Tuesday 30 October 2012

Famile Recipe: Hamburgers

Part of my Recipes to Disaster journal.

Been a while since I attempted to cook anything, what with all that computer gaming and all. This time around it's good old hamburgers - a variation on them anyway! :D

500g ground beef
4 slices of white bread
Salt & Pepper
Soy Sauce
Tomato paste
1 onion (minced)

1. Remove edges of the bread.  Cut remainder into small squares (eg. Cube the bread :P)
Joe's note: I ended up smashing the remaining bread with a fork in step 2 anyway so don't worry about shape. Just make sure they are small. :P

2. Put a little bit of milk in a small desert bowl.  Put bread cubes into it.  There should be enough milk to soak the bread, but not enough that there is extra milk leftover in the bowl when the
bread is removed. 
Jim’s note:  This step (bread & milk) makes a massive difference in the taste of the  final hamburger – and is the actual ‘secret’ to why mom’s hamburger’s taste fantastic.  Don’t skip it.

3. In a mixing bowl: 
a. mix ground beef with minced onion and the milk-soaked bread
b. Salt & Pepper (tancha) 
c. break in an egg
d. Add 3 cooking tablespoons of tomato paste or ketsup
e. Add 1 cooking tablespoon of soy sauce
Jim’s note:  mix this really well – takes 10-15mins of manual mixing with a fork. 
Joe's note:  I mixed mine for 10 minutes. Failed to read the "with a fork" bit though. Just got in with both (clean) hands and massaged it all together!

4. Form the hamburger patties from the mixture.   You should be able to get 12 big hamburgers (or various combinations of smaller ones)
a. Use a knife to ensure hamburger is packed by lightly tapping lengthwise and crosswise on the patty.
Joe's note:  A dull table knife will suffice. Also use it to make them "burger" shape and fix up frayed edges.
Jim’s note:  You can freeze the patties at this point for serving another day.

5. Cook the hamburgers:
a. Heat up a little bit of oil in a skillet.
b. Put the patties in the skillet and cook 5-7 minutes to each side. 
Jim’s note:  will depend on how strong your fire is.  Again tancha.  

6. Serve. Joe's Note: I like these With ketchup, rice and canned pork & beans! :P

Joe's Result: 10 out of 10 (compared to mom's)! Om nom nom! Not bad for a novice! Helps that this was way simpler than the last thing I tried to cook.

Monday 29 October 2012

Week #8 - Miserable Mesmer

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

As the title suggests I was not having a lot of fun using my mesmer. I found him weak, his illusions kinda useless and in general a slog to level up. It's almost like you are required to weapon swap using him and long story short, you need a lot more key presses to kill an enemy. To be fair, they have some really nice long ranged attacks but the minute you gain a tactical advantage (like stand where an enemy cannot hit you) the game makes your target invulnerable (even in instanced missions). THIS IS STUPID. If it is a method of anti-botting then sorry, this just kills the entire game for ranged classes.

Found a good vantage point? Too bad. It's useless!

Stuck it out with him and pushed to level 28 still, hitting storyline missions way above until I finally needed help to retrieve a sword made from Jormag's blood. DL's assistance was required to finish that and upon completion the mesmer completed his job of gaining me the Priory banner, meaning he now goes into the barracks. It will be my warrior's turn next to get me that last banner but he's just level 6 and still working on an anti-ghost rifle.

Main story wise DL, Thaldir and I (main thief) killed a Mouth of Zhaitan in a very buggy mission. Open the doors from ON TOP of them if you get stuck here too. Since that took us long (due to the bugged doors) that's all we got done apart from smashing events at the Straits of Devastation. The first part of the Halloween event also started up but I found Lion's Arch way too laggy to participate. Nice to see the place all dressed up though.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Fastest 100% World Completion

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

Now that I've done it myself I thought I would write up a guide to help others complete their own 100% world completion achievement the fastest way possible.

Be like Snake! :P

The Scout:
Fastest paced character from what I can see is the Thief. Remember your mission is to scout, not to fight every critter that happens to be in your way. I won't go into traits as you will be able to work out what you like best with this, but the skills you'll want to be using are:

Steal covers a lot of ground and useful for escaping mobs if you use your targetting correctly.
Hide in Shadows is useful when things get hairy, go invis.
Signet of Shadows but never actually activate it. Passively it will give you +25% speed continously.
Shadow Refuge - Switch out with Signet of Shadows when you are going for a commune or combat skill point. 7 seconds invis is more than enough to commune!
Shadow Trap is useful as distraction while you flee, or as another damage dealer if you choose to fight.
Thieves Guild the same as above but x2.
Roll for Initiative - gets you much needed init and more importantly is another -moving- skill you can use to escape.

Gear to Bring:
Double Daggers works well for mobility, since you can Leaping Death Blossom "through" incoming enemies and cloak and dagger into stealth for an additional escape. Remember, you run faster -out- of combat though and if you are fighting try land your first strike from hidden to your target's back for maximum damage. A shortbow is handy too to help with some heart tasks, like shooting dredge turrets and such but if you prefer something else go for it.

Underwater primarily use a spear. In close quarters and one on one, you should be unstoppable (unless you are poking a megalodon you idjit). Spam your block attack (3) to regain initiative then (5) to spend it all while dodging.

The Zones:
This may seem counter productive but do not scout zones geographically - like, don't start at Rata Sum and work your way across to the Blazeridge steps. The level difference can hinder you quite a bit if you are not in an appropriate zone. It's easy enough to work around though. Your first rule is to never move on until you've completed a zone entirely.

Now to your actual scouting sequence: Start out by completing each city - including Lion's Arch.

Then use this listing here.
Do all the lowest level zones. Then do the next lowest level and so on, leaving the level 80 stuff for last. As you complete each "tier" (like all level 1-10 zones) return to Lion's Arch for some crafting for a small level boost. You'll be able to gauge when to do this anyway since your bank will be filling with mats as you go - this is if you are harvesting majority of nodes on the way (and you should especially if they are unguarded).

Always chat to the heart person first as half the time the fastest way to complete a heart is a non-combat method. A good rule of thumb for "collection" stuff is get 10-15 items first before heading back to hand them in.

Skill Challenges:
Memory Test - easily accessible for anyone anyway
Food - if it is guarded, throw down a shadow refuge AT the food as you are running at it. Take and eat it, stealth out.
Commune - Same as food. If it is very well guarded throw a thieves guild and shadow trap to keep the enemies busy on your approach. Underwater you will need to kill the guards. You can still bring thieves guild if there's a nearby shore.
Fight - Use thieves guild and shadow trap followed by steal if you have "thrill of the crime" as your NPC pals also get the bonus. Follow up with cloak and dagger and backstab. If the enemy survives just kite while throwing daggers (and/or caltrops) and stealthing until your thieves are ready again. In cases with many opponents just aim to kill one at a time then flee/recover. They hang around for awhile anyway so don't rush.

The Mists:
As the old adage goes: If you can't beat them, join them. Make use of the free server transfer and hop onto the dominant of the 3 warring realms. You need to move fast though as the landscape of who holds what is prone to change. Dedicate at least 2 hours to finishing everything here and hop between the three borderlands and the eternal battlegrounds each time you hit a "block", coming back later to see if your side has retaken what you've not yet scouted.

Monday 22 October 2012

Week #7 - The Furthest Lands

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

Welcome to Orr!
After collecting a magic orb I pushed on to Fort Trinity this week, at the front lines on the Straits of Devastation where I begun my infiltration into Orr by slaying one of Zhaitan's Eyes. I found Orr to be a very fun place - no heart quests to do and almost exclusively Risen bastards all over the place. Even the wildlife is hostile! That didn't stop me from finishing off that region, followed by Malchor's Leap and the Cursed Shore though - stupid zombies cannot stop a single well-prepared thief.

With all the PVE zones now completed my next task lay in the Mists which was a tough ask given that my home server of Gunnar's Hold is pretty weak in that department, especially against this week's rivals of Baruch Bay and Kodash. Scouted what I could and then made use of the free server transfer to hop onto Kodash for a day. The Germans really know their warfare, and in a span of a few hours they had conquered not only the Eternal Battlegrounds, but all of the Borderland regions as well making my exploration completion very easy. In contrast though, their PVE zones were almost devoid of players. :P

Now that I have my 100% World Completion Account medal you'd think I would attack the main story next but no - I want those other pretty banners too, so I created my appropriately named "Bannermen", an iron legion Charr Warrior and a Sylvari Mesmer to fetch me the flags of the Vigil and Priory respectively. Only did the introductory mission of the Charr, fighting Duke Barradin with Rytlock (only level 2) before switching over to work on the Sylvari who I think will be more troublesome to level. They do have a good story line though, and broadens the depth of info a bit on Trahearne, a particular magic mirror and Caladbolg (to the expense of Caithe I think). Also had a really fun mission helping the Priory defend a fort against the Risen via use of remote controlled golems. That's got to be one of the most fun missions I've played so far. :)

Guildwise our weekly hunt was a bit quieter this time with only my brothers DL and Jim showing up. I took them to the Blazeridge Steppes to help level Jim up and once there we faced the Shatterer but this time with very few people. All our nice turrets got destroyed over the course of the battle which meant I was up close and personal to the dragon this time but he still had no chance. :D The Kami Katze and Thaldir both reached level 80 as well, but no new members this week - and low login rates. Even our allied guild RoF is going through a lull as one of their members switched over to earn us points since none of his own guild were on.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Week #6 - Falling from High Places

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

Played a bit more GW2 than usual this week and completed the flame legion stronghold of Fireheart Rise, along with Sparkfly Fen and its resident winged beast, Frostgorge Sound (didn't encounter the dragon here), the Dredgehaunt Cliffs and its very evil vistas (deaths +++), Timberline Falls and Mount Maelstrom which is home to a very impressive volcano - and very annoying destroyers allied with Inquest. I still wonder about those Mole-men Dredge sometimes. For "blind" critters they seem to have an unusual liking for rifles and very high, easy to fall off places.

Also continued the main story a bit, participating in the loss and subsequent recapture of Claw Island which involved slaying another death dragon - perhaps a twin to the one of Sparkfly Fen? Anywho, the Risen aren't so bad. I prefer them to the burning destroyers any day. In fact I think the Risen are the weakest/least annoying of the dragon slaves, or maybe a close second to the Branded. Certainly gives room for expansions though.

Also I still feel I'm getting promoted way too quick. From Initiate to Agent was just one task. Interesting to note that it was an Agent and not a Lightbringer who was assigned to protect Queen Jennah. Guess she's not that important? :P

The guild had our usual point-gathering session this time at Bloodtide Coast though we started a bit late due to disconnects. We also gained no new members this week and our count is on 19 members, though almost half are not on Gunnar's Hold and are not representing us. I'm wondering if it's time to kick them?

I reached level 80 this week somewhere during the Frostgorge Sound exploration, and DL reached it the following day. Most notable battle for me was falling into a troll infested canyon while looking for a vista, where it so happened another thief was already fighting the massive mob. Between the two of us, we killed ALL the hairy freaks including a veteran, and a champion troll. It was awesome. :)

And fails.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Week #5 - Dragon Down

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

Lost a few more days to Mabinogi until the event there ended but I still managed to clear out a bunch of areas including the Iron Marches, the Fields of Ruin, Bloodtide Coast, and the Blazeridge Steppes. I kind of like the idea that each dragon has their own type of followers: the risen, the destroyers, the branded, the icebrood - it keeps things varied, though I do question some of their choices - namely flaming crabs and undead fish. Haha! :P

Changed up the guild run this week to start at the Caledon Forest and proceeded through the Brisban Wildlands and then the Harathi Highlands. Strangely we got -less- influence than we did when we just camped our previous zones. I suppose easier events = faster events? Once I was back on my lonesome I also finally became a full agent for the Order of Whispers and was given my next task of gaining an alliance with the Skritt. I'm not really chasing down the story event at this point as you may have guessed.

Memorable battles this week were against a pair of champion wasps (with only 1 other player) and it was a good lesson in kiting with a shortbow. Took ages to kill those bastards. Not so dangerous was my first dragon - "the Shatterer". I actually battled him twice since it took me so long to finish that zone that he returned. Seemed safest to me to sit in a cannon and shoot at him/provide covering fire for the dudes below which proved to be easy wins. If only he was smart enough to land -behind- the cannons, then maybe he'd have a chance. ^_^

"Flanking!? What does that mean?"

During one of those battles I met and recruited a jolly cat dude so our guild count is up by +1, and now I'm on level 67. :)

Just thought I'd mention a few things I've found I don't like about the game too...
1) For some reason I can't log into their forums. I get an "unusual" error related to invalid tokens.
2) Can't talk while harvesting - or you can sort of, then it breaks both actions
3) Can't view vistas in combat mode. Long after you've gone out of combat mode. Relog to fix :/
4) Can't choose yourself to go into/out of combat mode - non issue if you can view vistas in combat
5) Gear breaks only when you are "defeated". Prefer it if it breaks based on damage - regularly.
6) NPCs don't revive you, though you -often- revive them.
7) Friendly NPCs regularly lose to enemies in their zone, which can be stupidly funny (death by mosquito)
8) The Mists count for exploration requirement. Not too bad if your shard is winning maybe, but thats a 1 out of 3 chance. Very annoying for non-pvpers like myself.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Week #4 - Memory of a Flame

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

Yikes, a bit late on this post so expect week 5 to be up in a few days too! Anyways I lost a number of days due to playing Mabinogi this week (AP potions are just too rare to pass up!) but I still managed to clear out the Diessa Plateau, the massive Lornar's Pass and the centaur controlled region of the Harathi Highlands where I helped run major offensives against the four hoofed fools. Also managed to join my guild for another event run, camping Queensdale and the Kessex Hills.

When I was back on my own again I continued up into the Iron Marches which are mostly controlled by "branded" critters I think. However the flame legion did have a massive base there, and during my infiltration I found they had summoned an old friend of mine - a massive fire elemental, just like the one at the Metrica Province a few weeks back! This time I was aided only by a small squad of NPCs (otherwise solo), which turned out to be a good thing - because it meant I didn't lag and could pretty much avoid his attacks. It took me forever but I finally killed that sucker.

Yippee Ki-yay!
Erebos has been busy recruiting on Henge of Denravi so I actually lost count of how many new guys we gained. One of them, Rufio is already level 80. I, on the other hand, just reached level 58. Lastly, did you know they are making a new Die Hard? :D

Edit: Forgot to mention the Guild also had enough points this week to get a guild stash and hire a guild armorer! Woohoo!

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Week #3 - Late to the Party

Part of my Explorer of Tyria journal - you can find the rest here!

Tried out a fair bit of crafting which I find really fun, especially the discovery section of it before going back to my main goal of exploring the world! Completed Caledon Forest, the Brisban Wildlands, Snowden Drifts and the Gendarran Fields this week. Also had our first guild "event" to earn us some influence - mainly cycling around the Kessex Hills region. I also got to see the intro to the Order of Whispers and the Vigil thanks to accompanying Thaldir and DL respectively on that part of their missions.

As tempted as I was to see the Priory's intro movie I ended up also joining the Order of Whispers and faced off against some stupid soldier carrying a cursed artifact as the finale to the first "act". The bomb plan was good, but couldn't we have found a less dangerous place to fight instead of the throne room itself? I'll just not think about all the commoners he may or may not have killed on the way up.

The funny cat mentor I was introduced to after made up for that though, and after out drinking a bunch of pirates and simple rescue op he found himself transformed into the gal we freed to decoy her pursuers - a mission I found very funny indeed! This week I also entered my first "dungeon", the story mission of Caudecous Manor along with DL, Yue and two RoF members. Yeah it was tough, but nowhere near the difficulty I thought it would be. Still, it is supposed to be the easiest place so there's lots of scaling to be had later on I imagine.

Finished off mid-exploration of Diessa Plateau, where I had immense fun solving the jumping puzzle at the broken wall to the South followed by intese deaths to a giant attacking a nearby town. I find I lag too much when there are lots of people which makes my point blank evasions a bit hard to do. Seems the game really wants me to pickup that short-bow and strafe shoot everything (becomes a bit -too- easy then). Anyway, the guild gained 2 new members and I'm now on level 47. Meanwhile our guildie Erebos on Henge of Denravi is now level 80.

Nothing to see here but Apples! :3