L2: Double Ding!

One can easily shoot a fly in the ceiling while the other will pillage your cookie jar

After many days hoping around between alts I finally got Lumilie through her second class quest on Tuesday. It was slightly harder than I expected only because Sakum, the final boss for the quest, hit hard and would keep stunning her every time he got close enough to hit. The stun would last quite a while too. Because of that he killed me the first time and I had to try killing him again. The second time I tried to be more careful with the kiting, almost died again but ultimately succeeded in killing the beast!

Much to my surprise she ended up as a level 43 after the quest was completed.  I am not entirely sure if it was an unique case since I was partying with a clan mate and he didn’t do a quest I already did. So there was the extra XP for helping him with that quest.

Like the first class quest I was also rewarded with Proof of Courage to buy gear and shots from my race master NPC or whatever was his title. I decided to spend it all in C-grade soulshots this time since I can claim the C-Grade gear from the Path to Awakening system. Only problem is that gear has a 30 day limit. Which I can’t complain about with it being free gear and all. However I didn’t claim the gear just yet since Lumilie will be going to sleep while I concentrate on GoldheartXVI. The gear she is using in the screenshot was one she borrowed from another alt of mine just for it. 🙂

Speaking of GoldheartXVI, yesterday I finally reached level 61 with her. With this came A-Grade which was a long dream of mine since back in the days. Granted nowadays my ambitions are higher, to get to 86 and then change to a Tyrr Warrior. But for now this is enough to make me happy. Since she was already 56 when I came back she wasn’t eligible to claim an A-Grade weapon anymore from the Path to Awakening so I could only claim the armor. The interesting thing is that the armor they gave me is a tankish set while her class skills make her more of a DPS class. In any case, I like the looks and it has been working very well!

Now my only worry is to get GoldheartXVI to a level where she can start using S-Grade before 30 days go by and the claimed armor goes poof. It shouldn’t be impossible or too hard except that I don’t want to rush for that goal. Rushing could make me get burned out much faster from the game. Plus I still need to make money for whatever gear/shots I might need later down the road. The money is what worries me the most actually. So far I have been selling A shots in Giran. The profits are good just the sales are a little slow for my impatience.

Regardless of that I am still proud of my little victories, drooling on the looks of the Nightmare Armor set and just enjoying what I can do now. 🙂

L2: Some days later in Aden…

I gave in to Lineage 2’s siren’s song. The temptation of playing with an old friend of mine was too great. That and I don’t really have any game right now that burns my mind with the desire to play it any time I can. Right now I am dabbling around in different games as the mood hits.

So far Lineage 2 has been fun. The bots I have found have been pretty much in the lower levels. Same with the PKers. Neither has been bad enough to make me want to scream and punch a wall though. This might change if I get to the higher levels. We’ll see.

Also I was just wrong about the quests lines. From level 1 until 40 there is a good quest line to follow that provides you with most of the XP to get through the levels. There are one or two rough bits that the quests doesn’t provide the you with enough XP to get the next quest. In those cases you either have to grind or do the Kamalokas. The grind isn’t too bad while the Kamalokas is an interesting addition that came with Goddess of Destruction. Basically, it is a small instance with just one boss monster on it. You need to have a group of at least two people to enter it. There is a timer of 30 minutes to beat the monster and you can only do a Kamaloka once a day. The XP of Kamalokas are pretty good with most of them not requiring much in terms of strategy. This makes it pretty easy to just setup a random group of people as it doesn’t require much in terms of player skill or perfect party setups. In fact the lower level ones I have been doing as a duo with my friend without many issues.

After level 40 it gets more complicated. There is a one time quest right at Ivory Tower which gives some pretty good XP for someone who just completed their second class change. Besides that there are the usual Kamalokas and a repeatable daily quest on Cruma Tower. If you don’t like either of those options there is only the usual grind to get you through the levels. I just don’t know at which level there are more good one-time quests to do as I’ve been doing the level 40ish content with some old alts around that level range. Haven’t played that much with either as I have been focusing most of my energies on my highest character, GoldheartXVI, a dwarven warsmith at level 56.

Restarting with GoldheartXVI has proven to be the most tricky of all my characters. I only found two one-time quests that she could do. One was at Forsaken Plains which was pretty easy, gave some good XP and some money, if I recall correctly. The other was an old quest at Frozen Labyrinth. That one I am still unsure if it was a good one since it took a lot of running around back and forth to complete.

With the lack of good quests to do I have been just grinding with her. I have been avoiding joining random groups to do Kamalokas since I am still not quite comfortable with my skill to play her just yet. That and I just dislike random groups.

Speaking of warsmiths, I must say I like how they are now. They seem to have made the class into a type of an actual pet/minor support class. They now have a couple of buffs they can apply to their golems and can even heal it. The support part comes in the form of a temporary buff to armor and weapons as they “improve” it. That buff can be applied on themselves or other people. These changes make it easier for the warsmiths to solo as well as allow them to bring something to parties. 🙂

Lastly, but not least important, a big thank you to two of my clan mates: Tydo, for lending me his Blue Wolf Breastplate, and KuangShi, for buying me a weapon as welcome back gift (as well as for all the High SP Scrolls). You guys rock!

P.S.: I set the previous post about Lineage 2 as private for now. Simply because there were too many typos, clunky phrases and too much stuff that was redundant with my “Revisiting Lineage 2” post. In other words, it was just a really bad post and I do believe you guys and gals deserve better.

In any case, worry not, it was a very exceptional case that I don’t intent to repeat ever again if I can avoid it. Nor is something I will ever do with posts that got a comment or a “Like”. If someone spent their time to write a comment or think it merits a “Like” then the post should just stay there as it is. To do otherwise would be just insulting to them.

If I feel I can revise that post without making it seem redundant with the “Revisiting Lineage 2” post then I will make it public again. If not it will go to the trash.

Joining the anti-region lock in EQ2 protest

Recently SOE announced they had made a partnership with a company called ProSiebenSat.1 to manage most of SOE  MMORPGs in Europe. This would including customer support, marketing, etc. All find and good except for one detail…. Part of the  deal is is that european players would be region-locked to play on european servers only. While US players would only be able to play in US servers. Exceptions would be made  for european players who already have characters in US servers. Those would be “grandfathered in”. There is a FAQ about the whole deal for those interested over in the Everquest 2’s forums.

If that by itself wasn’t bad enough there has been accusations of ProSiebenSat.1 posting personal information about their customers in forums, like real life names and billing.

Not convinced yet that this is a really bad idea? Well, Feldon of EQ2 Wire wrote 20 reasons of why this is a really bad move. He also has been covering the whole thing as they happen. Worth keeping tabs on his site for interested on it.

And as to be expected by anyone with a modicum of sense, there has been a huge outrage from this change as evidenced by the (at this time) 100+ pages of forum posts in the official Everquest 2’s forum.

My position on this whole thing is this: I am a brazilian playing on the US servers. I decided to cancel my gold subscription and boycott every SOE game until they revert the decision of region-locking the game. Granted, I was already planning to downgrade my account to silver status eventually. The difference is that there were certain  things I wanted to get done before that and I still planned to stick around just to enjoy the decoration part of the game. I was even warming up to the idea of buying stuff from Station Cash as a silver player. With this turn of events however  I not only won’t do any of that anymore but will also be adding SOE to my black list of companies to not have any dealings with in the future.

There are a few reasons for this. The first is that I can feel the pain of people being angry about this turn of events since living in Brazil I have being region locked out of enjoying  a few online services, MMORPGs or buying digital versions of games. Examples would be Pandora, Hulu, Vindictus, most games in the Direct 2 Drive catalog in their early  days plus a few others. In all these cases it sucked badly. Now imagine suffering that but after having invested years of your life and a good chunk of money on it, building relationships with other people across the world then suddenly all rules changing.

The second is that I always believed that the beauty of the internet is how it can easily ignore physical barriers to bring people from different parts of the world together. Having contact from people from different parts of the world was something that enriched my life in more ways than I could ever have imagined. Any attempt of artificially separating people goes against that. This is one such case and I can’t in good conscience support it either directly or indirectly.

Lastly, and this may seem silly to a lot of you, is that the only reason I even care about Everquest 2 is due to their good house decoration system and the community that  was built around it. Some of the best  decorators in the game are in euro servers. With this change I just won’t be able to visit their in-game houses anymore to appreciate their work since I would be in the wrong side of the globe.

I really hope they change their mind about this. In the mean time I will be spending the time I would be playing Everquest 2 in other pastures and keeping an eye on how they handle this situation. If they do come with a good solution to this mess then I will go back to playing Everquest 2.

My thougths on Final Fantasy XIV patch 1.20

Although Patch 1.20 continues the tradition so far of bringing big changes to current gameplay plus additions, it is probably the easiest so far to digest. It might be due to me being a perma-noobie and most of the changes being things that I can actually experience or doesn’t make me conjecture about how it will turn down the road. In any case, this might be a shorter one than usual.

The usual caveat that my character is still pretty low level so I am limiting my commentary to changes I can actually experience by myself.

Read moreMy thougths on Final Fantasy XIV patch 1.20

Revisiting Lineage 2

Lumilie posing for a screenshotI have the weirdest love-hate relationship with MMORPGs. It is always the same thing. Everything feels perfect, exciting at  the start. Sure there are a few annoyances here and there but there are so many things to do!

Then the annoyances start to pile up, the new shiny game effect starts to wear off and the hatred starts to sink in. Why am I still playing this game? Why am I wasting time and money on something so unfun when those both could be spent on better single player games or other more fulfilling hobbies?

Some time off from the game or event makes me starting to appreciate the game again, the hatred starts to fade and it is back to business as usual. This is a cycle that keeps repeating itself with a game many times until I am so worn out of this that it is time to actually quit.

Of all the MMORPGs I played so far the one I got the most extreme version of these feelings was certainly Lineage 2. Without going on a rant about everything that was wrong while I played it, I will just say it was the game where I experienced first-hand the worst parts of MMORPGs. By that I mean rampant botting and scamming, bullies PKing people who couldn’t defend themselves, illegal RMT basically destroying a game economy and some of the most illogical, idiotic, game mechanics that would make sense only in the twisted mind of some crazy game developer.

Keep in mind this was years ago, in a different time altogether. To give some perspective this was when “The Burning Crusade” was still the latest expansion for World of Warcraft, any Aion information you could get would be in fan sites who would translate stuff from korean sources and before the Kamael race was introduce to Lineage 2. As any MMORPG goes, it changed vastly since then.

Still, you might be asking. If the game was that horrible back then why did I keep playing it? Well, there were a few reasons. First I still find that it has some interesting mechanic concepts. Mainly in terms of classes as each race has their own unique classes that fit with the race’s lore. For instance, Dark Elf classes are all geared towards offense/dark arts, Light Elf classes goes more for defense/light magic, Orc classes more towards physical prowess/mysticism, Dwarven classes being the only ones who could craft anything/better at resource gathering and of course humans having the usual jack-off all trades/middle of the road classes that due to that end up ruling the world.

It is as pretty cool concept though nowadays I am not  sure it works so well for a MMORPG. It is already hard enough to balance a MMORPG with the traditional holy trinity of tank/damage dealer/healer. Making some of those classes biased towards certain things based on their race makes it even more trickier. For a single player game it might actually be something fun for the player that adds replay value.

There is also the  fact that the game was top of the line in terms of MMORPG graphics back then. It still looks pretty good considering all  the time since its release.

Lastly, but not least important, I was lucky to get into a clan with a bunch of good people. The kind of people that would stick with you no matter how tough things were, always willing to help out in any way they could. In a game as brutal as Lineage 2 was back then, this was a blessing.

These factors often made me nostalgic about the game from time to time. Occasionally I would even take their offer to check the game again when they offered some game play days for former subscribers. For the most part though I was pretty much done with the game. The bad parts had scarred me for life. So much that even when the game converted to a free to play model I still ignored it.

For some reason though I decided to give it another look now. I don’t know exactly why. My best guess would be the latest “Choose My Adventure” series at Massively that covered Lineage 2. In a way it felt like the guy was talking about a completely different game. Another reason is probably because I seem to be in the mood to try new game experiences since I am downloading DC Universe Online right now, a game I pretty much ignored so far. Yes, I already played Lineage 2 so it doesn’t count as exactly new but so many things changed since I quit the game that it can just count as that. It is also has enough of its own unique stuff to set it apart from all the World of Warcraft clones that has been plaguing the MMORPG landscape for some years now. So that is another plus on Lineage 2’s favor.

With all that said, is Lineage 2 worth playing now that it is free to play? Or should people just run away for their lives? Honestly, I can’t give an in-depth analysis of the game right now. I wasn’t able to play much so far and due to certain circumstances (which I will be getting at by the end of the post) it will take me another week before I can give a more informed opinion. By then I might even not bother with the game again. So just consider this a first impression of Lineage 2 post free-to-play conversion. If I keep playing the game and find some interesting stuff to talk about I might make further posts. For now this will be the only one about it.

Another caveat is that this is all from the point of view of a carebear player, i.e. someone who avoids PvP like the plague. For those who enjoy PvP, specially open PvP in the style of  Lineage 2 then I am sorry but there isn’t anything I can tell about that side of the game.

Read moreRevisiting Lineage 2

My thoughts on Freeport Reborn

I must admit I never saw what the big deal was with Qeynos and Freeport. They always felt to me to be nothing but another piece of generic fantasy. Perhaps it is a question of timing or memories. For one, I never played Everquest 1, so I don’t have any clue how those two cities were back then. For another, I didn’t start back at the game launch. Since back then the only start option was the Isle of Refuge, where the closest to civilization was a small settlement, those two cities with their high stone walls, lots of houses, with some that you could even get for your character to live, probably felt a lot more impressive.

Instead what made me to want to grow roots in the world of Norrath happened due the “Play the Fae” trial. That trial made you begin in the region of the Greater Faydark whose capital, Kelethin, always felt far more fantastical and wondrous than either Freeport or Qeynos ever were. Neriak, who was released around the same time I did the trial, also had  the same qualities to it. And to me those two elements, fantastical and wondrous, are what good fantasy is all about.

Even as time went by those cities never really grew on me. Also as game updates went by it seemed more and more that Qeynos and Freeport were becoming irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, becoming more reactionary to the world events than the ones who set those events in motion. Which is kinda sad considering those two cities were meant to be the super potency of Everquest 2’s world, Norrath. Perhaps that is why the developers deemed necessary to give a much needed revamp to those two. The first to get the love has been Freeport, whose new looks and content has been released just last week as a free game update to all players.

Read moreMy thoughts on Freeport Reborn

Characters “Grandfathered” in Everquest 2

Everquest 2 transition to free-to-play has certainly been a controversial issue among its player base. The latest of the controversies has been the invitation former subscribers received to give the game a try again, as a free to play title, only to find out their old characters were locked because they didn’t buy a character pack or class unlocker.

Well, according to this post in the official forums by SmokeJumper, the current Executive Producer, at least that issue should be gone.

I will just quote the man himself:

*Every* character that was created before 12/06/2011 at 12:01 am will be grandfathered in without race or class restriction. This means that regardless of your membership level, you will be able to play any character created before 12/6 without paying for race- or class-pack unlocks.

For any player that previously subscribed to EQII Live servers, or as a Gold or Platinum member on EQ2X, we will also refund all the class/race pack purchases made after 12/06/2011 at 12:01 am and before the time of this posting (12/08/2011, 4:30pm) so that no one loses any SC due to this change.

Of course, this doesn’t affect new characters created from now onward. If you are playing at Silver or Free membership levels and want to create a *new* character, you’ll still be subject to the regular membership class and race restrictions.

On a personal note, I am really happy with these news. It means I might be able to save some money once I switch my account to a silver membership as I won’t have to pay to unlock my carpenters (or any of my other current characters). I will also be able to resurrect my ogre warlock on my former second account. That is as soon as I can recover my password for it. -_-

It also means less resistance from friends in trying to get them to come back to visit in-game. Mwahahahaha.

Why I love house decoration in Everquest 2

I am pretty sure a lot of  the friends I made in Everquest 2 have been puzzled by my love of house decoration. That or they started thinking it was a good time to back away slowly when I started talking about it. In fact, I even agree to a certain extent that it is pretty sad that nowadays that is my main reason to play Everquest 2. Not so much for my passion for house decoration in a MMORPG, of all places, but because I just don’t enjoy the rest of the game as much. Worse I have yet to find another MMORPG with a more engaging gameplay and house decoration. My hopes right now are on Final Fantasy XIV for that but that seems to be far away in the future…

Anyway, why I love it so much in Everquest 2? To put it simply creativity. If that is so why am I not trying to scratch my creativity itch in another more fulfilling field like… say, writing or painting or something along those lines? Well…. That I don’t know either. I guess this blog does scratch my itch for writing though. I am not sure what kind of itch decoration in a MMORPG scratches.

The next question someone might ask would probably be, why aren’t you doing that in a game whose main purpose is dealing with virtual houses, like The Sims for example. This one is easy. In a MMORPG I am building and decorating a  house for nothing but my own amusement. In a game like The Sims I would have to build to please a virtual twerp so they don’t get sad. In fact I would be spending more  time worrying micro-managing the actions of said virtual twerp so he can get as close to happiness a virtual person can get than about building cool stuff. At least in a MMORPG my biggest worries are with the space I have to work with and the item count.

Of course, none of those answers really, well, answer anything. So I guess we have to dig deeper to see where it all began, what makes it so fun, why more MMORPGs should have decent house systems and why Santa Claus wear red instead of say… purple. Ok, I admit one of those topics won’t be actually covered on this post. But all the others  will!

Read moreWhy I love house decoration in Everquest 2

Thoughts about Final Fantasy XIV class reforms preview and Letter from the Producer Live II

Seems like there were a couple of news around Final Fantasy XIV while I wasn’t looking. The first one is a preview about the class revisions that should be coming with patch 1.20. You can find it here.  As usual for these kind of things, anything in that post can change before the actual patch hits the game and people can post feedback about it on the official forums.

The second bit of news is the second “Letter from the Producer Live” which is pretty much ye olde webcast from the developers but with a fancy title. You can find it here. The video itself is in japanese without any subtitles. However there is an english translation in the form of text in the same posting.

Both give some interesting preview of what should be coming to the game in the near and long term. A lot of it made me pretty excited too as there are some cool additions being added and more much-needed changes to the game. I won’t be commenting on every and each item as it would take a gigantic post for it. I will just do so with the ones I found more interesting.

I will most likely do a hand-on post about all these topics as soon as the patches come. For now, my thoughts about what we know so far.

Read moreThoughts about Final Fantasy XIV class reforms preview and Letter from the Producer Live II

Breaking news: Everquest 2 going fully free to play

By now I think anyone interested already knows about this. On early December Everquest 2 will switch to a full free to play model. If you are a current subscriber and wishes to continue subscribing, then nothing changes to you. The only ones affected will be people on Livegamer and EQ2X. The Livegamer servers will be gone with Vox being merged with Nagafen and Bazaar being merged with Freeport. For EQ2X it only affects people with platinum subscription as it will be going away.

For more information they made a handy-dandy FAQ about the whole deal that you can find here.

To me this is great news. I’ve stopped caring about the game a long time ago. The only thing I still truely care about it is the decoration aspect and the friends I made there. Both that I should be able to still enjoy if I decide to let my subscription expire. And if I feel the need to I can just subscribe for a period of time again.

In fact you can blame the lack of more substantial updates on this blog on decoration. I’ve been working on an overdue decoration project for a friend lately and started remodeling my guild hall. The decoration for my friend I am not sure I will post pictures of it here. It is not my house although I don’t think the owner would mind one bit. Hell, it is quite possible she will even post pictures of it on the Homeshow forums herself… But my guild hall I will definitely post screenshots of it once it is done. It is a place very dear to my heart and it was only possible to get through a lot of grinding and a big help from some friends.