Wednesday 30 April 2014

NBI: Why I Support the NBI

I've been blogging for awhile now and like many I started as a lone island with no bridges coming or going from other sites. This was fine for me for a few years, but getting the motivation and drive to actually post stuff can be very daunting when you are pretty much just yelling into the infinite void of the internet, with no comments coming in and a very low page view count.

The solution was pretty simple of course, I just had to actually introduce myself to the blog community and boy was I surprised when a great number of them suddenly decided to put up links to my humble blog! Suddenly people were actually reading and commenting on some of my posts and I must say that's a pretty good, motivational feeling.

If you are a blogger new or old who doesn't yet introduced themselves then I highly recommend you do so, and perhaps the best way to do that is to sign up to the Newbie Blogger Initiative (aka NBI) as I did last year because not only will it improve all those statistics you are not supposed to care about (*cough*) but because you will gain a wealth of knowledge, a slew more ideas to blog about or counter blog about, and perhaps even a few more friends. ^_^

What the NBI did for my page views last year.

And hey, if it's not for you then you can easily burn all those bridges after you try it out. You don't really lose anything by giving it a go.

Sacred: Dam Fetch Quest

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

Highmarsh was a relaxing enough diversion, seeing me deal with thieving gargoyles, collecting some weed (really), and allying with a friendly dark elf named Valaria  for a short time to kill some Sakkara cultists and their pet demon. I also wondered about the economy of such a place when I child can pay me five thousand gold coins for returning a smiley bunny to her. Unfortunately it was soon time for me to make my way back up the mountain and into the next set of drow infested mines, this one being far more annoying than the last in that it was intentionally made as a maze instead of a mine. It was very slow going until I reached the second floor where there were no drow units at all, instead there were just a variety of ghosts and the occasional, easily avoidable cave fish.

With nothing there that could paralyze me (cave fish being the exception but they were very few) I could sprint past all the foes and activate the dam lever to drain the water before ducking out via a convenient escape hatch. I still had to jump down the mountain again past more drow, but once I got into the water temple itself it was just a small two level dungeon the first being one small room with spiders and the second just having ghosts and cave fish again, most of which I avoided simply by jumping to the elemental receptacle (and back) gaining the element of water.

With all the elements now in my possession it was time to head towards Mystdale Castle, where Shareefa said she would be waiting for me. You'd have thought she might at least get some of the elements herself but noooooo. On the road there I found the miserable swamp village of Gloomoor which had a nasty spider infestation (which no one seemed to mind). I did help out as much as I could though, by collecting spider venom sacs, rescuing trapped lumberjacks, and destroying a lich in a nearby dungeon. That last task was crazy with the amount of undead scum present, the type you needed to slay three times if you didn't have the "undeath death" potion, and there were simply too many of them and not enough potions so it became a mad dash to slay the lich and escape. The BFG was made good use of here, but even it couldn't clear out all of the horde. I just killed the leader and escaped, that's enough of a win for me.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Sacred: I Hate Drow

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

The element of Earth was my next goal, but before reaching it came across Bravewall Village which was having some drow, spider, vandalism and poisoning issues which were all pretty easily solved. Once done I continued, sprinting past the many drow forces fighting the undead scum in the region, some of whom were mounted. I still managed to avoid most of the fights and saved some time by jumping up sheer cliff faces with combat jump until I finally reached their fortress mine.

This place was bloody huge, dark, and crawling with enemies and traps of the poison variety. Some of the drow also have that paralysation spell that I absolutely hate as it really slows everything down. Eventually I found and defeated their priestess and their medusa guardian, reached the bridges over the abyss and found the Element of Earth and reached level 30. This one paragraph represents hours of gameplay. >_<

Almost like this.

Thankfully there was a gate out to the entrance which saved me from having to navigate my way back out, so I immediately began making my way to the final element of water which was pretty close by which I got to by jumping down the mountain. Alas the entryway to the temple was flooded, and I was informed by the local NPC that I'd have to go back up the mountain to fiddle with the dam (which is accessible via more drow mines) to gain access to it. Peeved off at this turn of events I decided to make a detour to the nearby Highmarsh Village to restock and do tasks that don't involve those damnable drow for a bit.

Monday 28 April 2014

Sacred: Burning Flame

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

The element of Fire was next on the list (not optional) so I soon found myself and Speedy racing back into Wyvern Pass and deeper past the desert onto the ash plains, home to very strong fire based critters. My first encounter with a pack of fire demons, wyverns, gargoyles and exploding fire trolls was close to fatal since my armor is weakest against fire. Fortunately a nearby travelling merchant sold me enough potions to survive the mad dash to my underground destination, which turned out to be an underground city of dragon worshippers!

They were friendly enough and even had some freelance work for me in the form of finding missing chickens, collecting dragon scale from already dead dragons, saving people from the fiery wasteland outside, dealing with dragon hunters, and catching dragon egg thieves (that merchant I bought potions from on the way in). I also had to save a virgin sacrifice from the next caldera which was very tough, and I'm sad to report that Speedy got cooked in the process. I did gain a dragon scale shield though that had a chance of taking damage to my gold account instead of health. I figured that having over one million gold at this point it couldn't hurt.

Gold as HP might be an interesting mechanic!

After restocking on supplies I dashed across the caldera of Speedy's death using a new found utility skill "combat jump" which is very handy to ford those rivers of lava and monsters and into another underground lair, this time filled with hostile dragon worshippers and fire based foes until I came face to face with the Fire Dragon itself. Stupid thing is it never decided to breathe, opting for claw attacks throughout our battle which made it one of the easiest dragon fights so far. From it I took the element of Fire and like a thief dashed and jumped my way back across the caldera, through the now hostile underground city, and back out of Wyvern's pass.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Sacred: Heavy Reading

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

Since I already had a way gate marked at Ice Creek Pass we just appear right there, right next to where Wilbur died, and proceed up the mountain past the local hill giants, frost goblins, ice wolves and ice drakes of ever increasing size. This is actually easy since they cannot catch Speedy. Upon reaching the library though, we find that it is under seige from Ice Giants. Only one Seraphim and a handful of novices survived by escaping via the front door.

Ofcourse what we needed was inside the place (no horse), and with goblin shamans having the paralyze spell it meant a lot of close quarters combat against the big blue guys. Fortunately they were nowhere near as tough as the ice elf jedis from the forest and Shareefa herself was a pretty handy ally with many destructive spells launching from her fingertips. Soon we found what we were looking for... a seraphim hologram who gave us some really obscure message about elements.

Shareefa understood this to mean that we needed to acquire each element and put them together to defeat the Sakkara demon and then promptly told me to go get them on my own before teleporting herself out of there (The bitch!). Not sure why I couldn't just pick up some dirt, then spit, fart and light it on fire with magic but I guess that would be too easy. Fortunately the "air" element was nearby - just higher up the mountain in the ice giant home. Thanks to Speedy I was in and out of there before they even knew it, and was one step closer to creating the thing that would destroy the demon once and for all.

Captain Planet!

Friday 25 April 2014

Sacred: Cowardice

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

While doing quests at Braverock I learned of a rebel movement that was supposedly opposing Baron DeMordrey from within the city. I figured if I tracked down this "movement" I'd find Prince Valor and his retinue who I am supposed to deliver this big demon horn to. I am slightly surprised to learn that the Prince is currently hiding in the sewers underneath the city and is obviously the one instigating the rebellion against the traitor DeMordrey (and his numerically superior troops).

Underneath THREE LEVELS of sewer and sewerage to be precise. Just to recap: This supposedly brave guy called "Prince Valor" who is the next rightful ruler of the land is hiding under three levels of his enemies' urine and feces. Not sure if that's a fate worse than death right there but whatever. It seems he and his cohorts enjoy pulling the strings to get his own kinsmen to fight among each other while he hides unseen in the smelly safety of their poo. Is this really the guy meant to be king?

I don't think even he knows for sure.

Anyway, I showed the Prince, Baroness Vilya and Shareefa the demon horn. The sorceress instantly knew it was that of a Sakkara Demon - one of the most powerful beings from the underworld. It can also raise and control the dead and is the reason the orcs are fleeing from the sands. The Prince being the true coward he is, sends Shareefa and myself to handle that problem while he takes care of the rebel movement from the safety of his cave. Shareefa suggests we visit the Seraphim library at Ice Creek Dale to learn how to fight this monster. I agree just to get away from the poorly named loser that is Prince Valor.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Farcry 3: Drug Worship

[Part of the Diary of a Marked One]

Looks like our boat guy, Seto, has sent us on another tangent mission and we find ourselves in the vicinity of a pirate controlled village. The scum supposedly have a whole bunch of malaria medicine (something the protagonist in Farcry 2 needed regularly) in their meth lab, a repurposed old style church. First we need to find keys to the doors though, which is not such a difficult challenge since we're back to the red-shirt pirates instead of the more dangerous gold mercenary dudes.

Stabbing and shooting our way forward we find that our objective is indeed within the church, and our next task is to help Seto (now in a truck) get across a nearby bridge which is rigged to explode! This was perhaps the most difficult and tense part, thanks to the near endless swarm of bad dudes and a very visible count down timer. On paper we just needed to forge ahead along the river, using the big rocks scattered about as cover.

Once we pulled off the dynamite from the bridge it became an escort and protect task, with Seto happily driving along - often ahead of us like an idiot. Fortunately with the bad guys distracted it was pretty simple to get the truck to the church then load up the medicines. Ofcourse we couldn't just leave it like that. As Seto drove off we rigged the whole place to explode to send it back to God. I'm sure anyone down wind of the resulting smoke would have had an... interesting day.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Sacred: Home of the Brave?

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

With the demon horn packed away I was to meet Prince Valor and company at Braverock Castle, the capital of this land. On the way we first came upon Bravebury village though, and the elf ranger Galadreel who wanted help in killing some poachers. There were worse threats though in the form of numerous Sakkara cultists wandering about who had stolen books that needed to be recovered and kidnapped people whom I never found. Annoyingly the cultists also have the paralyzation spell which meant no matter how fast Speedy would run, they would catch me.

Galadreel didn't survive to see me defeat the poachers she wanted removed, led by some barbarian guy. I pushed on to Braverock itself next, which turned out to be a sprawling city and currently well in the clutches of Baron DeMordrey who had since installed himself as king. The previous king died recently you see, and his son supposedly died at Wyvern Pass. Guess he was next in line?

There was a lot in and around Braverock, a bunch of escort and fetch quests within the city limits as expected that serve as the unofficial tour and the rest mostly dealing with abusive people. Abusive officers and husbands, DeMordrey arena champions, murderers protected by the DeMordrey law, slavers wanting their slaves returned (I killed the slavers), demons preventing kids from running to safety, and thieves guild scum trying to out people of their gold. I actually sided with the guardsmen on that last one because the thief guy was really just scum.

Even Sarevok needed help!? Not kidding.

Most worryingly is that there was a two floor, sprawling basement underneath one house that the Sakkara cultists used as a place of worship and torture. Killed one of their high priests down there and rescued a whole bunch of missing townspeople in the process.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Sacred: The Dark Side

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

Before accepting Shareefa's quest to talk to some orcs I decided to first assist some of the surviving soldiers with retrieving a missing pet wolf and retrieving a bow from a magic bear dungeon (don't ask). I also chose to help the local elf rangers with an ice elf problem they were having in this region. Sure, there were some demons and blood thirsty giant bears running lose but the ice elves were the issue and that is no joke because when I ran into the first group I got OWNED. This is because all the ice elves come in large groups and all of them wield FRIGGING LIGHT SABERS!

This is not the game you are looking for!

My task was simple, I just had to remove three of their priestesses from the forest but they were guarded by huge clusters of these evil jedi/Sith. This was the first time I had to use the BFG on groups but it was close to the only way I could get past to my targets. The last one had a PAIR of ice dragons defending her too, which made it all that much harder to get to her. Eventually I did though, and boy did I make her pay for being so annoying to get to.

Deep in the woods I also located another friendly orc village but these ones weren't very talkative, just scared because they were low on warriors, new to the region as refugees, and have all these Sith lurking about the woods nearby. Having had enough Star Wars for now I returned to Prince Valor's encampment and accepted Shareefa's envoy task. The orcs she wanted me to question were the ones in Khorad-Nur who were already friendly to me. She even opened a gate for me for fast travel there but I opted not to take it she did so indoors which meant Speedy (the horse) wouldn't be able to accompany me.

Instead I just rode back to Mascarell (past the still warring factions on the street) to use the way gate back to the orc city and had a quick chat to their local shaman who gave me a rather large demon horn. Apparently something big and fiery is on the loose in the south. Something that's raising all the dead.

Monday 21 April 2014

Sacred: A Speedy Reunion

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

In under five minutes I was at the gateway to Wyvern's Pass thanks to my swift horse which I've decided to name Speedy, and after dealing with the few DeMordreyan douchebags blocking the way I found myself riding through a bustling war zone of undead versus orcs and goblins. This was a similar case in the desert region near Khorad-Nur but the numbers here were quite scary. Much more so if I had to run through this on foot!

In the distant south I finally found what looked like the last stand of Prince Valor's troops, and after getting some water for a dying soldier (I literally had to kill fifty enemies to do this) he decided to let me know the Prince was actually still alive, and that I should head to Mascarell to protect his girlfriend the Baroness Vilya. Not a problem with Speedy.

Is that you Custer?

In no time at all I'm back at Mascarell which so happens to be under siege by DeMordreyan troops just at that moment. For the most part I ignore them and pick up Vilya at her mansion. She knows the Prince is ok, and that we are to rendevouz with him at some nearby elf lodge in the forest. With her changed into her archer attire we proceed through the combat filled streets and eventually fight our way out with the help of some Mascarellian troops and then race through the bandit and drow forest to Valor's encampment where the Prince and Vilya are happily reunited. I leave them to their own devices as I talk to the sorceress Shareefa who openly ponders why the orcs are coming out of the desert. It's like they are running from something.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Sacred: Khorad-Nur

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

With D'Cay defeated I was let into the orc city (which they call "Khorad-Nur") as promised and was surprised to find a whole bunch of friendly orcs within. Alas the "warriors" outside would still attack me but at least there was an exception to the rule. Not only did they also have a way gate to help speed my travel but they had some really nice gear which I purchased, upgrading the pieces from their local smithy to super high quality, and buying out all the healing potions I could.

I eagerly went to help the locals too, doing tasks like retrieving the scroll of Matt Damon(?) from a lich infested ruin, chasing down some murderous, thieving and rebellious ex-slave goblins, and bringing one orc lady's dog (her husband) back alive from a distant sister city to the South - that one was overrun by undead. I also found a burning ruin with lesser fire demons and Sakkara cultists hacking up a dying seraphim. Didn't take any chances there and BFG'ed the lot of them back to hell.

Even orcs like this guy!

My efforts were well rewarded as I returned to Khorad-Nur at level 20, with a "magic saber of light" as loot in my pack (yes, straight from Star Wars complete with the "vrunk" SFX, poor damage though), and best of all - a painted (or undead) fast riding horse that I found near some mines. After being on foot for so long, this speed boost was very welcome and nothing in the region had any hope of catching me while I was mounted atop it. Alas, it was finally time to resume my mission so I stepped through the local way gate back to Porto Vallum and began the ride to Wyvern Pass.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Sacred: Return to the Oasis

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

With no reinforcements coming his way my next task was obviously to go to Prince Valor's aid personally at Wyvern's Pass so I took the nearby way gate to Porto Vallum to begin the long trek on foot there, but first I wanted to complete those tasks I picked up at the not so nearby oasis camp earlier on. Fortunately most of the foes in that part were also no longer hostile so I made good time despite being on foot to the halfway point of the small fort where I first met Prince Valor.

Guess what, he's still there! Perfect. I can warn him about not getting reinforcements... only I can't. He refuses to talk with me. Oh well! Continuing onto the oasis I still find myself out levelled by the orcs and their ogre allies of the region, but now at a more reasonable gap so I go about rescuing stupid settlers and scouts waiting to be recalled (oops, sorry for the long delay) to various degrees of success, as well as solving easy riddles in the desert and assisting in an on site evacuation of civilians from the oasis camp as undead hordes attacked the site.

During my travels I also come across a large orc city protected by big sandstone walls. The gatekeeper is the first orc willing to parley with me, saying that I'd have to make myself a friend to the orcs to gain entry, or to fight him because it's his job. Not willing to slay the first friendly orc I met, I decide to help them with the undead group threatening the city from the Southern dunes comprised of many skeletons, petrifying bone wizards, ghouls and D'Cay the Undead Dragon. It's a challenging fight and I am depleted of all my healing potions by the time I finally put down D'Cay herself. Bruised and battered I returned to the orc city hoping that the nameless gate guard would keep his word.

After I cleared undead that filled up half my screen.

Friday 18 April 2014

Sacred: BFG

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

One of the skills available to a Seraph is called "BeeEffGee", which summons a large, holy spear that shoots destructive heavenly energy at things. Magic works with different rules to that of conventional weapons in this game. With conventional weapons there is a roll to hit section to see if your opponent parried etc. With magic, if the graphic touches you - you are hit. You take damage. The end. This particular skill puts out a truck load of magic damage, firing a shot (which goes through all enemies) as fast as I can press the mouse button. Takes a while to recharge and a little bit to cast but the effects are impressive.

Guess how I killed DeMordrey's Dragon.

With all the enemies dead (and starting to respawn), Wilbur and I continued on our journey - handling an evil magician in his mansion and a cave full of slavers with captives that were all freed before coming to the small town of Slaters Grave which had its own share of bandit and slaving issues. We were less fortunate in the rescue attempt there as the local Hill Giants were faster than the women we freed.

We then pushed on North and finally reached the Sharuka encampment - the one supposed to reinforce Prince Valor at Wyvern's Pass. Upon showing the Count's signet ring though the Captain revealed that that was in fact, the signal to kill us. At that instant the other guards attacked and slew Wilbur instantly before freezing in terror. Apparently I was a few levels too far above from what they'd normally aggro. This made executing them one by one all the more sweeter.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Farcry 3: Bunker Down

[Part of the Diary of a Marked One]

Our next target was a bunker that held information on the whereabouts of the captain, which mostly made for close quarters combat. The major difference here was that our opponents were no longer the red shirt wearing pirates but the armor wearing mercenaries who could really take a few more hits before going down. Fortunately we also got reinforcements (in the form of Juris) and an extra gun hand made quite the difference.

Compared to the last mission this one was more of a humorous cakewalk, including the part where we were just lobbing infinite grenades down on swarms of the mercs (the competitive section) until we got to the end. The last section involved carrying three explosives to various sections of the base while the mercs literally deployed armies of scum on the field to stop us at each point. Though I was downed just prior to the second objective being destroyed, the rest of the team did manage to secure victory regardless and they managed to drag me out of there as everything went kaboom. An interesting feat considering I was in an elevator with a ticking time bomb when I went down.

While recovering I decided to make use of one of the pilfered laptops they took from the location, and began decoding the encrypted files to help us in our goal (using grid puzzle). I never realized that hacking was quite this fun.

A bit of a brain tease too!

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Sacred: DeMordrey

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

Back on track we helped out the folk at Fairies Crossing before crossing the bridge into DeMordrey territory. There were DeMordreyan knights, ronin, wargs, mercenaries, you name it. All of which were hostile to travellers but again, not really much of a threat. As my character enjoys to yell out "No point in fighting, say goodbye and go to hell!". Eventually we made it to the home base of these DeMordreyan troops, Crowsrock Castle which ominously sits atop a tall cliff.

Fortunately the city guards are not hostile, and they let us be about our business within the main purpose of which is to ask their boss, Baron DeMordrey to sent reinforcements to Prince Valor at Wyvern's Pass to fight the orcs. The Baron thinks this is an easy job and gives us his signet ring to take to his Sharuka commander at another outpost further North. I'm beginning to wonder if the Prince is ever going to get his reinforcements at this rate, but to satisfy my own curiousity I take a good look around the DeMordrey stronghold first and find a cave at the back that serves as a barracks and training area for a large force of his guys.

They are ALL hostile. Well, since they're not needed at Wyvern's Pass I decide to use them as training and wipe them out, earning "godlike diamond greaves" in the process and discovering a magic gate at the very back. Stepping through we found ourselves on a small island which is home to DeMordrey's pet DRAGON. If there was a VA line for "holy sh#t" it would have been played now.

Like most dragons, it's better to fight the butt than the face!

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Sacred: Detour XP

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

We took a slight detour to reach the villages of Florentin, the nearby Porto Draco and the rather large city right beside of Mascarell. The whole place was plagued by bandits. Indeed I think the bandits outnumbered the townsfolk ten to one in the region, leading me to question where the heck they all stay? Fortunately they were all easy enough to slay, including the rather large portion of hostile Demordreyan troops among their number.

Apart from the expected crime and banditry quests in the region, the bigger problem were the small concentrated zones of undead. We only had to deal with ghosts haunting a mansion (for the new owners) and ghosts haunting a ruined playground (for the kids y'know - those effing ghosts have no manners) but those ghosts had some more, corporeal allies in the forms of zombies and skeletons. In this game you need to kill one of those THREE times unless you have a potion of "undeath death" which makes them explode. Poor Wilbur was getting tossed around like a ragdoll in some of those fights but he's a pretty resilient guy. 

It makes these situations three times worse!

The only other thing of note this session was finding a random group of drow elves in the nearby forests and their pet baby dragons / winged lizard thingies. Flying enemies are annoying. Since we never got a quest to hunt them down I didn't explore in that direction further since the main task was in the opposite direction entirely. Oh, and we found the "Legendary Mace of Hell" in a barrel at one of the taverns. Wilbur was pleased.

Monday 14 April 2014

Sacred: Bad Odds

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

After arming Wilbur the two of us travelled on through the orc desert to a small stone fort which was where Prince Valor and his men were holed up. Wilbur told the Prince where the orcs were coming from, a place called Wyvern's Pass in the deep sands and the Prince immediately decided that he will go march there with his troops, because he's had enough of these damned orcs. Can't blame him. Valor requested we (Wilbur still tagging along) go ask someone named Count DeMordrey for reinforcements though, as he knows his current force will be outnumbered.

Sounds like an important job, but since it looked like none of the soldiers there were in a hurry to go anywhere I decided to first deliver another letter - this time for a merchant, deeper in the desert at an oasis outpost. The orc patrols were getting scarier and scarier the further we went until my character herself had a voice over line indicating the sheer terror she felt in that region because the MOBs so badly out levelled us.

The same feeling terrorists get when Jack Bauer is in the area.

Still, I made the delivery and did pick up all the quests in that oasis camp. Bad luck if they wanted them done anytime soon though because after a cursory look around, Wilbur and I were high tailing it right back past Valor's fort and Porto Vallum. I noted that the orcs are bad shots with their bows, but they still managed to kill my horse (I failed to evade that volley), a farmer girl NPC I was trying to take back to town, and a herd of stolen cattle. In hindsight it was fortuitous to have so many meat shields with me. Hey, Wilbur survived!

Sunday 13 April 2014

Sacred: The Green Sea

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

There is a serious goblin infestation on the outskirts of town number two which is in between the town of losers and Porto Vallum. This makes my tasks of treasure hunting, finding missing people, and simply giving a man a drink quite a challenge. As usual they are easily dispatched in small numbers but these buggers are literally coming in waves of ten or more, with shamans warping in more reinforcements from the nearby goblin planet (I suppose) every 15 seconds.

They stole our technology, Captain!

It actually takes a bit of scouting before I find a suitable path through the unending green bastards to my destination of Porto Vallum - alas the two random guys who needed an escort there did not make it, being eviscerated by the goblins midway. Been awhile since I've seen a "Quest Failed" message which still lets you continue the game. Oh well, they have no problems now being dead and all so I was left to my own devices to explore this ... outpost really, which sat on the border of an orc infested desert. Great.

Fortunately the orc forces don't have a unit (like the goblin shamans) that can paralyze your movement, which meant I could gallop right past the massive crowds of them to fetch lost medicines, maps and the like and fight specific groups at locations of my choosing. This was way preferrable to the little terrors from the woods before. Anyway, my main objective here (after handing in the letter from the town of losers) was to find Prince Valor's man servant Wilbur who had been kidnapped by the orcs he was spying on. It took a little effort to find the correct orc camp but soon Wilbur was again a free man and had urgent news for the prince.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Sacred: Beginners Zone

[Part of the Sacred Journey.]

Since the character creation really comes down to picking one of eight uncustomizable people and all the males either looked silly or had professions I wasn't interested in I chose the most ludicrous of the females - the seraph. Beware her jiggly wrath!

Just with that "armor" she starts with +15% physical protect.

After awaking from a strange nightmare which involves a stupid necromancer losing control of his summoned demon, I found myself in a quaint little town with many people needing my help. It soon becomes apparent that this is the town of losers, as my tasks include finding a lost sister, lost cattle, lost children, lost fishing buddies, lost pay books, lost blacksmiths with lost swords, and to top it off I run into a lost seraphim, being held captive by some random thugs in a cave!

At least the rewards are worth it. In fact it's an interesting reward system, as not only do I get the random XP, gold, and gear, but also I sometimes get skill baubles which increase the potency of one of my many skills. Too bad I usually get ones I don't use though. I also increase my income by getting donations from the townsfolk (by raiding their house cupboards, chests and barrels). They don't complain about it, and neither do I as a "Diamond Sword of the Hero" fell out of someones cabinet.

To better match the picture above I also purchased a horse for a very low one thousand gold coins, which from memory is WAY cheaper than those in TESO. Having finished the tasks here, the guard captain gave me a letter of commendation to bring to Porto Vallum so that I might better serve someone named Prince Valor.

Sacred: Journey Journal

Due to having some internet issues over here I decided to play through a copy of Sacred Gold I have sitting around. It's one of those games that my brothers and I intended to play coop but never got around to it, so now - years later - I've decided to win the damn thing since I don't like leaving boxes of games unwon. Obviously spoilers ahead (if you also intend to play through it) but given its age, its probably ok to just read my adventures through it!

1. Beginners Zone
2. The Green Sea
3. Bad Odds
4. Detour XP
5. DeMordrey
6. BFG
7. Return to the Oasis
8. Khorad-Nur
9. A Speedy Reunion
10. The Dark Side
11. Home of the Brave?
12. Cowardice
13. Heavy Reading 
14. Burning Flame
15. I Hate Drow
16. Dam Fetch Quest
17. The Lost Swamp
18. Dragon Knights
19. Mystdale
20. The Fifth Element
21. Sakkara
22. Shaddar
23. Underworld
24. Holy Hell
25. Cursed Forest
26. Paradise, Comparitively
27. Crabs and Bones
28. Volcano Island
29. Marathon
30. The Climb
31. Descent
32. Temple of Hell
33. Anducar

The Sacred Journey has come to an end! Thank you for reading! :)

Thursday 10 April 2014

NWO: Spiders of the Glade

Foundry construction in Neverwinter Online continues at full steam ahead for me, with my fourth quest "Spiders of the Glade" now ready to play. Please give it a try and leave a hopefully positive review! :3

Quest Name: Spiders of the Glade
Short Code: NW-DUWK7BEE7

Like the previous one it should take around 15-25 minutes and is combat focused. Please bring health potions!

1- Log into Neverwinter Online
2- Press L
3- Halfway down is "The Foundry" section. Press the "More" button next to it.
4- Go to the "Best" Tab.
5- Search for "Spiders of the Glade" (without the double quotes), it should come up on the right hand pane and the author should be @josephskyrim.
6- Accept the Quest
7- To start it, you'll need to get to an exit and find the marker on the overworld map.

You are welcome to try my other quests too, if you have the time. ;)

Quest List so far:
Spiders of the Glade [NW-DUWK7BEE7] (15-25 minutes)
Dirty Rats [NW-DGLB37WLW] (15-25 minutes)
Rebel Incursion [NW-DFHLFGNQY] (15-20 minutes)
One Step to Darkness [NW-DNJC9SK7A]  (1 hour running time)

Monday 7 April 2014

Farcry 3: Gear Check

[Part of the Diary of a Marked One]

Our "helpful"(?) boatman required a better engine on his rickety craft so it was up to us to go grab one from a nearby pirate scrapyard. By "nearby" he actually meant through around three pirate fortifications, one of which being a massive shipwreck, and having to sink a pirate destroyer sitting in the bay. The presence of multiple heavies wasn't really the problem on this map, it was more the multiple sections of endless scum (mostly shotgunners) pouring forth from the jungle in the take and hold parts.

"Hey dudes, get me a motor. Muahahahaha!"

Exploding that destroyer took a LOT of effort (for something that only needed 3 missiles to sink), and for the first time required our gear loadouts and strategy to be up to scratch. Moving together to take the rocket at the high fort using the bunker cover provided worked best. Getting the other missile on the beach was more problematic, until we found that the old stealth system prevalent in the single player game was still valid here. This meant that while my companions made a lot of noise at a fortified spot to attract the endlessly respawning pirate horde, I could sneak down the beach (while avoiding shelling) and collect the missile dumped there to sneak back.

Defending a noisy car motor to winch the boat engine objective at the "scrapyard" village was also quite problematic as the hordes were aided by magical heavies who appeared in the midst of our defenses. Fortunately well placed proximity mines took care of them early, and having the snag of refuelling the motor mid-combat more plausible. All in all this was an overly long and very difficult mission. The only bright side was the competitive section which involved heavy machine gunning our way down a river while on a raft.

Friday 4 April 2014

Question Time: How would you end an MMO?

Most of the time we read about how MMO's are going and what stuff they can do better. Well, what about shutting down? Alas that is a function that happens sooner or later to many of our online games. If you were in charge of one such game, an MMORPG in this instance, what would you do? Would you add more events or celebrations leading up to the final hour? Spawn enemies in safe zones as the time draws to an end? Unlock all the zones for people to visit (if your game has that sort of thing)?

Perhaps let loose a big blue demon to eat everyone?

Or would you simply switch off the box at the alloted time and think nothing more of it? I thought that this was the path SOE was going to take with its four sunset games, but, in Wizardry Online at least, thanks to player and GM cooperation they still manage to pull off some pretty cool events: another example of good user generated "content". I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter, and how you would go about as a player and/or an owner of an MMO during its end days.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Farcry 3: The Long Way Around

[Part of the Diary of a Marked One]

We next found ourselves having to delay a diamond trade that was going down at a nearby village, just to mess with the Captain's plans. This first involved moving a small train out of the way since it was blocking our only path forward (the tunnel it was parked in) which called a small army of pirate scum bearing down on us. Once they were out of the way we had a small sniping competition, followed by another bridge explosion task. Carrying those heavy bombs really relies on team work since the carrier really is quite helpless.

The next big challenge was traversing a cave that happened to have another pirate army camped within. Seriously, how many of the freaks are there and where are they coming from? I thought I already killed most of the population on this island earlier... oh well. Clearing that took a bit of doing, and only once we got out the other side did we reach the village where the exchange was going to take place.

If only we had... ANY of these!

After knifing the guards we took up position to ambush the convoy which involved having to rocket a number of jeeps, while avoiding a pack of dogs and a large group of shotgun wielding maniacs. Turned out that they had the right idea. The difficulty seemed to ease a lot when I began using their own guns against them. In the end, the village was just filled with dead bodies... and a pile of diamonds, which we buried for safekeeping ofcourse. Not letting those go to waste!

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Today I Smiled: Neverwinter Fools!

April Fools is alive and well in Neverwinter, and thanks to the latest patch has me grinning ear to ear. For the next few days there is a skirmish event called Respen's Marvelous Game which sees your characters as table top miniatures playing through some simple D&D settings complete with over the top voice acting from your resident GM Respen and randomized encounters to boot. If you play Neverwinter Online I strongly suggest you try it out a few times! :)

Some of the "players" at the table edge.

Also, they have this silly video which is pretty cute too! The shots of a dragon riding a horse are hilarious.

End of the March Report

Part of the "Odd Jobs of Neverwinter" journal!

Another week of Foundry Quests was completed. This time our agents tried:

The Deserters Tower @ Horvay [NW-DQ89RVF9W]
A simple slaying of deserters from the Neverwinter Army.

Wizards First Rule: Chapter 2 @ reichlyn [NW-DR8MXWH45]
Stays quite close to the original story, with enough changes to make it interesting. This section is focused on Chase.

Towers of the Night @ rabbitfear [NW-DHUAT52RB]
Part of a Campaign involving Cyric, the god of murder, trying to escape his godly prison.

Entertainment for our Guests @ P3rsian [NW-DL419VVPU]
Simple arena combat, with a selection of varying difficulties.

Troubled Spirits @ kaykachyna [NW-DEJL85AE5]
A quest involving strange animal spirits and witches.

The Heroes Tomb @ redfireee [NW-DSDJQCUC]
Heavily story based mission involving a child gaining some really strong powers.

Temple of Elements: Water @ Tumbuk7 [NW-DP20WEP96]
A fantastic and well designed puzzle challenge.

Rescue in the Silver Marches @doctorbadger [NW-DTSKK80J9]
While the premise is rather simple, this quest oozes with love and care to detail and is highly recommended by our agents.

Back to the Past @ OoKennethoO [NW-DIP7QSSUT]
An interesting time travel tale, part 2 of the campaign which began on the previous page.

Uncovered in Swampland @ Waynemando [NW-DQWLC2CT8]
A straight forward dungeon bash.

Barbara's Mansion @ svena2 [NW-DLMJGTCOF]
A beautiful mansion with nice surroundings that make for a great RP zone.

Marrovyre's Mansion @ Happilujah [NW-DIMNVNT99]
Less of a mansion and more of a hut in a forest. One not really worth visiting. RP only.

Guardians of Helm Guild Hall @ Candle71 [NW-DA7GMOY3W]
An unnecessarily large RP zone centered around Helm's Hold.