[PC] Mass Effect

I spent the last month (EDIT: a month ago – but only just finished this) doing a complete play through of Mass Effect 1 to 3. All my previous completions of those games were with freshly rolled characters and default results that brings. I never really brought one character forward through all the versions – mainly because I’d upgrade my PC between releases and lose the save games. (BTW the whole series is on sale on Origin)

Lots of spoilers ahead.

I decided on rolling up an Engineer, which was somewhat painful in the first Mass Effect because you’re limited to light armor and pistols. I still overcame that burden by excessive use of tech powers; Overload, Incinerate, Cryo, and Neuro. I made the choice based on how it plays in ME3 and ME3’s multiplayer cooperative mode (which I hop on from time to time).

Mass Effect 1 decision points?

  1. Played a female – which was a first, my previous characters were all male.
  2. Romanced Liara – rawr… blue babe.
  3. Turn over evidence in Noveria that gets the big cheese in trouble – extortion is bad.
  4. Let the Rachni Queen live – I believe the default is that you kill it, but I don’t remember.
  5. Saved Wrex – default is that you kill him.
  6. Let the scientist in the Krogan cloning facility go – minor point.
  7. Assisted the second team on Virmire by taking out extra targets – seemed like the right thing to do, preserves the Salarian in charge, Kirrahe.
  8. Sacrificed Ashley – figured the default on the male playthrough is to sacrifice Kaiden.
  9. Saved the Council – default seemed to be letting the Council die.
  10. Put Anderson in the role of Ambassador – Udina is the default.
  11. Conrad Verner – three visits.
  12. Sparing the Asari that the Thorian was controlling.

I think that is it? I was quite the Paragon.

Impact on ME2?

  1. Still playing for team V.
  2. With the Shadow Broker DLC you get to hook up again after completing it. Without it, she sort of keeps her distance. Shadow Broker DLC also reveals that Liara is in trouble with the Shadow Broker because she acquired your remains and gave them to the Illusive Man, preventing the Shadow Broker from selling the remains to the Collectors.
  3. Get to do a minor mission for the covert investigator from Noveria, enjoy a drink later.
  4. Minor mention of the Rachni Queen talking through an Asari she saved.
  5. By keeping Wrex alive in ME1, he is around as the head of Clan Urdnot in ME2 (if he’s dead, Wreav is the leader you deal with).
  6. When picking up Grunt, you come across this Asari helping Okear with his Krogan experiments.
  7. Moridin makes reference to Kirrahe’s Hold the Line speech if you mention that you knew Kirrahe from the STG.
  8. Kaiden shows up on Horizen, but nothing more comes from it.
  9. Saving the Council doesn’t seem to do too much for you that I noticed. They sound a little more grateful, but since you don’t really interact with them in ME2 it doesn’t feel like a big deal.
  10. Anderson gets to put Udina in his place – which is nice, I hated Udina.
  11. Apparently he shows up in ME2, though I haven’t seen him.
  12. She shows up on Illium, representing the people from Feros vs. Exogeni.

There might be a few others I missed or forgot.

ME2 major decision points? Wow… ME2 had a big impact on ME3. First lets talk about the crew – a big part of ME2 is collecting the crew and making them happy (or not). Every crew member you preserve in the suicide mission shows up in ME3 in some form. And it is possible to preserve them all – I did… I’m that awesome. Appearances in ME3:

  • Kaiden (or Ashley) – on and off crew member – join you for the initial mission, then ends up in the hospital until after you sort out Cerberus in the Citadel.
  • Liara – crew member – joins you early as well – this kindled the love interest again, though I did have to tell Kaiden to back off again (had to do that in the first one too).
  • Garrus – crew member – joins you early on.
  • Grunt – cameo – shows up when you look for the missing scouts. If you lost him in ME2, the commander of the Krogan elite company dies while you get out. If you did save Grunt in ME2, he gives you time to get out of the Reaper/Rachni caves and manages to survive. This gets you more war asset points.
  • Zaeed – cameo – shows up while dealing with an Ambassador that sold some information to Cerberus. He turns the chance of failing into automatic success. More war asset points.
  • Kasumi – cameo – she shows up when you’re dealing with the indoctrinated Hanar. If you don’t have her, you have to choose between saving the Hanar people or a Salarian Spectre – either one gets you one war asset. If you have her, she deals with the virus while you help the Salarian Spectre getting you two war assets instead of just the one.
  • Thane – cameo – he shows up at the hospital. If you talk to him, he mentions he’ll keep an eye on Kaiden but the real difference he makes is that he foils the attempt on the Salarian Ambassador’s life. If you don’t have him, you lose the Ambassador and miss out on some war assets.
  • Jack – shows up in Grissom Academy where she makes the end result better in that you don’t lose students. Without her, the ending sequence where a student lags behind results in losing their lead student. With Jack there she kicks ass and saves the student. She later is added as a war asset.
  • Miranda – cameo – she makes a couple of appearances before showing up in Horizen. I think her loyalty in ME2 ties to whether she lives or not in ME3. I remember losing her in my first play through of ME3.
  • Jacob – cameo – shows up as a protector of some ex-Cerberus scientists. Saving them adds some war assets as they’re recruited into helping build the Crucible.
  • Tali – crew member – she joins you when dealing with the Geth/Rannoch. There is a chance you can lose her if you don’t pick right. In fact, the whole thing between her and Legion is easier to deal with if they’ve both survived from ME2.
  • Legion – temp crew member – he joins you when dealing with the Geth Dreadnought but doesn’t stick around long. One way or another you seem to lose him; either you have to destroy him to prevent him from updating the Geth or he has to destroy himself to properly update the Geth.
  • Moridin – initial crew member – he joins you after Sur’kesh and helps with the Genophage cure, but it costs him his life.
  • Samara – cameo – she appears when you’re visiting the Asari monestary with the Ardat-Yakshi; two of them being her remaining daughters. It doesn’t seem like she changes much other than almost killing herself because her code demands she kill her remaining daughter. (I don’t know what happens if you side with Morinth – maybe she visits her sisters?)

Decision points – yikes… there are a few! Mostly around whether the crew members are made loyal and whether they survive the last mission or not.

  1. Shadow Broker DLC – it’s assumed you bailed Liara out or someone did because she is the Shadow Broker whether you did the DLC or not. I believe you get a bonus upgrade from Feron if you have completed this DLC and you get more information about what happened.
  2. Arrival DLC – it’s assumed that you destroyed the relay and caused the destruction of the Batarian colony. People (Batarians are people too!) are none too happy about it and make a few appearances.
  3. Jack or Miranda – picking one can cause loyalty issues with the other. There is a ‘get both’ option… I mean for loyalty, if you’re Paragon enough (which I was /flex)
  4. Samara or Morinth – you have to pick one or the other. Morinth is thoroughly evil so Samara must destroy her. I seem to remember in my original play through I wasn’t able to resist Morinth and I don’t think I was presented with a choice. Maybe I was and I didn’t remember it. If you do pick Morinth, don’t romance her… you’ll die. Shepard is special, but not that special.
  5. Keep the research from Genophage cure attempts – getting a cure for the genophage takes priority over saving Eve so the more time Moridin has to spend on the genophage, the more he can’t spend fixing up Eve. This helps determine whether Eve survives or not. Other things also factor in, such as how you treat her.
  6. Prevent Moridin from killing his former pupil – I’m not sure this impacts anything other than getting more Paragon or Renegade points. Maybe you risk losing Moridin’s loyalty mission.
  7. Destroy Collector base or not – Another one I’m not sure about. Whether you destroy the base or not, the ‘Human-Reaper’ appears in the Cerberus station where the Illusive Man was hiding out.
  8. Upgrades to the Normandy – not your typical decisions, but failing to upgrade the armor, the shields and the weapons can result in losing up to three of the crew members… maybe more.

Most of ME2 ‘s impact on ME3 is around the crew members that survived which I commented on above. The crew from ME2 make some cameo appearances allowing you to gain multiple War Assets instead of having to pick one or the other.

I suspect several of the choices and interactions you make with Tali and Legion in ME2 help you gain both assets with Quarians and Geth.

Wrex being there instead of Wreav puts you in a position of getting more out of the Krogan and I believe it is a factor for letting Eve survive.

I didn’t notice much else that stood out.

A few things about the ending… all through the game blue is used to emphasize Paragon choices while red is used to show a Renegade choice. in the end choice, the blue choice (control the Reapers) is shadowed by the Illusive Man, someone who is decidedly bad – or extreme in his views on saving or bettering Humanity (including actually turning some into hybrid-husks) – but you could see how he could be viewed as a Paragon for Humanity… at least in his mind. On the red, Renegade, side you see Anderson – someone who has believed in you, back you up and fought against all odds to defeat the Reapers and preserve Humanity.

This seems contrary to the rest of the game and previous games but if you think about it some, it makes sense to color them that way. Why?

The Paragon path was always about compromise, preservation and taking the high road.

The Renegade path was about winning at all costs, being ruthless and focused on doing what needs to be done despite the cost.

In some ways both the Illusive Man and Anderson embody both of these ideals. Illusive Man’s desire to preserve Humanity is goodly, it’s just his means that are ruthless and uncompromising. Anderson is out to save humanity too and he’s willing to do what it takes, but not at the extreme costs. Of course, destroying synthetic life to save Humanity would be well within the choice he would make. The Illusive Man’s motives were preservation of Humanity and increasing their power to also set them up above the other races.

Back to the consequences of the Blue/Red choices.

The cost of the Red choice is all synthetic life. The Geth who may have become your allies. EDI who you may have encouraged to have a relationship with Joker. And most importantly, the Reapers. It’s destroying one at the cost of others. It also wasn’t a guaranteed solution because it would only be a matter of time before someone creates synthetic life and the cycle repeats. Obviously the Geth were an example of that. So you just delay the cycle.

The cost of the Blue choice is only that the Reapers still exist. Well, that and your own life as you know it, so it’s a choice of self-sacrifice and preservation of all, even the enemy. Despite having the Illusive Man painted all over it (he was all about controlling them), it is the ‘good’ choice. In this choice, through your controlling the Reapers you advance all civilizations and rebuild what was destroyed. You break the cycle.

Other choices available – depending on your assets and influence levels – are to not choose at all, in which case the Reapers cleanse this cycle and the unknown happens as the AI in the Citadel  has to change how they do things because Shepard introduced an unexpected variable to the equation. You can choose to shoot the AI (in the form of a ghostly child) in which case you are killed and lose. You can also choose to join the beam and reform all synthetics and organics into hybrids so there is no need for the Reapers to destroy everyone.

You could argue the Green choice is the best, but then you’d be forcing your will on both synthetics and organics which isn’t so good. You can argue the Blue also takes away the choice of freedom from the Reapers, but their choice is clear if you don’t override them – harvest life.

Another thing I thought was neat about the dialogue at the end was where the AI tells you that the end of each cycle ends with the creation of a Reaper. There are A LOT of Reapers floating around so this would have been going on for a long time. Pretty epic in scope.

I have to admit this is one of the best sci-fi games out there.

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[WoW] 90 #2

My Warrior hit 90 tonight and I feel… nothing. I don’t know what I want to do with the Warrior or even if I want to continue to do anything.

Grind dailies?
Grind dungeons?
Grind rep?
Grind heroics?
Grind raids?

None of it sounds all that appealing.

So I cancelled because now I can. That “sub for a year and get D3 for free!” thing is finally up for me. It taught me never to bother doing that again.

What now?

[NW] More Impressions on Neverwinter

This is a running log of thoughts I’ve had and experiences as I’m playing throughout the afternoon. I’ll try to prefix things in case you’re interested in something more specific. Enjoy.

[Character Creation] Lots of origin location choices with sub-choices, for my Wood Elf Trickster Rogue I went with Luskan and Former Gang-Member. The Deity options seem fairly limited and I was left wondering why their wasn’t one more suited to a Trickster? Cyric was missing (no Evil options?), no Mask option or Tymora and not even Waukeen if you wanted to be a bit of a dirty merchant.

[Foundry] Took a quick look at the Foundry option available – which is to say it is just a catalog of quests created, the actual creation mechanism is still disabled. It is clear they have opened it up for some people to make modules which you can pick up on and play. I see a lot of potential value in this as it enables the players to create content for other players. It has a ranking system and you can even subscribe to authors to continue doing their quests. I can see this being a bigger reason for me to play than the actual gameplay itself.

[Meh] The tutorial voice sounds pretentious… or constipated. It’s trying too hard or maybe I just don’t find anything epic about a rumbling voice explaining, “Use WASD keys to move around.”

[Foundry] Once you complete the starter bit you can then take quests from the Foundry. You just pop through the catalog of quests and events available, then pick the one you want, click Accept and it gets added to your Journal. I like it.

[Map] Map navigation is made easier by opening the main map and selecting a location you want to go to. This will shift your glowing trail to point at that location.

[Leveling] XP gains seemed odd. Initially it seems to only come from quests, but I get them impression it is actually awarded after an ‘encounter’ or group of enemies tied together. It does not seem like you can just grind mobs to level.

[Immersion] I don’t feel there is a lot of immersion, at least not yet. I find the animations for the combat to be too fantastic to feel immersed. Perhaps with some more questing it could be but the initial quests are all the same (so far) regardless of class. Where is the Thieves Guild? Why haven’t they leaned on my Rogue yet? He’s new to the city and should be expected to pay ‘taxes’ on his earnings… My Great Weapon Fighter gets the same quests… nothing overly aimed at him either. Like I said, maybe there is something later, but it would have been nice to see sooner.

[Journal] The Journal has a lot of details in it, not just quest information but a lot of other things in there too. I didn’t really feel like stopping and reading it all but figured it was worth mentioning. Maybe part of my immersion issue is with lack of experience with Faerun as it is in 4e.

[Meh] The game music has a little too much electric guitar in it. It gives you this sense of urgency when you’re exploring but it seems out of place. That could contribute to my loss of immersion.

[Gear] Found some of the shops, basically merchants in the market that I zipped by. Checked out the armor vendor, seems to only sell chest armor? Checked out the weapon merchant and he only seemed to sell greatswords. I get that it’s filtered to not show you items your class can’t use and that you can click a button to see all but my complaint is about availability of basic weapons like great clubs, dire maces, a maul or even a greataxe – where are the options? Lerol needs his Falchion.

[Graphics] I had my graphics settings up nearly to the max but there were some issues with lagging – which is odd because I can play more graphically intense games without lag (I have a 3gb nVidia card GTX560M). I took a few minutes to drop some settings and discovered it’s almost entirely in the shadows. I put everything back up to what it was (actually put AA up higher) and dropped shadows a couple of steps. That seemed to do it because it’s now performing much better.

[Main Quest] Followed along the main quest line and so far it is okay, I wouldn’t say ground breaking, but decent and solo-friendly. Which has me wondering just how much is solo-friendly?

Foundry Adventure: Dungeons of Dread – Part 1: Crypt of Carnage

I decided to try out a Foundry dungeon and picked Dungeons of Dread: Crypt of Carnage. It starts by talking to a guard who tells you where to find this mad man who has created a dungeon filed will challenges from his imagination. He’s looking for heroes brave enough to venture in and test their mettle against his creations.

Yeah, sorta meh premise but it’s something.

I step in to a tavern and look around, find the guy who says all I need to do to get started is jump into the portal. A bouncer is there blocking the way out. There are several barrels and kegs with one repeatedly found and labeled, “Bon Urr Oil”. Is that a play on phonetics or legit? I’m afraid to Google it.

I pop into the dungeon and see that it is all very dark – which makes me wonder about various vision types since my character is a Half-Orc. Doesn’t seem to matter any, ah well.

So back to the dark dungeon. There is a big NPC there titled GM’s Assistant. Oh. I talk to it and it points out the exit to the map if you need to leave or stumble into a bad bug. Noted.

I move along to start exploring. More barrels of … oil. Some undead attack – they appear to be scaled to my level (6) and do not seem overly tough. There is enough of them that it is a bit more of a challenge and my Great Weapon Fighter takes quite a beating but survives. Along the way the log is updating with simple instructions like, “Explore the cells”, “Fight the two Guardians” and “Explore the morgue”. More darkness, more undead.

[Foundry] Why was this rated 4.5? Suddenly the thought that the rating system could become more about having friends submit ratings or having simpletons gawk at parlor tricks so they clap over enthusiastically (i.e. they’ve young or poor taste causing less than awesome things to be rated higher than they should be). I worry for the Foundry. Perhaps they’ll have Friend recommended lists or something? I haven’t looked closely enough… but there is still hope.

Some high-points to the map: the undead do appear to spawn in a sensible manner; from coffins or crypts. There are bits of writing and lore in there that imply the ‘mad man’ is truly mad. These also show that this wasn’t just a throw all sorts of stuff into a map and let people suffer through it. I have to give the author credit for that, it just feels like a dungeon romp for the sake of romping through a dungeon. I suppose my main issues are the randomness of the layout, the darkness of it all and the lack of sense to any of it.

[Issue] Stumbled across a few issues while playing. My Great Weapon Fighter’s Avalanche of Steel attack seemed to put him under the floor for a bit. I ended up only seeing a circle for him but was otherwise able to attack. Come to think of it, I saw something similar for enemies that were there but not. Another portion where I used my charge ability (Vicious Charge) also put me under the ground.

Okay just completed the Royal Hall section which has me taking back the comment about this dungeon not being just about trying out the editor. The hall was filled with traps including one floor spike trap sitting right in front of the gate out of it, almost like the creator was saying, “F U!”

[Foundry] Done with that, left a review which is limited in the number of characters almost like a tweet.

Done with Dungeons of Dread.

[Main Story] Back to the main story, I’ve moved into Black Lake District. Sound familiar? Did some running around in there and now I’m down in the sewers again – fighting wererats though.

[Mechanics] Silver weapons required? Doesn’t seem like it. Maybe that’s a 4e change. Speaking of weapons, I’m disappointed that I don’t have any ranged abilities and unlike the old table top D&D you can’t just grab a bow and use it. I’ve yet to see a bow actually. Throwing knives for my Trickster Rogue? Sure, but no bows yet. Well, aside from the ones your enemies shoot you with.

[Polish] Bonus points to Cryptic – you can resize a lot of the windows like your inventory/bags view. Small thing, but its often those small things that get tossed aside for bigger, fancier features. The windows and UI actually look nice, unlike a certain other MMO based on Dungeons and Dragons. Only complaint still has to do with the font for names.

[Mechanic] The idle delay disconnect timer is set to 15 minutes which I almost hit while writing some of these points.

[Leveling] I’ve been playing for roughly 3.75 hours and I’m level 10 now with my Great Weapon Fighter. I’ve done Black Lake District, a Foundry adventure and another one which seemed to be a Foundry adventure (was little more than a small back alley fight) and now I’m into another Foundry adventure which looks promising. That’s what it took to get to level 10.

[Mechanic] At level 10 a new meter was added to the left of my character on screen, a Determination meter. When it reaches half, I can trigger an ability called Unstoppable which makes my attacks swing faster at expense of some damage. It also gives me some anti-crowd control benefits for a short time. This looks like you can customize it as you gain levels, you will gain extra effects to put in there.

[Mechanic] Another option that opened up at level 10 is the ability to Invoke your God once every hour. You need to do this from a campfire (or similar location with spinning blue runes) and you will be granted a bunch of stuff. In my case I was given XP and some minor items. The XP was enough to push me to 11th – previous quests really pushed me into 10 and I was slacking on reviewing the gains.

Foundry Adventure – The Dweomerkeepers: Part 1 A Discovery in Neverwinter Wood

A slightly more interesting start. Rumors of Drow in the woods near an old temple to Mystra, I’m sent to investigate. I come across a campsite where someone is dying of poison. I talk to them and they warn me that Drow did it and they are nearby. I am then attacked by a Drow Ambusher.

The set is outside on a wooded road. Looks pleasant actually, but still  a small instance to start with.

Combat heavy so far. Lots of Drow spawning in as ambushes followed with spider encounters right after.

Ran into a Drow Priestess at the entrance to the old Temple, that was neat but I think she actually healed me.

[Foundry] It seems that the Foundry that built this adventure did not yet have the ‘mechanic’ Campfires available for placement so I have to rely heavily on potions and my raw awesomeness. EDIT: Portable Altars create a Campfire-like effect. You get healed at them and can invoke your God from them.

[Issue] Walking through a kitchen counter? Hmm…

First part complete. The “Inn” seemed to be more of a monastery or something. Definitely a brighter layout than what I previously played through. Lots of spiders.

Lots.

Ending fights were interesting, including something casting a darkness spell which was pretty neat looking. Reminded me of a squid inking the water – it was a dark violet with murky edges.

[Issue] The ambient sounds inside the Inn seemed to have the frequency or occurrence set too high. The sound of floorboards creaking was performed far too often. It sorta killed the whole, “What was that?” moment. I’m not sure if this is something you can adjust in the Foundry or not… but it should be.

On completing this part of the quest, I have to return to my content in Neverwinter (a cleric) to hand over the relics I collected.

[Polish] It would be nice if there were some way to pick a gate to enter from in order to pick the gate nearest the quest giver. I like the look of Neverwinter (the city) but really don’t enjoy running from end to end for questing.

The ending of this quest had some dialogue that could have used a redirect back towards some other questions, but overall it was interesting.

I filled in the rating and even tipped the author a small number of Astral Diamonds (which I earned from the main story quest). On finishing that, NW (the game) noted there was another mission to the campaign and so it advanced the quest to that one.

Foundry Adventure – The Dweomerkeepers: Part 2 Off the High Road

On to the second part…

Ah, I see the author figured out how to do a ‘go back and ask more questions’ dialogue loop. Good to see.

And you get to bring a NPC along, though she’s mostly ineffective. She warns you that lizardmen come out of the water with the fog. Sure enough if you walk the shore you find patrolling lizardfolk and even some in the water.

[Issue] Going into the deeper water seemed to have a weird effect on the display. You don’t exactly end up swimming because it’s not that deep (wonder about a halfling?). The mobs I found in there didn’t seem to want to move out of it.

Tripped over what looks to be an elite creature, “Foulspawn Hulk”. It is huge, red and very angry. It took a bit of kiting it around but I defeated it.

Oooh! Into a cave theme… sort of a fungal cave and the NPC is here with something to say.

Some interesting little mechanics used in here. A bit of dialogue triggered encounters and quest counters.

Seems things aren’t as simple as only the Drow wanting what your’e after. Nifty.

Back to Neverwinter.

[Mechanic] A hour had passed so I stopped to Invoke my God. I was rewarded with another slight damage bonus, some XP (610 to be exact) and some Astral Crystals. Seems you get rewarded for hourly play.

[Foundry] I suspected this earlier, but it looks to be more positive now – the Foundry’s dialogue editor has options for having the NPC perform some actions. On returning to the Cleric, he bows to me and the dialogue text described as much.

[Foundry] I have a concern about the quest rewards. It appears they are randomly generated and the author has no control over them. This is disappointing, but I can only hope this isn’t the case, merely the author of this adventure has selected to award some random item. It’d be best if there were settings to select the type of reward; such as a weapon, armor piece, jewelry, etc. The system could then reward according to character level. This would allow authors to tailor their rewards to the target audience. For example, if I were to create an adventure aimed at the Thief type, I could tailor the dungeon to have thieving spots, traps, locks (do those exist?) and reward for a thief – leather armor of some sort. Same deal for a quest aimed at a Wizard type or Cleric or Fighter.

[Mechanic] *cough* Falling damage is in game. *ahem*

[Polish] Log to Character Selection appears to be missing. Only options are Log out (to log in screen) and Exit game entirely. This is a very basic function that has be around for awhile. Make it so Cryptic!

Foundry Adventure – The Dweomerkeepers: Part 3 Dweomerkeep Temple

[Issue] Something happened on my follow up with the third part of this quest line where I had to go to the Moonstone Mask. It happened right after I interacted with the Broker for another quest (main line quest). It seemed like everything that should be interacted with was not showing the ‘F to interact’ tip and could not be interacted with.

(Quest Issue) There seems to be an improper [/ooc] closing tag in the author’s dialogue with the little Drow urchin. One of the first mistakes I’ve seen so far with this quest series.

[Classes] I was looking through the Auction House for some armored pants or something when I saw the “Any Class” drop down. I decided to drop it a look. Here’s the list: Trickster Rogue, Devoted Cleric, Iron Vanguard, Control Wizard, Hellbringer, Divine Oracle, Great Weapon Fighter, Spellstorm Mage, Master Infiltrator, Swordmaster and Guardian Fighter. Of those only five are available for play. I’m not sure if the other classes are even mentioned outside of this dialogue. Spoiler? Someone already saw this at some point yesterday.

Back to the quest. This one progresses a little different. Instead of exiting any gate and picking a point on the map, you exit a specific gate and it triggers an ambush.

Very cool little portal trick for jump to the Temple and out of the Temple.

Foundry Adventure – The Dweomerkeepers done.

There are supposed to be five more parts to it, but they are not done yet. Impression so far? Decent enough. Story is more complicated and interesting than the previous ones I did and it looks like the creator was able to do a fair bit of neat things in the editor.

I’m now level 13.

[Mechanic] In game currency is called Astral Diamonds. This is used for special gear or to convert to Zen which is used as a micro-transaction currency. You can earn Astral Diamonds from invoking your God, completing quests (I think) and as a ‘tip’ for creating cool adventures. Other in game currency includes the expected gold, silver and copper which is used for more mundane items. The micro-transactions include dye packs (which are noted to be consumed on one item – not kept in a library of colors like in Guild Wars 2!), character slots (2 per purchase), bags, cosmetic items, companions, and boosts. It does not seem to be ‘pay to win’.

[Issue] I tried looking up the pricing for Zen through Perfect World’s site and they stuck a “Enter your payment info” door in front of me. I have no desire to give any payment information without first seeing the prices. That’s just a bad deal. A little Googling and I found the following:

Zen Prices:
$50.00 = 5,000 + 300
$30.00 = 3,000
$20.00 = 2,000
$10.00 = 1,000
$5.00 = 500

I figured I’d list it for those that are interested. I’m a complete cheapo though, I don’t see value in any of the items they sell short of character slots – which is something that has always been ‘free’ in other sub-games (quotes around ‘free’ because I realize there is a monthly sub hehe). The cost of two extra character slots is 5$ which I can see being not too bad.

[Main Quest] Back to the main stuff. I was given a quest to go talk to a crafting supply person. That person said I need to hire someone. Quest updated to say, “Open your crafting window” to which I say, “How do I do that?” Crafting eludes me again… or me it. I’ll look it up shortly.

Foundry Adventure – BAR FIGHT!

I started poking into the Foundry listing again and took a peek at the Featured tab. There is one there about a bar brawl… mouahaha! Surprisingly enough it is called, “BAR FIGHT!” Estimated time is 2 minutes. The comments seem to imply it is a hack and slash quick quest for power-leveling.

You knew it was bound to happen. Small, bar-themed room with a rowdy pirate proprietor hosting a series of waves. The dialogue was amusing as was one of the waves where it was supposed to be the local authorities. Reward was given in a back room… not that kinda of reward, it was a chest.. the opening kind with treasure in it! Anyway, I score some Cleric boots… that’s right, Cleric boots. Damn you random loot rewards.

Foundry Adventure – BAR FIGHT! done.

[Crafing] So back to Crafting. I asked in zone-wide chat and someone answered how to open the Professions Window – press N. “Professio[n]”. Literally would have been the last key I’d have tried.

[Meh] That completed the quest and.. well, I couldn’t do anything else with it because I don’t actually have a profession. This quest seemed a little pointless… it didn’t explain crafting or where to get a profession from.

Anyway, I’ve been at it for roughly 7 hours – on and off – so time to stop. Since this is just a weekend beta this is likely all I’ll talk about in this post. I don’t know if I’m automatically going to be in the next beta weekend.

I’ll try to answer questions if people have them, but I’ve pretty much said everything I did up above. I can clarify if it’s confusing.

Maybe.

[NW] Oops, Beta Weekend 3

Good thing I checked my spam mail address yesterday night because I received a Neverwinter Beta invite from Gamebreak.tv‘s free giveaway. I started the download while I was leveling up my Warrior in WoW (89 now) and once the download was done, I gave it an install. Simple enough process. Logged in, little patch, adjusted settings and then rolled a Great Weapon Fighter.

I won’t go into too much more because I didn’t really play for very long but I will throw out some first impressions:

  1. Font used for labels is sort of jarring and stands out too much
  2. There was some lag in overcrowded areas (my system is a beast so I’m going to blame their engine), though it wasn’t unplayable – just enough to notice it was there
  3. I did the initial part and the ‘Save the Crown’ quest
  4. Controls are really simple and straight forward
  5. Mobs weren’t exactly challenging – granted it was the starting area
  6. Their mini-map is confusing – lots of stuff on there; that is likely just not knowing what the symbols are
  7. Character creation was simple
  8. Customization was limited, but the options available made sense
  9. Attribute die-rolling doesn’t seem as random as it should be if it really was die rolls. I almost suspect they randomly switch between preset attribute builds.
  10. Races available: Human, Halfling, Dwarf, Tiefling, Half-Orc, and two flavors of Elves: High (heeeey maaaan!) Half-Elf (they hop along on their one leg) and Wood (shaaaawing!) Elf. (EDIT: Can you tell I didn’t pay too much attention to the Elves?)
  11. Class available: Devout Cleric, Controller Wizard, Trickster Thief, Guardian Fighter and Great Weapon Fighter.
  12. They have that glowie-umbilical cord to lead you from A to B
  13. Graphics had some decent details, but didn’t feel as crisp as other games
  14. Animations were decent
  15. Combat abilities had some impact, especially with swinging the large weapon around though they need to make the Charge ability have more of an impact – it felt more like you were a ghost going through targets instead of knocking them over
  16. I didn’t see any access to Foundry stuff but then I didn’t look either.
  17. I couldn’t find a store to buy new armor or weapons (see mini-map xenophobia above)
  18. I didn’t do any crafting (heh – like I would…)
  19. I didn’t do any exploring yet – seems like you’re limited to the areas you are in, rather than any sort of free roaming or sandbox type.

My initial feeling is it could be nice little game but I can’t see myself playing it with any dedication (shut up UFTimmy – I know, I don’t play any games with any sort of dedication anymore).

The Foundry, depending on how powerful it is, may get me more involved with the game than the actual game itself. Still it wasn’t a bad overall feel. It feels more like an action game (which is what they were aiming at, so good on them) than what I traditionally view as MMO fare.

Fortunately it will be free to play so I can easily see myself playing it from time to time, maybe even with some friends from work who don’t want to invest too much into a game and don’t really like the wide open world type of games because they get too into them (or lost).

[IRL] Wattup?

Busy working, which is good. Loving it.

Outside of work it’s been family stuff, reading and a light smattering of gaming.

Last week I completed Starcraft 2’s Heart of the Swarm expansion. It was pretty good, though short if you’re only into it for the single player. Well done though and pretty stable. No problems logging in to play – unlike some other game which I avoided entirely.

Been playing a little WoW. Started leveling my Deathknight to 90, but stopped and switched back to my Warrior who I leveled up to 85 before Christmas – which was the last time I played prior to poking around with the Deathknight. It’s been fun. I like the Warrior’s flow, pace and durability. While the Rogue and the Hunter have a number of escapes, not quite for the Warrior. Oh, you can great leap away or pop up that 100% parry buff but you still have to high-tail it to get out of combat. I like the impact of the class – feels very solid. Playing Arms.

Prior to that I was playing around with Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with a guy from work. It’s fun, but there is little point to it other than it inflating your Readiness in the single player, achievements (which I don’t tend to chase) and the short bouts of fun shooting enemies cooperatively. I did do a complete play through of Mass Effect 1, playing as an Engineer. Imported to Mass Effect 2 which I played through as well. And finally into Mass Effect 3 where it was awesome to see the impact of all the decisions I made throughout the games. If you haven’t played through then you get a lot of the default decisions or characters which means you have some tougher choices – usually one thing against another. If you played all the way through and your crew from the second Mass Effect survived then they’re present to turn those tough choices into positives. Pretty cool.

Otherwise I’ve been reading, watching some training videos on C# and taking a peek into ASP.NET MVC and a little fiddling with WPF (making a little Minecraft properties app for the kids to use with their server).

Fun times – no time for blogging except when I make the time. Sorry folks!

MMOs I’m eyeballing: Neverwinter and The Elder Scrolls Online.

Neverwinter has my interest because it’s free-to-play and has a toolset. The toolset doesn’t look to be all that powerful but it might be fun to play with. If there is any investment required, I’ll pass. Sounds horrible, but it’s the difference between them not getting my money or having a chance to convince me to invest.

For TESO I have a lot of reservations about how well Bethesda will be able to create a decent scale-able system for just about everything; levels, crafting, gear, dungeons, enemies – really, just about everything. Their single player games are just so fragile as far as balance goes, I worry it’ll be a game filled with flavor of the month type builds.

Playing some XBox 360 lately too. Black Ops 2 Zombies with the kids, some Borderlands 2, a bit of Crysis 3 and lately some Fallout New Vegas. It’s been fun. I may have already mentioned it, but I’m shifting the kids more towards console gaming – buying one copy of the game and both of them being able to play it just makes more sense than trying to maintain multiple PC copies through Steam or Origin or whatever distribution software the game uses.

Out!