Fiery fun

I was rather evil last night… Dimzad was supposed to be going to his ninjitsu class but he looked kinda tired and not as keen as he usually does, so I enticed him to stay home with the offer of beers and questing!  We were going to carry on with the Moors questline (yawn lol) but we had a quick peek into Lavastorm and as it didn’t look too bad, decided to do those quests instead.  We did the whole lot in an evening and didn’t have *too* much competition for mobs.  I actually thought they were quite fun questlines and all in all pretty easy.  Well very easy for our ranger and zerker duo.  I think, if I was solo, I would have had to take it a little slower and adds would have been fairly deadly (they do hit fairly hard lol), but I think I still could have completed quite easily and quickly :).  The solo shard quest didn’t take too long either, I much prefer doing a few of those per week, in spare 1/2 hrs,  to doing a grey instance to be honest.  Plus if I run Saraya (inq) and Asirra (assassin) through, that’s another couple of shards each.  Oh I also made about 9 plat and dinged 177 AA :)

Hmm thinking about it I should have run Asirra through those lines with Dimzad (I HATE soloing with my assassin – I find it really annoying for some reason… )  My assassin would have gone much better with his zerker than his coercer or conjuror…  Oh well, it’ll add a bit of interest I guess :P

We also started the lvl 40ish questlines for the Sootfoots – I really want that tinfoil hat :P  There are times in our guild when we all say the same thing at the same time, which is a little spooky and I’m hoping the tinfoil hat will stop the rest of my guildies reading my thoughts ;)

Oaphepia is now a lvl 70 tailor (yay!) and I’m going to quickly run her through the tradeskill quests that I’ve missed before the final push to 80 for her.  Next in line will be my jeweller (lanegan), and then finally with a 40% TS xp boost will be my carpenter (saraya).  I also started tinkering on Saraya…  Hmm I really am a glutton for punishment!

Trying to decide what to do with my assassin.  She is still useful as she stands (lvl 80, 141 AA but no epic / shard gear) for an alt run through obelisk etc for double shards and obviously now for the solo shards.  Although I have officially retired her (another predator…, wanted to play a different type of class at 80 etc, couldn’t face getting the Reet faction AGAIN for her epic, getting shards for her armour, *cries* no not the moors quests again!! ;) etc),  I do sometimes miss playing her though – she was huge fun to play in groups (and *cough* she looks really cool ;))  Hmm maybe I will carry on with her epic quest…  (yep too many goals here I think! ah well…)  I will be expecting the whole guild to hide when I ask them to help me slay 75 froglok slaves for my inq epic quest – bye bye reet faction :P lol

Grey shards and new alliances

I’ve been skim-reading this now rather epic post on the offical forums about the fact that gaining shards through doing the quests in grey zones are considered an exploit and that the SOE team are looking to fix this (although apparently not taking back shards gained through this manner).  My initial reaction had been one of horror…. how on earth am I going to get my alts geared up with shard armour now?  Once I’d had little time to reflect though, I don’t think its actually going to make a huge difference to me.  Firstly, I would say I gained about 10-15% of my shards from grey zones, the vast majority I have earned by running the lvl 80 instances.  I found the whole opening up a grey zone too much of a faff to be honest ;), secondly, I am only planning to upgrade Saraya’s armour to shard at the moment.  Finally, the shards are heirloom and there is now a daily solo shard mission. 

I have got the T2 armour with Suzita but there isn’t a massive upgrade between that and the T1, so you only need 38 shards for the T1 armour – which you can gain quite quickly even just doing the (now) snoozetastic zones that are obelisk, deep forge and scion of ice ;)  My personal view is that my main character needs to be geared as well as I can manage but my alts will be able to manage just fine with T1.  As previously mentioned, there is also the Daily solo shard mission in Lavastorm now –  I haven’t braved the bunfight in Lavastorm as yet, but I’ve heard that its a bit of a pain, kinda boring BUT only takes 30 mins…  Which to be honest, isn’t far off how long it would take to grey out a zone and get a shard that way…  There have been no red name comments as yet that I can see (at 41 pages lol), so it will be interesting to see their response after all the discussion.  I think the only thing I find strange (and unfair) about grey shards now being considered an exploit is that its taken them 5 months to say that it is so…  why now?!

I’ve always seen the T1 gear as being the equivalent ‘got to get’ pieces as the legendary set armour pieces of EOF/ROK (although they are not comparable stat wise at all ofc – but then the mobs / instances are not equivalent either) and the shard system for the T1 gear as a much better replacement for the random number generator/smart loot system we had back then.  So instead of running Obelisk of Blight 1 – ??? amount of times to be lucky enough that your legendary set Boots drop, you now do a Deep Forge run on a double shard day to gain 4 shards for your crafter made boots.  (It may be 5 shards for boots but you get my point!).  It takes a lot of the uncertainty out.  But certain items of the EOF/ROK legendary sets were tradeable and instead of farming these zones, you could buy them off the broker or be given them by a guildy….  In that sense, gaining a few shards via grey zones is not so different…  But I know they are moving away from tradeable dropped loot and have removed the ability for crafters to use their shards for others via the commission system so I guess it is not entirely surprising they are looking to removing this also.   I guess we end up farming instances just the same ;)

Some exciting news though :)  We have formed a group/heroic content based alliance with another guild and we have set up a joint channel between us.  Hopefully this means that on quiet nights / arranged times, we can still get out and about in instances :)  Kalyyn is currently raiding with them (it was through Kalyyn’s efforts that this whole thing came about), but I think the main focus of the alliance will be at group level :)  I’m hoping that we may be able to do the x2 content with them at some point though and I guess there may be some opportunities for a little raiding.  

I’m just looking at this wall of text and thinking I should have found time to post over the weekend :P   Well I’ve been carrying on running Saraya through the Fens and the Moors quests, she is getting closer and closer to level 80!  I’m also up to the raid stage of Deathtoll access with suzita, and Oaphepia is now a level 69 tailor :)

On Saturday night, I had set up a guild event for levels 50+.  We ended up going into Deep Forge with a real mix of levels but mentored down to level 50.  I had a sudden whim to tank (!) so I took my lvl 50 pally (oaphepia) along.  I had huge amounts of fun, and I think the rest of group did too (once they’d got over the shock of danger ranger tanking anyway :P )  We did wipe a few times, as I expected, but we did complete the zone – yay!  Once I’d got over the first couple of pulls, I found the tanking to be fairly easy as I do  know the zone very well (and ofc our group was slightly overpowered – but not hugely lol).  What I found I really liked about the pally was the amount of encounter CAs and AOEs she has – huge fun and so different to my ranger who only has 2. Well you never know, I may bring her out again ;)  Sadly though, it wasn’t halfway round the instance that I looked at gear – she does have lvl 42 MC gear, but her weapon and shield were in the level thirties, her jewellery is appalling and her spells were mostly app 1 – oh the shame!! I’ve been thinking about levelling her to 52/55 and kitting her out properly now lol

Thinking hat is on…

I have been playing the last few days, however much of my time in-game has been spent crafting, sorting out my broker slots and moving Saraya to a 2 room house in Freeport and starting the decorating for it.  I did start to write my blog but thought hmm its really not very interesting to read at all!  I did the new Lavastorm crafting faction quests last night with Suzita and Saraya but didn’t even try to start the new adventuring ones as it was such a bun fight!  I’m looking forward to investigating all the new content though :)  I also did some of the Bristlebane quests and collected enough purple shinies for my 4 adventurers.

I had been particularly looking forward to the new x2 raid zone.  I felt that this had been at least partly designed for Guilds like my own – small-ish casual guilds able to field a core group with enough other members to make up a full x2 raid force.  However, as Kalyyn mentioned in his blog we are currently going through a particularly quiet time with the Guild.  I have been part of this Guild for nearly 3 years now, and this isn’t the first quiet period we have had to deal with by far.  I know that our numbers will increase again, people will return and our Guild Hall will be busy and bustling again.  As Kalyyn suggests, it seems to be linked to a slight burnout of the latest expansion and the sun starting to shine, as it is about the same time each year that it happens ;)  It also seems to be server-wide which does point to those reasons too.

However, it does feel particularly disappointing this year.  Emaimee suggested that it is perhaps because that the Guild had been so busy and so fun for a while that the drop in numbers seems even more marked this time plus of course a number of us had been especially looking forward to our Guild taking on the new x2 raid content which we currently cannot do.  On a positive note we do have some plans to increase our grouping opportunities (will elaborate on this when the time is right!) and our numbers will build again so there will still be plenty of fun to be had in the next few months!  The other thing of positive note is that previous years’ lulls have left us with 6-8 people playing in the guild (in total!), I think this year we have 6-8 people who log in most nights WITH about another 6 people who log in at least a few times a week. 

The officers have also been discussing ways to counteract this (like the plans mentioned above) and these discussions have really forced me to reflect upon what I enjoy doing in the game and what I hope to get out of it.  

My playtime is restricted to evenings when the baby is asleep, with a few short/mostly afk daytime sessions.  I am reluctant to join pickup groups (if nothing is going in guild) as I would not expect a PUG to be patient with a baby-related afk whereas my guildies are extremely understanding and patient (and a few of them are in the same position).  I like to have a couple of nights where I can basically mess around with baby alts or decorating or suchlike but my main focus is furthering my main character Suzita my ranger (and also Saraya my inq so she is a strong and useful alt).  I have done much of the content of this game, in terms of challenging myself and furthering my character all I can really do now is starting hitting the harder instances and raid… Currently it is difficult to do the more challenging content within Guild but as I said earlier, we have some ideas to deal with this.  I used to raid by the way, never hardcore and never as part of a raid guild, but I used to love it, really enjoyed it so if I get the chance to raid once or maybe twice a week it would be absolutely fantastic (if a bit scary as I haven’t raided for so long lol!)  Well… we shall see ;)

Level 79 at last!

I had good fun in Norrath this weekend.  I started off by trying to complete the quest for the Bogstrutter walking stick which would give Saraya as 35% run speed boost.  I thought this would be quite easy as it is just locations dings…  well it is except for 1 location.  This location is either available through a questline or through jumping off the overlook with some kind of featherfall.  Well Saraya doesn’t have featherfall and as I was doing this quest on and off during the day on Saturday I couldn’t ask a guildy who did have featherfall to help me….  So.. OK then, I’ll do the questline I thought.  Easy huh?!  Well not quite, I firstly had to kill 3 nameds (non heroic), I did manage to kill these although a couple of them had seemingly huge amounts of HP and nasty interrupts and kickbacks.  After dying a couple of times I respecced my AA to include the immune to interrupt and planting myself against a wall helped tremendously too and then killed these nameds without *too* many problems.  It is actually quite a fun little quest line, for the last part I ended up taking the form of a rat, scuttling through some planks to kill a chest, and then back out to click a wheel to get to the The Brokenskull Captain’s Sanctuary.  I killed the Captain and completed the quest and also got the location ding for the Bogstrutter quest.  So Saraya now has a rather nice run speed boost which is much needed :)  yippee!  Although it seemed a long haul, I think it was because I was doing it on and off in spare 5 minutes.  If I had waited until the evening (when baby was asleep) it probably would have been much quicker and far less painful ;)

On Saturday evening, Kalyyn very kindly logged Ashenshugar and Poxridden in and helped Saraya get her last 9% xp to ding lvl 79 and 123 AA – even more yippees!!  We both completed the Ykeshan and Thullosian language quests which was great :)  It will be much easier to collect shards now that I have 3 characters able to do the double shard quests :)

Finally on Saturday evening, a bunch of us went off with Magania to get updates for the Thread of Hope HQ.  We had a fun time invissing through Lavastorm and the Temple and Saraya picked up the Tinkering with Toggery pre-requisite quest as she hadn’t done the live event version.  We partly cleared a level 50 version of Deep Forge (and completed a shard quest) and cleared down to the Jail area in Najena’s Tower for the book update.  Magania now just has to kill the heroics and epic that Najena conjures now.  

On Sunday night, Glarim needed an epic update in Karnor’s Castle so Suzita, Ashenshugar and Emaimee went along to help.  While we were there we also completed the Water carries the sound and Drolvarg Observations questlines.  We also killed most of the nameds available in there, I looted a rather nice power regen earring for Saraya (which I accidentally put on the broker until I remembered!)  Suzita also dinged 175 AA – YIPPEE!  I finally finished by staying up too late re-organising my broker slots :P

Chelsith

We logged in last night with the intention to go to Runneye 2 as we had never completed the zone.  However, myself, Dimzad and Kalyyn were the only lvl 80s available so RE2 was out.  After some faffing about deciding what to do, waiting to see if anyone else would log in, we decided to go to Chelsith so that Dimzad could get Glarim’s coercer epic updates.  He just needed to kill fishmen until he got an update.  So Kalyyn took Ashenshugar his pally (with Poxridden his wizzy on follow), I took Saraya my inq and Dimzad rather obviously took Glarim his coercer :P

We moved towards the first named killing fishmen and decided to have a go at killing a couple of nameds while we were here.  Ash has his epic and shard armour, however Glarim has neither and Saraya is still lvl 78, so we were a little dubious about our capabilities for trioing the nameds.  But… it all went very well, we actually cleared the zone up until the last named (he was just a bit too much lol) – yay!  The biggest yay is for the Ranger Master that dropped – YAYAYAYAYAY!   I think this is the first time I have personally looted a ranger master, all my previous tier masters were either bought or given to me :)

We did wipe quite a lot though – mainly through the add frenzy of the flamming secernments and ghastly excretions (aka Poo).  I could handle healing through 1 possibly 2 adds, but 4 or 5 were a bit too much lol.  Glarim did some great mezzing too which certainly made my job much much easier :)  I am quite proud of the 3 of us for doing as well as we did :)  I think the most frustrating thing about last night was Saraya’s run speed lol it took forever for her to get around the zone…  I’m sure it was part of the cause of the wipes on the last named as I couldn’t run in quick enough after Ash :(  It is at 0% which is pretty slow :P  Kalyyn suggested getting my Saraya’s crafting to 80 and getting the Earring of the Solstice as the run speed effect stays once it is unequipped.  That will take a fair bit of effort though as she is lvl 41 carpenter so I will look into some other run speed boosts in the meantime – e.g. check out the reward from the Bogstrutter quest in the Moors, SOW totems etc.  I can’t waste any AA on boosting run speed as where it is pretty low (dinged 122 though!) I need to make more useful healing choices with it.

I suspect it will be a quiet night in game tonight as Dimzad is out and won’t be back until late evening.  So I think I shall just plan to do some crafting and maybe some pickling later ;)

a quiet night

I didn’t log on until late so I ended up just doing a couple of quests with Saraya in the Fens.  She dinged 121 AA and killed 3 of the animal nameds (the rhino, turkey and sabretooth) which was very lucky!  Only got wooden chests though ;)  I still have a heal AA spec which isn’t quite so useful for soloing (I think mainly because I don’t have the immune to interrupt end line ability) but on those green mobs she was doing great :)  They were going down fairly fast and not hitting very hard.  I would have liked to have got a bit further with the quests but I was pretty tired so logged off after about an hour of playing.  I did also manage to get another 4 tome quests on Suzita completed though :)