand out from the crowd. In reality they may still be fabled, may still be for example a primary slot item and therefore cost the same as others in the same category. BUT they are clearly a superior item. That’s why assigning an exact amount per exact drop for the content you are raiding should be the best way to do it. I know it’s not likely as it would take a ridiculous amount of time, but it would be the best and fairest way I feel.

I think in the end a raid force will work out what is best for them, but the most important key factor in having a loot system that is perhaps not liked by ‘all’ but is adhered to and respected by ‘all’ is strong and honest raid leadership. With a good honest strong raid leader, I don’t think you’ll go far wrong. As the great Winston Churchill said, The best form of government is a Benevolent Despot (which is probably impossible because absolute power corrupts), but the sentiment is right. Get one of those for your raid leader and you’re laughing, no matter what loot system you adopt.

What loot systems do you run for your raids? Any innovative ideas I have missed??

Until next time,

Be well.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Voltaans House

Well, I have nearly finished decorating Voltaans house in Gorowyn. Here's some piccies. Enjoy.

 Entrance Hall

I have teleportation pads! and a mystery..dum dum DUM!!

What's behind the screen?

Gasp!! A body!!

War Room & Study

 Study area

 Study area

 Study & War Room


 Bathing area & Toilets
 Wash area & Toilets

 Toilets (apologies, a lot of shots of the loos)

 Bathing area to Bedroom


 Garden Entry


 Druid Ring, Pools & Wildlife

 In memory..

 Mushy Guy!

The Stables

 The Pool


Pool towards Club Copa

 Sunbathing Area (OK, a bit weird in the Basement)
 Pina Colada anyone?
Bar Copa

Hope you liked them!
Be well.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mem Wipe Misery

Raiding was not too bad last night, but yet again we seemed to struggle on some of the mobs we tried. Admittedly some of the key players in our raid force were not present for the start and even then we were short on normal attendees. Initially we tried Oxy the contested in Stonebrunt. Our first few tries only saw us with 2.5 groups and we couldn’t manage the encounter. It seems we just couldn’t get the adds down quick enough. That happened for a few reasons, but mainly because the adds mem wipe so often that the adds are running all over the place and melee dps’ers were struggling to stay in touch with the mob as it ran around. That lowered the raids dps quite considerably.

I tanked the adds and until I understood that the mem wipes come thick and fast I honestly thought I was failing at my job. I know I didn’t have a dirge in my group or indeed any hate transfer but those although nice, don’t usually bother me too much, but with the mem wipes and our casters high dps I just couldn’t control them. Yes, I kept grabbing them back but within about 10 seconds they were off doing the run around again. When our raid force was up to full strength we tried again and eventually got him down with a plate tank tanking the adds. The aggro issue was the same but we all made sure we were targeting through the main assist and therefore were perhaps a bit more focussed to get the adds down quicker. I’m aware that we should all have been using the MA before, but obviously some weren’t. I wasn’t particularly as I was running around trying to grab aggro on the adds when I was tanking it, but I would always return to the MA after I had grabbed them, only to have to switch again when mem wipes hit. Obviously when we had a plate tanky doing the business and aggro wasn’t my problem, MA was used at all times. It seems we all got on board with that eventually and the mob went down shortly after.

After that it was on to Palace to clear up a previously started instance. I was a bit peeved off when my head piece didn’t drop again. It’s my last piece of fabled armour I need, then it’s only topping up the tiers that will be required. Sages went well where the brawler mob was concerned and no issues tanking that again. We did have a few issues with the Heroic Opportunity required but that was sorted out eventually. That part doesn’t surprise me really. I know we have HOs available to us, but not everyone uses them (you should) so when out of nowhere a raid mob requires you to get down with the HO order for a full 6 part HO before the fight can continue, if you are not used to them it’s going to take a little time. Although I guess it would be fair to say that at this stage of raiding a HO requirement should not slow us down.

The rest of the raid went OK. We tried Theer on a two rune spec but couldn’t quite get it. A huge amount of that was down to running out of time and horrendous luck with the tiles. At one point it seemed like we went from having tiles all around us to being on a single tile with all but one around us dropped. It messed up pathing etc and at times because of this when we moved some unavoidably got behind Theer and that usually ends that. The tiles were VERY unkind to us, so eventually as the raid time was running out we hit out the single rune Theer with no issues.

Weekend is on the way and I am hoping to get my decorating finished in my home in Gorowyn. Tonight I plan on working on the garden, stables and pool area. When I’m finished you’ll have to pop round and have a Pina Colada, poolside. In addition I think I said I would run a raid on Saturday night for Acolytes of Valor. Perhaps something to includes the lower levels as I am painfully aware a lot of our lower level guildies rarely get any love as most are at max hammering out instances. Not that peeps won’t help in AoV, I have never seen a more helpful bunch, but I guess at times it’s easy to get ensconced in ploughing through level relevant content. I know I get bogged down in that. Anyhow, this Saturday if we do raid it’ll be something for the lower tiers methinks. I’ll let you know how we get on. Oh, and pics will be incoming when my home decorating is finished.

Until next time,

Be well.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

MMO choices: The Roleplayer

With my brother talking about Roleplaying on his blog and supplying a few links to the background roleplay story for his AoC toon ‘Udrath’ it got me thinking to different styles of indulging in MMOs and the huge variety of populous that the adaptability of MMOs nowadays can support.

Mostly I would say that the greater number of folks play an MMO following the main technical side of the game through levelling and developing their character attempting to get as much good equipment as possible. That appears to be the main focus and aim for most players. The beauty is with an MMO you can generally choose how to embark upon that journey in many ways. From power levelling, to twinking, and from questaholics to group/guild progression to PvP and PvE.

The interesting thing is, you can do most of those (aside maybe from the power levelling thing) in a ‘normal’ or indeed if you so choose, a roleplay fashion. I must admit I have only ever been in a few groups where they will roleplay the whole time throughout conquering content. I can recall clearly a sojourn in to Unrest with one of my old guilds on the EQ2 Antonia Bayle server ‘Fellowship of the Dragon’. OK, so the adventure in to Unrest, the unravelling of the plot line and the subsequent completion of the zone took about an hour longer than normal, but it was a really great night. Everyones toon and their personality came in to play and it helped us forge quite a strong bond in the group with us each knowing by the end what type of player we were. It was a lot of fun, but I am not sure I would be able to play the whole game that way.

My Bro is now in a hardcore (you know the score) roleplay guild. It got me thinking to if they play the whole game that way from start to finish. If visiting the equivalent of the market broker, do they stop and chat to other people in their roleplay alter egos? Do they go on pick up groups or raids? If so, how do they play those out? I would say mostly they are probably the only one in the group who roleplays that way, so how do the other group members cope with it when they are just up for ploughing ahead to conquer content?

We had a younger player in our guild once who continuously roleplayed their toon. The problem was, being a bit on the younger side their background story was a little contrived and a tiny bit weird. You know the sort, heroes with some form of madness induced by some amazingly unlikely encounter with a God or such like and now they have bugs eating at their brain which they have to quell by the spirits talking to them. Now it’s not for me to say if they should or shouldn’t play their toon like that. But it’s not a way I would choose. In a social guild where no one really roleplays in guild chat it just seemed a bit out of place. Funny though. Nothing like checking out guild chat to see “The BUGS!! BUGS!! In my brain...arrgghh. I can’t think clearly”, especially when the next comment was “Oh man!! The cat just took a crap on the rug, brb”. It just didn’t seem to fit. But in guild chat where everyone is roleplaying it would probably work out a bit better.

One thing roleplaying does do, is remind you that the journey from level 0 to level cap is not about the arrival, it is about enjoying the journey. Ok, for some who are extremely adept at power levelling the journey in EQ2 to 90 only takes a few days, but the content you lose out on must be huge. That’s one of the reasons I am an advocate for roleplaying of all kinds (unless you are a emo vampire bloodsucking male, playing a female toon who wants to cyber – of course) as it helps to promote what I see is one of my fave parts of EQ2, the bit between 0 and 90. The content that has been crafted carefully for our enjoyment [No. To make the production company like SoE loads of money. That’s why it was crafted. – Ed] is there for the exploring yet many simply hop past it in their rush to get to level cap.

If roleplaying helps you experience that content, then it has to be a good thing. If it’s right for you. That’s the thing you see and it’s why an MMO can support pretty much any playstyle. They allow you to play pretty much how you want to play. You get a choice of classes and races usually to help you on your way with this. Then usually a choice of starting area, then all the other decisions, like what type of guild to join if any. Solo or group or a mix of progression. That’s the beauty of most MMOs. They allow you to play how you like to play. OK, if you are a hardcore roleplayer who does not raid, no, you may not get all the top end equipment, but you can easily equip yourself very satisfactorily for group dungeons and enjoy that content. It just takes a little more time is all but probably worth it if you have a good RP group.

Having said that there are apparently roleplaying raids that occur. I have never been a part of one and wonder how effective it would be, especially as there is so much technical information to relay to your raid force. Would be interesting to try one out. Perhaps.

As for my play style, well I guess I am mostly like the rest. I play to conquer content, to meet my friends, and on occasion I may be found doing a bit of roleplaying (of the non dodgy sort – see Vampire comment above). The way I ensure I can still experience content fully through all tiers of levelling is to go back and mentor to do the stuff I missed out on. I guess the point is that there is a huge amount of content in an MMO and you can enjoy it exactly how you wish to, be it roleplaying or not. Like I said, personally, I like to dabble in a bit of both [That’s what she said – Ed].

Be well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Raid Tank gets creative

Well, that’s the visiting family off back to the UK now. Always great seeing them of course, but always nice to get back in to a routine. Had a great weekend. We headed out for some train journey fun taking the local train through the mountains to an historic local town, where we checked out some amazing scenery and a nice slice of Spanish/Moorish history. It was nice to get out and do something other than going for a beer to be honest! A bit more sightseeing yesterday and that was all the cultural stuff I could handle. It was back to PCdom and normal service resumed.

I may as well get the raiding bit out of the way. Had a couple of raids since my last post. Last week we hit Toxx and good ole Volt got to tank the whole thing! I know it’s not hard mode, but it was nice to be asked to do it and then carry the job out without any problems. Then it was on to Palace and lo and behold, yes, Volt got to tank the Brawler Sage out of the Three Sages, again without any issue at all. It was nice to see that I didn’t lose Medorius (think that’s the dudes name) once to the other to Sage spots and held him in place for the whole fight. In fact a one of the other sages decided to visit our group for a short while, although it didn’t cause any problem. Of course Volt lost aggro on the mem wipes but I managed to grab it back almost straight away. Don’t think there were any deaths.

It’s very satisfying to be able to do your job properly in a raid. I mean the raid force have helped you slog along and get all the fabled kit you need, so once you have it, it’s only right that they should be able to rely upon you if they ask you to do a specific job during a raid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect by any means, for example on Monday nights raid I had terrible issues controlling my aggro. It wasn’t a dps thing, I had my parse up and although I was doing ok on the parse, I certainly wasn’t high enough for it to cause a problem. I do have a couple of items that proc threat increase, but I don’t think they would effect it too much when I was so far off our mega dpsers (I was on about 14k they were in the 30’s and 40’s). The only thing I can think of is that it kept happening during the large groups that come in waves on the second named and that my large burst AoE dps was a little too much too soon.

It was nice also to be able to just tank. So many players put Bruisers in the ‘Do not touch unless you can’t get your hands on a real tank’ pile, when, like Jahf mentioned to me recently, in reality some of them are out there tanking raid mobs, let alone group content. Even though I achieved those things last week it didn’t stop me answering to the shout of ‘Cella just needs Tank’ last night, only to get the reply, ‘We need a plate tank, sorry’. Ahh well, I guess you can’t change people perceptions all the time.

So my little bit of decorating in the Guild Hall recently has seen me grab the bug again for a bit of home improvement. I finally moved Voltaan to Gorowyn and bought one of the big six bedroom places. I spent a bit of time at the Stonebrunt Druid Rings doing some of the quests there until I got enough tokens to grab some teleportation pads from the token merchant and at the same time picked up one of those imperceptible armour items. I went for the chest as Volt has the other ones he needs. Yes, now Volt can run round bare-chested. Marvellous.

I have finished my office/war room, partially completed the bedroom area and am currently working on getting the garden and pool area finished. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it and last night I also downloaded the layout editor tool. I have absolutely no idea how to use it but am looking forward to being able to move horizontal items vertical and so on. I guess I’ll be looking at that particular program in a bit more detail tonight. I hope it’s not too complicated. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Be well.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hard Mode, Easy Mode

More raiding! I promise I’ll try to blog soon about something different. I only raid twice a week, but recently I guess it has fallen that when I blog is after a raid. In fact, I’ll try not to bore you too much with it and move on to something more enlightening. So, we headed out to Labs in Vasty Deep which went ok until we hit Perah Celsis Lichboy. I don’t know if there was something wrong with the zone, if it was bugged or not, but wow he seemed harder than the previous couple of times I’ve killed him and he seemed to heal huge amounts all the time and not just when raid members died. I don’t think he’s supposed to do that all the time.

Anyhow, we got a little bored after our fourth or fifth try so decided to move on to Toxx Hard Mode. For those who do not know what Hard Mode is, well it’s a way of making the encounter more difficult to get a better loot table. For example in Toxx (Lair of the Dragon Queen) in easy mode you fight three waves of nameds and adds, one after the other. In hard mode you fight the same amount but with the third wave comes Toxx the Dragon herself too. Simple, tougher fight, better loot = easy life for programmers where they don’t have to come up with loads of raid zones, just make each mob easy or hard mode.

I had quite a lot of fun doing that as I got to tank one of the nameds. OK we didn’t succeed as we were still learning the fight (like which tank gets swallowed by the Dragon and needs to be called out using a special wand that creates a gem on the floor that you have to click to free them - I think). But even so it was great fun, and also ratifying for me playing Voltaan that #1, I was allowed to tank and #2, I didn’t mess up at all and was able to show that Brawlers can tank stuff, not lose aggro and stay up, just like Honsou proved the previous week also. Cool beans. Anyhow, another fun raid from those who work tirelessly to organise these things for our raid force, thanks Irja.

In addition last night I was grouped with my guild in Erudin Research Halls, when for the first time Arbor (who was healing for us in there) and I got a contested call from our Raid Leader to go kill the Chimera in Stonebrunt Mountains, Oxdaxius. I was surprised and pleased to see how many of our raid force we managed to gather in such short notice. We had three full groups and as it is quite an easy fight in easy mode he went down without any issues. A nice wrist piece dropped, but I didn’t win it.One of our main tanks/off tanks won it, so it’s all good. Anyhow afterwards we toddled off back off to our group to finish ERH. So thanks to our group members for being so understanding and patient!

Not sure what I am going to be doing tonight. I have some correspondence to catch up on and some old friends to thank them for taking me out when they visited Spain a couple of weeks ago. I guess then I will probably catch up on what’s happening in Moto GP and see if I can’t get a few groups. Oh, yeah, almost forgot. I have decided to redecorate Voltaans house. Perhaps I’ll do that tonight and have a nice little clearout. I wanted to move to Halas, but only goodly kinds can rest their weary heads there. Perhaps a move to Maj Dul is in order. He only needs another 2000 faction or so to be able to buy a housing permit there. Only problem with the Maj Dul homes is that there are no windows, a little claustrophobic. Ohh, perhaps a swap to Gorowyn is in order. It’s a place I have never lived. Yes, I think I may give that a go. The rooms are quite nice there. I know I’ll change my mind a hundred times and then probably just go on some instance runs instead, but hey. I guess we’ll see.

Until next time,

Be well.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Blog arrival

Whilst I remember, I’d like to do some shameless promotion for a new blog that’s out there in the Blogosphere. Far Beyond My Capacity is a new blog brought to you by Merecraft, my real life brother. He’s only on his second post but it’s looking good so far. Head over there and have a read.

Ok, back to some more EQ2 stuff. None raiding this time. I had the opportunity to do something that I really enjoy. I know it’s a bit sad, but I like to create gardens and parks in EQ2 using house items. I recently asked our guild leaders if I could complete some construction work in the basement cavern of our guild hall. We are short on space (the huge GHs do not have anywhere near enough items allowance) so I only had a bit to work with, but I think I managed to create an OKish garden area.

 Garden from the underground docks

Garden from the stone walkway


Watcher in the water



Back towards underground Docks

Rohan Theer on his wacky but wonderful game board

Commenting on a post on my Bro’s blogs latest post here, I see that the question of why play female toons in Gaming is about again. I know my personal reasons why I don’t, but am willing to concede there are reasons to. I haven’t played the female lead role in Mass Effect yet. After reading my Bro’s post I think I may have to give it a go. I need to get back in to that anyhow, so why not as a laydee?

As for MMOs, I am done with playing female toons forever. I’m a bloke and do not wish to be placed in the weird EQ2 sex predator category. I don’t know if this is a common thing, but playing a female in EQ2 seems to attract weirdo’s who want to cyber with you, and they seem to care little that you are really a guy. It’s just another MMO hassle I can do without. As for the Mass Effect thing, as so much of it are cut scenes it may well be worth playing the female toon for the reportedly better acting.

Oh, one last point. In my last post I mentioned duelling and the fact I won. I will be honest and state that the main reason I posted that is to get Jahf all wound up. Hey, don’t blame me, look it’s in the Art of War! Psychologically dominate your opponent *grin* (lol, sorry Bro). I reckon that, he is as we speak plotting my duelling demise. Rubbing his hands together, cackling with tormented glee at the monitor. I can’t wait to see what you bring to the ring matey! Come challenge the dreaded Button Masher again! RAWR!

Be well.

Concentrations what you need..when you wanna be a Raid Maker

Been a while again huh? So, what’s been occurin’? Time off for family stuff last week which was a lot of fun. My baby daughter went to nursery for the first time and was absolutely golden on Friday, but apparently this morning was a different matter and we had lots of tears. Heartbreaking to leave them like that, but I guess it’s for the best. She needs to learn how to share!

Aside from that we had some raiding last week of course. Rohan Theer, went down very easily indeed. What an easy fight. Well, when you are doing it one ‘one rune’ mode. What I mean by that is there are four runes in total that you can kill throughout the fight. You can kill the named by just killing one rune. The more runes you kill the harder the result of killing that rune gets and you still have to kill the mob. On Thursday we tried again in a fresh palace instance and the results were, well different.

We started with the Three Sages which is where we left off the previous Monday. We got them down but only after we switched our Monk tank who was fighting Medorius (I think that’s his name) for a Bruiser alt, after our Monk couldn’t hold aggro. It’s a shame and no one can understand why, he is the most well kitted of all the brawlers classes in our raid force. I wasn’t asked to do it because I was required on Adurj as we were short of Dirges that night. But we swapped out a caster for a Bruiser alt and lo and behold, no issues at all, just a plain slog of a fight.

After that we moved up to Mr Theer with expectations that it would be as easy as last time. It wasn’t. I have a few ideas why but it’s not my job to call out where I see mistakes and give my opinion on that. I mean come on, this is me. I am sure some of those mistakes were caused by yours truly. Ok, mebbe not but it could have been me given the chance. Part of the reason it was tougher is that we opted for the two rune strategy. The second rune when you kill it spawns a huge amount of adds, that never seem to stop coming. We couldn’t do it on that mode, so eventually opted out for the one rune kill. Even that was painful and we only won because of a well placed ‘Verdict’ cast at the end of the fight.

OK, so I said I was not going to give my opinion. But it’s my blog, so I’m gonna. There were simply not enough raid members listening and doing as they were told. It’s an easy fight when all follow instructions. But sooooo many times I saw members behind the mob. Behind it. If you go behind the mob you may as well be signing your own special Norrathian funeral. This was repeated many times to the raid force. I know through habit of fighting nearly every mob out there, some classes will automatically gravitate to the rear of the mob. But in this fight the instructions were specific. Stand well in front of the mob. Our tank was giving good instruction about when he was going to move and a few times when aggro popped around and the mob started to turn, I moved. He’s a big dude and not difficult to spot when moving. I just stayed on our tanks boot tips. When doing this stuff, 100% concentration is required. Most of the raid were ok, but some, well they just weren’t paying attention. Everyone is allowed to make mistakes, but when they happen over and over, there is a problem.

As an example, I died. I didn’t realise if you pop your graphics a bit higher you can see when a tile is about to drop you in to the abyss of sure death. So I went off to the res tile as a deady, waiting to be ressed. When I was up I ran off back to the fight. At this stage our other Dirge told me I needed to stay there to help ressing. An excellent point indeed. Did I make that mistake again, with both the tiles and the ressing? No. I improved my graphics and never dropped with a falling tile again, then next time I died I stayed on the res tile for a long time making sure all were up. I was told, and I did. Yup at the start I made the mistake. But it didn’t happen twice. At this level of raiding, we cannot afford to have a few who do not do as they are told. It wipes the raid. Simple as that. Just like we cannot afford to have members who are fully geared in T1 SF raid gear, and not be able to do exactly what it says on the tin. I know it’s cruel, and enough chance should be given to improve. But after many many raids with no improvement, then I’m sorry but that is a liability to the rest of the raid. When does politeness become burdensome and some harder hitting words of instruction are required? Well, in my opinion when things start to happen like they did the other night during the raid.

In some other news, Jahf and I were hanging out last night and we did an Erudin Research Halls instance. It was an ok run and we finished without too much pain. Although it did improve noticeably when Jahf brought his dirge. After we chatted for an hour or so, and as these things sometimes do, it all degraded in to some duelling. Now, I’m not sure how this happened, but I won. I am absolutely aghast at this. I have never been very good at PvP or duelling. In fact I would say the opposite. The first time I headed to Battlegrounds, I was mushed, repeatedly. I am a considered thoughtful player when raiding or instancing, but when I PvP, all my brains dribble out my ears and I become a button masher. It’s a weird thing. In ‘action’ in real life, when the chips are down I don’t have the same problem. I remain calm and in control. But when PvPing, I’m a loon. On top of that it isn’t just my goofyness. Jahf is an extremely accomplished player. If it were left to skill alone and nothing else, he would have won hands down.

The only things I can attribute the wins to are my raid gear and the huge amount of survivability stuff a Bruiser has, on top of which there are a huge amount of stuns in your skill set. I am starting to see why Bruisers are hailed as pretty Godlike in PvP. I say this because I have no doubt that Jahf is a better player than me. Oh, did I point out that the toons he chose to duel me with were not raid kitted at all? Oh, yeah, that could have had something to do with it also. But, all that being said it was nice to finally win a duel even if I was OP’d for my opponent. I think I may have to visit BGs again, just to refresh my perspective and make me humble again.

Be well.

Monday, September 6, 2010

1,2,3,4, Clear the Floor it's DISCO war!

So many demands on my time! And my favourite bits like this don’t seem to get a look in sometimes because of other non fun bits, like work. Oh well, caution to the wind, I am making time today.

Tonight is raid night! I’m looking forward to that immensely. We only have Rohan Theer left in Palace and wow, that fight looks like so much fun, I really cannot wait to have a crack at it. For those who haven’t done it, I (think) it goes something like this...

Big Ugly hovering in the middle of a dark black room with golden symbols all round. Beneath the ugly there is a set of squares, looking rather like a chess board, or in my funky eyes, a seventies disco dance floor (1, 2, 3 , 4, Clear the floor it’s disco war!). Around the platform with the disco floor is an abyss. Ok, now the scene is set.

So when the pull is made some of the disco tiles disappear. If you are on it, you fall to a miserable death. Some change colour. Some colours are beneficial, others bring about miserable death. At each corner of the disco dance floor a rune appears. The mob uses these to buff himself and bring about your miserable death, or simply to bring about your miserable death. All sounds like great fun huh? Oh yeah, nasty wicked rear knockback to send you off the dance floor in to the disco toilets where you will receive your miserable death.

I know it sounds like a nutty fight, but man it sounds soooo much fun. I can’t wait. I think I’m gonna have to dig out my funk collection and get my flares on to see this one through. I’ll let you know how I get on.

On a different and completely less fun tone, I would like to pass my sincere condolences to Shoya Tomizowas family and friends. The Japanese Moto2 rider at the age of 19 passed away yesterday following a harrowing accident during the Misano race. A very exciting young talent, cut short in his prime. It is a very real reminder to all the other racers out there that despite the huge leaps forward in safety it is still one of the most dangerous sports out there. Their simply stunning talent lulls us and them in to a false sense of security. On the back of the very sad death of thirteen year old Peter Lenz in a support race at this years Indianapolis MotoGP weekend, it has been a very very sad few weeks for the sport. Rest in Peace, Shoya . ご冥福を祈ります。

Be well.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Holiday weekend update

For my regular readers, sorry it’s taken me a few days to get going again after the holiday break. It certainly wasn’t intentional. Work have been most unkind and made sure I have been ultra busy with not even time for a lunch break (which is when I usually pen this stuff). The cheek of it. Anyone would think they pay my salary.

Anyhow, I’m back and grabbing a few minutes and a coffee break to gather my thoughts. The holiday weekend was fantastic. Some real quality time spent with the family and extended family. There were BBQs, pool time, lazy breakfasts by the Med, some DIY, a bit of cleaning, and some gathering of new pets. Yes, my daughter has decided that the ‘in’ thing is to keep woodlouse. Bloody hundreds of them! Ema is not so sure it’s a good idea, and has suggested it is cruel. I tried to point out that she has no problem stepping on weird creepy crawlies like beetles, spiders etc, but the message didn’t seem to get home. As it is though, our pet family is now somewhere in the number of a couple of hundred when including the bizarre little critters.

Of course the holiday weekend brought quite a bit of online EQ2 time also. With quite a few instance runs, mainly tier 9 and a little side serving of raiding. In addition I hooked up with Jahf a few times to group and chat over VC. Good times. Not a vastly productive time raiding as far as loot goes for my toons this weekend, but that’s not always the point. We had a great time bashing out some of the zones and I had my first kill of Perah C (not the raidforce, they’ve done him before). What a fun fight. Hopping all over the place on to platforms, off, charmed moments (was fun seeing the dps I did to my fellow raid members, hehe) teleports, and a great deal other stuff. Took a few tries and we had to switch out some kit for resist gear, but in the end the fight went fairly smooth when we took him down.

The hopping on the platforms (there are four of them) is to stop the nasty statues there from becoming ‘real’ and joining in the fight. If that happens it’s pretty much game over. Funny thing is quite a few times I was looking at a platform and it seemed full of raid members, then the statue came alive. Couldn’t quite work that one out, but hey ho, was not an issue in the end. Just fun. I didn’t get to launch my cows again from my tinkered cow launcher for SnG, because the raid needed Adurj for the kill and the tinkerer is Voltaan. Oh well, maybe next time.

Looking forward to tonight. I have recommended to my raid leader another Warden who is a friend and guildy of mine, Arbor, as we need another Druid available for raiding. Tonight Ema (in the guise of Floh, her Coercer) me on Adurj, Arbor as solo heals and others to be determined later (hopefully Jahf will be about and I can grab him too) will run through Cella as a ‘trial’. I can’t see there being an issue. Arbor was telling me he has been solo healing Vig 1 and 2, which can be pretty tricky, especially with cures. I guess we will see how we go. If all goes well we can show him the hallowed path to the secret webby for raid sign ups. All sounds very clandestine huh? Just a bit of fun really.

Oh, yeah. Made a new friend too last night who is in to RP. Had a bit of fun and it’s been ages since I have been able or inclined to do any role playing, but was a bit of a blast. Don’t think I’ll be getting heavily back in to it, but great to keep my hand in so to speak.

As for TV, spent a lot of time watching MotoGP at Indianapolis, U.S. Good old Rossi grabbed a sweet 4th, so that was nice to see. Lets see if he can get a win at home in Misano this weekend coming. Nicky Hayden had some bad luck sadly when he cuaght his left knee slider on a drain cover and it ripped off. Not great on a circuit which mainly left hand bends. He still soldiered on though and got a not too bad fourth. Casey Stoner crashed out again and lo and behold it was everyone elses fault. According to him the front runners were riding like idiots and to keep up he had to take risks, one resulting in his front end wash out. I guess next time they will all ride like they are driving Miss Daisy just to accomodate Casey Moaner, not. That's why it's called, erm 'Racing'. Live with it man. You can either stick with the front runners, or you just can't. Guess you couldn't eh?

Until next time, be well.