Archive for July, 2013


Screenshot Of The Day: The Slaughterhouse

July 31, 2013
Ick, these TSW vampires are real sickos.

Ick, these TSW vampires are real sick bastards.

In The Secret World this week, my Monday night posse and I thought to press on with the Elite dungeons we haven’t done and decided attempting the Slaughterhouse. As it turned out, that place is perhaps too aptly named. I won’t go into all the demoralizing details here, but fellow guildie Tententacles pretty much summed up our hapless adventures for the evening in his nicely written post-Secret Monday report.

On the other hand, such humbling experiences make me wax nostalgic for the early days of the game when it was new and each dungeon encounter strategy would boil down to “Well okay, gang, let’s just keep hurling our dead bodies at him until he dies!”

We’ve been crushing familiar content for a while, sometimes I forget it was the result of all the pains involved with learning and experimenting with the fights at the beginning. We all know how it is. While it was frustrating as all hell, it was also a fun experience with friends.


Battle Bards Episode 8: The Lovely Tunes Of EverQuest 2

July 30, 2013

Battle Bards

The new episode of The Battle Bards is up! This week, Syp, Syl and I chat about the music of EverQuest 2, and it occurs to me what a delightful thing it is to be an MMO player when the topic of “people riding bees” can pop into casual conversation twice in a single week.

EQ2 isn’t a game I can say I’ve spent any significant amount of time playing, but apparently even a clueless newcomer like me can appreciate the stellar pieces in its diverse soundtrack. We hope you do too!



Episode 8 show notes

  • Introduction to city themes (including “Main Theme” and “Kelethin”)
  • “Character Menu” (comp. Laura Karpman)
  • “Qeynos” (comp. Laura Karpman)
  • “Isle of Refuge” (comp. Laura Karpman)
  • “Skyshrine Merchant’s Quarter” (comp. Inon Zur)
  • “Antonica” (comp. Laura Karpman)
  • “Tower of the Drafling” (comp. Laura Karpman)
  • “Qeynos Guild Hall” (comp. Inon Zur)
  • Website and blog plugs
  • Outro: “Main Theme”

SWTOR: The IMC Strikes Back

July 29, 2013

Home sweet…ship.

In light of the success that Mercy Gaming has had with the implementation of The Secret World Mondays (it’s been our guild’s longest-running endeavor so far), a few of our members have started up similar weekly sessions for Star Wars: The Old Republic. As such, the Darths at the top have declared Thursdays to be TORsdays, and we’ll be breathing life back into our old Empire guild the Imperial Mercenary Corps.

In a way, this return to SWTOR feels a long time coming. Mercy Gaming in its earliest form was assembled around that game, after all. Over time, our gaming circle has drifted from the game and we’ve lost and gained members since.

But now that SWTOR is free-to-play and has a new expansion to boot, I like the idea of going back and revisiting it once more. Actually, this wasn’t even a game I’d wanted to stop playing in the first place, but my daughter was born about a couple months after it first launched and pretty much all gaming stopped for me until that summer. By then, our guild’s presence in SWTOR had pretty much dissolved, and people had moved on to TSW and Guild Wars 2. Anyway, that’s really just my roundabout way of saying that I’m going to take full advantage of TORsdays.

My first goal: to get my Bounty Hunter to level 50. Apparently, she was 42 when I last left her — so close and yet so far to the old cap. After that, we’ll see about getting the expansion and taking her to 55. For the time being, I’ve already committed myself to at least the next two months because I sprang for the 60-day time card. SWTOR may be F2P, but it will make your life a living hell unless you sub. It appears I’ve been dreadfully spoiled by the more forgiving F2P approach employed by Perfect World/Cryptic games.

As of now, I’m sitting at level 45 and in the middle of questing through Belsavis. It’s always a bit frustrating coming back to an MMO you haven’t played for almost a year, especially when everything has changed and you have to redo all your skill points, user interface, etc. Not to mention the biggie, which is I’ve pretty much forgotten how to play my class. Let’s just say I spent the first couple of days back in game getting my ass kicked all over the planet, and leave it at that.


Screenshot Of The Day: Pleasure Yacht

July 24, 2013

I’m no fan of grinding daily quests, not even when it involves zipping around on a tropical island with a jet pack for Star Trek Online’s Risa event. But hey, a starship reward in exchange for a mere 3 minutes of my evening, for 25 days? I thought it was totally worth it. Behold my new Risian Corvette and its custom paint job!


Okay, look, it’s a pleasure yacht. If I can’t deck it in the most gaudy of color combinations and make it the biggest eyesore in the galaxy, then what’s the point? You can never go wrong with psychedelic neon pink and green, and if you look straight deep into its forward nacelles you might even imagine to see the clear and shimmering azure skies of a tropical paradise.

And like a tweep of mine pointed out, if anyone dares make fun of my new corvette, I can just tell them it’s painted lovingly with the blood of my Klingon enemies from Star Trek VI.

Anyway, following the age-old the tradition of naming all my ships on my main character after earth’s biomes, I’ve dubbed this newest monstrosity in my hangar “Reef”. It only feels appropriate.


TSW: The Knights of Mercy And The Mystery Of The Ur-Draug

July 23, 2013

I seriously hate this guy.

He’s big, he’s blue, he’s butt-ugly, and he’s humiliated me and my guildies in the Knights of Mercy more times than we can count. He’s the elite version of the Ur-Draug, last boss in the Polaris instance in The Secret World.

No boss has given us half so much trouble in any of the other elite dungeons, but we always seemed to hit a roadblock with him. For weeks, he had been wiping us time and time again, and nothing we ever did seemed to make a smidgen of a difference. Making sure we had stacks of debilitation on him – check. Saving all our emergency cooldowns for when the big damage comes in – check. Giving back-up heals a try – check. Positioning, deck changes, switching roles – check, check, check.

NOTHING worked. NOTHING ever stopped him from handing all our asses back to us on a silver platter.

And here’s the annoying thing: we would do amazingly well on him for the first few tries, before wiping for whatever reason. No big deal, so we brush ourselves off and go again.

But the kicker is, instead of improving our performance, we always seemed to do worse with each subsequent attempt. That’s exactly what happened to our group last night, through no fault of our group, I might add; everyone was bringing their a-game. No, I’m talking absolutely no chance at all to beat Mr. Tentacle-Face, to the point where he would just one-shot me, the hapless tank, as soon as I engaged.

To say he hit like a Mack Truck would be a gross understatement. According to my combat log, his cleave got me for 16,000 on one attempt, and it only got worse. 18,000 on another attempt, then 19,000. Okay, sure, it’s penetrating damage, but can you seriously expect any tank in this game to survive these crushing numbers? At most, I’m sitting on about 13,000 HP. I mean, we’re not even in Nightmare Mode here.

Finally, we decided this had to be more than just plain bad luck, and that something wonky clearly had to be going on here. In a last-ditch effort, I decided to exit to Agartha, then run back into the dungeon, hoping that in doing so something might reset on my character or in the instance, because quite frankly, the abuse we were taking from badass Cthulhu here was getting pretty ridiculous. And since we were sure we were doing everything we could correctly, well…it had to be the game, right?

Down, boy.

And stay down.

I honestly didn’t think it would work. But wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I got back, we got him down on the very next attempt. With only four people too, since one of our DPS went down accidentally right at the start. Not only did the Ur-Draug not one-shot me anymore, he didn’t even do enough damage to make our healer break a sweat. In fact, the fight became disgustingly trivial.

So what the hell was going on? I still don’t know, but whatever the problem was, it acted almost like an invisible debuff on the player, or a buff on the boss, which applied itself only after about the third wipe or so on him. Exiting the dungeon and coming back in seemed to fix it, at least for me. I don’t know why we haven’t encountered this problem on the Ur-Draug before now, but then again, we’d always gotten him down within the first or second attempts on all our previous successful runs of Elite Polaris, so I guess you could say we never got the chance to see him go all weird like this.

So the moral of the story is: Try not to wipe — at least, not more than 2-3 times anyway. (Unfortunately but also highly amusing for us, it has become somewhat of a running joke that the motto of Knights of Mercy is “Let’s Wipe It.”) Hopefully, this post might be of help to others if they ever find themselves stuck in such a situation with the Ur-Draug. I don’t know for sure if it’s a bug, but I’ve given Funcom a heads up about it all the same.

And if it is a bug, well…it’s gotta be one of the strangest and the cruelest I’ve ever experienced.


The Big Ding: Neverwinter Online

July 22, 2013


Adding yet another MMO character to my stable of maxed-levels  is always a happy occasion to celebrate…even in this case, where “the big ding” happened in like the most mundane and anti-climactic way ever.

I’ve been playing Neverwinter Online — that is, if your definition of “playing” can extend to simply logging in every day, just to queue up professions and burn the daily prayer cooldown for my coin.

3 minutes each night was all it took. But the experience I gained from doing that over weeks and weeks was actually enough to take me all the way from level 52 to 60. That’s right, instead of doing quests and killing wolves out in the great wide world like any adventurer worth her salt, Alistara Arborshale the Great Weapon Fighter spent the last month or so sequestered in the main city being the equivalent of a paper-pusher!

That’s not to say I undervalue the experience, though. Leveling is leveling, and hitting level cap is hitting level cap. I’m actually quite grateful for a game that allows me do so in spite of my busy schedule. It took very little effort on my part — but then again, also a crap ton of persistence!


TSW: The Knights of Mercy Shaken, Not Stirred

July 18, 2013

Okay. The Secret World team has seriously outdone themselves this time with the latest update Issue 7: A Dream to Kill. I know you’re all probably sick and tired by now of hearing me lament the fact that not more people are playing this gem of a game, but after experiencing this new update, I just gotta say it once again: Seriously! Why the hell aren’t more people playing this game?!?!?

Anywho, by now it’s clear that each update comes with a theme. For example, last issue was Last Train to Cairo, exuding major Indiana Jones vibes. And well, if Issue 6 was all “Indy”, then Issue 7 was all “Bond, James Bond”. It was just so awesome, I feel like I have to share.

Caveat: Here be spoilers! If you haven’t played Issue 7 yet and are planning to soon, you might want to skip this.

On Monday night, two groups of brave guildies from The Knights of Mercy gathered in Transylvania to start the mission chain. They say “Strength in numbers”, but I also say “Oh thank God I don’t have to go through this alone because this quest is creeping me the hell out!”


This? No, that’s not creepy at all!

And did I mention that I hate dolls? I never grew up with any, because they scared me. Those dolls with their glassy staring eyes, especially those that open and close them when you pick them up? GAH. Needless to say, there were some tough places for me in this issue. Dolls, dolls, dolls, everywhere. And when I see one sitting in the middle of a dark room surrounded by a haunting light and demonic looking circle, of course I just have to run up to check it out.

Pretty sure this is how a lot of horror movies start out.

It’s heartening to see that the TSW updates are still of such high quality, even in this tough economy when staff and resources might be more limited. Every issue has been solid so far, in terms of writing, voice work, cinematics, the whole shebang. There’s quite a while to wait between each release, but can you blame them? I’m just happy to know each issue is so well thought out and lovingly crafted; they really don’t skimp on the details, and that’s all a player can ask for.


Dude, relax, I just wanted to hug your bear. All you had to say was “no”.

The addition of snowmobiles for a section of this quest chain inevitably led my guildies and I into a discussion of the possibility of mounts or vehicles in TSW’s future. There were some ideas thrown around, like maybe we’ll one day be able to ride horses or scooters in game instead of sprinting everywhere at inhuman speeds. I personally liked the idea of Segways that someone suggested. I mean, how cool would that be?


Group shot with said snowmobiles.

This next pic confused me. It begs the question, why bother with a parachute when there isn’t even fall damage in this game? Granted, I suppose it would make for a much less dramatic leap from the exploding bridge.


Bond, Laeyn Bond.

Oh dear. The scariest sight yet. Pid dancing!


A break from the action, back to the horror.



I am in hell.

Bravo, Funcom, bravo. I am amazed and impressed (and I’ve wet my pants). Best issue yet!