Monthly Archives: October 2008

October in Review

The Site

The EVE Blog Pack and the profiles are both bringing more traffic here and sending more traffic on to other sites in the pack, so things seem to working out well in that regard.

And while I linked a column on Wired about blogging being out of date because you’ll never be famous or get a decent Google page rank, somehow I keep ending up on the first page of searches on which I have no business being.  Currently I am the third result if you search on SWTOR and for a while this month I was on the first page of results for getting access to upper blackrock spire.

Lesson?  Google is a force of nature? Google is mystery wrapped in a riddle and located in Mountain View?

One Year Ago

A year ago I finally finished my training and was actually flying a Hulk!  Being mining focused, I went out and calculated which asteroids were the most profitable to mine.  Veldspar rated surprisingly high.

I also figured out that with 120 billion ISK and a year of training, I could fly a Titan, but I couldn’t fire the main weapon system.

The instance group finished up Zul’Farrk and started in on Mauradon.

Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising was put on indefinite hold, which lead to a headline contest.

And, as usual, with the coming of Fall, the rains, and a new expansion I again became nostalgic for EverQuest.

New Linking Sites

Please visit these sites that were kind enough to link here to help show my appreciation!

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. EVE Online Makes The Daily WTF
  3. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  4. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  5. Five LEGO Video Game Titles I Want
  6. 2008 MMORPG Progdictionations
  7. SWTOR – Let the Hubris Commence
  8. LEGO Batman Unleashed
  9. Five WAR Quest Log Gripes
  10. Scholomance – Round 2 – Plus Dire Maul West
  11. Hauling Trash, In Style
  12. Screw Job in the Altdorf Sewers

Best Search Terms

i am murloc
[deep]

wow noob patch
[Some would say that all of WoW is patched for noobs]

Best Spam Comments

Hi sexy girls at this forum! My name is Mike and I want to hook up with you so much.
[You’re doing it wrong.]

Elgezeraa For Real Estate Investment , one of the major companies which operates to achieve the dream of beauty housing through huge housing projects for upscale housing in Alexandria one of the most beautiful cities in Egypt.
[Sure, but my daily commute is going to be hell.]

thence cultivations heartless! negotiate …
[I think there is a message in that for somebody.]

EVE Online

Another month of wealth accumulation as I try to build a big enough buffer to keep economic activity going after I purchase a freighter.  I have not spent much time mining, so I am running low on raw materials that I can use for production or sell, but buy orders have been helping to keep my finished goods supply going.

My goal: A freighter before Thanksgiving.

EverQuest

It started raining yesterday.  Can nostalgia be far behind?  Hmmm… mercenaries.

TorilMUD

Speaking of nostalgia, my committing some memories of the last 15 years of Sojourn/TorilMUD has stirred a bit of interest in the game.  Xyd, Gaff, and I were on at the same time for a while the other evening, something that probably hasn’t happened in five years or more.  And now I have prodded Chandigar.  I don’t think this will suddenly lead to the instance group rolling characters, but a few people have been dusting off their ZMud licenses to see if my favorite text-based version of Forgotten Realms is still alive and kicking.

Warhammer Online

The Warhammer Online experience has paled for the instance group for now.  In our email discussions this week, we all seemed to agree that big open RvR battles were really fun, but that they were so few and far between that they were not really the defining experience for the group.  Instead, we spent more time roving the contested areas looking for action (and Kendricke), and nobody wanted to continue to spend our limited play budget on the hope that maybe NEXT Saturday we would have a lot of fun.

World of Warcraft

The 3.0.2 patch came along.  It was a big download and a rough post-patch experience for some, but it has some really interesting changes.  As I said elsewhere, they made the hunter even better, which is tough to accomplish when you consider it to be the most fun class to play already.  And we all got a 3 day credit for the inconvenience caused by the server issues.

It looks like the instance group might be back in Azeroth.  We need to warm up with the changes that went into 3.0.2 before the Lich King shows up on the scene.

Coming Up

OMFG… what ISN’T coming up?  November will see Wrath of the Lich King, Mines of Moria, and The Shadow Odyssey released.

Plus The Chronicles of Spellborn is coming along, a title that is pushing “story” as a defining element of the MMO experience.  We shall see if that foreshadows how Star Wars: The Old Republic will do in that regard.

And my Warhammer Online account still has a few weeks to go, so I can peek in to see what they have planned to stave off the Lich King.

It will be a month of too many topics, not enough time.

The Storming of Stonetroll Keep

In which we indulge in what might be described as “RvE” action and answer the question, “What happens when you hold a war and only one side shows up?”

We did not have a full crew, Earl being hamstrung by a lack of power in his abode.  We had:

Bluelinebasher – Level 10 Ironbreaker
Denrohir – Level 14 Archmage
Chicken – Level 14 Shadow Warrior
Varsoon – Level 14 Warrior Priest
Meclin – Level 16 Ironbreaker
Stardoe – Level 17 Warrior Priest

The night found us quickly into the game and in search of action.  Denrohir and Stardoe were already off in Troll Country/Ostland with a budding warband when the rest of us logged in, capping control points and ganking the occasional red name unfortunate enough to wander by.

By the last control point was reached, we had formed up and the warband consisted of a little more than two groups worth of players happily following the leader and gaining little bits of renown.

All Us, No Them

All Us, No Them

Once the last point was capped all eyes went to the last sore red point on the map, Stonetroll Keep.

The mob decided to give it a try and off we rolled.  Siege weapons were at hand, but all we really needed was a ram to help knock down the door, as the place was only defended by NPCs.

Unfortunately, we did not have critical mass, nor enough experience amongst us, to actually take the keep.  So after a couple of wipes at the hands of the keep lord on the second floor, we decided to go back to capping control points.

We wandered the lands… or at least the tier 2 lands… in search of control points to cap.  We found that Destruction owned the iron clad and the lighthouse in Barak Hussein Varr, so we headed out to cap those.

Nautical Control Point

Nautical Control Point

And as we traveled, our warband slowly grew until it was a full four groups of fury.

We decided at that point to go give Stonetroll Keep another try.

Still undefended by any but NPCs, we set to work.  Getting entry to the keep was easy, but the battle with the keep lord on the second floor was still seemingly beyond our grasp.

Then Chicken noticed that if healers and ranged DPS people stood on the third floor that overlooks the keep lord’s area, they were spared all that AOE damage that the keep lord puts out.  With the healers no longer dying or healing themselves, the tanks stayed alive.  With the tanks alive, the DPS guys were able to whittle down the NPCs.  And with that the battle went from annoyingly hard to very easy.

So there is your tip for the day, if you didn’t already posses that bit of information.

And with that… well… we were kind of done for the evening.  We took an undefended keep and stood victorious.

Dandies in Victory

Dandies in Victory

Order owned all of the control points and keeps in tier 2, while Destruction did not seem to want to come out and play.

We Win?

We Win?

We found a few of them around the Monestary of Morr and got a small battle going, but it did not last long.  They went off to something else and we were left in control of the field.

During that skirmish, Varsoon got hit with the ice trap spell and the graphic seemed to stick to him after the effect faded.  Everybody else was able to see it, too.  So we tried using Varsoon as bait while everybody else hid, but nobody was fooled.

Oh no, I'm stuck! I hope nobody comes to get me!

Oh no, I'm stuck! I hope nobody comes to get me!

We left the warband and grouped up to find something else to do.  We realized that we lost Bluelinebasher somewhere along the way.  He turned out to be having trouble with WAR and his computer again, and he wasn’t on Skype to let us know.  Meanwhile, without a real goal, first Meclin (for whom it was 2 hours later) and then Stardoe decided to call it a night.

Denrohir, Chicken, and Varsoon stayed on to do a bit more PvE questing.  Varsoon finally hit level 15 after three Saturday evening’s worth of play.  And that was about it.

But there, at the end of our fifth weekend playing WAR as a group, I think we all made a decision individually that perhaps, as it stands now, this is not the game for us.

Open RvR is a blast when it happens, but it does not happen often enough.  We got into one good keep battle as a group, then haven’t seen one since, despite playing at what I would call prime time on a Saturday night.

With the play budget I described previously, having to depend on the other team coming out and play to have any fun isn’t working out.

Part of the problem is that we are a casual group.  We haven’t kept up with the competitive pack in the game.  The fun is happening in tiers 3 and 4 we’re told, and we’re stuck in tier 2.  I am told that the good group dungeons don’t start until tier 3.  And the decent lairs.  And probably the free candy and ice cream for all I know.  Unfortunately, at our casual rate of progress, some of that content is months away.

And part of the reason we are so casual is that the game really hasn’t really drawn most of us to play at times other than Saturday night.  During the first days there was a fury of activity and we saw each other several nights a week.  But that tapered off after the second week and now there is almost no activity outside of Saturday night.

So an email went out earlier this week.  Opinions were expressed.  Options were explored.  Consensus was reached.

It looks like this coming Saturday night we will not be playing Warhammer Online.

The Farstrider Lodge

The recently introduced achievements in World of Warcraft are like bright, shiny, irresistible candy.  I want them all, but I am interested just looking at them at times.

Of course, there are a lot there that I am probably never going to get… but then if they were all easy, they wouldn’t really be achievements.

On the other hand, there are some in there I am surprised I do not have already, especially in the exploration category.  Zones I thought I had traveled to death seem to have one or two locations off in a corner that I have missed over the years.

And then there are some locations I cannot believe I missed.  For example, The Farstrider Lodge in Loch Modan.

Yes, it is a bit out of the way, over on the southeast edge of the zone, but it seems to be a sizeable outpost, with vendors, a few trainers, and quests to be done.  There were quests that I missed!

Anyway, that finished off Loch Modan for me.

Now to go find that spot I missed in the Wetlands.

Hey, The King’s Back

I’ve been waiting to say that for a while.  King Varian Wrynn is back in Stormwind, and looking none too pleased.

Not that I care too much about him or his mood.  I just had to use the punchline from one of the best jokes that the /silly command delivers.

“So, I have this idea for a great movie.

It’s about two gnomes who find a bracelet of power, and they have to take it to the Burning Steppes and cast it into the Cauldron.

They form the Brotherhood of the Bracelet.

Along the way they’re trailed by a murloc named Gottom, who’s obsessed with the bracelet, and nine bracelet bogeymen.

It could be a three-parter, called ‘Ruler of the Bracelet’. The first part would be called ‘The Brotherhood of the Bracelet’, followed by ‘A Couple of Towers’, with the climactic ending called ‘Hey, the King’s Back!'”

Human males have the best lines.

The Name Generator

TorilMUD was, and still is, big on players being a part of the world.  While role playing was not mandatory, it meant that things like your name and character description had to be approved by the team that ran the game.  And to be approved they had to be “in character” and appropriate for your race and class.  There was none of the names you see so often in WoW, like Sovietagent, Kilzyou, or Dumblonde. (All of which I just got from a “who” in Ironforge.)

While a description was something you added after you were in the game, but a name was something you needed to log in.  The MUD ran 24/7, but the gods with name approval authority were not always online.  And if they were not online when you were creating a character, you would just sit there in “approval limbo” until somebody showed up.

To rectify that, the team created a name generator for the game.  When creating a character you could choose your own name and be left to the whims of the approval process, or take a name from the generator and be automatically approved.

And the name generator was pretty good.  Some pretty good names came out of it, some of which I use to this day.

Some, however, were pretty questionable when it came to being “in character.”  We used to email the good ones to each other, names like:

  • Nomap
  • Lateral
  • Ases
  • Anut
  • Ispat
  • Tales
  • Sinutab
  • Makes
  • Purmalog
  • Medal
  • Fellah
  • Anag
  • Panix

You could take one of those names and get into the game, but in a very short time a god would show up and ask you to pick a better name.  Usually.  I still wonder how some names passed muster, like a guy named Sorepain. (Sore Pain?)  The worse the name, the quicker somebody would come get you.

The best name I ever rolled on TorilMUD was “Toril.”  I was rolling up a paladin because I had somehow picked up a Holy Avenger, the two-handed blade that every paladin wants, and I could not resist the option.  And I was busted at the main menu, before I even entered the game.

Generated Names (choose by number)
————————————–
1) Lesimnar            5) Ocerur
2) Toril               6) Damozev
3) Inewir              7) Aseway
4) Acoy                8 ) Rifohoy
0) Generate different names.

By what name do you wish to be known? 2
You wish to be known as Toril (Y/N)? y

Please enter a password for Toril:

—————————————
NAME:   Toril
SEX:      Male
RACE:     Human
CLASS:    Paladin
ALIGN:    Good
HOMETOWN: Waterdeep

Your basic stats:
Strength:        mighty  Power:           bad
Dexterity:       heroic  Intelligence:    mundane
Agility:         heroic  Wisdom:          average
Constitution:    heroic  Charisma:        mundane

Above, you see the final stats for the character you have created.
These stats include adjustments for your bonuses.

You have the opportunity at this time of keeping or discarding this character. If you choose to give up on this character, you may exit the game by typing ‘q’ or return to the beginning of the character creation process by typing ‘n’.

Do you want to keep this character? (Y/N/Q) Y

Yep, he’s a keeper!

TorilMUD : the Sojourner’s Home Welcomes You!

*** PRESS RETURN:

*** Welcome to Toril ***

0) Leave Toril for a Time.
1) Enter the realms of Toril.
2) See who is currently playing.
3) Read the background story.
4) Change your password.
5) Enter your character description.
6) Delete this character.

Make your choice: Oghma responds to your petition with ‘hahahahaha’
Oghma responds to your petition with ‘can I have you think of a new name please?’

1

Welcome to TorilMUD

The Newbie Help Room
Exits: – East  – West
A small bag.
A belt and pouches has been left here.
A pheasant quill has been left here.
A sun-bleached spellbook has been left here.
[2] A wood handle dagger has been left here.
[3] A hollow quill lies here leaking out ink.
[3] A fan-like spellbook has been carelessly left here.
[3] A weapon that only remotely resembles a dagger has been dropped here.
Welcome. This is now your character on Toril.
May your journey here never end…..

NOTE:  Type TOGGLE and HELP for useful information!
Read the rules! Type HELP RULES, HELP MULTIi

If you are new to Toril, you may use the Newbie Help Channel
to get some tips and advice from other players.  Type: nhc <message>
to get started!

You petition ‘I didn’t want to enter the game until I thought of a new name, I couldn’t resist!’

Oghma responds to your petition with ‘That rules :P’

You petition ‘this one was better than Sinutab… lesse, how about Wilcar?’

You tell Agor ‘best name ever!’

You tell Tabab ‘best name ever!’

Oghma responds to your petition with ‘You’re now Wilcar :)’

< 36h/36H 110v/110V > enter sojourn

Tabab tells you ‘nicy try:P’

Hunting at 70

Tistann, my hunter in World of Warcraft finally hit 70, just a couple weeks shy of the impending Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

And, thanks to the 3.0.2 updates, I got a sound, a fountain of light, and an achievement when the time came.


And speaking of the 3.0.2 update, I really like the changes that were made to the hunter class.  It has always been my favorite solo class in WoW and maybe my favorite class overall in any MMO, though my fae swashbuckler in EQ2 has plenty going for it.

I like the changes to the beast mastery tree for the hunter and I especially like that my pet now has a tree as well.

Not that I hated the old method of pet training.  In fact, I thought it was quite original and innovative.  Having to go out and find an animal that had the skill you wanted, tame it, and learn that skill by working with the animal certainly seemed like a good idea.

Of course, in practice, finding and taming the right animal to keep you pet up to spec was more of a chore than it should have been.  I recall a couple of points where to keep my pet current I had to tame something in an instance or wait 5-6 levels to find something in the outside world.  And in 10 levels or so I would be behind again.

So, with the skill tree for my pet, a wolf named Puck, he is now fighting with skills current for his level.  And, naturally enough, he seems a lot tougher than he was before.  That, plus a nice self-heal ability (lick wounds?) makes him a real scrapper.

This is good, because Tistann himself seems to have turned into something a push-over for mobs.  I know his gear isn’t the best, but two normal mobs seem to be able to take him down if Puck isn’t around to bail him out.  That came as a bit of a surprise, but I guess it makes sense and reinforces the player/pet dynamic for those who have gone down the beast mastery path.

I now have two characters at level 70 but who took somewhat different paths to get there.

Tistann went almost completely solo to level cap, devouring quests in all the zones along the way while Vikund, my paladin, got a good chuck of his experience with the Saturday night group doing instances.  So in the end, between these two characters, I think I have ended up seeing a lot of the game.

I have yet to make it into a raid instance, so all of that content is off my list,  but I haven’t actually tried to get into that either.

How I Survived (And Thrived) During The Zombie Invasion

I stayed the hell away from everybody.

Actually, I happened to be working on getting my hunter to level 70 during most of the event, which meant hanging around in places like Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley.

It turns out that in a zone where most people are busy trying to accomplish something and are high level, trying to pull the zombie routine gets the crap beaten out of you the moment you show up.

Really.  I’ve never seen people so cooperative and focused than when dealing with some zombie-tard trying to mess with their carefully laid plans.  Obsessive-compulsive rage for the win!

And when it came down to it, Shattrath wasn’t so bad.  But most everybody there could put up a fight, and your typical griefer isn’t looking for a fair fight.

Back on old Azeroth though, it was a disaster… or a lot of fun, depending on your level.

I rolled a new character to play with a friend who has been unimpressed with the idea of MMOs in the past.  Of course, he picked the weekend when Blizzard gave noob griefing the green light.  After less than an hour and many deaths, he was done.  I might get him to try again in 4 or 5 years.  Maybe.  Well, probably not.

Reactions to all of this have varied. The word “whiner” seems to come up a lot when there are complaints about the zombies.  These are often from people whom I suspect aren’t being killed by zombies whose levels show as ??. (That means “more than 10 levels higher” in WoW.)  Of course, a good chunk of the time, I would characterize those responses as “counter-whines” really.  Lame rationalization seems to be one of the defining human characteristics.

It has been pointed out that giving players the ability to grief noobs without consequence pretty much guaranteed that it was going to happen.  I mean, we’ve all heard about Ultima Online, right?  So what was Blizzard thinking?

Lume the Mad has a particularly good write up on the whole thing.

But it appears that we’ll wake up tomorrow and find the zombie menace gone.

Then we can all sit in the auction house in peace without having to constantly restart the auctioneer AddOn because the auctioneer keeps getting killed.