Wednesday, August 31, 2011

GU#61..more info

Just a quick one, if you read this blog and not EQ2 Wire, you need to head over there or to the official forums (I’m not linking a post there. There are just too many on this subject). Because I hadn’t had so many problems with re-itemisation and things seem to have worked out OK for me and the few I talk to about such things following the GameUpdate #61, I really didn’t understand the gravity of the mess this had caused.

It seems our worries were well founded prior to the update. Disgraceful. Really.

Be well.

Unrest (not the zone!)

Been a little while since I’ve posted, I have my mother staying for the week and a few days off work seemed in order. Whilst I’ve been off I’ve started to explore DoV content a bit more and it’s not bad, but to be honest, I’m not getting the same interested buzz that I usually do when exploring new content. The quest lines are OK, I’m now running the Eastern Wastes solo timeline and am also looking at picking up the new faction quests that were added in the latest GU61. I’ve also been on my first DoV raid. It was only the x2 in ToFS, but it was quite a bit of fun and I don’t think Volt embarrassed himself too much.

I mentioned GU61 above and that deserves a mention. As usual SoE had some issues with the update, especially the unattuning and unadorning of items following the itemisation revamp. In fact they got it wrong and had to do it twice, which annoyed a lot of folks, especially those who have many alts. Not only did they have to spend an age sorting out their AA and equipment on all their toons, they had to do it again the day after. There was quite a few pee’d off folks, as the second time it was not very well publicised that they were going to do a re-run. As such quite a few didn’t un-equip their stuff and all the adornments popped off.

Luckily I did know about it and didn’t fall foul of the second load of unequips. There was obviously some who were still having problems with this as they had to offer a free option unattune yesterday. I do know that following the ‘failure’ there were a lot of upset folks. A few in my guild had already planned what kit they were sending down to their alts only to find that when they logged in, everything was lovely and unattuned, yet when they switched, everything had attuned itself again. I know some of them are still having trouble with this and are pretty upset about it. As for Volts stuff, all of his equipment he is wearing is fine. His Rune Scraped Turban is now adorned with my red adornment following a quick fix, and to be honest, since the original drama, things seem to have settled down a fair bit.

The other thing in game I have been interesting myself with is the new house rating system. I must say, some of the houses are impressive to the extreme. One thing I will say though, it’s quite apparent who has used the editor and who has not. I use the editor when designing to simply alter the angle of an item. The actual placing is always done free-hand so to speak. But some of them, wow. One had a roof design so complex and perfectly executed that it couldn’t have been done by hand. They looked very impressive, but I really do like the personal touch. To me, it’s like having one of those prefabricated houses put up in like 30 minutes. They look good, but have no soul. I’m yet to finish looking around. I may put Casa Volt up at some point into the limelight, although I do the designing for personal pleasure, not for the plaudits.

So, on to other ‘news’. There has been some rather unfortunate drama in an old raiding syndicate I used to be affiliated to and it’s had some knock on effects. Some folks have got pissy, some indignant, some just don’t seem to care. But without naming names, I’m going to try and summarise. Oh, before I do, I know some may say, let’s not ‘air’ our dirty laundry in public, but I’m not naming names and this blog has a long history of evaluating the reasoning and psychological interaction of those in game. I look at how folks act both in and out of game quite frequently here. So, on to it. The old raid leader left. Made it quite clear in a post that they were going. They had been the driving force behind this particular raid force for a long time and had done a good job under stressful circumstances. For those who have never been raid leader, it’s not so easy. No one had an issue with this. Of course it would be suitable to wish that person the best, thank them for all their hard work. But, just because one is leaving, does not mean the rest of the raid force has no future.

Friday, August 26, 2011

GU61 - Success or Failure?

GU 61 is in place. Yup, you guessed it, there’s been some hiccups. Firstly, the unadorning / unattuning didn’t quite go to plan. There’s been many reports and this includes myself, where items were unattuned and then after switching between toons, or logging in then out, the items became attuned again. This didn’t affect me too much as all of my kit that became free again were placed in to my shared bank straight away and those items remained unnattuned.

I had an additional problem. One of my pieces of equipment (my SF tier 2 raid helm – Rune Scraped Turban) had its red adornment pop off, then it wouldn’t let me reapply it. I even went and bought a new one just in case, but alas that didn’t work either. So I petitioned that problem. I didn’t hear of anyone else having any re-adorn issues.

There have also been reports of AAs resetting again after folks had painstakingly gone through the new trees and reset to their new spec. That hasn’t happened to me, but I ended up spending about an hour looking at the AA revamp and to be honest I wouldn’t relish doing it again. Stupidly, I didn’t save my new setup in my AA mirror.

So why’s that? Why would not saving be stupid? Well, because of all the issues, parts of GU61 will be run again today to try and hotfix the issues. The update time will be the same as yesterday which won’t be too bad. What will be a pain is that all of your equipment will become unattuned again with adorns popping off if you are wearing the armour. I haven’t read that they are going to reset AAs again, but I wouldn’t bet against it happening. So, if you are reading this in time before 3pm GMT today, then you still have a chance to go and unequip everything again and save your AA trees. If not you may have some more work to do to get things set up again when you log in later.

Overall, aside from the issues, I’m very pleased with how the re-itemisation went, and especially pleased that they included SF gear in the project. I have basically replaced the three remaining PQ rare armour pieces I have with old SF raid gear. After the revamp the stats are extremely good and probably place tier 2 SF raid gear somewhere between Ry’Gorr stuff and fabled instance drop stuff. I’m extremely happy I’m a hoarder in EQ2. My bank slots all have 44 slot bags in them and there are only a few free places as I always keep the previous few sets of armour / equipment I wore. Being able to go back and review their stats was very useful and I used a few pieces of armour and some jewellery. My crit mit has gone up from 109% to 142%, my crit bonus / crit chance / potency / resists have all rocketed. The only thing I have seen a detrimental difference to is my multi attack. I have lost about 20%.

The best way to see how all this shapes up is of course to run a few instances, but it took so long to reset everything I didn’t have time last night, so I headed to the training dummies to see what difference the changes had made. For my ‘control’ aspect of the test, I always use the group dummies (which creates about 10 level matched heroic dummies), and then kill three of them before ending the combat, to see how my DPS fared. The reason I do it that way is to simulate being in a group. Yes, I won’t have group buffs, but I reckon the time it takes to do those three is akin to a normal group encounter when you have a full group backing you up. My previous DPS high on this test was 42k. I did it twice last night and got 86k and 91k. So if that equates to a similar improvement in instances, then I’m happy with the game update. Yes there are a few teething problems, but then again there always is. They will sort them all eventually I’m sure. I’m not sure however, how long ‘eventually’ will be.

One of the things to consider, even though they have had the update improvements on test, is how it will affect the rest of the game play. Use Voltaan as an example. If from the re-itemisation like me many have been able to utilise previously won gear that is of a high standard and they generally see almost a 100% increase in their performance, then will this not trivialise many of the existing instances (aside from the already mega tough ones)? I ran through a couple of instances the night before the revamp and to be honest that was kinda easy as it stood. I’m thinking it will be cake now.

You see that’s one of the problems with such big revamps to a system. The knock on effects will come to light over the coming months, and as usual, hotfixes will follow to sort them. This isn’t a moan, it’s just the accepted way of how things work in EQ2 development. And let’s be honest, despite the hiccups, despite the unknown long term affects of the GU, the game is still an amazing one with so much detailed and fantastic content that even if they messed it up big style, I’d probably still log in to experience Norrath.

Sometimes we expect miracles from SoE because we pay them every month. Reality is somewhat far away from that though. Look at the actual stats. 54,000 items to re-itemise, and that was just a part of the GU. Now I pretty sure the dev team probably only has about 30 - 40 employees, if that, and there is a huge amount of work there for such a small number. Yes, there is the argument that they should employ more staff with our subs to speed things up and to make for better content. But my stance against that is a simple one. Too many cooks spoil the broth. What I mean by this, is quantity does not necessarily equate to quality. SoE have a good team. Yes it takes a little time for them to get it right, but they usually do, and usually with style (eventually). It’s always easy to focus on the bad stuff. But look a little more carefully past the surface and it becomes apparent that ‘there is more to heaven and earth my dear Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy’. Yup, I’m in an optimistic mood today.

Right, now I have to ring Ema and get her to unequip all my stuff again!

Be well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finally. DoV instance cherry = broken

Last night was a blast. I’m quite shocked to hear myself say that about an evening spent inside a couple of DoV instances, but I really had a lot of fun. I grouped up with Emarald and Jahf with a view to learning some of the new (to me) DoV instances for both Voltaan and our friends SK, Hagras. We headed off to Forgotten Pools and after to The Ascent, and I was pretty shocked at how easy it was. The first instance Haggy tanked and the second one in Ascent, I had a bash at. Thanks to all who trooped me through.

For my first time tanking in DoV I’m pretty happy with how it went. There were no deaths, no issues with aggro, aside from Jahfs Brig, but that’s par for the course where decent Brigs are concerned as they have almost no hate reduction and high dps, and to be honest it wasn’t too much of an issue, I usually managed to grab the mob back with one of my many snaps. It was a challenge though as Jahfs Brig was churning out some very nice numbers, in debuff spec no-less! I’m glad he wasn’t in DPS spec. The content of the zones themselves were quite fun too, especially the nameds. There were some funky scripts for the bosses and I personally liked the sticky wall guy [technical term], although everyone else seems to hate him. Overall it was very smooth and there were no issues to be had, aggro management was ok’ish, and my DPS was very good considering the equipment I have. Jahf topped the zone wide with about 60k I think it was, and I came in second with 28k zonewide. Not brilliant numbers for me, but certainly OK and my first run at a DoV zone went well. It seems weird to have been playing the game since the expansion release, yet never having done anything other than some of the solo timeline.

Anyhow, I’ve been getting all excited because my Bro tells me last night before he logged that he has now completed the first four solo type quests for his Warden epic weapon, and it’s time to move on to the heroic stuff. I think tonight we will need to hit Karnor’s Castle for Levik, Chardok to get an update from trash mobs that are pretty deep in the dungeon (past the red gate I think) and finally to Sebilis to grab something off the named in the secret lab. If my Bro is up for it tonight, I think we will quite easily manage to get all three updates done. If they don’t have to be done in order, I think we’ll do Seb first as we have been there so much over the last week that if we get that out the way, we can then spend the rest of the evening enjoying new content (for Merecraft).

I’m looking forward to taking Mere in Chardok. I think we’ll spend an extra ten minutes getting all of the gate keys for him, so he can return whenever he likes and not get blocked at the gates. We may even do a quick run of the small Korucust instance for the AA as it doesn’t take long at all. It should all be great fun whatever we decide to do.

One thing Ema was talking to me about was trying to have a crazy fun night when Merecraft has his fabled version of his weapon, and try and get him his Mythical update in one night. That’s three raid mobs. Two of which are near the end of a raid instance. It should be fun and I actually think it’s doable in one night, especially if Volt feign deaths his way to some of them then summons the group, although that will probably only work in Veeshan’s Peak. That would mean, Protector’s Realm (item drops off last mob), Temple of Kor’Sha (think item drops from Seldrach or something, again last mob from what I recall) then finally it would be into Veeshan’s Peak to take out that pesky Cinder Wasp Queen. I’ve always wondered about that update. It seems strange to have a final mob of a Myth weapon timeline to be a mob that appears in the middle of an encounter and isn’t the actual focus of the fight. Anyhow, that’s the last one. I reckon it’s doable in a couple of hours, probably actually a lot less considering the steps forward in equipment (if SoE don’t mess up itemisation). Oh, one thing worth noting if you are doing the Myth warden raid version. The item you get off the bosses that you need for the update, needs to be consumed within the zone before zone out, as it’s a no-zone item. If you zone out before using it, you’ll have to run the raid instance again to get your update. One night Myth updates would be cool though. I remember how long it took to get mine!

Be well.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Jolly Spiffing Update

Lot’s of EQ2 news right now. Let’s start with GU61 which is upcoming today, sorry, Thursday. Yup it’s been delayed for a couple of days so the Devs have a chance to make sure they have the itemisation correct. I’m thinking that with 54,000 items to review and change the stats for, there are likely to be some mistakes. Already there are a few rumblings that some items not only have changed stats but have changed archetype also. Hopefully this won’t affect too many folks or any really popular items, but if it does there may be some pretty pissed off folks who log in to find they can no longer use some of their most treasured items. I’m actually thinking that hopefully, there really will be only a few circumstances where this is true.

Additionally all this re-itemisation has a very beneficial side line. That being that all of your attuned stuff, be it on your toon, in your bags, in your bank or in your house vault, will now become un-attuned and if you are wearing the item at the time and it is adorned, your adornment will be removed also. Don’t worry you won’t lose your adorn, it should be placed in your bags. Now what I have done is try and think laterally on this. None of my current equipment on Voltaan needs to have its adornments removed, so I have stripped him naked and placed those items in my bags. What I have done is equip all his old gear that he wore in each slot prior to his upgrade. That means that I will get about 6 red adorns back and multiple silver. They can go in my bank and at least I won’t have to fork out a huge amount should I level another toon that could use them. Also if everything becomes un-attuned, I am not sure I will ever need to adventure again for kit as all my toons never get rid of their previous gear, I just bank it. I think I may be able to open an EQ2Mart for my alts after this update.

So, what else is coming? Well, for someone who seems to have a fair amount of Arasai critters on my character list there is good news that come level 85 and GU61, Faes and Arasai will be able to complete a quest that grants them the ability to fly. When the update is live it can be picked up from the Goahmari encampment in Great Divide, just like the Griffon quests. I’m quite looking forward to this. It really is about time that our little winged cousins have a chance to get airborne. Now I just want totally customisable wings. Check out the doctored picky of Emarald to see what I mean.

*please hum Dambusters theme*
What Ho! Ema joins the Brylcream Boys
There are a couple of dynamic dungeons coming up too in the next update. These are called ‘dynamic’ as there are apparently up to 14 different mob sets that you can get given when you zone in. This means that each time entering will be a different challenge, although I’m not sure if that includes nameds. Both are in the Desert of Flames expansion and seem to be set around the Silent City area. The zones match your level from 60 to 90 and apparently the mobs do drop some quite nice stuff, although I’m not sure if that was pre-itemisation changes, or after.

The first part of the Beastlords preview quest will be arriving also. There will be no spoilers here, this is just a warning to keep an eye out for it.

As for DoV content there should be two more questlines appear in Eastern Wastes, which is just what the zone needs. A great looking zone, but without too much substance. Faction quests with the Goahmari Stormfeathers and the Threal’Gorr Orcs will be appearing to beef out the zone and its content a little. Hopefully it will work. For an expansion I dislike, it’s refreshing to find a zone I like, and that the Devs are paying it some attention to make it better.

Overall I’m looking forward to GU61 with some trepidation and not a little bit of hope. If it goes well and as intended I can foresee solidification of an already great game. If it goes wrong (why is my SoE radar telling me it’s going to have issues?), then as usual there will be the normal uproar, the normal feeble responses from SoE and then a resolution to the problem two years later.

As for my gaming, I have of course been playing EQ2 (as well as a bit of DIRT2). Although my Bro’s playtime is understandably a little restricted in EQ2 currently, he has nevertheless managed to get him to 80th level (GRATS MERE!), has hammered out all of his Reet faction already and has picked up that pesky Epic weapon starter. So things are actually moving a quite a pace. I’m hoping we should be able to get him his epic soon. Perhaps we should start working on it tonight. I hope so. For some sick reason, I really really enjoy doing the old epic quests, even to the point of helping others gives me just as much of a rush. I also prefer to get an epic myth’d ‘properly’ before doing the enervated. Weird huh? But lots of fun. Well, whatever the reasoning behind my unstable thoughts, they are there, and we have an Epic to do! Let’s crack on.

Be well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lord of the Klakrok Drones

Apologies for the delay in posts. Work has seen me travelling again. I'm back now, so let's crack on.

I was having a rather interesting conversation the other day with a very good friend of mine about attitude. Specifically about how those who play EQ2 develop theirs and how they conduct themselves during their sessions online. During the conversation we pulled apart the issue of how those who play act and the conclusions were interesting. The subject of EQ2 being only a game was raised and that would it be realistic to attach the thoughts here to such a situation. It was decided in the end, most definitely. Look at your guild. Look at the different people who play. There are pensioners, students, career folks, teachers, and so on. The game itself is actually a nice slice of society and a good indication for being considered as a social experiment.

So, as I said above, when I say ‘conduct themselves’ I mean basically how those that play interact with the rest of the community. At one stage I mentioned that I saw it having the possibility of being a social experiment and that studying how those who play the game interact with others of varying different social groups within the game can give a valuable insight in to a nice slice of our society, through a very specific window, with some very interesting influencing factors. The main one of course being the removal of actual ‘standing in front of me’ contact during these interactions and something I call ‘The Barrier’, which I’ll explain later.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Construction Complete

 A picture tells a thousand words...

Yeah. That didn't work in school either when I submitted a picture of my hamster instead of a thousand word me detention. Anyhow,'s finished. If you want to visit, name of 'Voltaan', Gorowyn 6 room on Antonia Bayle server. Whilst you are there have a cocktail in the house itself at Club Tropicana. Go, help yourself. Relax. The drinks are free. Or you could head west along the beach from the Lodge then south to the Wall of Bone. Enjoy.

From the Lookout Tower

The Lake with Othmir Ninja Turtle


Well, I hit 300 AAs the other night. Thanks to my old friends Jahf, Ratty and Tymar and Aleksi, and of course the devastatingly sexah Ema, we powered through Chardok time and time again and in no time whatsoever, it was ding 300. I also hit Karnors Castle thanks to advice from Jahf (think I have mentioned that before) who suggested I mentor down and plough through there. It worked a treat, mebbe even a little quicker than the Chardok exp. Either way both instances were awesome and the company even better. Thanks for your help folks, Volt is now a powerhouse once more!

As you know my Bro is not in game at the moment tending to his lovely new addition. I have been spending my time finishing my Hunters Lodge. Yup, it’s now done. All the finishing touches have been made aside from one fence line I have yet to still lay. I must say I’m pretty pleased with it. I only used the editor a couple of times to make sure the sloping roof and adjoining walls worked out ok. They kinda still look a bit weird to my eyes, not sure what I’ll do to fix that but at the moment it is fine. I have tried, like I always do, to make it about the small details of the place. For example, it’s a hunting lodge, so you’ll not see any nice shiny furniture in there. Everything is rough and mostly wooden in keeping with what you would expect to see in a Hunters Lodge. I like the small details whilst decorating and Jahf commented the same thing to me, that often it is the little things that adds to the whole ambience of a house. Anyhow, I’ll add some piccies in a bit. I may even do a video walkthrough.
Ema has been hitting her raiding pretty hard recently and has her kit almost up to scratch. So much so she is looking to gear up her Coercer already. She has only been back raiding for a few weeks. This got me thinking about if I would like to return to the raid scene. In every expansion since DoF I have been part of a raid force and have either dabbled or seriously hit the top tier content. The most concentrated raid periods were during Kingdom of Sky and Sentinels Fate expansions. I really do enjoy it. It’s exciting, fun to hang out with your mates and after many beat downs, it’s always nice to conquer very tough new content, to progress and to witness the knock on effect of getting better kit. It’s quite pleasant to watch yourself become pretty uber.

But raiding does have its down sides. Anyone who has ever raided in any MMO will know this. From taking up a lot more of your time, to dealing with (sometimes) those who seem to be in the MMOSPG (massively multimedia online special population group – yes, I made this up..but they’re out there..beware!). From the endless waiting around to lost rolls in favour of those who only raid once in a millennia. The pitfalls are many and this got me to thinking. The crummy stuff does crop up a fair bit. You DO spend a huge amount of time waiting round. It’s unavoidable, whilst the raid force prepares and hears strats of how they are going to defeat the new content, whilst those have afks, or switch out toons for particular mobs, there is always some degree of running to stand still. But the feeling when you get that synergy between the raid members and everything flows as it should really is quite a buzz, especially the very first time you defeat new content.

However, one of the biggest downfalls for me that currently over-rides all the good stuff to be experienced in raiding, and the one that means I really am not going to be getting involved in DoV raiding for the foreseeable future is the extra time and more importantly the extra commitment. You are committed to it if you become part of a raid force. Because that’s exactly what it is. It’s not a raid solo mob, it’s a damn big group with 24 people in it. You can’t just pick and choose where and when you will raid when there are 23 other folks depending on you to do your bit. It’s a commitment to the game and your fellow raiders, and that is why I cannot get back in to raiding just yet. I have so much other stuff going on, I really couldn’t justify allocating more of my time to the game and more regimented time at that.

When I play currently, I don’t want it to be an issue if I need to go afk for 10 minutes. I don’t want the rush-rush to get kit and become uber again. I don’t need it. I still get to chat to my mates who do raid and I still pick up the odd piece of loots that my old raid syndicate and bunch of mates collect when they have no one who can use it. I guess what I am trying to say is that at the moment old Volt just wants to put his feet up in his new Hunters Lodge, relax and enjoy his retirement, helping out friends and guildies alike, as and when they need it. It’s time for Volt to experience some relaxation EQ2 style. Bring on the Nayad masseuse.

Be well.