Archive for August 20th, 2012

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Weekend MMOing

August 20, 2012

The Secret World

Last week I began reining in my playtime for The Secret World, but mind you, not because of a waning interest. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; by Friday night my character had made enough progress to enter The Shadowy Forest for the very first time, which is the second zone in Transylvania.

I’m slowing down now, because every step brings me closer to finishing the story line and I’m dreading the day I will reach the end. Quite simply, the story and writing in this game has blown away. I’d thought Star Wars: The Old Republic was the height of MMO storytelling, but TSW can give it a run for its money. I’m basically trying to savor it while I can, and make the experience last.

So far, the most memorable moment for me was probably immediately right after I completed the quest Virgula Divina. If you play TSW and haven’t done it, 1) you’re in for a treat, and 2) when you do receive this mission, do yourself a favor and don’t attempt it alone at night or right before sleeping. If you don’t play TSW and/or don’t care about spoilers, look up any number of YouTube walkthroughs for this quest chain and you’ll understand why I feel this is the most disturbing, creepiest, most twisted quest I have ever done in an MMO (and also why my thoughts alternated between “Funcom, you guys are so @#%&ed up” and “OMG this is the best quest ever!” while playing it.)

A part of me hopes that spreading myself out a bit better now will allow the monthly content to catch up, as well as most of the cabal who are behind me at the moment. I like doing group content in this game, and have been running Darkness War as well as The Ankh which I did for the first time last week when I went back to tackle it with my friends, many of whom are still questing in Egypt.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I finally ended my continuous-since-launch SWTOR sub earlier this month, in order to free me up to pick up World of Warcraft again. There’s still some time before it lapses though, and it just so happened the game kicked off the Grand Acquisitions Race last week, a world event involving an interstellar scavenger hunt.

I contemplated skipping it, and almost did until it occurred that with my game time ending soon, I might as well finish off my last days in SWTOR by having some fun in it. A week long world event seemed like the perfect opportunity with just the right amount of that for-the-heck-of-it vibe to draw me in, plus BioWare had to go and say the magic words: pet rewards.

After catching wind of issues related to the crowds, I sought to avoid them by waiting until this weekend to complete the event objectives. For the most part, it paid off, though smuggler crates were still plenty scarce.

Having really no alts in this game also kind of came back to haunt me. Most of the rewards you can buy with Tokens of Enrichment during this event are bind on legacy, favoring those who can do this event on multiple characters to increase and pool their token haul. Having only two characters that are high enough for Nar Shaddaa meant that even after doing the quests on my Jedi Guardian and Bounty Hunter, I was still quite a bit shy from the 250 tokens needed for the damn Lobelot pet. Thus it came down to collecting smuggler crates for me, which like most farming stints proved to be quite a pain in the behind.

That was probably the only disappointing thing about this event, because on the whole, it wasn’t bad at all. After the bad month SWTOR has had with its restructuring and layoffs, and despite it being painfully obvious that my character did not speak or have any voiced interaction at all, they still managed to do a decent job. It’d be nice if the event would last a little longer, but a week is still much preferable to month-long MMO events that require tedious daily quest grinding. A scavenger hunt was not only quite unique, I also found it enjoyable…up until the smuggler crates. I feel that world events should inherently be about the fun; you should do them because you want to, without the element of feeling rushed or forced to grind.

In the end, I did manage to get my Hagnoffarl pet for completing the scavenger hunt, as well as the Lobelot. I even debated collecting more tokens for the mount. At that point, however, I had to stop myself and ask if that was truly what I wanted to do with my time. I shouldn’t be doing it if I’m not having fun, and sometimes I just have to step back and snap myself out of it.

World of Warcraft

WoW kept me quite busy this weekend; if I wasn’t on my main, then I was on my baby Mage, leveling with a bunch of people from my TSW/SWTOR guilds who have all started lowbie alts to play together.

On the Mage, I’ve been tearing through Azeroth with Paganrites, who started over with a brand new account with the Recruit-a-Friend invitation that I sent him. I’ve always heard from others about the ridiculous rate of experience gain that veteran and recruit get from the bonus when leveling together, but I am finally seeing this for myself. It’s actually quite disgusting how quickly we’re blowing through the levels.

I’ve given up doing heroics on my 85 at this point, with the pre-expansion patch coming in about a week and Mists of Panderia arriving in about a month. Instead, I’ve been working on dailies.

I know I’ve expressed my loathing of daily quests in the past, but surprisingly, these aren’t so bad for a couple reasons. First of all, it’s been a while since I’ve done WoW dailies so they still feel somewhat fresh, but also there are a crap ton that actually are completely new to me. For instance, I have never done the ones out on Tol Barad Peninsula until a few days ago, and I also just unlocked the Firelands dailies by doing the quest chain last week. It was one big confusing mess, but I finally managed to figure out how many of those quests I should be getting.

The other reason why I haven’t found doing WoW dailies all that terrible: there are just so damn many of them that I don’t have to choose the same ones to do every day. One day I might decide to do the ones out in Deepholme, work up some Therazane reputation. Another day I might mix it up with some cooking or fishing dailies. Sometimes I go out to Uldum to bomb some troops or bash some thieving pluckers. I have so many goals — gaining exalted rep with factions, daily achievements for rewards, getting my guild rep up, just to name a few — that pretty much anything I do will be counting towards something.

Most of these also include a pet reward of some kind at the end (Rustberg gull, dark phoenix hatchling, Pebble, etc.), so that’s extra motivation. Really looking forward to the pet battles in MoP, so I’m putting in extra effort to build up my “menagerie arsenal”.