Archive for August, 2012

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The Pet Hunter Diaries: The First Step Is Admitting I Have A Problem

August 30, 2012

Dear Diary,

They say it is coming; I can smell it in the winds. It has been a long time the hunt called to me, but I hear their voices now, the song of my dreams — and I have no choice but to heed. Look at me, they say. I’m so cute and cuddly! You want me in your collection. You know I’ll make the perfect companion. Time and time again, I have tried to turn away! But, dear Diary, as always…here I am.

Vanity pets. My love, my shame, my addiction. And in about a month’s time, it will only get worse. World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is coming. Pet battles are coming. For self-proclaimed pet hunters such as myself, this new feature is both a blessing and a disaster. Perhaps it’s time to just give up this futile fight and embrace my inner obsessive pet collector. After all, I’ve played in the beta, and in it I’ve seen the time sink that is this new pet system — AKA my complete and utter ruination. And how better to embrace my imminent downfall than to document the entire process here like the gigantic nerd I am?

MoP might not be out yet, but the hunt is on. What does it say about me, when the first thing I did upon logging into my character for the first time in nearly a year, was to catch up on the new pets I have missed? Even though this is incredibly last minute of me, ever since I resubbed to WoW a few weeks ago I’d been working towards obtaining the “collect 150 unique pets” achievement — a not entirely unreasonable goal, or so I thought, seeing as I had last left off at 134.

Unfortunately, it might have been a tad too ambitious. Of the pets I have yet to collect, even the ones that don’t involve extreme good luck or paying an obscene amount of gold on the auction house require weeks to months of grinding, grinding, grinding. Again, what does it say about me when I will scorn grinding rep and dailies for gear, but will practically trip over my feet to do them if the end reward was a vanity pet instead? I am a sick, sick woman.

Latest hunting notes and recent pets:

Armadillo Pup

Was not even Revered with guild upon return to game, can imagine how long I have not played. Immediately bought this little guy upon hitting required rep. 50,000 dead critters needed to unlock pet, can somewhat recall going on rat killing spree in Deeprun Tram (just doing my part!) Seeing as I personally helped kill thousands of the little buggers towards guild achievement, I’d say I deserve this!

Guild Herald

Also bought at Revered rep with guild. Looks like full-sized male NPC, faction-exclusive companion, not battle pet. Too bad, as all I can picture now is this dude drop kicking my armadillo. On second thought, non-battle pet status probably good thing.

Rustberg Gull

This pet a result of almost two weeks dailies grinding for Baradin’s Wardens in Tol Barad. Alliance almost never wins there on server. Wanted to shoot self by time I was done. Unfortunately, 200 more commendations in my future, required for Fox Kit pet (now added to vendor). Oh well, better than farming and hoping for random drop. Might as well get to exalted on the way too.

Blue Mini Jouster

As pet collector, always thought Blizzard were bunch of shitheads for making you choose between getting Blue or Gold Mini Jouster as a reward for quest Egg Wave. Glad they made it daily, which if completed ten times awards you the Mini Jouster you did not choose in initial quest, allowing you to collect both. Thank you.

Hippogryph Hatchling

Found my stack of WoW trading cards while cleaning the other day, including rare Thunderhead Hippogryph loot card. Forgot I had this. Used to play game with ex-boyfriend, thought the dirtbag had made off with this along with rest of my collection. Could have sold this for at least 50 bucks on eBay, but hey, recall that I am sick, sick woman who must have her pets.

Dark Phoenix Hatchling

Thanks to removal of guild rep weekly cap and number of dailies cap in latest patch (again, thank you), got exalted with guild earlier this week. Would have been another four weeks otherwise. Bought really awesome dark phoenix pet right away, as well as its big brother the dark phoenix flying mount.

Lil’ Tarecgosa

Also bought this little guy when hit Exalted rep with guild. Cutest pet ever (sorry, Baby Blizzard Bear), and definitely prettiest dragon whelp pet by far. Unlocked by guild achievement. Now currently one very adorable pet richer…but unfortunately about 1500 gold poorer.

Tiny Shale Spider

Doing Therazane dailies one night when NPC scan mod alerted me to Jadefang in Crumbling Depths. As luck would have it, had Underground Economy daily quest. Heart pounding, set bomb in order to be literally exploded ass-backwards into previously inaccessible ledge. Held my breath, heaved a sigh of relief to find Jadefang in back of cave, actually up and alive. Wasn’t for long. Looted Tiny Shale Spider. Did not expect to go camping for rare spawns, just lucky night.

As you can see, I was somewhat aided by Tuesday’s patch 5.0.4, which also brought along an overhaul to the current pet system. The spellbook companion tab is now replaced by a Pet Journal UI, and all pets and mounts become account-wide with the exception of faction-exclusives.

As a result, I sorely regret not working harder on pet collecting using my other characters in the past. Children’s Day pets? Could have done the quests on multiple characters and gotten them all in one year. Argent Tournament Horde-side pets? My Tauren could have done those ages ago. Darkmoon Faire? My army of alts could have been ticket farming for a pet each. I could have been well over 150 pets by now.

Oh well, as they say, water under the bridge. The important thing is, hunting has been busy yet fruitful. Two weeks ago I needed 16 more pets to meet my goal, but today we are up to 142 with only 8 to go. Dear Diary, I hope to be there the next time I write, or at least be a lot closer to 150. Much luck and best wishes to all the other pet enthusiasts out there embarking upon their own pet hunting safaris. If interested, feel free to check out my current collection. To use a turn of phrase coined by my lovely guildmate from across the pond, I’m always happy to talk shop with other fellow “Pet Pals.”

Happy hunting,

MMOGC

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Vistas = Pretty Wallpaper

August 29, 2012

Step 1: Find Vista point on map.

Step 2: Jump, jump, jump, fall, swear a blue streak, jump, jump, jump, repeat as necessary until arrival at said Vista.

Step 3: Press F

Step 4: Spam PrtScrn PrtScrn PrtScrn PrtScrn PrtScrn PrtScrn PrtScrn PrtScrn PrtScrn PrtScrn…

Am I the only one who does this? Somehow, I don’t think so. Here are some of my favorites. It’s too hard to choose just one for my wallpaper, so I just have them all on rotate at the moment.

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Played Lately: Some Thoughts From The GW2 Headstart Weekend

August 27, 2012

In a word, my experience during the Guild Wars 2 headstart weekend was awesome!

One of the things I love about GW2 is the fact each race has its own starting area. Maybe you make multiple characters of the same race, but you don’t want to do the same starting area over and over again. Maybe you love a particular race but hate their starting area or vice versa. It wouldn’t matter one whit, since you can move to any of the other starting zones pretty much right off the bat. It’s one of the things I’ve always appreciated about World of Warcraft, and really missed about some of the recent MMOs like Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic or The Secret World where all of us are funneled into pretty much the same zone or limited areas on start up.

This weekend, I only did Caledon Forest because I was a Sylvari and their starting area was the only one I’d never seen, as I had purposely saved it for live. In the future, I’ll likely start in Queensdale all the time, because while I dislike the look of the human models in GW2 and will likely never roll one, I love their lands with their fat cows and little pink hearts.

Ultimately, I achieved 100% completion in the zone, collecting all the Waypoints, Vistas, Skills Points, Points of Interest, and Hearts in Caledon Forest as well as in The Grove. Since GW2 doesn’t have a real quest log, exploring entire maps will do nicely to satisfy my “checklist syndrome”. The was rewarded some nice loot, including a nice chunk of experience as well as a Black Lion key, allowing me to open my locked Black Lion Chests, which led to more loot and more keys. The result was a pile of gear, tonics, and a whole bunch of boosters like the ones you can buy from the store. Better be careful, Arenanet, I want to spend money on your game, but I see you’re not going to make it easy.

The weekend was not without its hiccups. Though I was mainly unaffected, a chunk of downtime occurred on Saturday morning and server errors abounded. Methinks that a few years ago, the quality of this launch would have been hailed as amazing, but the near-flawless launches of some of the aforementioned MMOs in recent years have no doubt raised the bar. The GW2 launch was no where near the best I’ve experienced, but then I have been through worse, much worse.

My weekend was only marred by a few negatives — there were the little ones, things like a non-functioning trading post, and then there was the HUGE one — the wonky overflow system. An otherwise great concept, ironically it sure made it hard to let you play with your friends. As longtime readers know, my husband and I place a lot of importance into playing together, especially during an MMO launch. Alas, out of the many hours we spent in GW2 this weekend, our characters were only able to spend a small fraction of that time in-game adventuring with each other.

We experienced the worst luck of never being placed in the same overflow instance. Sometimes one of us would also log in first, but enter the main world last. We tried every trick, logging out and logging in together, entering cities and exiting together, partying up and not partying up, but we never did manage to find a consistent way to work around it; there just didn’t seem to be any rhyme or rhythm. What we ended up doing was tackling our personal story quests, entering and leaving those solo instances until we randomly happened to end up together. When that happened, we took care not to zone again, which explains why I’m finished with Caledon Forest but still way behind on my main quest line there.

I expect many of these issues would be ironed out by Arenanet, or even disappear altogether once launch hype winds down and the zone populations start to spread and even out. In any case, I still had a great time playing this weekend and hanging out in guild vent parties. Being part of the greater gaming community while everyone is playing is my favorite part of a new game launch; the company and the fun I had made up for any and all obstacles I encountered.

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Sims 3 Saturday: We Are Up To 21

August 25, 2012

Despite this crazy weekend with Guild Wars 2 headstart in progress and all, the Sims must go on. It’s Saturday, so time for another update, as our incredible super-duper amazing Sims 3 Family Man Challenge continues.

And yes, you read the title right. We see a huge jump this week, from the previous week’s humble figure of 10 little sprogs, to a whopping total of 21 at the time I drafted this (we’re actually up to a lot more now). It wasn’t easy. I’ve played Sims games for many years, and in that time I’ve participated in many challenges, but I have to say Family Man is one of the more difficult ones (but it’s also the most twisted and fun). Not only does my Sim’s entire life revolve around meeting women, romancing them, and trying for babies, he has to make sure he remembers to eat and sleep so that he doesn’t die of fatigue or starvation amidst all this hot, wild, sweaty woohooing.

My Sim’s a lover not a fighter.

And let’s not forget — we’re kinda working under a time limit here. My Sim’s birthday looms on the horizon; in a few days he becomes and elder. After that, he can expire from old age at any moment, so let’s sow those oats as far and as wide as we can while we’re virile and, well, still alive.

I’m not even going to deny it anymore, my Sim is now shamelessly trying for a baby with the same women over and over; as soon as they get pregnant and have their babies, I repeat this cycle all over, as long as these Sims would have me. Once I’ve established the relationship, things get relatively easier; I just have to be careful to maintain them and avoid being dumped for being a cheating scumbag.

Recall how last week, I mentioned the women my Sim had been seeing: Bebe Hart, Jocasta Bachelor, Jess Eastman, and Sharla Bills. Okay, ready? Deep breath now!

Bebe gave birth to twins! My Sim is now the proud father of an even dozen children. Then Jocasta also gave birth to twins. That’s 14. Later, Jess had a baby boy. 15.

I think that’s Bebe. Or is it Jocasta?

I’ve also managed to build up enough lifetime reward points to buy some perks — like being more likeable so that my Sim will make friends a lot easier, being always interesting so I can spam the same interactions over and over without other Sims being bored (since I tend to spam “flirt” all the time, this perk was a godsend).

At this point, my Sim is woohooing every day, sometimes up to three times a day — morning, afternoon, evening. After we do the baby dance, I always kindly ask the Sim I’m with to leave the premises so I can invite the next one over. Apparently none of the Sims I’m seeing seem to be employed, because they appear to be able to come over anytime I call, or maybe I’m just lucky. There is really no time to do anything else, I’m hardly leaving my house (more specifically, the bedroom) and very soon I get a moodlet telling me my Sim is going “stir crazy!” from being cooped up all the time.

Three under three and another one on the way.

To fix this, I decided to visit my true love Ayesha Ansari to see how she and my little tykes are doing. Before I did, however, I went to “edit town” view and split up her household, placing her roommate Madison VanWatson and her little one (also my child) into a separate house. After that disaster with Molly French and Fiona McIrish in the first week, I vowed never to date roomies again. I did the same thing for Sharla Bills and Jess Eastman, because I found out were living in the same house as well. This accomplishes a couple things: 1) there now is more room for the women and our current and future children in each house, and 2) I can visit my kids without worrying I’ll run into other Sims.

Doing this is iffy, but I don’t think I’m technically breaking the rules as they only state I am not allowed to play any other Sim in the neighborhood than my own. But even if I am breaking the rules, oh well, I’m having too much fun to really care.

Being told by my six-year-old how useless I am.

So I go to Ayesha’s house. The place is full of my kids, and yep, as you can see, she’s expecting another. There are literally babies everywhere. And just as luck would have it, while I was there, she went into labor! I wasn’t sure what to do, so my Sim ended up doing nothing but stand around while she’s screaming out in pain (oh dear, I’m terrible). Only afterwards did I realize I could have taken her to the hospital.

With this newest birth, we now we are up to 16! Not two seconds after she came home with the new baby boy, Ayesha and my Sim jumped into bed and tried for their baby #7. This is both a happy and bittersweet occasion — since only up to eight Sims may live in the same household, this is probably the last and final child for my Sim and Ayesha. In spite of the challenge, I couldn’t help developing a soft spot for her.

Yeah, so I wasn’t doing anything terribly important, besides, you know, JUST AT THE HOSPITAL HAVING A BABY!

I find I am now forgetting which Sims I am woohooing is already pregnant or not. One time, I called Sharla Bills to come over and she said yes, but changed her mind after that almost immediately. I got frustrated, until I realized it turned out that she was at the hospital going into labor at that very moment. She did come over afterward, carrying our new baby boy. That’s 17 now, by the way.

Like I said, I am also dating Ayesha’s now ex-roomie Madison (thanks to my antics), and she seems to have a habit of bringing children to our dates, so I basically had to buy a couple cribs for the house. Now when my girlfriends come over with our children, they don’t have to put the little tots on the floor, because I was actually feeling quite terrible about that. Finally, they’ll have a place to sleep while the adults woohoo down the hall.

Baby is snug as a bug in a rug.

In the above picture, Sharla Bills gets it. And yet, it appears Madison never learns:

Sigh.

Here, it’s been three days (the gestation period of a Sim) and the cycle starts up again. Bebe had another boy. 18! Agnes Crumplebottom, my darling fiancee, also gave birth to a boy. 19! Madison VanWatson ended up having another boy. 20!

After the first couple sets of twins, I seem to be only getting singletons now. Looks like the effectiveness of the fertility treatment is completely random, but imagine how much crazier this would be if I got lucky each time and had multiples.

Finally, Jess welcomed a baby boy. Oh my, blue all over! We’re being inundated with boys this week. And that’s how we got to 21!

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GW2: Insert The Standard Launch Character Introductions Post Here

August 25, 2012

It’s inevitable, I’m writing a character intro post which must mean Guild Wars 2 headstart has kicked off and is live!

It’s also inevitable, that the very fact I’m not playing right now but am instead banging out this post means that we’re experiencing some hiccups at launch (it’s around 8am at the time of this writing). I just hope that most people will be patient and realize launch days are going to be full of unexpected downtimes like this. I was grateful that Arenanet decided to bring up the servers three hours early last night, allowing me to create my characters and sneak in some brief playtime which I otherwise thought I would not have, and for the most part my hour-to-two-hours played beautifully and without a single hitch. I even got the names I wanted, without having to give last names.

If you’d like to say hello, my ID is Caylinn.6459, my guild is Knights of Mercy, and the server is Fort Aspenwood. I think most people have committed to a home by now, but if you happen to be still looking or if in the future you’re looking to guest, ss my Asura would say, we’d be pleased and honored to play with you, bookah! Without further ado, let’s get on to the new additions of my MMO family.

Kilioe (pronounced Kee-lee-oh-eh) – Sylvari Guardian

Kilioe, or Embelia pacifica, is actually a plant native to Hawaii. Not only had I wanted a flora-related name for my Sylvari, as I looked upon my Guardian in the character creator I suddenly recalled this name from a college botany project and to me the the name just seemed to fit. The current plan is for her to be my main.

Moggsi – Asura Thief

I frequently go by the abbreviation MMOGC, which some people in the blogosphere/twittersphere have taken to pronouncing it “Mogsy.” While I admit to thinking it was the most unfortunate nickname at the time, since then it has grown on me. I “Asura’ed” it up a bit, doubling up the “G” and replacing the last letter with the more feminine “I” associated with female names in Asura culture (I’m such a lore nerd). You can’t really tell by her celebration hat and town clothes, but my Asura Thief is pretty much the splitting image of the one I made in beta.

Sooner or later, I’m sure their stories will take shape and develop. (One thing I do know though, is that my Asura will be getting a happy childhood and not the damaged past that some commenters seem so fond of bestowing upon their own Asuras ;) )

One of these days I will also be making a Charr for our guild warband, a completely voluntary and fun project promoting camaraderie by KoM. Since the custom is to involve a common word in all our names (which as a guild we’ve chosen by popular vote as “Knight”), it’s going to take some idea brainstorming.

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GW2: On Preparations…

August 24, 2012

For those of us who have prepurchased Guild Wars 2, tonight’s the big night. As I’ve been repeatedly reminded all this week by Arenanet emails, Headstart Access begins officially at midnight Pacific time. I know there have been reports that they might be bringing up the servers earlier than planned, up to three hours prior, but whether that means we get to play three hours earlier or just that we can make our characters and lock in our names, I don’t know; I’ve heard all kinds of conflicting information.

East Coaster that I am, it won’t matter much — I’ll have to head to bed and conk out at my usual time. It’s funny, really. If you’d asked me what my plans were for an eagerly anticipated game launch even just two years ago, my answer probably would have involved something along the lines of stockpiling the Red Bull, staying up late and burning the midnight oil in front of my computer going all night until well after the dawn rises over the horizon. But what can I say, the times have changed and I’m pretty sure my all-nighter days are over, as the idea of a few more hours of sleep has become such a magical, beautiful thing! Geez, sometimes I feel so old.

In light of this, I feel fortunate that I’ve already been approached by many helpful friends with offers to reserve any names I might want, since realistically I might not be able to play GW2 until late in the day Saturday. Grateful as I am, it’s unnecessary. Coincidentally, I had a conversation about MMO character naming a few days ago, and while I know some like to stick with the same handles across multiple games, one of my personal idiosyncrasies actually involves giving each of my characters different names — and usually on the spot.

You know how sometimes you make a character, get them just right, and a random name pops into your head that just fits perfectly? That’s generally how I roll.

I’m prepared.

And yet, this doesn’t mean I don’t consider possible names beforehand, especially if I feel like observing the naming conventions of a game’s world or lore. For the rest of today, I know I’ll be contemplating and studying up on the ones for GW2. I’m a giant sucker for that stuff. Just to give you an idea, simply thinking about giving my Asura the “wrong” kind of name and her having been “teased horribly in Asuran primary studies schools” as a result of it is enough to break my heart. I mean, just look at her! Wouldn’t it break yours?! If you say no, you have no soul.

I’ve also spent the last few stress tests deciding on race/class combos and fiddling with the character creator. I already know I’ll be playing a Sylvari Guardian, and though I have yet to step foot in her starting lands, I have a general idea of what she’ll look like. I’ve gotten even further with my Asura Thief, as I’m pretty sure she won’t be deviating too much from what you see in the image above. Big blue eyes? Check. Long floppy ears? Check. Pink dreads? Check.

Will the servers will be up by the time I turn in tonight? Ah, that remains the big question, but regardless I believe I’m as ready as I can be. How prepared are you feeling? Are the names/races/classes decided? Are you staying up late, sleeping early to wake up early, or just playing it completely by ear? To my fellow headstarters, whatever your plans may be for GW2, I say here’s to smooth sailing tonight…and never mess with an Asura!

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Screenshot of the Day: Purged By (Growing) Pains

August 22, 2012

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’d probably know that I go through cycles with World of Warcraft, taking breaks and going back as I feel like it. Still, I have to say this is the most fun I’ve ever had returning to the game. I’m sure the company has everything to do with it, as I along with several folks from my multi-game guild has decided to take a casual dip back into WoW before the arrival of Mists of Panderia. We’ve all either started new characters or picked up long-forgotten baby alts, and one thing we were curious about was how we would do in a dungeon as a group of lowbies.

So, riddle me this: what do you get when you take five people, put them in an MMO that none of them have played in ages, get them on baby characters they’ve all forgotten how to play, and stick them in the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard? You get:

So okay, the first big pull ended up in a pathetic wipe, but it was caused by a confluence of unfortunate events. I think we all knew beforehand that our very first run together was either going to be really easy or really hard. Our Priest was playing healing spec for the first time, the tank would sometimes forget to be in the right stance, and we’d also inadvertently pulled the boss with Shaman totem aggro. Plus, by then I was pretty sure that anyone still left standing was giggling too hard to be really effective at anything.

And yet, it was great! For me, it was also a momentous event. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been through a low level dungeon in WoW “properly” without being powered through on an alt by a level-capped friend, or more often than not, I just skipped them entirely. It’s been years, probably not since the first time I leveled up my main. However, our humble little group has started anew, complete with a humble little guild. Luckily, since that pitiful first wipe, we haven’t had another. In fact, in the interim we’ve completed a lot more classic dungeons for our guild achievements — no reason at all, other than just for the fun of it.

There are definitely some growing pains, but in the face of disastrous early results, all you can do is laugh — because it is kinda funny if you think about it. WoW veterans, destroyed by puny SM trash. In a way, the game feels new again.

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