It’s been a little while huh? Well, real life has been taking over a bit recently and until last night I have only been logging on for about an hour here and there. Then last night after a huge amount of downtime it was time to try out Velious. I’ll come to that in a little while. Pretty much all of the other times I have been online I’ve been mentoring down with Voltaan and helping Merecraft with the heroic part of the Peacock questline in Sinking Sands and Maj Dul. I must say it’s been rather a lot of fun. Hanging around with my Bro that is. One thing that does get a little too easy is the fact that mentored down to 58/59 Voltaan annihilates everything in his path. In a zone like Living Tombs where there are sooooo many trash mobs wandering around on quite quick respawns, it does save a massive amount of time whilst questing and being sent all around the zone multiple times for updates, but after a while it becomes a bit of a quest in itself to find something challenging to fight. I know if we had the time to go through the zone properly as a full level relevant group we would both perhaps find more of a challenge, but when there are so many quests to do, and it really is the difference of spending hours doing the quest or ten minutes, simply down to the amount of adds everywhere that you have to wade through.
So, although there isn’t much of a challenge it is really really nice to see how quickly my AAs are going up when mentoring Mere. There really has been some serious AA xp gain there and is just what I needed with Velious and the new AA lines coming in to play. More please! Mostly though it’s just been great to hang with me Bro in zones I enjoy very much.
So, Destiny of Velious. First impressions? Well, I only spent about an hour playing there last night. Patching seemed to take an eternity and I must not forget the false hope given by the sick minds at SoE where for 30 seconds or so the server light for Antonia Bayle went green, only to be greeted by the server being locked again when my account had logged in. Eventually however, I did manage to get in the game. The first thing I was pleased about was the fact that my AA tree hadn’t been reset. I don’t recall if when they last messed or added more AA lines if the tree reset, but it seems like they used to quite a bit on patch day and as someone who doesn’t really use AA mirrors (yup too lazy to sort that) it was always a pain having to go through and repack them. But, that wasn’t an issue this time. I figured that it would likely be Sinking Sands docks where entry could be gained to Velious as that is where I completed the pre-expansion quest but a quick check in guild chat confirmed and off I toddled to SS.
I was greeted by one of the first changes I noticed when I zoned through. I was on the ramped dock and I noticed my mount wasn’t sitting flat like he used to on a slope, he was actually standing correctly on the ramp. A small change, but cool. Seeing this reminded me that there are other graphical changes and I hopped straight away in to my options to check what they are. Firstly there is Depth of Field. This apparently makes things mega close a little blurred and things far away hazy, to create a more realistic environment. It looked OK I guess, but to be honest I didn’t notice too much of a difference. Secondly there is something called Ambient Occlusion. This basically means where light cannot get it adds depth and deeper shadows to again create a more realistic environment. I haven’t really been anywhere to check this yet, although I did spend some time in a crevasse and I must admit, I really didn’t notice. Thirdly, there is something called Sun Shafts. I think that one’s pretty self explanatory. Oh, I nearly forgot, they did something with water reflections too, but I haven’t looked in to that yet. Overall with the above three on, I did notice a drop in FPS of about 10 and currently no massive difference in appearance. I think the one I found most apparent was the Depth of Field option and I’ll probably leave that on. The others I will turn off for the moment.
So, to get to Velious you need to either speak to one of the Othmir on SS docks and he transports you there, or you can utilise one of the free portal paintings you get with the expansion and are house items. Basically each teleports you to a different location, one of which is the Great Divide (I think. I actually haven’t checked those out yet and am acting on info I have received there). So I arrived in the Great Divide on Voltaan and my very first impression was that it was very mountainous. The mountains in the distance (towards Thurgardin) looked massive. It was where I was heading too. I decided that the first thing I would do, seeing as I didn’t buy the collectors addition and get a free griffon egg or something, I knew I would head straight to Goahmari Village high in the mountains to start the flying mount questline. It was not too bad a questline, a bit of running around, a bit of killing and collecting. I now find myself in the position of having to summon my baby griffon every day to get a quest to train him. Once I have completed five of those then I’ll get my flying mount. The quests can only be picked up from your baby mount every 18 hours and once you have done one it tells you that you will have to wait as you have done all your training for one day. So, by the end of the weekend I should have my brand new private jet/griffon.
The scenery of the new expansion does look great, albeit a bit barren so far. Lots of snowy mountains, valleys, small encampments. That’s only the middle part of the Great Divide map I am on though. As I jumped straight in to a quest timeline in the middle of the zone I guess I haven’t seen the starting/landing area too much at the moment. I’ll probably be exploring that tonight. As for the game mechanics, i haven’t really noticed a difference in the DPS I am doing. A bit less perhaps but not by too much. However, this is on normal mobs and arrow down or one arrow up mobs. I haven’t had any heroic encounters yet, so I am not sure how I will fare against those. I do seem to be getting damaged more though. At one point I was actually taken out by a named yellow one arrow up spider. It really surprised me and got me to thinking how others who don’t have raid armour from SF (mine is totally tier2 and fully adorned) will survive. The fights do seem to go on for longer too but without too much decrease in DPS, I can only imagine they have seriously upped the amount of HPs level cons have. I guess a true test will be when I do my first Velious heroic instance. Maybe I’ll try and find one tonight. I am looking forward to the challenge, but by the same token hope I don’t find that all my efforts to gain raid gear have been completely wasted. Again, time will tell. Once I have completed my first instance I’ll let you know what I think of the game mechanics in full.
So first overall impressions? Kinda fun, some neat tweeks (like the Guild calendar) but not yet blown away. However, I still have a lot more exploring of content to go yet and am going to withhold my overall opinion until I have seen more. I guess it must be kinda popular though as when I zoned in to The Great Divide it was instance number 5. I think the highest I saw in SF was 3 instances of a zone. We’ll see how things go. Oh, I almost forgot. During the first twelve days of Velious there are going to be different bonus features each day. We have had the general double xp, today is double xp for guilds and tomorrow is free transfers for up to 5 toons on your account. So if you want to be moving toons, hold off until tomorrow and get the service for free.
I’ll add some piccies when I get home tonight.