Ending the summer break

Oh well, doing daily posts is going to be fun ūüėČ All in all, i’ve got a couple of drafts waiting to be written, but as i realize today, sometimes it’s not so easy to make time to write- i’ll need to flesh out some of those ideas when i have more time. So this will be a short one.

Yesterday, i ended my personal summer break from Elder Scrolls Online and logged into my main character to do a bit more than buying clothes. Finally, i’d have to say, as this was my plan for more than a week now.

Coming back in isn’t so easy, though- it’s good that Elder Scrolls Online has a limited skill bar that makes returning and re-exploring the rhythm of combat a bit easier. I’m still in Malabal Tor, level 38- i guess i could venture ahead into the next zone, but i’ll stay in Malabal Tor for another while.

It’s a wood zone, difficult to navigate, which makes it a bit more difficult to find the places i need to go to in order to continue questing. I managed to finish one series of quests and filling up my inventory, which surprised me- i thought my bags to be practically endless now with the crafting bag. But i guess at some point, 100 swords, bows, armors and intestines fill the backpack just as well.

Once again, as i’m playing on a new PC, i was surprised at how beautiful the game is and how much i like the minimalistic UI it uses. So, my feet are on the ground again, now i need to take a look and see where i am, where i wanted to go, what i wanted to achieve next.

What i liked about playing ESO exclusively

The time of playing Elder Scrolls Online exclusively has passed. The summer break put an end to that. Playing one MMORPG exclusively has positive and negative side-effects on my playing habit, although one could argue that the positive outweigh the negative aspects.

All in all, during those six months, i felt more invested and more connected to ESO in particular but also MMORPGs in general, which is strange considering my interest in other games was basically nonexistent in this time. Another interesting side-effect was that i didn’t think about¬†what to play when i was in the mood for gaming, it was a simple decision of wanting to play or not. And for once, i thought of things like reaching the level cap and maybe playing single-player games as achievable.

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MMOs are not about playing with friends

A while back i came across this quote when i read a post about Jaedia returning to Guild Wars 2:

…I love being able to play with my friends, that is the big draw of MMORPGs after all,…

Hannah Richardson-Lewis, Returning to Tyria

Hannah/Jaedia is a great blogger – i enjoy following her blog and posts on mmorpg.com and i find myself agreeing with her for the most part- but this statement is something i don’t agree with, even if i know i’m probably blowing her harmless sentence up more than i should and MMORPGs are different for all of us, it’s that statement that inspired me to draft the following post a couple of weeks back, only to edit and publish it now for Blaugust.

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Plans for august

In august, i’ll slowly phase out the summer break i’m on since the end of june. In real life, we moved houses, but by now we’ve almost settled in. Of course, there’s still stuff to do, but there’s no need to rush and no hectic anymore. There’s not going to be a holiday, either, at least not one that takes weeks, as we’ve already been to China this year and with the recent move, we’re not going to go on vacation now.

So i’ll be playing a bit. I call off the MMO Wanderlust i had, because it took me to weird places. The MMO line-up for the rest of the year is set: Elder Scrolls Online, World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. I’m not going to say that i won’t play any other MMO, because i probably will, but these should be the major ones, with ESO returning to the front-and-center while FFXIV and WoW will play support roles.

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Deadmines 2016

In World of Warcraft, i’ve finally made my way through the Deadmines. It was the¬†one dungeon i simply had to do for nostalgia’s sake, so i put my Discipline Priestess on hold at level 21 to be able to run it.

Although i knew that most early WoW dungeons are 20-30 minute-affairs nowadays, it took me some time to gather the courage to go at it as a healer- normally, i love the support or hybrid role, ideally doing damage by default and helping out with heals/off-tanking if the group is in trouble.

That’s why up until today, the vanilla WoW Druid below level 30 or so is my favorite class i’ve ever played- because the Druid could do it all. Of course, even in early WoW, at some point you had to decide what kind of Druid you wanted to be and the group expected you to hold your role instead of being cat-elf-bear-cat during one run.

The upside? This way, there’s almost no possibility of messing up- instead, you help your teammates if they’re in it over their heads. As a healer, though, i had responsibility and actually, the only way to go was to mess up. Nobody’s going to tell you what a great healer you’ve been if everyone survives- but if one group member goes down, guess what?

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ESO shopping day

I’m slowly preparing myself to return to Elder Scrolls Online, which is supposed to be my main MMO again come september. Yesterday, i read Xannziee’s post with a couple of screenshots as well as her impression with ESO (she made a detour through Black Desert for a while). There was an outfit i liked, so i asked her what it was.

Of course, it turned out to be an outfit from the crown store. Knowing that a couple of those are going away in a few days, i checked the ESO website if that outfit was among those who are going “out of stock” soon- and it is. So in i went to purchase it. I also had a look at a few of the other items who only remain for three days now, and found another outfit and two sets that interest me. I haven’t decided on the sets yet, but i purchased the solo outfits that interested me. Coincidentally, they seem to be originated in the Valenwood, which is the region i’m questing in since…about forever.¬†

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The Hybrid Journal

August is almost upon us- and with august comes Blaugust. This year, i wanted to take part- to get back into the groove of blogging and to slowly phase out the summer break.

So this year, Blaugust will be a relaxed affair- you don’t really have to commit to a schedule and you “win” by participating. Seems easy, right? All you have to do is fill out a small form. But what is that i see?

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The sub strikes back – now what?

Woe is me, i’m falling into a trap again! I was really enjoying the first six months of this year when i played Elder Scrolls Online exclusively. Of course, MMO wanderlust was still a thing, but i kept it under check- until the summer break, that is. Interestingly, actually having even less time to play made me ponder my options more than before. Elder Scrolls Online is a great game, but to be honest, it’s not something you log into for half an hour or so to dabble a bit in and log out after a short time. The story-and-lore-heavy quests take time, which is a good thing. But it also means that you have to devote that time and i’ve found it quite difficult to do in the bright season. I¬†don’t know about your place, but summer in Germany means daylight from about 5 am to 10.30 pm- i know it’s very different in China, where it’s dark at 8/9 pm in the evening (Shanghai area). It’s more “difficult” to lose yourself into a game.

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Milestones: 20 in World of Warcraft

After 10 hours /played, i dinged level 20 with my Discipline Priestess in World of Warcraft. I find that to be quite quick while at the same time it doesn’t feel quick. That’s not to say i’m not having fun- i do, unexpectedly much to be honest. Maybe it is the new progression with the new talent system and the avoidance of “button bloat”- you level up, but you don’t get to use talent points or gain a new ability each level.

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Travel Log: Postcards from Westfall

Here i am, having renewed my subscription to World of Warcraft. After some initial struggles, mostly deriving from the fact that i played through Elwynn Forest about 50 times, i found enjoyment in Azeroth. It’s not totally unexpected, as i always loved WoW for the zone design. What was new, however, was the impression that everything seems to be¬†just so in this game. I guess this is going to change in later levels, but right now, there’s always¬†something i can accomplish if i play¬†just another five minutes. Be it traveling to the next location, leveling up, completing a quest or simply check out the crafting trainer. And i haven’t even set foot into one of the many, many dungeons.

Here i am, in a 12-year-old MMORPG, competing for mobs in a beginner zone.
Here i am, in a 12-year-old MMORPG, competing for mobs in a low level zone.

World of Warcraft is populated, at least on Argent Dawn (EU)- i’ve not once been very distant to fellow players. The design of the zones is finely crafted up to the details like interiors. I am not in a hurry, as i know i won’t be able to hit whatever the maxlevel right now is (100, i guess?!?) before Legion hits and also because that would suck the fun out of the game. Besides tracking quests, i also track achievements- namely the exploration-type of my current zone and the quest achievement. It’s probably impossible to do everything on one character, but i’d like to check them off in zones i begin.

Sentinel Hill in Westfall
Sentinel Hill in Westfall

Of course, having seen Westfall the last time before Cataclysm, the zone isn’t the same anymore. There’s more than a tower above Sentinel Hill, now- but i do feel WoW manages to keep the nostalgia in terms of a zone’s look and feel alive. Once i began following the storyline, i’ve found it to be interesting, as well.

The Rebirth of the Defias Brotherhood.
The Rebirth of the Defias Brotherhood.

As for Westfall, i didn’t like the zone when i played WoW the first time. It was difficult, quite big and took seemingly forever. Also, at that time there was no group finder, so you’d spend even more time in the zone looking for a group and entering the dungeon (Deadmines). Speaking of which, the “backflash”-quest was a stroke of genius, in my opinion.

WoWScrnShot_071216_100623
We were there

I’ve moved on to the Redridge Mountains, now, a zone where i don’t have many memories of, except fighting my way up to that castle billions of times, but i’m having fun and i’m looking forward to re-exploring World of Warcraft.

Summer Walkabout: World of Warcraft

I don’t know what it is about World of Warcraft- with each expansion, i always shoot longing looks in the direction of the genre leader. There’s no need for an expansion- i played World of Warcraft up to level 52 in vanilla times, and that’s the furthest i came along. So WoW offers plenty of content for me without the additional pull of an expansion.

So in the last couple of months, i was looking for reasons to buy Legion and didn’t find any. Sure, there are some nice tidbits like the improved transmog interface aka wardrobe, but i can have that in many other MMOs as well. Ultimately, i couldn’t find anything that gave me enough reason to buy into the latest expansion.

Until 07/06, that is- when Liore asked if¬†she should buy Legion¬†and i went to read that post in search for an answer for my own ponderings. I didn’t find it in the post, but then Isarii came along in the comments.

I just want to grind for hats and mounts, and basically every MMO outside of WoW seems insistent on putting all of those in their cash shop.

Isarii the guilty

And this is it. WoW is a themepark, a combat simulator that lacks housing or many non-combat activities. As far as i know, crafting is ‘useless’, too. But if i want to go for a certain look, mount, title or battle pet, i can do that. And while WoW offers mounts in an item store, it’s not much and can be easily ignored. I know Final Fantasy XIV offers the same thing, but as far as i know it isn’t as varied in that game, costumes are for level 50 characters and everything in that game is tied to the main story questline that involves forced grouping. WoW doesn’t force me into anything except if i wanted something specific and it was hidden away behind a certain type of content.

Another thing WoW had always going for it was the great zone design- i love how Blizzard crafts the landscapes- plus, it’s an open world for the most part.

So, finally finding my reason (read: excuse), i went in again.

Jiangsu in Stormwind
Jiangsu in Stormwind

Of course i started a new character, a human priestess on Argent Dawn (EU). Somewhere, i read that discipline priests will be healing through damage done, which is a playstyle i like pretty much. Argent Dawn is an RP server, and i think its version of Goldshire is famous for its “special kind” of RP. I found it quite annoying, but it doesn’t matter much as Goldshire gets put behind a new character quite quickly.

As of right now, i don’t have any plans or goals and i didn’t activate my subscription or buy Legion…yet. But i’m already looking into some guides for returning players, i love the zone design (nothing new here) and i’m having fun right now. I’m wondering about what transmog outfits would be nice to have, what places to explore and soon i’ll be wondering about which addons to install.

Summer Walkabout: Soul fighting in Blade and Soul

If there’s one game i’d like to put a small focus on besides ESO this summer, it is Blade&Soul. Yesterday marked the release of a new class, the Soul Fighter, so¬†i went ahead and created one, as i imagine it might just be the class i’ve been waiting for, being a “hybrid” of ranged and melee fighting, not too difficult but still interesting to play.

What i’m looking forward to in Blade&Soul:

  • playing the Soul Fighter Class
  • the story
  • the setting
  • the fun gameplay
  • compatibility with the expected summer playstyle: shorter and rarer sessions, the ability to dip in and out of the game quickly

I don’t know if the last thing is really true, i’ve read that the leveling experience is on the lengthy side of things, but i guess i’ll see about that.

Screenshot_160623_002

Second first impressions

If anything, not much has changed since i gave my first impressions. I still like the combat and the zone design while still thinking this is just a mainstay MMORPG for those who like the gamey parts of MMOs- it’s not much of a world. As with Aion, right now there’s a tunnel syndrome, as you’re questing from hub to hub. Take all this with a grain of salt, though, as my furthest character is level 11, not able to do much in terms of skill tree building, crafting, dungeon running or anything at all. And just like before, some systems are somewhat difficult to get a hold on.

Breakthrough annoyance

Now i know that we’ll basically keep our Hongmoon weapons (granted to us after the tutorial) the whole time while upgrading them. There’ll also be stages where you need a “breakthrough” to advance that weapon further. Upgrading your weapon works by “enchanting” your weapon with other weapon drops and gems that help in the progress, as well. A breakthrough is, from what i understand, a stage where not any weapon will do- you’ll need to get a special one.

Screenshot_160622_006

The first one i do need is a Stalker Bracer- there are two ways to get a hold of it: first, you’ll get some type of stone by questing in Everdusk that you can then use to spin a wheel of fortune. It will drop Stalker items quite often, but you’ll need¬†that special item to advance your hongmoon weapon. I’m sad to say i only got it once and used it to upgrade my weapon, but before i was at the breakthrough stage- which means i need to get a second one. But that doesn’t seem to be so easy, as those stones are now more difficult to come by (i only know of one daily quest that grants them) and even if i collect a few, i still need to get lucky with the drop. The other way would be to simply buy the weapon from the player market, which is possible, but expensive. I’m sure this is due to the fact that the Soul Fighter is the new hotness, but it comes in at around 25 silver right now- and i have 7. Of course, i do have some of the other classes’ needed weapons, but they only sell for a fraction of that.

Meanwhile, i am ready to move on to the next zone, but i think i’ll need to keep an eye back into Everdusk for that breakthrough armor. It’s a strange system with a lot of RNG involved. I guess i could play another character to Everdusk and see if she’s lucky, but that’s off the cards for now.

Server-wise, i went with Windrest this time around. The experience on the german server wasn’t all too interesting¬†(although one has to note the absence of gold sellers), mainly because there were no other people around to fight the first world boss with. While i’m planning to stay solo it’s still nice to be able to find other people when it’s welcome or needed. And as there’s possibly no chance my ESO guildies would take Blade and Soul up, it’s fine to play on an international server.

Somehow, this reminded me of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad from Kill Bill
Somehow, this reminded me of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad from Kill Bill
Yes, this one.

Soul fighting

Other than that, i’m slowly getting the hang of game and class- and there is huge fun to be had in Blade and Soul. It’s the one game i’ve experienced where your skill in playing determines the outcome of a fight just as much as your character’s level- B&S can get downright difficult, i’ve learned that already on my Force Master who’s sulking in a cave thinking about a strategy to fight some boss.

The Soul Fighter is a very interesting class- i expected it to be able to switch freely between ranged and melee, but that’s not entirely true. Your standard stance is¬†melee, but you can switch over to ranged at any time. After a while, you’ll switch back to melee. The Soul Fighter is a breeze- when ranged, there’s a convenient AoE damage skill that hits quite hard- on the other hand, in the melee stance there’s a gap closer as well as a counterattack and combos enabling the Soul Fighter to do more damage. It’s fun to play, not too difficult yet still interesting to play as a Soul Fighter, as the “player skill ceiling” seems to be a bit higher than, say, of¬†the Destroyer, which is an easy class to understand but doesn’t offer that much in terms of “easy to learn, hard to master”.

How to get your free character slot voucher

I’ve read that players will get a free character slot with the release of the Soul Fighter but had some trouble in finding out how to get it- it’s simple, but i guess i expected it to get applied automatically when logging in or something. So, all you have to do to claim your free character slot is to get in game, open the ingame store and purchase the character slot voucher for 0 NC coin.