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February in Review February 29, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, Rift, World of Warcraft.
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The Site

The site managed another meaningless milestone.  The total page views passed the 2 million mark earlier in the month.  I heard some other site hit that mark as well.

In celebration (oh boy) I will break out actual numbers and share them with you.  Click on the chart to see it in full, readable size.

Semi-Raw Numbers for Your Amusement

It is generally my policy not to go on too much about numbers, since, seen in the perspective of any real sites actively seeking traffic, my own numbers are tiny.  But sometimes it is just interesting to see how things are doing.

For those interested in time lines, but too lazy to add up the numbers, the site passed the 1 million page view mark in March of 2010.  At that point, I did the same thing, and pretty much all the same statements apply nearly two years later, so I’ll just copy and paste them

WordPress.com only keeps track of page views and not daily unique visitors.  However, I have used some third-party tracking for that at times, and uniques seem to run between 70-80% of page views on any given day.

This also does not count anybody who reads via RSS only.  Following the philosophy of creating a blog that I would want to read, I push all the content out on the feed, rarely ever putting something behind a “more” prompt. [This remains true on the RSS feed even when you see "more" on the actual site, which I have started doing for very long posts.]

Judging from what WordPress.com and FeedBurner tell me (because I have two RSS feeds, just to make sure I can’t get any consistent information) anywhere between 3 and 10 times as many people view any given post via RSS compared to the number of people who actually click on it.

Then again, since I rarely hide any of the content, most people just go to the main page to read any given post, so it is tough to get any real measure of how much RSS might change my page view numbers.

All of which I can sum up by saying I don’t really know how many people read this blog, but it is a lot more than I thought ever would.

I still do not know how many people really read the blog, but it remains a lot more than I ever imagined.

One Year Ago

It seems like only a year ago that I was declared influential.  Glad to see we got over that at last.

Hulkageddon IV came and went.  We all survived.  And then there was the new character creator in EVE.  It had… options.

LOTRO had a welcome back event… even though it is free to play.

There was yet another sign of the coming apocalypse.

NetDevil got pulled out of LEGO Universe.

Nintendo was banging the drum for Pokemon Black and White.  We were certainly ready for it at our house.

Van Hemlock was slumming back in MMOs for a bit.

I was taking a look at the holy trinity of roles through a historical lens.

The instance group was still playing World of Warcraft.  Now we just get nostalgic about it.

World of Tanks.  It was in beta and set some sort of bogus record.

Rift was getting ready to launch.  People were freaking out in the absence of calm words.  Personally, I wasn’t buying into the game.  Who needed a WoW clone when we had WoW?

Nostalgia was officially on with the launch of the Fippy Darkpaw Time Locked Progression server.  Characters were rolled.  Low level zones were crowded and experience was slow.  But the tour was a go.  We hit the Qeynos Hills, Blackburrow, West Karana, and the Qeynos SewersImportant spells were rediscovered and camping trips were planned.  Not everything was as we remembered it, but it made for a pretty darn good nostalgia adventure.

And while that was going on, SOE shipped Destiny of Velious for EverQuest II.  But I couldn’t be bothered.

And, finally, one of our cats was on top of the refrigerator.

Five Years Ago

Back in February 2007 Kendricke dropped by with the news that Sony Online Entertainment applied for a trademark for “EVERQUEST II RISE OF KUNARK,” thus confirming my guess that Kunark would be the EverQuest II expansion due near the end of 2007. A quick check of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site shows nothing on my guess for this years expansion. (Return to the Planes of Power FTW!) The USPTO does show that SOE at one time had the trademark for, “EVERQUEST: THE DEMISE OF ARADUNE,” which is mildly ironic from a Vanguard point of view. I wonder what they had planned for that title? (Aradune = Brad McQuaid, for those not completely immersed in EQ history and lore.)

Of course, SOE also announced a price increase for Station Access shortly thereafter, always a buzz killer. This was immediately blamed on Vanguard and calls for the demise of Aradune were literal.  I’m sure glad SOE got over this trend of disappointing their fans!

I also started off in the Lord of the Rings Online open beta which eventually lead to the instance group spending the spring and summer in Middle-earth before returning to Azeroth.

And speaking of Azeroth, a year ago we were just starting to get into the fun that is Uldaman. And somewhere along the line I swapped out my rogue Blintz for my paladin Vikund, who has remained with the instance group ever since.

And finally, my wife got me a Wii for Valentine’s day that I couldn’t use until Easter!

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following sites for linking here in their blogrolls.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in February

EVE Online related posts lead the pack… and people still want to know when Hulkageddon V is coming.

  1. Hulkageddon V: Unholy Union – Coming Soon
  2. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. The Defense of 92D-OI
  5. The Drake Fleet goes to EWN-2U
  6. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  7. Standardized Souls for the Aspiring Ascended
  8. Prediction: Rift Will Go Free-to-Play When WoW Goes Free-to-Play
  9. All The Pretty Ships in New Eden – What Should I Fly Next?
  10. Mewtwo Available for Download from Nintendo
  11. VFK Homeland Defense Bags a Carrier
  12. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!

Spam Comments

Yes and not only that but palaeontologists would construct an evolutionary tree around them and call this “proof” of evolution
[Since this was on a Pokemon post, I am not sure what to think.]

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[Lot of this lately... no idea why]

лего – маленькая кровать
[The first time I have had to consider how "LEGO" looks in Russian.]

nick roth worse noob ever
[I have to start hanging out with Nick. And shouldn't it be "worst" noob ever?]

EVE Online

Clearly EVE is still a going concern for me.  I have managed to onto the kill board for the corp/alliance each of my three months in null sec so far, which at least proves to them I’ve done something, since I tend to be on long after corp/alliance ops end. (The last one was scheduled when I would likely be eating lunch at the office.)

As such, I seem to fly pretty exclusively in Goon, or at least wider CFC, run ops.  Which is great.  I have a lot of fun in them.  And there are lots of other alliances represented in such ops, so it isn’t like I am the outsider.  It just feels a bit odd that I do not really play that much with the corp/alliance with which I am associated, and I wonder if that will come back to haunt me at some point.  The perils of the 24 hour clock I suppose.

Rift

Rift continues to be the home of the instance group.  It serves in filling the WoW-like niche for small group content.  The addition of some pre-defined roles for the four classes actually helped us out quite a bit, which points to another issue.

As a group we do not play the game very much outside of our weekly group.  Back when we were playing WoW as our main game, I often saw other members of the group on during off-hours.  I play alts a couple of times a week and I see Potshot on… and Earl was playing an alt for a bit until he bought SWTOR.

And so we are not as invested in the game and not as knowledgeable about the game.  Anything we don’t pick up in those three hours on Saturday night is likely a mystery to us.  I don’t know that this is really a bad thing.  Our characters tend to be poor, wear equipment that are drops, and vendor any excess as opposed to trying to work the auction house.  But we still have fun and I can see that continuing for the next few months, Rift being good at what it does, which is being a WoW surrogate.

What happens when we hit level cap though?  I am not so sure we re-roll as guardians or do expert dungeons or any of the other things we did in WoW.  We’re just not that attached to the game.  Barring an expansion with a rise in the level cap, we might be looking for Guild Wars 2, Torchlight 2, or some other game.

World of Warcraft

Or we might go back to Azeroth.

We are in a funny spot now, nostalgia-wise, with WoW being about the same age as EverQuest was when I started writing this blog.  Old enough, and changed enough, for there to be “good old days” to remember fondly.  And this came out with my first instance group video.  There was some very clear, “let’s go play WoW!” reaction to it in the group.  As a group we have more invested in WoW, in hours played, in memories, in emotion, and in character growth and development, than in any other game.

It would be just a question of how to approach the whole thing.  As much as I like the Dungeon Finder when looking to PUG, I think we might have to throw it out for any future group.  Overland travel and seeing the world is too much a part of what has built memories for us.  And while the 1-60 dungeons have all be toned down to easy mode, there are still dungeons in Burning Crusade we haven’t done, and three more instances in Lich King that got added after we were “finished” that we have never faced.  And who knows what pandas will bring.

Thoughts for the future.

Coming Up

GDC is coming up next week in San Francisco and I am not going.  I have actually gotten about a dozen email messages asking if I want to interview various companies that will be at the show… though at least half of those messages were part of the press drive to bring attention to the Swedish Gaming Exhibit in the Nordic Pavilion at the show. (Those terms are direct quotes.)  Unfortunately, I couldn’t score a free expo pass this year, and to purchase one runs you $250.  At that price point I start thinking about all the other things I could do with $250.  Ah well, it will probably be rainy up in SF next week in any case.

There is a distinct threat of a return to Middle-earth, with Gaff having finished up with Skyrim and SWTOR and looking for something with less time commitment than EVE on weeknights.  This might also impact my EVE Online time as well, as Gaff is the one person I actually really know in the corp/alliance.

I have previously threatened to write about iPad apps and games, and I renew this threat.  We’ll see if it actually happens.  I also threatened to do more than just patch Star Trek Online last month… and that was all I did.  It sure is patched.  I just have no desire to play.

Otherwise, you should pretty much expect the usual stuff.  Instance group.  EVE Online.  The timeline of the Fippy Darkpaw EverQuest progression server.  Maybe another video.  The last one got almost no reaction, so I might have spent all my video making talent on the one instance group nostalgia video.  Or maybe people just don’t care about Sunken Temple.  Always a possibility.

Lost Dungeons of Norrath Still Lost on Fippy Darkpaw February 29, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest.
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On the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, the Lost Dungeons of Norrath, the next EverQuest expansion slated to become available, failed to show up on the expected morning.

Still Lost

It was reported in the forums and repeated elsewhere that the Lost Dungeons of Norrath would unlock 15 days after the Planes of Power went live.  Since the Planes went live on February 13th, that would put the Lost Dungeons unlock at February 28th. However, according to reports in the forums, the expansion failed to show up on the appointed day.

Instead a vote came up that morning regarding the unlock, which was set to run through March 12th, something that would push the unlock out considerably.

Naylie, the new community manager for EverQuest, who just recently took over from Piestro (who got thrown into all the fun going on in EverQuest II of late), chimed in to say she was looking into the situation.

There is no word so far as to when the Lost Dungeons of Norrath will be found and what will happen with The Legacy of Ykesha expansion, which was targeted to unlock 15 days after Rallos Zek is slain… a death which occurred on February 13th as well… so that unlock is officially off schedule as well it seems.

Update: Naylie posted the following on the forums:

I spoke with Development and apparently we were a little confused on how this unlock was going to happen.

These two unlocks should happen the same as the other expansion unlocks. If enough yes votes happen, both expansions should unlock on March 12, 2012.

So it looks like there will be a vote, and that the vote is for BOTH Lost Dunegons of Norrath and the Legacy of Ykesha.  Tune back in a couple of weeks to see how that ends up.

And, to add on to the confusion, it is unclear how this will all impact the vote/unlock timer for the Gates of Discord expansion.  Never a dull moment!

Visions of a Sunken Temple February 28, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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This is the second in my series of… well… at least two videos about World of Warcraft.

The first video was focused on the exploits of our regular instance group in their first year together in Azeroth.

This time around, the focus is on a single instance, the Temple of Atal’Hakkar or Sunken Temple.

If you are viewing this in a mobile device or RSS reader, the video can be reached via this link.

More information about the video is available after the cut.

(more…)

There is Always a Party at VFK February 28, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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I am beginning to learn that flying with the Goons means getting fights delivered to you on a regular basis.

It seems that lately a hostile fleet will show up every night in or around VFK-IV during US prime time just to give us something to do.  This time is was a fleet from Initiative Mercenaries and Giantsbane.

I actually missed the broadcast for the home defense fleet initially, but logged on as soon as I saw it.  The battle had move on from VFK and I had to chase the fleet down C8-CHY in Fade after joining.  I got there just in time to sit and wait for a bit.

The fleet sitting in space

From there it was jump hither and yon, with one of the most frustrating moments of the night coming as we were jumping out to see the red fleet jump in on top of us.  Battle missed by mere seconds.

Some more hopping and a lot more waiting ensued.  Eventually we caught them up against a bubble at one of the gates and were able to pick off a few.  I got credit for assisting with a Muninn and a Huginn.  A pack managed to warp off and we spent the next 30 minutes trying to hunt them down without a dedicated scanning ship.

Searching again

Eventually boredom took over and we decided to head back, letting the remainder of the red fleet go.  The final tally looked to be 8 ships and 5 pods killed for 1 ship lost.  Some will look at that ship list and note the odds were heavily in our favor.  But when you fly in and kick the hive, you get all the bees.  You don’t get to complain about the odds when you do that.

On the way back we tripped over a cruiser gang doing a gate camp.

More bubbles

We scored no kills, but we probably startled them something good.  A one hundred ship fleet dropping in on your gate camp can wreck your plans.  After giving chase for a bit, we resumed our flight back to VFK. The fleet stood down to change commanders.  I took the opportunity to drop out as it was time for bed.  But I am guessing that some of the fleet headed out again to chase down the cruisers one jump over from VFK.

All of which is proof of what Gaff told me early on: Don’t rat or mine around VFK.  There is always something going on in the area.

My Number Comes Up in a VFK Homland Defense Fleet February 27, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Just as I was thinking it might be time to turn off the computer and head to bed early, a fleet op got called.

Nulli Secunda was in VFK-IV and the call was out for Drake Fleet for a Homeland Defense op.

I clone jumped into VFK, where I keep my no-implants clone and my fleet op ships, joined up with the fleet and waited for instructions.  The first thing that went out was not to undock because Nulli Secunda had undock bubbled and a fleet of Nagas at range to snipe.

There was the usual confusion and mis-information and people undocking despite being told not to, but eventually we had a fleet assembled and were ordered to undock, so out we went.

We spew forth from Mittaningrad

We aligned to a distant object, used our microwarp drives to get out of their bubbles, and warped off to form up.

Once gathered, we aligned back to the station.  Some people warped early and, as the FC said, died hilariously and alone.  Then came the warp from the FC and we all headed into the battle.  It was quite a mess.

Bubbles, Missiles, and Mittaningrad

In the fight it was a struggle for us to keep in range.  It was the usual call the target, lock, and fire in the midst of chaos.

Drake Fleet in the middle of things

Things were not going well, but I was just locking and shooting as the FC called targets when rather suddenly I was in my pod, my Drake having vanished around me.  My low point on the alphabetical sort did not save me this time around.

And there I was, in the middle of a bubble, 100km from the station, and in my pod.  I wasn’t going to be a primary target any more, but you never know when somebody just wants a pod kill.  I headed out of the bubble then warped around the system a bit until things settled down.  Eventually the station was clear and I was able to warp back in safely.

And so I have my first fleet op death in null sec, and my second Drake down in null sec overall.

The result of the battle itself was mixed.  Looking at a battle summary, we clearly lost a lot more ships.  However, as usual, we lost cheap ships, so the balance of ISK was more in our favor.

At least it was some action on a Sunday night.  I suppose that is one thing about VFK, people will show up just for a fight.

And the insurance on that Drake was going to run out in a week in any case.  Now we’ll see if I get any reimbursement.

Addendum: Nulli put up a video of the battle.

Ironically, Actual Loot Pinatas are Kind of Tough February 26, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Rift.
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In Rift, things are warming up for the latest in-game event, the Carnival of the Ascended, the celebration of the first anniversary of Rift.

Carnival of the Ascended Schedule

That empty corner in Meridian is filling up again.

It has been empty for weeks...

They are apparently setting up just the sort of games you expect from a carnival.

It has never been quite that obvious to me...

And as a warm up to the whole thing, the kick-off is to run out and find dragon pinatas. (And yes, I know in Spanish it is spelled “piñata.”  Trion didn’t feel the need to spell it that way in the English client, and we are talking about their pinatas.)

This has got to be one of those little MMO jokes, since one of the derogatory terms for NPCs in MMOs is “loot pinatas.”  They exist solely to be beat on until they dispense prizes.

Still, I am game to get involved with Trion’s little joke.  So I set out to find some pinatas.  I went to Scarlet Gorge where I immediately spotted one, because they appear on the map with a special little balloon icon.

Pinata Ho!

I ran out, found the little guy, and started beating on it.

There you are, time to die!

And I beat on it, and cast, and beat on it some more.  But it did not seem to be losing very much health, so I moused over its health bar to see what I was up against.

One Healthy Pinata

32,505 hit points for a level 27 pinata.

Now, for comparison, Hillmar, a level 27 blueberry cleric, has 1820 hit points and his best spell hits for about 200.  He is a healer, but still.

So 32K hit points might take a while.

Fortunately, there is also a debuff on the pinatas.

They wear out naturally

But it takes a while for that debuff to build up, and it doesn’t start until you commence a whackin’ on the thing, so Hillmar had to spend a while beating on various pinatas before they started to actually lose significant hit points.

Still, a little patience and I was able to bring down the pinata.

The basic reward is glass beads, which will be the vendor currency for the Carnival of the Ascended, once it gets going.

But the pinatas also appear to drop cosmetic items from past world events.  Hillmar ended up with several clothing items, three pets, and an effect that can be applied to weapons that makes them glow purple.

Fae Yule pants... great...

So I have a start on glass beads at least, and at least a few items I like.  I’m not sure I really needed… or wanted… the Fae Yule stuff.  And now I can say I have hunted literal loot pinatas.

I'm coming for you!

Now Where Did That Guild Go? February 26, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, World of Warcraft.
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As part of the video production over the last couple weeks, I have been logging into World of Warcraft and poking around.

I started with our original guild, the Twilight Cadre on Eldre’Thalas, which I consider to be our home.

At one point though, I decided to check in on our horde guild.

After finishing up the last instance in Wrath of the Lich King (at the time), in October of 2009 we rolled up on Lightninghoof, an RP-PvP server, and created a guild called Dawn of Anarchy.

That was our attempt to find new experiences by doing as much different as possible.  And it was reasonably successful I suppose.  But there was another hiatus, time spent in Middle-earth, and then Cataclysm.  So our last venture out with the guild on Lightninghoof was back in June 2010, when we were doing Burning Crusade instances. (This is why I blog all this, because I would never remember it.)

The guild has been quiet since then.

But when I went back to check on it this past weekend, I found that my characters were no longer in the guild. None of us were in the guild.

It appears that somebody named Deviuus… and I am not even sure who that is… I think it was an invite based on a friend of a friend sort of thing… petitioned to be made guild master since we had all be absent for so long, then kicked us all out of the guild.

Deviuus by name and nature...

Not that this is a big hairy deal.  I don’t think we were headed back to WoW until the dawn of the Age of Pandas, and even then I doubt that the horde guild on the RP-PvP server would be our destination.  The guild bank was probably full of stuff of dubious value, and we hadn’t advanced the guild or even gotten any guild achievements, since we didn’t play on Lightninghoof when Cataclysm launched.

When it came down to it, I couldn’t even remember the name our guild there until I asked Potshot.  Somehow I hadn’t even mentioned it in a post.  I just knew one was missing.

It is just one of those little lessons in life.  If you are not sure you know somebody well enough to trust them, then you probably can’t.

In Space, a Positive Kill Ratio is the Norm February 24, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Being in null sec and in actual fleet battles, I have naturally become more interested in the kill boards available.  Who blew up whom and, more importantly, who have I blown up, is now of more interest to me than ever before… primarily because I have now actually blown a few people up.

And something that was initially impressive to me was the fact that I have a positive kill ratio.

This was in my mind because in many past PvP games I had played, the ratio of kills to deaths was an important measure of player skill.  This goes all the way back to the beginnings of my online gaming.

In games like Stellar Emperor, MegaWars III, Stellar Warrior, and Air Warrior getting more kills than you had been killed was an key indicator of who was the better player.  In Air Warrior, where for a while the rankings were based on kill ratio and kill streaks… how many kills in a row you got without dying… it reached a level of obsession at times, with players husbanding the kill streaks by refusing combat except on the most favorable terms and people bailing out of undamaged planes… which granted no kill to the opposition and thus preserved your streak… when cornered and potentially forced to fight on terms not of their own choosing.

And even later on, when I was playing games like Delta ForceDesert Combat, or Battlefield 2, match results and clan kill boards often elevated the kill to death ratio as a key measure of player capability.

So when I go into PvP, that is one of the measures that is ingrained into my mind.  Did I kill the bad guys more than they killed me.

Unfortunately, in EVE, that measure is bogus for an individual.

It did not take me long to realize that everybody I ever ran into, red or blue, had a positive kill ratio.

And of course they did.  If we go to my kill board for February and look at my kills, you see things like this.

That is a kill from the battle at EWN-2U, one of the targets that FC Boat was particularly obsessed with bringing down during the battle.  I got credit for that kill along with 177 of my fleet brethren.

All told, Mistress Zhantine’s tengu was hit by:

  • 123 Drakes
  • 22 Maelstroms
  • 3 Manticores
  • 3 Nemesis
  • 2 Huginns
  • 2 Hounds
  • 1 Tornado
  • 1 Nighthawk
  • 1 Vulture
  • 1 Hurricane
  • 1 Lachesis
  • 1 Purifier
  • 1 Scorpion
  • 1 Bellicose
  • 1 Stiletto
  • 9 Capsules
  • 5 Unknowns

I am not even sure how those last 14 figure into things, unless it is via drone damage or damage done before they were reduced to pods.

But that was 178 people over 14 alliances who hit that tengu.  And while the only the person getting in the final blow gets the kill mail on their in-game character sheet (that person did 0.15% of the damage… which isn’t that bad considering the top damage dealer did 1.44% of the damage) we all got the credit.

In fact, if the kill boards broke down what percentage of a kill was actually due to my own efforts, I would have about a single cumulative kill.  I have gotten top damage dealer exactly once, as part of a VFK Homeland Defense Fleet operation, for which I clocked in at an amazing 16.8% of the damage for the kill.

So kill boards, at least when it comes to individuals, are a nice record of where you’ve been and what you have done, but the number of kills and ratios of kills seems to be best applied to individual battles or the success of a large organization, say an alliance, over time.

EVE Trivial Stats Feed February 23, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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I love statistics, both trivial and profound.  Numbers, stats, ratios, Venn diagrams, I find delight in such.

And so it was that as soon as I learned of @CCP_Diagoras Twitter feed, I had to follow it.

The prime purpose of his feed appears to be to toss out random (or requested) bits of data about EVE Online.

Sometimes the data is too obscure for me, but most of the time it is of interest.  And the tidbits are always extra special when they hit close to home.  For example, two of today’s tweets:

Hey, I am part of that statistic!  I have blown people up in VFK this month!

The CFC capital is a happening place I guess.  Lots of guests dropping in uninvited.

And my first PvP death ever was in M-OEE8.

And while it didn’t happen this month, I have been blown up in Rancer!  It is a low sec system that cuts travel time between Caldari and Minmatar space by quite a few jumps.  And as such, it is often camped.

Anyway, if you feel you are not getting enough EVE Online trivia, there is another source for you.

Addendum:

Oh, yeah, the high sec systems.  I know all of these well.

Such fun.  I still have a metric ton of crap in Hageken.  That used to be my home.

Interesting that the deaths for high, low, and null sec are so close for the top 5 systems.

The Experience Toggle in Rift Arrives Just in Time February 23, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Rift.
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We only had four for our Saturday night group last weekend.

Earl reported in as being “iffy” in the afternoon and then had to beg off by the evening.  He had friends coming up for a recording session the next day.  I did get a chance to send him a link to the instance group video I had just finished uploading to YouTube at that point and he gave it a thumbs up.

But the rest of us were out in Telara and ready to play, the group being:

  • Gizalia level 26 mage
  • Hillmar level 26 cleric
  • Jollyreaper level 27 mage
  • Zahihawass level 27 cleric

Fortunately for us, we had something to do and Trion had just given us a way to keep the group from getting spread out in levels.

Yes, while it arrived less than a month ago, the lock XP option was just in time for us.  Those of us who were already level 27 locked their experience, while those of us who were not waited until we hit 27 and then locked.

As for a task, we had just picked up a guild quest that required us to kill 1,000 Rift creatures.  Up to that point we had only killed about 100, so we had a clear goal in mind.  Off we went to Scarlet Gorge to chase rifts.

Water rift in sight!

We did run into one oddity early on that I had seen before.  At one foothold, the idol there had teleported in an attack group.  However, rather than running off to attack our red thing at the quest hub, this group of baddies decided to just hang around on the edge of the foothold.  And once Hillmar and Zahi decided to plink one of the real defenders, that group joined in as well and swamped us.

Now, once the four of us showed up, taking out that group was no big deal.  Hillmar went to healing, Zahi started using his tanking and taunting abilities, and it all went down easily enough.  But I have run into that situation before when out solo and wonder if that is a bug or just a way to make some footholds tougher than others.

Anyway, the zone seemed pretty quiet.  We ran into relatively few other players, while the population of rifts was big enough that we were able to bounce around closing them pretty much non-stop.  And we seemed to be getting all flavors of rifts.  No one planar bound group seemed to have dibs on the zone.

The Fruit of the Loom Rift!

The variety actually worked our well, as a couple of us got an achievement along the way.

Prismatic Shutout is the achievement for closing one of each flavor of rift.  Like most achievements, it doesn’t mean much, but they are still a nice way to mark and track something you might have otherwise not noticed.  I certainly couldn’t have told you if Hillmar had closed each of the rift types at that point.

We did actually end up at a major rift in the zone.  There is one semi-permanent fire rift that is part of a quest chain in about the middle of the zone.

Fire rifts are red

Fire rifts seem to be our least favorite rifts.  In disusing them as we tackled this one, the issue is that they are populated by red mobs with red name tags which get targeted by a red arrow and a red reticule all on top of a glowing red background with glowing red stuff flying about.  It isn’t quite the issue of the black control panel on the Disaster Area solar flare causing space ship, but I don’t have to try to use those control on a weekly basis, while fire rifts are common.  And none of the fire rift bosses have names quite as cool as Hotblack Desiato.

Still, for all that, we managed.  Again, Zahi and his off-tank abilities and seldom-used taunts, Hillmar’s healing, and two DPS mages made things go smoothly enough, and netted us another achievement.

From there we worked our way down the zone again, picking off rifts and footholds as we went.

As an evening went, it was quiet fun.  We grabbed a lot of planarite, got a couple of achievements, and advanced our guild quest.

Almost half way there...

And we didn’t leave Earl in the dust level-wise while doing it.  Not a bad total for the night.