Archive for October, 2012

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How Do You Feel About One-Time-Only Events?

October 29, 2012

So I was fortunate enough to be online in Guild Wars 2 yesterday, waiting in Lion’s Arch, at the advertised time for the special Halloween event. And after all that build-up, all the secrecy, the “one-time-only” event that we were all waiting for amounted to a cinematic cutscene that lasted about 40 seconds.

Whether it was worth it or not is a matter up for debate, one I’m not going to get into here. Personally, I thought it was a wicked cutscene, followed by a fantastic encounter with the Mad King in his otherworldly lair, and that overall the ArenaNet folks did an amazing job bringing us Act 3. I was thrilled to have been a part of it.

But I still dislike the idea of one-time-only events.

Quite simply, they’re bad news, and hard to justify. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great that game designers are still freely experimenting with special events and timing, but when you’re planning an in-game holiday intended to be enjoyed by everyone, then 1) announcing a one-time-only event, and 2) not giving any details about what to expect is probably one of the quickest, easiest ways to alienate and piss off a bunch of your players.

Speaking for myself, yesterday just so happened to be a lazy, rainy Sunday and I had some free time in the afternoon. But I’m aware not everyone was that lucky. Australians and folks in Asia were setting alarms to wake up in the wee hours in the morning on a freakin’ work day, and a lot of East Coasters in the US were out shopping for supplies and preparing for the Frankenstorm. Come on, people, we’re living and gaming in an international community! There’s also conflicts and unforeseen circumstances that can always pop up! Crap happens! When you know full well that everyone and their mother is going to want to participate, why still consider one-shot events?

Not to mention how they often lead to not-so-fun problems associated with overloaded servers. If you ask World of Warcraft players present at the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj opening event, most will tell you about the horrific lag, and I still recall the long server queues being a hindrance at Rift’s River of Souls event last year. GW2’s event wasn’t perfect, but I do however have to give a hat tip to the team for the relatively smooth performance yesterday — though not indicative of everyone’s experience, I had absolutely no problems before, during, and after the wait in Lion’s Arch nor during my showdown with the Mad King. At least before the servers sputtered and died, that is.

But what does this all mean? It occurred to me that dynamic, truly spontaneous events with persisting and enduring consequences that will change the game world are still possibly a long ways off. After all, can’t an impromptu, extemporaneousness event which can cause our actions to alter our surroundings permanently for everybody arguably be perceived as a one-time-only event? As much as we ask for it, as temptingly awesome as it sounds, even if it were technologically achievable, player resistance will probably be a significant obstacle. As gamers, none of us like to be left out or miss anything in our favorite MMOs. And really, who can blame us?

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Rift: My Storm Legion Tour – Player Housing And Dimensions

October 25, 2012

In this final post of my tour of the Rift: Storm Legion expansion, I will talk about what Community Manager James “Elrar” Nichols showed me of the highly anticipated Dimensions feature, perhaps more widely known as Rift’s housing system. Remember how I said in my last post that I was saving the best for last? Well, while I can’t speak for others, I have to say this was personally my favorite part of my almost two-hour tour. (You can find the first part about new zones here, and the second part about dungeons and raids here.)

I confess I was looking forward to my tour of the Dimensions feature the most, and believe me when I say it didn’t disappoint. First of all, I almost feel like it could have constituted an expansion all by itself. The fact that we get this intricate housing system plus two huge continents of PvE content and the dungeons and raids in Storm Legion is just starting to sink in.

Second of all, I am beginning to get a deeper understanding of why the Rift team prefers to use the name “Dimensions” rather than the term “housing” when referring to this feature. Sure, it may also sound better for marketing, but to me the plain and simple truth is, the word “housing” just doesn’t cut it; I don’t think it’s really enough to describe the sheer scope of we’re being offered with this expansion.

For this part of the tour, Elrar took me several dimensions in order to explain how the whole system works. The first one we went to, “Elrar’s Bar”, was a relatively simple endeavor in the Stone Flask Tavern location where I was allowed to muck about and get hands-on with everything. The first thing Elrar told me to do was to look up. The surroundings clearly showed that I was in the Stonefields area, but what I saw above me was most definitely not a Stonefield sky. Yep, it was one of those things Elrar had put in to customize his own little corner of Telara. Pretty!

Here, I was shown the basics and given an explanation of the system. I was told you can own multiple dimensions, but can only have one active. As to why, Elrar clarified that this is because the feature is still so new. Indeed, testers have suggested letting players have more active dimensions, but before the team can expand the system further they have to make sure current conditions won’t crash out the system. But in the future, who knows what’s possible? This feature will continue to be expanded. I didn’t press for more information, but it seems that in the meantime if you wanted to switch active dimensions, doing so is as simple as having all your items packed up into a box before moving.

As to how to gain ownership of new dimensions, I got the impression that they work a lot like many other items in the game — some will be easily accessible, while others will have varying degrees of rarity, with the rarest dimension “keys” being highly coveted and requiring the appropriate level of investment to obtain them.

I asked Elrar when is the earliest a player can have access to his or her own personal dimension. His answer: through a quest you can get at level 5, or in other words, pretty much as soon as you complete the tutorial area. That’s pretty great news; Rift developers are aware that not everyone who will be interested in housing will also be interested in questing, leveling, endgame, etc. and their goal is to make the Dimensions feature as accessible as possible. This will also allow newcomers to the game access to a huge part of the Storm Legion right off the bat, since I was told the bulk of the new areas in the expansion, i.e. much of everything else I saw on the tour, will only be available to level 50 characters.

Next, a closer look at the controls and decorating tools. As a “friend” of Elrar, my character had access to his dimension, though each player will have the ability to further customize these options to designate who can visit, place items, or make changes, etc. In the dimensions UI, you can also set whether or not you want your dimension private or public, but more on that later.

If you look at the screenshots, you can see that the UI is very intuitive. Clicking on the wrench icon will give you access to a bunch of options, allowing you to take an item and move it along multiple axes, or rotate it, or scale it, etc. You can do this with virtually every item. In this next shot, I took a formerly normal-sized stool and shrank it into a size fit for a dollhouse. In the screenshot after that, I was playing with the height of some of the furniture. Want a bed that floats in mid air? Sure, you got it! Can’t jump high enough to get to it? Create yourself a flight of floating steps using books! Pretty much everything seems possible.

Items aren’t just limited to furnishings. I already mentioned the way you can customize the sky with a projector, and there are also music boxes to add to your dimension, letting you set the perfect mood. With a click of a button you can bring up a list of all the items in your dimension, and actually doing so was how I came across a peculiar entry called “Dimensional Bartender.” Yes, Elrar has his own personal barkeep. I stood by as he served up a line drinks and then watched with amusement as Elrar’s character promptly chugged them all down.

From what I saw and heard, I got the impression that there will be various methods to procure dimensional items, with the most common items being easily accessible and obtainable, and those rarer and more unique items likely requiring more time and effort invested in the game.

Later, I was shown several other examples of dimensions and what their owners have done to them. The impressive display of creativity and user-created content simply boggled my mind, and left me with no doubt that this feature will have a profound impact on the Rift community.

Elrar had described dimensions as being virtual neighborhoods, a social system that is easy to access, share and explore. Indeed, there were many open to the public which you can enter from anywhere in the world. I could also see that a bunch of them were highly recommended by other players using the feature’s rating system. It occurred to me that certain dimensions can even have the potential to become in-game tourist destinations (“Hey, have you seen the ____ dimension?” “OMG, you have GOT to visit the _____ dimension!”) In fact, we ran into many other players while visiting the public dimensions.

In this dimension, the decorating has started in this corner of the house. Everything seen here has been placed there by hand.

In this one, the owner built the entire second floor from scratch, just adding to the basic structure of the house provided.

This next dimension features a boat in a lovely little grotto. I was told that the boat, also constructed from scratch, is made up of about a few dozen or so separate pieces — again, all placed by hand. This is sort of what I meant when I said that the term housing just doesn’t seem sufficient to encompass this feature. This is about way more than maintaining a home in a game, it’s also about the complete freedom to build and share anything you can imagine.

To further illustrate that point, here’s another dimension Elrar showed me. The owner has made a jumping puzzle out of it! Literally, the sky’s the limit. My own personal limit here, however, would be my crappy platformer skills. By the way, did I mention that I’m notoriously bad at jumping puzzles in MMOs? Not surprisingly, I didn’t get very far on this. There will be no prizes for me.

One thing I do know for certain now: there will be absolutely no jumping whatsoever required in my own dimension when I get Storm Legion.

Here’s a couple more screenshots to show two versions of the same building structure template, but their owners have done very different things to its exterior. The second house has been cover with rocks, creating a cave-like stronghold complete with hidden entrance, and which even has an added second floor.

Here are some more examples of fun things other players have built in their dimensions. Some of it almost puts me in mind of Minecraft on steroids.

I think housing is something a lot of people enjoy and would like to see implemented in more MMOs, so I wasn’t surprised when so much of the buzz I’ve heard surrounding the Storm Legion expansion involved the dimension system. But now I know it’s also because of the lengths that Rift has gone with it. They seem to have embraced it completely, intending full well to deliver their promise of giving players the ability to unleash their creativity and transform their dimensions into anything they want.

I actually thought of the Sims at one point, and considering what a big fan I am of the building and decorating capabilities in those games, I definitely mean it as a compliment. Can you imagine the potential for roleplayers? For everyone? My mind is swimming with the possibilities.

And so ends the write-up of my Storm Legion tour, I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience and thoughts. I was initially unsure of how I was going to present all this, but ultimately decided just to write about what I saw and heard from my guide and lay out everything as they were shown to me. I couldn’t help it, though; I just had to gush a little when it came to Dimensions. If you haven’t gathered already, I was very impressed by this feature.

Again, I want to say thank you to the Rift team and Elrar for this wonderful opportunity. But of course, I must also curse them now because I’m tempted to resubscribe right away and not to wait at all to buy the expansion.

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Rift: My Storm Legion Tour – Dungeons And Raids

October 24, 2012

Continuing with the write-up of my tour of Rift: Storm Legion during the beta weekend, in this post I’ll focus on what Community Manager James “Elrar” Nichols showed me regarding dungeons and raids. To view the previous part on the world and new zones, see here.

I was told that Storm Legion will launch with seven dungeons and a couple of raids — one 20-man and one 10-man — with another 20-man being added in the first big patch. It’s clear that just because they have a huge expansion coming out soon, this by no means indicates that the Rift team will be slacking on their update schedule. New content will continue rolling in as it has always done, and players won’t have long to wait.

I’ll confess right now that this post will be image-heavy. A lot of the encounters shown to me were still works-in-progress; that and time constraints meant that we didn’t do much fighting beyond Elrar exercising his supermod tour guide powers and insta-killing the bosses so we could check out the beautiful dungeon interiors. Works for me! It won’t do well to spoil the fights for myself at this early stage anyway, so I was happy to follow along, pressing my PrntScn key every two seconds in amazement at the environmental details.

Our first stop: Storm Breaker Protocol, a level 52-56 five-man dungeon. The first thing we did was climb into a mech-like robots, giving us access to a set of cool-sounding abilities like Eradication Pulse and Rocket Salvo. We proceeded to clear trash, and I was told players will also get a chance to fight bosses in these Storm Breaker robots. Elrar confirmed that these kinds of fights are new to Rift; like many of upcoming features we’ll see in Storm Legion, they’re the result of ongoing experimentation with new ideas and implementation of mechanics by the Rift team, ultimately letting the player response guide their decisions.

By the way, I want to mention that the level 60 character provided to me was a Mage, mostly because I told Elrar I was fascinated with what I’ve seen of the new Harbinger soul. In the end, I didn’t actually get much of a chance to experiment with his abilities during the tour, but the good news is the little I did see of his conjured blades and weapons spells confirms my suspicions that this “melee battle mage” soul is as unique as it looks.

The next dungeon we saw was Empyrean Core, a level 58-60 five-man instance intended for players towards the end of the leveling experience. Some stunning bosses and sights in there. Honestly, the following screenshots I took don’t do that place justice, as I lost a lot of the nuances created by the play of light and shadow.

Next, Elrar brought me to the Endless Eclipse, the 20-man raid that will be available about a month after Storm Legion’s launch, where players will eventually get to battle Regulos. Which reminds me, I want to mention that all throughout the tour I was being provided with commentary about the game  world’s history and background information behind all these instances. There’s context in all we’ll get to do in the new expansion, and not for the first or last time, I wished I was more well-versed in Rift lore.

Here’s a few images from that place; as you can see it’s appropriately “deathy” in there. Again, I want to emphasize that it looks so much better in game with all my settings cranked up.

 

Finally, we checked out Frozen Tempest, the 20-man raid that will be available at Storm Legion’s launch. Here, players will get to battle Crucia, the power-hungry dragon goddess who controls the minds of the Storm Legion cult which makes even Regulos shake in his boots.

Got some great pics in there of the two of us getting our butts kicked, because Elrar forgot to turn on his supermod powers of invulnerability. Here he is getting stomped on by a giant harpy (and I was next)!:


Stay tuned for my third and final post in which I will talk about what I saw of the highly anticipated Dimensions feature also known as Rift’s housing system. Believe me when I say it deserves a full post dedicated to it all on its own! Not that everything else I’d seen so far didn’t look fantastic, but Elrar definitely saved the best for last during our tour. And thus, so will I!

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Rift: My Storm Legion Tour – New Zones

October 23, 2012

First of all, I want to thank the Rift team and especially Community Manager James “Elrar” Nichols for the amazing opportunity of being offered a private tour of their upcoming expansion Storm Legion during this beta weekend. This Monday, I was provided with a level 60 character, and along with the masterful Elrar acting as my personal in-game tour guide, we traveled to a variety of locations in the game so he could show me some of the features while allowing me to get in some hands-on time.

I’ve always admired Trion’s dedication to building rapport with their players and their enthusiasm to reach out to bloggers and the gaming community, and I’m really grateful to have been included. I know several have already gotten their write-ups posted, so here’s mine.

The fact is, Rift and I have always enjoyed a genial relationship; I played for many months, leveling my Cleric to 50 and continued to enjoy the game for a long time after that thanks to the flexibility of the soul system and the frequent content updates. I did stop playing around last winter when pretty much all my MMO gaming came to a screeching halt when I gave birth to my daughter, but with the announcement of Storm Legion this summer I knew I was going to be heading back into Rift sometime soon.

I just had no idea how soon. I knew I wanted to play the expansion, but my plan was originally to hold off on it until next year when my current MMO plate isn’t quite so full, but after my tour on Monday I think I’m going to have to reevaluate that plan. It’s probably safe to say that some of the things I saw shifted around my priorities somewhat, and there are more than a few features I’d definitely want to get a jump start on and not wait around for.

Elrar began our tour in Tempest Bay, the massive new cross-faction city on its own island on the map. The mechanical eldritch theme it has going there reflects a long history of its highly-advanced society. I imagine once the expansion goes live and players begin flocking to this city for their everyday in-game needs, it’ll look sufficiently more populated and lived-in. For now, from what I saw Tempest Bay positively radiates the majesty and grandeur of a central capital.

Elrar and his supermod powers ported us to various locations around the world next, exploring some of the new zones. Storm Legion will add two gigantic continents to the game world, Dusken and Brevane. Each of them will be bigger than the original game world, essentially tripling the size of Rift. Level 50s will have access to these areas in the new expansion.

Our first destination, Morban. And yes, the mood of the zone is as baleful and sinister as the name suggests; in the area called the Forest of Flesh, my guide led me by several foreboding structures nestled in a twisted wood. It’s an eerie sight to behold and yet a feast for the eyes. Rift being an original intellectual property, Elrar explained how their artists get a lot of free rein to design and theme the zones. Indeed you can see the full extent of the creativity at work here in the unique lines and forms of the architecture and biodiversity.

Our next stop was Seratos, the next zone over. My guide ported me into an area called the Pus Swamp. Hmm, flesh and pus and hey, I think I’m starting to see a pattern here! I was reminded that we’re in the realm of Regulos now; everything here has pretty much been taken over by the planes. Speaking of which, throughout my tour I was treated to many interesting tidbits of background information and the history of Telara. So, not only has the Rift team been hard at work adding content to their game, they’ve also beefed up the lore big time.

I also had the chance to visit the Kingdom of Pelladane and the Eastern Holdings on the other continent of Brevane. Along the way, I got to see how quests will be treated in the new expansion. Firstly, I was fortunate enough to experience a spontaneous rift event during my tour and was assured that rifts will continue to be a main feature and the driving force behind the game. I was happy to hear that. Of course, there will also still be quest hubs where players can show up and talk to a bunch of NPCs, but Elrar also emphasized a concerted move towards improving the flow of questing and making it feel more like a natural and organic experience.

I was shown a couple of examples of this. In one instance, I was just running around the area when I suddenly stumbled across an item on the ground with a quest indicator floating above it. In another instance, me killing a random mob also triggered a quest. This obviously is a move to encourage more exploration; Rift has always been very good at doing this, what with their artifacts and collection system and such — but now there’s even more reason to go poking your head into every nook and corner, or killing every monster you see.

Storm Legion is going to be chock-full of new features and lots of cool stuff, and there’s definitely no way I can fit all that I saw on Monday into one post. So stick around, I’ll be sure to cover my tour of dungeons and raids, and housing and dimensions in my next couple of updates!

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The Secret World: Here Kitty Kitty Kitty

October 22, 2012

Aww, look at the kittens so fluffy and cute and adora–oh wait, this is The Secret World. Hmm, this isn’t going to end well, is it?

I have to confess, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I always look forward to October because that’s when all the MMOs trot out their Halloween events, but most of all I was holding my breath to see what Funcom would do for The Secret World.

It’s hard not to expect the amazing, because you gotta admit, something like this is like right up their alley. Like the devs have said themselves, Halloween is like their Christmas. To get a sense of what a big deal this is to them, they’ve been talking and teasing about this since launch. If nothing else, the trailer for the event certainly reaffirmed my decision to stay subscribed to this game. In a word, it looked fantastic — new investigation quests, a dungeon encounter, cool rewards.

The best part? Now that I’ve actually done the event for myself, not only did I have a blast, but I also have to say that, yeah, it is indeed unlike any other MMO Halloween event I’ve ever experienced. I’m big enough to admit that at one point, I screamed. Not to be the bringer of spoilers, but it was sufficiently creepy, just the right amount of disturbing, and it doesn’t hold back. One other thing: I hope y’all are cat people.

Well, actually. On second thought, it might be less unsettling if you weren’t.

Of course, amidst the new are some of the old — more specifically, a couple of old friends who will contact you to initiate the quest. One of the best things about TSW? The colorful, memorable NPCs. When I got that phone call from Madame Rogét asking me if I remembered her, I had to laugh. How could I forget Kingsmouth’s own soothsayer and part-time prostitute, she of the fake accent and fuzzy handcuffs? And then there’s Deputy Andy, whose ominous quote about his drowned kittens still haunts me. As it’s one of most referenced quotes from the game, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Samhain and the Cat God are here.

Both are amongst the first quest givers you meet in the game, so even if you only played TSW briefly, you would have encountered them. Months later, I still remember their names and personal stories as clear as day. Now, I’m aware Funcom has had their Halloween event up their sleeve for a while, but the fact that Deputy Andy’s dead kittens are at the heart of this mystery has got me wondering — damn, just how long has Funcom been planning for this? Like, really?

Bottom line is, I knew beforehand that I was going to be too busy to game tonight, so no Monday TSW night for me this week. But even if that weren’t the case, I know I wouldn’t have been able to wait to do the event. I gave in to the temptation last Friday, when I along with a few guildmates managed to complete the quest chain.

For the Cat God’s sake, if you play TSW the Halloween quests are not to be missed. The first part is completely doable solo if you’ve gotten most of the way through the Solomon Islands, but having friends to brainstorm ideas will help with figuring out the investigation quest. Second part is a bit tougher, and I’m not just talking about the puzzle. If you aren’t already in the later parts of the game, having a friend who is to help will make it easier, but it’s still possible to go it alone if you’re careful. The final showdown, however, is classified as a dungeon encounter and a group is recommended.

At the end of it, you get an outfit and a really cool portal tentacle cat! Speaking as a self-confessed companion pet addict, the uniqueness of the latter makes it all worthwhile. Now to find the little guy a veterinarian who won’t run away screaming at the first sight of him.

Wherever that portal takes him, I hope he does his business there too. I hate cleaning litter boxes.

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TSW Night: Using Our Heads

October 16, 2012

The Council of Venice, a watch-group formed to uphold the rules and ensure that all factions in The Secret World are keeping the peace. Also known as the guys that show up only after we’ve taken care of the mess.

So, another Monday night come and gone, which means another night of shenanigans in The Secret World. And as far as TSW Nights go, I have to say last night’s play session was a rather productive one. Admittedly, last week most of us were rusty and still struggling to remember how to play our characters, but this week we brought our game faces!

First things first; I can now scratch one biggie off my to-do list — “Obtain stolen rocket launcher from forces of evil.” It’s right there on the agenda between “Clean out rain gutters” and “Remember to buy Halloween candy.”

Fortunately, everyone last night was at least Faction Rank 6 or higher and were able to pick up the mission, and two groups were formed to brave the dangers ahead. It worked out well too, because how anyone could have done this quest chain solo at that level is beyond me. Poor Scopique and I were being torn apart by mercenary bullets until I poked my husband in the ribs and got him to switch to heals. Things got easier after that, though snipers trying to shoot at my face still posed an aggravating problem. Staying out of the light was the key, though I found running around like a chicken with its head cut off also kind of helped. In my humble opinion.

Oh, how I wish I had a picture of my character Laeyn and her brand-spanking new rocket launcher to post here right now, complete with an obligatory and ridiculous caption like “Say hello to my little friend!” perhaps, but sadly I don’t even possess the number of skill points required to equip it at the moment since I blew them all last session. I have to accrue 5 more SP, though if the rumors about an upcoming chainsaw auxiliary weapon are true, I may save them for that. After all, when it comes to dealing the zombies, I like to get up close and personal, and chainsaws are much more hands-on, don’t you think?

Afterwards, the remaining Knights of Mercy headed back to Kingsmouth town to see the Reverend Henry Hawthorn in order to pick up “Digging Deeper”, the eponymous investigation quest from Issue 2.

If you play TSW and haven’t done that one yet, do make the time! Major Indiana Jones vibes pouring off this one. It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had doing an investigation mission, though it probably helped that the format of it was perfect for a group. They say two heads are better than one, so five heads we should be golden, right? Well, for the most part I’d say that’s true, though lucky for those heads none of the puzzles were as unforgiving as the first room in The Last Crusade. The worst we had to contend with for screwing up was a jet of poison, once again sending us all into a flailing panic. I have to say, running around like chickens with their head cut off didn’t work quite so well that time.

Only the penitent man will pass.

Yes, there were mistakes aplenty and a lot of spinning our wheels, but this made for lots of laughs along the way and most importantly, in the end the group effort paid off. When I first heard about TSW nights, this was pretty much what I pictured: people getting together and pooling their knowledge, adding different viewpoints to the problem and brainstorming solutions. Thank goodness someone else was familiar with music theory, for instance; all that knowledge has sadly left me since high school, when studies halted my flute and piano lessons.

All in all, I was amazed at how well things went, with everyone pitching in with suggestions and ideas which ultimately got us through. To me, the kind of quests that make you think and research are definitely one of TSW’s best features. One thing’s for sure — when Funcom gets around to putting in those group investigation quests they have planned, I am so there.

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The Pet Hunter Diaries: Special Events

October 15, 2012

Dear Diary,

New Acquisitions: 54
Current Total: 363

I have to say seasonal and special events are one of my favorite things about collecting vanity pets in World of Warcraft. Whether it’s midsummer sparks or flying cats in witches’ hats, many of them possess a unique flair and are often available only for a limited time each year and therefore you’ll want to put aside some time to obtain them. Speaking of which, Brewfest has just now come and gone, so I hope all my fellow collectors have grabbed their pink elephants and Wolpertingers if they hadn’t already gotten them in the previous years.

What do people do while waiting for the Wanderer’s Festival to start? Fish, of course!

I also want to mention that Mists of Pandaria has also added a new weekly event called the Wanderer’s Festival to their calendars. Every Sunday night from 9pm-11pm server time, lanterns appear in the water at Turtle Beach in the Krasarang Wilds, and special NPCs and Pandaren loremasters show up to set up bonfires, fireworks and a beer keg for all in attendance. I’d missed the festivities the last few weeks — in fact, I didn’t even know about them until I saw this blog post by Anexxia so I have her to thank for clueing me in.

So last night, a few minutes before midnight my time (I’m on a west coast server) I made the journey to Krasarang Wilds, flying along the strip of beach in order to find the right location. It wasn’t difficult to spot; many players were already there and waiting for the arrival of the wandering pilgrims. Aside from wanting to see the event for the first time, I had another reason for being there. If you guessed pet hunting, you’d be correct. A wild pet, called the Wanderer’s Festival Hatchling, is only available for capture during this event, and I wanted to bag one for myself before the night was out.

Speaking of special events, I feel I have to mention the Darkmoon Faire as well, since this past weekend also marked the end of the week-long carnival. I was able to purchase all the Darkmoon pets available from the vendor, thanks to the new account-wide pet journal feature consolidating pets on all your characters.

Otherwise, the safari continues. I’m still hunting in Cataclysm zones and sometimes in Pandaria, usually between questing sessions and while waiting for instance groups to pop. I’ve had little luck with obtaining some of the harder-to-find pets in Northrend, Outland, or Azeroth even though I’ve gone back on occasion to check for them, though I did do some “night hunts” and managed to add a couple nocturnal pets to my collection.

As usual, happy hunting and until next time,

MMOGC

Latest field notes and recently hunted pets:

Showcasing some of the more unique pets I’ve captured on my travels:

Wanderer’s Festival Hatchling

Wanderer’s Festival Hatchling is…a turtle! Around 9pm server and immediately after everyone got their achievement for witnessing opening ceremonies, these little guys began to pop up all along beach. I grabbed the first one I saw, battled it and caught it. Not sure if more respawn during the two hour event or how often they do, but when I came out of the fight they were ALL gone, snapped up by other pet battlers. My advice, get there early.

Darkmoon Zeppelin

I should hate this pet, I really should, considering how many times it has blown me up in quest Tonk Commander, but it’s just so cool! Flying mechanical pet! Other Darkmoon pets I obtained all at once include Darkmoon Cub, Darkmoon Tonk, Darkmoon Balloon and Darkmoon Turtle, because I already got the monkey. All I had to do was grind dailies every day on a bunch of characters until my eyes bled out. Can’t complain, otherwise at 90 tickets a pop it would have taken my main almost a year to get them all.

Flayer Youngling

One of those hard-to-find pets in Outland. They can only be found high in the strip of bramble forest between Terrokar and Hellfire Peninsula and they don’t seem to spawn very often. Every time I showed up there before there were none and someone was always camping. But one day, during one of my rare flyovers I happened to catch the lone sight of a single spawn! As a bonus, capturing this little guy also completed my Outland Safari achievement.

Restless Shadeling

Interesting pet, as it only spawns early morning in the Master’s Cellar below Karazhan. Ugh, remember that place? “Early morning” apparently means 12am server time. During late night gaming weekend (2am my time, because on my server Deadwind Pass seems to be on Mountain time), I showed up there just to see what would happen and at 12:01am on the dot, these guys just automagically appeared all over my mini-map. It was actually kind of anti-climatic. But again, other hunters started showing up and 2min later they were all gone.

Stone Armadillo

Easy one to get, just show up at night in Desolace and these little guys are literally crawling all over the place! Don’t know why I didn’t get this one earlier, just hardly ever find myself in Kalimdor especially at night. Very cute and actually looks like a hunk of rock. There should be no trouble finding one, though trying to catch uncommon or rare quality will probably be the bigger challenge.

 

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