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We Get Around to the Storm Queen at Last July 3, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Rift.
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For the first time in over six month, all five members of the Saturday night team were online last week.  And we were not even sure we would have all five until the last minute.  Earl was back from his travels and was on IM asking what he should patch up.  There was talk of tanks or cars or maybe another shot at Neverwinter.  But when it became clear that all of would be on, the choices dwindled down to one.  The only game we all play at the moment is Rift.

So we patched up, got into the game, and grouped up to see who had.  The line up was:

  • Jollyreaper level 51 mage
  • Zahihawass level 51 cleric
  • Earlthecat level 52 warrior
  • Hillmar level 53 cleric
  • Gizalia level 53 mage

And the goal of the evening was obvious.  We had to go finish off the first Storm Legion instance, The Exodus of the Storm Queen.  The last time we took a run at that, we ended up dying a combined total of ~100 times.

But first we had to goggle at the new cash shop some more and explain to Earl and Jolly what we had discovered the week before.  They were suitably impressed/confused by the complete buy-in Trion has committed to with their store interface, where anything you buy from vendor is there in the same interface with the RMT goodie.  And often enough, there are two prices on items, the in-game currency or “iron price” and the RMT currency or “lucky charms” price.

We poked around. I considered buying the 7th and 8th bag slot options, though declined for now because my bags were not all that full.  And we all claimed a few loyalty items, the derby being a popular choice.

Hillmar with a new hat

Hillmar with a new hat

After enough of that, it was time for business.  I was still parked in front of the portal to the instance, so we could ignore the looking for group tool this time around.  Once we were ready, I jumped through and dragged us all in.

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Time for a Hiatus from our Hiatus May 16, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Rift.
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Whatever happened, we need to find out why it happened. But clearly it should not have happened.

-Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland)

We are reaching that time of the year when the sun is shining and various members of our regular Saturday night instance group are sometimes lured outside to see the world, visit relatives, or move across town or across country, judging from past experience.  The summer hiatus is nearly upon us.

Which would be fine, except that so far 2013 hasn’t been the best of years for the group getting together.  Take the weekend before last.  Four of us were available.  We got into Rift.  We poked around.  We ran into the Exodus of the Storm Queen instance.

Four Enter... plus a dino

Four Enter… plus a dino

You can tell that is a recent picture because the little orange dino pet from the recent Raptr promotion is there by my side.

We went through the first two boss events and then ended up at the third boss, Valthunder, where we again failed the DPS check, being short on person, and ended up in the usual state of affairs.

I've been dead in here a lot

I’ve been dead in here a lot

Then we chatted a bit, did a hunt rift, and called it a night.

So it has gone.  The five of us haven’t been on together since the first weekend of the year.

I am going to guess that it isn’t for lack of desire.  It isn’t as though one person has said, “screw it” and just stopped showing up.  All of us have missed weeks and then have come back.  There is usually a notification in advance that somebody won’t be on because of some event or another.

And now we are at the point where we traditionally break for summer, usually reconvening in late August for a return to our game of choice.  So the lack of a full group will continue.

Which means Rift, as least for our main characters, is probably off the table for a while.  Not that there is anything new coming in Rift that would impact us greatly.  There will be a summer festival of some sorts.  I forget what they did last year.  And some tweaks no doubt.  But the biggest news of late is the free to play transition which means… pretty much nothing to the group.  There is another zone coming in, and signs that we might be getting some more dimensions options to decorate.  But given the state of my own dimension, that isn’t a big draw for me.

So the question becomes, what should the summer be about?

Should we carry on as we have been?  We have a set of intersecting games depending on who is online.  We play World of Tanks when it is just the boys.  We play Need for Speed World sometimes when the group includes some combo of Earl, Potshot, and myself.  We were playing the Neverwinter Nights 2 with just me and the Potshots.  But we still end up with intersections of people where Rift is the only game in common, and four player Rift only gets us so far with instances.

(I did suggest the last time around that we could just get the dungeon finder looking for group tool to assign us a DPS player, but we eventually decided that having one person in the group not on Skype with us would end up feeling odd.)

So should we let Rift go fallow for the summer (unless we all happen to show up) and go for a nostalgia run?

We could go back to the Lone Lands in LOTRO and play some more anachronistic music with Anderson Cooper.  My corp in EVE is looking into a summer run in LOTRO.  The server they have chosen is Brandywine which, of course, is not one of the servers where I have characters.  That is always the way.

Music... and Anderson Cooper

Music… and Anderson Cooper

We could get some scrolls of resurrection for WoW (Earl is still subscribed) and see what has changed in Azeroth.  It could become the summer of dailies and pet battles.

We could even go really old school and take another stab at EverQuest.  That is doable in groups of less than five.

I think most of the group has Guild Wars 2 at this point.  Oddly, despite its “no need to group” focus and its “every man for himself” view on roles, I think it could work as a group game on the overland content.  I ended up standing by myself in a bunch of group events, so bringing your own group would clearly be a help there.

Or is it time to explore something new and different.  Neverwinter is out, which is new, but I am not sure how different it really is nor do I have a sense of how noxious the free to play aspects of the game are.  There are crazy ideas like Darkfall or Planetside 2 or the like, which promote grouping but where level differentials do not keep people from playing together.  Or we could explore co-op games.  There is Diablo III, which at least three of us own, or Torchlight II, which is damn cheap for what you get.  There is even Borderlands 2, which Gaff made me buy a few weeks back when it was on sale ($25 for the game + all DLC up to that point), but which I am so hilariously bad at on my own that I haven’t gotten very far and have pretty much stopped playing.

I think MOBAs like League of Legends are out, primarily because I cannot stand the genre.

Is there anything else we should be looking at as a possible summer hiatus game?

Visting King’s Breach and the Storm Queen April 11, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Rift.
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Four seems to be the magic number for our group, as we again could only assemble 80% of the group on a Saturday night.  It is like we’re adults with outside interests or something.

  • Jollyreaper level 51 mage
  • Zahihawass level 51 cleric
  • Hillmar level 52 cleric
  • Gizalia level 53 mage

Anyway, a short group meant another practice night.

The Carnival of the Ascended was over, so there was no balloon raid to occupy us, so it was straight to the dungeon hunt.

We looked around on the map for another instance would could go after in Expert mode.  Foul Cascade, which would be next on the list, was rejected because it is a pain to get to.  That put us at King’s Breach, which is close to a portal.  So we headed there and jumped in to see what we could see.

The group in King's Breach

The group in King’s Breach

As is the norm for these posts, more after the cut so the front page isn’t loading so many screen shots.

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A Journey of One Hundred Deaths January 10, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Rift.
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A journey of one hundred deaths begins with one’s first corpse.

-A liberal interpretation of what Laozi meant

100 deaths is my estimate for the cumulative number of corpses our group left littered about the instance we assaulted last week.

Some of us died more than others.  I had to go back to the healer in Meridian twice during the evening because I had hit the “10 death penalty” point, as did Earl.  Zahi hit that point much earlier on due to an unfortunate turn of events at the first boss.  Jolly and Giz also had their share of deaths, with the combat ress capability of myself and Zahi allowing a couple of us to get in multiple deaths in a single fight.

But I am getting ahead of myself.  First, there was the usual cast of characters.

  • Jollyreaper level 50 mage
  • Zahihawass level 51 cleric
  • Hillmar level 51 cleric
  • Earlthecat level 52 warrior
  • Gizalia level 53 mage

And then there was our destination, which last week was Exodus of the Storm Queen, the first Storm Legion instance.

Zahi has scouted its location, found that it took place in the Chancel of Labors up in Storm Pine Peaks.  That being a small location, at least relative to other outdoor instances, and because it was the teaser dungeon for Storm Legion, we actually talked a bit about doing another instance after we wrapped up Exodus.  Due to a character swap, Zahi is missing the Realm of the Fae achievement, so we thought we might go back and do the expert version as our encore.

We got ourselves together in a group and on Skype, pulled up the LFG tool, and chose our poison.

50-54... we're good

50-54… we’re good

And in we went.  More after the cut because of pictures and spoilers and long winded descriptions of events.  You have been warned.

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