Thursday 31 December 2015

Arkania: Keep moving Forward

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

After crossing the mountains and bypassing some wolves, the party next met with Umbrik Sevenstones at Orvil who agreed to help with the treasure map if they first helped him with a problem of his own. The dark druid Gorah, who was twisting nature all nearby was the target and was easily found in his clearing with a huge pack of dire wolves.

Nice doggies...

But they were just the start - soon harpies and forest lions joined the melee and ultimately, a Heshthot demon. The gigantic, robed, whip-wielding wraith was a very annoying opponent not because he was powerful but because he was VERY hard to hit. It is eventually slain, but only after mangling poor Nerk against a tree. The carnage was just too much for Wolfy Eyes.

It also turns out Umbrik doesn't have a map piece himself, but knows of someone who does in Brendhil, a town on the distant island to the Northwest. He also provides a letter of introduction for this person. With the loss of Nerk, the team considers returning to Thorwal first to replenish their ranks but Paeroka, now driven by the loss of her husband tells them that Nerk would have wanted them to keep moving forward, and to see the quest through to the end.

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Arkania: Lonely Inn

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With no boats heading Westward, the team is forced to go on foot to their next lead. Over the next few days it is clear Shintar is not so good as the replacement hunter while Zubon has an absolute distaste for picking flowers. Fortunately there are some lonely inns on the journey where they can rest up properly. After smashing an orc scouting team and sneaking through the pirate town of Daspota they find yet another isolated inn to crash for the night, only this one is abandoned... and for good reason.

During the evening they investigate strange noises coming from the basement and find a multitude of zombies, skeletons and mummies lurking in the cellars below. They also find prisoners who are slowly turning into the undead monsters thanks to the work of the resident alchemists hiding in the bottom most level. They were summoning something!

Rare to run into a Heptagram. Most bad guys can only go up to six!

It is a very difficult combat against the mage pair and their undead lackies. The Bookahs are knocked out from their vile magics but fortunately the mages burned through their spell power early, forcing them into less favorable hand to hand where they were easily defeated.

After looting a good deal of herbs and alchemical equipment the team cashed in big time at their next stop of Ottarje, not only gaining a significant boost to their wealth from selling loot but from acquiring another map piece from the elderly Hjore Ahrensson.

Arkania: Unfinished Business

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

With half their number dead, the team returned to Thorwal to bolster their ranks with the barbarianess Wolfy Eyes and the dwarven couple Nerk and Paeroka Bookah. They also decided to spend two thirds of their accumulated wealth on the best gear their money could buy. Turns out this is a LOT of gear, as the herbs Sister C had been collecting fetch a small fortune in the town market combined with Paeroka's haggling ability.

While in town, Master Dramosch summons them once more claiming the thefts in the lower levels of the keep have not stopped so the party descends once more - this time finding the illusionary wall the remaining brigands were hiding behind. While they now attacked in greater numbers they simply were out geared and could barely hurt the team as they were cleared out fully this time all the way to the second level where an alternate entrance - a cavern exiting to the sea - was discovered. No doubt the brigands entry point as well as where the ones that fled ran to.

I'm sure nothing important is behind that...

Though a large, and ominous looking door which Nerk couldn't lockpick blocked the path further into the keep, Master Dramosch was quite pleased with the result - awarding the team the 50 ducats he had promised them from before. With this bit of unfinished business concluded, it was time to find the rest of the treasure map.

Monday 28 December 2015

Arkania: Cult of the Nameless God

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

The third map piece wasn't going to be as easy to get. It's owner, Elaine Widenbek agreed to hand over the piece only after eliminating the Cult to the Nameless God on a nearby small island. Finding a boat to take them there was harder than finding the pretty obvious "hidden" base, but unlike the brigands before - these cultists attacked in large groups and had pretty severe traps lying around the place.

At one point, Sister C had to use an Evil Eye spell to convert an enemy temporarily to swing a combat to the team's favor. While it succeeded, her target snapped out of the trance just a few minutes later and fatally stabbed her in the gut. Things were looking worse on the second floor down as the team were all injured and had begun to run out of arrows, torches and water.

Finding a strange lever, Shintar also had to be separated from the team to hold it down while the rest of the party entered the secret, final chamber that it opened - containing not just two priests but an unholy altar in the center as well. Out of arrows, Augratin is forced into melee and has a critical miss where she hits herself (somehow), resulting in her own death!

I guess the Nameless God sleeps?

Despite that, the battle was won and while fiddling with the altar to try collect loot, Iron Dagger is shot in the eye with a poisoned dart - killing him instantly. Zubon and Vayshen ultimately just destroy the foul thing, taking a fragment as proof to show Elaine. No one challenged their escape from the temple or the sail back, and soon they had their very hard won third map piece in hand.

Three down, lots more to go!

Arkania: Easy Going

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Satisfied with their performance in the keep, the team decided it was time to find that magic sword - traveling North for a few days outside the city where Augratin's hunting skills kept the party well supplied with food and water. Sister C also took any spare camp time to collect rare flora. Eventually they reached Felsteyn where they met Isleif Olgardson.

Takes around a week on foot.

Isleif was a descendant of the great chief, Hyggelik - the last person known to wield Grimring. He was more than happy to talk about it, and handed over a piece of a treasure map which supposedly led to Hyggelik's final resting place. Apparently more descendants were scattered across the land, and most of them also had map pieces... one of whom was in a town they had passed on the way here!

Back tracking, they found that fellow too - and with a few choice words, managed to collect his map piece as well before returning to Thorwal to rest up and then book passage on a small fishing ship to Varnhome where they hoped to find the third map piece. All up this was pretty easy going!

Sunday 27 December 2015

Arkania: Code of Thieves

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

Iron Dagger voiced his concern that his new found allies were out of practice, having been out at sea for the past few months, and Shintar agreed - suggesting the team test their skill at a more local problem first - the supposedly haunted keep. The custodian, Master Dramosch, was more than happy to have someone looking into his problems of disappearing supplies from the very dark lower levels.

Sister C noted this was odd behavior for ghosts or ghouls and she was right. What they found instead were ... brigands!

Fortunately only encountered in pairs they didn't pose much of a threat and their locked doors were child's play compared to Iron Dagger's burglary skills. They also find a makeshift altar to the thief god Phex here and of course Iron Dagger robbed all the 20 ducats from it. In no time at all the floor was cleared and they were back in town selling the spoils of battle, assuring Master Dramosch his "ghost" problem had been dealt with.

It was slightly annoying after all that hard work when Augratin's purse got snatched by a random cut purse. The one eyed lady was far too nimble for the party to give chase and escaped with ease.

Saturday 26 December 2015

Arkania: A New Quest

[Part of the Darklands of Arkania Story.]

On the last episode: The team was deciding if they should attack or flee from the King of Denmark.

Sister C's argument won out in the end, as she - Vayshen Panda, Zubon Ratkiller and Augratin Nerdly (site no longer active) managed to find passage onto a ship to take them to the distant land of Arkania and hopefully finally out of reach of the King of Denmark. Eventually they found themselves at the port city of Thorwal where, while relaxing at a local tavern, they met the local warrioress Shintar Winter and Iron Dagger the scraggly rogue.

Tales of a ghost ship and a haunted keep in town rekindled their adventuring spirit, but what truly called to all of them into action was a crier sent by the local Hetman (the lord of these lands) on a most dangerous quest.

Ah, ye olde tavern quest hook.

Scouts report that the orcs from the wild lands were amassing their largest force in history and all signs pointed to invasion. It was up to the adventurers to find a lost magical sword, Grimring, which would somehow eliminate this threat. With only a breadcrumb worth of information in their possession, the party decided to come up with a plan - back the same tavern where their minds could be refreshed with ale.

Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015!

Just a quick Merry Christmas post to you all! I got some nice goodies this year which I'll probably blog about at a later post, but for now please enjoy a safe and happy holiday season! Since it's the correct time to post it - here's a Casting Crowns carol courtesy of Aywren who made me aware of this song. =)

Coming up next on the blog is the "continuation" of my Darklands tale, which I think I'll be trying to switch back to a daily schedule for. As for New Years Resolutions I'm only going to try have one for next year, and that is simply to Create more and Consume less - a simple yet undoubtedly difficult plan.

For your Christmas bonus links: Here's a site called Flight Aware for those interested in seeing how much metal is overhead and how much traffic Santa's had to contend with this year. You can search for specific flights or by airports. Supposedly Heathrow is the busiest, but just scroll out to see the madness worldwide!

Lastly here's a spot you can watch this crazy anime called One Punch Man for free. I briefly mentioned it before, and continue to recommend it as something crazily different from the standard fare. Your mileage may vary.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

That thing called Tadhana (Fate)

Since every one else is doing The Force Awakens reviews, I thought I'd do something very left of field. :P

This is basically the story of two people - an angry woman who just got burnt at the end of a long term relationship and a guy who happens to run into her at the airport and henceforth acts like a creepy stalker-leech.

While there are other people around, they only get a handful of lines and are never really focused on - instead relying on Angry and the Leech to carry the whole thing, which is hard to do when there's not much chemistry going on between the two. I should also mention Angry swears a ton.

This is especially evident in the long shots where nothing happens. No dialogue, no exciting action. Just Angry and the Leech staring out at space or leaning ones head on anothers shoulder... for five minutes. WTF.

Fitting reaction to watching this very film.

There is a pretty interesting and simply animated sub story of the Arrow with a Heart pierced through it that runs parallel to what's going on and just like it, the movies ending just leaves you hanging with no real clear resolution.

With very few positive points I can't recommend this to anyone, and give it just one and a half pierced hearts out of five. Watch it again? Nope.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Temple of Elemental Evil (Board Game)

Better than the PC Game.

Off the bat I just want to say I love how Wizards of the Coast put out new releases simultaneously across their branded products. This board game, which came out around the same time as Module 6 in Neverwinter Online, is actually the fourth iteration of its type as it comes after Strahd, Asharladon and Drizzt. It also is the largest game box now in my collection as it comes with a lot of cool miniatures that would probably be worth painting.

The basic gist of the game follows your band of heroes through missions in a set campaign against the elemental cultists, either in the little town or in the sprawling, randomly generated dungeon(s) (done via the tile stack method) nearby. There is no dungeon master which is also a big plus - instead enemies are controlled by the player that finds them, and each has a set behavior pattern that you simply follow (and honestly, manipulate to your advantage).

Town missions are a good break from the dungeon!

It's pretty cool that as you advance through the campaign you add and remove cards from the standard deck, based on the performance from your previous adventures. Don't make the silly mistake of thinking you'll use them all right off the bat!

Also, do not expect old school D&D. For starters the cleric can barely heal herself, much less the rest of the team. If you take the slow and tactical approach the game will destroy you with random encounters - which aren't really encounters but more like BS events such as being shot at by an unseen sniper or a cave in. Instead you'll need to take the rapid exploration approach to complete the mission as fast as possible which can be quite harrowing as almost every single monster will get the drop on you and always win initiative.

The first few missions in particular will be pretty bad but this is because the game is actually balanced on the level 2 versions of the characters, so once people start advancing the adventure becomes more manageable. All up I've found this to be a decently paced and balanced, very fun game that my group thoroughly enjoys (at least after we got used to the speedy pace). I give it five D20s out of five and highly recommend it! :)

Score after re-review: Four D20s out of five.

Friday 18 December 2015

Neverwinter: Simril Festival 2015 Tips

It's that time of year again as Neverwinter Online rolls out the Simril Festival! In addition to racing, fishing and fighting low level demons (instead of trolls) on the ice this year you can also get bonus, random vouchers for your stronghold through an easy quest to hire refugees who had found their way to Twilight Tor from the Underdark.

Much like last October's Masquerade event, you also get handed an artifact for free which consumes event items for refinement. I strongly recommend holding on to ALL the refinement items till the double refinement event on the last few days of it though for your best chance of max leveling the Simril artifact of union. There's also a double enchants and runes right before it to help you build up your stockpile for the refinement period!

The current calendar is listed as follows:
2x Guild Marks - Dec 17 to Dec 24
2x Profession Resources - Dec 20 to Dec 27
2x XP - Dec 24 to Dec 29
2x Enchants & Runes - Dec 27 to Dec 30
2x Refinement Points - Dec 29 to Jan 4

There's also free stuff to be had simply by visiting the Zen Market (that's the "Z" on the top menu bar) and going to the "Free" sections on the correct date.

Saturday, 12/26 - Free Bag of Holding
Sunday, 12/27 - Free Stone of Health
Monday, 12/28 - Free Experience Booster
Tuesday, 12/29 - Free Blood Ruby
Wednesday, 12/30 - 3x Free Preservation Wards
Thursday, 12/31 - 5x Free Scrolls of Life
Friday, 1/1 - Free Winter Wolf Mount

Note: All dates listed are on server time so you might need to adjust accordingly.

Thursday 17 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Pixel Wedding / Affair

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Pixel Wedding / Affair

You are playing an MMO that has weddings between two players as a feature. Perhaps you even get additional perks / stats / abilities / gear if you have a pixel wedding. The thing is, IRL you are not single and your other half doesn't play the game - would you still get married in game anyway?

The idea for this one came up while playing ATITD which specifically has the "Test of Marriage", which you can only pass by being wed to another player character. While most of the players there chose to simply marry their alts (ie. themselves), that was too weird for me so I opted not to pass that test at all as I was already spoken for IRL. :P

This is the last of my agenda list for now, so please make the most of it and share your thoughts on this matter.

Monday 14 December 2015

MMO Agendas: The Rule of Law vs. Judicial Temperance

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: The Rule of Law vs. Judicial Temperance

Are exploits a valid reward for their finder? When is it OK to bend or break the rules in an MMO?

LOL! For anyone who has been following this series then it will come as no surprise when I answer that second question with, NEVER. The law should always be followed to the letter, nothing less and nothing more. I wouldn't trust a game master / company who continually gives free passes to people clearly abusing a system that's meant to be enforced as it just would encourage criminals more. Broken windows theory and all that.

How tempered is your justice?

Saturday 12 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Rights of the Accused vs. Swift Justice

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Rights of the Accused vs. Swift Justice

A guild mate of the guild you lead is accused of stealing from the guild stash. While this person is a little shady in their interactions with you and your friends, a few of your other members are close to him/her. You are unable to prove that this person is taking the stuff, but every day more stuff goes missing. Do you continue investigating until you find proof or do you kick the person, as usually the simplest answer is the right one?

Should be no surprise that I'd be on the side of swift justice here. You could even be diplomatic and say it's temporary until the thief is caught. I wouldn't bother though as the simplest answer IS usually the right one. Furthermore I'd also kick all that person's friends from the guild just to be sure. Guilt by association is something I'm definitely in to.

Which path do you prefer? 

Thursday 10 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Investment vs. Immediate Need

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Investment vs. Immediate Need

Do you like to play the market in your MMO?

I don't because A) I am pretty bad with watching trends and predicting future price peaks and valleys and B) I have no patience. Guess this puts me right into the Immediate Need category which is pretty true. If I need something in game, I simply go get it if I can afford it (with the caveat that I can never spend real money). Otherwise I simply learn to make do without it.

Are you an investor or someone that prefers immediate gains?

Tuesday 8 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Checks and Balances vs. Expediency

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Checks and Balances vs. Expediency

Do you prefer having new content released ASAP or only after a year of testing? If you think a year is too long to retain your interest with no new content, how long would you be willing to wait?

Having been (and still being) subjected to new content being released in a buggy state in the games I play, my head says I'd like more testing but in reality I'd probably get bored and move on if no new content appeared every three or so months. Guess I'm one of those people who force devs to release buggy patches!

Where do you sit on this topic?

Sunday 6 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Council of Elders vs. Trial by Jury

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Council of Elders vs. Trial by Jury

When someone commits a wrong doing should their fate be determined by the game masters / a select few elected for law enforcement or a group of their own peers, like in Archeage?

My problem with a jury is they can be swayed through emotion or lack of experience and are ultimately unreliable. Judge, jury and executioner should always fall into the realm of game masters, or "to the select few" such as in ATITD where players who are elected as demi pharaohs can perma ban people from the game.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Friday 4 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Accountability vs. Privacy

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Accountability vs. Privacy

Should those that cause problems in a game be held publicly accountable for their actions or should troublemakers be dealt with quietly behind the scenes?

I vote Accountability. If person x is found to be guilty of doing something wrong then all details, and I mean ALL (including all registration details), should be given out to the public masses. Yes I know the real world has privacy laws preventing this but still! Not only will this add another layer of fear in potential wrong doers but it also shows that a game company is being active in eliminating those who break the law.

Which side of the fence are you on?

Thursday 3 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Rehabilitation vs. Punishment

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Rehabilitation vs. Punishment

When someone gets caught breaking the laws in your game, how many chances do you think they should get before receiving a severe, game-ending punishment? Perma-bans are rather rare these days as companies only see dollar signs but pretend money wasn't an issue and you had it your way.

For me, that number is zero. Any crime, no matter how mundane or severe should be result in immediate perma-ban. Forever. And possibly black list that registration email / person from any other games from that publisher. While I might be swayed on some instances to give people a second chance, there is nothing that will ever grant anyone a third.

How strict or lenient would you be?

Tuesday 1 December 2015

MMO Agendas: Freedom of Expression vs Public Decency

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Freedom of Expression vs Public Decency

Where do you draw the line when it comes to how people behave in MMOs? At what point should their actions become a punishable offense? When they start religious debates? Dressing their character improperly?   Blaming the healer for your pixel death?

It's on that last one I'm going to base my response as it basically boils down to harassment. Blaming anyone for anything is harassment, and harassment should be a punishable offense. Getting angry and frustrated at another human being because of any pixel event gets a big thumbs down for me so I guess that squarely puts me in the Public Decency box. :P

What do you think?

Monday 30 November 2015

MMO Agendas: Achievement vs Equality

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

Based on the ATITD Test of the Coalition I thought it might be fun to see how the rest of you feel about the following agendas when it comes to MMOs. I not only invite but encourage you to post your own thoughts on your respective blogs or if it's more convenient, in the comment section below.

Today's Agenda: Achievement vs Equality

Do you feel that developers should spend more time putting out of the way and/or difficult achievements and/or content such as end game raids to cater to that crowd or to focus on developing more generic content for everyone - equally?

My stance on this is pretty straight forward: new content should always be created for everyone, and not be behind any form of gear, pay, time, group size, or difficulty wall. It's a shame many MMOs only push out content for select groups. The end result of any "wall" as far as I'm concerned is elitism, and that's not a mindset I care much for at all.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Saturday 28 November 2015

Music to Hunt By

I know almost everyone has their own custom playlists of tunes when they get tired of the in-game tracks, I was just curious as to what you listen to get your "hero mode" on? :) I suppose I should lead by example, here are mine (strangely all from Vindictus):

Sand Guardian

Yep, what might be amazing for me is probably just noise for the next guy so please share your top tunes to hunt by!

And just for laughs, here's an awesome English fan dub/cover opening for the new "One Punch Man" anime! For those who haven't seen the series, I suggest watching the first few episodes as it is quite entertaining.

Coming up next on the blog: I'm going to try out a week or two of MMO Agendas (much like the ATITD test) that I hope all of you participate in, followed by the continuation of the Darklands story and more of my Nameless Writing Experiment sometime in the future!

Friday 27 November 2015

MMO: Shop Price Comparison

[Part of my MMO Design Folder]

How much do you pay to win?

Heh, while everyone can talk about P2W till they are blue in the face, I'm more interested in the pricing comparisons across the MMOs that you play. As a usual Free to Play shrub, I rarely notice these things until I eventually get tempted enough to get a mount or something. For those that follow this blog or know me personally, you know that parting me from my money is extremely rare and so far has only happened in one MMO: Mabinogi.

Well I recently also got tempted to get a faster mount in Neverwinter Online, especially after the trailer for the next module: Rage of Demons came out but that came to a screeching halt when I looked at the price and compared it to that of Mabinogi. Here are the exchange rates:

10 USD = 1000 Zen (NWO)
 1 USD = 1000 NX (Mabinogi)

So for a mount, here are some actual figures:

Neverwinter - Stormrider Clydesdale (2500 Zen / $25 USD)
+110% Speed. Cannot be used for anything else or in combat.

Mabinogi - Thunder Dragon (16,900 NX / $ 17 USD)
Doesn't run super fast, maybe a boost of 50% speed.
Can Fly. Can breathe lightning. Can fight. Levels up. Has a large inventory.
Stuns nearby enemies on summon.

Hrmmmm... maybe that's not a fair comparison right? Lets look at a more Horse like thing for Mabi as well...

Mabinogi - Thoroughbred    (10,900 NX) $11.
Runs bloody fast. Probably the equivalent of the NWO Stormrider.
Can be used in combat, not a good fighter though. Small Inventory.
The Kicker: That's the old price. As of G16, anyone who completes the newbie quests gets one for FREE.

This got me thinking, I wonder how everyone else's games compare in the Value for Money department. I'm very curious to hear how much it costs in your game for a "standard steed", whatever that may be. :)

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Neverwinter Online: Rage of Demons

I'm in the minority of people pretty happy with it.

Yes, there is only one new town zone and there are only new open world Heroic Encounters (HEs) and Skirmishes to partake in. The quest line by R.R. Salvatore is too short, and apart from the voice acting and some new models and map(singular?), is around the level of the better foundry works. My brother actually likened it to my stuff but he might be biased. :P

I need to learn how to do cut scenes...

The short quest line also reuses maps half of which were stolen segments from the long lost dungeons the other people have been asking for, but I feel what is needed is MORE quest lines like this. Yah, sure Drizzt is around it doesn't matter. For me storytelling is a big part of Dungeons and Dragons and simply grinding the same dungeons over and over is my definition of "not a good time".

But what about grinding HEs and Skirmishes? Those I don't mind too much. It really comes down to a matter of time. When you queue for Dungeons you can be waiting a long while before you even enter an instance and then if your team is undergeared, not playing optimally, or simply unlucky it could take even longer to get out of the place with a reward in hand for time spent. On epics you sometimes don't even leave WITH a reward if you can't complete the dungeon!

While HEs have no queue because you just show up, Skirmishes do but the player skill requirement in them is much lower (so far) which leads to more successes and most importantly these two have timers. Win or lose, it will take 15 minutes. The end. Having a quantifiable amount of time is important. You can plan other things around it or have a good indication of when you will be free.

Throw in that you can get currencies and rewards for doing a variety of things, this mod gets a big thumbs up from me. Bonus points for all the cool demon fights too!

Monday 23 November 2015

Jurassic World

Proving that people are stupid.

After the disastrous events from the previous dinosaur theme park, a wealthy moron has decided to rebuild not just the park itself but all the attractions - and more! You see people apparently got bored of regular dinosaurs so now they make "new" ones through gene-splicing, often sponsored by big name companies. I had a chuckle at the mention Pepsi-saurus.

As we learned in the Flight of Dragons, reptiles can be reasoned with. :P

Obviously things get loose, people get eaten, and some silly kids continually cause their absent minded carers some heart attacks. To its credit, the CGI is great and everything looks really cool. Also the action pieces, of which there are many, are quite entertaining to watch. There are also lots of throwbacks to the first movie but most were lost on me as it has been way too long since I've last seen it.

Alas, since most of the characters (other than Starlord) are unlikable and due to the dinosaur sized plot holes throughout the movie (where seriously, one phone call could have averted the entire plot [spoiler link]) I can only give this three raptors out of five. Still enough entertainment to provide at least one watch, and I wouldn't mind watching it again. :)

NWO: Drowned Shore Disembark #ds#

[Part of Odd Jobs of Neverwinter.

Created for the Epic Foundry: Drowned Shore contest, this map showcases a different version of how the Drowned Shore could have been. Starting with Omaha landing style combat, the quest leads you through a lot of patiently, well-crafted environments with well placed traps and a LOT of decor.

One of the few quests (outside of my own) that give you an NPC party.

The slight negatives are that it is a pretty long quest and that English is clearly not the authors' first language but it is very passable. There are also a few bugs like people falling through siege towers and unlabelled containers but again these are easily overlooked. I was most impressed with the water effects during the quest and highly recommend it for everyone to play. It's also easy to find with that "#ds# tag.

It's certainly a good deal better than the repetitive vigilance tasks of the regular Drowned Shore, that's for sure!

Saturday 21 November 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron


That is a pretty good word to describe this. While it probably helps if you know who is who by having watched the many previous linked in movies, and possibly even some of their series, I think you can get by if this is your first foray into the Marvel universe as Joss Whedon weaves a very action packed and entertaining tale. If you are a fan then you'll probably get a kick of seeing a whole slew of minor characters from the other movies appearing here as well.

Fighting. This movie has lots of it. :)

Thor as a comedy character? Yep, it works. Also with a big studio backing it the effects are top notch. Most of the time. One short part of Thor flying looked a bit like the old superman flicks and another bit of Thor fighting was noticeably sped up. Also I have to question why the Black Widow would wear lighted shin and wrist guards, other than to let the audience see her fighting moves in the dark. Yes, there are small fiddly bits if you go poking for them but for the most part it's just pure spectacle and very fun to watch. I give it four and a half attempts at lifting Thor's hammer out of five, and highly recommend it.

Friday 20 November 2015

NWO: Cryptic of Kelemvor [Foundry Review]

[Part of Odd Jobs of Neverwinter.]

Been a long while since I reviewed anything from Neverwinter Online, but with my recent promotion to Foundry Artifex (Rank 6), I got inspired again not only to play more foundries but to create more! This mission was quite helpful in inspiring that, and was made as a comedy during the many changes Cryptic put in during the Stronghold module.

In it, not only do you have to find Rhix the now job-less merchant, but you also have to travel through the gateway to kill leadership armies, acquire a nerf hammer to smash a new class, fight the soulless armies of bots and find a path through the "new content dungeon".

That last bit was the most impressive for me as the design is really cool despite being simple. You can "grind" your way to the top via the large ramps, use the "pay" method and climb the green pillar in the center or simply "bug abuse" and use the clearly visible teleporter to skip to the top, despite the NPC GM telling you not too. All up a pretty fun and funny quest and one definitely deserving of as many stars as it can get. Highly recommended!

Alas, since I didn't take screenshots inside - enjoy this picture of my guildies and I taking down a pair of beholders in our Stronghold instead. :P

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Taking it Slow

Sorry for the picture madness as of late. You can blame Chestnut at Gamer Girl Confessions for running IntPiPoMo2015, the more visual cousin of Nanowrimo where the goal is to post 50 screenshots in the month of November. The best way to describe my attempt is via another screenshot from Wizardry Online. :P

Anyway, after what feels like a year of -almost- daily posts I think I'm going to cut down a bit again on the frequency of my posting. Yes, it is draining but more importantly there are other things I want to do too. One of which might ironically be starting up another blog-type site! :P Not sure yet how that is going to pan out if I actually go that route but don't worry, this workshop will still be going - just a little more quietly like it used to be before.

Apparently I'm not the only one either, if this chart is to be believed. This is the number of "active" blogs I've had links to, and my definition of "active" is having at least one post every three weeks. That first 150 is also not accurate, I just noted "150+" in the past so I don't have the actual figure - in reality I think it was more 175-200.

Gone up again to 90ish from IntPiPoMo though!

Speaking of charts, things look pretty glum for most of the games I play on the steamcharts too, which I know doesn't represent the entire player base but still:

Neverwinter Online
Warframe - the exception, seems to be thriving!
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim -Funny to compare the numbers of a single player game to the MMOs

Anywho, to perk up your spirits again I've got youtube links to something called Skill Con which involves a whole slew of random abilities people have and most are pretty cool to watch: Everything from Cardistry to Juggling!

Sunday 15 November 2015

Photo Story: Never Adventures (Part 7) - #IntPiPoMo2015

[Part of my photo story folder and part of IntPiPoMo2015!]

Of course there are many other dangers about.

Such as the Thayan invasion at the Dread Ring.

Which is home to my favorite looking dungeon: the Phantasmal fortress.

You can play with cute dragon pinatas!

Or go into Tiamat's Temple...

Or more familiar terrors...

Waiting within epic dungeons!

Or play the market where "heroes" sell refugees as slaves!?

Just don't complain when you get lousy loot...

Because I don't think anyone is going to hear you.

Saturday 14 November 2015

Photo Story: Never Adventures (Part 6) - #IntPiPoMo2015

[Part of my photo story folder and part of IntPiPoMo2015!]

Once done with the cult you probably should visit Icewind Dale.

It's a very pretty place.

It's also the only place to mine Black Ice.

And have giant sized beer apparently.

There are hideous monsters out there too.

But also cute adventurers...

and hot sorceresses...

that want to ride discs...

Or tigers!

Some are more horny than others.

And some are just slu....


Current #IntPiPoMo2015 Count - 66 / 50

Friday 13 November 2015

Photo Story: Never Adventures (Part 5) - #IntPiPoMo2015

[Part of my photo story folder and part of IntPiPoMo2015!]

The final cult group - the one of the air, makes base up at Spinward Rise.

Gravity is all out of whack up there.

You can pretty much fly in some places.

Even while mounted!

Don't worry, the landing isn't fatal. It's only near fatal.

It probably should be fatal if I shot you through the neck with an arrow?

Maybe that's why air archons all aim too high?

It does explain why cloud giants like baseball.

Not as scary as a half giant though!

"Whooo goes there?"

These cute things are pretty agile.

And occasionally menacing.

I do wonder where they come up with some of these names though.
Sometimes I can't help but wonder if it's meant to be a comedy.


Current #IntPiPoMo2015 Count - 54 / 50