Category Archives: Lost Ark

My 2022 in Gaming So Far

One of the other things the Steam Summer Sale tends to spark in me is a review of my gaming so far in the year.  One thing that happened in the first half of 2022 was that a new title took over as my most played game on Steam.

My Steam top ten titles

I think Civilization V has been at the top of the list since I made my current Steam account back in 2010… and I did that because you had to have a Steam account to play.  I was kind of against Steam back then, but have clearly softened on it as an option over the years.

Now, however, Valheim has taken over the top spot, managing to do so in less than 18 months.  That says something about me or Valheim or both I suppose.

Anyway, Valheim got there by being my most played title so far in 2022 as measured by ManicTime.  Out of time spent gaming on my PC, this is how my play percentages break out.

  1. Valheim – 30.97%
  2. Lost Ark – 15.80%
  3. EVE Online – 15.70%
  4. EverQuest II – 11.78%
  5. Stellaris – 5.72%
  6. Pokemon Pearl – 5.07%
  7. New World – 4.10%
  8. Minecraft – 4.45%
  9. CM Red Thunder – 2.52%
  10. RimWorld – 2.04%
  11. FreeCiv – 0.59%
  12. Diablo Immortal – 0.39%
  13. V Rising – 0.34%
  14. EverQuest – 0.28%
  15. LOTRO – 0.16%
  16. World of Tanks – 0.09%

After Valheim we have Lost Ark and EVE Online pretty much neck in neck for play time.  I think Lost Ark got the advantage just because it takes so long to load.

Finally in double digits is EQII where I was playing the Visions of Vetrovia expansion.

Down in single digits, after some single player stuff was the end of our run at New World.  I am not even sure what server I am on now.  There has been some talk about Amazon fixing some of the issues, but I am not sure there is a lot of desire to return there any time soon.

Then there is Minecraft, which has gotten a bit of a boost since The Wild update hit.  Below RimWorld are titles that have not been touched all that much.

So what will the back half of the year look like? Valheim is at the top of the list, but unless we get the update for the Mistlands, there isn’t much to do but muck about and build things.  Lost Ark and New World are unlikely to grow in play time, and EverQuest II, I left that unsatisfied with the last expansion.  That might need a break for another expansion or two before I find it on my list again.

EVE Online, of course, is going to carry on for now.  And Minecraft, which we only started playing in June, looks like it could keep going.

Solasta is something we just picked up this past week, and it has potential.

And then there is the coming of Wrath of the Lich King Classic.  It looks to be a couple months away at this point, and we’re not really chomping at the bit for it right now… but give it some time and we might be primed to go back to Northrend.

That is where I stand at the mid-year check-in.

April in Review

The Site

It has been a busy month.  I was away for 8 days and have been dealing with elderly parent issues even when I have been home.  Then I started a new job mid-month, which is always a huge change and brings its own fresh dose anxiety.

And yet, somehow I found time to write 33 blog posts this April.  Is my hobby really video games, or is it blogging?  Also I managed to keep up the daily post streak, which I said I was going to probably let go of at the 500, 600, 700, and two full years marks.  And yet here we are at day 761.  Go me.

As for the blog itself, it continues to chug along under the weight of my words.  Traffic has been down since the big Google Page Experience change back in February, when the altered their algorithm to favor sites that met their “good experience” criteria.  That led to a noticeable drop in traffic from Google.  Before that Google was sending me 300+ referrals a day, since then their referrals have broken the 200 mark only once.

You get used to the new normal pretty quickly though, and it can be interesting to see what still grabs Google’s attention and what does not.  For example, I apparently jumped on the Antiwordle bandwagon just in time.

Google Search Console Says

Also, if you get the blog updates via email you may have noticed a change.  WP.com started sending them out formatted for mobile devices.  But not for everybody  I get the daily update sent to two different email addresses just to keep an eye on it.  The more recent of the two gets the new format, while the older one… does not.

The older one dates back to the start of the blog and seems problematic overall.  For years it used to get an update of posts from the previous day at about 5am local time very reliably.  Now the update comes at all hours, or not at all some days.  It will go a week with nothing and then an email will arrive a 2pm with a week’s worth of posts in a single email.

The new one isn’t free from issues.  It seems sporadic on the delivery time and it misses a day now and then, and there is never a make up email.  So something isn’t perfect in the email delivery.

One Year Ago

April Fools was a quiet affair at Blizzard.

I put up a poll asking what part of the month in review posts people liked the most, and this section topped the results.  So I guess I’ll keep it up.

We got the word that Nielsen was shutting down SuperData Research, which it had acquired a couple of years earlier.  There would be no more monthly revenue charts to argue about.

Raph Koster was talking some more about his latest project, giving us an unreadable chart to illustrate a point about player economies.  He was also talking about cloud computing, which got me to write about the pros and cons of the thin client idea.  Raph came even came by and left a comment on that post.

The instance group was still hot on Valheim.  I was out scouting for base locations out in the plains biome.  Once we slew Moder, we started working on an island base on the coast of a plains area.  We were becoming good at dealing with deathsquitoes.

The plains has its own residents to take on. Meanwhile, we kept expanding our base, setting up a farm in it.  I was also out exploring even more.  I also got to battle Yagluth, the final plains boss, on another server.

Runes of Magic had their “biggest server ever” setup for the 12th anniversary of the game.

I was wondering if Lord of the Rings Online was in maintenance mode.  But EG7 has renewed their commitment to it since.  Over on the EverQuest front, the Mischief random loot server was coming online.

I also logged in and played a bit of WoW Classic.

In EVE Online World War Bee was still carrying on after 10 months.  However, CCP chose to introduce industry changes that made capital ships so expensive to produce that nobody was willing to go “all in” on another M2-XFE type battle.  PAPI would not commit its supers and titans to anything  besides structure grinds under a cyno jammer until the retreat from Delve a few months down the line.  The EVE Online posts from April 2021:

On the media front I wrote about Godzilla vs Kong and watching The Walking Dead.  I also wrote about out PS3, which turned 10 and had been used mostly for playing BluRay disks and streaming.

I was on about how throwing money at bogus MMO Kickstarter campaigns was no way to fight “big dev.”

And, finally, in a Friday bullet point post I mentioned the Diablo II Resurrected Alpha, EG7 completing its purchase of MMO publish Innova (which, a year later, they found themselves divesting themselves from), more about Runes of Magic, and CCP talking about the FPS shooter they said they weren’t talking about.

Five Years Ago

There was, of course, April Fools, but Blizzard didn’t seem up to its usual level of effort.

Blizzard did make the original StarCraft free to play, no April Fools there.

I was wondering if the plan to make mobs scale with your ilevel was going to make going back to World of Warcraft a chore.  It seemed like a bad idea, but in the end it didn’t seem to matter much.

I was going on about the 3K Blissey problem in Pokemon Go.

Meanwhile I was finishing up Pokemon Sun and still felt like playing Pokemon, so went back to Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.

There was the Lord of the Rings Online ten year launch anniversary.   We would finally get to Mordor later that year.

Daybreak announced the Agnarr server for EverQuest, a retro server designed to stay retro as it would not progress beyond the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.

In EVE Online Reavers were out camping Circle of Two in Impass, shooting their ratters and such.  Asher later told us that this was to have us in place as they had a CO2 director ready defect.  This was before The Judge did his thing.  However that did not come to pass.

I was going on about corpses in New Eden, which have their own special place in the game.  I was also on about force auxiliaries and titan losses.

In Iceland EVE Fanfest was under way.  They had a presentation that gave some interesting data about what happened in New Eden over the last year.  CCP also announced the winners of the CSM12 election and when/where EVE Vegas would take place.  And there was a talk on the plan to convert Null Sec stations into citadels.  We’re still waiting on that last bit.

I also started looking at the New Eden Monthly Economic Report as a regular monthly item, something set off by how much ratting and mining was being done in null sec.

I sharpened up my scanning skills, all the better to hunt MTUs.  Also, according to CCP I lost 5 billion ISK in space wealth since the month before.

In Minecraft I finished up the long road to the northern forest mansion; it took an hour to ride it on a fast horse.

And then there was the crazy story of the Nintendo NES Classic, which they stopped producing even though it remained sold out everywhere.

Ten Years Ago

April 2012 set a daily page view record.  What is it about April?  I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.

Yeah, the Burn Jita event.  It made for my most popular YouTube video ever.  And it lead right into Hulkageddon V and its OTEC connection.

Elsewhere in EVE Online, the LEGO Rifter got 10K votes, the War in the North seemed to be winding down with RAZOR back in Tenal and six fleets stalking Venal. Raiden managed to lose a bunch of sovereignty, by accident, which finished that up.  All that was left was to say we didn’t want that region anyways.  We also made conga lines, experience time dilation, and followed DBRB through high sec to kill some super caps.  And Seleene became the chairman of the Galactic Student Council.

I was also syndicated occasionally on EVE News 24.  I don’t think I got paid for all of that.

I made a list of small features I wanted other MMOs to copy.

Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.

Potshot and I were wandering around EverQuest again, looking for lost dungeons.  We were not buying any $25 bags though.

In Rift, the instance group was driven out of King’s Breach.  But Trion added in fishing, so we could do that instead.

And it was April Fools at Blizzard.

Fifteen Years Ago

Back in April 2007 we were wondering what was going to happen with Sigil Games Online after their less than stellar Vanguard launch. (*snort*) I threw out a few paths that the game might follow going forward, one of which proved to be correct.  Soon we would be free from the rambling posts of Aradune.  There was a failure of vision to be corrected.  But I bought a copy all the same.  It was marked down.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows Vista, which launched the same day as Vanguard, was facing failures of its own, with Dell having to reintroduce Windows XP as an option for customers.  I know my own company was buying XP systems until Windows 7 came out… and became the new Windows XP.

In EverQuest II Gaff and I visited Emperor Fyst, I ran around in Nektropos Castle with the Everling clan, and complained about experience in Splitpaw.

While our WoW group was winding down for the summer, with Earl off to Broadway, the remaining four of us went off to Middle-earth with the launch of Lord of the Rings Online.  We had been playing in the beta, but eventually it came time to buy the game and sort out the founder’s options.  I had my first impressionsTitles were a thing!

I answered the musical meme question, “Five Reasons Why I Blog.”  Remember when those were “memes?”  Also, that seems awfully early in my career to be answering that sort of question.

I was also on about the pros and cons of player wipes, the requirement that one be able to solo in MMORPGs, and the problem of translating mechanics between games.

Van Hemlock was leet.

Nintendo launched Pokemon Diamond & Pearl in North America at last.  The EU would have to wait until July to get their copies.

Our Wii finally came out of the box.

And, finally, I had a problem with a video card that eventually had to be RMA’d, which sounds a lot like this April. I hope this won’t turn into a yearly thing.

Sixty Years Ago

One of the earliest computer video games, Spacewar! came into being, being initially playable on a DEC PDP-1 minicomputer at MIT.  This would evolve and move onto other platforms over the years, including an arcade version that I used to play in middle school in the late 70s.

As I wrote back in 2014, you can play the original Spacewar! in emulation over at the Internet Archive.  You can also play the Valve reproduction of the arcade game on Steam, if you know how to install it.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. CCP Raising the EVE Online Subscription Price to $20 a Month Starting May 17th
  4. The Trainwreck of 21st Century Lord British
  5. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  6. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  7. The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor
  8. April Fools at Blizzard 2022 in the Shadow of Many Things
  9. The One with the Lawyer from BASF
  10. Wordle and Things Like Wordle
  11. What Makes Housing Worthwhile in an MMO?
  12. The Coming of Wrath of the Lich King Classic

Search Terms of the Month

Another all Russian edition.  I guess the war hasn’t stopped search terms.

дайсон сфер программ
[I think they have those in Stellaris ]

моды на бамбук
[Things pandas like]

ферма призмарина
[Aaron made one of those in Minecraft for us]

космические корабли ив онлайн моделька
[Not really sure on that one]

фон майнкрафт особняк
[I have a few screenshots here that might serve]

Game Time from ManicTime

Well, you can see where I spent most of my game play time this month.  Granted, as I said above, I was away and busy for quite a bit of the month, so the sum total of hours is the lowest of any month so far this year… half of what it was in January… but it is still a non-trivial amount of time spent messing around.

  • Valheim – 91.76%
  • EVE Online – 6.41%
  • LOTRO – 1.15%
  • Lost Ark – 0.69%

I was actually a bit surprised to see that I had logged into Lost Ark in April.  It feels like a long time since I last touched it.

EVE Online

It has been a bit of a month for CCP.  I have more posts talking about the game than about actually playing the game.  But, then, I haven’t been playing too much of the game, so maybe it isn’t all on CCP.

The deployment to the southeast of null sec carried on.  There are fights now and then, but I wouldn’t call it a war.  I managed to go on a few ops, got on my kill mail for the month, and basically did the minimum participation thing due to being busy.

The campaign does not sit still because I am busy though, and the staging stations keep moving forward, so I am behind one staging system and have ships strewn across three old ones.  My hope is that I’ll be able to get two expensive ships back home some day and then YOLO or asset safety the rest.

Lord of the Rings Online

Hey, it turned 15 this month.  Imagine that.  I did log in for a bit, though I probably spent more time patching up, and collected my anniversary gifts on what was probably the wrong server in hindsight.  Whatever, my bags were nearly too full to collect the gifts in any case, laden with gifts from previous years as they were.  There were some nice and generous items for 15 year veterans.  Maybe some day I will use them.

Lost Ark

Well, that ended quickly.  The sure fire sign that I wasn’t really all that into a game is that I simply stop even thinking about logging in.  And it isn’t like Lost Ark is out of sight.  It is there on my favorites list in Steam and I am in there every day to play Valheim.  I just don’t click on Lost Ark anymore.

Valheim

Back to ValheimAs Potshot noted, its worldliness is a draw for our group.  So we’re back with a fresh start, and doing a slow roll forward, not in any hurry to get to the next boss or whatever.  Ideally we’ll get the update for the Mistlands before we’ve tapped out again.  We got another tease about that biome, but it is still in the distant future.

Pokemon Go

Some Pokemon was played, though not so much as past months.  The mega evolutions might be a bigger deal going forward as Niantic has finally figured out that an expensive, temporary evolve isn’t all that viable for any but the most dedicated players.  That sure isn’t me.

Level: 42 ( 43.5% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 706 (+9) caught, 730 (+9) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 21
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Lycanroc

Zwift

I fell off the bike this month, though at least it wasn’t literally.  I was away and then the new job meant trying to craft a new daily routine where I still need to find a spot for exercise.  I did manage to peddle a little bit on the weekends, but I am definitely off my stride for the moment.

  • Level – 14 (+0)
  • Distanced cycled – 937.9 miles (+37.7 miles)
  • Time – 2d 1h 37m  (+2h 12m)
  • Elevation climbed – 39,216 (+5,316 feet)
  • Calories burned – 31,059 (+983)

Coming Up

As I understand it, on Tuesday Blizzard is supposed to officially announce its long hinted at Warcraft mobile game.   Will it get a PC version as well to stop people from playing it in phone emulation mode on their PCs the way Diablo: Immortal did?  I guess we’ll find out.

Then, by this time next Saturday we’ll know all the things that CCP has planned to announce at EVE Fanfest.

Otherwise a lot of things will just carry on as before.  I suspect that Valheim will continue to dominate what play time I have when it comes to May.

Reflecting on Lost Ark

Well, Lost Ark was certainly a flavor of the month.  Or two months I suppose, as half of my recorded play time in February and March was invested in it.  But so far for April it has pretty much fallen off of my list.

Welcome to Lost Ark

In fact, when a hint of a suggestion came up to play something else… like Valheim… there was not a single protest from our group.  A couple of other titles were suggested (though Valheim won out quickly), but nobody said they wanted to get just a little bit further or run another dungeon or stick around for the great big siege of Luterra.   Lost Ark was kicked to the curb with little ceremony or regret.

Was Lost Ark a bad game then?

I don’t think so.

It did suffer from some of the free to play issues, a primary one being that it was both easy to get into and easy to leave.  Not having to buy a box or have a subscription took away the sunk cost fallacy that can keep some people playing other titles  (I think EVE Online is largely sustained by that these days.) so it is easy to walk away from.

Lost Ark was fun in its way.  It was both kind of silly and frenetic while being built around an overwrought and somewhat ponderous story line.  It looks good, it plays well, and has a lot of things going on, but at times it edges towards almost being a parody of an MMORPG.

Some of that is the seriousness of the story fighting with some of the dialog, which can be very silly.  The NPCs in the game are very chatty, and the reads the voice actors gave for some of the lines are unintentionally funny.

My favorite vendor in Pridehome… he tells me this every time I walk by

Some of them are just silly on their own, while others, the reading just makes it so.

You really have to hear this guy say it

And then there are the odd standouts.  While most NPCs have just one line they repeat over and over, there are a few with more than one, including the woman in the tavern in Pridehome, who has a series of things to say, all related to getting drunk.

She has the most varied dialog in town

But the mechanics are also on board with the idea of parody.  You are a very powerful character in the early game, and might be swinging a weapon literally longer than you are tall.  Combat often revolves around you taking on waves of mobs that you dispatch with moves that rain down destruction.

I kept posting the Carbot Animations videos about the game because they were so spot on.  But that was largely because they didn’t have to exaggerate very much beyond actual game play to him the sweet spot of comedy.

The fourth installment remained on that curve.

 

As I have noted, the brilliance of these videos is that if you have played through the content being covered, you identify with what is happening, it clicks with you and you see the absurdity of it, and this latest video is no exception.

Again, not a bad game, but not really a game for our group either.

Part of the problem was that, as a game, it is one of those titles that takes longer as a group than solo.  At least the run up to level 50 does.  So our progress was plodding and the content that was really playable as a group was somewhat irregular.

I know that changes after level 50, that group content becomes primary, and perhaps the best plan would have been to have everybody get to 50 on their own and group up there.  But I don’t think all of us were invested enough to make that run, and it is not a trivial trip as the game throws a lot of new things at you along the way like boats and your stronghold and the whole crafting system.

If you’re invested, that is all great.  If you’re just on your way to 50, not so much.

So Lost Ark is in our rear view mirror for now.  Again, not a bad game, just not the game for us at the moment.  It does have a lot going for it, and a lot of people still play it, so I am not knocking it.  We’ll see if I get back to it at some future date.

What Makes Housing Worthwhile in an MMO?

Over at Massively OP they had a daily grind question about which MMO housing was the most “usefless.”  That elicited a lot of opinions, many of which with I agree, and even another blogger response, but I still felt like there was some cross purposes in some answers, because “useless” is something of a loaded description.  We all know at least one pedant who will argue that it is all useless by definition because video games have no practical use or some such.  But even among the more sensible, there is a wide range things that make housing something they will use in an MMO, so I thought I would explore some of the items that came to my mind on that front.

Personalization

Basically, can you make the housing your own, or will it always look like everybody else’s place?  This can mean a lot to some, but doesn’t necessarily influence the other items on the list.

I would put Rift and EverQuest II at the top of the list, as both allow free form decor and have crafting that can create house items.  EQII would be my top choice because it allows you to convert things from some special quests into trophies for your home, which is what I tend to display.  Also, there is a ton of wall art.  But Rift gets the nod for overall flexibility and being able to go nuts constructing things.

New World isn’t too far behind, mostly because it doesn’t feel like there as many general “things” in the world for basic decor.  The housing options also feel a bit more constrained.  But it is also new, so it may catch up.

Then there is EverQuest… my list is not exhaustive, I am just going through the titles I know personally… which has borrowed a lot of ideas from its younger sibling and has free form placement, including out in your yard.

Lord of the Rings Online is a bit behind that, largely due to limited items and the fixed hook system that puts a rather low cap on the things you can actually put in your house.

Then we get down to WoW and Warlords of Draenor garrisons, which I am declaring housing for the purposes of this discussion, and not simply to dunk on it because it ranks highly in some regards.  But for personalization it had a very limited range of pre-set options you could unlock, so every garrison felt very much like every other one.

Then, finally, I am going to bring in the captain’s quarters from the EVE Online Incarna expansion, specifically to dunk on it and provide a bottom end of the range for comparison.  The only thing that made the captain’s quarters unique was the presence of your avatar shambling about it awkwardly or sitting on the couch.

Captain’s Quarters

It was otherwise identical to every single other one until they introduced a couple of basic faction options, and then they were identical to everybody who chose the same faction as you.  Not that you could tell, because you were the only one who could enter.  We can argue over whether or now a POS or a station or a citadel counts as housing, but this actual attempt at player housing in the game was absolutely the suck.

Asthetics

Is it pretty?

I am going to be down on LOTRO housing in a number of these categories, but I will say that if you like the art style of the game, then their housing is very nice.  And the limited customization that I mentioned above means that in the neighborhood housing concept that the game uses, you can’t really end up living next to that horrible person who fills their yard with crap that spells out obscene words or political symbols.  The Valar giveth, and the Valar taketh away.

I am going to put New World up high on the list too.  Again, despite its limitations, the housing looks good and is well integrated into the settlements.

Since I brought WoW into the mix, I will say that garrisons look find, fit in to the game, and actually have some fun aspects in their look.  Once more, huge limitations on how much you can customize, but it doesn’t look like crap relative to the rest of the game.

I am a bit iffy on EQII on this front.  It isn’t that there are not some wonderful, pretty housing in the game.  But there are also a lot of dingy little spaces.  If you are a new player and get your first house anywhere save Halas, it probably sucks.  I remember my first one room cracke rbox apartment in Qeynos.

Likewise, Rift has so much potential, but a lot of the new player starting dimensions just look like work rather than a place you want to own.

I am also going to put EQ down here.  While it uses the neighborhood concept like LOTRO, its neighborhoods are kind of shabby and there is always the person who has their decorations for their favorite holiday out in the front yard all year around.  Plus vacancies are very obvious.

And the, finally, just to see if Bree at MOP reads this, I am going to drag the Tatooine trailer park that was SWG housing into the mix as an example of ugly housing in an MMO.

Looks like they had used YT-1300s on sale at QVC

I will grand practicality and integration into the game, however they looked like ass and in places stretched for as far as your draw distance would allow.

Practicality

Can I actually do something useful to the game in my home?

Or, perhaps more to the point, if I can do things in my home would I bother doing them there rather than in town or a guild hall or some other location in the game?

Warlords of Draenor garrisons could barely be personalized at all, and aesthetically it was basically part of the game, which could be good or bad, but you could do stuff there.  So much stuff.  Too much stuff in the end really, as it managed to deliver on the prophecy about housing that Blizz had used as an excuse previously, that it takes people out of the shared gaming world..  I still visit my base when I play retail WoW to craft some 30 slot bags for alts and that sort of thing.  It remains useful.

So, for all of the other knocks on garrisons, they are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to integration with the game.  I mean, you had a flight point, a special hearthstone for the place, and could have a bank and transmog vendor.  I kind of want to dig through Reddit to see if anybody wrote a post about playing the expansion without building their garrison.  Is it even possible?

And after that I guess I would put EQII which, while far behind in function, is integrated into the game in that you have to setup your store front for the broker in your home.  That was a day one item, and no doubt something influenced by SWG, so if you were looking for a compliment on that front after ripping it on aesthetics, there you go.  You can also set up crafting stations, mail boxes, and all sorts of other things in your home that may be of use.  Crafting stations in a home used to be a sure fire sign of somebody who botted their crafting back in the day, but it is still something you can do… craft, not bot.

Then maybe LOTRO, because at least the neighborhoods have a crafting hall.  I found them less than convenient to use, but they are there and you could commit yourself to them I guess.

After that… well, I think the bare minimum, the low bar, is to provide some additional storage space, or access to your bank storage in absence of that.  I think all the usual suspects and a few more that I have yet to mentions, like Rune of Magic, at least give you that.

Viability

I don’t think that is the right word, but it is the one I am running with.  Still, I will explain what I mean.

What I am driving at is whether or not any player, new or old, who wants to engage in housing as part of their play can do so without too much effort or cost.  I supposed “accessibility” might be a better word, but it is also a word weighted down with its own baggage, so I try to avoid it.

So, for example, EQII ranks highly in this regard in my estimation.  The game guides you to player housing in the first ten levels of the intro, gives you some instruction in it, and the rent for basic housing is very reasonable at 5 silver pieces a week.  That was a price that didn’t even bother me back in 2004 when SOE was trying to keep a very tight lid on the economy such that mobs did not drop coin and when I finally got my first platinum coin it felt like a huge achievement.

EQII even hands you some furniture as part of the intro.  Everybody gets that same table and mirror that they have been handing out since launch, back when having an in-game mirror that actually reflected was kind of impressive.

Rift as well, once they introduced dimensions, gave new players a shove in that direction and a basic location right off the bat, though it was not very inviting in my estimation.

Dimension by the Sea with my free items strewn about

Lost Ark, which I haven’t mentioned up to this point, also gets right in there and requires you to take on a stronghold as part of progressing in the story.   You may or may not like it, but you’re getting one… also, it is shared by all your characters on the same server, which I view somewhat favorably.

Runes of Magic also gets you into some housing pretty quickly as a new player, though it was pretty dull and pointless housing as I recall, so I set it up and never returned.

New World throws housing at you as well… but then  makes it too expensive for low level players.  Without grinding for coin specifically I could have bought a house, but upkeep would have been too expensive with all of the other day to day costs of the game.

LOTRO throws housing at you at some point… you get a quest about seeing somebody about a deed or a house or something.  But housing has so little practical purpose in the game and is so out of the way and… at least back in the day… used to be a bit pricey for any new player that it falls way behind.

Then there is EQ, which I am not even sure ever tells you directly that housing is a thing.  I think the only in-game notification I can recall is getting a reward that was marked as something to put in your house, which at least strongly implied there was housing.  I have a whole post from 2010 about the effort I went through to get a house.

Some EQ housing

Also, the EQ housing is very reasonably priced… so long as you’re a veteran playing in the current content.  If you’re a new player still selling rat whiskers to the vendor for 18 copper, housing is way out of your reach.

And then, way down at the non-viable end of the list for me sits any game where your home exists in the actual game world on real estate that only one person on the server can occupy.  So I am looking at you SWG and Ultima Online and FFXIV and a few other title that escape me at the moment.

And yes, I know what you’re going to say if you think that kind of housing is great.  I get that it is very cool that your house, and yours alone is there in that spot and everybody can see it.  But as soon as you make real estate scarcity a thing and put specific locations in demand, housing shakes out into winners and loser and most players will be on the losing end of things.  The argument that it makes the game more “real” doesn’t wash with me.  If I wanted a game with the same pain as real life I’d go play EVE Online…. wait….  Anyway that is my opinion and you are free to disagree, just know that you are unlikely to sway me.  I live in Silicon Valley where real estate PvP is a thing already.

Location, Location, Location

The tired old joke of real estate is that the top three considerations are “location, location, and location.”

In this case I am not referring to the whole “instanced vs in the world” housing which I was going on about in the previous section, though I will say that if new players can’t get a house some place useful, your game fails on this front… which means instanced housing rules for location generally.

For the purposes of this section I mean whether or not housing is some place useful, like in town or near services you might need as a player.  EQII is pretty good on this front, though some locations are better than others.  As a new player in Halas everything you might need is right outside your door, which is great… if you chose Halas.  If not, your mileage may vary.

New World is also pretty good on this front.  Housing is all in settlements.  There is some vagaries around what level facilities will be available, but you will be in town.  That makes it feel like you live somewhere worth living.

Other titles seem a bit more dicey.  EQ puts you kind of off of the Plane of Knowledge, through the guild staging area, if you know where that is.  LOTRO puts you out in the middle of nowhere, though there are fast travel options.  But I seem to recall there also being some mithril coin or other cash shop currency relation options is you need it on demand.

So What?

I’ve gotten this far kind of riffing on memories and old screen shots of housing, and have probably mislaid my point along the way.

Oh yeah, housing being worthwhile.

In this reflection, it sure seems like the genre can be all over the map on the various aspects I have picked out.  In general I am in favor of having housing in our MMOs, but I also feel like if the developers don’t have time to do it well, have it look good, be useful and integrated into the game, and have it available to users in general, then maybe they should spend their development time on other tasks.

Carbot Goes to the Morai Ruins in Lost Ark

I know, last week I wrote that I was not going to become a Carbot fan site, and yet here we are again with another Sunday post to celebrate a Carbot Animations video.  But come on, not only is it about Lost Ark, but it is about the Morai Ruins, which I have done a few times at this point, including a run with the instance group.  I have to at least say SOMETHING about it.  I am not made of stone.

So here it is.

 

Once again, I do identify with my own relationship with Armen the plot vehicle in this video, though his entrance into the final fight was a bit more dramatic in the actual dungeon.

He came in like some sort of wrecking thingy

It really is one of the stand out dungeons in the run up to 50, but it does still fall into the mass slaughter mode that the game seems to thrive on.  If wiping out waves of foes with a big AOE attack isn’t your thing, this might not be the game for you.

I do wish the video had gone into some of the other things in the dungeon, though I only say that because I think I have now done all the deed therein, including finding all of the mokoko seeds.  Always have to find those mokoko seeds.

And, of course, the berserker at the end trying on his dainty new earrings, his loot reward, was a chuckle as well.

Anyway, Carbot carries on getting at the essence of things.  For those not playing Lost Ark, there is also an Elden Ring series running as well.

March in Review

The Site

It looks like I might get paid soon.  If the final numbers for the month are correct, I may have cracked the $100 mark for ad revenue since I enabled ads back in October of 2021.  I was at $88.59 earned when the month began and it looks like I am comfortably past the $12 mark for this month, so I could be there.

It looked dicey for most of the month, then somebody linked my 2009 post about Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID! in /r/wow and that put me over the top.  Some things never die.

The goal was always to pay for the premium hosting option, which runs about $100 a year.  So that may have paid off.

Of course, it is one thing to think I should get paid and another to actually see the cash in my PayPal account.  We shall see how speedy WordPress.com is on that.

Meanwhile, I passed another posting milestone.

A post a day in San Jose

731 days adds up to two years straight of posting every single day.  You too can manage this, if only you let go of your standards and just hit the “publish” button on whatever you have to hand!

As for how long this streak will continue, I am pretty sure it will end in April.  It is going to be a busy month and my goal was just to get to the two year mark in the end.  Still, I kind of hate to let it go because it is one of those things that, after you have invested 731 days in it, the whole thing resets to 1 as soon as you skip a day and then topping your previous record is two years away.

But it is that sort of thinking that got me here in the first place.  Better to just let it go at some point.

One Year Ago

EverQuest, under the EG7 banner, turned 22 years old.

The beta for Burning Crusade Classic opened up, starting the march to the launch of the next classic experience.

My wife and I both hit level 41 in Pokemon Go.

Raph Koster started telling us about what Playable Worlds was up to, but it was all very vague.

But a lot of the month was spent writing about Valheim.  That was definitely the apple of our group’s eye as we made it to a month of playing it and were still going strong.  That was long enough for Honest Game Trailers to do a video about it.

Having defeated The Elder, we were off looking for iron in the swamps.  Iron turned into a key focus for us.

We finally found Haldor the Trader in our game.  I also figured out fishing.

Having geared up, we went after the next boss, Bonemass, with an elaborate plan.  Then it was off to the mountains of Valheim, which led to a new set of experiences.  I also made our first Dragur Fang Bow.

The other major topic for the month was EVE Online where we still had World War Bee going along with some CCP actions, which I will sum up as a list:

Finally, I summed up some more pandemic binge watching.

Five Years Ago

EverQuest turned eighteen.  Now an adult, it still lives in Daybreak’s basement and grumbles about how it used to be the center of attention before all these younger siblings showed up.

Blizzard officially announced that StarCraft, even older than EverQuest, was getting a remaster.  We suspected it was going to happen, but it was nice to get the official word.

Flying was unleashed in the Broken Isles with the Tomb of Sargeras update to WoW Legion.

The Nintendo Switch launched.  But I was still playing Pokemon Sun on my 3DS XL, binging on the Alola Pokedex.  Then I had to figure out where the National Pokedex was.  It turns out it is in Pokemon Bank.  I was hoping for a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.

Disney shut down Club Penguin, hoping to force players onto their new mobile app, Club Penguin Island.  Mobile is always better, right?  It did not end well, with Club Penguin Island closing down in just two years.  Way to fumble success!

In Minecraft, the long road to the forest mansion I found was nearly done.

In EVE Online I took a trip out to Oasa and back.

We got the YC119.3 update that nerfed Rorqual mining a bit and gave us warp bubble decay among other things.  Music was included.  A follow on patch let us see our estimated space wealth.

Blog Banter #80 was on the topic of the CSM, something about which I has opinions!  It was a timely topic as the voting for CSM12 was just kicking off.  In the mean time Gevlon declared that CCP was picking winners… though not CSM winners I guess.

We had a dev blog about refineries coming to New Eden.  Moon mining was going to change and it seemed like the end of the POS was coming at last.  There was also an announcement about changing PLEX, breaking it up into 500 pieces and replacing Aurum with PLEX.  But not that free Aurum they gave you, though they relented on that after some outcry.

I was nostalgic for old ship models in New Eden and talking about the tension between grouping and solo again.

And, finally, we had to say good-bye to our cat Oscar after 17 years.

Ten Years Ago

The family and I went and visited the USS Iowa while it was docked up in Richmond.

I was wondering how important pictures were in blog posts.  I think I’ve gone pretty far in favor of them since.

April Fools spirit hit Wargaming.net a little early.

It only seemed like Zynga was desperate back then.

I took a quick peek back into Need for Speed: World.

We found out when Diablo III was slated to ship.

Raptr said I could be the top WoW player they tracked… if I just played another 18,999 hours.

I also rolled a new character on a new server in LOTRO because… why not?

In EVE Online voting commenced and The Mittani won the chairmanship of the CSM 7 by a large margin.  And then he named names during his alliance talk and was removed from CSM 7 and banned from EVE for 30 days.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, we were being taunted by a LEGO Rifter that we were doomed never to see and Derek Smart was telling everybody DUST 514 was doomed to fail.  Well, he got that one right I, and doesn’t seem too far off on Star Citizen so far.

Meanwhile, the war in the north was heating up again even without The Mittani.  The CFC was picking up systems in Tenal as bases of operation for the upcoming offensive.  Then there was the bloodbath at C-J6MT.

In Rift, we had a couple of runs at the Foul Cascade.

EverQuest turned 13 and went free to play.  That saw more than a few of us run in to give it a try.  Fall nostalgia in the Spring.  We ran the tutorial, tried out mercenaries, and created a guild.  I am not sure what became of our little group.  Nostalgia is like that.

It was also announced that Vanguard would be going free to play as well, leaving PlanetSide the only hold out on that front Meanwhile on the Fippy Darkpaw server, LDON and LoY went live… I think.

Then I was trying to find another blog name that used the TAGN acronym as a setup for an April Fools joke.  That totally fell flat.

Speaking of names, I was wondering if Pokemon Black 2 & White 2 were the least creative names in the series.  Whatever, there were download events.

Then there was a mailbag post about the Path of Exile beta, EON Magazine going digital, something about Roger Ebert, and a few other items.

And, finally, I attempted to bring together as many memories from the early days of Air Warrior as I could.

Fifteen Years Ago

In EverQuest II, my swashbuckler Blintz became my highest level MMO character at the time, hitting the level 50 mark.  I was also going on about the pain of the alchemist trade and offline selling in the game.

Meanwhile, I was still griping about the rise in the price of Station Access, but at least I got something of an answer as to how my Station Access dollars were allocated.  SOE was having problems with their email marketing though.

In World of Warcraft the instance group, after a couple attempts finally finished up Uldaman in one of the more memorable fights of our time as a team, was then coming to a temporary stopping point at Zul’Farrak. Work would keep Earl too busy to play with us for the next few months. Meanwhile, a load of my other friends in WoW disappeared due to server splits.

Proving that random grouping has been a problem for a long time, there was a discussion going around about being able to rate people with whom you have grouped.  That option doesn’t seem to have come to pass.

CCP was whispering in my ear about resubscribing for their Revelations expansion.

EverQuest turned 8 years old and the blog itself hit the six month mark.

And, finally, I had a comically large arrow stuck in my head.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  3. CCP is Just Going to Keep Selling Skill Points for Cash
  4. 20 Games that Defined the Apple II
  5. A New Kind of Blackout Comes and Goes for EVE Online
  6. CCP Takes Aim at Cloaky Campers in EVE Online
  7. EVE Online Gets Battleship Buffs and a Mining Event for March, Plus CCP Starts Selling Ships
  8. Five Bad EVE Online Ideas that will Never Die
  9. A Return to Stellaris
  10. Amazon, Twitch, and Lost Ark
  11. An EVE Online Play to Earn Announcement is Coming at Fanfest
  12. Progress in Lost Ark

Search Terms of the Month

eve online news ships
[Nothing on that front I’m afraid]

глобальная карта майнкрафт а
[Maps for Minecraft are always in demand]

hellcamp
[This one time, at hellcamp]

custom character naked gay
[If it is an avatar, it it really gay on its own?]

Game Time from ManicTime

This month was kind of a search for something to play.  Lost Ark was the top option, but I find that I can only play so much of that in a day.  EVE Online is always situational; I go play when something is happening, but that isn’t all the time.  So I dragged out a few other options.

  • Lost Ark – 51.67%
  • EVE Online – 16.46%
  • Combat Mission – Red Thunder – 15.59%
  • RimWorld – 12.64%
  • FreeCiv – 3.63%

Combat Mission – Red Thunder

As noted in my post about it, I originally wanted to play Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin, but it was not having my 34″ monitor.  Not surprising from a game that is about 20 years old.  So I dove into what was essentially the revised version, though even Red Thunder is from 2014, so not exactly new.  My feelings are a bit mixed.  It works, but seems like a bit less of a game than the original, then tries to make up for it by putting more units on the map.

EVE Online

A deployment, first to Esoteria, then to Feythabolis, has been the main focus of my time in the game.  That and tending to my PI farms, which is pretty much my only source of income these days.  Still, it did keep me busy.  According to the KarmaFleet participation app I went on 16 fleet ops in March, which doesn’t include move ops.  That isn’t exactly huge compare to some people.  There are a lot of people more into the game than I am.  But 13 of those were in the last week of the month.  That is a lot more ops than I went on in

FreeCiv

I thought I would give this a shot and, as a free title that is essentially an open source community project, it has a lot of depth.  That’s what nearly 25 of continuous work gets you.  It is also more than a bit obtuse when it comes to the UI and its depth takes some work to find.

Lost Ark

This is really the only fantasy MMORPG I am playing at all at the moment, which is a bit of a strange turn for me.  The group is playing it and I have been running around playing solo as well.  It is both a light commitment, at least up to level 50, and free to play, which is a hard combo to beat at the moment.

Pokemon Go

We got some new Pokemon to catch out in the world as the Pokemon Sun & Moon collection started getting doled out, including the first couple of legendaries in raids.

Level: 42 ( 33.8% of the way to 43 in xp, 4 of 4 tasks complete)
Pokedex status: 697 (+12) caught, 721 (+16) seen
Mega Evolutions obtained: 15 of 18
Pokemon I want: I need a Torkoal for my Hoenn Pokedex
Current buddy: Rockruff

RimWorld

Another return to an old favorite, this time with an eye towards exploring the Ideology expansion now that changes to it have finally settled down.  It remains a good story generator and a time sink that can make hours go by.

Zwift

I actually kind of hit a sweet spot in Zwift in March, getting on the bike and peddling for much longer than I usually do.  My minimum effort has always been 20 minutes per session, but I had a week of hitting 35 minutes per session.  That gave me a bit more distance this month, though that week seemed to be an outlier high and this week I wasn’t feeling it as much.  I wonder if it is related to how interesting the audio book is I am listening to while I ride?  Anyway, going down the Interstate 80 route from California, I have now peddled myself into the southwest corner of Wyoming, having left Utah in the rear view mirror.

  • Level – 14 (+1)
  • Distanced cycled – 903.2 774.8 miles (+128.4 miles)
  • Time – 1d 16h 55m 1d 23h 49m  (+6h 54m)
  • Elevation climbed – 33,855 (+4,354 feet)
  • Calories burned – 30,076 25,924 (+4,152)

Coming Up

Today is the end of Q1 2022, so any number of companies will begin working on their quarterly results, which we will likely see reported at some time in May.

And tomorrow is April Fools Day, which people either love or love to complain about.

On the 19th of next month we should be hearing from Blizzard about the next World of Warcraft expansion.  A WoW expansion announcement is always a big deal, but this one has a lot more riding on it given the state of malaise that Shadowlands brought to the game as well as all of the internal and legal issues the company has been facing.  Plus, it would be nice to impress the new owners with something hot.

We should also see the launch of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the delayed ultimate version of the LEGO Star Wars series from Traveller’s Tales.

Otherwise, it might be a light month around here.  As I noted at the top of the post, there are a lot of things I need to do in real life next month, so there might not be time for much posting or many video games.

We shall see.

Carbot and Story in Lost Ark

I am not trying to become a Carbot Animations fan site, but then they put up another video in their Lost Ark series that hits things on the nose again and here comes another post about it.

Welcome to Lost Ark

I know Mailvaltar already posted this, but I just feel the need to stick it here as well because it covers both how I often play… hitting G to get through to the damn quest… as well as how the game itself plays at times.  I mentioned in my Friday post how we were running back and forth passing messages between NPCs that were standing within comfortable distance to make themselves fully understood by slightly raising their voices.

Which isn’t to say I am down on the game.  Not yet.  I still find the frenetic combat fun and I have played along with enough alts that the story is started to stick even though I keep bypassing so much dialog.

Playing Alone Together with Prince Thirain and more Mokoko Seeds

Having ended up the previous week’s group adventure deep into Mount Zangoras in search of mokoko seeds, we got back together again on Saturday to carry on through that zone and into Lakebar.

Welcome to Lost Ark

No changes to our group, so we went off again with the following tear:

  • Sanperre – Gunlancer
  • Uladae – Sorceress
  • Greenjeans – Sorceress
  • Nandru – Artillerist

Moving into Lakebar put us into the part of the story line where Prince Thirain shows up.  He is kind of a big deal in Luterra.

Probably

Young Prince Thirain is the rightful heir to the throne of Luterra, but he was a bit too young when his father passed or went missing or something… I clicked through a lot of the story… and a regent had been appointed to rule in his stead until he came of age.  That sounds good enough.

However the regent, Albrecht Philipp Schenk Freiherr von Scherrit, kind of likes his position and all the power and wealth it affords him.  Of course, he is in bed with the demons and that guy from the first act who seems to show up every time evil is afoot.  Also, I made most of his name up because just Scherrit didn’t seem to evoke enough bad guy menace.

The audience hisses as Scherrit twirls his mustache and lays out his evil plan

So we spent some time setting up that Thirain is good and Scherrit is bad.  We also spent a chunk of time acting as a messaging system to convey ideas between various NPCs standing so close together that they should have heard everything we were just told to transmit to the next person.

But that is how they transmit the story to us… or try to.  As noted above, I am a bit story immune.

The game also attempted to break through my defenses and get me interested in the story by making us run several instances in which various dramatic events are played out.

Unfortunately, the story focused instances are all solo.  So the group would run off to some location as directed, then arrive to find the question mark of solo floating where we hoped we might run something together.  And at least one of these solo encounters is a big enough deal that it becomes accessible as a real dungeon once you’ve done the solo story version.

The direction of all of this was to set the conflict between the regent and the newly crowned King Thirain… hey man, we had to learn the mining harvesting skill in order to mine ore to make that crown… which I am sure will become something of a big deal at some point.

Armen is always in the middle of things too…

From there we went on to Medrick Monastery, which also turned into a bit of a bust when it came to group content, though there were at least some mokoko berries to be found.

It wasn’t until we made our way half way through the next zone, the Bilbrin Forest, that we got offered the opportunity to jump into the Grayhammer Mine.  An instance at last.

Not the most exciting of instances,  It was no Morai Ruins certainly.  And it was very linear, as the instances tend to be.

The Grayhammer Mine Map

The exciting bit is that when you get to the end of the first part, the large section at the bottom of the map you get to board a mine cart and go for a ride.

All aboard for the mine cart ride

The ride is kind of neat.  You go zipping around on some track that seems very unlikely for any legitimate mining operation not being conducted at a theme park, but you enjoy what the moment has to offer.

Greenjeans and Sanperre on a ride

The thing is, with a full group, you go on two carts, and each cart has its own path, so each half of the group had its own mine cart experience.

You are deposited in a crash at the next section of the dungeon, and from there it wasn’t far until the final boss, who we managed to defeat.  He wasn’t a push over, and we were in hard mode for the run, but in the end every boss so far has been about knowing when to get out of the way and when to run in and smack him, and this was no different.

The boss dispatched, we got onto the important part of the dungeon, finding all the mokoko seeds.  The map indicated that there were a dozen in the instance and by the time we defeated the boss we had only found five of them.

We eventually searched out a total of five seeds at the top section of the dungeon, but couldn’t get back to the lower section to search out any we had missed there.  The mine cart trick only goes one way.

So we played the song of escape, left the dungeon, then re-entered in normal mode to search through the lower half of the dungeon again.

We ended up finding one path off the map that led us to a pair of mokoko seeds.  One we could grab, but the other was out on a little island.

It sits outside of our reach

This is where one my suggest we swim for it but, while Lost Ark has boats, swimming is strictly off limits.  After some mucking about we figured we would get back to that one and carried on down the path.

Further up the instance we found another side path where you could wander off the map which not only got us two more mokoko seeds, but also a container of fireflies… fireflies being something you have to collect for a quick moment at the start of the dungeon.

The firefly lantern was clickable

Nandru picked up the firefly lantern and we headed out to explore a bit more, but ended up back at the first side path where, on arriving, the empty pedestal there, which is just off to the left and cropped off of the first image of that area, was now clickable.  And clicking on it opened up a firefly path to the last mokoko seed.

The firefly path is lit, you may cross

And with that we all had the dozen mokoko seeds from the instance… except for Greenjeans, who somehow missed getting one of the five at the top half of the instance, so we had to fight our way through and run the mine cart ride again.

Still fun though

I was disappointed I got the same car two times in a row.  I wanted to see both runs.  Oh well.

We fought our way through about half way, at which point he got his last mokoko seed.  The seed cheat map if you are interested.

The mokoko seed locations in Grayhammer mine

And, after that we once more played the song of escape and left the instance.

There was time for quest turn ins and then I had to run because dinner was ready at our end.

Next time we start our approach to Luterra Castle.

Hunting for Mokoko Seeds in Sapira Cave and Ozhorn Hill

Having done the graphically fun and interesting Morai Ruins in Lost Ark last time around, our group moved on to the Ozhorn Hill zone, following the main story line quest series.

Welcome to Lost Ark

Our group remained the same for this run and we all left off at the same place, so were able to pick up together without much effort.

  • Sanperre – Gunlancer
  • Uladae – Sorceress
  • Greenjeans – Sorceress
  • Nandru – Artillerist

Oddly, Lost Ark isn’t big on your level.  Even in the guild listing, your level isn’t displayed, just your gear score, so I can’t assign a level to everybody on the list because it isn’t anywhere in the screen shots.  But we were 20-ish by that point, with gear levels around 100.

As we gathered I got to show off my Chamkuri mount, something of a llama/chicken mix, which was the 20 day login reward from the last reward cycle.

A Soda colored Chamkuri

The reaction was somewhere between muted and disturbed.  Also, the login reward cycle has move to a new season, so you can’t get this one right now.  But it is too strange to stay away forever I am sure.

We spent some time following up the overland quests, which were the usual mix of talking to somebody, finding a thing, slaughtering some of the local fauna, and walking on balance beams.

Is this more difficult in high heels or a full suit or armor and a giant weapon?

We also made a point of using the secret dungeon scrolls we were picking up in the zone along the way.  We learned that you can do the same secret dungeon once for each one of our scrolls.

Waiting to go in… somebody needs to hit accept

And the boss for each secret dungeon of the same name is always the same.  But the dungeon itself seems to draw from a range of possible small layouts, and they don’t always seem to be in the same place.

The Giant Ant Queen has a few homes I guess

Eventually though, we messed around enough, did the quests, and ended up at the far west end of the zone where Sapira Cave was, the dungeon for the zone.

Ozhorn Hill Map

As a dungeon, it was not nearly as interesting Morai Ruins.  It was both somewhat shorter, more linear, and less appealing.  The theme was muck and mucous, which was kind of gross.  I mean, look at this boss.

I don’t even want to get that on my gun lance

We were able to work our way through it on hard setting without too much issue.  I think Nandru stepped in the wrong goo a couple of times and died, but that is why he should be standing back and winning through superior firepower.

However, having discovered a few secret areas in Morai Ruins last time, we were on a close lookout for such places again so we could find the hidden Mokoko seeds.  We were into that because my run-ahead alt, now level 50, had made it to the NPC that gives you a prize for every 50 Mokoko seed you collect, and the collections UI indicates there are 1210 in the game.  So we were now officially hunting Mokoko seeds.

The instance quest itself sends you on a path that doesn’t cover all of the real estate, so when we were at the end and had only found 2 of the 9 Mokoko seeds.. the map nicely tells you how many there are to find in the upper left hand corner… we had some obvious places to look.

The quest line route through the dungeon

We worked our way back, closely tracking the walls, looking for hidden spots.  Sometimes they are hidden with a rock or a tree that you can simply walk through.  Sometimes there is a path visible that you can take.  But the seeds are often in areas not strictly on the map.

One of those spots

You wander off the marked areas and there you find a seed or two.

A pair of Mokoko seeds found

Searching up and down the walls and into the areas we had not gone got us eight of the nine Mokoko seeds we were looking for.  And there was one area we hadn’t been to, so we were sure the 9th seed must me there.

Eight seeds found

However, as you can see, that little blue arrow in the lower left of the dungeon does not have a corresponding return arrow, so we were trying to figure out how to get back up.  And, as we were doing that, going back and forth, we found we were able to see that final Mokoko seed, sitting just out of reach.

Cannot get to it from where we are

Eventually we decided to leave the dungeon, then go back in, fight our way back up the path to it, and collect it.  So we played the song of escape, then made our way back, and collected that final seed.

Then it was time for the song of escape again to leave the dungeon and carry on down the main story line.

A horn, two pan flutes, and an electric guitar to send us on our way

We had some time left, so we carried on down the story line into the next zone, Mount Zangoras, with an eye to getting to at least the next triport, and maybe getting the next dungeon in sight.

While we were there, the quest chain brought us close to a group of three Mokoko seeds, a special group that take some effort to collect.

The seed trio in Mount Zangoras

Those are the three Mokoko made a bit more famous by the Carbot Lost Ark video series announcement.

The video opening (the zone name and map location are on the wall)

The video, which is at the link above the image, runs for 27 minutes, which represents how long it can take to get through the barricade that is in front of the three Mokoko seeds.  The barricade is rumored to have a million hit points.

We decided to have at the barricade ourselves.  We had some time.

Attack the barricade!

It took us a little over ten minutes to burn through the barrier between us and the seeds, though somebody was already there and attacking it when we showed up, and I have no idea how long they were working at it.

Through the barricade, we were able to collect the three Mokoko seeds.

Mokoko seeds acquired

True to the video, the barricade response fairly quickly.  I made sure to hustle everybody through as soon as it was down.  But we got our seeds and, the way it works in Lost Ark, that collection is shared across all of your characters on the server, so we would not have to repeat that performance for any alts.

Also, a pro tip on doing this… get one of the triports in the zone discovered before hand.  I forgot and had to portal back over to Ozhorn Hill.  Not a huge journey, but it would have been easier if I had been able to pop back to a place in the zone.

After that we called it a night.  We did most of Mount Zangoras before we were done, so the next location for us is Luterra.  But first I think we have to pick up harvesting skills and do a bit more questing.

Level 50 in Lost Ark

I haven’t found the exact right meme to describe how I am playing Lost Ark, but it would be something along the lines of “I have no idea what I am doing, but I just keep on doing it.”

Welcome to Lost Ark

That said, I might have to actually figure out what I am doing since I managed to get my first character to level 50 in the game.  Somebody said at some point that 50 was a soft cap on the game and that you need to change over to raiding or some such to go beyond that.  Maybe?  Did I get that right?

I don’t know.  I still have an xp bar and there is still a story line to follow it seems.  But I also started getting a list of event notifications.

Things are happening

Lost Ark is certainly not in the exact same western fantasy MMORPG mold that I have grown used to.  You get a mount and a pet right up front, then start off down the main story line just fighting things and doing dungeons.  Then you finish up Luterra and then you have a stronghold.

I’m still not quite sure what to do with the stronghold, aside from send out missions from it.  There is a whole crafting aspect to it, but I don’t harvest enough to keep up with that.

Then there was a whole nautical and pirates themed section of the game, after while I ended up with a boat, which changed a the game… sort of.

Out sailing

Also, the pennants on the masts should be pointed forward, since the wind should be behind me in order to fill those sails.

Anyway, my paladin was still killing all the things with AOE attacks, but the story then took me off to other places.  There is an ocean to sail with many destinations.

The Ocean in Lost Ark

There are also islands to discover, hazards to avoid, and flotsam and jetsam to pick up.  Each main area has a dock, which enforces the order of the story… you can’t just land on any shore and start in where ever.

Also, the triports don’t work between the continents, so you can’t just zip back to West Luterra because you forgot something.  Sometimes you have to get on the boat.

Somewhere along the way I became First Sword of Changhun, which involved a series of arena battles and culminated with a celebration.

Celebrate being First Sword

The achievement shows about 18% of Steam players have gotten that far, so it is past the point where the bots go.  They seem to grind up to getting a boat, then sail to the towns around the ocean in order to spam gold seller ads in local.  They still haven’t fixed that issue as yet, though any free title is bound to have the same problem.

From there it was off to another port which was a steampunk town with a train that needed to get somewhere and, just having wandered in off the boat, they picked me as the guy who could solve all of their issues.  Pretty canny guess.

Gnomes would covet this

I guess with square rigged sailing ships and a class that specialized in guns, including one that is flamethrower, mortar, and machine gun all in one, means that we haven’t been strictly zeroed in on the swords and sorcery aspect of things.

Still, when I showed up at a camp full of people with guns and tech that looked like they were from a Fallout game, the fact that they wanted the guy on the horse with a sword to save their bacon seemed a bit silly.

You, in the tin can, we need your help

And I was able to fix their problem with a sword and get the trains running on time again.  Actually, I fixed their problem with a boot by kicking a bomb off of the track, but it was a lot of sword work to get to that point.

From there it was on the next big city where, once I had talked to everybody and rode the monorail a few times, I turned level 50.

There is still a lot of the world to see.  But I have at least made it this far.