Wednesday 30 June 2021

June 2021 Review: Lockdown #2

Just a short one today: Thanks to a resurgence of COVID-19, a new lockdown has been imposed where I live. This probably means I'm going to eat too much again! Anyway, my adventures in Black Desert Online continue (and happen to be the most viewed post last month) while my Friday night co-op has completed Remnants: From the Ashes. We were/are trying to get into Ghost Recon Wildlands next, which is a fun game - except it simply refuses to work 50% of the time. As that's time better spent gaming, we're currently branching out to see what games don't have this connectivity issue.

Other than that, our guild hall in Neverwinter Online is now level 18! Way to go guildies and allies. Due to my Black Desert-ing I'm definitely low on the contribution board for that achievement.

Most Viewed Posts in the last 30 days

Adventures in Black Desert Online
Castlevania (TV Series)
BDO: Sword on a Stick

Tuesday 29 June 2021

BDO: Ahib Tamers

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Somehow Calpheon is still having an issue with infected refugees who claim that this infection began far to the North West, but there are no more reports of infected people there. Suspecting the cure is being kept from them they plead that I go check it out so I do - and find the ruins of a coastal town decimated by a meteor. The people there have turned into alien things that luckily don't wander far from the crater, but they easily kick my ass in combat as apparently they are far stronger than Garmoth!?

Dark knights have strange attire.

While recovering in town I am approached by the dark knight Ataraxia who gives me an invitation from the Queen of the Ahibs, Viorencia (sister of Brolina) who requests an audience. I accept and we travel there as a pair, though as expected Queen Brolina is unhappy that I am now visiting her enemy. She only lets us pass after I convince her it would be a good opportunity to spy on her sisters defenses, and what good defenses they are.

Turns out the shadowy Ahibs are tamers with armored war bears, turos (minotaurs), khalks and the like as their pets. Oh did I say tamers? I meant to say slavers. They enslave all types of people and creatures here. Even with the invitation the Ahib border guards are reluctant to let me pass, and get me to first defeat a nightmare minotaur. It hits hard, but is a faster fight than the Sherekhan so I win pretty convincingly and the border guards let us pass.

Insight: The O'dyllita I (first Ahib main quest line) is pretty forgiving, as it provides weaker versions of really strong mobs to kill - except for one place where you need to kill and butcher shadow wolves. Super irritating. Only kill the ones at the edge of the spawn so you can harvest them in peace otherwise the respawn will interrupt you.

Monday 28 June 2021

BDO: Garmoth

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Having proved my strength to the Sherekhan they pledge to assist my fight against the dragon, and suggest I visit a swampy ruin next where they last beat it. Garmoth's ears must have been burning because the flying beast attacks me twice on the way there with fly by fire breath, but is unable to stop me.  

At the swamp, a dragon researcher sent there previously by the chief of Duvencrune is already hard at work trying to find why the dragon is back and stronger than before. The answer soon becomes clear: someone is feeding it energy from the black stones. Using holy water at Garmoth's nest brings the massive beast into battle. I learn quickly not to stand under the dragon when it flies and also to NOT STAND IN THE RED CIRCLE. :P

That's a big dragon.

Garmoth is a damned HP sponge. Thankfully two platoons of Duvencrune soldiers and the Sherekhan arrive to assist me in what is a very prolonged fight where I am the lone survivor. The chief of Duvencrune rewards me with some nice looking armor (visuals only) for my efforts and I spend a few more days there relaxing before finally heading back to the low lands and training up to reach level 61.

Insight: This battle used up even more health potions than the previous Sherekhan one. Carrying 100 is a good safety net but the trade off is the weight. Pots get heavy!

Sunday 27 June 2021

BDO: The Sherekhan

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

At the elf outpost bordering into Dreighan (the people with the dragon problem) I again assist the elven beauties who have just pushed back their Ahib cousins but are now faced with left over man-bats who the Ahibs were using as cannon fodder. Luckily slaying the lead man-bat (in an interesting way) makes the rest disperse and leaves the way open for me to ride into the picturesque and mostly peaceful canyons of this small region.

In no time at all I am at the capital of Duvencrune and learn from the mercenary office there that there is conflict on the Eastern border against blood wolves: wolfweres who claim to be in service of the "revived" dragon, Garmoth. While clashing against them I even see the dragon fly overhead but can only disengage once I defeat their leader Geralt the white wolf.

Afterwards the chief of Duvencrune (a little girl) sends me to the Sherekhan necropolis to try learn how Garmoth was defeated long ago by a band of five warriors and I am very much surprised to find all five risen from their graves - but of course they won't talk unless I manage to beat all of them first. What follows is the most hectic boss fight so far. While they are nice enough to fight one at a time, beating them in a chain is a long fight that eats up many potions. It is epic.

The ancient power rangers!

Insight: Duvencrune has a really easy set of daily city quests and is rather scenic, making it my favorite city now. Especially since it gives off that Skyrim vibe.

Saturday 26 June 2021

BDO: The Sly Queen

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Among the elves there are those classified as "saints" and it is one such saint who uses her rank to overrule my arrest when I manage to read the song on the ancient tablet I found from the koalas (I guess the Robber Team did do something useful after all). Said saint basically blackmails me into saving the massive Kamasylve Tree that Grana is based around, which has long been withering away and why the power of the elves (the saints in particular) is weakening.

Since that's better than being locked up I agree and look into the death of Queen Brolina's other sister, Catherine, who was working on this very problem when she became a casualty to the civil war. First I have to prove myself to a race of brass golems whom Catherine befriended by fighting two boss versions of them - a slow but deadly hammer one and a quick and invincible twin sword one who you just need to run circles around until it gets tired and becomes vulnerable.

They give me part of a song she was composing which goes well with the ancient tablet I found and locate the last part of the song at the site of her death (with the help of forest spirits who I've been helping throughout). With these powers combined, I am Captain Planet I basically sing to the tree and revive it fully.

The song isn't specified, so I assume its "Bloody Stream" from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure season two.

It's a magical place.

Queen Brolina is impressed and declares I am forever to be a friend of her lands then in the same breath also withdraws her request for aid from the Calpheon military, ends trade agreements with the humans and sends me East to help her other neighbors who have a dragon problem. That is a pretty sly queen.

Insight: Actually, running in circles is a very valid combat strategy in any fight. Very few boss enemies I've met have good aim tracking and generally depend on swarming, cheap shotting or simply being overlevelled to win. The random ranged mob is usually the most dangerous in any group - especially if they don't stand out.

Friday 25 June 2021

BDO: Trespasser

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Surprisingly some of the Calpheon council is waiting for me at Trent, and promptly send me back via another land route on the premise of delivering an official letter to the elf queen. In reality, they reveal that they are thinking about invading both in trade and by force, basically making me their spy. This new road is plagued by annoying gargoyles, but eventually I make it back to the elven border where I manage to bluff my way in.

From there, I befriend a sneaky human poacher by helping him kill other competing poachers (lol) plus a bunch of fauna, including a tribe of angry koalas from whom I nab an ancient tablet, and get directions to an elven military base known as the Old Wisdom Tree. The elves barracks inside the hollow of the fallen wood, and are amiable enough as I help them do random chores around camp.

Then when they are not looking, I snoop through their correspondence and go to the nearby praire to murder the feather wolves they use as pets, the colorful giant birds they use as mounts and smash griffon eggs while dancing around the dangerous griffons themselves. Upon my return to Old Wisdom Tree to sell loot and restock, I am promptly arrested! Looks like those scouts on top of the tree weren't just for show after all.

The more reindeer like they look, the higher the rank?

Insight: Pay the one million mount transfer fee (or buy a new mount) when you first arrive at Grana. I was a fool and did all of this on foot!

Thursday 24 June 2021

BDO: Named Delegate

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

The elven Queen Brolina has requested military aid from Calpheon to help in their civil war against her sister Viorencia's "Ahibs" and my job is to assess the situation so the council can better make a decision to accept or not. In addition to the civil war, the black spirit seems to be riling up other fauna and flora to be more hostile - the most immediate threat being one of the elves primary food sources.

Now, if you had a city full of sheerly dressed supermodel type women and required an appropriate threat for them what would you design? If your answer was gigantic mobile mushrooms brimming with long tentacles then maybe you should work for Pearl Abyss, because that's exactly what is in the neighboring forests and I end up helping slay hundreds of these, mainly because the elves love getting tentacle shrooms inside them. As food. I think.

Obviously they aren't the only threat as more scary centaurs and blue cat people lurk in the woods. I slaughter a lot of those blue cats as they manage to destroy my awesome fish suit.  Also, while solving riddles from a centaur shaman requires I actually say the answer in the chat box which finally means I need a family name! Being super creative, I use the exact name I gave my character. :P

Damn selfish blue cat people that don't want to share their unobtanium!

The elves clearly find that stupid, and promptly show me the pass over the mountains back to the lumber village of Trent. My delegate touring days are over.

Insight: As stupid as it looked, I really like the fish suit as the swim bonus it gives is incredible. Apparently it also helps fishing!

Wednesday 23 June 2021

BDO: The First Ring

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Back in Altinova Neruda Shen is purely focused on getting the arena up and running again which puts him at odds with the Shroud Knights who are struggling against the influx of Sausan reinforcements who bought into a lie sold to them by the Crow merchant guild on how to resurrect their leader. It's up to me to push them back and this time it's a breeze (as long as I stay away from the elite camp) easily killing hundreds of them and their allies - the barbarians, orc helms and Elric cultists.

While I'm at it I also clear out a second laboratory of mutated experiments and help out the sorceresses at a failed expedition in a mountain ruin filled with ancient weapons (golems) and taking the survivors back to Tarif. In town I chance upon a book that speaks of "The Five Rings" of Illezra, who were actually the henchmen of the witch. I manage to track down the remains of the first one a fire bender and hand his magic ring to the Tarif authorities before being summoned back to Calpheon for a mission from the council.

For some reason they have chosen me to be their delegate to the Southern elf lands of Kamasylvia meaning my search for Illezra will need to be put on hold again. At least I get to ride a balloon over the mountains and straight to their capital of Grana where I quickly learn that all elves are female? :O  

Thanks to the fish costume I suppose that makes me a flying fish?

Insight: You can buy inventory upgrades at the loyalty shop! Cool! Weight bonuses are particularly handy.

Tuesday 22 June 2021

BDO: Robber Team

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

A small group from the excavation team are unhappy that the King won't be paying their full fee due to the locked door remaining so (thanks to my lie), and so recruit me for a money making enterprise (I'll call us the robber team) which involves stealing from city folk, visiting ALL the pilgrimage sites in the desert while digging random sand dunes for treasure, and learning how to read texts of the ancient.

To break up the monotony I also chase down a criminal hiding with Gahaz's bandits (who turns out to be dead, but Gahaz the psycho only tells me this after I kill a hundred more of his gang), kill a lot more nagas at their temple and also an army's worth of their sworn enemies the Egyptian desert fogans, scout a dried up river which is now a monster nesting ground, do some swimming/diving jobs for Shakatu and Princess Saya (rafts are slow, fish suits are awesome), and encounter a few of the Aakman desert wanderers who are doing a poor job of protecting the ancient weapons (golems) of the desert as some are very much active, and hostile.

AOE attacks are great.

Since the robber team eventually tries to rob from me too, I rob them in return - taking the huge stash of ancient royal relics that I've been digging up for them back into my possession and handing it over to King Sahazad Nesser explaining that I had infiltrated the group to gather evidence of their crimes. As the King is super gullible he praises my actions and sends out Katar soldiers to arrest the rest of the robber team.

With this task complete I can finally get out of this god damn desert... because screw finding Illezra. That quest line was painful.

Insight: The Valencia II quest line sucks balls, mainly because of the heavy energy use. Energy regains 1 point every 3 minutes log in or 3 hours logged out. It takes 12 energy to attempt to steal and you'll be doing this a lot as there are multiple items that might require multiple attempts. Thieving past 10PM in game time seems to net more favorable results.

Monday 21 June 2021

BDO: Secret Army

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

The first thing I do once I reach the city is something I should have done a long time ago: upgrade my gear! Thanks to the Crow merchant guild I now am rocking some Narchillan equipment with items bought from Oasis Vendor Ellie's shop to supplement giving a significant boost to AP and DP (attack/defense power). Nice!

While doing so I learn there is an excavation taking place underneath Valencia Castle, and that King Sahazad Nesser seeks the key to unlocking a particular chamber in there. The black spirit hints that it can help, and after finding some docile golems in the desert works out that it is the very key the King is looking for.

These things are massive.

I opt to drop in on the excavation myself first, and of course it the same dig team from the very beginning again so they let me in and I quietly open the locked portal alone. Inside is a very active and talkative construct who reveals the entire Black Desert is actually the result of a meteor impact, and the black spirits and black stones within are all of alien origin. It then asks for commands as it and the army of still dormant ancient weapons (golems) like it, are ready to be unleashed on the planet.

Such power can't fall into the hands of crazy humans so I tell them to go back to sleep, reseal the chamber then lie to the excavation team and King Nesser that there is no way to open it. Surely that will solve this problem for good right?

Insight: The gear upgrade sequence in BDO goes from 1-15 then PRI, DUO, TRI, TET, and PEN. I was a bit confused at the letters until I finally did it myself.

Sunday 20 June 2021

BDO: Dragon Bandits

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

With my previous success Prince Barhan sends me North around the desert to Shakatu's Territory. The wealthy goblin who rules that region is already a fan of mine, having witnessed my arena battle at Altinova and now wants my help to impress his esteemed visitor, Princess Saya Nesser who was after black dragon essence from the captive dragons at the nearby Gahaz bandit canyon.

There are A LOT of bandits and outside the rare female bandit who clearly uses black dragon juice with her kung fu, the short riflemen are the most dangerous. After killing a thousand of them I finally meet the bandit leader, Gahaz Tuval, who despite being a psychopath manages to convince me not to continue on my mission as his bandits didn't actually "capture" the dragons - the dragons came to them and asked for protection while hibernating.

Hmm, these dragons sleep like whales.

Also, he questions why the Nesser royals would be after such a thing in the first place as it would only be used for destruction, which is the same reason why he got the basilisk men to intercept the delivery of an ancient artifact to Prince Barhan at the Sand Grain Market. It's almost like the entire family is up to no good. I decide to investigate for myself by heading back to Valencia.

Insight: On the way to Shakatu there's a place called Cadry that was super dangerous for me not only because of the pretty tough soldiers and wizards everywhere but because my graphics card kept blacking out while fighting in there. Fortunately it can be completely avoided.

Friday 18 June 2021

BDO: Desert Tourist

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

For a big "empty" desert, the Black Desert actually has a lot of stuff in it. Tiny ruins with pilgrims (NPCs playing ATITD no doubt!), little oasis camps and of course the massive city of Valencia which is easily spotted from very far away.

In the tale of "Curiosity killed the Cat", don't be the cat.

I spend a few days there, lending a low-key helping hand for their eternal balloon festivals and carting various things around (like poop. I literally carted camel poop to the herbalist), but find no trace of Illezra so I continue East to the opposite end of the desert and find the small tropical beach town of Arehaza which is another cute retirement spot.

Clearly having hit a dead end in my search, I opt to retrace my steps and while doing so, rescue a merchant whose caravan was raided by basilisk men. Since the goods were meant for the Valencian Royal family I get to meet Prince Barhan Nesser, who is stationed at the Sand Grain Bazaar to report the theft. The Prince is thankful and subsequently requests my aid in getting his Katar soldiers to withdraw from the centauran conflict.

To do this I am sent as an envoy to the Bashim clan to get them to attack the centaurans instead. These satyrs are very violent, and after killing a small army of them just to talk to their chief, I am tasked with killing that number again to prove my strength before they finally agree to commit troops to the centauran war front... because killing people is the best way to make friends.
Insight: Each of your mounts can carry stuff too! Might be an idea to store carrots on horses and acacia leaves on camels as those are the "stam refill" items for those mounts.

Thursday 17 June 2021

Eurovision 2021

As usual I'm posting late about this again, but at least it wasn't Covid-cancelled this year! In fact, it has returned strong with some "interesting" dance moves, sparkly people, religious connotations, and a whole lot of eye candy. I'm pretty sure the Italian winners would also fit into that category for some people.

Stefania from Greece
wins the eye candy prize.

My special mentions go to team Iceland and the Finland rock #joiners, as well as France and the Black Mamba band from Portugal either of whom I would have been happy to see win. Oh well, maybe my picks will do better next year! :P

The Irregulars

Diversity just because!

This high budget, one season show is set in the Sherlock Holmes era of London where crimes have taken a dark and supernatural twist. Sounds promising right? Let me dispel that for you now: Sherlock Holmes isn't the main character. It's a gang of lowly street kids who get to solve these horrible crimes because the police can't be bothered?

You know why the cops don't hire them? Because they suck.

In addition, one of the kids has psychic powers and can literally read minds with a mere touch. Despite this, they are hands down the worst detectives in history thanks to some horrible writing. The fact that the gang is strangely racially diverse is a minor point next to this. Sure, you can have an Asian girl and her white sister who likes the black kid and also make John Watson black and gay but only if your writing earns it, not just "because"!

It's a stupid show and every time something cool might happen, the writers somehow manage to make it more stupid. Not recommended at all. One zombie moaning "circle" out of five.

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Mortal Kombat (2021)

"Get over here!"

Because the gods are bored and need entertainment, a tournament was designed to send the best fighters of each realm to face each other in martial arts combat. If that seems like flaky ground to base a story off, don't worry - everyone ignores the rules for said tournament anyway - just enjoy people beating each other up!

Martial arts with super powers of course!

Based on the video game franchise, the story is undoubtedly the weakest component in this - thankfully the acting, action, effects and comedy save it somewhat but not quite enough for things to make sense. One of the lesser qualms is something Juris quite elegantly said: "In a franchise with so many characters, they decided to make an new one as their main hero."

All up its an ok "turn your brain off" movie for action buffs, but don't expect much else. I give it two fatalities out of five and would probably not watch it again.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

BDO: Across the Sands

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Following my only lead I continue East and find Prince Bareeds III and his retinue, who were also headed to Valencia, holed up at the way station of Rock Fort. Apparently the road ahead is blocked by scary centaurans (yep, centaurs) so I do some scouting and confirm the centaurs are indeed scary (since I'm undergeared for this zone)!  There aren't too many of them on the road though, so I manage to rush past into a canyon mouth which the Katar soldiers of Valencia keep secure.

A little bit beyond them is the Sand Grain Bazaar - a large trading post and settlement which sits right on the border of the great desert. It is here that I learn how to dig up muddy water, filter it, and turn it into tea - essential skills since in the desert you can get heat stroke during the day (need filtered water to cool down) and hypothermia during the night (need star anise tea to warm up). Fortunately, these two effects seem to be turned off for the time being due to the Oasis event.

The desert isn't as black as I thought it would be.

I also earn a camel (slower but more suited to desert travel) by assisting the outpost against desert nagas who are spilling out of their temple. Some of them hit hard but they don't have a great deal of HP so they are quite manageable. At last I'm ready to venture out into the sands and immediately find that the desert turns off the mini map and any quest pathing. Any navigation will have to be done the old fashioned way!

Insight: Having no mini map might be scary but only because players would be used to it by now. While the desert is kinda big, it is not overly huge. Also, you can always tell what direction you are headed in so just use real life skills to keep track of land marks (which don't move) and get a general idea of where to go. High dunes also are good to climb to spot which way to go next.

Monday 14 June 2021

BDO: The Black Spirit

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

While reporting to Neruda Shen about the imminent barbarian betrayal I notice that Prince Bareeds III advisor is acting super shifty, and pretty much goes on the run when Neruda decides to question him. I chase him and his slow donkey up the coast and when I finally run him down he admits to everything: organizing the assassination of the Sausan leader, manipulating the barbarians, and being the high priest of Illezra whom he calls "the goddess of darkness".

That's certainly the largest form it's taken to date.

From a magic gem he then unleashes the black spirit (which he managed to capture somehow) in its most powerful form yet - strong enough to manifest physically I finally get to battle it properly, and it is surprisingly easy to defeat. While doing this Captain Sarma apprehends the advisor and I use the gem to re-trap the black spirit, now reduced to its original cute chibi state.

With this victory Neruda somehow convinces the barbarians to remain loyal to him, and appeases the Sausan's by giving them the killer of their leader, but not before I question him as to Illzera's whereabouts. He claims she has gone further East to the great desert of Valencia, which is also known as "The Black Desert".

Insight: Inventory weight is a thing, which is why butlers and maids who can transport one stack of items every 20 minutes to your storage is super helpful. More so as you get a handful of them for free!

Saturday 12 June 2021

BDO: Sword on a Stick

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Since I've plateaued a bit with my sword skills, I decide to learn a new weapon: the glaive Crescent Blade (aka Sword on a Stick) and it is pretty awesome since it has a lot of strong knockdowns and area effect abilities. Then, while fooling around and still getting used to the weapon I suddenly run into... Illezra!?

She was in Velia the whole time.

Anyway, apparently she was impressed by the few seconds I fought the Kzarka and wanted to see how good I actually am which leads into a surprise boss fight out in the Velia village fields! Not against her of course, instead she summons a shadow clone of myself! It is an epic duel which I nearly lose, but still come out triumphant at the end. Erm. I suppose I technically punched myself in the face?

While this isn't enough to impress Illezra who simply leaves without saying a word, it gives me great confidence as I return to the Altinova-Sausan border where I proceed to totally wreck the Sausan forces with my new weapon. I am only stopped when Captain Sarma realizes the Sausan's are in league with the barbarians Neruda Shen hired (thanks to using the same weapons, and found correspondence between them), and they are now planning to take over Altinova!

Insight: In game you can pick between Awakening or Succession skills, one focuses on giving you a new weapon to play with based on your class (losing some other abilities) while the other focuses on building up your existing skills but no new weapon.

Friday 11 June 2021

BDO: You need to Train

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

It's tricky to reach the excavation team this time as there are some deadly golems in the way which requires some nice footwork. They agree to help quell the miners nightmares by creating relic necklaces, but in exchange I have to deal with a nearby helm orc threat. Strangely, I got to beat their "Captain America" boss early, but a new version of him from a nearby dark rift easily kicked my ass. Good thing beating him (again) wasn't a requirement for the necklaces!

When Captain Orcmerica had a spiky shield... and a mace?

My return to Altinova is short as Neruda Shen simply takes the necklaces and redirects me to the Nothern Shroud Knight fortress where a war is brewing against the neighbouring Susans Sausans, most likely because the Sausan leader was recently murdered in Altinova!

Captain Sarma leads the defense but I am of no use as even the Sausan scouts require a full skill rotation to defeat. Not interested to have another corpse, she instructs me to go train up elsewhere before rejoining the coming fight. This is probably a wise decision so I return to Velia. I am now level 57.

Insight: Dark Rift bosses are no joke as only YOU can see them. In my current state it's pointless to even attempt them! The only good part is that you lose nothing if you get killed by one.

Thursday 10 June 2021

BDO: Shen Rising

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

The arena battle is pretty cool as the death knight is the only enemy so far that can out pace me, but with potions and good dodging I still manage to kill him - which is bad because I forgot to ask about the white witch first. At least he gave me her name: Illezra.

After the match Captain Sarma Amin of the Shroud Knights and servants of the rightful lord Prince Barry Bareeds III, approaches and berates me for siding with the wannabe merchant despot, Neruda Shen. He is hurt by these accusations and so instructs me to assist the Shroud Knights in an effort to extend good will.

When player guilds can select their own emblems, you get funny flags.

Sarma is hesitant at first but welcomes the assistance as I take down a base of Illezra worshiping rogues and an army of manes (gnolls) threatening the small, sorceress filled village of Tarif. Thanks to my efforts, Prince Bareeds III (who turns out to be a kid) appoints Neruda Shen as Steward of Altinova while he seeks asylum at Valencia until he comes of age. Way to put off problems of the realm till later kid.

Neruda then asks I help the miners who are having horrible nightmares and after consulting with the sorceresses at Tarif, I am directed to find my old friends: the excavation dig team, who are now working on a ruin in this region! These guys certainly work fast!

Insight: My bonus beginner bag space ran out at this point, and if you are wondering - any items left at the bottom at the bag are now locked and held hostage until you can unlock more bag space, either through payment or by completing quests. I'm obviously going for the latter

BDO: A Song of Barbarians

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

The road East is long and the first stop is by a small elven sanctuary, who claim something is happening underground which is causing trouble for their trees so I head to the nearby Omar Lava Cave where goblins have pushed out the miners who worked there. Since there is a wizard (player) training there, it is relatively easy for me to reach and defeat the goblin boss.

The thankful miners then point me to the direction of Altinova city, which hold the best odds of me finding a clue to the white witch's whereabouts. Alas, despite the bustling markets, tight streets and people every where the best lead I get is from some barbarian drinking song so to find out more I head to their base which is a not so abandoned quarry where they are using slaves to mine some black crystals.

Since they don't want to talk and I dislike their work ethic, much blood is spilled. Ultimately it is Altinova merchant lord Neruda Shen that resolves this though. Since he wants my support in taking control of the city he simply hires the barbarians and legalizes slavery! In exchange they tell me that their boss is a servant of the witch and is the reigning Altinova arena champion. He also happens to be a death knight.

The death knight looks pretty cool.

Insight: The tall barbarians with the long spears are especially dangerous since in a crowd you might not realize you aren't hitting them (it looks like you might be in range, but you aren't).

Wednesday 9 June 2021

BDO: The White Witch

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

The forbidden tome sheds some pretty damning light on the Church of Elion, which is reluctantly confirmed by the head priest at a local monastery when shown the torture chambers in the haunted monastery basement. It turns out a radical sect of the Church is still into preserving still living Kzarka tentacles and kidnapping then sacrificing people in hopes of resummoning the creature so Nella and I head to their mountain temple and kick their tentacle loving asses... Uh, that might have come out wrong.

Hello, ugly.

Anyway, we reach the main sacrifice chamber at the exact moment they summon Kzarka but before we can fight it properly a magic spell cast by a white witch knocks us away. She then proceeds to one hit kill-steal the creature and takes its soul before teleporting away.

Since such a powerful individual could be a threat, Nella tasks me with chasing her down - with the only hint being her clothing resembling that worn in the Eastern lands of Mediah. She does provide a tier 5 horse to assist in this task, which is awesome as it means I don't have to sprint everywhere anymore. Yeah, I probably should have bought a horse much earlier huh?

Insight: The shadow knights in that monastery hit really hard, fortunately they are very slow to draw/summon their weapons so kill them quick before they are ready! Just don't try it on the purple rank ones in the hidden corridor. Eek!

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Remnant: from the Ashes - Sweet Dreams Mothra

[Part of our Remnant from the Ashes story]

The dreamer (who looks like Doc Ock or a Matrix squiddy) likes summoning Root to defend him but they are the least of our concerns as he has some nice attacks of his own that also wipe out his own adds. Bombardment is countered by sprinting, and his vacuum spin/slam combo as well as his one/two fire punch can dodged. Hit him in the head enough and he goes into phase two... Mothra HP sponge mode!

This second mode is really boring as he only has one telegraphed fireball attack and magic wave that throws us into a nightmare arena (with clear portal exits) against Root that drains HP the longer you stay inside. It took us awhile before learning we needed to stay in that nightmare mode to kill some root as it gives an incredible damage buff, which really needs to be on when shooting Mothra dreamer to do any significant damage. We even made it a point NOT to attack him if the buff is off to save ammo, and we still used a lot of ammo crates.

Hurting him enough stuns Mothra, leaving the human dreamer exposed to receive incredible amounts of damage. Since automatic weapons work best in this fight Jim and I went back to the beam rifles here and upgraded them and our submachine guns which do the job nicely. And so, with the dreamer's death the spread of the Root is over... as is the game, unless we play it again but that's not really our style.

That's a good enough ending for us. The end!

Monday 7 June 2021

Remnant: from the Ashes - Flaming Totem

[Part of our Remnant from the Ashes story]

Thrown by the dead end, it takes a bit of exploring the forest before finding a way up into the tree top villages of the satyrs whose main defender is an archer and imp combo that both like fire attacks. For a single player this might have been a tough fight, but for us - Jim just kept the archer busy while DL and I murdered the imp. While tough, the archer had no chance against three of us, especially since he didn't have the cheating moves of Shroud.

Not far beyond is the ziggurat prison, guarded by the Totem Father - a giant satyr whose totems summon adds. Outside his boss fight is a totem that can be spun to either make him use ranged magic while hopping on pillars while his adds are bladed assassins, or have him fight in close quarters while his adds have crossbows. We found the former much easier to deal with, especially once I realized he forgets to summon adds if he has a clear target to attack.

And the door to the final level is right at the first level...

With these easy fights out of the way we finally locate the founder, who gives us the info and access we need to stop the root. A crazed dreamer in Ward 17 is what's letting the plant people advance across the planets so we head there immediately and because we can't just shoot the defenseless sleeper for some reason, we are drawn into the final battle in his mind!

Sunday 6 June 2021

BDO: Nella's Quest

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

As a free agent again, I find work assisting the local military in suppressing enemies at the border in the form of Rhutum orcs, always nicely grouped Mansha goblins, and an unending swarm of catfishmen. It sounds ridiculous, but the lake catfishmen are the most dangerous foes I've faced thus far mainly due to the mob density. I literally slay just over a thousand of them.

Ugh, too many catfishmen!

Afterwards I help a newbie knight named Nella investigate a forbidden book which is banned by the Church of Elion. To find a copy we first travel to the lumber village of Trent and help them harvest some Treants (the huge ones are spectacular to watch), then on to the hunters village of Behr which is having a problem with a nearby massive graveyard filled with undead.

These skeletons are certainly tough but quite slow, and with other adventurers here stemming the undead it isn't long before their source is found: Hexe Marie, an ancient witch who once summoned a world-level threat known as the Kzarka! She's pretty easy to kill though - easier than her minions! I suppose it's just because she's really old. We find the forbidden text on her person and Nella gets to translating it. I'm now level 55 and get a cool +15 sword as a bonus.

Insight: Press V to turn into a ball of smoke to escape a dangerous spot! There's a long cool down on it though so try to save it for when you need it.

Saturday 5 June 2021

BDO: Isobelle and Elina

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Elina next sends me to the mining village of Keplan to try secure a trade agreement. The miners are hesitant to agree so I first foster some good will by culling the junk golems and petrifying diseased miners in their quarry (really, don't get sick in this world), and then pushing back the clan of giants trying to reclaim the dig sites which used to be their home. Some of these guys are a little dangerous!

Bwahahaha! Now I have two swords!

Finally with the trade agreement in hand I return to Elina who is again happy with my work. She then reveals Lady Isobelle is under investigation for being a traitor to Calpheon, and that as someone who worked for her - I might be implicated unless I pledge my loyalty to Leight guild.

So, I attend the inquisition hearing and proclaim my loyalty to Isobelle, much to Elina's displeasure. Luckily Lady Isobelle arrives at that moment with proof of her innocence. Her wealth that was initially thought to be going to the Heidel "rebels" was actually simply to buy a tavern in that city, the receipt/deed of which seems to appease the inquisition fully. I mean, I'm no lawyer but that still could be supporting the Heidel rebels... but whatever. I'm in the clear!

Anyway, since I didn't pledge my allegiance to Elina she dismisses me from service. Lady Isobelle also fires me when she learns I helped Elina win the trade agreement from Keplan which used to be hers. Furthermore, Isobelle reveals it was Elina's henchmen that poisoned her during our travels - a fact Elina doesn't deny. In this world all is fair when it comes to making money.

Insight: The yellow dots on your radar are your quest targets.

Friday 4 June 2021

BDO: Into the Leight

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

Calpheon City is ridiculously huge and hosts many people: from the protesters in the slums, merchants in the artisan districts and finally the nobles, church and knights in high town but they all share a single passion: getting other people to read books for them in the hill top library that is really a pain to walk to. Guess which sorry sap gets to do that chore? :P

There's always something to protest about.

Eventually I find the council chambers to deliver the report on the troll war, and once council lady Elina Leight is so impressed that she asks me to work for her merchant company and I accept. The first job is to help the Church of Elon Musk Elion at a nearby refugee camp where some refugees have become contaminated by rabid dogs (or something). After dealing with the sick (by killing them because a dead one has 0% transmission rate) I move on to investigate some really poor quality chimeras blocking the nearby road.  

These seem to have gotten loose from a nearby laboratory, and after fighting my way in discover that the flesh golem lab assistant in charge has become possessed by the black spirit. I defeat this new form and cull as many of the chimeras as I can before reporting back to a very pleased Elina.

Insight: Calpheon is where I learned that city quests are fricking endless, and where I decided to stop trying to do everything especially since there's a limit to how many active quests you can carry at a time.

Thursday 3 June 2021

BDO: Attack on Calpheon

[Part of my Adventures in Black Desert Online]

While waiting for the Shais to complete the cure I take a short adventure to the nearby Bree Tree ruins where the excavation team from the beginning is now digging. I help them with rock spiders and active stone guardians before reaching the lowest relic which is being absorbed by the black spirit!

It looks pleased with itself...

It's not a cute fuzzball anymore but a sinister looking ghost with a cloak. One look at me and it runs off though, and since I do have to deliver the cure back to Isobelle I don't bother chasing it this time.

Eventually I make it back to Lady Isobelle (who miraculously hasn't died yet with all the delays) to give her the potion. Since she will still need a few days to regain her strength I decide to help out at the Western border against a full blown troll invasion, complete with siege weapons and artillery!

Lucky the trolls aren't very dangerous and once they are taken care of, some soldiers ask I deliver the message of victory to the Calpheon City council so that's where I head next. I am now level 50. Coincidentally this is also the level where open world-PVP unlocks... dun dun dunnn!

Insight: While the dual sword Musa skill is great since it can heal per hit (and hits fast), I still rely on healing potions most of the time which are both useful and relatively cheap!

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Remnant: from the Ashes - Zombie Onslaught

[Part of our Remnant from the Ashes story]

Learning that the founder has been kidnapped by the Empress of this world (not the Queen of the Butts) we go exploring to fight more of these shock based enemies. The boss named "Onslaught" embodies the shock trope nicely, as he is a big melee brute that can insta-teleport. Killing his bat type adds is a good idea if you have time, but you need to be ready to dodge if he locks on to you.

I quickly discover he doesn't quite teleport so much if he has someone in melee range, and so I try to continuously semi-duel him (semi because I would lose an "actual" duel) giving Jim and DL more time to shoot him in the back. When I learn to dodge his double spin attack is when we finally put him down.

It's cool that between all of this there's a musician just randomly chilling in the forest!
Wait a minute, only now am I noticing those bells beside him...

Much harder is a horrible crypt full of slow zombie satyrs, peppered with much quicker teleporting assassins who explode on death. These guys don't stop spawning until the three summoning stones are destroyed and it takes us awhile to work out the correct tactic: split up. Since my scythe seems to be the fastest stone destroyer I am given that job while DL and Jim have the way more dangerous task of luring the enemies away not just from me, but from each other.

Summoned dogs really help a lot here, as does the group heart heal when in range (and Jim's range is massive since he was upgrading the cooperation trait). Even so, it takes us many frustrating attempts before finally clearing this challenge and our reward is... a dead end! LOL.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Remnant: from the Ashes - Queen of the Butts

[Part of our Remnant from the Ashes story]

Using the King's Key, we are able to unlock the other doors in the labyrinth and the first one we step through puts us on a swamp that has corrosive bug infested people and dogs. The four armed ones need a delay to dodge properly, while the ones sporting head crabs actually need the head crabs killed as well afterwards, otherwise they just find another body to play with.

At a large hut we meet a giant butcher fellow wielding a giant hammer. He is actually the most light hearted boss thus far as his weak spot is his butt, and many of his moves have him bending over. Main tip for this one is he can break the walls, which caught us by surprise initially. Not a hard fight since he has loads of windup.

We meet the Queen of the bugs next, but she is not hostile - explaining that her kind are a hive mind and that for some undisclosed reason she wants the heart of the planet's guardian, probably the very same one we strongly rejected the Undying King over. At least she doesn't go nuts when we refuse, and instead sells me a pretty cool scythe to replace my sledge hammer. 

I guess she likes "strong and wide travelers"?

Being lawful good, Jim leads us back to the labyrinth to explore the other world first because hopefully we don't need to kill whatever guardian whose heart is on the most wanted list. This next world is a nice foresty one full of angry satyrs and basilisks. After a particularly brutal encounter with multiple elites (don't get caught in the doorway, make use of the huge arena) we meet some "good" satyrs - and these ones know about the founder we've been looking for.