IntPiPoMo: Sense of Community

Hi friends! I just got back into town this weekend so I’ve fallen behind a bit in posting for IntPiPoMo. I did get back in time to attend Thaydfest this weekend though! For the uninitiated, Thaydfest is an amazing community-run event in WildStar with trivia, games, prizes, and tons of fun. Major thanks to Black Dagger Society for organizing, and the folks at Quantum State Radio for DJing!

IntPiPoMo 35. Thaydfest Costume Contest Winners

IntPiPoMo 35. Thaydfest Costume Contest Winners

I managed to log in just in time to participate in the costume contest, and ended up taking home the prize for Best Female Costume! The pictures I took all ended up looking bad because it happened to be nighttime in Thayd.

IntPiPoMo 36. Winner!

IntPiPoMo 36. Winner!

Here’s a better shot of my costume in daylight. The parrot has a bad habit of flying upside down.

IntPiPoMo 37. WildBall!

IntPiPoMo 37. WildBall!

After the costumes and a raffle, it was time for WildBall! This is all amazingly hand created by Katia (who also has an awesome housing addon – go get it right now if you’re interested in housing in WildStar). It was a really great feeling to hang out and watch the game and know that the entire event, all the way down to building the stadium, was all player-created. WildStar might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I have never been part of such an amazing community in any other MMO I’ve played.

IntPiPoMo 38. Chaos in Combat

IntPiPoMo 38. Chaos in Combat. Don’t mind my cluttered UI

In another side of the community, I’ve been lamenting that Entity and Entity-2 haven’t been merged back together yet. However when I logged in to my Medic on E-2 last night I had no trouble getting a world boss group to kill Metal Maw and take care of the daily contract.

IntPiPoMo 39. Metal Maw before the chaos.

IntPiPoMo 39. Metal Maw before the chaos.

I’m looking forward to having my medic on Entity, and being able to bring her into my guild, but at least she’s not lonely over on E-2. Too bad the folks over there couldn’t participate in Thaydfest (without transferring or rerolling) though.

Advertisements

Making Raiding Memories

My new guild is a bit behind where my old one was raiding-wise, but I’ve been having an amazing time relearning the fights with them. It is funny how much more satisfying a hard-earned kill can be compared to something that’s on farm. I enjoyed running GA with my old guild but I never felt like I properly learned a lot of the fights because they already had most of it on farm by the time I started raiding with them.

Apologies in advance for all the green. Genetic Archives is very very green until it gets purple.

IntPiPoMo 29. Even the walls in GA are creepy.

IntPiPoMo 29. Even the walls in GA are creepy.

IntPiPoMo 30. X89, from a safe distance.

IntPiPoMo 30. X89, from a safe distance.

IntPiPoMo 31. Raiding selfie.

IntPiPoMo 31. Raiding selfie.

IntPiPoMo 32. Proud to be on pillar duty for Kuralak.

IntPiPoMo 32. Proud to be on pillar duty for Kuralak.

IntPiPoMo 33. Killing the impossible rhino.

IntPiPoMo 33. Killing the impossible rhino.

IntPiPoMo 33. Made it to GA floor 2.

IntPiPoMo 34. Made it to GA floor 2.

We’re starting on floor 2 tonight. I can’t wait!

Screenie Time, Last Push to 50 Edition

I fell behind on posting my IntPiPoMo shots, so today you get a giant swarm of them!

These are all from the last bit of leveling my medic to 50, mostly in Wilderrun but a little from Blighthaven and the Drusera instances.

IntPiPoMo 19. Stealing Drusera's Powers

IntPiPoMo 19. Stealing Drusera’s Powers

IntPiPoMo 20. More stolen genesis prime powers

IntPiPoMo 20. More stolen genesis prime powers

IntPiPoMo 21. Freebots in hats. My one weakness.

IntPiPoMo 21. Freebots in hats. My one weakness.

IntPiPoMo 22. Nobody likes my karaoke.

IntPiPoMo 22. Nobody likes my karaoke.

IntPiPoMo 22. Enjoy scenic Malgrave!

IntPiPoMo 23. Enjoy scenic Malgrave!

IntPiPoMo 24. Marshal Yatish, my hero.

IntPiPoMo 24. Marshal Yatish, my hero.

IntPiPoMo 25. This guy looks angry.

IntPiPoMo 25. This guy looks angry.

IntPiPoMo 27. Platform hell.

IntPiPoMo 26. Platform hell.

IntPiPoMo 27. The Entity also looks pretty cranky.

IntPiPoMo 27. The Entity also looks pretty cranky.

IntPiPoMo 28. The Lightspire.

IntPiPoMo 28. The Lightspire.

Fallout 4 with Fresh Eyes

The new hotness that everyone is talking about this week is Fallout 4. For the first time in a very long while I’m actually able to play a big new release at launch, and I’ve been quite excited about it. You see, I’ve never played any of the Fallout games. I haven’t even played any of the Elder Scrolls games. Nope, never even touched Skyrim. However, Tam chose Fallout 4 for the Aggrochat game of the month for both November and December. It turns out that everyone but me was excited and planning to play the game no matter what. I, on the other hand, get to be the guinea pig, the fresh eyes looking at everyone else’s old favorite. Part of me is worried I’ll never love the franchise the way everyone else does and I’ll end up raining on their parade. But I keep reminding myself that my outside perspective is important too! I can’t be the only person in the universe who has never played these games but is still curious about them. Hopefully some of those other folks listen to the podcast too.

Who am I, anyway?

IntPiPoMo 18. Who am I, anyway?

I started up the game last night. I only had a few hours to check things out so I didn’t expect to get far. I had a bit of struggle getting the game to launch properly on my machine, but once that was sorted it was time for the intro. The opening cinematic paints a history of war and soldiers and how they’ve shaped the game world, through the lens of one family. It set the mood well and shaped the background of what I assumed would be the main character. Then I got to actually create my character. The character creation was set as getting ready in the bathroom mirror, and was very cute. Being unfamiliar with the system, though, it took me a little time to figure out the mechanics of the facial sculpting and changing of features. Once I did it took even longer to settle on a face I was happy with. I usually enjoy having the maximum possible customization options, but one of the pitfalls is that it can sometimes be hard to create a look that doesn’t keep landing in the uncanny valley.

After I finished and finalized everything it took me a second to realize that the game had started. I only needed to step away from the mirror and start moving around. It was very seamless and cool, I just wasn’t expecting it! I spent a few minutes exploring my house, and something weird started to dawn on me. I’m very used to video games giving an intro from the male perspective, and then plopping my female avatar into the story and moving forward as if she’d been there all along. I had been assuming that’s what Fallout 4 was doing, but I think I was wrong. As I looked around the house and interacted with my character’s husband and baby, it dawned on me that he was the soldier. The intro was 100% his. Who the hell was I? I found a law school diploma on a shelf, I think it was supposed to be mine, but the print was too small to make out. That’s all the backstory I’ve found for myself so far. I’m the wife of a soldier, and possibly a lawyer. I know the male character doesn’t exactly get that much backstory development either, but at least they have that intro cinematic. I really wish that there had been something like that for the female lead, or at least that it was clearer somehow what her story was from the beginning.

This brings us to the baby. I joked on voice chat while I was playing through the intro that I hoped I’d be able to chuck the baby into the nearest vat of radioactive waste as soon as possible. It’s not that I hate babies (although honestly I’m not a huge fan). It’s that the baby was pretty obviously a setup for either a plot device or some sort of horrible escort mechanic and either way I wanted to avoid it if possible. Generally when a game gives you a spouse and kid right in the intro that you’re supposed to get attached to them and then watch something bad happen to them.

After exploring the house a little bit I got to assign my stat points. It is always intimidating doing this in a game where you don’t fully understand the mechanics yet. Is it better to dump everything into one or two stats, or should I spread them around a bit? Who knows! But it is also part of the fun of playing a new game. I tried to aim for things that vaguely sounded like the type of play I enjoy, like ranged combat. We shall see how it works out for me. Once I finished there was no time to worry about it, because suddenly there were bombs dropping and we were running for the vault. On my first attempt I got distracted by the pretty scenery and ended up dying because I didn’t get there in time. Whoops. From what I gather the rest of the game will be super open ended, so I wasn’t quite expecting to be railroaded so hard, but since it was basically a tutorial it made sense. I got shepherded into my cryo-tube and got to watch said bad thing happen to the spouse and baby, and then it felt like the game properly began.

During the rest of my play time I made it out of the vault and back to my house, slowly starting to learn some of the mechanics along the way. I scavenged every little thing, and even dabbled briefly in building some structures. I’m curious to what degree that system will be optional or necessary going forward.

I felt like a lot of my play time after the intro was spent doing nothing. But it was an enjoyable, exploratory sort of nothing, that let me get my bearings in the game and the world and start settling in to get comfortable. I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with this game and I’m very curious to see what kind of balance it strikes between story and free-form wandering.

Rune Woes

Runes. They’ve never been the most fun part of WildStar, but Drop 6 totally revamped the system and unfortunately made things worse instead of better. I griped about this a little on Twitter this morning, and realized that I’d be better off venting here where I can vastly exceed the 140 character limit. I will state right up front here that I’m a relatively casual raider. My guild raids twice a week, with a flexible attendance policy, and have not completed GA yet. I can’t even begin to imagine how much more frustrating this system would be to someone who was at the peak of raiding progression. I spent a very long time and a lot of plat (and some service tokens, to my dismay) working on my runes last night and I have a lot of thoughts.

Here’s some issues I have with the current system and some suggestions for how to improve things.

Cost: This is pretty much the biggest gripe that people seem to have right now. The costs for rerolling rune slots and removing runes are being updated, so I don’t have a lot to say or suggest here. Requiring service tokens for these actions and not providing an in-game currency method for them was a terrible idea and thankfully it is being addressed.

Item Level Restrictions: This honestly is the thing that makes me the most unhappy with the new way that runes work. Previously I could get the benefits of some end-game rune sets no matter what kind of gear I had. The new system splits up level 50 runes into multiple different categories depending on the item level of the item you want to slot them into. I can see how this made sense in development, since runes now account for such a huge fraction of your overall stats. But in practice it is incredibly frustrating and confusing. It means checking and double checking that the rune you are making or purchasing is not only the correct element, set, major/minor, but also that it is the highest that you can use for a specific piece of gear. It also means silly things like using multiple runes that are identical except for the ilvl to complete a set, requiring stacking element types that means lots of rerolling and expense. It also means that getting an item upgrade might mean having to completely ditch all your old runes in favor of newer, even more expensive ones of higher ilvl.

Fusion Runes: Fusion runes are the way you add a “special” to your weapon or armor now. Most slots have a selection of different fusion runes available. For me personally the changes to fusion runes weren’t communicated very well. It took a bit of hunting on external sites to find out the details. I actually like how this works now that I understand it. Having leveled a few alts recently I also now see how they are handing you these early on in the leveling process so hopefully people have a better understanding of how the system works. I do wish there were less ilvl restrictions on some of the more interesting ones.

Set Runes: Rune sets were changed from working across all of your gear to only working within one item at a time. For example if you want the 4-piece Onslaught bonus, you need all 4 runes (or 2 major runes that count double) in the same piece of gear. Again I like this idea in concept, but in practice it doesn’t work so great. For most classes there’s just 1-2 sets that are best to focus on. In the old system, you might not have to reroll rune slots so much if you could be creative in how you filled in your different set runes. Now you absolutely need the specific elements for your best set on every single item you have. This is super expensive and not engaging or fun.

Class Sets: The class rune sets all add something that ends up changing the way you play completely. Specific sets are available only at 1 item level. It took me a while to wrap my head around this, but it finally makes sense to me. This is exactly the equivalent of having a tier gear set from raiding, but it lets you choose which item you want to slot it into. Once I understood that it was easier to make my peace with the fact that I’ll never finish any class set outside of PvP. I can’t even use my leftover PvP set focuses to help, because they don’t overlap with the ilevel of the raiding sets.

What I’d Suggest: Ditch most of the ilvl categories. They are confusing and frustrating. Maybe keep 50-100, 100+ if you want to keep a distinction for end game gear.

Ditch ilvl requirements for fusions. Give them a flat bonus or a percent that scales with one of your other stats.

Alternative to the ilvl issues: let rune bonuses scale with the level of the item they are placed in. It gives the gear more of a central focus instead of the rune and it makes the whole thing way less complicated.

Either vastly decrease the cost of rerolling rune slots, or give us better reasons to want different mixes of elements on our gear. Rerolling everything to have 2 earth slots last night was boring and expensive. Fix at least one of those things!

Increase drop rates for rune fragments and set/class foci. I can not begin to tell you how underwhelming it is to go into a raid with 20 people and see one major class focus drop. Worse, just because someone won the roll on that pure focus doesn’t mean they’ll have enough pure rune fragments to even make a complete rune. Winning something in raid and having to run to the auction house and fork over tons of money to be able to use it feels awful. The drop rate¬† for fragments needs to be vastly increased, or there needs to be more alternative ways to earn them.

Final Thoughts: I know some changes are in the works and will hopefully be here soon, but they won’t be enough. I also have no idea how the devs can possibly make things up to the folks who spent 100+ plat on trying to get runed properly at the start of this drop. I hope they are spending a lot of time listening to feedback and figuring out ways to improve this system. As for me, my dreams of raiding with an alt, or learning to heal on my spellslinger will be staying dreams until I can actually afford to rune more than just 1 set of gear.

Wilderrun Part 2

When last we met our brave Mordesh medic hero was about halfway through Wilderrun and very close to level 40. I was having so much fun I decided to pick her back up right away and stick around in the zone even though Malgrave opens up at 40. She’s now 42 and there’s just a few of the Torine quests left. Wilderrun is still not my favorite zone, but I’m glad I went through and gave it another look after more than a year away.

IntPiPoMo 12. Osun

IntPiPoMo 12. Osun

The lopps where I left off last time sent me off to deal with the Osun, who were apparently bad noisy neighbors. I love this quest chain because you keep running into the lopps along the way. They are trying so hard to be brave adventurers like Marshal Yatish!

IntPiPoMo 13. Introducing the Strain.

IntPiPoMo 13. Introducing the Strain.

Next stop was Lazarin’s base camp. In the questing with the Torine, you get to see one tiny glimpse of the Strain. Here is where you get to see what happens when it starts taking over the world. The effect is a bit different now that you will know quite a bit more about the strain by this point if you have been doing the Drusera quests. I think it still works though, since that all takes place in sealed labs while this is your first chance to see it out in the open.

InPiPoMo 14. Warbots and Freebots.

InPiPoMo 14. Warbots and Freebots.

After clearing that area, and knowing that more strain troubles awaited me, I took a detour. This little optional quest hub unlocks the Crimelords of Whitevale adventure, and has a few tasks to help out some freebots and ekose. I love freebots, and their infectious joy at being sentient and independent. I also remembered the first time I climbed to the top of this structure as an explorer, and realized it was a giant fallen megadroid.

IntPiPoMo 15. Lore for the score.

IntPiPoMo 15. Lore for the score.

There was one more detour before helping the Torine. There’s a lore object waaaaay up at the top of a tree in the middle of the jungle. I love that it isn’t just randomly there for no reason. The designers went through the extra care of having the remnants of an observation camp up there. Little touches like this make me love this game so much!

IntPiPoMo 16. Strain-corrupted Torine territory.

IntPiPoMo 16. Strain-corrupted Torine territory.

Finally I pushed on to the last area. It doesn’t look so bad from this shot, but the corruption gets worse the deeper you go. This zone is more enjoyable than I remembered from the first time around. I think it seriously suffers from two big issues for me. One is that jungle zones are not usually my thing. I do like that, as with many of the large zones in WildStar, Wilderrun is broken up into a lot of distinct subzones that have different moods. I particularly enjoyed the freebot versus elementals/megadroid area.

IntPiPoMo 17. This is why Wilderrun will always feel like a letdown.

IntPiPoMo 17. This is why Wilderrun will always feel like a letdown.

The other issue this zone has is that it follows on the tail of Farside. Coming down from low-g hoverboarding in a classic science fiction setting would make anything that followed look pretty crappy in comparison in my book. Giving Wilderrun a little extra time helped distance it from Farside and let me enjoy it on its own terms.

Wilderrun Travelogue

Last night I spent some more quality time leveling my medic over on Entity-2. She’s still making her way through the early part of Wilderrun, even though she’s almost 40.¬† I figure it is a good excuse to post some pretty screen shots of the jungle for IntPiPoMo!

I love this hidden little corner of the zone.

IntPiPoMo 08. I love this hidden little corner of the zone.

I’m enjoying IntPiPoMo because it is helping me to remember to take pictures more often while I’m out and about in the world. I never took any screenies of this beautiful eldan ruin the first time I leveled through.

IntPiPoMo 09. Toria, about to introduce you to a major world story plot point.

IntPiPoMo 09. Toria, about to introduce you to a major world story plot point.

I enjoy the Torine quests, even if jungle zones aren’t my favorite. Grabbing the lore in this area made me realize that there was tons of information about the Genesis Project way earlier than I remembered.

IntPiPoMo 10. Zin vs. Walker Round 1

IntPiPoMo 10. Zin vs. Walker Round 1

Even though I’m an Exile I still love Artemis Zin. Mostly I just wish Dorian Walker would stop calling me cute kids nicknames.

IntPiPoMo 11. Marshal Yatish Fanclub

IntPiPoMo 11. Marshal Yatish Fan club

I remembered the lopps in this zone, but I had totally forgotten about the Marshal’s fan club. I love him so much!

That’s as far as I made it in one evening. I can’t decide if I will keep questing in Wilderrun or move on as soon as I hit 40. I almost completely skipped the zone on my engineer, but there are some parts I’d really like to see again, especially now that I know how the world story unfolds. I guess I’ll decide the next time I play this alt!

IntPiPoMo 2015

I’ve gone and signed up for another blogging challenge this month. IntPiPoMo is a challenge to post 50 pictures or screen shots over the month of November. This year the challenge is being hosted by Chestnut over at Gamer Girl Confessions.

I’ll be posting some big photo posts and some quick individual posts over the course of the month. Since we’re free to post any kind of picture we like, I’m going to try to use this as an excuse to post some actual photos or art in addition to screen shots. For today’s post I have a mix of art and screenshots.

IntPiPoMo 01. Happy spoopy little trees.

IntPiPoMo 01. Happy spoopy little trees.

I’ve been watching Bob Ross on Twitch this week along with half the internet. It got me motivated to follow along a little bit and try my hand at some digital paintings.

IntPiPoMo 02. Big strong mountains.

IntPiPoMo 02. Big strong mountains.

I’m hoping this urge to “paint” sticks around for a while. I’ve been enjoying seeing what I can do in a half hour or so.

As for screenies, I’ve got a quick trip through what I’ve been up to on my alts.

IntPiPoMo 03

IntPiPoMo 03. Quiet Downs.

I’ve tried to send a few more alts through Quiet Downs before it disappears. Unfortunately it is quite difficult for low level characters. I did get this cute screen shot of my aurin wearing the cultist garb though!

IntPiPoMo 04. Cultist Aurin.

IntPiPoMo 04. Cultist Aurin.

My granok medic did some of the Drusera instances this weekend. I love the colors and the Eldan architecture.

IntPiPoMo 05. Alpha Sanctum ceiling.

IntPiPoMo 05. Alpha Sanctum ceiling.

IntPiPoMo 06. Genesis chamber.

IntPiPoMo 06. Genesis chamber.

Finally my mordesh medic on Entity-2 is making her way through Farside. I really like the colors on this one, even if this area of the zone is probably my least favorite. I can’t wait to get her out onto the moon’s surface!

IntPiPoMo 07. Desert on the moon.

IntPiPoMo 07. Desert on the moon.

That’s it for today! I look forward to sharing my pics over the course of the month, and hopefully seeing what everyone else posts too.