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Quote of the Day – Insulting Nordstrom June 14, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
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11 comments

If you want to sell a whole bunch of units, that is certainly a way to do that, to sell a whole bunch of stuff at a low price. The gamemakers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we’re not trying to be Target. We’re trying to be Nordstrom.

-David DeMartini, head of EA’s Origin Digital Distribution Platform, on how Valve’s policy on sales and discounts is bad for everybody

I am not an Origin customer, nor do I plan to be one.  That is primarily because of the badly handled customer service I have read about concerning Origin and EA.

So, EA, if you are shooting to be Nordstrom, a store that is able to charge a premium based on the perception people have of their quality and customer service (has anybody here not heard the snow tires story?), you have a long way to go.

Frankly, I would rate Target’s reputation and customer service far above Origin’s as well.

Try harder, Origin.

Much harder.

Addendum: And then EA changed tits collective mind and said Costco-like discounts are a good idea after all!  They still seem to be failing on that whole customer service and reputation thing though.

Accidental Instant Adventure June 14, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Rift.
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14 comments

After finally hitting level 50 in Rift last week, I was set to try and answer the eternal question of those at level cap, “What now?”

I ran out to Ember Isle for a bit, just to see it.  As predicted, being modestly geared with mostly green quest reward items, I got pounded pretty hard.  Most battles ended with my boar pet dead and me having consumed some sort of health supplement in order to survive.  I could kill things and survive, but it was slow and not economically viable.  I should have put an alt into the manufacture of health potions rather than weapons and runes.

I did some PvP battleground… erm, warfront… things.  There is a whole pile of quests to get you pointed in that direction as well as the promise of being able to gear up using Favor, the PvP currency that would be Honor in WoW.  But I have never been a huge fan of battlegrounds (something compounded by the fact that in amongst the veteran and geared up level 50s, I do get one and two shotted an awful lot) and the only one I ended up enjoying much was Black Garden, mostly because it is small and simple enough that I actually think I understand it, making it pretty much the opposite of Port Scion in my view. (I think it is something like Alterac Valley in WoW.)

Black Garden – Nobody uses those side paths

In the end, I decided on zone events as my avenue of adventure.  If enough people jump in, zone events can be fun without becoming the thundering herd of beta that would curb stomp any mob it faced before you could get in two hits.

It’s the tier 1 Telara Beta marathon!

For the most part, enough people do tend to jump in to make the events viable.  With the deck stacked heavily in favor of level 50s in the game by this point, it is much easier to finish up a zone event in Stillmore, Shimmersand, or Iron Pine Peak than any of the mid-level zones.

The timing seems to be such that an event runs in each one of those zones every night at prime time.  I have been able to hit at least one such event successfully almost every night.

And this helps me on my way towards beefing up my rogue.  He has already earned 12 levels of planar attunement and has accumulated a pile of inscribed sourcestones.  The latter are yet another currency to help you buy upgraded gear.

However, not every event is well attended.  Last night I ran out to an event in Shimmersand only to find myself pretty much alone in fending off the threat.

My usual tactic is to find the public group that becomes the central raid, join it, and follow it around.  That is generally the best use of my meager abilities.  There are a couple of events where I can accomplish things solo, at least until I find that raid group, by picking my battles carefully and not standing in the path of the parade of invasion groups running around the zone.

This was not one of those events, and so I found myself dying while attempting to find any public group working on the event.

Then, finally, I ran close enough to somebody to get the join button at the top of the screen.  Only it said “Join Adventure” rather than “Join Public Group,” but I wasn’t picky at this point.

And so I stumbled, quite by accident, onto the Instant Adventure feature of Rift.

The group consisted of me and one other player, and he clearly did not need me along for the ride.  But after he kicked me once and I rejoined, he tolerated me until I was able to prove I wasn’t totally useless.

Instant Adventure appears to be a chain of quests, each of which centers around a general geographic area in a zone and which finishes up with a boss fight of some sort.  It is like your own personal zone event.  Or your group’s own personal one.

Some of the quest series is always a kill quest for mobs that were there anyway.  But you also spawn some special mobs, participate in events, and, as mentioned, the boss fight or similar end event.  And things scale depending on how big your group is.  Sometimes it is simply a need to kill more of a given mob.  And sometimes things seem to get much tougher, like the end boss.

This can lead to group composition issues.  During my first run with IA, this warrior and I fought a pirate chief and, while it was a tough fight, the result was never in doubt.  Later, in a group of six, with five rogues and a warrior, everybody died at least once and soul walked back into the fight because the boss scaled to a point where we really could have used a healer.  I am going to guess that healers are all off raiding or doing expert dungeon while IA has become the domain of the disenfranchised DPS players looking to gear up.

That is certainly why I am there, because the payout for IA includes inscribed sourcestone, one of the currencies for welfare epics in Rift.  And between zone events, my first few runs with IA, and my obsessive attention to the Lootables scratcher game in the Rift Mobile App, I had earned enough of these to buy a bow that was a serious upgrade over the level 50 blue bow that my weaponsmith alt had made for me.

Only, as in all things, there was a catch.  I could afford the inscribed sourcestone price for the bow that was a serious upgrade.  There was a second aspect to the price.  The bow I wanted was in the second tier, and to get that you must buy and trade in the first tier bow.  I did not have enough sourcestones for that, and the first tier bow was, at best, when looked at through squinted eyes, a very mild upgrade to my current bow.

But, I want that next bow, so I bought it.  Now I need another 90 sourcestones to get the bow I want.  That means more zone events, more Rift Mobile scratchers, and certainly more Instant Adventure.

At least I got an achievement.

Out on an Instant Adventure

Rift achievements aren’t quite as shiny as WoW achievements, but they are close and a still head and shoulders above other competitors in presentation and content.