January in Review January 31, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, iPad, Month in Review, Rift, Star Trek Online, World of Warcraft.
After five years, I updated the About page for the blog.
The primary improvements, a relative term on the best of days, were removing my picture and rewriting the whole thing up as something mildly resembling a FAQ, despite the fact that none of the questions listed have ever been asked with any frequency whatsoever. Still, one less picture of me, so a win for the internet!
And the whole thing does give some sort of outline to the philosophy behind this blog. Read it at your peril, and remember that any promise of candy is likely to be a lie.
Then, due to an RSS feed misfire, my very first post on the blog… a “Welcome” message which coincidentally also attempted to establish some sort of blogging philosophy, though it was clearly in a much more primitive state at that point… received more views this month than it had during the entire history of the blog so far.
So for all of you who missed it five years ago, welcome.
And finally, I’d just like to say that I think the special iPad format that WordPress.com has looks pretty neat.
Of course, since it is graphically focused, my urge to make sure every post has at least one picture has been reinforced.
One Year Ago
Eschewing the predicting convention, I issued demands for 2011.
TERA was trying to win notice by telling people how they had boars in their game! BOARS! Can you imagine?
EuroGamer tried to tell us PlanetSide 2 would be out by Q2 2011.
It was time to start messing with the then new EVE Online character creator.
I used Google to tell me World of Warcraft’s five most pressing issues at the time.
Meanwhile, the Twilight Cadre was back in Azeroth in force and checking out Cataclysm. We got our first guild achievement. Our group of new characters, four worgen and a gnome, went through Westfall and all its phasing magic, wailed in the Wailing Caverns, before settling down to a pattern of doing three instances every Saturday night. I wasn’t sure if we had skilled up a lot or if the game had been dumbed down that much, but clearly the 1-60 game in Cataclysm was proving to be not much of a challenge.
There was some cool stuff in Cataclysm. I like the balloons. Redridge, never one of my favorite places, got turned into a fun solo experience. And there was the Murloc combat ability. But otherwise, the game was starting to lose us.
And, finally, Pokemon was coming to town.
Five Years Ago
Blintz, my swashbuckler in EQ2 was just digging into Zek, The Orcish Wastes, one of my favorite zones in post-cataclysm Norrath.
Scott Hartsman described some of the goals for the EverQuest II expansion that would eventually become The Rise of Kunark.
New Linking Sites
I would like to thank the following site for linking here in their blog rolls.
Please take a moment to visit them in return.
Most Viewed Post in January
- Hulkageddon V: Unholy Union – Coming Soon
- How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
- Play On: Guild Name Generator
- Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
- Twelve Questions for 2012
- The MPAA Paints A Chilling Portrait of Things to Come
- What Happens After the End of White Noise in Branch?
- LEGO Lord of the Rings: The Video Game – It Could Happen
- Remembering My First PvP Death in EVE…
- Type 59 Being Pulled from the World of Tanks Store
- Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!
- Scraping Off the Rust in the Iron Tomb
Spam Comment of the Month
Everybody is jumping on the SWTOR bandwagon! I got a burst of such comments a couple weeks back.
SWTOR Secrets is the first true strategy guide written for SWTOR, making it a massive opportunity for anyone interested in getting into the gaming niche. And because this guide is so unique and has so little competition, traffic will surge into your landing pages, eagerly eating up whatever content you provide. Conversion rates are through the roof right now, meaning you do less work and make more money for your time.Enjoy!!!
After an eventful December in which I first ventured into 0.0 space, January has been kind of quiet. The war in Branch hit a lull and I spent most of my time worried about skills and ratting in my Tengu. Of course, just as I have been closing in on my final Maelstrom skills, the word was passed down that those with the right skills should fly a Drake. Well, that was where I started.
And now the war is back on. The corp has declared war time rules again, which amount to “knock off that carebear crap when fleet ops are active!” Maybe, just maybe, I can get on the kill boards for something other than structures, in a Drake or not.
I have been playing a whole lot of Rift. I post regularly about the instance group, but that is generally one night a week plus maybe a little bit of prep. I have to find some time to write about what I have been doing with the other 75% of the time I have been spending in Telara.
But, as a whole, I am pretty happy with Rift for now.
Star Trek Online
It went free to play and do I care? I am a lifetime subscriber. Maybe not. I keep the game patched up, but I do not play. I did actually log in after it went free to play, just to see where I stood. I have 1040 Cryptic bucks, or whatever their currency is called, and so many changes since I last logged in that I probably need to start over. We’ll see.
World of Warcraft
Hrmm… I hit level 85 and haven’t done much since.
I think I summed up my to do list above. Post about new null sec adventures in EVE (if any), write up something about all the non-instance group stuff I have done in Rift, and figure out where I stand with Star Trek Online and World of Warcraft.
Other than that, maybe something about iPad games and the PS3 and… oh, I don’t know… baseball movies. We just saw Moneyball and spring training is coming up. Or maybe not.
LEGO Universe is No More January 31, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Misc MMOs.
Tags: LEGO Universe
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I already ran down the quick history of LEGO Universe back in November.
That was when they announced that the game would be shutting down. And the date of the shut down has come and gone. The game joins an ever growing list of MMOs that have seen their last day.
Actually, their original press release said midnight on January 31, 2012, but was anybody really holding out for that last day?
There is still a FAQ regarding the closure, which will probably remain for a while.
LEGO Universe: October 26, 2010 – January 30, 2012
The EverQuest Free to Play Subscription Matrix January 31, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest.
Just to save this for future reference, this is the EverQuest free to play subscription chart.
As with EverQuest II there are three levels, free, silver, and gold, with restrictions that sound largely the same. There is a limit on which races or classes you can access without paying.
There is one interesting twist in regards to silver memberships:
Previous EverQuest subscribers who did not have an active subscription at the time of the free-to-play conversion will automatically be converted to the Silver membership.
So past players get in at silver without the $5.00 fee.
And the chart, with the fine print listed below (or here on the EQ site):
* Any player with a recurring membership will receive 500 Station Cash per month as long as they stay on an auto-renew payment plan. If you have a recurring membership but you cancel or purchase a non-recurring membership, you will no longer be on an auto-renew payment plan and you will immediately stop receiving the monthly Station Cash bonus even if you have time left on your existing membership.
If you are on a recurring subscription at the time of transition to Free to Play, you will receive 500 Station Cash on the date of the transition and for each subsequent month of your recurring membership (as long as you stay on an auto-renew payment plan). You will not receive any Station Cash for prior months. You will get one monthly 500 Station Cash bonus for each paid recurring subscription you maintain. If you have an All Access Pass you will get one 500 Station Cash bonus per month regardless of how many games you play.
SOE reserves the right to end or amend the terms of this promotion at any time in its sole and absolute discretion. If SOE ends this promotion you will continue to receive the monthly Station Cash bonus until your recurring membership expires or is cancelled or your auto-renew payment plan ends.
- EverQuest requires an internet connection (which you are responsible for) in order to play. The FREE access requires payment if you wish to upgrade your membership or make purchases in the in-game Marketplace. The Silver Membership can be purchased via a onetime Station Cash transaction (Silver Pack Item) available for $5.00 USD or 500SC in-game. Gold membership is available for $14.99 USD per month.
- All membership levels are granted full access to game world through the EverQuest House of Thule expansion. The Veil of Alaris™ expansion must be purchased separately.
- The four free races included with FREE and Silver Memberships are: Human, Erudite, Barbarian and Gnome.
- The four free classes included with FREE and Silver Memberships are: Warrior, Cleric, Wizard, and Rogue.
- Levels are limited by the expansions owned. The House of Thule expansion will allow for a maximum level of 90. Level 91 to 95 requires the purchase of the Veil of Alaris expansion.
- Subject to content unlock.
- FREE and Silver Membership accounts will receive customer service to resolve real money transaction-based issues only. Support for other gameplay and performance issues is available at the online knowledge base.
The End of EverQuest for Macintosh – Old School has been Dismissed January 30, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest.
Tags: Al'Kabor Server, Macintosh
Hidden away in the EverQuest free to play FAQ is a mention of the EverQuest Al’Kabor server. (Question 16, since I cannot link to it directly.)
Al’Kabor is the server that supports the Macintosh version of EverQuest, and may be the only true old shool version of the game available. (Today’s theme is SOE and “old school”) The server is currently still on the Planes of Power expansion and has seen only technical updates since then.
The FAQ points to a forum post about the impeding demise of the Al’Kabor server.
The amazing journey that has been EverQuest: Macintosh Edition has created an untold number of adventures, and bonds between its players that will last far beyond the years of the game. As the saying goes, however, all good things must come to an end, and so the time has come for the Al’Kabor server.
On Thursday, March 29, 2012, the Al’Kabor server and the EverQuest: Macintosh Edition will be closing. EverQuest: Macintosh Edition has had a wonderful run, seeing an incredible tightly-knit community band together to accomplish feats of heroism that remain unsurpassed in the annals of MMORPGs. Overcoming the challenges of the Planes of Power in their near original form is not a task for those who are not dedicated to victory, and we here at SOE are in awe of your dedication and commitment.
We know you will have many questions about what this means, and we have prepared this FAQ in an effort to answer some of these questions. During the remaining weeks we will also be enjoying some time in game with you, the players of Al’Kabor, both to see if the final raids in the Planes can be completed before the final days of EverQuest: Macintosh Edition and to celebrate the community that has kept this game strong throughout the years. Please keep an eye out on the Official EverQuest: Macintosh Edition sub-forum so that we can communicate with you the days and times when we will be joining you in game.
Thank you all again, and we hope that we can join you in fond remembrance of the unique and wonderful experience that has been EverQuest: Macintosh Edition.
And thus the last hold outs in the SOE old school will be disbanded. This and the entry about the Time Locked Progression servers in the FAQ (Question 15) seems to indicate that old school and free to play do not mix.
There is also a FAQ in the forums, which I will include after the cut.
EverQuest Goes Free to Play This March January 30, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, Sony Online Entertainment.
Hello everyone – I hope you all are doing well early on in the New Year! With an exciting Veil of Alaris expansion just released in November, we’re thrilled to announce the next big adventure for EverQuest®. After listening to your feedback and suggestions over the past few years, I’m happy to announce that in early March 2012, EverQuest will be going free-to-play.
We’re excited to be expanding the EverQuest experience by making the game more accessible to every type of player so that you can choose to play the game in a way that suits you best. Anyone who wishes to start, return or continue to play one of the “Best Games of All-Time” can simply download and play EverQuest on their terms – think of it as Free to Play, Your Way. Recurring subscriptions, non-recurring subscriptions, Silver or Free memberships, item unlockers, and more. The game will now be setup to be flexible so that *you* can decide how much to pay, based on how much fun you’re having.
EverQuest players are some of the most loyal, long-standing players of any MMO in existence. With the gaming landscape changing every day, we want to ensure we continue to evolve the game to keep players engaged and bring in even more new players to further expand the community. With no up-front costs or required membership, we might see a new player or two along the way, and more people is always a good thing!
Once we go free-to-play, here are some of the upcoming features and events you can expect:
- On Friday, March 16th, EverQuest becomes a teenager: 13 years old!!! We will be having some extra added events in the game starting that week leading up to that Friday and we’re introducing some new items within POK to let you know what’s in store.
- With the free-to-play launch, a renovated everquest.com website will be unveiled and after that, we will bring you upgraded EQPlayers pages.
- We have improved the functionality of our Map system! Some improvements include being able to view appropriate level content for your character on the map, allowing you to find zone lines much easier; and also showing you your wisps on the map to help navigate to where you want to go!
Also at the free-to-play launch, all players will receive a Welcome Pack containing items to add to your gameplay experience. You’ll be able to summon a unique Mercenary to fight by your side and we’re including some Bayle Marks to help pay for the services of your newly summoned Mercenary. A couple of Experience Potions are also included to help you increase your experience gained while adventuring. For all the collectors that like to show off all the great wares to your friends, we’re giving you an item to display in your home and add to your collection. And finally, you’ll be able to customize the appearance of one of your weapons with a Weapon Ornamentation – also included in the Welcome Pack. So be sure to check the claim window for your free gifts.
We, the EverQuest dev team, are very excited about this new flexible system. Free-To-Play is the best fit for EverQuest and we are looking forward to supporting the game and our dedicated fans for years to come. This is a great year for everyone associated with EverQuest and SOE. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what’s coming in 2012.
One last note, we will be doing a Community Webcast on Thursday February 2, 2012 covering all of the exciting free-to-play details. Please be sure to send in any questions you might have via the Facebook page or Twitter so we can respond with answers during the Webcast.
See you in game very soon!
Well, my Station Access just expired and it looks like I won’t need it any further to get my bits of nostalgia.
Now, how soon until they announce Vanguard is going free to play? And then what else is left? Can PlanetSide and EQOA stand alone on the subscription model?
Why Isn’t Vanguard Overrun By Those Seeking an “Old School” MMO? January 30, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, Vanguard SOH.
Tags: Bhagpuss, Meaningless Milestones
If all the people who wish there was an MMO like MMOs used to be would stop wringing their hands and go play Vanguard, maybe it would get that expansion. Even without one, it remains very close to the best MMO there’s ever been.
Oh Vanguard, saga of more than heroes, negative example cited by many.
Here it is, the twin fifth anniversary of the launch of both Vanguard and Microsoft Vista. And what a pair they are, mirror images of, if not failure, then certainly a failure to meet expectations. Both sold moderately well, though in ways that did not help them in the long run.
Dell, for example, made money selling machines with Vista and then charging a fee to revert them back to Windows XP. And didn’t Vanguard sell something like 90,000 boxes right off the mark? [242,000 boxes sold according to Wikipedia. Thank you Bhagpuss.]
I know having played in the beta I was dubious when Sigil announced their launch date, which was both too early and square in the teeth of the first WoW expansion. And very soon after launch I was pondering how they were going to get out of their mess.
And after the launch… and after SOE took over the game… there was the long march back to sanity and, in some ways, away from the vision. Server merges. Graphic revamps. Bug fixes. Making the game playable took a while.
But here we are, five years later. The game is as “fixed” as it is ever going to be. It is available, stable, and five years down the road you likely have a machine that can run it.
So why isn’t Vanguard the focus of players looking for an old school experience? Why is something like EverQuest, which is coming up on its 13 year anniversary and which, in many ways, has abandoned many of the old school difficulties, still more popular?
My theory is that many of those seeking such an experience really have something specific in mind. I suspect that they do not, in fact, seek an old school experience, but rather long to experience their first game as it was when they played it initially. Basically, I think they want an old school experience in their old school, not in some new world.
And so Vanguard is not regarded as a viable option. Relatively few people have nostalgia for the game. I would be willing to bet that the EverQuest progression servers were more popular by themselves when they went live than Vanguard as a whole.
Why do you think, five years after launch, Vanguard isn’t the target of players claiming to seek an old school experience? The bad launch? The system requirements? Too small of a player base with nostalgia for the game?
Anyway, Bhagpuss has a post up celebrating the Vanguard fifth anniversary, which along with his comment quoted above made me think about what will become of the game.
Mewtwo for Me and You – Pokemon Download Coming Soon January 29, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
Tags: Mewtwo, Nintendo Wi-Fi, Pokemon Black, Pokemon White
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Pokemon who get their own entry in Wikipedia are pretty rare, there being 646 Pokemon available at this point, so Mewtwo is pretty important in the Pokemon mythos. Nintendo says about the impending Mewtwo event:
The legend of the Genetic Pokémon Mewtwo has grown ever since it debuted in the Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version games. The Psychic-type Pokémon has always been considered one of the most powerful Pokémon available, and also very tough to catch.
You’ll have a new opportunity to get the Legendary Mewtwo once again! Starting on February 12th, you can receive Mewtwo for your Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version game. Take part in a limited-time distribution event to get this amazing Pokémon. This Mewtwo is incredibly strong and fast, and it even has an exclusive move that Mewtwo cannot normally learn!
However, while Nintendo is being coy, Siliconera is reporting that they have already done this same download event in Japan and they are unlikely to change things up for the distribution in North America.
So if you have Pokemon Black or White, be ready come February 12th for this Nintendo WiFi special offer. I suspect the instructions will be similar to the Victini event they had at the end of December.
If Propaganda Could Win the War, The Goons Would Prevail Tomorrow January 27, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Null Sec, Raiden
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But this is EVE Online, so we will have to do it with a huge blob of ships.
Yes, there was a lull for a bit in Deklein.
I spent the last week or so training up skills so that I might be able to do more than fly and wave with my alpha fleet ships. I think I can actually shoot the guns on my tech II fit welp fleet Hurricane now. There was a corp day where taxes were set to 100% and we all went out and ratted or mined to help the corp financial situation. And, frankly, I spent most of my gaming time over the week playing Rift.
Our corner of null sec seemed settled. (Map from the usual source.)
The biggest change for us was that TNT’s tiny spot on the map changed from purple to magenta.
But this appears to be truly a lull, a bit of phoney war between engagements. The war is not over. Jabber is lighting up calling the faithful for operations. Alpha fleets are forming up and I have to get my Maelstrom ready again.
And the latest post from Endie, the Goonswarm minister of propaganda has been made public. This is totally worth reading for a look at the situation from the Deklein Coalition side of things. Titled GoonSwarm Alliance Update – Vernichtungskrieg: War of Extermination, it opens up with a bit of history.
Once every year, on average, someone tries to destroy Goonswarm. In 2006 it was Lotka Volterra and in 2007 it was Band of Brothers. In 2008 and 2009 it was BoB in various guises, Against All Authorities, Atlas and Red Overlord. In 2010 it was, well, Goonswarm. In 2011 it was basically everyone in the Assault on Precinct VFK. Now, this year’s attack has come a little early.
And then it goes on to mock our foes, their tactics, machinations and motivations. It is humorous though perhaps not suitable for all ages.
But the report wraps up with a call to arms for the Goons and their allies. A call to have alpha fleet ships positioned. A call to be ready to convoy back through the trail of tears if you get popped so we can continue to bring the fight to the enemy.
So far the only report I have seen is that we managed to take down a Nyx. This happened while I was at work, as usual. But there is already a video of the kill up on YouTube. [Addendum: Battle summary here.]
Hopefully I can get on and get into a fleet some time this weekend.
Meanwhile, I suspect that Hulkageddon V will be further delayed.
Now where did I leave that Maelstrom?
Items from the Mail Bag – Drunken Home Theater Install Edition January 26, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, Mail Bag.
Tags: Lord of Ultima, Namaste, Storybricks
This column, while I try to do it regularly once a month, is really an event driven item. Generally it only occurs to me to write it when I either don’t feel like writing anything (when you have nothing to say, let somebody else say it for you I guess) or when somebody sends me something so ridiculous that I am compelled to put one in the “mail bag” category.
This month, it is the latter condition. So this month we’ll start off with the grand prize and then taper off into obscure stuff so the whole post will seem like a let down by the time you get to the end.
Sorry in advance to the focus of the end story.
Where DUI Meets Home Theater
I am no stranger to the sponsored blog post offer, but this one this one seemed to deliver a new twist.
I’d like to inquire about doing a sponsored blog post – about 150-300 words that talks a little bit about DUI law and links back to our site [redacted]. We provide premier Custom Design, Engineering and Installation for home theater and I thought we might be a good fit for your readers/visitors on tagn.wordpress.com.
That’s correct, we are speaking of a post about DUI law that links back to a custom home theater which would be a perfect fit for an online gaming blog.
(Apologies to McIntosh Labs, makers of completely awesome high end audio equipment which does not in anyway endorse this blog post or, I am going to guess, the selling of home audio equipment via blog posts about DUI law. But I am pretty sure that if they did make breathalyzers, they would be the best you could get.)
But this custom home theater site does have a budget for this sort of placement thing.
Our budget is around $15 for the post. Is this something you’d be open to?
Also we might be interested in a small banner ad if the price is right.
Our budget is $40/year
Woo hoo! That will get me a case of Lucky Lager and some pretzels to go with! I just love the puzzles in the cap.
I’m sorry, but at one point I was getting like $22 a month per link to put URLs in my side bar from a company trying to game Google Page Rank. (It was $30 a month when I was page rank 5, but I fell down to 4.) Granted, they stopped returning my calls after a while, but while it lasted that fat PayPal payment spoiled me and now I won’t even get out of bed for less that $10.
Still, if this sounds like a deal to you, I can put in a good word.
Also if you have some other sites just send them over and we might be interested in doing a sponsored post on there as well!
Just drop me a note and we’ll talk!
More Press Releases!
Laura at Cision US, Inc. dropped me a note to tell me that my blog has caught their attention and they are adding it to their database. I will be henceforth known and listed by them as:
Mr. Wilhelm Arcturus, Blogger of the Computers & Video Games Beat.
That is almost validation of my existence. And I love to get press releases!
I’ll have to send her a thank you note.
Treasure Awaits, My Lord!
Lord of Ultima sends me a note reminding me that I have a daily prize waiting for me if I fail to log on for a week or so. That always prompts me to actually log on, collect my prize, check what has happened to my empire, which is generally nothing.
Still, this seems to be working for me. I have moved from around 350th place in the rankings to about 200th place by doing nothing. I play on world 31 which is a truncated world with extra small landmasses, so basically about three weeks into the game all available room to build on was taken. Since then the game has been a matter of waiting for people to give up so you can take over their abandoned towns and castles. This has been going on for somethings like six months! Whee, a hell of a ride! I’m sooo drunk!
The Gamingo PR Team sends me lots of press releases about their browser based games. They just aren’t all that interesting to me. None of them would warrant a post by themselves. But since they are so nice and persistent and no doubt live for the days when I deign to acknowledge their existence, and never use DUI laws as a troll for links, here is a list of the games they mentioned to me in January.
It Is So Komplex!
Ioana Buliga, a musical name if ever there was one, wanted to let me know about her company, Lucid Philosophy, and their new free to play browser based game, TwinKomplex. Probably the coolest thing about them is that there offices are in the old Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. I am tempted to sing “Ten Tons to Templehof” and other songs of the airlift, which I learned in my mis-spent youth. Don’t ask.
The site… or company… the email isn’t clear… named Gamelosophers wants me to be a partner in… something. DUI legislation maybe? All I know is that they are from Amsterdam and that they need a new name. Really. I once worked for a company called “Smarketing,” so I know.
Oh, and make your damn URL resolve correctly without the “www” prefix. Amateurs, I swear!
Emma with Amplified Media has… well… something coherent and possibly true to say about the site that implies that she or somebody at her company might have actually visited.
We love your collection of thoughts and stories on the world of online gaming. Your insights on the gaming highs and lows of 2011 was a great end-of-year piece.
If nothing else, that actually makes this email stand out from many of the others than don’t even get posted with a DUI reference. I might have to respond to that one and find out what opportunities Amplified Media has in mind.
Always End With Namaste
And, judging from the side bar, they might be at GDC or something. I’m not sure I will make it to GDC this year. The usual source of Expo passes for Potshot and myself, Darren, seems to have gone off MMOs completely. Instead he is all philosophical these days and is, if I understand it right, about to launch an offensive on the Twilight franchise.
Hey, this last entry wasn’t such a let down after all, now was it?
Anyway, until next month, respect the mail bag!
Struggle in the Darkening Deeps January 26, 2012Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Rift.
Tags: Darkening Deeps
We were in Meridian again on Saturday night and primed for a dungeon. Last week was about moving the guild, travel, and a quick level. This week it was back to business. The lineup was:
- Jollyreaper level 23 mage
- Earlthecat level 23 warrior
- Zahihawass level 23 cleric
- Gizalia level 23 mage
- Hillmar level 23 cleric
We stayed in town just long enough to admire the locals while somebody assigned their unused soul points. Clearly, OCD is not a common group trait.
Once soul points were assigned and we had sufficiently discussed how that unicorn mount looks like a paper cut-out, it was time to go.
The destination was the Darkening Deeps, which was way over in Guardian territory. So we decided to skip the overland travel attempt. That was probably a good thing.
More after the cut, including spoilers about certain fights. You’ve been warned.