Thursday, January 27, 2011


Apologies for no posts. Have been unwell for most of the week with a lung infection. Getting better now. Normal service resuming soon I hope.

Be well.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

50 reasons to head to the Desert

Had a good night last night. I didn’t get to log in until later and when I did I spent some well deserved time on Udrath finishing quests in Everfrost. I managed to get him to 50th level in no time at all, so now he is ready to join level locked Merecraft in some Sinking Sands quest fun. I’m really looking forward to it. It has literally been an age since I spent time in Sinking sands and it’s one of my fave zones/areas. Weird how things like that change. I used to really dislike the place. I guess way back then my computer was pretty puny and I always had to have the graphics really low. Perhaps that assisted in my dislike as on low end graphics SS is a pretty bleak place. Try running it on top graphics if you can. The difference is great, the place comes alive.

After getting Uddy to 50th the guild were looking for someone to help them in Unrest who knew how to do all the puzzles. I was really glad I was finished as Unrest is probably one of my favourite zones. So I hopped on Voltaan, mentored down to 79th and in 40 mins or so we had a cleared Unrest including the x2 Bugaboo. I remember the first jaunt I had in Unrest for a couple of reasons. The first being it was the start of my raiding career. Nope Unrest is obviously not a raid zone, but the first time I headed in there was when I was playing my Necro Shadowraethe and it was with a pick up group. Well. I was the pick up. The rest knew each other as they were all part of the guild, the Inquisition. We finished the instance and the tank Beefcake told me he was Guild Leader and did I fancy going raiding with them. From that very first contact I have since made a huge amount of friends and had a riot whilst raiding over the years.

The second reason I remember the first jaunt into Unrest is that it took around 8 hours. At the time when you were playing ‘on tier’ and having never been there before, wow, it took ages to work out the puzzles and in addition to this the mobs were tough. I mean real tough for us back then. I recall old Unrest runs being done in three sessions. Luckily it was one of the first ‘instanced persistent’ zones so you could go back the next day to finish off from where you left it the previous session. Anyhow, it just seems really weird to plough through the zone in such a short time after sooooo many hours there previously. Great zone and a huge amount of fun. I recall the first time we met that crazy Gnome and his stupid bombs. The panic that ensued when the message comes up telling us there was a bomb in some ones bag was hilarious. The “Who’s got it? Find it! Who’s got...oh, it was Shadow. He just exploded” will stay with me forever. Learning that zone from scratch was a right old giggle.

I’m tempted when we go there with Mere not to tell him anything about it and let him work the puzzles out. It may take a couple of sessions to get through, but wow, what fun! Oh, dammit. Realised I just gave some of the strats away. No worries, there is a huge amount more fun in there than just bombs.

Finally, if you are feeling depressed about your job, this won’t help. Those lucky gits at Ducati MotoGP had a lot of fun in their off season so far. This week they have been messing about with some of the Formula1 dudes racing on ice. It’s a tough life at the top.

Be well.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maalus Imbued: So long pal...

Isn’t it always the way? You find a new blog that you really enjoy, only to find it seems like it has been wound up with no posts for the last few months. Happened to me a few times. Well, just in case they decide to start things up again, if you get a chance and especially if you are currently trying to conquer SF raid content, it’s well worth a visit to The Wimpy Dirge. Scarletto, I hope you start things up again soon so I can keep reading about you and your guild.

So, onto what I’ve been up to. Raiding was fun last night. We finally got Maalus Imbued down in Palace. It’s the first hard mode we have ever got down and took quite a few tries before everything clicked in to place and the fight went remarkably smoothly. Well, for me it did. For those who don’t know the fight, Maalus puts the spell ‘Living Death’ on random members of the raid every minute. It can only be cured using the wand that you get from killing the previous mob in the zone. However, the cooldown on that wand is one minute thirty seconds meaning that as the fight goes on you lose more and more members to being charmed by Maalus and not enough time to cure them all. So that’s why the fight was easy for me. I had gotten through all of our previous pulls without being touched by the charm more than once. Sods law that the time we get him down I was charmed about 20 seconds in to the fight and remained so until the end.

Living Death: Maalus Imbued charms you!
The person given the task of curing the charm using the wand decided to save the timer and not use it on me, leaving me charmed for the whole fight. I actually think that was a wise move. Aside from bringing some extra DPS, there are a lot more important folk in that battle than the Brawler. We already had an off tank so I wasn’t needed to control the adds and as such was a bit surplus really. So a wise move not using the wand. It meant that the next charm that hit (which I think was on our Mystic) the wand was free and not on cooldown, so that was cured quickly.

I don’t want to sound patronising as our raid force does have some exceptional players, but I guess I’m really proud of the gang pulling together like that. If you have never done a hard mode SF raid mob before, they can be quite tricky and really are at times ‘hard’ indeed. I think our next hard mode target will be Toxx, then perhaps one in Labs. Hopefully those will go as well as the Maalus fight. We’ve hit Toxx hard mode before but to be honest we weren’t really ready for her a few months prior to Christmas when we tried. I think the encounter shouldn’t hold too many issues for us nowadays. I want to head back to Underfoot again too. Killing just a couple of the nameds isn’t good enough and for some reason I have a burning desire to have the zone cleared before Velious comes out. Don’t think it will happen but one can dream.

On Saturday night I took the Acolytes of Valor crew on an historic raid as we headed to the Spirits of the Lost raid in Cazic Thule. Voltaan tanked it and we had exactly two groups. I think only myself and my Bro had the Marrs Chosen quest to complete (Voltaan had never done the zone even though I have countless times on other toons). I did put the details for the Froglok timeline on our guild webby so those that wanted to do it could do so. But I guess the promise of some raid fun was the most important bit anyhow. We really did have a blast, although I will say that although Voltaan (and a couple of other 90’s that came along to join the fun) were mentored down so that the main nameds were actually yellow to us, the fights were absolutely no challenge at all. Even on the last pull of the night, which turned out to be a “Whoops! Who pulled Venekor? Watch out! Here comes his statue buddy!” type of situation, it literally took me a couple of seconds to grab aggro of both and from thereon in it was pretty much a simple burn fight.

I think I will have to look at resurrecting one of my not so ‘fully kitted in T2’ toons to start tanking the historic raids I will be running most weekends, so I don’t get the feeling we are just going through the motions. I must say I prefer a bit more of a battle than that. Aside from this though it was a really great night indeed. Mostly for me because my Bro seemed to enjoy it and I know it was his first raid since he had returned to the game just before Christmas. Now both Merecraft and Voltaan are Heroes of Kugup! Next Saturday it’s going to be Vyemm and then Harla Dar just to help a guildy on one of his alts. I wonder if I have time to resurrect Killzum the ole Zerker troll to tank that one.

Be well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Raiders of the Lost Minds

It’s that time again. Velious is coming. My AAs are not high enough and I still have work to do. Voltaan is currently sitting at 220 AA and I really want to be on max 250 before the expansion comes out. Time will be the only restrictor on that. In addition I need to get Uddy up to 50 before next week so Merecraft and he can head off to Desert of Flames. I’m looking forward to that.

I’m also looking forward to the weekend. Saturday night will see the resurrection of the Acolytes of Valor raids that I used to run. We are kicking off with the Tier 6 raid 'Spirits of the Lost’ in Cazic Thule. It’s the raid instance that is part of the Froglok timeline first released way back in 2006 I think it was. It was when the Froglok race was released and to play one you needed to complete the questline in the hidden village of Kugup off the Feerrott. It should be a load of fun. I love running raids for AoV. They are most certainly not hardcore and I endeavour to include all who wish to come, no matter how much kit they have or experience. I run them just for fun, and that is what we usually end up having. I’ve lost count of the amount of our raids that have degenerated in to (sometimes drunken) laughing fits.

The very first ones I ran were way back when I first joined AoV. That’s got to be in 2005/6 as well. We used to go and do the faction raids that you can pick up from the NPC near to the guild registrar dudes in both Qeynos and Freeport. Back then Killzum my Troll Zerker was the raid tank. Many happy memories. I still to this day get reminders from the folks we used to do them with and more often than not a bit of reminiscing about the good times ensues.

More recently I used to run the guild through TSO raid zones, most notably The Ward of Elements so those not so hardcore could get their tier 3 Fabled shard armour. Again many many laughs, probably most notable the Badger Bum incident. I’ll not elaborate, but you can bet whatever you come up with is not as ‘edgy’ as what we came up with on the night. Yes, a smidgen of booze was involved then too.

So, Saturday at 8pm Central European Time, the Spirits of the Lost raid will commence and hopefully some more good ole memories forged too. If you read this blog, play on AB and wish to come along, give Voltaan a shout on the night or leave a comment below. We haven’t anywhere near a full roster yet. But be warned, sensibility will be left at the door of Cazic Thule and only fun allowed from thereon in.

That’s all I have time for at the minute sadly. I’m mega busy at work the first few weeks of every year, hence the fewer posts. I’ll get things up and running more regular soon!

Be well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sand & Ice

Sooo. Back at work now and all the holiday season stuff is over for me and mine now. The kids are back at school and UK Christmas, New Year and Spanish Christmas are all finished and done with. I managed to get some fairly decent online fun during my time off. Mostly I have spent it grouping with my guildies, playing older tier stuff on Udrath and mentoring down trying to get Voltaans alternative advancement up to 250 before the next expansion. I’m aware that the new Bruiser AA stuff is likely to be pretty cool indeed, so I want to try and get those up as much as I can before release date. I wonder if pre-orders are out yet? I’ll have to check.

Also over the holiday period I missed two Beta events on RIFT that I had received invites to. Not because I wanted to miss them but my family is mega busy of the holiday period. Over the space of 2 months I have 2 childrens birthdays and three public holidays. It all amounts to a pretty busy schedule. So aside from anything else, Trion Worlds (for me) planned their Beta events badly over a busy family time of year. I can’t say anymore about the game than I did previously as I simply haven’t had the time to play it. To be honest I’m not too bothered. The game didn’t blow me away. It was OK, but certainly not different or good enough to lose sleep over. In addition to that I’m started to get a bit excited about the Velious release.

I’ll be totally honest and say that I really haven’t done any research in to Velious and rely only upon what I’ve been told by other folks. But here is my small wish list for the new expansion.

• More shared dungeon zones like SoS, Sebilis, Chardok

• NOT another new currency system. I do not want to have to start building up something other than Marks of Manaar and seals of Arad. I know they will do the opposite though. Well, not for sure but I reckon they will.

• A new independent city a la Maj Dul. I like having lots of overland stuff, but big rambling cities are fun to explore too and add to the flavour of the game.

• Less running around in the quest lines. OR if there is the same running around, not just to kill 10...or harvest a.... or , well you get the picture. I don’t mind doing the work and the running around if the quest story is good and deserves the jaunts.

• Being able to unattune/adorn items. This is a big one and I’ll talk about it below.

• More large outdoor zones

One thing I mentioned above was the ability to un-adorn or un-attune items that you have collected on your toons. The reason I say this is that the way I see it, is that I have worked hard to get most of that kit and a lot of it has been replaced by better stuff. So I quite literally have a few boxes full of old items that are attuned. I worked for them, why can I not use them on my up and coming alts? Some of the pieces took me hours and hours of work to get. It’s not as if I was given them. Seeing as I worked for them, why can I not use them again? I personally would like to see attuning gone forever. The heirloom system is enough to ensure the items are not transferred between accounts or sold. The other big bugbear I am having at the moment is adorning. I have now had to replace 7 red adorn slot items with the same adornment, simply because I have obtained the next tier of raid gear. I personally begrudge having to spend another 5 seals and 10plat and then the cost of the player made ones too. Over al I think I must have wasted about 160plat and 35 seals on doing this. I know that’s not a lot to some, but when you have limited play time and don’t have time to ‘do it all again’ those amount of raid seals and plats do have quite an impact on my toon and bank balance.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the idea of getting stuff for free, but this is stuff I have already worked for and made sacrifices to obtain. In an age when you can buy most of your raid gear (tier 1 at least) over the auction channel, why can I not un-attune stuff I actually worked to get? It seems MMO life is emulating real life, where the rich become richer (crafters making adornments!) and the poor remain stung at every turn for their cash/alternative currency. Oh well.

One of the things I have been enjoying recently has been my quest to get Voltaan to max AA. I’ve been doing this through a couple of avenues. One when power levelling the missus’s toons through the lower tiers and through mentoring down using the chronomancer and completing some of the old questlines. The most recent one I have been doing is the Cloak of Flames timeline. It’s an item I always wanted but never actually got to complete the questlines at a level appropriate to using the item. A shame, but I’ve always wanted one so I thought I’d crack on with it. So far I’m really enjoying it. The story is ok, a little patchy at times, but generally the quests are interesting enough to keep me hooked and actually seem to have a purpose for once. I’m only about half way through, but I reckon I may be finished by next week.

I won’t get much of a chance to do that this week though as I am going to be concentrating on getting Uddy a couple of more levels to bring him in line with Merecraft who’s been sitting at 50, level locked for some time waiting for me. It’s been a nice move for my Bro as his AAs have shot up and he will really feel the benefit of that later on. Massively so. Anyhow, as soon as I get Uddy up to scratch, then I guess it’s delving in to the Desert of Flames content. I love that area. Can’t wait to have a hack at it again. Quite a few folks think it is one of the worst expansions. I think it’s fantastic. Love Desert of Flames. I think the atmosphere it creates with the city of Maj Dul and the adjoining zones really works well. I really do feel like an extra in Arabian Nights when I’m adventuring there and you’ll know if you read this blog one of the most important things for me when playing an MMO is immersion. That’s why I love that first expansion. It really does draw me in. I can almost smell the spices in the Maj Dul market places, feel the grit of blown sand in my eyes from traversing the desert. Great stuff.

Be well.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mince Pies!

So, I'm off all this week spending time with the family, hence the lack of posts. It's the Spanish Christmas today so all is pretty quiet here. I decided to keep myself busy to try to make my own Mince Pies! Never done it before but my wife and mother are dab hands at it so thought I would give it a go. As it happened they didn't turn out too badly. Pastry is a bit crumbly, but otherwise I reckon I got it down. In case you wish to try yourself, here's the recipe.


400 grams of Self Raising Flour
100 grams of lard
100 grams of butter
4 Tablespoons of milk
Spiced Mincemeat
Caster Sugar

You'll need:

A bowl to mix the stuff
Rolling Pin
Baking Tin (12 cakes)
Pastry Brush
2 Round pastry cutters (one smaller than the other for lid and base)


Put the flour, butter and lard in the bowl and mix together by hand until like bread crumbs. It takes a while! Then add the four tablespoons of milk to the mixture and mix all in. Knead the pastry. If it doesn't seem to be binding, add drps of milk one at a time until it does. Flour the surface and the rolling pin. Roll a portion of the pastry into a managable ball. Flatten on surface with rolling pin until pastry is about 3mm thick. Pre-prepare the baking tray by greasing with butter, and put oven on to 190. Then cut the pastry using the round cutters. Place the larger base in a space in the baking tray and place one heaped teaspoon of spiced mincemeat in it. Use the pastry brush to brush milk around the edge and the place the smaller round pastry on top. Repeat until baking tray is full. If at any time the pastry starts to break a lot, add a few extra drops of milk, knead again then roll again. Pop in the pre-heated oven until golden brown, usually take about 15 mins. Place on plate and sprinkle with caster sugar. Let them cool a little, brew a nice cuppa Rosey Lea and settle in :)

That's it! I'll post some photos when my card reader is working again.

Enjoy and Be well!