Some promises are hard to keep
Remember my last post saying that I wasn’t going to be able to see Akylios dead? I lied.
My guild was previously close to getting Akylios down, and our previous attempt was 30-something percent. Earlier this week, a patched was rolled by nerfing Akylios significantly, and we managed to down him after one serious attempt (previous attempts were stymied by lots of people disconnecting).
Karagga, with a hat that was probably stolen from Otto von Bismarck.
It’s been a hectic week for me since the last weekend, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been able to get any gaming done. I did manage to log into SWTOR once and completed the Karagga’s Palace raid instance. I’ve mentioned before that BioWare loves puzzles, and KP is no exception. In one of the fights, you have to constantly solve a puzzle which fires an incinerator positioned above the boss, removing it’s damage reduction buff. Fellow computer science students would be pleased to know that the puzzle is a classic problem taught in class — it’s a three piece Tower of Hanoi problem.
Other than that one SWTOR raid, and my raid obligations in Rift, which I’ve ended up being late for on a number of occasions, I hadn’t had a chance to play anything on my own free will. Now is the time where I’m gravitating towards the middle of my semester and my workload is piling up. I find myself wanting to put Rift raiding on a hiatus, and just using the free time to relax, or play a game that isn’t an MMORPG. I’ve having no fun rushing from one thing to another, and raiding has become a chore in itself.
I need a vacation.
I need a vacation.
Rant: The above screenshot took way too much effort and too long to capture. Curse you Hollywood, and your draconian DRM on blu-ray discs.
Full T2 raid gear, with 3 relics
My guild has been on 10/11 in Hammerknell for sometime now. In other words, we more or less have HK on farm, despite not having tried Akylios yet. With the recent patch making one Greater Marks of Ascension available for using the dungeon finder to complete expert mode dungeons, it’s not too hard to gear at all. With an average of 4 marks per 10 bosses in HK, 1 mark per 7 expert dungeons and a few spare from 10 man raids in one week, it actually goes pretty fast.
Sounds like things are going pretty smooth, right? Not really. I still feel my guild as being behind compared to others. As I’ve learnt the past month, people do have something called life outside of the internet (*gasp*), and also, SWTOR is an extremely popular game. Thankfully, we seem to have managed to weather it out while some other guilds didn’t. That gave us the opportunity to recruit just enough to make up for numbers lost to attrition.
I am, however, worried that I might eventually join the ranks of the people lost to attrition. I’m starting to feel as if Rift is a drag. I desperately need inscribed sourcestones to build a fire resist sigil, but I can’t bring myself to do the zone events. The ones on Ember Isle are worse. It takes forever to complete an invasion there, not to mention having having to endure slideshow like frame rates. Trion needs to cut the number of sub-phases leading up to the invasion boss, which is the only thing people care about.
The Absurd – This is what I got while trying to read the patch notes yesterday.
There a few things about SWTOR the seems rather backwards. In a time when Rift is able do large content patches with downtime as little as an hour, SWTOR’s minor patch took a whole 6 hours. And it got extended. During that period of time, even trying to look at something as trivial as patch notes was difficult as their web servers seem to be overloaded as well.
There’s no doubt that SWTOR is a fun game, but there’s the dark side of it too. Support has been a horror story so far, with people unable to get through to a CSR after holding for hours on a phone.
I hope the support woes and long maintenance window is a genuine problem caused by the game doing too well, rather than an indication of things to come.
Carry all the things
As you gravitate towards end game, the amount of essential items to carry increases astronomically. I’m not talking about the bazallion unstackable vendor trash from every mob. I’m talking about gear you need to bring along to ensure an optimal experience for a dungeon run or raid.
Any semi-experienced player will tell you that having the right gear for right encounter will make the fight easier, or at least more manageable. Fire breathing dragon? You better have a resist set for that. Sith lord that casts lightning bolts? Better have another set of shock resist gear. Ice elementals? Frost resist or GTFO. Magikarp? Water resist gear on now! A troll with high melee resists? Time to switch to mage gear and blast away, or alternatively, add it to my ignore list.
Do you see the problem now?
This problem is less exacerbated in an MMO such as Rift in comparison to an open world single player RPG like Skyrim. In MMOs, I usually have a set goal, or at least a vague idea of what I want to set about accomplishing in the next hour. I know I’ll need death and water resist gear if I’m going to raid Hammerknell for the night. I know the mechanics and what to expect and prepare accordingly. This is less true in Skyrim. I wander around aimlessly. I stumble into dungeons with cultist mage groups and dragons swoop down on me. The result? I carry an entire wardrobe with me.
Many rings (and necklaces) to rule them all!
I find myself doing the gear shuffle between or even during fights and it feels rather silly. Surely, there must be a better way to go about this?
Just over a day of being elated after spending an extended weekend grinding to r8, it seems that all the effort is going to be for naught. According to this dev post published today, the usefulness of PvP gear in PvE is going to be effectively cut by half in the next hot fix.
While I think this is the right move, and that in a game where you have separate PvP and PvE servers, those who choose to play on the PvE servers should never be forced to PvP for gear or other reasons, I’m pissed that they choose to announce the changes after I spend the effort getting gear which would be pointless to have after the patch. If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have spent all those hours in warfronts.
But what can I say or do about it? For those of us who have been playing MMOs for a long period of time, we know the cycle of nerfs and boosts is a part of the life. Classes could be FoTM one patch, and then broken so badly the next that anyone would be foolish to play it. Gear gets re-itemized and essentially “reset” whenever a major patch brings out new content. I’ve played long enough to be apathetic to these changes.
So what am I going to do? I could hit the forums with a couple of angry posts demanding that Trion not push this changes to the live servers and threaten to cut my subscription if they do, but to be realistic, that’s not going to change anything. Instead, I’m going to allow myself a long sigh, sober up and embrace the grind, one again.
The planets couldn’t have been better aligned this weekend. Rift’s half anniversary coincided with a number of holidays, giving me an extremely long weekend to take advantage of the bonus exp/prestige that was going out. I grinded my way to rank 8. To top it off, I even won a bonus gift soon after.
Fluffy the Destroyer of Worlds
PVP in Rift isn’t the most fun thing ever. If not for Trion’s poor itemization resulting in PvP gear being better for PvE than PvE gear itself, I would never had touched PvP in Rift. If you can get enough focus/hit, the R8 PvP set bonus easily triumphs any PvE set obtainable at this time.
As much as I would to cease PvPing, I’m still short of favor for R8 shoulders and helm. The helmet isn’t as important as I would never use it outside of PvP, but the shoulders are critical for me to be able to keep my 4-piece set bonus in raids after swapping some gear around.
Damn it, I just want to get PvP in Rift over and done with so I can play Deus Ex with no guilt!
Greenscale no more
My guild, like many on Wolfsbane who had already done so, transferred to Laethys earlier this week. Ever sine Trion flagged Laethys as Oceanic, boatloads of Oceanic players have sought asylum on its shores. We figured it would be imperative for us to move before immigration is on to us and transfers in are closed. We’ve been leaking people recently, and Laethys would be hugely beneficial for recruitment. As part of the refugee care package, we received a 2H relic sword from Lord Greenscale.
We’ve been stuck on Lord Greenscale for several weeks now, including an agonizingly painful wipe at 5% a few weeks before. Greenscale goes through different phases, most of which are easy, except for the last. There is so much going on during the last phase, having to pay attention pollens and brackens which if not taken down quick leads to a wipe. A lot has to be micromanaged.
I’m extremely pleased that we were able to clear Greenscale tonight, even more so that it took only two attempts. Starting from next week, I’ll be in Melbourne for the rest of my holidays and would probably have little chance, if at all, at raiding.
Also, we’ve finally cleared the 10-man raid, Gilded Prophecy!
Uruluuk took us 5 hours, but it was worth it
After an intense 5 hours attempt and multiple aggravating wipes when Ulruluuk (Judging by their names, Orcs and Klingons might have had a common heritage) when he was at 5% or 1%, we downed him. The loot wasn’t fantastic, at least as far as mages are concerned anyway.
Despite 3 nights a week of raiding, loot has been lackluster in general. We’ve either been ending up cleric tank loot, or loot which people already have. So, I was extremely pleased when a mage staff dropped in GSB on Thursday night, and a mage chest from Warmaster in RoS yesterday. Although they are not the best in slot items for my class, an upgrade is still an upgrade.
Untamed Rage Vestments
Treant Heartwood Staff
It’s the mid-year holidays and that time of year when I have absolute freedom to dictate what I want to do with my life. The result of that is a playing a lot of Rift with no consideration for the hours of the day.
My guild is progressing well on raids. We’re 4/5 in Greenscale’s Blight, 1/5 in River of Souls and after yesterday night, 1/4 in the 10-man Gilded Prophecy raid. It’s amazing being in a guild (we’re Oceanic) that raids during my timezone. Previously, in other games, I’ve either have to miss EST/PST scheduled raids, or crawl awake during the dead of night for the European ones. Not fun.
One trouble we’ve been running into for raids is consumables. Consumables significantly increase raid capabilities, but they are expensive. Thankfully, we’ve some guildies that have been very kind to bear the cost and provide them free to the raid. Not wanting to solely rely on a few to pay the costs for all, I decided to unlearn my 270-something Apocathary and pick up foraging instead to fund the war effort.
Foraging for Tempestflower Stems and Twilight Bloom roots are great pain. The nodes are few and often found among tight clusters of mobs, especially if you’re looking for them in Stillmoor. Some elite mobs roam amongst them for added pain. Necro/lock is a great spec for taking on groups of solo mobs, but the necro pet, either tank or rogue, is paper when faced with elites. I went back to my old tried and true elite soloing spec, with elementalist as my primary spec for its hardy tank pet. I previously had an ele/chloro setup, which survived anything thrown at it. I decided to mess around around a little, and settled on a 44 ele/14 lock/8 pyro.
What I didn’t realize was how inadvertently picked a number of passives that increased my rate of gaining charge. Three nukes in, I’m already at 50% ~ 60% charge, allowing me to keep Elemental Forces up almost all the time.
More charges please
Now that I’ve a good reason to be in Stillmoor, maybe’ll I actually do the Order of Mathos dailies.