Saturday, April 21, 2012

battling harpies in Atlantis, not as much fun as  IMHO
Well, after spending nearly a month and a half leveling my Berzerker in DAoC, I can honestly say this has been one of the best mmo games I have experienced, I am hooked on this game, and rarely have a desire to play any other, which is rare for me because I usually jump from game to game.

My goal was to max level my toon, and I am almost there, I have heard of people doing it in a couple of days which is crazy to me, but then again, I have no one that will PL me and I only play about an hour to two each day, except on weekends when I have a bit more time and I stay on longer. Today I will try to analyze or tell you some of the things which have made DAoC a great experience for me, and you can decide whether you want to try it out for yourself. (Assuming you haven't and are reading this on the fence..)

What I have discovered from playing in the pvp b.g.s is that with the exception of the last b.g. which is called Catha Valley and is only for 45-50s, the others are all populated at peak times. C.V. probably has people too, but I haven't had the chance to explore much of it. I don't know how accurate are printed reports about the server populations, but regardless, I found no problem most of the time finding a group if I posted LFG after my /region command in the chat. Eventually people will add you on for x.p. or for RvR./advice is also a great command, the blue letters are your friend, you will see what I mean. in pvp goes waaaay faster in a group than it does individually. You grab the pve quests from the NPCs and then you go do then with your group, they are usually fun, unless you get ganked, or you get jumped by the other faction (which in my case was always Hyberia or Albion because I always played Mids)  but even then, this can be fun. I remember being out in one of the b.g.s I think it was Wilton or Molvik, when some joker tried to gank me on a hill after I was engaged with some mobs, the group I was with came by to blast him, and I guess he was by himself or separate and it was sweet to see them make short work of him.

b.g. are also soloable, but unless you have a lot of patience, or can't find a group, I do not recommend. The problem is, if enemy are roaming around a zone, you will die a lot unless you can tank or can heal yourself.

Bounty scrolls are nice, they help you get good gear, but remember to buy the appropriate gear for each b.g. and don't worry about dying, as long as you go back and pray at your grave or visit a healer outside the b.g. to regain constitution, it is no big deal. Praying at your grave restores your lost xp but you only lose xp if you get killed by pve battles, not during pvp, if I am not mistaken.

I was told that going to Atlantis, doing the extension trials and doing the ML was faster than leveling in the last b.g. but so far it has been hard to find consistent groups in Atlantis, and I don't like the zone as much as I did the although battling there, without a template (whatever the heck that is) can be difficult.

As for games coming out, I am keeping my eye out for Tera, which looks kinda cool, but not sure my ancient rig can run it, may have to upgrade for that. I will probably make DDO my go to alternate, because the expansion is due out this June.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

History of the Drow: DDO's Latest Expansion Features Familiar Foes

Everything old is new again eh? It would seem the same applies to DDO whose new announced expansion coming this June "Menace of the Underdark." is an intriguing virtual retooling of the old Forgotten Realms setting first made popular by TSR more than 20 years ago.

There are plenty of sites out there including Ten Ton Hammer and Massively which have all the details about Turbine's new expansion. Instead, I want to focus more on the history of the drow, the race which is heavily featured in the campaign setting in which this new expansion is based on, so I dusted off my old copy of The Drow of the the Underdark (available on paperback on ebay and similar places online) and brushed up on the history of DDO's new/old fantasy campaign setting.

The Drow or dark elves, are a fearsome and mysterious race to most surface dwellers in the realms. The most dangerous of the drow, are wizards. They can become quite powerful and often appear in the company of strange familiars. What's the connection with the drow and spiders? Well, they have a strong affinity for arachnids, Most of them worship the spider goddess Lolth,
whose priestesses dominate drow society.

Lolth will most certainly be making an appearance in DDO's new expansion, as she is central to the drow. I am guessing she will be a high level boss, but there are many other gods or creatures which can make an appearance which dwell from the forgotten Realms. For example there is VHaeraun, a lesser god, the god of thievery, and then there are the monsters native to the region.

"Deep Bats," werebats, deep dragons, and Rothe are just a handful of creatures which may or may not make it into the video game version of the Forgotten Realms, but with such a rich history, the game will have plenty of adversaries to confront in parties or solo play.

If you want to read more about the lore and history of both the Drow or the Forgotten Realms, you can head over to wizards of the coast and look up some of the books explaining the elements of this campaign. Alternatively, you can visit the ddo Menace of the underdark website which has info. on the new expansion. Players will be able to play the druid class and I should probably also mention that the new ddo expansion is going to raise the level cap to 25, which means I hope to be getting some toons to max level. I have been very busy playing through my subscription of DAoC, but I hope to play some DDO this spring in preparation for what appears to be a fun expansion.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The battle for Gilneas vs. fun in the Dark Age of Camelot

Remember when choosing a game to play was easy? I remember when I would play pac-man, or a game I was fond of as a youth: an isometric 3d combat RPG named Realms of Arkania.

Back in those days, I had to qualms grabbing a game and playing through it without making many choices at any conscious level, it was a visceral private experience and there didn't have to be any association with the dot chomping pacman. I felt no ties to him, nor did I wonder why he had to race around a maze chomping down the ghosts, that was just the way things were. Not so with a game like World of Warcraft. In wow, you have to choose a side, there's a raging conflict between the two factions in the game, the horde and alliance. I think if you read this blog fairly regularly, you know which side I tend to group with.

Recently, a friend presented me with a resurrection scroll for wow, and I started playing my neglected fire mage once again. However, the scroll allowed me a free upgrade to cataclysm, an expansion I never played before, so I had the chance to play the two races I had never played before, the goblins of kezan on the horde side, and the Worgen on Alliance. When I first heard about Cata back in 2010, (or was it 2009? I can't remember) I thought the horde got robbed. The Goblin are a joke race, they are mostly there for comic relief, who would not want to play a werewolf in a fantasy game? But why did the Alliance get the cool race? The more I tried to reconcile it, with being OK with the Goblin in the horde, the more I resented Blizzard for giving them to us. Then I heard about MOP and the stupid monk pandas, but that's a whole other story....

I learned to hate the Worgen as I mowed them down with my mage. I found it easy to hate them as they camped around Alliance zones and sprung out at the most inopportune times in instanced dungeons. Then something weird happened, I started to get the urge to roll Alliance, so that I could play one! I think it was after seeing the intro video with the Gilneans. The Gilneans were members of the Alliance once, until their wall cut them off from the horde, but now in the Cataclysm reality, they had to defend their land against the foresaken, while concurrently trying to deal with the Worgen curse. Suddenly they weren't the twits of the Alliance anymore, but they were a people resisting being conquered, and I always side with the underdogs. Like the Liliputians they have an irresistible allure Why does Garrash Hellscream want to take over Gilneas in the first place? Because it's a strategic foothold in the war against the Alliance? Because he is a power hungry bastard? Maybe both?

The Gilneans don't shout "For the Alliance" like those humans do in Stormwind, at least in the early part of their campaign, and at least they have a valid reason for joining, but still I shudder to play one and watch that horrid Alliance flag fly. I am horde, how can I turn against my own virtual faction? So I played DAoC instead and had a blast leveling up my berskerer in the Molvik b.g.s.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The last days of Camelot

What you see here at left is Gannisper my level 80 fire mage, and one of the main reasons why I am going to be leaving Dark Age of Camelot for a while.

I still wholly believe that DAoC is a superior game to wow, well at least in terms of atmosphere and pvp. The b.g. pvps are rife with conflict every time I log on, and especially at peak hours. Why would I ever dream of giving up all that much fun for a game I am already familiar with like wow?

Things were just getting interesting to! I joined a guild and I was one step away from the Molvik b.g. where a lot of the heavy duty RvR is actually supposed to take place, and I have been told is as much fun as Thid, or even more if you can believe that. Also, at level 30 with my berserker, I was only 5 levels away from acquiring a precious mount! A mount! Hot dog! That would be sublime! Although i still considered myself a DAoC noob, even after 30 levels, I don't think I could have done any worse than this guy.

Alas, my reasons for leaving DAoC (at least temporarily) are valid. Even though wow is a p2p game, economics don't really figure into the equation, as I am already used to the idea of having to pay for a small subscription to get in some quality gaming time. The devs over at Mythic claim that DAoC will never convert to a p2p format because they use the revenue to sustain the game. Fair enough, DAoC is so good, I would not mind pitching in so that it would continue to exist. No my reasons for suspending my time has more to do with immersion than anything else.

This spring, having switched to full time work, I simply have little time to devote to any one game, so I will continue to rotate and getting my gaming fix anywhere I can get it, dreaming of the day where I can max out one toon on any mmo. Those will be the days! But alas retirement is far away, so I must be content with weekends and the occasional free time to game.

So recently my friend sent a wow resurrection scroll my way, which not only got me interested in roaming through Azeroth once more, (there's seven free days attached an the instant boost of my toon to level 80) but to make the deal even sweeter, I can also create toons in Cataclysm. Yes I know, most people were disappointed with Cata as an expansion, but for me, damn it, I was too busy or broke or both in the fall of 2010 and into 2011, so the chance to try out the goblin starting area, or even (gasp!) a Worgen, never came my way, that is until now.

MOP betas be damned! I am always behind the 8 ball in terms of current trends, so why should this venture be any different? All I know is I see any panda come my way, decked out in Alliance gear, he's going down like Santy Claus down the chimney on Xmas eve!! Gannisper don't play that Kung Fu Panda nonsense.