Posts Tagged ‘Leveling’

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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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SWTOR: The Sort-Of-Big Ding

August 7, 2013

50BH

I used to take more pride in my collection of levelcapped characters across my many MMOs, but over the last couple of years the time constraints (and real life generally becoming more busy) has made me slack big time. Many games have also seen expansions in that time, raising their levelcap, and I haven’t been very good in keeping up with those either.

Anyway, Level 50 may be the old cap for Star Wars: The Old Republic before they released Rise of the Hutt Cartel, but it was still a big deal for me when my Bounty Hunter hit this milestone last night. It was a journey that only took, oh, I don’t know…almost two friggin’ years?!

I have a Jedi Guardian on the Republic side that has reached endgame, and because of this, I had let my Imperial character languish at 42 and gather dust. With the revival of my guild The Imperial Mercenary Corps and our Thursday “TORsday” nights, I picked her up again and made the push to 50, finally reaching my goal after about two weeks of casual play. Now I suppose my next move will be to pick up RotHC. Next stop, 55 (the new TRUE big ding)!

One interesting thing I did note — SWTOR may very well become the first MMO in which I’ll have a levelcapped character in each of the playable factions. That’s not something I’ve done in any game, not even World of Warcraft where I’m sitting on a stable of level 90 toons (which are all Alliance). I’m just not in the regular habit of alting, and as such if I do, I tend also to stay loyal to one faction.

If my guild hadn’t chosen to reboot IMC, I can’t say with great certainty that I would have dusted off my BH on my own. I’m sort of glad it turned out this way, because apparently I’d been missing out on a lot of great Imperial content.

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The Big Ding: Neverwinter Online

July 22, 2013

nw50

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!

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How Neverwinter Broke My F2P Malaise

June 10, 2013

Neverwinter

I think I wrote once that free-to-play games don’t typically hook me the same way subscription games do — for two reasons, mainly. One, when I have at least one other sub game going on at the same time, that’s where my attention generally goes. There’s always that sense of “I need to get my money’s worth” chirping at me in the back of my mind, and the comforting knowledge that “the F2P games will always be there” and so that’s why it’s okay to put them on the backburner.

Two, I’m not the kind who likes to buy things piecemeal. I’d much rather just throw a one-time sum of money at a service to get the whole shebang, negating the need to wrack my brain later worrying about hitting the item store to remove any roadblocks.

Funny how Neverwinter, a game that almost didn’t even make it onto my to-play list, should be the one to break this funk I have when it comes to my track record with F2P games. It’s not so much the lack of roadblocks I’ve been hitting, though it helps that I have not yet been made to feel obliged to spend real money to keep playing. Leveling pace has been surprisingly comfortable so far; it’s definitely not fast, but at the same time I’m certainly not facing the horrific time sinks I’d expected and dreaded.

Better yet, there appears to be no end to things for me to do; between running Neverwinter’s dungeons and skirmishes, I actually had to cut back on the number of foundry missions I’ve been doing recently, so as not to out-level the game’s PvE and quest content which I want to experience too.

Granted, I’ve been taking my sweet time with this game, but I’m currently about a smidgen short of level 54 and at this rate I should be level 60 within the next couple of weeks, maybe even around the time Neverwinter officially goes “live” on June 20. When I do, it will actually be my first level-capped character in a new MMO in a good long while. Pretty sobering fact, for someone who’s always made it a point to hit the level-cap in a game before moving on to the next one. Oh how the times have changed, when all my gaming habits have turned on their head.

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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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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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The Pet Hunter Diaries: Notes From The Great Azerothian Safari

October 2, 2012

Dear Diary,

New Acquisitions: 96
Current Total: 251

Uh, yeah. Just as I thought — it’s pet collecting madness after the release of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, as evidenced by my new acquisitions count and current total, which illustrates a huge jump in numbers from last week. There are so many new pets to hunt and collect.

My guess is, if I’d spent as much time leveling as I did pet hunting and battling this week, I would have reached level 90 by now. But it’s the perfect thing to do in the middle of an afternoon when your baby is napping. Or any time you have a moment to spare, really. What I’ve been doing is methodically going through Azeroth zone by zone, hitting the low level areas first and working my way up. Basically, the higher the level range of the zone, the higher level of the pets you’ll find in them. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you can defeat the NPC trainer in one zone, then you are most likely good to go to move on to the next level bracket.

Other notes I’ve picked up from my great Azerothian safari:

  • It’s all about the team! Team make-up is probably the most important aspect of pet battling, and you’ll probably find yourself constantly switching around and tweaking yours depending on the type of fight. At least, you should be. Always mix it up, and don’t be tempted or feel like you have to be stuck with the same 3-pet team.
  • Consider leveling up at least one of each type of pet (e.g. Flying, Magic, Critter, etc.) because you never know when one of them will come in handy. Variety is key! I definitely would not recommend filling your team with three pets of the same type; it’s a bad idea, as evidenced by some of the NPC trainers you will no doubt tasked to defeat. For instance, I wiped the floor with the goblin Cassandra Kaboom, using a strong Elemental pet against all three of her Mechanicals. You don’t want the same thing to happen to you.
  • If you’re going to be leveling at least one of each type of pet anyway, and seeing as there are 10 types all together, it’s perfect to level several teams in tandem. When looking for battles in one zone, rotating 3-4 teams also lets you take advantage of the 8min cooldown on your heal/revive pets ability, so no need to visit a stable master every time you get battered up. When one team gets low on health, simply switch to another one. This ensures you’ll have about a dozen pets all around the same level no matter where you go, also allowing for minimal downtime.
  • Make sure to still keep a good number of pets at every level or level bracket. You never know when you’ll be traipsing through a lower level zone one day and see a wild pet that catches your eye, and you’ll want a battle pet at a similar level to capture it. This shouldn’t be too hard if you’ve been an avid hunter already, as pets keep their levels when you catch them.
  • Admittedly, leveling pets can be a bit of a grind if that’s all you’re focusing on. The best way to make it not feel like one is by making it a hunting expedition. Time flies when you have a goal in mind, especially if that goal is adding a new unique pet to your collection. Still, even when you catch a new pet, why stop there? Chances are the quality of that pet can be improved, because you’ll probably be catching a lot of “Common” ones.
  • Don’t settle for “Poor” quality! I certainly don’t. Hunting uncommon and rare quality pets can help you level up quick by keeping your mind off the grind. Kill all Common pets you encounter that you already own (there are addons out there that help let you know), and usually by the time you finally bag that your Uncommon or Rare, you would have gained a healthy amount of XP for your team(s).
  • When you find you need to focus on leveling one particular pet, you will want to take it to a zone where there are wild pets appropriate to its level, but see if you can give it an advantage by choosing areas are that teeming with opponents that are weak against it. For example, when I found I needed to power level my Lil’ Tarecgosa, I took to the wilds of Feralas, where the Flying type Nether Faerie Dragons there were getting one-shotted by her strong Magic type attacks. The quick XP gain meant I was able to level her from 8-11 in a matter of minutes.
  • Pet hunting comes with a whole other set of rules, since your goal is not to kill, but to capture. Before you set out, it’s good to have a good mix of pets at varying levels on hand. Usually, a good rule of thumb is to have pets about 1-2 levels above the ones you hope to catch, meaning they are strong enough to not lose the fight, but at the same time they aren’t so strong that you’ll risk killing your opponent outright. Also, be careful not to use abilities that your targets are vulnerable to or you’ll risk doing too much damage, leading to a dead pet and a botched hunt.
  • Also good to have are pets with “small” attacks (like leech life or abilities that do periodic every turn). They’re good for those annoying situations where you’ll get your opponent just a sliver of health above the threshold which activates the trapping ability, when all they need is a tiny little nudge to put them in the sweet spot (25-30% health range). Always look at the numbers, especially when your opponent goes under 50% health. Calculate the damage of your attacks, and pray you don’t get a freak crit that kills the pet you hope to capture.
  • It’s also helpful to have a “tanky” pet on hand, one you can use to soak up damage between turns while you try and capture, because the truth is sometimes the trap misses. This can prevent your other pets from being whittled down and dying on you, because once they die they get no experience at all, no matter how much they participated.
  • While I do prefer to level a bunch of pets at once and keeping them all at around the same level, admittedly it’s sometimes good to have along a “brute” that’s higher level than all the rest. They come in handy during those times where you find the need to completely and utterly destroy your opponent, without delicacy or any of the subtleties. Fighting against NPC battle trainers, for instance. Or, say, when you’ve caught the pet you were after and now that a second pet has joined the fight, you just want the battle to be over. Brutes are good as a back-up plan, and I find bears especially good for the job (Baby Blizzard Bear, Hyjal Bear Cub, etc.)
  • I’m finding that each zone has at least one pet unique to them. Not always, but in general this is the case. Sometimes, that pet can be a bit hard to find. Maybe I just got lucky, but I wonder if server resets can be used to your advantage? All I know is, after days of hunting around the Wetlands for Tiny Bog Beast or Arathi Highlands for Tiny Twister and having no luck, one time I showed up in both places after a server reset and there were a bunch of them all over.
  • Some pets will only come out during certain conditions. For example, Widow Spiderlings in Duskwood or Stone Armadillos in Desolace will only appear at night. Baby Apes in Cape of Stranglethorn only when it’s raining. When it comes to finding out information like this, sites like Warcraftpets.com are your friends.
  • Once you get out of the starting zones, you’ll find most wild pet battles will consist of two opponents; you’ll get an alert that another pet has joined the battle after you engage, and it will sit in the sidelines until you defeat the first. Some wild pets only show up as the “second” pet of a team battle. I suspect the Snowshoe Hare in Hillsbrad Foothills may be one of these. Keep in mind, you can only capture one pet per battle.

Happy hunting,

MMOGC

Latest field notes and recently hunted pets:

Too many to list all of them, obviously. And anyway, most of them are the same variations of your common models of rabbits, mice, snakes and spiders, etc. Believe me, after a while, you get so sick of seeing rats and rabbits like in every zone you go. Anyway, I’m just going to showcase some of the more unique ones I’ve found on my travels, or a few that I personally like.

Lucky Quilen Cub

What the heck is a Quilen you ask? Apparently a lion dog thingy with disgustingly huge blue watery doe eyes. Finally got this after entering Collector’s Edition code to upgrade my game. Holy crap, this thing is so cute it’s ugly, didn’t even know that was possible. It kinda hurts just to look at it.

Giraffe Calf

No safari is complete without a giraffe. Caught this little (um, maybe not so little?) guy out in Southern Barrens among roving giraffe herds, just swooped in and stole him away from his parents. WoW has turned me into poacher. Next up is training him to become a killer in underground fighting ring. Anyway, pet is TALL. Towers over gnomes. Throw a pet treat that increases its size at it, and it also gets as big as a hunter pet. Got loads of comments.

Lost of Lordaeron

These ghosts are all over the place out in Tirisfal Glades, common but very cool model nonetheless. Also shows you can capture of some of the most unique and pretty pets right in the low level zones, like Gazelle Fawn in Mulgore or Ravager Hatchling in Bloodmyst Isle. Best looking pets are not always locked in later parts of game, though not sure how respectful it is to be able to capture and own and treat the spirits of the dead like…well, pets. Game has turned me into monster.

Tiny Harvester

All over Westfall, very commonly seen in the fields. Essentially miniature of annoying Harvester mobs that try to kill you, but starting out in the human lands it was first wild pet I saw that got me really excited about pet hunting. But also special to me as first catch of this pet also happened to be my first Rare. Very detailed and unique little pet.

Tiny Twister

We have pet models of earth elementals, fire elementals, etc. about time we get an air elemental pet. Found only around Circle of Outer Binding out in Arathi Highlands, but rarely seen because of possible long respawn times. Hunted for two days without seeing any until after server reset, and then there were many. Good luck if you go, and pray some jerk hasn’t caught or killed them all.

Tiny Bog Beast

Yet another “Tiny” pet. Also seems to be quite rare because of possibly long respawn times. Found in Wetlands around the Green Belt, northwest of Greenwarden’s Grove. Finally bagged myself one and only shortly after a server reset, may be harder to find but very awesome looking, well worth it to hunt.

Fishy

FISHY! Oooh, fishy fishy fishy fish! A fish, a fish, a fish, a fishy, oooh! Oooh, fishy, fishy, fishy fish! That went wherever I did go… My first pet quest reward out in Pandaria, that lives in a floating water bubble. To be the greatest pet hunter, quests must not be neglected!

Feral Vermling

And of course, the achievement reward for collecting 250 unique pets, a fairly easy one to do now these days. Kind of a scary-looking little bugger with its red eyes and evil smirk. I think it might be planning something…

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