Posts Tagged ‘Expansion’

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The Secret Wednesday: Postcards From Tokyo

June 5, 2014

1 A Sailor Suit for Tokyo

For The Secret World players, the day has finally arrived – we are Tokyo bound!

Issue 9: The Black Signal is now live, adding content beyond the current quest line. It became available today to purchase with points for subscribers, though free players will have to wait a few days longer to hit up Japan. So rest assured, I won’t be posting a detailed summary of my impromptu night in TSW, in case of spoilers for those who haven’t done it yet.

But I will say this, it’s already pretty tough. I probably wouldn’t want to traverse the city alone, at least in the beginning. First though, we had to get through some pre-quests…

6 first the prequest before tokyo

Grab a friend (or two!) since it can be completed as a group. The more the merrier, and a lot easier too! And you might need someone to steady you when you recognize someone familiar from your past…dun dun DUN!

2 You're going to recognize someone from your past

Ah, here we go, sakura and skyscrapers. This must be it! Wish me luck now…

3 Ah, here we go...

D’oh! Not another pre-quest! But we gotta learn how to use the new Aegis System. Or rather, they just sort of vaguely show you how it works and you’re supposed to stumble around and figure it out for yourself. In other words, business as usual in TSW.

4 Doh! Another prequest

The Secret World sure loves its subways…

11 The Secret World loves subways

Finally! This is for real now. Tokyo, I am in you! And yes, signs of Orochi are everywhere…

5 finally, hello tokyo...and yes signs of orochi are everywhere

Er, look, I’m making a great first impression on the locals already. Please don’t kill me!

8 making a great first impression on the locals...please don't kill me

The new headquarters…nice looking digs.

10 The new headquarters

Hmm, I kinda feel like a dragon roll. But I don’t think this is that kinda bar.

7 I feel like a sushi roll

Chucho, Thermic and Laeyn, surveying the new place!

9 surveying the new place

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SWTOR: I Can’t Shake Him!

December 6, 2013
can't shake him

Going down?

Galactic Starfighter went live on Star Wars: The Old Republic this week, and it has been…quite interesting. I was invited into the beta but didn’t really get the chance to check it out, so for all intents and purposes this was really my first exposure.

I got to play a little bit of the content Tuesday, but it wasn’t until last night that I finally started to get a handle on the controls. Let’s face it; I just don’t have the piloting instincts of a Skywalker. I spent most of the first night flying around like a drunk chicken with a broken wing, though I have no one to blame but myself for skipping the tutorial (because instruction manuals are for chumps!) and as a result did most of my learning through trial and error.

sideways

And the world goes sideways…

Needless to say, starfighter battles are a lot more fun when you know what you’re doing. That’s why I haven’t written off the expansion yet, because without a doubt, things improve as you gain more experience and a handle on flying these damn things. Last night for our guild’s SWTOR Thursday session we went into battles as a team, and I have to say the increased interaction and strategic planning that comes with playing in a group greatly improves the experience.

win

Victory!

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STO: New Expansion, New Captain

May 22, 2013

Here’s my new Romulan captain. I swear I did not actually try to make her look like an evil Natalie Portman, but that’s just what sort of happened.

D'Alana

D’Alana T’el Sindari

Anyway, I figure I’ll start writing this post now since I’m currently sitting in position six-thousand-and-something in queue waiting to get into Star Trek Online, which is something I haven’t seen since the early days of the original game’s launch. Seriously, a 6000+ queue in the middle of a week day? Congratulations STO for garnering the unprecedented level of interest for your new Legacy of Romulus expansion.

After all, I’m here too, aren’t I? I’ve logged in a few times here and there, but I haven’t played STO in earnest since…summer of 2011?

Returning to the game has always been on my list of things to do, especially since it went free-to-play. In a way, STO has a special place in my heart because blogging about my shenanigans in it during the early days is what originally got this blog off the ground. It was always so tempting to jump back in.

After a point, however, a game simply matures and leaves you behind. It’s been almost two years since I was seriously active in STO, and so many things have changed — from the ground combat improvements to the Duty Officer system. Never mind that STO has one of the most unique gameplay mechanics out there in the MMO world when it comes to space combat, which takes time to get used to and master. That’s the feature I miss the most when I think about STO, but I knew if I went back now, I’d be eaten alive.

Which is why I figured this would be the perfect time to rediscover the game again — I’ll be rolling anew with a Romulan. New expansion, new race, new character, new ship, new everything — it’ll be my chance to relearn the ropes and start from scratch.

Who knows how much I’ll be able to play nowadays, but I’ll be taking it slow, approaching this game once more with fresh eyes. I’m a newcomer again, a cadet, a clueless noob. There are a couple decisions I’ll repeat this time around though, and that’s rolling a tactical officer in an escort ship. Sorry scientists and engineers, you guys are cool too but damage dealing is just so fun in this game, I don’t think I could go any other way.

Anyway, after writing this post and mucking about online and on Twitter, looks like I’m finally at the front of the queue. Wish me luck and see y’all in game!

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My Top 5 Gaming Highlights Of 2012

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Here’s my first post of 2013, whose title I confess should really be “My Top 5 Gaming Highlights of 2012…And Then Some” because while 2012 was indeed a great year for games and gamers, admittedly I found myself struggling to come up with pure gaming-related entries for this list. It’s not that I haven’t been impressed with the industry’s offerings this year so much as I find myself with less gaming experiences to draw from, because the truth is I played less games these past twelve months than I have in recent years. Time has been so tight, there are so many games on my to-play list that I never even got a chance to go out and buy, let alone play. I can’t say that I’ve ever been so behind before.

Then again, so much has also changed in my life in 2012! Let’s take a look back at the memories:

5. Pet Battles and the Return of the Dynamic Duo

Pandaren

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria released on September 25th. I won’t go as far as to say it’s my favorite expansion so far, though I’m aware it is for many. Nevertheless, I’m still playing it more than three months later, which is already more than what I could say for its predecessor Cataclysm.

I will say that the new expansion has provided me more reasons to stick around, even after hitting the new level cap. For one, the companion pet battling and collecting system has me hooked — 431 pets to my name so far, and I’m still hunting, always hunting. Also, the mister and I have both taken a break from the endgame grind to work on a couple of Pandaren Monks. More than anything, I love playing MMOs with my husband. Leveling characters has always been our special way to bond, and nothing brings us closer than facerolling our enemies together with our Spinning Crane Kicks.

4. 122 Books

stats

I’ve always been one to go looking for challenges, which I have to say sometimes leads me to give myself some pretty random dumb goals.

As with most random dumb goals, I didn’t really have a reason for it, but a few years ago I just decided one day that I wanted to read 100 novels in a year.  I attempted several times, coming so close in 2011 at 83 books, and being pathetic I went and retroactively lowered my Goodreads challenge that year to 80 just so I could get the achievement badge. Well, no need to fudge the numbers for 2012; I kicked the challenge’s ass with a total of 122 novels and so you can even say I read enough to make up for last year.

Interestingly, the more I read the lower my average rating for books seem to get. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting more critical, or that more books under my belt just simply equals more mediocre ratings.

3. Mercy Gaming

Mercy Gaming

2012 was a rather turbulent year for Star Wars: The Old Republic to say the least, and neither has it really been smooth sailing for a lot of us who kept our subscriptions going until free-to-play. I think the most gut-wrenching part of it all the worrying I did about whether my Republic and Empire guilds will fall apart. After all, I got to meet and play with an amazing group of players, and I’ll always have SWTOR to thank for that.

I needn’t have stressed myself. The Republic Mercy Corps and Imperial Mercenary Corps may be shadows of what they once were in the game, but many of our members have kept in touch. Rebranded Mercy Gaming, the guild lives on, becoming a multi-gaming community that continues to adventure together in games like Guild Wars 2, Borderlands 2, The Secret World, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, PlanetSide 2, and many many more. It’s always a party with these folks, who have all become my very good friends.

2. The Secret World

TSW

Never have I ever played an MMO like TSW. The only other game that even came close to capturing my heart and blowing my mind this year was of course Guild Wars 2, but even that gets edged out, albeit just barely. For one thing, while my playtime in GW2 has tapered off until I can find more time in my schedule, I am still playing TSW regularly each week because I just can’t seem to get enough of this game! I suppose it does have a certain je ne sais quoi that made it stand out to me above the rest, and it’s not just the unique genre or playstyle.

For one, I like that it came out of nowhere and surprised me (in a good way). In fact, months after its release it’s still regularly doing that. While it’s far from perfect and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, it does sometimes feel like with every issue update and TSW Monday, I fall hopelessly in love with this game all over again.

1. “Baby Mogsy”

MMOGC Jr

Welcoming our first child in February 2012 definitely made me and my husband a lot busier. While taking care of a baby has left me not as free to do a lot of my hobbies anymore, I’m loving motherhood and I cherish every single moment I spend with my little girl, even though she’s probably the biggest reason why my time spent gaming has dropped so dramatically in 2012! But you know what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Even from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I’d gladly give up anything for her.

Our daughter has changed our lives, bringing us such joy and making us feel blessed each and every day. At 10 months old now, every moment with her is like an adventure. She is just full of surprises, and I don’t want to miss a single one!

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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 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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WoW: DING! Level 90

October 11, 2012

Sixteen days after the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria release, I finally reached level 90 last night with my druid main. Given my pacing, a little more than two weeks is about when expected I’d make the new level cap. I wouldn’t say I consider this “slow” by any means, but I do know that I have been a bit sluggish compared to some of my fellow bloggers, some of whom I know hit the big ding last week.

Indeed, this is the first WoW expansion where I’ve actually taken it easy, and it has been good. I’ve been taking my time, spreading it between leveling my main and playing my new Pandaren Monk, in addition to also doing a little bit of dungeon running on the side with guildmates. If you recall, I reserved a Mage alt exactly for that last purpose, and that lowbie spellcaster I started weeks ago with my friends is now level 80. With all of us having mains from different servers, different factions and different levels, this has become a way for us to do group content together.

If you’ve seen my WoW pet hunting posts, you’ll also know that I’ve been completely addicted to the new pet system. My progress on that has been happening in the background, mostly in the afternoons when I find lulls during the day between chores and working on my commissions. As well, the baby’s napping schedule is still a little sporadic, which makes the pet collecting/battling mini-game the perfect activity, whether I get 20 minutes or 2 hours to play. It’s also essentially the closest thing to a “pause” button in this MMO; once you engage a wild pet in a fight, the whole world literally fades into the background, you can’t get ganked or attacked by roaming mobs, and the game will wait for your turn until you take it. When I need to step away from the computer in a hurry, I can do it without a second thought.

Overall, I’ve been quite impressed by MoP. Admittedly, this is the most fun I’ve had in WoW since The Burning Crusade, which still happens to be my favorite expansion. Granted, as is the case with most MMOs I play, a lot of my enjoyment has to do with the people with whom I’m playing, but a part of me is also convinced there’s something special about MoP. Contrasting it with Cataclysm, I feel that this expansion has a lot more personality and character. Don’t get me wrong, I really didn’t think Cata was that bad, but while it was an ambitious and bold move by Blizzard, I also felt the last expansion lacked a certain cogency and at times seemed like it was confused with itself. MoP on the other hand feels like it has a clearer direction and things more in check.

Cuddly!

The other thing is, I know a lot of people have put this expansion down it for its cutesy nature and cuddliness, and that’s certainly a valid criticism. I’m definitely not denying that the game has dialed up big time on the whimsy, but I also don’t think it should be the only reason to stay away. There’s just so much more to explore in this expansion that a concern like that just melted away once I actually got to play more of the expansion.

At least to me, it sure feels like there’s a lot more to do in MoP. In addition to my pet hunting shenanigans, now there’s even farming to do! And I don’t mean MMO farming, I mean the tilling, seeding, watering, harvesting kind of farming! I’m crossing my fingers here, but getting your own little farmstead and plots to grow crops in certain feels like a first step towards one day seeing player housing in WoW. If this is some sort of experiment by Blizzard, I have to say it’s proving quite successful.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is, I’ve hit 90 and I already feel completely overwhelmed. I know there’s a lot to this expansion, but I don’t feel it so much when I’m leveling because there’s always that forward direction and an ever present goal to reach level cap. However, once I got there, it was like, where’s an Everything-You-Need-To-Do-Once-You-Hit-Level-90 checklist when you need one? There’s farming and cooking for the Tillers, fishing for the Anglers, other reputations to work on, two entire remaining questing zones to complete, professions to level, more pets to hunt…

I haven’t even thought about the dungeons I need to run yet. No doubt I’ll be doing some endgame instances real soon, but so far gearing up has been the last thing on my mind. That’s probably a good thing, since that process has always been the first step leading me to burnout in the past. We’ll have to wait and see how long MoP will keep me playing, but right now it does appear to offer a lot more to do at endgame compared to the previous expansions.

To close off, I’ll leave you with some of the gorgeous visuals I’ve come across on my adventures through Pandaria. I have to say they’ve really nailed the Eastern themes.

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