Posts Tagged ‘Endgame Content’

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SWTOR: The “Real” Big Ding!

August 19, 2013
The big moment immortalized.

The big moment immortalized.

This weekend saw me hit level 55 on my Bounty Hunter in Star Wars: The Old Republic! YAY!

And I know thus far I have not talked much about the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion, but now that I’ve played through most of it, I have to say it’s pretty well done. The story was good, the questing zones are laid out in a nice, convenient way that actually doesn’t make me want to throw acid in own my face. The planet Makeb is also gorgeous. Honestly, I’m quite impressed with the whole package, considering the state of things when I first took a break from the game.

While I suppose gearing up should be my next step (already started on weeklies), I’m also thinking about taking my Republic character to 55 as well, for the legacy experience and, more importantly, the full expansion content. I’m told the two faction quest lines play off each other and together they form the full Makeb story. I might as well soak it all in.

And, ugh! Of course, I’m also contemplating the idea of starting an alt. I suppose is inevitable given that’s usually my regular pattern after hitting level cap, but the notion is rather appealing considering how we’ve currently revived our Empire guild, and I’ve been itching to play an Imperial Agent since, like, forever! Sexiest class in the game, easy!

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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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SWTOR: The Care And Feeding Of Level 50s

February 6, 2012

About a year ago, I made myself a promise that with any subscription MMO to which I commit myself, I will not quit or be distracted by other online games until I hit the level cap. As it were, it was one way for me to give the game a chance to show me the goods, but ultimately it also became a pretty effective way to deal with my case of altitis and gamer ADD.

Anyway, the point: I hit level 50 in Star Wars: The Old Republic around a week back, making my Jedi Knight the latest addition to my stable of level-capped MMO characters. So, at least I’ve accomplished one of my goals.

Where did I go from there? Well, in this strange universe where BioWare is apparently biased against Jedi and makes random decisions to make their lives miserable, I had to finish my class storyline before even having any ability to make a decision for myself. It was something I planned on doing anyway, but I was a little baffled as to why Jedi Knights and Consulars had to do this first in order to even open up the Belsavis dailies, whereas my Trooper guildies were already off and doing them without having to conclude their storyline and well before hitting level 50! And yes, I was a bit annoyed too, as I am whenever choice is taken from me, but I suppose Jedi are held to a higher standard?

Oh and speaking of dailies, long time readers will know how I feel about those. I already do enough real-life chores in my day, and it’s ironic to hop online in my spare time and have to do virtual chores as well. And yet, I’m PvE focused, so when the level progression stops it’s time to work on gear progression, and that’s the way SWTOR works as well. About two hours to hit up and do the Belsavis and Ilum quests, earn daily commendations, buy gear and mods with said commendations, work at it until you are geared enough to do hard mode flashpoints.

Already I’m seeing players in general chat LFM for these hard modes, more often than not calling for those interested to have so-and-so amount of health along with a sundry list of requirements. This is probably the most disconcerting thing of all (though I admit this is a bit of a moot point, since you’d have to lobotomize me before I agree to PuG a hard mode at this stage).

Mind you, that we’ve come all this way to do the same old dance is less of a complaint, and more of my own personal observation. I understand that end game is hard to shake up, and there’s probably no safer route than to go with player expectations and what they’re familiar with. I’m going through the steps myself. This is life at 50.

But hey, there’s always alts — and SWTOR has the advantage of seven other storylines to experience, and at least now I can start a new character guilt-free.

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Always In Motion Is The Future

June 10, 2011

Unsurprisingly, with everything that happened this week, today’s Star Wars: The Old Republic update was a recap of their events and features at E3.

  • Of course, the “Return” Cinematic Intro was the centerpiece. Last year, the “Hope” trailer had everyone excited about the Trooper, while this year, everyone is talking about the Smuggler. Bah! And they say BioWare gives no love to the Republic.
  • A preview trailer of the features we have to look forward to in SWTOR. Quite honestly, I liked that video just much as — if not more — than I did “Return”. It lacks the bells and whistles of a cinematic, but it has something better — actual gameplay footage.
  • A trailer for the Operation of Eternity Vault, a raid on the planet of Belsavis. There’s still not enough endgame information for me to make a judgment, but I’m curious. To recapitulate my own thoughts, I used to be a lot more interested in MMO raiding, but not so much anymore since I discovered how quickly I lost interest in the grind and gear progression. Don’t get me wrong — I’ll raid in SWTOR. But to be perfectly honest, unless they do something very different, I can’t see myself being converted in the long run. Don’t worry about me though, there are always going to be other classes to play. My favorite part of an MMO has always been the leveling, the journey, the experience.
  • The Tatooine Developer Walkthrough. Sith Sorcerors and Sand People and Krayt Dragons, oh my! And I still can’t get over how damn huge that place is. My sense of exploration is tingling.
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My Top 5 Gaming Highlights of 2010

January 3, 2011

A good Monday and a Happy New Year to all! I hope 2010 was a good year for everyone, because I know it was for me. For my first post of 2011, may I present the top five things that gave me much joy in the last year:

5. Mass Effect 2

For me, single-player console games can generally be placed in one of two categories: 1) games that I love and that I’ll sit down and play the crap out of until I finish, and 2)  games that don’t really impress me, but I’ll still feel obligated to plug away at until I’m done, usually over a long drawn-out period of time. Mass Effect 2 was a new experience for me because it didn’t really fit in either category. I positively adored the game, but still it took me almost a month to complete — and what a great three-and-a-half weeks that was. This Bioware masterpiece was like good food; I wanted to take the time to savor the flavor, so to speak. Slow, measured bites are where it’s at.

Oh, and I also got to sex up Garrus. That was all kinds of awesome too.

4. Goodreads

So this isn’t directly related to gaming, but most of my friends on there are gamers, and gamers have great taste in books! It’s certainly made an impact on me this year because I’m pretty sure I’ve read more in 2010 than I have in any other year of my life, and Goodreads had a lot to do with it. I didn’t make my account until October, but it has since invigorated my passion for reading by connecting me to my friends’ reviews and recommendations. Thanks to their opinions and suggestions, I was able to enjoy many exceptional titles in the last couple of months.

3. The Terrific Tauren Two

2010 was a big year for World of Warcraft with the release of Cataclysm in December, though I hesitate to put the expansion on my top five. Don’t get me wrong — I was excited along with millions of others, and I had a blast experiencing the new content and getting my Night Elf druid to level 85. Still, currently I can feel my interest in endgame waning already. Not that I had much of an interest to begin with; I fear I lost the taste for raiding and item progression shortly before taking my extended leave of absence from WoW back in early 2009. I guess you can say I live for the journey, not the destination, and as a matter of fact, the most enjoyable aspect of WoW for me has always been the leveling.

I returned to WoW some time in May of last year. With the knowledge that Cataclysm will change the face of Azeroth, I wanted to do something I had never done before — roll a Horde character and experience levels 1 to 60 before the old world content goes away forever. It was a wonderful adventure, made even better by my husband who joined me on my journey. WoW is really the only MMO we have in common these days, so I do get the feeling he missed doing things together during my break from the game. A pity I don’t share his enthusiasm for the endless gear grind, which compels me to find a new leveling project for us.

Eh, what’s this? New Worgens? How convenient! Unfortunately, “The Terrific Worgen Two” doesn’t really have the same ring, so clearly another cutesy alliteration is in order.

2. Minecraft

Minecraft is like morphine in two ways: One, it is insanely addictive, and two, apparently it has analgesic properties. Because I’m not exactly the queen of good posture, normally I’d sit down at a game and play for a couple hours, until my butt or shoulders or something starts to hurt. In this way, my body is like the perfect alarm system to tell me when I should take a break.

Well, Minecraft broke it.

In about a week, I’d racked up about 60 hours in this game. I’d log in after dinner, think naively to myself, “Oh, just for a half an hour or so” and before I know it, it’s 3am in the morning. I don’t usually get carried away like this; all I can say is Minecraft took my Fall of 2010 by storm. The beauty of it is its simplicity. Here’s an infinite world with blocks for you to play with, now go nuts!

Of course, it was Blue Kae’s multiplayer server that really took my enjoyment to a whole new level. In addition to the joys of Creating and Exploring, having others to play with added the aspect of Sharing. And with that, the golden trifecta of Minecraft is complete.

1. Star Trek Online

It might not be the best MMO on the market, nor has it made much of a splash in the genre since its release in February of last year, and hey, I don’t even think I play enough of it these days…but no contest, Star Trek Online made the biggest impact on my gaming life in 2010.

Posts about STO dominated my blog last year, and I also played a lot of it. More than that though, I’d say it’s likely the reason I’m still blogging today.

This isn’t a STO blog, and it was never meant to be one, but dammit, there’s something about this game that makes it incredibly fun to write about. No doubt, some of it has to do with my attachment to my character T’Androma and writing about her adventures, and one of my best blog-related memories was being completely floored that there were people actually interested in what I had to say on my fledgling site. For me, what began as a series of early posts with fellow starship captains sharing their in-game experiences quickly grew into a network of friends, a network that is still growing today, introducing me to more games and wonderful people in the blogosphere. Certainly, I credit STO for starting it all and opening up my eyes to the gaming community at large.

And there you have it, the top five things that made my 2010 a great year in gaming. Here’s to an even better 2011!

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The Big Ding

April 13, 2010

Something must be up this month, because I seem to be getting my characters to max level left and right. First it was Star Trek Online and now it’s Age of Conan.

Yep, after almost two months since my resub to the game, I finally reached level 80 with Kyela, my Priest of Mitra. I’m happy I made it, but I also have to say one thing. It sucks for me to have to admit this, but my journey from level 78-80 was THE WORST TIME I’VE HAD in AoC since coming back. It’s a little hard to believe, but it was like launch time all over again.

It’s made me realize that if there’s one more thing Funcom can do to improve AoC, it would have to be making the late parts of the game more solo-friendly. Don’t get me wrong, I like to group up as much as the next guy…if only there were other people to group up with! The reality is, however, AoC is still on the very cusp of making its comeback. It’s like I mentioned before in an earlier post: I have a hunch that the bulk of the in-game population is made up of two groups — the level capped veterans and the lowbies who are just starting out. I see evidence of this in the LFG channel. There’s a ton of activity in there for sure, but it’s mostly filled with calls for endgame raids like Kylliki or Vistrix and lower level instances like the Cistern or Main System. Folks like me who are stuck in the middle are left with a hard time finding others to do the group content at our level, since we’re drawing from a smaller pool of players. At level 78, I had more than a dozen group and dungeon quests in my journal, but no one to do them with. Since I had exhausted all the soloable quests by then, I had no choice but to grind out my last two levels.

It might be a lack of foresight on Funcom’s part but oh well, chalk it up to growing pains. The grind might have been unpleasant, but it was still bearable, made slightly better by the presence of daily quests and dungeons. Still, two levels equates to approximately 6.5 million experience points, and dailies or not, it was hell to grind. Also, nothing can beat the goodness of unique content, and to be honest, it’s the interesting quests and story lines that make this game so great. So while doing dailies may be acceptable, it’s nowhere near as rewarding. It’s possible that people playing now won’t find themselves in this predicament when they near the level cap though, because hopefully there will be more people playing then.

Still, the thing that REALLY made it excruciating was the lag. AoC got a pretty big patch a couple weeks ago, and it has really wreaked havoc with the game. Zones are littered with bugged mobs that just stand there and do nothing — they won’t attack you and you can’t attack them. Some players were also having issues with the group invite system. And the lag, the horrendous lag! I can deal with the grind, I can deal with bugged mobs and I can deal with glitchy interface features, but I can’t stand server lag that makes a game virtually unplayable. It was especially bad in the zone of Kheshatta tonight, so bad that I had to take my grind to the Common District in Old Tarantia instead, where at least I could fight the mobs without finding myself dead after a 1500 ms latency spike. Here’s hoping Funcom fixes these problems soon.

All in all, having a level 80 in this game is a good feeling. The final grind might have something to do with this, but for some reason, the big ding in AoC feels a lot more rewarding than getting max level in other MMOs I have played.

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Full Impulse Ahead! Oh Wait, Scratch That

February 18, 2010

I’ve learned that part of being a good spouse is to not go all out in Star Trek Online and end up out-leveling your better half by an entire rank. Work has kept him especially busy as of late, so understandably he has less time to play. While I want to be an Admiral as much as the next Starfleet officer, I also love being able to quest with my husband, so I don’t mind waiting for him to catch up at all. And in some ways, slowing down a little might be for the best.

Before I go on, I want to congratulate my fellow starship captain over at Fire Phasers! for reaching the rank of Admiral 5! He wrote an interesting article the other day regarding his experiences upon reaching max level, as well as some of his apprehensions about running out of content. Most opinions I’ve read also echo his concerns. There are a lot of other Admirals out there right now struggling to find things to do, mere weeks after the game’s release. These players didn’t even necessarily rush through all the content; many are casual gamers like him who’ve tackled the leveling process at a steady pace.

While I’m not max level yet, I can still understand where he’s coming from, and I too share his hopes when it comes to the future of the game. From the sounds of it, the endgame experience in STO is still a little sparse right now, which is why I’m not too concerned about the decision to rein in my leveling pace at this time. On one hand there’s the matter of waiting for my husband to catch up, and on the other is the fact that I don’t ever want to find myself running out of things to do. Ideally, I would like a reasonable amount of time between reaching Admiral 5 and the release of another major content update, because when it comes to online games, I need a healthy dose of content to keep me interested.

Taking some time to enjoy the scenery.

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